Showing posts from May, 2015

Çalis Beach - 36° 40' 04" N 29° 06' 22" E

The Mystery of the Disappearing Orica GreenEdge Water Bottle On our last night aboard T.Elif, I misplaced my water bottle.  A castoff from the Orica GreenEdge pro cycling team during their visit to the Tour of Alberta, I enjoyed its uniqueness and as well as being useful, it was a good conversation starter (should my company at the time include cycling enthusiasts).  I was sitting in bed reading and noticed that it wasn't occupying its usual spot on the nightstand.  I thought I had left it on the table, but no, a search in the morning didn't reveal it in the 'lost items' basket in the dining area. Had it silently slipped overboard in the middle of the night? Or more sinister, was it kidnapped by a fellow passenger or one of the crew? Whatever its fate, it wasn't too great a worry. There were plenty more at home and we still have Sean's to use on the trip. Roll forward a week and a boat trip later. In Çalis Beach, several kilometres north from where the T.Eli

Kalenya Bay - 36° 37' 41" N 29° 3' 40" E

Our lazy days are now punctuated with hikes on shore to walk the ship's dog, Luna. She gets very excited, bounces into the zodiac and takes her position as the maidenhead, with ears flapping and a big smile.  We have explore St Nicholas Island, Knights Island and the mainland around Kalenya Bay. Kalenya Bay has a restaurant and services for boats on a small flat at the bottom of a mountain. It is the mountain we climb. Mehmet, our wiry, cheerful skipper and dive master, bounces up the hill with as much enthusiasm as his much-loved Luna, with the rest of us huffing and puffing behind. Goats, wearing bells, bleat and ring in the distance as we hike along with Luna and two Anatolyian Sheppard puppies (who found and followed us from behind the restaurant) chasing squirrels, insects and each other. The views are amazing. We are able to pluck mulberries (black, white and pink) from the trees as we climb, along with the sweetest, juiciest oranges. Beware, however, of the beautifu

Markus Cave - 36° 32' 28" N 29° 03' 12" E

morning review of the upcoming dive Those of you who have ever been to the Banff Film Festival with me will know I am not good with caves. Or spelunking. And certainly not diving in caves. So imagine my horror to find our morning dive was a cave dive. Not a swim-through where you can see light at the end but a full-on cave. Well beyond my comfort zone, we entered from the zodiac, Seahorse B, and descended to about 18m. And there was a tiny, little tunnel about 3m wide and 1.5m high that we were supposed to wiggle into with scuba tanks. It was dark with our torches throwing pathetically small beams into the dimness.  After about 4 metres, the tunnel widen into a small cave. Multitudes of tiny red eyes peered out at us from between the rocks. Their owners, little red shrimp! We then came to a narrow chimney and 10 metres above was a glorious disc of blue water. The temptation was to shoot straight up but I resisted - perhaps only by Mehmet's firm grip on my arm! As we slow

Dalyan Bay - 36° 36' 10" N 29° 1' 50"

Once again, we have fallen into the lazy rhythm of life on board. However, on Seahorse A, we have taken it to a whole new level. With only four passengers, the crew of six is very attentive to our sleep, eat, swim, dive, repeat schedule. After three dives, Sean and I are getting back into the swing of it, we are maintaining our buoyancy and have stopped kicking each other in the head as we bob around under the surface. It is certainly not the Barrier Reef but there is plenty of marine life to see along with the odd discarded detritus of human life. The water is warm and clear and the sheer rock walls plummeting into the blue depths are spectacular. We are very impressed with this boat and its captain.  For the first time in two weeks of being aboard vessels, we had a safety briefing before we left the dock; there are clearly posted safety procedures; we heard the warning sound (should something happen) and we've seen the lifejackets.  So much for "safety third."  The

Fethiye Harbour - 36° 37' 24" N 26° 6' 20" E

Waiting for an afternoon departure aboard the Seahorse A . Everything is really, really, really nice. Will write if conditions change.

Cleopatra Bay - 36° 38' 37" N 28° 52' 23" E

We are aboard the Turkish gület T. Elif, slowly making the voyage from Marmaris to Fethiye. This gület is lovely but not the luxury we enjoyed on the Hemera. We have easily slipped back in to the lazy routine of life on board: eat, swim, sleep, repeat. The weather is glorious and the water a perfect temperature. With the start of the cruising season, our secluded bays are no longer quite as secluded. The advantage, however, is no longer do we just have the ice cream man come around in his little boat, we also have the bread and baklava boat, the rubbish boat and can choose from any number of water sports from the big banana to para sailing.  We have had some excitement by being chased away from military manouvers - helicopters, boats and a rather loud explosion throwing a black plume high into the sky. Sean has expanded his creative talents into jewellery making, producing a very crafty bracelet for me made from a shackle and some rope. There is much envy from our shipmates. This

Bodrum ... Still - 37° 1' 45" N 27° 26' 27" E

Bodrum is noisy!! Far from being a sleepy beachside town, it is a vibrant, thumping party.  The skinny pebble beaches host tables and chairs for dining with the background of noise.  Dogs barking, mosques calling to prayer, roosters crowing, jet skis roaring, pirate party gülets doff doff doffing, beachside night clubs also doff doff doffing, women yelling into cell phones, vendors calling out, motorbikes revving, election campaign vehicles blaring - it is not a peaceful place. But what a lot of fun!!

Bodrum Again - 37° 1' 45" N 27° 26' 27" E

Q: When is a haircut NOT a haircut? A: When it is a full-on experience. As happens when you are on the road for months, I noticed I had been slowly getting a bit shaggy and had made a mental note that a trim would be necessary at the next convenient time.  When I happened by a "Berber" during our wanderings today, I consulted with Kate to ensure she had the patience to sit and pass the time whilst I had a haircut.  She was agreeable to some time out of the sun, so in we went. Well, the haircut started out in routine fashion.  Apron in place, scissors out, mono-syllabic communication and hand gestures that I wanted my hair "this short".  Snipping commenced, a straight razor gave a clean finish to sideburns, and then my barber deftly lit a rather large throat swab on fire and began hitting me in the face and ears with it. Apparently, this is how they take care of the wee, little hairs around the periphery of cheeks and ears of gentlemen of my vintage. With

Gökova Gulf - 36° 58' 25" N 27° 35' 50"

The water is clear, blue and warm. And very salty so we float well. Gorgeous! The days run into each other - one beautiful cove to the next. Sleep, eat, swim, eat, swim, eat, sleep.... A world away from internet, cell phones and worries. Struggling to remember what day it is. Other than a few days with afternoon squalls and thunderstorms, the weather has been gorgeous. One such squall did push our gület onto the rocks with a light tap before the stern line was cut (which caused a bit of excitement and an awfully big knife to appear) and we motored off. We moved location, to a more sheltered cove, and life aboard resumed its lazy rhythm. We moored one evening in a marina called Karaca. We all caught a bus to Marmaris to access the internet and replenish our supply of sunscreen. We popped into a store to buy a new USB charger to replace ours that had failed. While in the little electronics shop, Sean helped a desperate lady fix her laptop so she could access her email. W

Aboard the Hemera - 37° 1' 60" N 27° 25' 57" E

We are aboard the gület Hemera, along with twelve other passengers and three crew.  We boarded three evenings ago and it started much like summer camp.  There were shy and quiet introductions, stating names, relationships (for couples) and home cities.  There were four Aussies (including Kate), four Dutch (all English speakers), two Brits, two Americans, one Turk with enthusiastic-but-minimal English, and Sean, the Canadian.  The crew spoke a bit of English, so we could mostly communicate.  Meals were included and prepared in the small, three-square-metre kitchen and were hardy and delicious.  Tomatoes, eggplant (aubergene), bread, cheese, eggs, rice, fish and pasta were the staples with fresh fruit and veggies, too.  A good-sized (for a boat) cabin with a private en-suite made for a comfortable retreat from the sun and/or the activity of the ship, too. The days have been magical.  We awake to the activity of the crew from behind bulkheads - smells of breakfast cooking; the sou

Karaca - 36° 56' 27" N 28° 11' 13" E

We are aboard the Turkish gület Hemera sailing around the Gökova Gulf so our silence will continue until the weekend. We have pulled into a marina to replenish water and fuel and caught a bus to Marmaris and wifi!!  Thus the quick ping to say we are having a blast.

Bodrum - 37° 1 '44" N 27° 29' 26" E

A work in progress.  That is our accommodation, the Akkan Beach Hotel.  As the tourist shoulder season opens today, they are hurriedly trying to finish a big renovation.  Wires hang from ceilings; the pool is 7/8 filled (and sitting unfiltered); the dining area is stacked with boxes of glasses, plates, potted plants in plastic cartons, fridges; paint fumes permeate the hallways, drips of black paint adorn the freshly-laid white marble (!!!) on the stairways.  Our room, which is finished, is gorgeous and overlooks the pool and the harbour and the scrambling workmen. The place *will* be beautiful, but right now it is a construction zone. The Turkish-speaking staff are trying to understand their English- and German-speaking guests.  This, too, will be resolved.  We are the dinner guests who have arrived a half-hour before the invitation stated it would ... only, we are the ones on time.  The thing that was ready is the weather. everything fits into 22 litres Our hotel is not alone.

Ephesus - 37° 56' 31" N 27° 20' 28" E

Extraordinary! What an amazing place. They believe it was settled since 6000 BC. The Virgin Mary is believed to have lived out her life there and the Gospel of John written there. It is cited in Revelations.   Famous people tramped through the marble-paved streets of Ephesus - John the Baptist, Alexander the Great, Antony and Cleopatra, Caesar Augustus, Constantine 1 ... and now, Kate and Sean! What a city it must have been. It had a water supply, a sewer system, street lighting and roads of marble.  An existing lagoon was widened and dredged into a proper harbour (hurrah for slave power).  It was conquered many times and partially destroyed by earthquakes before being finally abandoned in the 15th Century. in front of the amphetheatre The ruins are a fabulous balance between preservation and restoration. There is enough there to give a feel for the scale and height but not reproduced. A popular tourist attraction, it must be unbelievably busy in the summer.  Here is a t

Kušadasi - 37° 52' 8" N 27° 15' 54" E

Our 800km flight has taken us SW to sea level. The temperature haas leapt up to the high twenties and we are 'suffering' under cloudless, blue skies. We hadn't planned to come here - we had a five day gap from landing in Izmir to boarding our yacht in Bodrum. Kadir, our hotelier in Göreme recommended it. Kusadasi is a resort town mainly frequented by Turks. Reminds me of the Sunny Coast minus the surf but with cruise ships and city walls. We have a suite at the Marina Resort which includes both breakfast and dinner. Vast buffets of tasty dishes ranging from fried anchovies to the reddest, sweetest strawberries and Turkish Delight. The pool is big enough to lap in and the banana lounges are as comfortable as the beds. We look we eat in a third-floor restaurant the looks out over the Aegean Sea and stunning fireball sunsets. The Marina is filled with yachts from exotic ports such as Delaware and Mooloolaba. The water is as clear as it is blue. We are early in the seas

Kapadokya - 38° 37' 57" N 34° 48' 28" E

Hiking in Kapadokya or 'land of the beautiful, wild horses' is amazing. We have been covering 15-20km a day (on the days we hike) and have hiked all the major valleys - Pigeon (named for the pigeon houses carved into the cliffs), Red, Rose, White (named for the colour of the rocks), Love (named for the phallic shaped rock formations) and Sword (who knows!!). Whilst it is difficult to get really lost, we developed losing the trail into an art form. On several occasions, our hiking boots were sorely missed and a rope would have come in handy. The trails are not well marked and finding a dead end at a tiny orchard perched between the rocks in a narrow valley is not uncommon.  Spring is here so we are spoilt with a display of wild flowers and blossoms.  Throughout the valleys are tiny orchards and vineyards, all in full bloom. Some have been tilled for planting whilst other still sport weeds and flowers.  Birds flit around and insects buzz in the sunshine. Small cafés dot the

Nevšehir - 38° 37' 57" N 34° 48' 28" E

We are enjoying our meals in Turkey, and not because they are fancy.  We are eating lentil soup, goat cheese, salad greens, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, stews, lamb, chicken, beef and fish that has been cooked over open fires, pita bread, olive oils ... all of it fresh, local-garden grown and FULL of flavour.  The tomatoes actually taste like tomatoes! We are eating peasant food, and it is likely the best thing that could be happening to us (nutritionally). As marvellously affluent as Calgary is, there is little hope for the 100 Mile Diet being reality there.  We are presented with food that has had to come a long way to reach us (even in the organic, whole-foods shops).  Here, a 100 Metre Diet is a very real possibility. Being out in the fresh air, hiking and climbing certainly helps build a healthy appetite.  Strangely, we are filling up on the smaller portions and sleeping very well in our hole-in-the-wall hotel. As yesterday ended up being a lovely, warm, blue sky day, we did a