Saturday, March 25, 2006

Log 45 - Feb. & Early March 2006 - Second half of wintering over in Marmaris, Turkey

"There's no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this." - Unknown

Friday, February 3rd - Marmaris water taxi

Marmaris Yacht Marina Ferry Boat
February still finds us hanging out in Marmaris, Turkey.  Our original plans of spending the winter in Turkey were possibly seen through rose colored glasses.  Here on the south coast in Marmaris, the weather has been great, but still cooler than we ever imagined.  We had plans to tour inland over these months, but reality is the roads inland are covered in ice and snow and most sights are closed for the season.  Oh well, we continue to have great school sessions and get work done on Tioga.  We are definitely into the last weeks of winter as the nights are noticeably getting warmer

Thursday, February 9th - Market Day in Marmaris

Having tea on the waterfront

To get from our marina into town, there is a twice daily ferry shuttle (shown in the photo above), and regular mini-bus service.  Thursday mornings are always busy as it is market day in town and we would provision for the week with all the fresh produce, olives, cheeses etc.   To start the day and pass a little time, a favourite spot of ours is a little outdoor Turkish tea café near the ferry drop zone and which is always bathing in early morning sunlight.  This morning we invite a group of friends to join us as we sit and drink tea at 50 cents a glass and enjoy the awakening day.

Ush and Joel in front of a Turkish Gullet (boat)
Joel and his friend Ush from Ireland (s/v Kari - originally met last June in Barcelona) stand by a Turkish Gullet, a traditional sailing design and used extensively in the Turkish tourism/charter trade.   Voluminous inside and heavy, these sailboats move most often (read: exclusively) under diesel power.

Marmaris town waterfront without tourists

This time of year, most waterfront cafes and shops are still closed up for the winter.  Still, very pretty.

Monday, February 13th - Valentine Card making day

Making Valentines cards at MYM

In preparation for Valentines Day tomorrow, some of the ladies on the dock organized a huge card making session for the kids.  Once all the cards were created, the ladies took the 'works of art' to the 'happy hour' later in the day.  All the cards were on display at the pub for the cruisers to buy a card for their 'loved one'.  This was such a wonderful idea as the kids earned money for their efforts and everyone received a card.  Coincidentally, Sheila received a card made by Joel, which was purchased by Chris. 

Thursday, February 16th - Bus trip to Mugla

Colder in the mountains surrounding Mugla

Today, a group of families makes a day trip by bus to the inland market town of Mugla (pronounced Moo-la).   'Market town' to us means that the town has a healthy economy that doesn't rely on the tourist trade.  As the elevation of the town is much higher than sea level, it's correspondingly cooler.  Here, some of the kids play with a floating piece of ice from a fountain.  Monica, on the left, is from Australia and has barely seen anything frozen other than at the supermarket!


Mugla has many traditional houses and buildings from the Ottoman glory days that have been restored.  This picture is taken in an interior courtyard of a building complex, from in front of the fountain in the previous picture.  

Gerrit trying for a part in the Turkish production. 

In the same courtyard, a Turkish film crew readies for a scene for some new production.

Market day oranges

Part of our visit today to Mugla, is to catch their big market day with vendors selling produce, clothing, tools, etc. - just about anything you could want.   The freshly picked produce radiates in the gleaming sunshine. 

Philly drives a friendly bargain

Friend Philly from s/v Kari negotiates in the market area with an old Turkish woman for something or other.

Wednesday, February 16th - Babysitting Willie the Cat

Joel & Gerrit on cat-sitting duty

Joel and Gerrit earn a little money over the winter cat-sitting.  Meet Willie, a very healthy 'tom' from s/v Guardian.  Willie is a heavy-weight when it comes to maintaining law and order with the (many) other cats on the dock and in the marina and we don't think he's lost a fight yet - usually doesn't even get to fighting when the other cats see Willie coming ... skidadle!

Joel and Ush do some day sailing in an Optimist

Joel & Ush sailing about in an Optimist

As you can tell, our boys have not been too hard done by.  Between bikes, swords, opti's, kayaks and who knows what else, they have had a wonderful time.

Thursday, February 23rd - Kayak heaven with Gerrit and Cian!

Kayaking fun in the sun.

Marmaris truly does sit within spectacular scenery. 

Kids watching a movie

It's nearing the end of our stay in Marmaris and the kids are spending maximum time together.  Here a subset of the dock kids are watching a movie on board TIOGA.

Sunday, February 26th - Refinishing our teak table

Chris re varnishes cabin table

Once again our winter stop involved the completion of numerous boat they ever end??   Here, Chris is doing final preparation and sanding to our teak table before the coats of varnish begin to flow. 

Fresh varnish on cabinets.

Sheila finishes the galley cabinets with fresh varnish. 

With our Turkish visa running out on March 12th, we are in final project mode and beginning to watch the weather for a safe window to sail out of here on. 

Monday, February 27th - Joel's 12th Birthday party

Birthday party for Joel and all the MYM kids!
Celebrating Joel's 12th birthday brings to light that this is his fourth one aboard Tioga.  Once again we find ourselves in the company of many other children for his big day, which typically doesn't happen for Gerrit in April.  With Joel's approval, we decide to do something different this year and have a party to celebrate the birthday of all the kids at Marmaris having a birthday within the next year!  We organize a gift exchange, play games and enjoy a fabulous chocolate cake provided by the marina.  The candles are even lit over and over again for each child to have a go at blowing them out.  It's a great time followed by a pot luck supper and generally the last get together for the families as everyones' departure dates draw closer. 
Happy 12th birthday Joel.  

Friday, March 3rd - Sahara Desert

Sahara desert dust is a regular airborne pest

Well, here we are into March and still being blessed with a wonderful winter.  Typically the wind blew cooler air from the north for a few days, followed by a few calm days.  Then the wind would switch and it blew from the south for a few days before repeating the whole sequence.   A few times when a storm would blow from the south, we would wake up to a boat covered in red dust.  Yes, directly south of us is the Sahara Desert in Africa, and storms can carry the red dusty/sand across the Mediterranean Sea to settle on us here in Asia. 

Sunday, March 5th - Turkish camp

Local fisherman

The mountain just west of Marmaris Yacht Marina has been a great addition to our winter.  Being a natural reserve, it is tree covered and uninhabited, except for this little camp right at the base.  We all enjoyed many hikes and get-a-ways on the mountains numerous dirt trails and wonderful vantage points. 

Thursday, March 9th - The Last Supper!

The Last Supper

The time has come....tomorrow we will cast our lines from the dock of Marmaris.  The weather forecast predicts a great sail across to the Greek island of Rhodes.  We have some of the regular group our guys hang out with over for a final supper together.  Later they enjoy one last movie, while the adults convene for happy hour farewells! 

Great friendships have been made here in Marmaris.  Young or old...we will remember our time here forever.

Friday, March 10th - Good bye kids of Marmaris

All the kids say goodbye...

L to R: Alistar, Jack, Brian, Monica, Ush, Gerrit, Joel and Cian  -  We will miss you all!

Good-bye Marmaris....and Turkey for that matter!

Crew of s/v TIOGA checking out..

A farewell scene similar to Seville last year and all the same mixed emotions.  Happy to be underway and still the sadness of the hardest part of this lifestyle, saying good-bye.   

Backing out of our slip in Marmaris, bound for Greece

Perhaps better yet is 'see you later' as one never knows when paths will cross again in this world that is much smaller to us now.  We really are rich with memories of the wonderful people we have met along the way. 

PS - Once underway, the idea of going out for pork souvlaki in Rhodes, Greece once we arrive is greeted well!   Being in a Muslim country, we have not seen pork in months and it's sounding good just now.  

Catch you in Log 46 as we head west back into Greece . Yiasu (Hello in Greek)!