Thursday, June 14, 2012

Just sitting

Our  anchorage neighbors: the Turkish Coast Guard 
Haven't been doing too much for the past week.  We stayed 2 nights at the hotel dock and then moved to the adjacent anchorage near the Coast Guard dock.  There have been reports of 2 boats being broken into in the far more isolated anchorage across on the northern side of this bay.  Small amounts were stolen each time.  That is one reason we won't be anchoring over there.  The other reason is that whatever is built on that beach plays VERY LOUD music, sometimes very late into the night.  I cannot imagine why anyone would want to anchor over there.  

The weather has warmed up considerably.  The hottest yet this season has been 92F inside the boat.  But, unlike our home Texas, it cools down nicely here during the night.  There is not a hint of breeze during the mornings.  Sometimes we awaken to glassy water that mirrors the clouds.  But each afternoon around 14:00 or 15:00 the wind picks up nicely from the west for a few  hours.  Amazing what a difference that wind makes in cooling off the interior of the boat as well as the cockpit.  I love the late afternoon breezes.  However, the late afternoon is also the time that boats arrive to dock, and that provides our afternoon entertainment.   Watching arriving boats set anchors is also entertaining.  

One would think that by the time boats reach Turkey that those sailors would know how to set an anchor.  Apparently not always true.   It is funny sometimes....... as long as they are not anchoring close to us.  Some boats anchor 4 or 5 times before getting a set they are happy with.  I do not understand why they have such difficulty.  The sea bed in this entire bay is mud...... really good solid-holding mud.  It grabs your anchor really well.  Honestly cannot figure out what the problem is for some of these guys.

Since arriving in Fethiye we have chanced to meet up with people from several boats that wintered with us in Northern Cyprus.  Two boats are here now; the others have already moved on.  Also chanced to meet up with an Australian boat that transported on the same ship with us from Maldives to Marmaris last year.

Yesterday we picked up our 1-year Residents Permits from Immigration.  We were surprised and disappointed to learn that rather than using the date of application for the residents permit as the beginning date, instead they use the date of first arrival in Turkey as the beginning date for the 1-year resident permit.  We submitted the application for the 1-year resident permit on 30 May 2012, fully expecting to receive a visa permit allowing us to be in Turkey until 29 May 2013, which would provide us ample time to haul out for routine anti-fouling next May as soon as the weather is good enough.  

We arrived in Tasucu on 4 May 2012, and the Fethiye immigration authorities used that date as the beginning date of our 1-year residents permits.  So we must depart Turkey by 3 May 2013 or apply for another 1-year residents permit, which we do not want.  Our best hope is that spring weather will be warmer and drier than normal next spring so that we can haul out the last half of April and meet our departure deadline of 3 May 2013.  We have been told by other sailors that the immigration authorities in different ports are interpreting the residents permits beginning dates differently; but this was our experience here in Fethiye.  So, future visiting sailors should plan their arrival and departure dates carefully.  

Last week there was a 6.1 earthquake nearby.  Two news agencies reported the epicenter location slightly differently.  One news report stated that the epicenter was slightly south of Rhodes.  Another news report placed the epicenter in a Turkish town near Fethiye.  Either way, the epicenter was between 30 and 50 miles from us.  We were aboard and down inside the boat when the quake happened.  This is the third time we have experienced an earthquake......first was a major quake in Tonga 20 miles distant, second in New Zealand at maybe 100 miles distant, and now in the Aegean Sea.  Each time it has felt like when a car drives over many small speed bumps placed closely the ridges in the pavement when approaching a bridge.  Another friend described it feeling like a freight train went beneath the boat.  That is also a good description.  Bill once described it as feeling like the water around the boat was popping popcorn, sort of rapid tiny bounces to the boat.  All the dogs nearby began to bark just before we felt the quake.  Bill and I instantly looked at one another and said "earthquake" in unison and then scurried up into the cockpit.  I watched the water in the bay for about 1/2 hour and saw no evidence of a coming tsunami.  Then there was an aftershock.  And that was the end of it.

Yesterday another friend emailed us another news article about this earthquake.  Seems that 59 people were hospitalized here in Fethiye because of the quake; some of whom were British tourists.  Two people had heart attacks because of the stress; most were hospitalized for mental trauma; and more than a dozen were hospitalized for injuries sustained when they jumped off hotel balconies and out of windows during the quake.  WHAT!!!!  This was barely a little rumble here in Fethiye.  It would have taken a hell of a lot more than that to induce me to jump off a hotel balcony to break my legs, arms or back.  And mental trauma?  For this little shaking??  People in California would be laughing their heads off at that.  To be fair, in 1999 over 20,000 people were killed in a major earthquake in far northwestern Turkey.  And there was a bad earthquake last fall in far eastern Turkey that killed many people.  But the small rumble in Fethiye was nothing to get excited about.

UPDATE 16 June 2012:  I now know why people were so frightened by the recent earthquake.  According to our guide book, the entire city of Fethiye was leveled by an earthquake in 1958.  The only things left standing were the ancient Telmessos ruins located here.  The book does not state how many people perished in the 1958 earthquake, but one must assume there was a substantial human toll.

Just before sunset we looked up to see 8 large gulets bearing down on us.  Each dropped anchor and backed quickly to the outer pontoon of the neighboring large Ece Satay Marina.  No idea why they all moved over here so abruptly.  Next morning, they weighed anchors and left just as quickly.  BTW, be careful anchoring near any of these large gulets.  They normally lay out 400 to 500 feet of anchor chain, sometimes more.

All is fine.  And we are enjoying Fethiye very much.  Looking forward to the arrival of 2 of our grandchildren next week and wondering what we will find to do to keep them from getting bored.  Kayaking, swimming, polishing stainless steel, reading and talking.

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