Thursday, March 27, 2014

When we clean our stove, we REALLY clean our stove!

Tell me.  Is that a clean stove?  Or, is that a clean stove!

It works again!!!

A couple of our winter projects got scratched off the list last week:  replaced the heating element for the dishwasher and figured out why the stove igniter was not working.

Replacing heating element in dishwasher
As I have mentioned numerous times over the years, we do not use the dishwasher; therefore, repairing it was not high on my list of priorities.   Up until last week I had only operated the dishwasher twice since first getting on this boat in 2005.  It is easy enough to wash dishes by hand for just the 2 of us.  When in Cairns, Australia, with large family group visiting us in August 2009 we discovered that the dishwasher would trip the breaker and not complete a wash cycle.  Okay; not a big deal; wash dishes by hand as normal.  In Cyprus in early 2012 we finally decided to take the dishwasher apart and find the problem; which turned out to be a tiny pinprick size hole corroded through the heating element.  As soon as water entered that tiny hole the breaker would trip.  We were unable to obtain a replacement heating element in Cyprus.  We reassembled the dishwasher and went back to using it for storage for eggs and a few large kitchen items.

Location of the dishwasher heating element
Bill finally located a replacement heating element and we brought it back to the boat when we returned in early February from our annual trip to Texas.  This non-functioning dishwasher bothered Bill far more than it bothered me.  He wants everything to work as it should -- even if we do not use it.  Last week we finally got around to doing this repair job.

New heating element installed
In order to access the heating element of the dishwasher we first had to remove the stove, which is very easy to remove as long as one has strong arms and good flexibility.  The process is simple and straightforward; the movements required in the space available are not so simple -- at least not for us old folks.  But Bill managed.

We placed the stove on top of the saloon table and had the dishwasher element replaced in very short order.  That part of the combined project took maybe 15 minutes.  Bill screwed the cabinetry back into place to enclose the dishwasher and then we started on the stove.

What a job!  Bill is now an expert on the 4-burner Eno stove!

A few notes to fellow sailors.  Do not leave your stove gimbaled when at sea or at anchor.

Allow the stove to swing on the gimbals only while in use; lock it into fixed position when not in use.  We learned this years ago but not before some slight damage resulted from letting the stove swing all the time.

We discovered 2 things when we removed the stove.

Note worn groove near bolt head

1.  One supporting bolt had a badly worn area from the swinging motion of the stove.

Gas hose chafed against hull lining.  Lock it in fixed position!!

2.  The orange gas hose had chafed because of the swinging motion of the stove, not badly but enough to leave orange residue on the interior hull lining behind the stove.  We had discovered this when we removed the stove in Cyprus 2 years ago, and we had placed a section of wire reinforced hose over the orange gas line to protect it from any possible future damage (even though we now keep the stove in locked position 99% of the time).

Finishing dishwasher; stove top on the striped towel

Bill took that entire stove apart.  He ordered 2 new burner pots, all 4 burner tops, the solid state igniter, and the special mounting posts and screws.  The mounting screws broke on the 2 burners most frequently used; likely from the heat making these brittle over the years.  So Bill replaced both the burner pots and the mounting screws.  Unfortunately, the igniter had to be ordered from a different source and we are still waiting for that delivery.

Rear of stove/oven.  Totally clean now!
We managed without a stove for 4 days while awaiting the parts to arrive from the vendor in the UK.  Surprised us that it only took 4 days!  That is very fast service to Turkey!  Bill did not want to leave everything scattered about any longer while waiting for the igniter (he hates messiness), so against my wishes he reassembled the stove and mounted it back in place.

Good thing he did not follow my advice.  As we are still waiting for that igniter.  It would have been uncomfortable to live without cooking for so long.  

Bill documents everything.  Helps a lot
of Amel owners.

For now, I continue to light the stove with a long-handled butane lighter rather than pushing the button to spark the igniter.  Big deal.  Isn't that just so hard!

Today the bimini was returned from having a zipper replaced.  The sun causes zippers to harden and crack.  Seems that this is a constant process.  Rarely a year goes by that we don't need at least one zipper replaced or a seam restitched. The bimini was replaced in August 2012; wouldn't you think it last longer than this without needing repair.   We have removed the winter cockpit enclosure and switched to the summer extension.  Getting closer and closer for sailing season to begin.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Start the Schengen clock!

Note update at bottom of this blog posting.

Before I describe this day, here is what Bill posted on Facebook this morning:
One of the old fort entrances by ferry dock in Rhodes.

"Yesterday we rented a car with 2 other couples and drove 2 hours to a fast-ferry; which in 1 hour goes from Turkey to the island of Rhodes, Greece (Car = $50 and Ferry = $116 per couple - round trip, or total $166/couple).
Then, a taxi to a market that sells pork ($22 round trip/couple). Next, picked up ham, bacon, pork chops, salt pork, sausage, etc. ($104 for Judy and me). Had Lunch ham & cheese on a baguette ($33 for Judy and me). Back to the ferry and back to Turkey.
Crenelation above one of the fort entrances 

Turkish Customs officer called his supervisor to inspect my bag full of pork. Asked were we were going with all of that pork. We said our boat in Fethiye which is about 2 hours from Marmaris...he waived us through (whew!). Back in the car and 2 hours back to our boat.
Cost of having pork = Priceless"

No need to read any further.  That is a perfect synopsis.

L-R: Bill (BeBe), Robin & Rick (Endangered Species),
Barbary and Frank (Destiny)
Lunch in Rhodes

There are 3 American boats docked here at Yacht Classic Hotel in Fethiye for the winter.  All of us did travel back to the States during the winter and have all returned to our boats.  And we all needed to make a trip to somewhere in Greece so we could start our Schengen clocks.  As I have mentioned many times previously, the Schengen Treaty wreaks havoc for most non-European cruisers.  The only people who have no problems with the treaty limitations are those from New Zealand; they get 90 days in each country.  The rest of us are allowed only 90 days within the Schengen territory out of 180-day period.  Usually, because boats are a slow mode of transport, that really means 90 days IN and 90 days OUT.  But technically there is a way to get almost 6 months IN.  
Looking at tip of Rhodes harbor; Turkey in distance

It means making a day trip to a Schengen country.   Have your passport stamped in and out; that starts the first 180-day clock for Schengen purposes, with one day of your allotted 90 days being used for that one day in/out clearance.  So you have 89 days left to be in Schengen territory during the next 179 days.

This is what we did yesterday.  Cleared in and out of Greece on 11 March 2014; 180 days will end on the 7th day of September.  Then we can start a second 180-day period on 8 September 2014, or any day thereafter.   We can then stay within Schengen countries for another 90 days. 

More of the tip of the Rhodes harbor with Turkey
in distance.  Lovely views for lunch.

Each of the 3 boats owned by the 3 couples who visited Rhodes yesterday have very different plans for this year's sailing season.  Rick and Robin on Endangered Species will be sailing to Italy and then points farther west, as they plan to cross the Atlantic near the end of this year.  Frank and Barbara on Destiny plan to cruise the Greek isles, then return to Turkey and berth Destiny while they make land trips to Europe.  Bill and I on BeBe will be sailing through Greek isles of both Aegean and Ionian for a couple of months, then Montenegro for a few weeks (not EU or Schengen territory), and then Croatia for a couple of months (EU but not Schengen until 2015).  We will depart Croatia and sail to Italy.  We will depart Croatia around 7 Sept so that when we arrive in Italy on 9 September or after, then we will be starting a second 180-day period for the Schengen Treaty countries.  We will be able to stay in Italy until 7 December, when we must leave for minimum 90 days.  We will return to the USA, then return to Italy in March 2015 to start the process all over again.  All of the European countries bordering the Med are participants of the Schengen Treaty except for Croatia, which is supposed to join Schengen next year.  There really is nowhere for boats to go to get out of Schengen territory now that the northern Africa countries are no longer 'safe.'

Castle inside the old fort at Rhodes

The closest Greek isle to Fethiye is Rhodes.  Normally there is regular ferry service, but since this is the winter season the ferries will not resume operation from Fethiye until mid-April.  That is too late to help for any of us, so Bill rented a van large enough to accommodate the 6 of us and we drove to Marmaris to catch the ferry to Rhodes.  It was an easy trip and accomplished 2 things for all of us: 1) Start that Schengen 180-day clock; and, 2) Buy pork!  And there is very good pork to be purchased in Rhodes.

More of the old fort.  This thing is enormous!
Bill and I wanted to shop a Lidl store.  This is a German supermarket chain found in many European countries.  Their stores are small and the selection is minimal, but what is sold is good quality at good prices.  No frills; just good basics.  We had checked online before this trip and knew the nearest Lidl was supposedly 30 km distant, so Bill bargained with a taxi driver at the port to take us and Robin and Barbara to Lidl, wait 30 minutes for us to shop, and then deliver us to the nearest bar/restaurant to the taxi stand in the old city.  Frank and Rick would walk around while we shopped and would meet us there.

Orthodox priest waiting for the ferry to Marmaris.  This
photo does not do him justice.  Need to view him head-on
to appreciate the full effect of his garments.

Worked perfectly.  We 3 ladies filled our insulated bags with bacon, ham, tenderloins and pork chops.  Amazing how quickly one can shop when only want very specific items and space is limited as well as weight.  Back past the port and over to the old city where we easily located Rick and Frank.  We enjoyed a very leisurely lunch.  Then Bill, Rick and I found another taxi to bring us and all the loaded bags back to the port while Frank, Barbara and Robin walked back.

We all hit the Duty-Free shop for scotch, vodka and rum and whatever treasurers were to our individual liking.  Then a pleasant ferry ride back to Marmaris.  Rick did a mad dash to an electronics store and we were headed out of Marmaris at exactly 17:00 because the van had to be returned to the rental agency in Fethiye before 19:00.  We made it back with 10 minutes to spare.  A great day!

Mehmet with good-sized sea bass

As for happenings here in Fethiye, nothing much going on -- yea!

Mehmet is the dock master and during slow work times he enjoys spear fishing.  Here is one he shot from the dock recently.  It is rare to see fish this large in this area.  Way to go Mehmet!  Excellent shot right through the head.

Minjun (Cathy) and Peng (Roc) aboard BeBe

One day a couple from China were walking the docks and Bill chatted with them.  Later they returned and took some photos aboard BeBe.  Cathy and Roc (Minjun and Peng -- Chinese always have English names as well as Chinese names) were married 6 months ago.  They have been traveling all over the world since their wedding.  Minjun brings her wedding dress along and Peng photographs her in the wedding dress in each country.  They visited with us for an hour or so.  This is what we love about cruising foreign lands -- meeting people from different cultures.  Who would think of meeting a Chinese couple while traveling in Turkey!  Both Minjun and Peng speak good English but for any words they did not know they used their iPhones for translation.  Technology makes communication so easy today, even between different languages.  Hope they enjoy the rest of their visit to Turkey.

Oh!  And there was a big party at the hotel recently.   Held outdoors at night even though it was cold, live band and all.  Supposedly hosted by an Australian celebrity.  The staff at the hotel do not say which celebrities visit but there are many signed photos on a wall near the lobby.  One photo is of Russell Crowe.  Hmmmmm.....could it have been him visiting here again?  Rumor is that he is filming another movie which is being filmed on location in nearby Karakoy.  Do not know anything about this movie but if it is being filmed in Karakoy then just maybe it is a movie version of the book 'Birds Without Wings' -- and I would love to see a movie about that.

P.S. added 14 March 2014
A few people contacted us after reading this blog posting to inform us that we were wrong about the 90/180 Schengen rule and that what we were planning to do is illegal because the 180-day period is constantly rolling.  That is not true!  Below is a response from a contributor on Cruisers Forum to a question I posed about the 90/180 rule; I stated that one must leave for 90 days after staying 90 days within Schengen territory.  I would never accept advice from a poster on any forum as being correct but he provides a link to the actual court case pertaining specifically to what we plan to do.

"It seems that everyone gets this wrong. First, there is no rule about how long one must stay out of the Schengen Area before re-entering -- not 180 days, not 90 days. It all depends on one's history of prior visits. One must understand the Schengen concept of "first entry". Every "first entry" starts a new six month period during which up to 90 days may be spent in the Schengen Area. These 90 days need not be consecutive. Every entry is either a "first entry" or a re-entry. Only a "first entry" starts the six month clock running. One must be outside the Schengen Area at midnight six months after every "first entry". Then the next entry will be another "first entry" and one has another 90 days -- even if one was in the Schengen Area for 89 days in the previous three months.

If one is entering, departing, entering, departing, entering, .... frequently, then it becomes necessary to trace all the way back to the beginning in order to figure out which entries are "first entries" and which are re-entries within a six month period. Staying outside the SchengenArea for six months would break the chain and it would not be necessary to trace the entries and exits further back to a time before a six month hiatus.

The European Court of Justice case which definitively interpreted these rules is Nicolae Bot v Prefet du Val-de-Marne." 

Link to that court case:

Read the court case.  What we plan to do is perfectly within the law regarding adherence to Schengen Treaty tourist visa limits.

Got a headache yet?  We do.  People often ask what is the most difficult thing we have to deal with as we cruise around the world.  Our answer is always BUREAUCRACY!  Dealing with Customs and Immigration rules for each country.  It is a royal pain.  But necessary.  After all, it is their countries; they can write whatever laws they wish.  It is our obligation to obey.
Added 17 March 2014

A friend continued to research current rules regarding Schengen day limitations.

(I do not understand the final paragraph in  '2. The short-stay calculator" in the above link.) 

As of 18 Oct 2013 the rules changed yet again.  The judgment of the court case of Nicolae Bot v Prefet du Val-de-Marne is no longer valid.  The new rules are 90-days in within ANY 180-day period, with no specific beginning date or ending date for that 180-day period.  Isn't that just as clear as mud!

Basically, I construe that to mean the rules are now what I originally thought were the rules years ago: can only have 90 days within all Schengen countries combined and then must leave for 90 days.

Good damn luck doing this on a boat.  Really, I am sick to death of dealing with this.  
Cruising the Med is just not worth this stress and I will be glad to wave goodbye.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Weekly Market Day

As always, click on any image for larger view.

Oranges, pricing converts to 21 cents per pound
As I have said many times, we are going to really miss Turkey when we leave for the final time in early May.  And one of the things we will miss most are the fabulous vegetables and produce sold at the weekly Market Day that is held in every town.  Organically grown local produce at bargain basement prices.  The selection is not as wide as what one can find in any supermarket back home, because this is all seasonal.  If it is not harvest season for a particular veggie or fruit, then you will not find it here.

Lemons also 21 cents lb.

Apples, also 21 cents lb.

Tomatoes 53 cents lb, at least 6 varieties

In Fethiye the weekly Market Day is held on Tuesdays.  It is less than 2 mile walk from our dock to the market.  Sometimes we walk to and from; sometimes we catch the dolmus (small van-bus) back home from the stop nearest the market.  Depends on how much I have bought that day.

Artichokes, 21 cents each

Last week I finally succumbed and purchased a rolling shopping cart to make shopping the various vendor stalls at the weekly market a bit easier.  We could not find a good cart and had to settle for a poor-quality one that I hope will last a year.  As luck would have it, several days after I bought the poor-quality one then one of the shops on the main street received a shipment of the better-quality carts like I would have preferred.  Oh well; it is what it is.

Cauliflower 42 cents per head, red cabbage  45 cents each

Recently on Facebook I posted a list of all the vegetables that I had purchased one Tuesday at the market.  People were surprised at so much for so little cost.  This is because we are shopping where the local people shop and not in the supermarket.  So this week I brought along the camera to snap a few photos of our weekly Market Day in Fethiye.

Bill patiently waiting for me to catch up

Broccoli was 47 cents per large head.  Yes, I bought!

The 'Ronco Man'
demonstrating a manual miracle
kitchen utensil

As one walks toward the market stalls from the main road, the walkway is lined with rural women who have brought whatever they have available to sell that week.  They put down cloths on the walkway edges and lay out their goods for sale -- produce, eggs, herbs, vegetables, ayran (that nasty salty yogurt buttermilk drink), olive oil, headscarves, whatever.  I always try to make it a point to buy something from at least one of these women.  This is the best place in town to purchase that delicious cold-pressed unfiltered olive oil.  

Hand-carved wooden cooking utensils
Proceed down the walkway a short distance and the 'cheaper' tables are lined on the right side.  The main market is farther down and this area does not get as much traffic, so the main market area is the more desirable location for the vendors.  Often the prices on this walkway are a few cents cheaper than in the main market area, although the selection remains the same.

This market is pretty big.  The only market which we have seen that is larger is the one held at Muğla, and that one goes on for blocks in several directions.  

Olives of all sorts
Cheeses, all kinds white
In the center of the market are located the vendors selling olives and cheeses.  Most of the cheeses are homemade.  It is wise to taste before buying!  The cheeses favored by most Turks are too salty for my taste.  I finally have learned to taste before buying, and no one ever objects to handing out free samples to prospective customers.  

Dried beans, lentils, rice, couscous, etc & more cheese

Walk on past the cheese and olives and there are yet more produce vendors.  Then one enters the housewares vendors.  Wind around through that area and find shoes and handbags.  Then cross over to the clothing and textiles area of the market where one can find just about any article of clothing desired.  Honestly, I don't have the patience or the energy to shop that section of the market more than a quick walk through.  This is the place where we purchased scarves as Christmas gifts for all our female relatives.  At a price that no one would believe.  Suffice it to say that these were the least expensive Christmas gifts we have ever bought. 
 What a deal!

It goes on and on

There also are pastry vendors scattered about.  And one tented section where one can sit and enjoy all types of food and beverage (no beer or alcohol, of course).

Everyday produce market, about half of it
Gorgeous leaks everywhere this week
21 cents per pound

On the way home from the market we walked through the fish market.  I wanted shrimp (prawns) to stir-fry with the snow peas that I found at the market this week.  Next to the fish market there also is a produce market.  This market is there all the time; quality is good and the prices are not much more than at the weekly market.  

Fish Market surrounded by restaurants to cook it

Town quay showing more activity
The fish market in Fethiye is a special experience.  It is built 'inside' of a block, meaning that retail shops face the sidewalk all the way around the block and the fish market in in the inside or middle of that block.  There are 4 entryways to the fish market area.  Surrounding the fish market are small restaurants.  One purchases a seafood selection; the fishmonger cleans whatever is purchased and delivers it to the restaurant of your choosing, where it is cooked according to your instructions.  The restaurants charge about 6 lira (less than $3) to cook the seafood.  Salads, sides, breads, deserts and beverages (yes, beer and wine is sold here) are reasonably priced.  We have eaten here a few times with friends and each time was good and fun.  

More of town quay
On this day, however, we did not want a restaurant to cook the shrimp.  We asked the vendor to clean the shrimp rather than deal with doing that on the boat; then we were on our way back to the boat.  

Every day old men sit on the quay
for hours, quietly talking

Need to try this!

On the way out we took an exit which we had not previously used and discovered a small butcher shop.  He had a wall case of dry-aged beef!  That is the first time we have seen that in Turkey.  I plan to visit that shop again and try a few steaks or a small roast if the prices are not exorbitant.

Boy fishing on  town quay
Caught one!

Walking back along the quay it is obvious that spring is just around the corner.  Seemed to be more people about than just a few weeks ago.  And some of the tourist boats have removed their winter coverings and are starting to spruce up for the upcoming tourist season.

Orange trees everywhere!

I noticed that orange and lemon trees are prolific early this season.  These trees grow wild all over the place. 

Spring flowers already

And in a few spots there are flowers of spring already showing up.  

What happened to winter this year! 

Almost like it never happened.

Cleaning carpets

We have started spring cleaning aboard S/V BeBe.  The carpeting is held in place by velcro.  Easy to remove for cleaning.  We brought all the carpet pieces up on deck and Bill used the pressure washer to clean them.  Nice!

You know how in the States our advertising shows things like Cokes with burgers and fries.  Here is a label off a bottle of Diet Coke, which is called Coca-Cola Light everywhere outside the USA.  People in other countries do not like the word 'diet' and never label a product with that word.  This label speaks toward the healthier food choices of people in this part of the world as compared to what we chose to promote to eat back home.  Salad rather than burger and fries.

.Remember the photos I posted recently of the snow capped mountains in the distance.  The snow had already melted a lot up there before I took those photos.  Here is a photo taken this week.  Notice there is a lot less snow; can barely see it on the most distant mountaintop.  Will be gone soon.