Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Turkey Day in Turkey........November doings

BeBe at fuel dock in Ece Saray Marina in Fethiye
topping off fuel tank for winter to prevent condensation.
That's me by the boat loading up Bill's cases of beer.
National holidays or special days of our home country often get ignored when outside the shores of the USA because those holidays are not celebrated elsewhere.   Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day this year all passed as regular days as we made no notice of these holidays.  And Halloween also passed with no notice whatsoever.  Here in Turkey I don't think anyone knows about Halloween.  Since we have no small children aboard, that was fine by us.  Have never really been into dressing up in costume for Halloween.  It is just an evening for kids to trick-or-treat and indulge in mountains of candy.  Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is a holiday that we have always celebrated regardless of where we have been any given year.  There have always been a few fellow Americans nearby and we have gathered for a meal as traditional as could be prepared with whatever ingredients we each had aboard.  I think we all tucked away a can of pumpkin or yams or cranberry sauce or something associated with Thanksgiving whenever we found such a thing in any market wherever.

This year I had nothing of that kind on the boat.  And none of those things available for purchase in the local markets.  And no Americans in the vicinity.  Therefore, I planned to simply ignore Thanksgiving this year, especially since we will be flying home on Dec 5.  The last thing I wanted was a lot of food on the boat just a week or two before needing to shut down the fridge and freezer.  We would either take the bus to Marmaris and join the Thanksgiving dinner that is held at Pineapple's restaurant for the very large cruising community in that area, or we would ignore Thanksgiving altogether this year. 

Judy, Jean and Harvey at Thanksgiving
Ah, but there turned out to be a third alternative!  An unexpected invitation to someone's home!

Harvey and Jean are the owners of S/V Guitar, the boat docked next to us here in Fethiye.  They lived in the United States many years and learned to celebrate Thanksgiving.  They own a very nice apartment nearby; where they have based for the past 7 years, wintering in Fethiye and living in their apartment and sailing the Med during spring, summer and fall.  Harvey and Jean very graciously extended an invitation for Thanksgiving dinner in their flat.  And it was sumptuous!  A real turkey roasted to perfection and all the trimmings. 
Harvey, Julie, Jerry, Jean & Bill at Thanksgiving
I provided Texas style cornbread dressing and giblet gravy and an apple pie.  Through a mutual friend (Banu, the manager of the hotel marina where we are berthed), Jean had met another American couple, Jerry and Julie, who are visiting Fethiye for a few months; and she invited them to join the celebration.  Jerry is a professor at a university in Florida and is in Fethiye doing research for a book he is writing; Julie is a holistic therapist.  The evening was filled with interesting conversation and wonderful food and reflections of people and things for which to be thankful.  A perfectly lovely evening.  Many thanks to Harvey and Jean.

Jean serving desert.  She is more comfortable sitting
on the floor than on the sofa.  That would kill my hip.

A side note:  Harvey and Jean are in their 70s and are in amazing physical condition for people even half their ages.  Harvey is a runner and very fit.  Jean has the body and agility of a 25-yr-old.......thanks to yoga.  Oh, to have that kind of flexibility and muscle tone!  Color me green with envy.

Building retaining wall at hotel marina
About 2 weeks ago Yacht Classic Hotel began construction of the expansion of facilities for yachts.  Banu had warned us when we wrote the contract for our winter berthing that it is possible that we will have to leave the dock a week or 2 early next April because the hotel will be expanding the docks as soon as spring weather permits work to begin.  That is fine with us because if the weather is good enough for that construction then the weather is good enough for us to get moving.  We have a lot of miles to cover next year.  But, Banu did not mention that the hotel was also building new land facilities for yachts.  That part of the construction is underway now.  They are building a new swimming pool just for visiting yachts; so that the hotel pool can be for the exclusive use of hotel guests.  There will also be shops and showers and the normal things one might expect at a marina.  Then next April they will begin the water side of this expansion and will extend the dock where we are currently berthed and build additional docks on the western side in front of the new yachtie swimming pool and other buildings.

Breakfast buffet at the hotel.  Very different selections
than you will find at home
Before all that construction can get underway, the first thing that had to be done was to clear the land and build a retaining wall.  That is what men have been working on this month.  And what a retaining wall it is!  Bill has been like a little boy looking through a hole in the baseball park fence.  Several times a day he walks up the hill to check on the progress.  This will sound racist to some folks but will be totally understood by friends back in Texas.  Bill says these guys are working like Mexicans on steroids.  That is not meant to be racist.  The Mexicans we have known in Texas work harder than any of the rednecks or city boys.  These Turks could give the heartiest and most fit Mexican workers in Texas a real run for their money.  They do hard physical labor all day long, moving large rocks by hand and building that very tall wall and are in constant motion.  Bill has been fascinated by what he calls the Egyptian method of building this 40-ft tall wall.  As the men complete a 4-ft high section, then dirt is piled alongside the wall they have just finished and they start on another 4-ft high section; row after row of this until they reach the top of the hill where the road and sidewalk form the top of the wall.  The dirt is then removed and they move down another 100-ft and start the process all over again.  Bill will enjoy watching this project progress over the winter.  Yacht Classic Hotel should be capable of handling a lot more visiting yachts next year.

Our little dock is not full for this winter.  I don't think the hotel did anything at all to market available berths for the winter season.  The only reason we knew about this hotel is that friends on a boat just like ours stopped here in early May and sent us an email about the place because they knew we were shopping for a place for this winter.  There are only 4 boats at this dock which are occupied for the winter, us and 3 French boats.  Plus 4 unoccupied boats that are berthed here whose owners have returned to their respective home countries for the winter.  Plus 1 boat our size that is occupied by a paid captain, and 2 large Turkish yachts occupied by crew.  That is it.  And we very much enjoy our tiny community or lack thereof.  We like the town of Fethiye much, much better than Marmaris.  The lack of fellow cruisers is fine with us.  The large Ece Saray Marina is next door, and we have met the owners of 2 boats docked there who will be living aboard all winter.  We prefer our small dock rather than the larger marina.  The hotel showers and restrooms here are well-heated and the hotel restaurant remains open all winter.  The restaurant and bar beside the dock closed last week for the season; the swimming pool is being drained today.  The large supermarket is about a 1 mile walk (each way) into the main part of town.  The city-run dolmus (small bus) picks up and drops off right at the front door of our hotel; so in inclement weather there is alternate transportation rather than hoofing it.

Rainbow on a hazy day in Fethiye
In early December we will fly home to Texas for the annual visit.  Nothing else planned at the moment.  Bill has been shopping for new sails.  He has whittled down the list of possible sailmakers to 2 and we hope to rent a car this week and drive to Izmir and Marmaris to check out the lofts of those 2 manufacturers.  Bill is nervous about having new sails made because of our friend's experience in Thailand where his new mainsail was constructed wrong in every way possible and would not even fit on his mast.  This is becoming an agonizing decision and I will be glad when it is over.  The sails will be produced during the winter and we will take delivery in March so that we can get VAT refund when depart Turkey.  Great; that means months of worrying about these new sails.  

Barnacle encrusted deflated fender that attached
itself to our anchor chain

One last thing I meant to mention in a prior posting.  We had anchored in the western side of the huge bay here in Fethiye for 17 days before moving to this dock.  When we raised the anchor there was something entangled with our anchor chain.  It was a deflated fender with a very long line attached.  Somehow the bitter end of that long line had managed to thread itself through our chain.  We don't know how this was possible because the rope thickness was exactly the diameter of the chain link opening.  It would be hard to force that rope through that chain if you tried to do it.  But it did.  And then twisted the line round and round our chain.  A nasty barnacle covered mess.  When we first pulled it up we thought it was going to be a major hassle to get it free off our chain.  But when Bill found the bitter end of the rope and cut it, the rest fell away effortlessly.  The sea can do some strange things.

As always, click on any image for larger view.

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