Friday 2nd April 2010
Instead of the weekly Skippers De-Stress Forum, it was decided that we would go on a bush walk to the top of the hill at the end of the peninsula near the marina. This is an incredible walk to the top because half way up there is a cave with an altar that was used as a place of worship around the second century AD, but prior to that was used as a communal living area by the early pre-neolithic tribes which have been dated back to around 10,000BC. At the top of the hill is the ruin of an old castle. We all enjoyed the walk up the top of the hill, it was a great opportunity to meet new friends and chat with people that you wouldn't otherwise normally chat to. One incredible lady who is now in her late 60's was out walking up the hill with us. She said that when she was 58 she competed in her first Iron Man competition – and won her age category. She was then invited to Hawaii to compete in the World Iron Man competition! For those that don't know (like me) the Iron Man event is a 4km swim, followed by a 180km bike ride and then a marathon (42km) run. I remarked to Cheryl that “I hope when I'm her age I'm just as fit and agile as she is” – Cheryl, my ever loving wife, in her most tactful manner pointed out that I had better start getting fitter if I want to be as fit as she is by the time I'm 58, since there's no way I could do even one of those events at my current age!
Saturday 3rd April 2010
Now that I have all my instruments from Defender, I've been busy getting everything fitted and ready for the beginning of our cruising. Today I fitted the displays for the wind instruments, and cut out and painted the new nav station insert that will hold the VHF and HF (SSB) radios. For those that aren't familiar with the radios, the VHF is our most used radio and has a range of approximately 20 – 25 NM. It's the radio we use to communicate with other ships that are within eye sight of us. The HF (SSB) is the high powered radio that has a range in the thousands of miles and will be used primarily when we're crossing the Atlantic and the Pacific. I also mounted the chartplotter and the new GPS. All these toys make it feel like Christmas. There's boxes everywhere, the whole boat is a mess of wiring, boxes and tools, but I'm in my element.
I went to borrow a battery drill off Neil onboard “Tiger”. As I rounded the end of his pontoon, I spotted the 68 year old “Iron Woman” that I met yesterday on my walk. She was in her running outfit, doing her pre run stretches. She had said yesterday she often goes out for a short 10km – 15km run. I hung my head in shame and continued quickly to get the battery drill.
Sunday 4th April 2010
This morning we woke to a find that we had a night time visitor onboard. Even though we're in a Muslim country that doesn't celebrate Easter, miraculously the Easter Bunny found our yacht and left a trail of chocolates and lollies for Nick and Chelsea. The shouts of delight as they found the treats on deck were a sight to savor. We know Nick is getting older and beginning to wonder if mum & dad are being all together honest with him when we try to convince him that the Easter Bunny came all the way to Turkey to leave the treats for him. We can just see that he still wants to believe, but isn't totally convinced that mum & dad didn't have some part in it. Still it was a nice start to the morning.
We sat and ate lunch with a couple of other cruising families from our marina and while the beer wasn't Australian, I almost felt home sick when they served my beer in a paper “Fosters” cup. The things you miss! Around lunch time, we were surprised by a visit from a rather slim looking Easter Bunny who was handing out painted eggs to the children. Sadly there weren't any chocolate Easter eggs. I guess the tradition of chocolate Easter eggs isn't common all around the world – perhaps that's why the Easter Bunny looked so gaunt? It was a novelty for the children to have hard boiled eggs as a treat! We met a Russian lady who was making the rounds handing out painted eggs to all the children. Chelsea was the first to realise that the eggs were still raw when she cracked hers and wore the liquid contents – I guess in Russia the kids are brought up tougher there. Perhaps they suck their Easter Eggs raw?
When we came back to the marina we were glad to hear that Tim had borrowed a tank and retrieved his ring from about 10m of water. While he was down he also retrieved the boarding ladder that fell off his yacht last week and sunk as well as a fairly new stanley knife and a couple of other items of clothing.
Tomorrow they may be beginning to replace my rigging. I'm really hoping that if it happens tomorrow there is no wind and that I can successfully negotiate my yacht from the mooring to the crane area so that they can unstep the mast.
Tuesday 5th April 2010
I fitted the new cockpit microphone for the VHF today. After fitting the wind instrument displays in the cockpit yesterday, it's beginning to feel like a place that one could actually sail from. Slowly things are coming together, although some days it's two steps forward and one step backwards. Last night as I was getting ready to stop work for the night a Turkish worker from a wooden gullet opposite us came to my boat saying “Sorry – Problem, Sorry – Problem!”. My nicely sanded and varnished nav station front panel that was sitting on a cardboard box on the pontoon, drying, was now covered in saw dust from where the guys had been sanding the gullet. Guess I'll be sanding and re-varnishing the nav station front panel again.
Wednesday 6th April 2010
Well today I'm still waiting for my rigging to get done. I went and saw the workshop yesterday and they advised that they are very busy with a number of other rigs and I'm in the queue. I don't much like the sound of that! I warned them in advance that I'm heading off on the 23rd and want it done at least a week before I depart. At this stage we've agreed that it will be completed by the 16th so I'll be turning up the heat soon. Initially they were talking of unstepping the mast to do the re-rig, but now they are considering doing it with the mast still stepped. This means my plans of installing the wind instruments and radar when the rig is on the ground may be going out the window. It's still not confirmed which way it will be done yet, but I think I'll make a start on the wind instruments and radar tomorrow just in case. I don't want to wait a week to find they have decided not to unstep the mast. This weekend we're thinking of going out for our first sail around the bay, then we might stop out a night or two next week.
Cheryl is happy today, because I finally finished getting her stove and oven working. To date she's been making do with one burner only, but now both the second burner and the oven are functional. YAY!!! I also sanded and re-varnished my nav station panel. It's now drying in the front storage berth, safely indoors and out of the way of any sanding activities.
Saturday 10th April 2010
Another day spent up the mast, and it is beginning to lose it's shine I must say. The bosun's chair is uncomfortable, my legs go numb after a couple of hours, it gets windy and you swing around way too much, everything you drop you lose overboard and if you need anything you have to haul it up in a bucket the full 18m. Get the picture? Two days ago I spent about 3 hours up the top of the mast replacing the wind instruments. It should have been a quick job to remove the old Raymarine wind instrument base that was snapped off then replace it with the new Raymarine wind instrument at the top of the mast. There were two screws holding in the old instrument, but can you believe it …. the new screw pattern didn't match! It took another couple of hours to drill the new holes then get the new wind instrument securely mounted and its cable run down the mast. After my feet were safely back on Terra-Firma Chelsea and Nick both had a turn going up to the top of the mast for a look around; an activity that they thoroughly loved!
Monday 12th April 2010
WE ARE SAILORS !!! We did it. Today we went out for a sail on “Connect4”. Out very first sail – WHOOOO HOOOO. Jim and Carola from “Koza” had offered to accompany us on our first sail out. This would have been excellent for our first sail, as Jim has had lots of experience racing offshore catamarans so his experience would have been invaluable. Sadly, he had problems with his generator, so had to stay onboard. We decided to head off anyway today as the weather was nice and sunny and we had 15 – 20 knots of wind, so decided it was too good to pass up. We set off about 11:30 am this morning and motored out …. to Netsel marina, to buy some diesel for the yacht. Leaving our marina was a nervous experience, as I had no idea how “Connect4” would depart and I was hoping I wouldn't clip the catamaran next to me. Glad to say, we motored out without incident. Our approach to Netsel Marina went off without incident also. I motored to the marina fuel dock and managed to pull along side without scraping any paint off. We tied up and then put in 200TL of fuel. Sad to say, this didn't buy as many litres of diesel as we would have liked.
We sailed out between two islands and then just far enough out of the bay to be in the “Mediterranean”. What a sight !! We can't wait to head out when we are actually going somewhere. We sailed about, then headed back to the marina, arriving back about 4pm having sailed a huge distance of 12.5NM. What an excellent day!!!
Wednesday 14th April 2010
We were sitting eating breakfast this morning when all of a sudden a man walked onboard our yacht and started loosening our rigging. I went out to see him and he said “Please can you take your boat to the travel lift” I asked when and he said “Now”. I asked why and he said “We wait to unstep your mast – crane is waiting for you now” Now I was meant to be given 24 hours notice of the works, however I guess everyone was notified but me, so we quickly jumped on the VHF and called our friends on “Wind Machine” and “Apparition” who came over straight away and between the eight of us we hurriedly took down the head sail, main sail, removed the boom and bimini, arranged the mooring lines then motored over to the travel lift. This was only the third time I have left our marina berth, so I was still pretty nervous. Our German neighbours heard our engines start and the commotion, so came on deck to fend us off their boat as we left – they're getting to know us <grin>. On the way over I was praying that the wind, which until this point had been pretty light, would stay that way as the travel lift slip way is probably only a meter or two wider than our yacht, and to me it was looking very tight! The good news was that we made it into the slip way without removing any paint or fibreglass. We tied up, but then they couldn't get the crane to start. They fiddled in the engine of the crane for about 10 minute before a worker ran off, then came back with a hammer. After a few swift blows the engine decided to co-operate and start. A rigger climbed the mast and hooked up the crane's sling. I added a guide line to the bottom of the mast, and made it clear to the supervisor that I wanted someone to man the line to ensure the mast didn't swing into my saloon roof or my life lines. I also took the liberty of tying off all the standing rigging to the bast of the mast. I'd been told of a number of cases where the loose rigging snagged a hand rail or life line and ripped it clear out of the deck as they lifted the mast. I wasn't about to take any chances here. They may be good at replacing rigging, but I didn't have confidence about their ability to remove the mast with the crane! I stood in a very prominent position near their supervisor and made myself heard more than once as they un-stepped my mast and swung it off the yacht.
Glad to say the mast was removed successfully and we even motored back and docked successfully – though the German couple came out and prepared to fend us off their boat again.
Now we're a motor boat!!!
Wednesday 21st April 2010
Today we finally got our mast re-stepped and our rigging connected. It seemed like forever that we've been sitting waiting in the marina for the workers to re-rig our mast. We've been the butt of many jokes about us turning into a “power boat” and one german guy that has a tiny catamaran won full points for the best joke at our expense. I saw him the day we got our mast un-stepped and informed him that we'd been out for our first sail the day before. He looked up at our mast-less yacht and in a dry german accent said “Ahhh … you jibed eh?” Implying that on our first sail we had accidentally jibed and broke our rigging.
Although I haven't updated the blog in the last week, it's mainly been because I've been so busy working on the mast while it was down. I decided to run new cables up the mast and installed a tri-colour mast head light to help us be seen from afar. While I didn't really need to replace the VHF antenna cable, I figured I might as well since the mast was down. Cheap insurance. It's almost impossible to run cables up the mast with the mast stepped, and it's a pretty big job to lift the mast off the yacht.
Thursday 22nd April 2010
The rigging guys came back today and finished tensioning the mast rigging. They didn't finish it yesterday and didn't want to work late so came back this morning to finish the work. As usual in Turkey, they were late and didn't finish until much later than they promised. We'd arranged to take the yacht into Marmaris to let the upholsterer measure up the yacht for a new bimini. As the bimini is a pretty “big ticket” item that will put a fair dent in the budget, and any work done in the marina costs an additional 15% royalty to the marina, we decided to “anchor out” in the old part of Marmaris town and let the upholsterer work on our yacht there. We anchored (our first time ever) and then backed up to the quay wall where we tied off. The whole experience went pretty well all things considered. As we'd never anchored before, let alone anchored and backed up to a quay the plan was that we would just motor into the quay and have a look, assess the situation, then depending on how confident we were, we'd either give it a try, or motor out and drop anchor in the bay. As this was all new, we invited along “Ed”, a friendly American from the catamaran “Liahona” opposite ours in the marina. He's been sailing his catamaran with his wife for a number of years and was happy to come along for the ride and help us with our first “anchor drop”. His assistance was invaluable if for nothing more than the confidence he inspired. We were told that anchoring up to the quay would be pretty cheap, but when we got there we found out otherwise. The Marmaris council officer writing out the bill offered that although he couldn't reduce our bill, he would let us stay for an additional day at no extra charge. He also offered that he could write us down in the 10 – 12 meter bracket, which was cheaper than the 12 – 15 meter bracket. We are 12.94m. We gladly accepted, so ended up staying for two nights. We used this time to run errands in town and stock up the yacht. One night we put the kids to bed and left them with strict instructions regarding calling us on the radio if they needed anything, then Cheryl and I jumped ship, portable radio in hand, and went out for a nice dinner and a relaxing glass of wine all of 20m from the yacht.
Saturday 24th April 2010
Sadly today we pulled anchor and headed back to Marmaris Yacht Marina. As we came back in, we were greeted with some winds which made mooring difficult for me. I had three attempts at mooring, but each time I got close the wind blew me sideways along the pontoon and off the end. On the third attempt, Chelsea threw the starboard aft line to a marinara who quickly grabbed it and tried to tie it off to the pontoon. Unfortunately Cheryl was standing on the steps down the back of the yacht, and hadn't realised the shore line was behind her. The marinara looped the rope through the pontoon cleat, then as he pulled the rope tight, Cheryl was caught from behind by the shore line and with a squeal of surprise was knocked off Connect4 and dumped into the water. We quickly shut down that engine and powered up on the other so as to move the boat away from her. She swam to the pontoon and was helped out by some bystanders who had now gathered. Unfortunately she lost her new and most highly prized sunglasses that had been purchased just before leaving Australia; but at least nobody was hurt.
Tuesday 27th April 2010
We're checking out of Marmaris Yacht Marina today and going out to anchor. Since we'll be anchoring off the beach, one priority job has been to get the head (toilet) that is connected to the holding tank working. I looked at it a couple of days ago and discovered that the pumping mechanism is all worn and in need of replacing. So today I went out and bought a new pump assembly. I was in the process of fitting it, but as I disconnected the hose that runs to the holding tank I was sprayed with some vile and putrid solution that made me want to vomit it smelt so bad. I quickly figured there was a blockage in the “poo hose” as it quickly became called. I lifted floor boards and followed along the pipe to the holding tank only to discover that the complete line was full and blocked solid – with solids! This wasn't shaping up to be a very good day! I really won't go into details, because I really don't want to remember this part of the day, but after much hesitation, trepidation, a few ghastly smells and some liquid emissions, Cheryl and I managed to wrestle this 7 meter pipe out of the bilges of Connect4 and onto the dock. We stood there pondering, but only for a minute, before we decided that regardless of the cost, we would rather buy a new “poo pipe” than try to clean out the contents of this old pipe. So Cheryl and I quickly dragged the old “poo pipe” off the the nearest large rubbish bin, deposited it, then walked away, glad to never be reminded of it again. Off to the chandlers to buy a brand spanking new “poo pipe”
Back onboard Connect4 as we were preparing to leave the marina for the last time, I saw Ali, one of the marinaras on our pontoon. Ali is a lovely man who drives the ferry to Marmaris and back and who let us on the ferry with our three large boxes from Australia, even though the ferry sign says no large luggage. I called out to him and said goodbye, then mentioned that Cheryl had lost her sun glasses into the water the other day. He said “no problem” and then radioed to arrange a diver to go looking for them for her. 20 minutes later a grinning diver returned Cheryl's glasses to her and we were all set to go.
We left the marina just before sunset, with barely enough time to motor out and drop the anchor in the cove adjacent the marina. We set the anchor first attempt, and then retired to the saloon, tired but excited to have left the marina and to be having our first night at anchor proper.
Wednesday 28th April 2010
We woke to a beautiful morning, relieved that we hadn't dragged anchor one bit. We had breakfast then jumped into the dingy and snuck back into Marmaris Yacht Marina to have a shower and say goodbye to friends on “Tiger”. After we all enjoyed our last long showers, we boarded the dingy and made our way back to Connect4. Once there, we weighed anchor and motored to an anchorage out the front of Marmaris. I took the dingy into town to bring Mehmet and his assistant back to our yacht so they could do the first fitting on the bimini. Unfortunately on the way back I noticed that the cooling water for the outboard stopped coming out and so I quickly turned off the engine and rowed back to shore. Rico on “Apparition”, who happened to be anchored near us in the bay, responded to my call for help and came and collected the bimini guys and also towed my dinghy back to our yacht for repairs.