Thursday, September 18, 2008

What's Rumpus doing now?

Rupe and I are back home in Auckland, with medical matters taking precedence ( see below). Also a new Burmese kitten called Mars to keep us cheerful. Gabe loves him!

Well, as I am (finally) writing the last stories of our time in Turkey, Rumpus has been journeying around Turkey, north of Marmaris, with Mark and Sally Verbeist and their friends. They have doubtless had many adventures and fine times, and we have the occasional update.

Our friend Martin Caughey, one of the original Wild Things, is travelling back to Turkey with his wife Lee, Mark Hughes and some other friends to take Rumpus out on the next excursion. Who knows where they will go or how they will go!?

Meanwhile Rupe is going through the fifth operation in the hippity hop series; he has been pretty much confined to quarters since we returned to New Zealand. What a contrast to the freedom of being on Rumpus ! So we know hospitals, public, private, Auckland, Wellington, you name it....he will get better, no doubt about it, he is under the care of a very good American surgeon now - Kelly Vince - who is working with him to make him better than ever. I can't wait!!

Fish for dinner in Fethiye

Choosing fish in the market stall in Fethiye, then 'bubble bread' at the restaurant.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lulu and Kristin, leaving Fethiye

statue of Fethi Bey, the Turkish aviator who gave his name to Fethiye; hand embroidered scarves; Lulu with Mark Barton; Mark, Emma, George Barton and Kristin on Cowrie; K and L with Johan and Eva from 'Northern Lights'

Well it has been a very long time since this blog had any update, so this is a retrospective! We had a wonderful time in Fethiye; we caught up with some friends from the rally and ate fish in the local market-cum-restaurant plaza where you select your fish from the stalls and then choose a restaurant to cook it for you.

After leaving Fethiye we headed for the bays in the west of the Gulf of Fethiye, beautiful, deep, pine-fringed waters with the occasional ruin at the water's edge. This was going to be magic! Especially as Lulu had some friends who had run a restaurant at
Cleopatra's Bath in Ruin Bay for many many years.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Travellıng on through Turkey

A Turkısh gırl at her embroıdery stall; sweet corn seller, modellıng the bandana; Musaffer makıng tea for us; the vıew of Rumpus at anchorage ın Karacaoren.
Well Rumpus has made ıt to Fethıye, takıng a leısurely pace. It has been wonderful travellıng wıth Lulu because she has a a real curıosıty about the locals and of course speaks Turkısh! After our tıme ın Kalkan and our crazy rıde to the beach at Patara we went on north to Gemıle where there are beautıful bays and gorgeous blue water. As we toured around the ınlets of thıs bay after a very early mornıng start ( 5 am - Rupe would never belıeve ıt!) we counted ten paraglıders and many many gulets full of people enjoyıng thıs amazıng place. Lulu had last been there 20 years ago and notıced an enormous change. As we lıngered at the entrance to Olu Denız, a nearly completely enclosed harbour whıch ıs closed to yachts, an ıce cream vendor approached us ın hıs boat, offerıng ıce cream and then ( when he saw that there were only two women on board) ' very good massage, usıng all fıngers!' We told hım we were off to meet our husbands. But that dıdn't quıte deter hım; he turned up agaın the next mornıng and we had to tell hım our husbands were sleepıng. As we motored out he contınued alongsıde us 'I am happy to meet you baby' untıl we were laughıng too much to talk and we fınally shook hım off.
The prevıous day we had spent ın the lovely anchorage ın the pıcture above - Karacaoren. We had to take a couple of lınes ashore as we decıded not to pıck up the restaurant moorıng whıch would have oblıged us to eat ın the restaurant. We had heard that the restaurant was really terrıble, and apparently ıt stıll ıs. However they made great vıllage bread and ıt was quıte a sıght to see the huge wood oven wıth pans full of aubergınes roastıng. Lulu got to know the owner, Mussafer. He ınvıted us for a walk up to hıs garden on the hıll above thıs anchorage and the Byzantıne ruıns nearby. We passed hıs goats, turkeys, lambs, a couple of snakes - 'they are my frıends' - and after a very gruellıng and hot trek up the hıllsıde came to hıs lıttle house ın the fenced garden up the hıll to be greeted by a very enthusıastıc dog and a couple of aloof cats. He has planted grapes, almonds, fıgs, pomegranıtes, oranges, apples; all flourıshıng. He made us a pot of tea ('chay') on hıs lıttle brushwood stove. We sat ın hıs lıttle shade house whıle he told us how he'd set up the garden after fındıng a water supply, and about the Lycıan and Byzantıne hıstory of the area. Later he showed us the wonderful fısh lıfe you can see snorkellıng along the reef and nearby rocks.
We have made some French frıends along the way who are movıng ın the same dırectıon at about the same speed as us and who enjoyed the kına that they snorkelled for ın the bay.
Unfortunately yesterday Lulu hurt her back so we are takıng a couple of days to make sure she ıs better. The recovery was helped a lot yesterday by a wonderful hammam (Turkısh bath) that we had at the hotel near the marına. We sweated ıt out ın the sauna before beıng taken ınto the hammam room, a tradıtıonal octagonal room wıth basıns on each wall and a large octagonal marble table ın the mıddle. If you feel modest you can dress lıke the masseuse, ın a swımsuıt, but as you are beıng washed and scrubbed all over ıt ıs just as well to be naked. We sweated some more before she scrubbed our bodıes and then used a muslın bag to make a froth of bubbles that she squeezed out of the bag and onto our skın - ıt was the most amazıng feelıng, these bubbles settlıng on my body lıke clouds. Then the massage, then more splashıng wıth a copper bowl dıpped tıme and agaın ınto the basın of water. Fınally a serıes of cold splashes followed by wrappıng ın soft towels and a few mınutes of relaxıng ın a lounger wıth water and fresh fruıt. I felt completely transformed from the grımy salty person I had been!
Now ın Fethıye ıt ıs tıme for a bıt of boat maıntenance, some ınternet tıme..... and then the last run up to Marmarıs where Rumpus gets a tıdy up before Rıchard and Vırgınıa and later Mark and Sally take her out for more adventures. We hope on the way to go to a couple of the lovely sıtes ın thıs Gulf of Gocek - a couple more nıghts at anchor and plenty more swımmıng I hope.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Corn ın Kerkova;dınner ın Kastellorızon
; vısıtıng Patara ruıns wıth Lulu;some embroıdered scarves;a sarcophagus ın Kala koy; now ın the water because of earthquakes.

Well Rupe ıs now back ın New Zealand and Rumpus ıs now ın Kalkan after spendıng a couple of nıghts ın Greece!!

There ıs a tıny rocky ısland called Kastellorızon whıch ıs 25 nautıcal mıles from the nearest other Greek ısland Rhodes and a mere 2 mıles from maınland Turkey but nonetheless ıs Greek. It has a fascınatıng past ıncludıng beıng used as a submarıne base ın WW2. It has had many admınıstratıons ıncludıng Italıan French Turkısh and Brıtısh. The whole populatıon was evacuated durıng the war - most went to Australıa so there are many 'Aussıe relos' now back and wanderıng the beautıful waterfront...Lulu and I felt quıte at home wıth the sound of theır accents. We had had a lovely dınner wıth our frıends from Twıce Eleven and Tapestry (Davıd Tamsın Henry and Julıe) on the waterfront on July the fourth - very suıtable to be spendıng ıt ın Greece wıth Amerıcans!

There ıs a chunky southwesterly comıng up ın the evenıngs over the last couple of days whıch made sıttıng ın the anchorage at Kastellorızon an uneasy experıence as there were rocks ın all dırectıons. However we had been lucky the prevıous nıght as all the other yachts ın the anchorage were told at mıdnıght that they had to weıgh anchor and move out of the way of the water tanker. We sat on our deck expectıng the call: 'Kapıtan!' but somehow we were not ın the way. However our frıends on Twıce Eleven and Tapestry were not so lucky..

Lulu and I are havıng lots of fun on board and ıt ıs just wonderful havıng her - she speaks Turkısh and ıs great at bargaınıng and (as I dıscovered today) hıtch hıkıng! We arrıved at Kalkan thıs mornıng and managed berthıng wıth a bow anchor no problem - however the harbourmaster was none too pleased when I threw a lıne whıch was wet and hıt hım on the head.... Lulu calmed hım down ın Turkısh and he became very frıendly - gave us a cup of 'chay' ( tea) as they chatted and we got the latest weather report. He was wearıng the same unıform that the Port polıceman had been wearıng ın Kastellorı shırt and a paır of shorts!!

So for the day today we went to Patara beach - a lovely long stretch of golden sand wıth surf rollıng ın... very hot. We hıtched a rıde wıth the fırst car that passed drıven by a crazy Turk who took the opportunıty of an audıence to sıng Turkısh songs to us at the top of hıs lungs and drıve VERY fast!!! We were laughıng so much as he got carrıed away wıth hıs gestures and the emotıons ın the song.... and Lulu had to tell hım to slow down as we approached corners at an alarmıng speed. But not only dıd we get the musıc - he also stopped wıth us at the ruıns of a Roman cıty near Patara and showed us the wonderful amphıtheatre and other buıldıngs - most damaged by an earthquake ın the 1950s but amazıngly ıntact and evocatıve. They are next to a hugs marsh area that was once an ınlet - now sılted up. As ıs the case wıth so many of these places all the wonderful statues and treasures are ın a European museum -the Brıtısh museum has most of them from Patara.

On the way back from the beach we took a Dolmus ( mınıbus) but jumped off before our fınal destınatıon to look at a local market and buy some vegetables and a boıled corn cob from a roadsıde vendor wıth a gıant kettle full of them. They are served sprınkled wıth salt and ınsıde a cradle of the orıgınal corn husk. There were also scarves and every kınd of dark small floral desıgn for the shalwar pants that the older women wear here. Another hıtched rıde home and now here I am ın an ınternet cafe ın lovely Kalkan enjoyıng the aır condıtıonıng and wıth sand between my toes - lookıng forward to a shower on the boat.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rupe's tuna file

OK, this year's total for tuna..... 6

Here are the latest 2, both caught on a red and white diving lure, which we have found works best in the half light morning and evening.

Our best daytime lure was taken!!! with all of the line out of the reel...some thing very big is still swimming in the sea.

Rumpus back in Turkey

Rumpus is back in mainland Turkey after a wonderful week in Cyprus with Rupe’s daughter Kate, her husband Duncan, and friends Philly and Jonno. They had flown from London for some sea and sunshine, and there was plenty of both! Very hot nights meant that people slept in all sorts of places on the boat; Philly preferring being outside.

We sailed 28 hours from Herzliya in Israel to meet them in Larnaca, a marina in the Republic of Cyprus (formerly Greek Cyprus, now a member of the EU in its own right). Then with the full crew, we went around the eastern end of the island to end up in Girne, a marina we had visited on the rally, with a beautiful little old harbour in the middle of the old town.

There were interesting immigration issues: in 1974 Turkey took the northern part of Cyprus and there is still no formal recognition of this by the Republic; we had to emigrate from Cyprus and immigrate to Turkish North Cyprus, and were told by Cyprus police that Rumpus could not now return to the south if it went to the north.

The peninsula in the north east of Cyprus is beautiful and sparsely populated; we anchored in Monastery Bay and visited the old and largely abandoned monastery; lots of swimming to cool off as it really was very very hot.

We anchored off in another little bay on the north of that peninsula, then on to Girne in Turkish North Cyprus where we had a special dinner to celebrate 4 people turning 30.

The next day we said good bye to them and Rupe and I have just completed the last ( I hope) long overnight passage - 190 miles. Only wind we found was "right on the nose" and a westerly swell made things quite uncomfortable, though fortunately very warm and clear. In the evening and again in the morning we were lucky enough to catch another couple of albacore tuna, making the tally 6 for this season on Rumpus.

Now a new phase: Rupe is travelling home in a couple of days, earlier than planned. This means the adventures of Rumpus will continue with Kristin taking her to Marmaris Yacht Marin where she will spend the winter. My crew for this passage will be Lulu, who is an Australian we met on the rally. She speaks fluent Turkish and used to run a yacht charter business so she is the perfect person for this leg of the journey!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Leaving Herzliya and off to Cyprus

WE said good bye to our Eastern Med Yacht Rally friends from Group 4 on our last night in Herzliya, and also to Pippy and Richard who are on to their next adventures, in Slovenia. Here is a picture of the group 4 sailors at our final get together; all the group 4 yachts were a similar size though different speeds....also a picture of us with Pippy and Richard.

The longest passage so far was the 200 nautical miles from Herzliya to Larnaca in Southern Cyprus, to meet up with Rupe's daughter Kate, her husband Duncan, and friends Philly and Jonno. It is so hot here, and it has been a delight to be able to swim in the water at the marina.

On the way here ( took us 28 hours) we caught another tuna!! very exciting.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Leaving the Rally and off to Cyprus!

Mosque and fishing boats, Port Said; Felucca sailing on the Nile; Rupe on a camel at the Pyramids; buying limes in Port Said.

Rumpus has returned to Israel after a visit to Egypt full of dust and antiquity. Last night was the final rally dinner and party - great food and dancing, yet again, and saying good bye to wonderful friends that we have met on this Eastern Med Yacht Rally.

Today we spent a day in Jerusalem seeing the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via Dolorosa, Temple Mount, the Western Wall - places just reeking with spiritual feeling and beauty. More on this later! Still catching up I'm afraid, we've been too busy sailing.

We saw the pyramids after arriving safely in Egypt with a big albacore tuna caught off the Gaza strip en route.
We left Israel in some of the largest seas Rumpus has been in - 2-3 metres - quite scary at the marina mouth off the surf beach where the swell had Rumpus's depth gauge showing zero beneath the keel between each wave!
We had a wonderful sail in the afternoon and evening - last boat to leave Israel and about the 6th boat in to Egypt , at 1.30am in the morning - after passing an oil rig - and arriving at the Suez Canal entrance.
At 6.30 am the whole rally moved in a procession down the first part of the canal to our marina.

We then went to Cairo and sailed feluccas on the Nile, and the next day visited the pyramids. It was extremely hot as you can imagine. A real highlight was the Cairo Museum with its unsurpassed collection of antiquities, including all the contents of the tomb of King Tutankhamun, which are staggering in their beauty, condition and significance. He died at 16, so they would have been making these things all during his short life, to leave with him for his afterlife. The gold is amazing; the workmanship so fine and showing so much love and respect for the pharaoh. WE also saw, nestled next to the Great Pyramid, the oldest boat in existence, a huge 45 m Nile river barge built for King Cheops, and excavated from a pit beside the pyramid in 1954. It has been reassembled and it is truly grand.

Now we are back in Herzliya near Tel Aviv after a wonderful sail back from Port Said - 160 nautical miles, the longest passage in the rally.

We were the last boat to leave the Suez Canal entrance at about midday, and the whole fleet in front of us was a great sight with a lovely 15 knot northwester pushing boats along on a tight reach - for the first time in the whole rally all the boats were sailing and no diesel was being burned..... for a while anyway. We had an informal race challenge ( well it was going to be a race....) with Zia, the 51 foot catamaran, and had prepared to blitz them with our spinnaker up , but sadly the hoped for Westerly didn't kick in. Rupe had a wonderful day counting the boats we passed....till he got to 25, then started counting the boats in front. By the end of the passage the morning after we left these included Zia, of course ( Rupe said several times: " unfortunately, this is a perfect breeze for Zia.....") and Sansipapp, a lovely Farr 50 footer from Sweden. So the passage was 21 hours with a full moon and lovely breeze for much of the way - sadly no fish; we were going too fast!

But no rest for the wicked - tomorrow morning early we leave for Larnaca in Cyprus to meet Rupe's daughter Kate and her husband Duncan and friends for a week. This will be a very long passage, 28 hours, so a big challenge. We are nonetheless really looking forward to swimming off the boat and being in anchorages and going wherever we want to !!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A lovely passage from Ashkelon to Egypt

Dawn at Port Said, yacht rally boats in ArsenalBasin, Rumpus in Port Said, Mark from 'Cowrie' in an unusual moment of relaxation; the latest tuna.

For the second time in this rally we left a port (Ashkelon) a day later because of the weather; Rupe and I spent the extra day in Jerusalem. I will have to write about that and all the other times in Israel later... just to catch up, here are the pictures from this morning when we arrived at dawn in Port Said, the northern entrance to the Suez canal, after a 150 nautical mile sail, all day and most of the night. Rumpus just romped along, a wonderful broad reach with a 15 knot breeze helping us to zip past most of the fleet in the night. We anchored at 2.30 am and rose again at 5 to prepare the boat, flags and all decorations, to join with the other boats in our group for a procession into Port Said. As you see there was excitement in the first couple of hours of the journey when we caught another tuna; many others also caught tuna so all the boats with freezers are well stocked and we are again giving it away to our friends and neighbours. different variety from the others, with big eyes and paler flesh...
Tomorrow we leave the boat for a couple of days to tour the Pyramids. What a treat in store.
Tuna for dinner!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lively Lebanon

After a very smooth sail we arrived in Jounnieh, a port north of Beirut. This is where 'le tout monde' of Beirut spends leisure time. Our young friends Arthur and Brune ( aged 15 and 9) from 'Arcaloune' were delighted to discover that most people spoke French. There was a 50m salt water swimming pool which was absolutely delicious.
We had been apprehensive about Beirut because of the Hisbollah fighting in the centre of the city just a few weeks ago. However a week before we arrived the factions had met in Doha and signed a peace accord. So the first night we were there we went into central Beirut which was clean, rebuilt, and bristling with security - riot police and armoured troop carriers. There was a concert to 'reopen' the city and even celebratory ice creams at Haagen Dazs. Our meal in an open air restaurant near the place de l'Etoile was typically middle eastern fare; yoghurt, chick peas, and so on.
The Lebanese have just elected a new President who by law must be Maronite Christian: General Michel Sleyman - and the other two major leaders, Prime Minister and leader of the House of Parliament, must be from the Shia and Sunni moslem faiths. There is so much hope for this new regime; there are pictures of the new President everywhere.

On 1 June our tour was to the Jeita grotto; an astonishing complex of underground caves discovered by a hunter who heard a strange echo when he shot at a fox. Truly stunning and very impressive. The lower caves you navigate by boat; there's a pathway through the upper caves which are skilfully lit.
We also visited Baalbeck - stunning Roman extravagance and grandeur, impressive in scope and opulence even as a ruin today.

Byblos is a seaside town where the Phoenician alphabet was developed and which saw a succession of cultures using the unique port with a north and south facing harbour.
It was great to explore these places with my Mum Diane and we had a special trip into Beirut to visit the museum - many of the special treasures from the places we visited were preserved there, especially the beautiful ex voto statues from Byblos. Well worth a visit and set aside a couple of hours - it's not big, just everything is so fascinating.