31th December 2009

Dear Diary,

Hi, I'm Chelsea!! I'm 11!!

I'm a big horse fan. I love horses. Some of my hobbies are swimming, horse riding, rock/tree climbing, wrestling and reading. My teacher is Mrs Galdes. She is really nice and hands out lollies. But I'm sure mum and dad will better teachers because they know me. My family and I are going on a BIG boat trip almost all around the world. I'm really, really looking forward to it but I will miss my friends, my school and the RDA (Riding for Disabled Association) horses. I am a volunteer at RDA Blackwood. I feed the RDA horses with my grandma on Saturday. I also ride one of their ponies Nikky. Anyway we'll be starting in Turkey in Marmaris where the boat is then we'll be going to Cyprus, Israel, Greece, Italy, Rome, Canary Islands, Jamaica, Panama Canal, Galapagos Islands, Marquesas Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, New Zealand then finally Adelaide. We will be leaving on February 4th.

Here is a list of things I am looking forward to.......

We are renting out our house to my dads parents. So it's like we’re moving. We have to sell lots of our toys, we can hardly take any of our toys overseas so all the toys we don't want to sell but can't take we have to store in our garage. We are also selling our cars, our yacht and our ski boat (dad was very disappointed about that) When we get over there we are going to have to go on a massive shopping spree because it's so expensive to send stuff over we can't send stuff over like cooking utensils, quilts, sheets, pillows, saucepans, clocks, T.V and that's just giving you an idea about all of the stuff we have to buy. Now onto school, we are going to be home-schooled our parents will be our teachers. We have to take all our school supplies over there because if we tried to buy them over there they would be in a different language. For sport we will do swimming. I am not really worried about anything instead I am that confident nothing will go wrong. In the future I will be writing a blog of our journey to keep you updated.

So, see you soon, Chelsea!!

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Garage Sale/Farewell Party!!!

Two weeks before we left we had our garage sale. We were selling all of the stuff we couldn't take and didn't want to store. Mum and Dad made signs saying “Massive garage sale (moving overseas!!!)”. That attracted a lot of customers (even after we had packed up!!!). Nick and I were selling some of our toys. Mum and Dad had said that all the money we got we could use to buy toys in Turkey, because we couldn't take ours with us. Mum and Dad were also selling lots of stuff such as my bed, a computer desk, 2 computers, a bookshelf and lots lots more. At the end of the day everything that we didn't sell we gave to charity. Overall I got $95.50. That's a lot of money!!!! After we packed up we had tea then went to bed.

On the 30th January we had a farewell party. It was a good chance for us to catch up with our friends and family. We had it at a friend's house, from church. Overall there was about 60 people there (luckily he had a reasonable size backyard). There were also lots of kids there and most of the time we played Guitar Hero. After everybody left and our movie had finished I crashed on the couch (it was about11.30). After they had finished talking, Dad carried me to the car, and I fell asleep in the car!!! (I must have been tired)

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4th7th February 2010: Getting to Turkey

On the day we were leaving, we finished packing up our house with the help of the Richmond's and Jones'. They were very helpful and packed mum and dads backpacks in their car. Then we started to the airport. On the way dad had to pickup an epirb (a tracking device). So we stopped in at BCF (Boating Camping Fishing) and picked up 2. Then we realized that both of their wallets were in the backpacks in the Jones' car along with their phones. We had to use the shop's phone to ring Opa to get him to pay over the phone so we could buy the epirbs. When we finally reached the airport we realized that we couldn't find the Jones' or the Richmond's anywhere and we couldn't check in without the rest of our bags so we ended up asking a man to page them for us. Then they came up and said they were waiting for us to arrive down the bottom. So we went in and got a coffee and waited for our plane. When it came time to board and we were saying our goodbyes mummy got all teary and sad luckily the rest of us didn't. After we had said our goodbyes we went in and boarded we our plane to Singapore. It was a biggish one and we had our own T.V. It was awesome. On the way to Singapore I watched 2 movies, played heaps of games and watched lots of cartoons. When we finally got to Singapore it was about 7.30. First we went to the butterfly garden it was amazing there was butterfly's everywhere. All different colours, shapes and sizes. Then we checked in at the QANTAS frequent flyer club had tea then went to sleep on the floor. At 11.30 pm mum woke us up to board our next plane which left a midnight. When got on our plane mum made us go to sleep for a couple of hours.

When we woke up we were still on the plane and we still had about 5 hours to go. So we turned on the T.V and played some games like caveman and chess. After a while they served us breakfast. That was at 4.30 in the morning London time. When we arrived a London it was 6.00 am. We stopped at London for 2 days. The same day we caught up with the Harts. Sam was a lot taller, he was taller than dad. I also caught up with Emily and she was taller than me. We played with each other and climbed trees. After that we went out for tea then went to bed.

The next day we caught up with Daddy's cousin Lisa and we were overwhelmed with kisses and hugs for she had not seen us for 3 years. She also gave us lots of presents. Such as a Baker Boy hat, a packet of lollies and a diary for me, and a cap a notebook and a packet of lollies for nick. The next day we got up at 4.30 in the morning to catch the plane to Turkey. It did not have a T.V or anything so we played on the D.S and the laptop. When we got to Turkey we got into a Taxi and drove to our hotel which was about 5 hours drive from the airport. The hotel was very fancy so we didn't stay for very long. When we got there we went to Burger King for tea (that's Hungry Jacks in Australia). Then we were so tired that we crashed.

The next morning we got up and had McDonald's for breakfast. Then Adelina drove us to see our boat (she's the broker the person who's selling the boat for the owners). It is amazing it is 13 metres long and 8 metres wide. We have named it Connect 4. The same day Adelina took us shopping for all the stuff we needed to outfit the boat. It made shopping a lot easier because we don't speak Turkish. Anyway we were going shopping with Adelina and we bought sheets, quilts, quilt covers, food, cleaning stuff, etc etc. I have a cute penguin quilt cover/pillowcase because there were no horsey ones. :( :( But the Penguins were cute. By the time we finished shopping it was night time. We came home to the boat we unpacked then went to bed.

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17th February: Camel Wrestling

Today our family and some other people went to see camel wrestling. Camel wrestling is a sport that takes after the behavior of camels in the wild around mating season. At mating season the camels wrestle each other to see who will win the female. So the people train the camels to wrestle each other like in the wild. Sometimes they even bring out the female while they were fighting to encourage the boys to do their best. It is also traditional to dress up the male camels to make them look the best. They dress them up with carpets and banners and bells (lots of bells) and flags. They looked gorgeous I mean handsome!!! When we got there and we started waling up the path to the arena one of the other people in the group called Jackson (she's actually a lady) and another lady bought smelly things because they said the camels and the cigarettes stank (and boy did we need it!!!). Before we left we actually got one of our own. So we walked up the path to the arena and got seated. When we got seated they were taking the camels around the arena showing them to the crowd. Then the fighting started. The camels were trying to knock the other on to the ground. I will tell you a few of the best strategy's starting from the best. One of them bent his neck around the other camels front feet and pulled them so he was on his knees then he got up and jumped on top of his neck. The 2nd best was jumped on his neck several times so he was on his knees then he pushed his head into his neck and pushed him round and round in circles. Another one was where he kept on biting his back legs whole turning in a circle. The 4th best was where one chased the other around and around the arena then out the ring and onto the street. After a winner had been decided or the camels started to get to rough the men came in with ropes and tried to pull them apart. It took about 10 men on each side to pull them apart. At lunchtime we got a hamburger and some salad. Most of it was very spicy. When we had finished we went and bought some snacky foods. It was very yummy. Then we went home and watched Heidi till bedtime.

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1st - 5th March: Trip to Capadoccia

On Monday the first of March at 6.00pm we got on the bus that was to take us to Cappadocia. It took us 14 hrs to get there. All night long. All the stops where there were toilets you had to pay to go and they weren't even fancy. Most of them were squat toilets with no toilet paper yet you still had to pay!!! When we finally got to Goreme City we were amazed at all of the caves and rocks that are peoples homes. Then we got taken to our hotel called the Star cave hotel. When we had got settled in Nick and I went exploring . We climbed up a big hill and went on top of the hill and found a cave there in the middle of the hill and it was shaped like a face. I went in an eye and Nick peered out the out of the mouth. After we got down a man named Ramazan took us to a panorama (a view of the city) and some men drove up with our lunch. It was a whole ½ a loaf of bread. When we had finished we continued our descent down to the valley. We saw heaps and heaps of fairy chimneys and houses in the rock. One of them was open a bit and we climbed in. It was small and awesome. After we had a bit of a look around we got out and continued towards the Open Air Museum. On the way we saw some horses and Mum said that Capadoccia means “Land of Beautiful Horses”. Finally we reached the museum and Mum & Dad bought us an ice-cream. The museum wasn't really a museum, it was actually just lots of churches built into the rock. One of them was the “Dark Church”. It had lots and lots of paintings in it. In fact I don't think there was a single 1cm spot without a picture on it. It started to get late, so we decided to head back. Our guide offered to let us ride in his car and take us to a pottery place. Nick and I got to ride in the boot. When we got to the pottery we got to watch them hand decorating the pottery, and I also got a turn at making a bowl on the pottery kick wheel. We looked at the pottery for sale. It was very expensive, but Mummy decided to buy a wee little pear that opens up. It was very detailed. After the pottery, the man drove us back to our hotel. That night we went to a restaurant. It was AMAZING. We sat on cushions at a really low table. The food was really good too. We had a Turkish meze platter, some chips, and a chicken kebab. Mum and Dad had a beef stew cooked in a clay pot, which they broke open at the table.

The next day we went on a bus tour. First we saw a panorama of Goreme city. Because it was so high up we were absolutely frozen, so as soon as the guide had finished talking we raced back to the bus where it was warm. Our next stop was the underground city of Derinkuyu where christians lived when the Romans and the Arabs were out to get them. There were only 8 levels accessible because the other 3 levels were unsafe. First we saw the kitchen where all the women cooked, although they only cooked at night otherwise the Romans might see the smoke and know where they are. After that the guide showed us a few stone doors that the Christians made. This is how it works: if the Romans come down the stairs the Christians roll the door closed. You can open it from the bottom, but not from above. After he had showed us he said “please don't shut it!”. Next we saw the Church/Meeting Hall. It was very big and cool. Then we went down to the morgue where they stored dead bodies until they could bury them up the top. It smelt bad, like rotten bodies! We quickly joined up with the group again and walked up to the school on the first floor. I couldn't believe that's where they went to school. Nick and I enjoyed looking. I was also amazed at how fresh the air was at 7 stories down. Another thing I noticed was how warm it was underground. On the way back to the bus, Mummy bought two cute little Turkish homemade dolls for 3TL each. When we got back on the bus we drove to Ihlara Valley. There were 400 steps down to the bottom. At the bottom there was a rickety bridge over the river and lots and lots of rocks. While everyone was walking along the river I spent the whole time climbing rocks, running ahead, taking short-cuts and hopping, skipping & jumping. I got very warm! I also loved the scenery, all of the trees and bushes and all of the pretty flowers. After we had walked for about an hour we reached the restaurant where we were to have lunch. Our next stop was the Selime monastery. The monastery was built into a big hill of rocks about 1km around and about ½ km up. There was so much to explore. There were about 500 caves and rooms to explore, some rooms on the ground and some way up high. We said we could have spent a whole day there just exploring. On the way back to Goreme we went to a lookout over Pigeon Valley. There were lots of big rocks and a big drop to the bottom. Over on the other side of the cliff there were lots of pigeon holes used for breeding pigeons to use as messengers. Across the road we went to the Onyx factory where we saw lots of things for sale such as pipes and animals carved out of onyx and meershaum (a white mineral sea-foam). There was also a really nice carved horse made out of meerschaum, so I started trying to haggle, but he didn't go any lower than 20TL so I didn't get it. That night we went out to a Turkish night at an underground restaurant. First we went into a room to see the Whirling Dervishes. It was not all it was cracked up to be. There was a lot of bowing and spinning and more bowing. It went for quite a while. When it finally finished we got moved to a different room where we were to have tea. First we got a meze (entre), and while we were eating the first dancers came out. They were the sword dancers. The men were in costumes made out of gold and yellow with red lace. They even danced with their swords in their mouths. We were right at the back, so I had to stand on my seat to see them. Next some ladies came in doing something like tap dancing with lots of fancy footwork, spinning in circles and jumping up and down. It was breathtaking, and they were all synchronised. Next they did a wedding dance. The ladies all danced around the bride who was sitting on a stool. She wore a red veil over her face. All the men were busy with the groom: shaving him, and pretending to beat him up. When they had been married, the dancers chose a lady and a man from the audience to be the bride and groom. They led the new groom around the room waving ribbons and showing him off, but the bride pretended to reject him. Then the chose another man from the audience to be the groom. They picked out Daddy! They did the same thing with him, but he had to do push-ups to try to impress the bride as well. Luckily for him he got rejected too. Mummy wouldn't have been too happy if he had to get married to another lady! The next dancers were like imitators of the belly dancer. They are hard to explain. They were men dressed up to look like a very short man and lady with very big heads. They had their arms over their heads and then wore a big “hat” that covered their head and arms all the way down to their armpits. They wore a skin coloured shirt over their chest and tummy with a face painted on it, and then special clothes from the waist down that had pretend arms attached. It was very funny. After them we saw the real belly dancer. She was amazing and very beautiful. Her costume was pink and very sparkly. She only wore a bra and half a skirt. She was very good, and she even made her belly jiggle up and down. She picked some men to come out and dance with her. She challenged the men to dance like her. They made themselves look very funny. Some of them were really old, like grandpa's. When she had finished everybody went out and started dancing. When Ramazan took us back to the hotel, I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow!

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12th-15th March: Izmir, Ephesus and Pamukkale

On Friday night we hired a car to drive up to Izmir. We did a LOT of shopping and I bought an MP3 player.

From Izmir, we went to an ancient city called Ephesus. First we went to Harbour street, the Romans named it that because it led down to the Harbour. It was very long and used to have shops on either side of it. Next we went to the ampitheatre. It was really big, but you could only go up half of it because it was probably dangerous. They were working on restoring it while we were there. It could hold 24,000 people. After a lot of singing, we moved on to the library. It was huge, and not like our library. It even used to have 2 walls to keep out the moisture. The library took so long to build that some of the people worked on it their whole life and never got to see it finished! My favourite part was the public toilets. They were like drop toilets. All the men and women used the toilets together. Water ran beneath it and cleaned it and carried away all the waste. Later, we walked through Hercules gate and walked up to the odeion. An odeion is a small ampitheatre that used to have a roof on it. We took turns singing songs at the bottom and listening to each other from the top.

After we left Ephesus we drove to Pamukkale. We stayed at the Venus Hotel. It had three dogs: two golden retrievers and a smaller dog. The youngest retriever, named Betto, was a one year old boy. The older one was a girl named Chille. She was three years old. The last dog was named Funduk, but I don't know how old she was.

The next morning we went up to some mountains. We had to take off our shoes otherwise we would destroy the special rock. On the way up we stopped at the springs. At the top we explored a castle then went to the pool, but we decided not to swim because it cost too much. We went down again via the stream where the water flowed, and near the bottom there was a part that was like a mini waterslide. The whole hillside was white like snow and ice because the water from the hot spring has minerals in it which reacts with the oxygen when the water comes to the surface. The oxygen causes a reaction which makes calcium carbonate. This is not soluable so it settles on the ground and dries to make a white crust.

Lastly we went to another onyx factory to try to find another carved horse, but they were too expensive.

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2nd - 4th April: Easter in Turkey

In Turkey, Easter is very different to Australia. In fact most people don't celebrate it because 99% of the population is Muslim. They don't sell Easter eggs or anything “Eastery” so Easter this year was very different!

Good Friday: On Good Friday morning we woke up and had a worship service on our boat. We had communion and Dad read us part of the Easter story from the Bible. After breakfast we went on a walk up the mountain with some other people. Just as always we were running late, so we had to sprint up to the main gate to meet the others in the group. It was a long walk. On the way I met a dog called Ellie and her owner let me walk her. She always followed her owner, so I had to dodge and weave to follow her. It was very funny. After about an hour of walking we finally reached the half way point. For the rest of the walk, we had to follow red marks through trees and over rocks to the top. It was so steep that we were pretty much climbing straight up. It was so much fun. When we reached the top there were two Turkish flags flapping on a pole. We had lunch at the top, then headed back down. After we had passed half way I started playing with a dog called Don. When we reached a bridge leading up to the cave I waited for Mum and Dad to catch up so we could explore the cave. It was massive. The christians had actually used it as a church. We were not allowed right inside it.

Easter Sunday: Today it was Easter Sunday when Jesus rose again. First we went into Dad & Mum's cabin, and when they were awake and dressed we started hunting and found three crosses made out of two kinder chocolate bars, 10 star lollies, and one white chocolate coated wafer bar. Later Tim and Stephanie from the yacht “Honu” surprised us by giving us 4 Easter eggs each. They had just been on holidays to England and bought them over there. That was cool. Next we did worship on our boat and Dad read the rest of the Easter story, where Jesus rose from the dead. We had a family communion of bread and grape juice. At 12:30 we caught the dolmuş over to Netsel Marina. The bus was jammed packed full of people, so we were sweating! Finally we got there and we were in the fresh air! Netsel Marina were having an Easter party, and the kids got to paint boiled eggs. Mine was black with coloured polka dots. After lunch and a coke, we got to watch the Easter Bonnet Contest. All of the kids won. After that we caught the dolmuş home.

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1st - 15th May: Sailing along the Turkish Coast

Today (Saturday) we left Marmaris Bay for the first time and started sailing towards Ekinçik. We were going to try to sail all the way to Fethiye, which is 50nm (nautical miles) away, but we left too late to go all the way. At about 8:00am we got up and Dad announced that we might be leaving today. We were excited and upset. We were excited that we were finally leaving Marmaris Bay, but we were also upset because Jim & Michelle off “Wind Machine” were coming out to anchor at lunch time and we wouldn't see them to say good-bye. Another reason we didn't want to go was because Jackson and her husband Rico had offered for us kids to come over to their boat and play Mexican Train & Farkle with them. We would have gladly accepted, but Mum and Dad had other ideas. At 11:40am we all went into town to get last minute shopping. Mum & I went to Tansaş and Dad & Nick went to get some batteries. At 12:00 we met again and drove back to the boat. It was time to pull up the anchor and set sail! As a farewell to Marmaris, we flew up our good 'ole boxing kangaroo flag from the rigging. I felt really good and really patriotic! It was good to finally have a reason to fly our Aussie boxing kangaroo. When we got out of the bay, I had to go to my room for a consequence and fell asleep for about 2hours. When I woke up I read in my cabin for a while, then came up to apologise. Mum said I looked “green”, and I raced out and threw up overboard! I felt dreadful. I also felt really weird because I have never felt sea-sick before. Mum got me to sit at the helm steering the boat because they say that looking at the horizon helps to make people not feel sea-sick anymore. Mum also got me to eat dry bread and have little sips of my drink and luckily, after a while, I felt quite a bit better. Finally we reached Ekinçik, and dropped anchor in the bay. The first and second times we pulled up weeds, then on the third attempt the anchor bit in. Boy did it bite in! Mum & Dad were wondering how on earth we are going to get it up again. Once we were settled, Mum & Dad suggested that we go for a walk on the beach. “But”, they said, “only after tea & when you have finished your journal, IF it's not too late!” Luckily we did get to go. We beached the dingy up on the sand so it wouldn't get washed away then walked over the beach and the rocks until we got to the road. Mum thought she saw a cricket, but it turned out to be a tiny green baby frog! She picked it up and took it off the road. Nick also found one, but his was brown. A bit further up the road Mum found a red-ish one. They were everywhere! You had to be careful not to step on them. I reckon I saw at least 50, or maybe even more. I was relieved when we got back to the beach because there were no more frogs, and I didn't have to keep watching the ground anymore. I was looking at the ground the whole time because I didn't want to step on any frogs. Luckily I didn't because they were so cute!

Sunday morning we left Ekinçik and sailed towards Fethiye. We took sea-sick tablets and even though I felt sick I didn't throw up. When we arrived we had to look in three different bays to find the perfect one. We settled on “Ragged Bay”, which is near the mouth of Fethiye Bay. While Mum & Dad were securing our mooring lines, Tony (Nick's stuffed dog), went on a little trip up the mast but he wasn't heavy enough to come down again so he got stuck there. Nick and I had been playing a game and tied him to the main-sail halyard and pulled him up the mast. Poor Nick was devastated. When we had finished mooring, Dad winched Nick up the mast in the bosun's chair, and he had to use the gaff hook to reach Tony and pull him down again. Later, Nick & I went ashore and went off to explore a “fort” up on the top of the hill. When we got there we realised that someone actually lived there. They had goats, cows and chickens. One minute I was looking at the cows, the next minute I saw Nick sprinting down the hill! When he finally stopped he said that he had thought there was a goat after him because he had heard a “ddn, ddn, ddn”. We figured out that it was actually the Turkish Flag on top of the “fort” flapping in the wind. When we got back to the bottom of the hill we saw Mum & Dad having a picnic on the beach, so we joined in. Over all, it was an awesome day. When we had packed up Dad announced that we were staying another day and boy were we pleased!!

The next day we were doing our school work on the boat and a big gulet (Turkish boat) came and anchored near us, and let all the tourists go snorkelling and swimming around the boat and the reef. It made us feel jealous because we weren't allowed to go swimming until we had finished our school work. After school, Mum & Dad went swimming with us and we had lots of fun even though the water was very cold. That night, Mum & Dad said we could have a small fire on the beach. Nick and I collected lots of sticks and pine cones, and Mum helped us build and light the fire. Dad made us pasta for tea, and we ate by the fire. After tea we walked up the hill so we could show Mum & Dad what we found at the top. On the way down I went too fast and tripped over a tree root and landed on my wrist. Mum and Dad were worried I might have fractured it! That night Nick was really nice and offered to write my journal for me because my wrist was hurting SO much.

On Tuesday we sailed from Ragged Bay to Kalkan. It took 9 hours. We were going to sail all the way to Kaş but the only wind we had was against us, so we had to use our motors to entire way to Kalkan. It was good because it wasn't rough, but it was tiring listening to the noise of the engines going the whole time. When we finally reached Kalkan we found our friends Tim and Stephanie off of “Honu” and went out to tea with them.

On Wednesday we sailed (I mean motored) to Kaş. As soon as we got there we went to the hospital to get my wrist x-rayed. It turns out it was broken, but the hospital in Kaş couldn't cast it so Mum and I had to catch a bus to Fethiye. We walked to the bus depot to see what time the buses left. We caught the 2:15pm bus, and it took us 2½ hours to get there. I slept most of the way. When we finally arrived we caught the dolmuş back to Letoon Hospital. Unlike in Australia, we got raced into the emergency treatment room as soon as we got there and the doctor put on a cast. It hurt a lot. While he was putting it on he squished it into shape which really hurt because that was where it was broken. It was hard to be brave and not cry. As soon as it was on he left and we got ushered into another room to pay. Believe it or not, it took longer to fill out the paperwork than it did to get the cast itself! Overall we were done in less than an hour. We caught the dolmuş back to the bus depot and found that we had just missed a bus, so we had an hour to explore, and get some snacks for the bus trip back. We didn't get back to the boat in Kaş until about 10:30pm that night.

On Thursday we caught a ferry to a Greek island called Kastellorizon because we needed to leave Turkey and come back in again to renew our visas. We went exploring, and walked up to a big ruined castle flying a massive Greek flag. The view from the top was gorgeous. We went to a seafood place for lunch and had freshly cooked calamari. We couldn't eat it all so we fed the rest to the local cats.

On Saturday we left Kaş and sailed back to a bay near Kalkan, where we stayed for one night.

On Sunday morning I was woken up about 5:00am. Mum & Dad were making an early start to get to Fethiye. Dad told us to go back to sleep, but we couldn't so we got up. When we left Kalkan we gave Mummy her Mother's Day presents. We had been shopping at a big market back in Kaş and found some nice things for Mum, and even went for a hike and picked her some flowers and made her a card each. Nick gave her bag of almonds and a hairclip. I gave her some cashews and pistachios, some mulberry and honey turkish delight, a bracelet and two pairs of the earrings I had made for the “Boat Jumble” back in Marmaris. Dad gave her a new shirt. She was thrilled with all of her presents After 8 hours we finally reached Fethiye.

We stayed in Fethiye for quite a while, and on one of those days we went on a trip to Sakklikent Gorge. I was very glad we actually got to go because they were worried about my arm and the cast getting wet! A guide came with us on the hike up the river, and he helped me. He showed us the places where it was shallower and the best path to follow. He helped me across rocks, helped Daddy hold me from getting washed over in the strong current, and carried me if it was really deep. At one point we found a place where there was a pile of sloppy mud and we drew moustaches and beards on each others faces. Further up the river Mum waited with me and let Nick and Daddy go ahead because it was too deep for me. The boys said they saw a small waterfall up there. At the end of our walk, the guide carried me over a deep, fast flowing part of the river and my crocs got swept off! The guide RAN through the river after them and luckily he caught them! We were SO thankful of him!

After Fethiye, we sailed back to Ekinçik. While we were there we met some American people on a boat called “Mascot”, and joined together with them to go on a boat tour up the Dalyan River. The first stop was Turtle Beach. We watched a man feeding crabs to a turtle. He was much bigger than we expected he would be. He was about 40-50cm wide and about 60-70cm long from head to tail. A second turtle came up and started playing “follow the leader” with the first, although all they did was swim around in circles and loops under the water. When the turtles had gone, we continued up the river and wound our way through the “maze” of reeds up to the ruins of the ancient city of Caunos. The ruins were incredible, but even more was the wildlife. At the top, under a tree, were four donkeys staying cool in the shade. I tried to offer them a piece off a bush but they were unimpressed. On our way back down I found two more donkeys and saw a tortoise. I called Mum & Nick to come see, and they noticed there were actually three tortoises, and a baby one. Two of them were mating. The male started out by knocking and butting his shell into the female's shell, with a loud 'knock, knock'. That was definitely a highlight! While we were exploring the old Roman bath-house, we found a flock of sheep in one of the rooms! As we continued up the river we saw huge tombs carved into the cliffs, and the town of Dalyan. Our next stop up the river was the mud baths. The idea was to get all covered in mud, then rinse off, then have a swim in the hot spring pool, then rinse off again. The thick, gooey mud was only on the bottom of the mud pool, but boy did we get muddy! Dad, Nick and Ion even put it in their hair! As Dad said, “If we're going to do this we might as well do it all!”. When the mud had dried stiff we went to the showers to rinse it off. The water was freezing, so as soon as we were done we raced to the hot sulphur pool. I was only allowed in up to my waist because of my cast.

On Saturday, 15th May, we arrived back at Marmaris Bay to a nice surprise. Our friends Jim & Michelle off “Wind Machine” were in the bay!

We spent about a week in Marmaris Bay getting work done on the boat, having our new bimini fitted, stocking up on provisions, and having fun with Jim & Michelle. When we were ready to leave for Greece, we decided to sail together with them for a while!

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23rd May - 30th June: Sailing the Greek Islands:

The first two island we went to after we left Turkey were Rhodes and Simi. The next island we went to was Nisyros. I was really excited because Jim & Michelle had told us that there was an active but dormant volcano here and you could even walk on to the crater. This time we hired a car to travel around the island. Firstly, we stopped at a town called Emporios where we saw a natural sauna, like a cave in the side of the hill. The ground here must be have been very close to the centre of the volcano. It was really hot and humid, and as soon as I entered my glasses fogged up and I couldn't see a thing. I couldn't stay in there very long because it was way too hot, but Nick stayed in there a lot longer than me. Mum tried to take a photo of Nick but while she was focussing, the camera lens fogged up. She had to come out and let the camera lens clear before she could take the photo. Next we drove into the caldera of the volcano. There were two main craters. The main one was called Stefanos, but firstly we climbed up a hill to the smaller one. It was extremely stinky because of all the sulphur! When we finally got up there we saw it had what looked like a rock bottom, but when we threw a couple of stones in there they went “splodge” into mud. We walked back down to see the big crater, and actually got to walk right down into it! It was SO cool. We saw all of the holes with bubbling mud in them, and the gas vents over which the man told us people had even fried eggs. Literally! They just used a frying pan over the scalding hot steam.

After the volcano, we went to the town called Nikia where there was a “Vulcanology Museum”. I took heaps of photos for our upcoming volcano project. The inside was coloured red, and the walls were lined with boards of information about volcanoes. In the centre of the room was a big TV showing a video of volcanoes exploding, the insides of some volcanoes, and how Nisyros was formed. The most interesting part for me was the big board showing how Santorini was formed. It took thousands of years and many volcanic eruptions to make Santorini look how it does today. I think I took about 20-30 photos!

We had excellent winds for our trip from Nisyros to Astipalaia, and sailed the whole way, but our batteries needed charging so we ran the engines anyway! Astipalaia is sometimes called “The Butterfly Island” by cruisers because it is shaped just like a butterfly. While we were there Daddy said he would cut my cast off. There was no hospital on the island and I didn't necessarily want to wait one more week without swimming so Dad said he would do it for me. I was very excited but altogether very nervous. First came the dremel, and that was the scariest part because it was spinning so fast. I tried to get the image of him going too far and cutting my skin out of my head for it was making me more nervous. I knew that I could trust him and God to keep me safe and so I prayed then waited. He cut a line on both sides then he switched to using shears to cut it, next he tried the Leatherman, then he used pliers to pull it off! Underneath the cast, my skin was so, so, so “peely” and wrinkly. My hand felt very weak, but it felt so good to finally have the cast off.

When we got to the next bay Nick and I went for a snorkel over to Wind Machine. It was the first time I had been able to use our new snorkelling gear that we bought all the way back in Fethiye! I started out swimming with my life jacket on so I could stay afloat without having to use my arm. My elbow felt really stiff and I couldn't bend it properly, and my wrist hurt if I twisted it too quickly. After a while I took off my lifejacket, and managed to swim and stay afloat! It was so cool.

We arrived in Serifos at 2:00pm, after 16 hours of sailing (actually motoring!) from Santorini. It was our first overnight sail! We anchored “stern-to” the harbour and went for a walk to see the town and check in with the port police. When we came back some people said that they had come on to our boat and put a fender out on our port side transom step because our boat had drifted back and was banging into the wharf! We got our snorkelling gear and helped Daddy to try and re-set our anchor because it had dragged and come free. Luckily another man came to help too, and eventually we got it to dig-in properly. On Wednesday, we caught the bus into Hora, the capital of Serifos. It was a long bus ride up there and the path was very windy. I felt like we were going to fall off the edge. When we reached the top of the hill we had a magnificent view of the harbour. We had two hours to look around. Mum and Dad decided to try to get to the castle at the top. I groaned. It looked like such a long way up. The stairs were very steep, but we made it to the top in good time. There were three churches and all of them were shut. I was happy and upset. Happy because Mum & Dad might have spent 10-15 mins in each and sad because I guess it would have been nice to see inside. On the way down we grabbed three cheese pastries from a bakery, thinking they were quiche pies. What a shock we got. While the bus was on its way down I peered out the window and it looked as if the bus was off the road. Scary feeling huh! Once we got back, Mum, Nick and I went down to the beach for a swim. We swam out to a reef and took turns diving down to the bottom. At first I didn't think I would be able to do it because I had never dived down four metres, but I thought I might as well try. I swam down but I didn't pop my ears, so on the way down I felt a pain so immense that I wanted to swim back up. I didn't give up though, because I knew I was so close to the bottom. I swam a little bit further, grabbed a bit of seaweed, then shot straight back up to the surface and gulped in mouthfuls of fresh air. You might have thought I had been shot out of a cannon! Mum told me that next time I should pop my ears on the way down.