We had a great shakedown sail today! We left Marmaris around midday and sailed for 5 hours and anchored up in a beautiful sheltered bay halfway to Simi. We sailed alongside our friends on their 48 foot cat and we even got to practice our man over board drill when the SUP board was whipped off the foredeck. Now we are in Serce Limani and we had some beautiful fresh fish in the little restaurant in the bay. Life is good!
Yesterday was another successful day. We finally got hold of our blue book. It had been in the country for two weeks but failed to reach us so far. We were told to get it from the ARAS office in Marmaris (the local courier company). But when we enquired, we were told it wasn’t there. We insisted and explained that we had made many phone calls and were told it was definitely in Marmaris. A few more phone calls later and half an hour of waiting and suddenly a guy turned up on a motorbike with our package. What a relief. The “Blue Book” is to the boat what a passport is to us. It is proof that the boat is now registered on the British Ship’s Registry and it is the official document we will need to show in each port when we check-in or out.
We now also have everything working on board. The new mastervolt was installed and switched on yesterday and we now have full power on board. We were using a temporary battery charger that allowed us to use fridge, freezer, 12V outlets and lights. But now, with the mastervolt, we have airconditioning again, we can switch on the icemaker, we can use all the electric plugs, we can hoover and use the washing machine. And we really appreciate all that luxury even more because we didn’t have it for a few weeks!
So the boat is ready to go and so are we. Unfortunately we are still waiting for one more item of paperwork. Without it we can’t take the boat out of Turkey. We had hoped it would arrive today but it is not here and everything in Turkey is shutting down for 4 days due to a religious holiday. It means we have to wait until Thursday or Friday.
We are planning to explore the Turkish coastline for a few days and then sail back to Marmaris at the end of the week to pick up our package and then we should finally be able to leave the country!
Yesterday was a pretty successful day. We have the new Mastervolt! Seathan lugged the 30 kgs in his backpack around Rhodes and smuggled it safely into Turkey. We can now fit it and have our power and energy management system back!
It also was a great day out. For the first time since leaving London we had to set our alarm clock to catch the 9am ferry. Whilst queuing to buy tickets and then again to get the boarding card and then a third time to check-in, the management consultant in me thought about process improvement and re-engineering. However, I quickly let go of those thoughts to enjoy the day! We arrived in Rhodes and I realised I had been there before, 20 years or so ago when I went island hopping across the Greek isles. Rhodes truly is an magnificent and beautiful ancient city. We took a taxi to the industrial side of town to pick up our Mastervolt and then went off to another specialized shop to buy a new VHF radio. We had a delicious lunch in a little taverna just outside the city centre. After that we joined the hordes of tourists to admire the old town and a few hours later headed back to Marmaris. Our friends Yotam and Eden picked us up in their superfast dingy and Tyrii drove us home! Now onto chasing our missing paperwork!
We are still in Marmaris. We have been here for one month now … The days just pass and we make the most of our time by fixing and cleaning the boat, doing some school work, practicing our swimming technique in the pool, SUP-ing around the boat and going for dinghy rides. Yesterday we had an “ipad-free” day. We limit the kids’ ipad time every day but it was nice to have a completely “screen-free” day. We played chess, read books and the boys dressed up as ninjas and ran around the boat. In the afternoon we were lazing around on the trampolines on the foredeck under the sunshade when suddenly the weather changed and we could see thunderstorms over the hills. The wind turned direction and a few minutes later it started raining. It was the first rain since we have been here and we got very excited! It only rained for 5 minutes and then everything went quiet again. The flat and calm sea state was the perfect opportunity to take the dinghy into town. It took us 5 mins by dinghy to get to Marmaris versus 25 mins on the bus! We parked right in the centre of the old town on the quay and wandered around, had some dinner and then raced back.
Tyrii took the picture below as the sky looked amazing last night and he asked to put it on the blog …
The paperwork still hasn’t reached us. It was sent with DHL from the BVIs on the 11th of July and arrived in Istanbul on the 14th. That’s when the tracking stops. Apparently courier packages are then handed over to a local courier company and it can take weeks to arrive. Some friends told us they waited 6 weeks for a credit card that was sent with DHL courier. We just rang the local courier company with some help from the people in the marina office and it seems it has been sent to Marmaris and then back to Istanbul. Hopefully it should be back on its way here now. We keep our fingers crossed and hope it gets here quickly. We are not allowed to leave the marina without this paperwork so we really are stuck! Our experience with the Turkish postal system hasn’t been great but I have to add that in general we have been very impressed with the Turkish culture and people. Everyone is very friendly, service is great everywhere and there is a strong work ethic.
We are very keen to leave by the end of this week. As long as our paperwork gets here in the next few days that should be possible. The big news this morning was that the Mastervolt has arrived in Rhodes! Woohoo! We will take the ferry to Rhodes tomorrow morning to go and pick it up and meanwhile do some sightseeing in Rhodes.
Today we need to start making shopping lists as we want to get enough food onboard for 30 days. There will be plenty of opportunity along the way to buy more food but it might not be as easy as it is here in the marina to get stuff loaded onto the boat. We plan to anchor as much as possible to avoid marina fees and also because it is much nicer! We will also get our laundry done before we go, there is a great service here in the marina. You drop it off in the morning and it is returned all clean, dry and folded by the evening. Not worth switching our washing machine on for!
Our delay in Marmaris means that we don’t have as much time as we would have liked to cruise the Med. We won’t be able to make too many detours and will need to get some miles under our belt to get to the Canary Island in time for crossing the Atlantic. The best time to cross is late November/early December and we would like to reach Gibraltar by early November. But we still have plenty of time and it will be so nice to finally get out there and sail! We plan to cross the Aegean Sea stopping off at several Greek islands. We’ve already had some good tips from some friends on where to stop off. We want to sail through the Corinth Canal (near Athens) and then across the Ionian to Italy, passing along Messina towards Sardinia and Corsica. It will then all depend on the weather whether we follow the coastline or cross straight over to the Balearics, Spain and Gibraltar.
Finally, it is our national holiday in Belgium today, so happy 21st of July to everyone there!
We had our first visitors on board! Dan, Naz and Lara are our ski buddies we usually hang out with on the slopes in Les Coches, France. They are holidaying in Turkey and came to see us for a few days. They arrived on Sunday and stayed for two nights in a lovely boutique hotel across from the Marina. They invited us over for a luxurious Turkish breakfast on Monday morning and we lounged by the pool for a few hours. Not bad for a Monday! Last night they stayed on board, we had a lovely dinner, enjoying a beautiful sunset and then brought out the guitars after dinner. It was a great evening and we were sad to say goodbye this morning! Naz is Turkish and introduced us to delicious local cheeses and other produce as well as Raki, an anise-flavoured drink.
We also said goodbye to our Australian friends who set sail to Bodrum early this morning. The boys will miss their playmates!
Meanwhile, work continues on the boat. We had engineers work on the engines all day yesterday and again today. We originally planned to replace the engines but they are still in good condition which is why we decided to service them instead. We also had the Raymarine guys onboard to upgrade all the aerials for the GPS and to check our VHF radio which needs to be replaced.
No news yet about the Mastervolt. It seems to be taking an awfully long time to get from Amsterdam to Rhodes. And the paperwork is yet to arrive too. Fingers crossed it all gets here soon!
PS I added a little video tour of our boat (under Vimeo Videos in menu bar)
Though we are still itching to get going, we are making the most of marina life. It’s a great opportunity to do some maintenance to the boat and some necessary upgrades. And the paperwork is finally on its way! We are also getting into a daily routine. We all wake up around 9 am, have some breakfast and then do some school work. After lunch we take a siesta or catch up with our friends on the other catamaran. They are off in a couple of days so the boys will definitely miss their playmates. We like to go swimming in the pool late afternoon and then make the most of our evenings which are so lovely and mild. The boys can stay up later than they usually would at home. Aeneas was a bit sick yesterday with a tummy bug but slept it off and is back in top form today. It got very windy last night and we are on an outside berth so requested to move to a quieter spot. Good practice for our mooring skills!
Today was a busy day, lots of things happened! The new name is finally on, so tonight we will do a small re-naming ceremony. We also had some mechanics come on board to look at the engines and the situation is not that bad, the engines just need a good servicing, the old diesel needs to come out, the tanks need to be washed out and a few bits need replacing. We need to make sure they are in top condition before we set off. Our two day sail was a great way to discover these little problems. After all the boat had been sitting on the hard for a while so it was to be expected! Finally we also had the new sunshades installed this morning and they look amazing!
I know I keep going on about how hot it is here and meanwhile in Belgium there have been massive downpours of rain but we were very happy to experience a cloudy day today after three weeks of non-stop sunshine!
One night away turned into two! It was so nice to get out of the marina and anchor overnight. We sailed for about 2 hours to a little bay with a small town called Turunc Buku. Our friends joined us with their 60 ft catamaran and dropped their anchor first and we tried to raft our boat alongside but it was quite windy and after two failed attempts we decided to drop the anchor as well. We dinghied into town and had a wander around. Overnight it got quite windy but the anchor held fine. We were woken up by the sounds of the minarets and after breakfast and some schoolwork, we sailed around the corner to the next bay to find some turquoise water for snorkelling. Absolutely stunning. It was such a nice spot we decided to stay out for another night. This time we rafted up no problem as it was much calmer. Early evening we got some unwelcome visitors, hundreds of wasps! I never saw so many wasps in my life! We had to eat inside until they all disappeared after sunset. We had a lovely evening admiring the moon and the stars and this morning woke up early as the wasps reappeared. We made a run for it and were back in the marina by 10 am! We now feel a little bit more comfortable having sailed the boat but we also have a few more things to fix. Yesterday one of the engines cut out and after some investigating Seathan discovered the fan belt had come off. He managed to fix it but it needs to be replaced and the engines need a good servicing too. We also had some trouble with the VHF radio and will need to replace the unit. And finally, the pumps in the bilges need replacing too!
This afternoon they tried to stick the new name stickers on but the material didn’t seem to hold very well so the guys are coming back tomorrow morning to try a different way. We need to have the new name on the boat before we can register it in its new name (we need to send pictures as proof). Renaming and re-registration of a boat is serious business and there are many rules to comply with …
Some good news yesterday was that the mastervolt unit has arrived in Amsterdam and is on its way to Rhodes!
Stay tuned! It looks like we will be in Marmaris for a little while longer.
I couldn’t help thinking yesterday what a different day I was experiencing compared to the usual going in the office on a Monday morning. We had a very productive day with lots of jobs done (engine checks, cleaning, some re-wiring) and I took Aeneas for a swim just before lunch while Tyrii stayed on board to help Seathan. In the afternoon we visited our friends on the other catamaran and the kids swam and jumped off the back of the boat while we had a sundowner! Not bad for a Monday afternoon! In the evening we took the bus to a nearby beach restaurant. And today we are getting ready to sail out! We want to do a test sail and anchor up for the night and then come back to the marina tomorrow to get the name change completed (old name stickers to be removed and new ones to be stuck on). Once the new name is on we need to send a picture to the BVIs and then they can finally issue our registration papers! My experience with managing compliance projects seems quite relevant, getting a boat re-registered and re-named sometimes feels just as complicated!!
We had a perfect lazy Sunday today. We took the dingy out just before lunch to cool off and go across the bay. There’s a little beach bar where we wanted to go for lunch and have a swim. Aeneas was allowed to steer the dingy but when a big yacht was heading towards us into the marina he said “daddy, you do the worrying! I do the steering”. Very funny moment. We had a lovely time at the beach, then came back to the boat, had a siesta and went for a swim in the pool late afternoon and caught up with our friends. A perfect lazy day! Back to work tomorrow to continue with all the little jobs we have left to do!