Buon Voyaggio Mercier

Saturday was a big day, we had to finalise securing, stowing, cleaning and readying Mercier for her departure from the Med and the beginning of her journey to Australia.

There wasn’t much printed material, either online or from the shipping company about how to prepare the ship. Sevenstars Shipping was responsive to our questions, so we hope we have Mercier organised properly.

  • Turn off or disconnect batteries
  • Empty water tanks and accumulator of water
  • Clean with fresh water and bleach both head and holding tanks
  • Limit diesel to under 200 litres
  • Secure and stow items left on board
  • Tape shut all lockers and hatches, wrap any breakables in bubble wrap and secure against movements in the boat

Cleaning was very important as we know Australian Customs officials want things clean, we even lifted the floor boards and cleaned the bilge.

Mercier ready for shipping
Mercier ready for shipping

We were due at Pontile Etritrea at 1300 hours to meet the crews of Sevenstars Shipping and the Damgracht, to load Mercier.

As we entered the commercial harbour of Genoa, we had to contact the harbour master, with a prearranged clearance and proceed towards Pontile Eritrea and the ship.

Crane that will pull us up
Crane that will pull us up
Crew Members of Sevenstars came onboard to secure Mercier and attach slings
Crew Members of Sevenstars came on board

Once the crew was on board, the diver went underneath Mercier to assure the slings were in the correct position. I certainly breathed a sigh of relief to know that others were going up with us and Mercier was secure.

Crew on board to put Mercier into her cradle.
Crew on board to put Mercier into her cradle.

It is easy to see this is how high Mercier was going and we all climbed off at that railing and Mercier was lifted higher to be placed into her cradle.

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almost there
Almost there

At this point they place Mercier on the cradle and weld the cradle to the deck. James was off to the side, watching intently.He boarded, locked up, put away fenders and I said a soft farewell.

We are wishing Mercier a safe voyage to Australia, where there will be more Azure seas to greet her. There, with luck, the adventures will resume.


Marmaris Yacht Marina

“Where are you? Where is the blog?” The truth is this part of the proceedings isn’t what we would consider the glamorous portion of the trip. You’ll notice that even our dearest friends don’t sign up for the very beginning of our trips.

The teak is being refitted in places, the head has been reseated and cracks in the gel coat are being repaired and the swimming platform has been reinforced. Our Dock n Go had a visit from Nicolas, who has carefully adjusted the new “brain”. The ZF Dock n Go system over promises in our humble opinion, but Beneteau has decided to create Beneteau Dock n Go specialists (the manifique duo: Jean and Nicolas), which has been a wonderful boon to restoring the confidence of Mercier’s Crew. Fingers are crossed.

We spend our days moving between Yacht Marine and the town of Marmaris. James is so lucky that Marmaris is not an exciting shopping centre like Kas, Istanbul or Kalkan, so that shopping doesn’t keep me from polishing the stainless. Marmaris is however, ship chandler heaven, everything for boats in several different chandlers in town.

Dream - seems a great name for a boat.
Dream – seems a great name for a boat.

We have met several lovely people here at Yacht Marine. There is a pool, a lovely restaurant, a ship chandlers, The Library, a reading room which has free wifi. The ladies in the office are very helpful and friendly; they also have wifi, so see us regularly.

In Turkey, they have a law about sim cards, which no one has clearly explained to us. If you are going to be in Turkey over two months, then do not buy a sim for your own phone. If you do buy a sim for your own phone after two months, it will be disconnected until you pay a substantial tax. No one mentions this at any of the Telco offices. Instead buy an inexpensive phone in Turkey and use that phone. There might be other strategies, but we are just going to those places with free wifi.

There is a large live aboard contingent at the Marmaris Yacht club and they have a very interesting social club which includes tours around Turkey.

Boat watching is the activity du jour each and every day here. Beautiful gulets, extraordinarily large motor yachts and catamaran, small yachts and it is like a ballet watching the travelers take large and small yachts in and out of the water. But like every big town, there is always one neighbour that likes to “collect” and Yacht Marina is no exception. We hope to be ready to sail very soon, wish us luck.

Steptoe and Sons go sailing
Steptoe and Sons go sailing


We find ourselves in Marmaris

One of the immutable facts of sailing is that first the weather, then the boat has control over where you are going. Louise, Frosty and James and I were all set for a lovely night at My Marina in Ekincik but the boat decided to spit the dummy. It resolved itself, but since we had left so early, we decided the wiser course of action would be to go straight to Marmaris.

Marmaris is a beautiful harbour with mountains coming down to meet the sea in almost circular fashion. Marmaris is famous for its barbers and fire shaves, many restaurants and beautiful harbour, with four marinas in the vicinity. Mercier will winter here on the hard stand in the marina.

Marmaris Harbour
Marmaris Harbour- just one aspect

We woke up to a perfect sunny day on Netsel Marina and with great efforts from Frosty and Louise, James managed to wash the sails and get them dried and folded ready to be stored for the winter. Swanno will be happy to know that Louise gave the stainless another polish and James is having a cover made to keep the cock pit under cover.

In the evening, we wandered round Marmaris enjoying sculptures and fountains that dot the large Town Quay. The fountains are quite a vibrant area full of fisherman and children, who come in the cool of the evening to watch the spectacle.

Fish spouting water on the walk to Youth Square
Fish spouting water on the walk to Youth Square

The Octopus is on the Town Quay and at night looks quite mysterious, with it’s iconic eyes looking for prey.

Our favorite sculpture is Octopus, with the head of an alien
Our favorite sculpture is Octopus, with the head of an alien

We wandered about town finding a rooftop terrace, whiling away the time watching boats moving about the harbour, docking and people enjoying posing for photos on the town quay.

Louise and James
Louise and James

Frosty and Louise have left for Istanbul this morning. They are headed for the glamourous port of Istanbul. We wish them a safe flight home and hope they take good notes in Istanbul for us.  We managed to have some fun last night with the local ice cream man. In Turkey, even selling ice cream is a chance to be a “showman”.

The Showman of Ice cream sellers in Marmaris
The Showman of Ice cream sellers in Marmaris.  More. Weezy?

This will be the last blog until we are in Istanbul. It isn’t exciting to hear about cleaning and packing, but hopefully we will have things to report from Istanbul.

Fethiye to Kalkan

We have been doing side trips, while we were in Ece Marina in Fethiye. The marina is so convenient, with showers just up the pontoon, cafes, and a Carrefours market . The orange ‘domus’ (shared taxi) takes us to many places on it’s regular run – a circuit about 5 km around Fethiye. We can also walk into town and take other domus to Calis (pronounced Chalish) or Oludeniz. Domus services in Sydney would be absolutely wonderful, imagine being able to pick up a mini-van going from McMahons Point to Neutral Bay, do your shopping for $5.00 return. Better than a bus and they pick up anywhere, drop off at a bus stop. They are incredibly efficient and easy to use.

There is also a shared water taxi between Fethiye and Calis, which we learned about from a great local blog, Turkey’s for Life. Julia talks about life in Fethiye and travelling about Turkey. A great resource for sailors sailing the Turquoise Coast, because she covers so many areas of Turkish life.

Local Fisherman , Calis, Fethiye Bay
Local Fisherman , Calis, Fethiye Bay

Once Lesley had arrived we were ready to depart, engines starts right away, all systems go until we get to the passerelle, which after two weeks of not being removed, firmly refused to let go its mooring. After much ado, James had to unscrew the whole fitting and take the entire fitting to Captain Eddy, who effects such repairs in Fethiye. He had the boat next to ours on the marina, he said “Leave it, it will be 1 hour, so we had lunch. James went to collect the piece but returned crest fallen, no one at the office. You think we had dinner in Fethiye, don’t you?

But can we say Captain Eddy delivered, although it took 90 minutes, for the princely sum of 40 Turkish lira ($AUD 20), Thank you, Captain Eddy and to your industrious team.

Gulet, Fethiye marina
Gulet, Fethiye marina

We had a lovely night anchored off Gemiler Island, swimming, watching first the paraglliders then the supermoon rise over the mountain.

The next morning, we sailed past Oludeniz, also known as Costa del Blackpool, then Butterfly Bay, so that Lesley could see the sights. We then continued motoring to Kalkan, for about a four and half hours. Oludeniz is in serious danger of becoming over developed. Thanksfully Butterfly Valley is unspoiled.

James with Butterfly Valley in the background
James with Butterfly Valley in the background

The coastline is not conducive to anchoring, you sail pass Long Sandy Beach and arrive in Kalkan.


Kalkan was destroyed by an earthquake in 1958, so the Turkish Government said to the people, let’s start from scratch up the hill. Move forward 50 years and an entrepreneur from Istanbul purchased the old town and now it could be called Costa del Salcombe*

No domus here, just stairs and great shops and stylish restaurants, thank goodness Lesley is here to keep me company.[Louise Sullivan, we are seriously considering a woolen kilim, we need your expertise. We will bring you back.]  James is able to sit on a rooftop terrace and watch over Mercier. While Lesley and I try to determine if the leather bag is a real fake or a fake fake, some T shirts even have signs advising which is which. Lonely Planet says “Kalkan is not a haven for backpackers and lager louts.”

Last night we had a wonderful dinner on the rooftop terrace of  The Olive Garden, with traditional Turkish meze and dinners. 98% of the clientele would be well off British retirees or vacationers.  Every restaurant, all stylish, is the similarly full of the British. The entire town is the same, we thought we were in England. We were like sprightly Aussie kids, not a bad feeling.

*Salcombe is one of the priciest seaside villages in England.

Playmates in Malta

Nice calm start to the day
Nice calm start to the day- a leaking bilge can turn your day upside down.

Travelling is wonderful. Even the problems you encounter are part of the journey.  In Malta, you meet some some great Boating Technicians. The Beneteau dealers here provide excellent service.  If you have Dock and Go issues, ZF in Malta are the only dealers we have found to diagnose the problem and quickly get parts in to repair and get us up and running.  We can highly recommend Malta if you need boat repairs and supplies. They are qualified, helpful and personable; they speak English, which is a wonderful aid to communication for we language poor only-English speaking Aussies.

When your friends visit, you can put them to work, Frosty and Louise arrived on Tuesday after 38 hours of travelling.  Let us pamper you: a shower, a bit of fruit and an icy cold mineral water. Next we had out them walking on the boardwalk to wake them up and absorb the sunshine. Lunch overlooking Valetta Harbour and then back to the boat to get their feet up and adjust to the time difference.

On Thursday, there was no more molly coddling. A leak sprung up and let 300 litres of fresh water into the bilge.  Frosty and James had to get to work, drain the bilge and then determine where the leak was.  It was like a methodical engineering process, otherwise known in Aussie as “productive men’s shed session”. Amazingly, no advice was given, calm reigned and the leak was found (in the foot pump), fixed and hurrahs went up all round.  We keep checking to see that there was just one leak, but all systems go. Thanks Frosty, welcome to your holiday.

Thursday afternoon, we were free to go to Mdina and did some sightseeing.

Frosty & Louise in Mdina
Frosty & Louise  at Mdina Gates


Upper Barraka Gardens
Time to relax after fixing the leak, in Upper Barraka Gardens
Now that the Feast in Valletta is over, down come the decorations
Now that the Feast in Valletta is over, down come the Saints

We then heard our friends from C’est La Vie were back and when we returned they were parked right next us.  We got together and compared notes about where we had each been between our last visit.  They loved Ragusa, so it’s now on our bucket list for the next trip.

Catching up with friends
Catching up with friends

Ed Earl, you were on our mind and there were a few times during the day we celebrated for you. Glad you had a wonderful birthday.

Happy Birthday Ed
Happy Birthday Eddie

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