If you send Sandy and Gaila off to get a loaf of bread; you will find a loaf of bread, apple tarts and spanakopita for lunch in the bag. Add a few cucumbers, tomatoes and tzatziki and you have a wonderful lunch.
The food here in Greece has been great, although you have to be lucky with tavernas. The food has ranged from average to excellent, but we are winning. Everything is so inexpensive and the fruit and tomatoes are exquisite in flavor. The nascent wine industry is getting better and we have tried Greek bottles of wine that were surprisingly drinkable.
We haven’t seen a dolphin but we have had some great sunsets, thunderheads and we did see a double rainbow. The double rainbow which is a lovely omen as our time draws to a close in Greece. Ric and Sandy are planning to go to experience the magic of Meterora before heading back to Sydney’s chilly climes. They will probably bring the warm weather back with them.
We have sailed through salt flats at Lefkas, past Cleopatra’s ignominious retreat at Preveza, had a swim at Paxos walked through alleys and into churches.
Now we are at Corfu and soon we have to leave Greece. Now there is a sad thought, where can we get Spanakopita in Sydney?
If your route constitutes sailing to windward, there may be no better place to sail/motor than the inland sea. Sailing from harbour to anchorage through this area is a dream. Why you ask? You can easily get up early and get to your next anchorage with light winds, get anchored in time for morning coffee before the wind gets fresh. Get off the boat for the afternoon sightseeing and have dinner ashore, then by about 9:00 the wind has died down and the boat is quiet for a good night’s sleep. We call it the Gentleman’s Breeze. You have plenty of time then to walk around and enjoy the sights, shop or find a bakery.
If you want to sail, hopefully going south, then you have a sleep in, morning coffee, sail to a lunch spot, swim and in the early afternoon the breeze comes in and you can sail for miles under fresh breezes.
Jimbsail.info is a wonderful resource for sailors sailing in the Mediteranean and he has information about the Inland Sea of the Ionian enclosed by Kephalonia, Ithaka, Mainland Greece, Meganisi and Preveza. In all the Med, this is sailing that most reminds me of Sydney Harbour. The Inland sea is good area for novices and families. It is a great place to sail in Greece and not have to work around the Meltemi or struggle going to windward.
The captain and crew on Mercier, have wooden boats in their veins. Squadron friends know Ric and Sandy have the lovely classic yacht, Rapunzel. On Ithaca, both In Vathi and Kioni, we spotted the classic wooden yacht Rubicon, and Rubincon’s owners, Lance and Charlotte. They are also members of the Cruising Association. Hello quickly turned into a chat about wooden boats and their beautiful Rubicon, which they will keep in Greece. Lance calls this “resonance”, finding people with a shared interest and continuing to bump into them.
So our last few days have taken us to Vathi and Kioni on Ithaca as well as Porto Spilia, Meganissi after a swim near St Nicolas’s Cave. We are enjoying the trip, even though we are moving, but Sandy and I decided it is just the right pace.
Meanwhile, fair winds to Rubicon, Charlotte and Lance. We’ll see you in Sydney.
“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.
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.
M is a very unusual Super Yacht. It has an inverted bow, which makes it look like one half of a large catamaran. Google it to see the bow, what would an inverted bow add to performance?
Early this morning in Fethiye, James and I are saying, ” Is that Frosty snoring?” No, Frosty doesn’t snore. It was a man sleeping in the cockpit on the boat next door and here are where his fellow crew members were forced to sleep: on the bow, where the noise of the traffic might drown out the constant but sonorous snoring from their friend.
I said I understood their reasoning for sleeping on the bow and they burst out laughing, These lovely Russian ladies are part of a flotilla of five and usually sail on dinghies at home. They said Mr Snorer was a lovely guy.
Now that I have shown two boat photos, I am allowed one kitten shot. This gorgeous little fellow had found a perfect spot and the shop owner was happy because everyone stopped to look at her lovely wares. Kalkan.
The four of us were admiring this very well pruned olive grove, saying someone takes great pride in the pruning. Later in the morning, we saw a large herd of goats come down and they all stood on their hind legs to get their breakfast. Goats can stand on two legs for quite a while.
We had a lovely afternoon and evening in Kalkan, we swam, saw a turtle, shopped and enjoyed some wonderful Moet left by Rene and Richard. Very appropriate as we had a slightly late birthday celebration for Louise. Thank you Commodore and Mrs Chapman. We then had a great dinner of Turkish mezes and desserts at the Olive Garden.
On the way back to Mercier, we spied Aladdin’s lamp and Frosty was busily making wishes.
The long sail from Kalkan to Butterfly Valley, was punctuated by rock formations and fault lines, but once you get to Butterfly Valley and Olu Deniz, para-gliders are numerous. Colourful and almost dangerous, the para-gliders sail close to the shrouds and close to the mountain. They seem to land so close to sunbathers on the beach, a worry if you are on the shore.
We spent more time at Gemiler Island and swam at Cold Water Bay, where two men from a gulet climbed the cliff and jumped off to Cold Play and the roar of the crowd. Once back on board the gulet, they marched around with a giant Turkish flag to a Turkish marching band. We decided to return to rustic Wall Bay Restaurant. Here we were immediately surrounded by Russians. Five boats sailed in one after another, each with two men and six women. The Russians were female, beautiful, about 22 years old and in very brief bikinis. Men on Mercier, and the boats around us, on the dock and boats across the way turned as one and focused laser like stares onto the Russian derrieres as they tied the boats onto the pontoon.
We had wonderful calamari, meze and sea bass sis kebab for dinner. The food at this remote but charming Turkish restaurant is authentic and so is the raki and the entertainment.
We had seen this gentleman perform earlier in the evening with an Anatolian flute. For the Mercier crew, he sang a song about raki, while playing on a baglama, which is a similar to a mandolin. We came back to the boat and listened to music, sang and danced to Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin and Leonard Cohen.
In the morning, we headed over to Deep Bay for a swim and passing Sarsila Bay, we spied a flotilla with a gulet and Mariner Boating flags, we motored over to have coffee with Trevor and Maggie.
We had coffee and a tour of their gulet, seeing over the entire boat. It was great to catch up in Turkey and we may be joining them for a gulet trip in a few years. It would be fun to have someone else do the cooking. Just ask Maggie.
Happy Belated Birthday Suse, hope you saw our Facebook message
We had a surprise visit on Friday morning from a giant thunderstorm, a dust free rain that laundered the bimini and washed away months of dust and salt. It was very cozy having a cup of tea and reading the Sydney Morning Herald while it poured outside, with Mercier secured to pontoon with stout lines.
Kas Marina is rather more like a resort than a marina. James and I have been lunching at the pool. We met some lovely fellow yachties for evening drinks as there is a great social network in the marina. We were introduced by the vivacious Maggie who owns Deja Blue from the CYC. We enjoyed our time feeding the Marina’s fish, roosters and ducks and watching sunsets. During the day we enjoyed taking random Dolmus rides (the shared taxi), and doing a bit of work on the boat. All of this because it is a great place to meet crew coming out from Oz.
Frosty and Louise joined us, they came in from Greece via the ferry. We had to fit a lot of Kas into one night. First stop, after Mercier, was Antiphellos. Hellenistic Kas was called Antiphellos and now a small amphitheatre remains, we arrived just before sunset.
The theatre didn’t have a stage but it did have a view, Frosty and I considered whether we are descendants of Lycian view junkies. It was built in the 4th Century BC but they seem to enjoy a captivating view as much as we do today.
We walked through Kas and admired a few shops and we were able to get the last minutes of the sunset at Sako looking back over the harbour to Kastellorizo.
We had a leisurely dinner and then went shopping. Frosty was enjoying viewing the carpets and rugs. There are several excellent carpet merchants, Recep at Young Partners and Gallery Kas, near Sako. Louise and I managed to admire every bowl, lamp and bronze tray at Tugra Art Gallery. Hmm, they ship and I have taken quite a few photos and there is always next year.
Kas is a lovely place, with the shopkeepers and restaurateurs keeping their invitations low key. History just inserts itself into daily life seamlessly. It was Lesley’s last day with us yesterday, she is travelling to Rhodes via Kastellorizo. We have not used up our 90 day Euro allotment for times like these and we decide to take the ferry trip with her.
In less time than a ferry trip would take from the Quay to Manly, we are back in Greece and on a picture postcard island of about 5 square miles. The island, also called Meis in Turkish and the older Greek name of Megristi, has a beautiful natural harbour facing Kas. The houses around the harbour and up the hill are either completely renovated, beautiful and colourful or in various states of ruin.
Many residents of Kastellorizo migrated to Australia, mainly Melbourne and Perth with only 500 residents on the island full time. Their descendants are coming back to enjoy the island and to renovate the family homes.
One of the joys of travelling is friends’ sharing their experiences so that we are sure to visit, because they have enjoyed the magic too. Dave and Leigh visited and really enjoyed their time on the island. Leigh mentioned the Aussie connection. Sharron and Graeme celebrated their 25th anniversary here, danced to a bit of Greek music and broke a few plates.
Everything happens on the water front, with the restaurant tables so close the edge of the harbour, you see everything in the water and it is very tempting to throw bread in for the fish. We saw at least three big turtles in the harbour and they would push each other around. We couldn’t tell if it was territorial or amorous in intent.
When our ferry arrived, within minutes we were walking round the waterfront. The chefs are clever, they fillet their fresh fish and throw the bones and bits to the Loggerheads, which keeps the turtles interested in the foreshore. You will also see how sleek and glossy the cats are, well behaved to ensure they get their share of the fish scraps.
Before lunch we climbed up to the fortress castle, then around the back to other squares and churches, before our long and lovely lunch at Alexander’s. Finally a goodbye to Lesley, which brings to mind another joy of travel, travelling with friends so you can enjoy the experience and create memories.
We still have home firmly in our thoughts and it has been busy at the RSYS. We send our warmest congratulations to Richard Chapman, who is now Commodore of the Squadron; we wish you smooth sailing. The same wishes go to Dave Edwards, our new club captain; David Ward, our new Vice Commodore; Christian Brook, our new rear Commodore. Good luck to you all in the coming year.
James and I would like to thank Commodore Malcolm Levy for including us in Squadron life for the past four years. Great job, now you will have more time for leisurely lunches in McMahons Point.
Lyn and Rene, I hope they thanked both of you for all the work you have done too.
Ilyas Kaplan from Sanem Tourizm took us on our very own boat, from Ekcinik Koyu, to the Dalyan Delta. Ilyas dropped us off for a tractor ride up to Caunos, after our walk through the ruins, he collected us and we went on to the town of Dalyan for lunch and a visit to the market.
I am sure Dalyan is a lovely town nine months of the year but in the heat of August, we strolled rather languidly around the ‘market’, which was tourist trap central. We thought it better to spend our time eating mezes in a waterfront cafe. Actas. While watching all the river boats, we considered going to the thermal baths with the other thousands of tourists that were now pouring in from the Lake and even on tours by road or boat from Marmaris, Gocek and Fetiyhe, but the sheer numbers kept us in the restaurant with baklava.
From Actas Restaurant, the Lycian Tombs were directly above us. The Lycian Tombs were tombs created high on the cliff with an edifice that looked like a temple, a house or a pigeon hole. Ilyas said the large temple tombs were known to be the tomb of a Prince but it seems all the Lycians were practitioners of ancestor worship. The tombs are amazing, such a romantic setting which set our imaginations racing.
We boarded the river boat once more and headed back down to the Turtle area, where we collected our freshly cooked crab for a return trip snack and then off to the sand bar for a swim.
From the morning’s almost deserted journey, now there were hundreds of people at the sand bar beach.
Now this story has been in two parts, most people would have gone back to their boat and had a quiet little drink. We all know Blue though, we went to dinner and Blue asked how something was cooked and before you know, he is there offering advice to the chef. They just told him to cook it.
The four of us have been having fun but today took a different twist. We trod the educational path, not once but three times. We are in Ekincik which is a pick up point to go on a local boat for a trip to the Dalyan River. Our guide,Ilyas Kaplan, picks us up early and first takes us to a cave with stalactites.
The most interesting part of this is how far into the cave this little boat can go and I am reminded of the stout boats that Odysseus sailed about in. They sail right onto the beaches with no problem at all.
Our next stop is Iztuzu or Turtle Beach, one of the beaches these Mediterranean Loggerheads (Caretta Caretta) have been coming to for around 95,000 thousand years according to local lore. The turtles have breeding grounds here and also in Zakynthos and on beaches in Libya. The hatchlings have to dig out during the night and not surprisingly some turtles had hatched recently, with the August super moon.
The tourist industry to come to see the turtles and other sites in the Dalyan Delta are massive and growing both by ferry, ship and by road and small boats. Only small local boats are advised to sail through the delta, many of them are cooperatives and create work for local villagers. There are a cadre of boats that feed the turtles fresh crab, so Ilias took us up to his favourite spot and the turtles came in. We had seen smaller turtles on the way just swimming in the water.
We sailed through the labrynth of reed beds and sand bars up to the Ancient city of Caunos (Kaunos).
Like Epheseus, Canous had been a port town but the river silted up so it is now inland. Homer talked about Canous, the Carians and the Lycians; the Dalyan River is the meeting place of those three cultures. We saw temples, theaters and ruins in Caunos.
Canous might have eventually become a ghost town because of malaria.The theater is the most intact building on the site. Like the theater in Kos, it would have held 5,000 people.
Closer to the old harbour there is a temple and the Agora. The Acropolis is at the top of the hill above the theater.
There was more to the day, but it was time for lunch, so we promise more tomorrow.
Today, we want to say Happy Birthday Charlene Bradley. We know you are having a good time.
Richard and Rene arrived on the ferry from Rhodes and after a coffee on board Mercier, we went looking for the vegetable markets at the Bazaar. Instead Ayjin the Barber saw us and decided the boys needed to be made “younger”. Here are the photos.
The sequence of events is waxing, threading, fire in the ears, massage, straight edge razor shave,masque, hair cut, trim the eyebrows and all while dancing and doing Michael Jackson impersonations.