Thursday, 26 April 2007

Haul Out continues

Work progressing here but at the usual slow pace. Nic was trying to finish off sanding Irony's bottom Tuesday and they ran out of water! It has to be brought in by lorry from a spring, not an aspect we were aware of. Very annoying because, as you will see from the attached pic, it's a horribly messy job he's been doing for 2 days and was hoping to put to rest yesterday so we could get on with the painting.

Our proximity with the local wildlife here is possibly a little too close for comfort, I was just about to walk into the loo and something moving under the sink caught my turned out to be a snake! Although skinny it was at least 2ft long, bright green and very active! I now have to go in there beating a stick around to make sure the area is clear. I am only glad I spotted it before I sat down on the loo.

Our schedule has slipped so, allowing for paint to cure the requisite number of days, we are not going to be back in the water before Wednesday.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Haul Out at Pruva

Just in case you thought we were having too much fun...we are now hauled out at a boatyard called Pruva. Good view across Marmaris Bay but limited on civilised facilities.

Instead of coming out on a travel lift we have come out on a "sled" which is a new experience. It's a metal contraption which slides into the water. Once the boat is cradled in it, it is slowly winched up on to the shore. The rest of the journey to our resting place was on greased planks. Quite an operation to lift our 26 tons but they are very used to it and lift out much bigger boats than us. The method is advantageous to the way Irony is built - less stress on the hard "chines" along the hull so the paint doesn't come off on the weld lines.

Hopefully we will be back in the water by next Monday at the latest. It's not a pleasant experience - the loo and shower are VERY basic. I have a key to one area so I don't have to share with all the boatyard workers but I do share with some very large spiders! The shower comes out at a dribble and there is no light so we have to grope around by torchlight after sunset. Everything is filthy from all the work going on and because we are out of the water, we have no water or drainage on board. This means any water used has to be taken down the ladder in a bucket. Peeing at night is via a funnel into a bottle which as to be emptied the next day. Oh joy!

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Road Trip 10-12 April 2007

Time for a bit of a travelogue after our excursion last week, for pictures visit

We had to take the engine shafts to Izmir, around 300 km from Marmaris, to have some modifications done which were not possible here. If we were very luck and got the shafts to the workshop before 9am they had promised to d the work in one day so it seemed like a good idea to extend the trip to visit a couple of sites we really wanted to see before we left Turkey. We ended up having 5 other friends join us (strangley enough they were all people we met first in Tunisia!) and hired a minibus for 180 euros for 3 days.

Off we set last Tuesday at 4am and found our way to the workshop which was located just outside Izmir. No one spoke a word of English so negotiations had to be done via mobile phone with the workshop we had been dealing with in Marmaris and sign language - somewhat worrying for such an important job. Anyway, they assured us the work would be finished by 5pm.

We headed into Izmir, a large coastal city with a huge population. The waterfront has been developed since Nic & I passed through over 10 years ago and is far better than we remember it. We spent the day exploring the bazaar, getting some dive tanks certified and various other errands. Nervously we returned to pick up the shafts and discovered they had decided it was best to turn new ones instead of modifying the old ones - all in a day!

From Izmir we drove to a small town called Selcuk, our best option for the night. It was late when we arrived but we found a sweet pansiyon for the equivalent of around £12 for double room including breakfast. The next morning we drove up to a village called Sirince which Nic and I have visited before but the others hadn't seen. It's very picturesque and was worth a short stop to wander around.

Our next stop was Pammukale ("Cotton Castle"), a natural wonder caused by a hot spring bubbling up over a plateau, cooling and depositing calcium carbonate. What we see now has been accumulating for millenia creating white travertine (hard chalk) terraces. The therapeutic properties and bizzarre appearance of the springs were know about for thousands of years before atown was founded here in 2nd century BC. The town, Hierapolis is mentioned in Paul's Epistle to the (neighbouring) Colossians and Philip the Apostle is thought to have been martyred here with his 7 sons.

After walking up through the travertines we bathed the thermal baths - the sacred pool of the ancients bubbling up from its bottom at 35C over marble columns and capitals. It was amazing experience, a bit like swimming in warm soda water. There was an extraordinary refraction effect in the water which made us all look like distorted dwarves.

The next day we drove to Aphrodisias, one of Rome's most cultured Asian cities and earliest occupied sites in Anatolia. There was a fertility cult there since Neolithic times culminating in worship of Hellenistic Aphrodite. It didn't develop from a shrine to a town until the 2nd century BC. It later became a Christian site and was finally abandoned in the 13th century. The ruins are magnificent including a 30,000 seat stadium, one of the largest and best preserved and the site of gladiatorial games until the 4th century.

It was a full but interesting and enjoyable 3 days. We are now back in the marina and Nic has re-installed the shafts and we are mobile again. We are planing to leave the marina tomorrow and spend the night at anchor. On Friday we will be taken out of the water on a sled (new experience and probably the subject of my next email!) at a "marina" (small, basic and very Turkish) nearby. We are hoping to get Irony's bottom scraped and repainted and be back in the water in 7-10 days.

With luck we will sail over to Rhodes for Nic's birthday on 1st May. Once we have provisioned we will start sailing east along the Turkish coast to Syria.