Monday, May 24, 2010

Preparing to leave Gocek

Looks like the documents are in Istanbul and may very well make it to Gocek today. All being well we will leave Gocek early in the morning. We're all very ready to leave. Not that this is not a lovely place, but we have all felt captive by the circumstances. This not being our boat, we have not been able to use it to go exploring the islands which I am sure are very beautiful.
As I said before the local people are very nice to us. Last night we were treated to dinner out by the Agency we are all working for as an apology for the extended delays. We had dinner at a new outdoor restaurant on the beach by the marina. The food was excellent. The Turks eat a style of food called Meses (not sure of that spelling), but it basically is a variety of small starters which you eat with bread. I think I could reproduce some of them. They were excellent. Everything was so good and we were very pleased to be able to spend the money with them as they have been so kind to us during our stay here. Letting me use the owner's lap-top when I needed to. Lending us an electric drill so that we could repair something on the boat. I don't know their names, but I certainly look forward to coming back here to see their business flourishing. They launch their restaurant as a live music venue on May 26th. We should be gone by then, but we wish them luck.

One of the things I love when I'm walking around, actually everywhere I go, is to see fruit growing everywhere. A couple of days ago I was walking past a group of 'traditional' looking Turkish people who were taking a break from cleaning up the pathway. They were pulling branches down from a tree and eating the berries from the tree. I asked them if they were good and they gave me some to eat. Then they kept picking more for me to eat until I felt like I was being a real pig. We were all having a good laugh about it.

Today I was walking past the same tree and was pulling down the branches to help myself. There were less ripe ones to eat so I only had a few. A man came out of his garden with a handful of the same berries, but they were huge and red. He gave them to me and invited me into his garden for more. They were incredible - I've never seen them anywhere else on my travels. He told me they were calle 'tut'. Again he was loading me up with them until I was embarrassed and had to make a polite escape.
These are very nice people. Their language is a bit beyond my ability to pronounce, or even remember. I've been told many time how to say thankyou - I even wrote it down, but I can't remember it.
Tony and I must come back to this part of the Med. Its gorgeous. There are 4 fairly good sized charter companies operating out of this marina too, Steelbird, Moorings, M.T.M., Sunsail, Top Yacht. Lots of potential here. Don't know how it would work for foreigners to work in Turkey though.
Next post should be back in Malta. Wish us luck. Weather looks alright until the end of the week, when it looks horrible.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Nancy in Gocek, Turkey

Well that was the best communication I've had with Tony in almost a week. I didnt bring my own computer to Gocek and have only been able to use someone elses to check my e-mails. Today I have it for as long as I want so here I am. Sorry, no pictures, not that I haven't taken them, I've taken lots but cannot download them into this computer.
I arrived in Dalaman last Monday at about 2.00pm expecting to go to Gocek, TurkMarina and board a 50' Beneteau Oceanis to help bring the boat back to Malta.
The reason I wanted to do this trip is that I wanted the experience on the 50 footer for possible future work as a Charter skipper.
I started by trip from Malta at about 01.30am Monday morning - took 3 flights - all with the worst landings I've experienced to date - and arrived 13 hours later. Which was alright until I got here and found that the boat was actually on the hard in the boat yard having been there for a year without anyone paying attention to her. The yard people put her back in the water around 5.00pm.
It took me until about 7.00pm on Monday to convince the marina manager that he should let me get on board. I also gave him copies of every document I had on my person to assure him that I was an extremely trustworthy person, totally credible and reliable - and VERY TIRED. I did at one point lay my sleeping bag down in a shower cubicle (which by the way are very clean in Turkey) and have a nap for about 5 minutes before a cleaning person came in and wondered why the edge of a sleeping bag was poking out from under the door. So I got dressed again in my smart travelling clothes, which I took off so that I wouldn't crease them and walked out as if nothing was amiss.
Once aboard 'the Girl' I felt so sorry for her. She was covered with pine needles and very dirty. I looked around and found a broom, swept as much as possible, could not hook up to water or electricity as I didn't have the authority to get the meter going.
The skipper arrived at about 10.30 and fellow crew got in at about 05.00am next morning. He was delayed by the Volcanic Cloud problem in Gatwick airport. Thank God I didn't decide to go that route.
That was the first day. Each day has brought worse news than the day before and we are still here on Saturday. There has been one hold up after another, but basically we are waiting for the original Registration documents of the boat to be sent from Ireland, as I write they seem to be sitting in Dublin.
Not sure who owns the boat - but she's already listed on Yacht World for sale by B.J. Marine - apparently she's in Greece, is in perfect condition, has a white hull, and is worth about 220,000 Euros.
She's actually got a navy hull(it will be when someone compounds and polishes it), her canvasses are all shot and need replacing, needs batteries, some plumbing work and a damned good cleanup. Basically she's in a pretty sad state. Even though we are not supposed to, we have done quite a bit of repair work ourselves and yesterday we had to take her Genoa to a local sailmaker to have the luff tape fixed. The local riggers ripped a whole section off when they were trying to pull it up the foil. I have taken many pictures of her in the condition we found her and while various 'experts' have been working on her.

Gocek - what a beautiful place. Its a small resort in a bay surrounded by rocky hills which become mountains further inland. Its very green - rains quite a bit, hence the roofs are pitched like England and BC and there are beautiful flowers and fruit everywhere. Not many years ago - maybe 8, it was a small fishing village, now it houses 3 good sized marinas, many hotels of various star rating, some of which are simple guest houses. Looking out from the shore there are many small islands which Kim (who has been coming here for about 15 years) says have good swimming coves and sheltered anchorages. In the bigger part of the bay about 50 boats of all sizes are anchored, all of which are in very nice condition - no rotting hulks here. It costs nothing to anchor here and there are many places to bring your dinghy ashore. I wonder how long it will be before one has to pay to do that.
The marinas are lovely, their toilet and shower facilities are quite incredible. So far all of the Turkish people we have encountered have been extremely courteous and helpful. Though perhaps not as 'expert' as we had hoped.
So life aboard is good. We have a small budget for food - I'm sure the skipper will be compensated for the extra time we are waiting - its not his fault. We are all getting on well - we have a television and a few movies - watched Dodgeball a couple of nights ago. They love my cooking - sorry Tony - someone else is benefitting from my culinary skills right now. The deal is I cook, they clean up. I never mind doing that - it guarantees I get good food to eat. Last night I wowed them with my frying pan bread (I brought yeast.)
We are very keen to get going though. There is not much to do here except walk around the small town - can't go very far as its enclosed by the rocky hills and a major road. Also don't want to spend much money, and as none of us are drinking alcohol we aren't frequenting bars.
The cafe I sit in right now is used to us coming in and buying an iced tea or coffee and sitting for as long as it takes me to type this. They always smile - I suppose a person sitting in here with an empty cup is better than nobody.

I woke this morning at 06.00am to a raucous, rumbling thunder storm which I had to see, so I put my jacket on and came out to a place onshore where I could sit and enjoy the show. I took some pictures which I will post later.
Looking forward to getting underway - signing out for now.

Latest estimate of departure date now, May 23rd is Wednesday. All being well the Irish courier company will send the documents on Monday, we'll probably get them on Tuesday and we'll leave Wednesday. The skipper figures 5 days. Lets hope he's right.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Home Alone!

Well,here is sit broken hearted.....It seem's quite strange not having Nancy around.She has been gone almost a week but it feels like much longer.Funny how you take things for granted untill there gone! Nancy is in Turkey waiting to bring a 50 ft Beneteau Oceanis back to Malta. They have had problems with paperwork so it's taking a bit longer than planned. I just received a text from her and she say's all is well and that Turkey is a wonderful place. I think I have lost a few pounds already. Beans on toast is no match for Nancy's culinary delights. Oh that reminds me I have a pressy coming back from Turkey "Turkish delight" yum!
Meanwhile back at the ranch. I have been busy with some charters and helping my friend get his boats ready for the season. Yesterday we had 17 sailboats doing a charter for a Russian company. I had 5 guests onboard a Bavaria 36. The wind was 25 gusting 32. I thought they would postpone the event, but no. By the time we reached St Pauls bay I was left with only 2 Ruskies, the others had to be taken back to land by speed boat because of sea sickness. I think they ended up taking back around 25 people. At least the one's that stayed had a rollicking broad reach back to the Hilton in St Julians. Today I will go out with a fellow Canadian named Brock who is preparing for his Yachtmaster exam on monday. The wind has eased so it should be a nice day to practice some MOB. Time to go and make some breakfast. Cereal I think, simple enough!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Mosquito Screen Project


Dreading the coming Mosquito season?
No Need To! Enjoy the summer months aboard without fear of being ‘eaten alive’ by Mosquitos and pestered by Flies or infested with Cockroaches.
PORTHOLE SCREENS – No invasive installation necessary. Once the screens have been made to fit your boat’s PORTLIGHTS/PORTHOLES they can easily be popped in and out as needed.
CUSTOM MADE to fit most standard Portlights on your boat within a couple of hours at a fraction of the cost of permanently installed production screens. € 70 per set of 4 standard portlight screens. Hatch and Companionway Screens by quotation.
MATERIALS used are all designed for the marine industry, waterproof, corrosion proof, easy to wash and clean AND easy to store when not needed.
COMPANIONWAY and HATCH screens are offered for standard companionways and hatches. Some installations require screw-in snaps to be fitted to surrounding areas.

Nancy at 7994 0518 –

So that's not the actual format, but I couldn't download the entire poster - that's just the content of the poster.
Just have to find a few boat owners who 'fear' mozzies as much as I do.

What are we up to these days?

Sorry, no post for quite awhile. Tony and I have been very busy with establishing ourselves here in Malta. We know that we will be here for this summer season. Tony is working sporadically now with a couple of prominent charter companies here, and is also going through an Instructor's course so that he can teach sailing at a recreational level through the biggest sailing school in Malta.
I've also been putting the word around that I am available - I know that it will be harder for me to find work in that field as it is quite male dominated, but I'll keep trying, and who knows when the season picks up and the companies run out of male skippers and can't find a chimpanzee to skipper a boat - maybe they'll consider trusting a woman with 30,000 ocean miles under her keel.

What I have been doing is making things for boats. This is always a good standby for me to earn money and I do find it quite satisfying. So alongside the sail making, boat canvas sewing etc. I have also designed a pretty good porthole mosquito screen system which will fit most standard portlights. I've put together a poster which I'm inserting here which says it all.
I think it quite apt that I should try to make a living out of my arch enemy. Anyone who knows me knows that I am quite paranoid about mosquitos. They bite me mercilessly and if there is one mosquito in the boat it will fill up on my blood and make for an awful night.
I know that many other people who live on boats are always trying to find ways to keep the mosquitos out of their homes - so this is my latest attempt. So far they are working perfectly on MoondancerX and I've just sold a few to other boats, so with a bit more marketing we'll see how things go.
Well I can't insert it in with the text here, so I'll try to make it a separate post.