LOCKDOWN Blog

30 April 2021 – LOCKDOWN blog

Countrywide, Turkey has just entered another serious lockdown to slow the COVID-19 pandemic. For me, it’s an opportunity to catch up on another blog entry.

When in New Zealand five years ago, we had our tanks professionally cleaned. A man came to our boat with a powerful pump, flexible and transparent hoses, and a very fine filter. He spent several hours “polishing” the fuel, and sucking out obvious dirt and debris. It was impressive, and I wish that this type of service was more commonly available. Unfortunately, we have rarely seen this service offered, and certainly not in the past five years. It’s a shame though, because you could pay for the equipment with just the first job!

I have a fuel polishing system installed, and I do use it, and the pickup tubes are nearly at the bottom of the tanks, but the pump is not very strong – so the suction is a bit weak. Nevertheless, due to the near complete absence of proper filling stations (we have been using jerry cans for years), water and debris does end up in the tanks. Unlike many other cruisers, we’ve never had a serious problem with fuel, mainly because I pay attention to this issue.

I frequently run the fuel polishing at dockside, and drain a little bit of fuel/water out of the filters. Since water is heavier than diesel, it sits at the bottom of the tank, and this is where diesel critters / algae grows. Looking back on the tank cleaning service in NZ, it seemed that nearly all of the problem existed at the bottom of the tanks. Therefore, since there was no service here, I decided to make something of my own. I built this system using a heavy duty Ford truck diesel filter and manifold, and a Turkish built 12V fuel transfer pump. The pump consumes 175W at 12V (I use a long extension to the bow battery) and puts out a whopping 2400L per hour. I connect the 3/4” input hose to a “wand” or “plastic pickup tube” that I can move around on the bottom of the tank(s). After about an hour of pumping/polishing and moving the wand around on the bottom, I can thoroughly clean the tank, noticeably picking up tiny bits of dirt and sludge. It’s nothing that would “stop” the engine, but if I left it unattended – it could. The equipment stows away in my engine room – ready for the next time.

A few weeks ago, Diane and I had the first (of two) vaccinations against COVID-19. The vaccine most commonly used here in Turkey is one of the Chinese vaccines, SINOVAC. This vaccine is made from deactivated viral particles, unlike the controversial ones made using mRNA (Moderna, Phizer etc). We are due to get the booster next week. It’s free for all residents.

We normally do our own rope-work, or running rigging as its called, but, we have had a long standing problem with our main halyard – the line that lifts the main sail. Although the masthead sheaves are designed to take 9/16” rope, it seems that every line that we use ends up being frayed at the top. We have gone from 9/16” to 12mm and even 1/2” but the bulk of the eye splice always frays a little, even if protected with an additional Dyneema sleeve. This is what I’m talking about, as indicated with the red arrow.

Inadvertently, this situation was actually made worse when we had a new mainsail produced 3 years ago when we were in Malaysia. The sailmaker made the vertical length of the sail just a few centimetres longer, and the head had a horizontal top, instead of the more traditional triangular head.

We figured that either we needed to shorten the sail (trim the top/head or the bottom/foot) or do something creative with the halyard. After much consideration, we decided that the cheaper option was to simply replace the halyard with a 47m length of 12mm double braided polyester rope spliced to a 3m length of 8mm Dyneema. We contracted the sailmaker to do this, and this is the result.

At the very top is the eye splice connecting the shackle, that attaches to the mainsail.

It remains to be seen whether this will be adequate or not. If not, then the only step left is sail modification. We won’t know if that will be necessary until after extensive sail trials.

A few weeks ago, before the strict lockdown came into place, we were fortunate to have lunch at a wonderful restaurant near the Alanya Castle – with a view “to die for”. This is what will make this country so memorable for us.

On another occasion (actually Diane’s birthday), we had a private dinner inside a small restaurant that was supposed to be closed. Wow, the food was so good.

One afternoon while walking the streets, we came upon this sight. The red arrow on the bottom points to a yellow bag, at street level. The red arrow at the top points to a woman on the third floor apartment balcony. Somebody came by, and dropped something off in the bag – and she is about to haul this up using a rope. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before in the city.

On the same day (maybe), we went through the Alanya museum downtown, and had a stroll through the adjacent park.

We have renewed our contract with Alanya Marina, and will be staying until July 2022. The price is quite good, and we are very pleased with the surroundings. Although we did consider other marinas, this city of Alanya has quite a good industrial area. My favourite shop is the Dere Machine Shop, where I have had many things repaired or fabricated. Good quality and very good prices.

Our boat is based on North American voltage electricity (110V) rather than the 220V used in Turkey. Actually, USA, Canada and Mexico – use 110V whereas “the rest of the world” uses 220V or 240V. I have installed five 220V outlets, but those only work at dockside – not when we are anchored. We have some special appliances (washer, kettle, rice cooker etc) that are 110V (that we can run on solar power when on anchor). They cannot easily be replaced and are often difficult to repair. Our rice cooker, for example, has a “non-stick” surface, similar to Teflon – which is applied at the factory. Now – the pot (unique to this rice cooker) is badly chipped and falling apart.

We are faced with the problem of replacing the rice cooker (110V model is not produced in Turkey), replacing the pot (must be an exact fit) – or getting the pot “re-coated”. For example, an online purchase of a replacement rice cooker is about $ 75 USD for the appliance and another $ 175 USD for shipping/handling/tax. If we can find a company in Turkey that makes these kind of pots, we are hoping that they might be able to re-coat this one. This is one thing that — we’re currently working on.

More of our day-to-day life

3 April 2021

Recently, we had a problem with our Maytag washer. I installed this washer, and built the cabinetry around it a month before we left Kingston in April 2009 – 12 years ago. 

We last had a problem (coin in the sump pump caused a rattling noise) when in Australia 4 years ago. This time, the problem was with loud thumping noises made when spinning at high rates. So, we took the day to essentially “take apart” a large section of the galley, so that we could access the washing machine. The counter and dish racks had to be removed. I even took off the door of the front loading washer, in order to make it easier to move out – and lift up onto our salon table, where I could work on it.

Once on the table, with the rear panel removed, the problem was apparent. This front-loading washer drum is “hung” with two springs – and the motion dampened by two shock absorbers. These two shock absorbers were completely ineffective, and needed to be replaced. 

Much to my surprise, Maytag washing machines are still made and marketed – although just not in Turkey. Here I easily found Bosch replacements, for a cheap price (under $20 CDN for both). I replaced the shock absorbers, but considered the springs to be still good (but I sprayed them with CorrosionX oil). After putting the washing machine back in place, the next challenge was to reinstall the door – and this is where I ran into trouble. It seems that the door with a front loader is a critical piece of equipment, and very sensitive to alignment. After trying for an hour, I gave up and called in the service technician, the same guy who sold me the two shock absorbers. He came and fixed the problem in about 20 minutes. It cost 80TL (under $14 CDN) for his on-site visit and repair, and then I had to pay the marina another 350TL (actually 35 euros) for their “tax”. In this marina, like all marinas in Turkey, all repair work on the boats must be conducted “through” the office. Normally, that means that they handle outsourcing the manpower and parts, and a $50 job quickly becomes a $500 job. In this case, I sourced the parts and labour myself, and had to pay them the day rate of 35 euros to have this technician work on my boat. The fact that he finished the job in 20 minutes and not 8 hours is a “red herring”. I still had to pay 35 euros. Isn’t that interesting?

When we left Canada 12 years ago, we first used a USB cabled external antenna/amplifier to pickup weak wifi signals. A few years later, I discovered IslandTime PC – and bought a fully configured Ubiquiti Bullet and 12V navigation computer. This Bullet worked very well for us, for years. When in NZ, I found that the 5GHz networks had less traffic on them than the 2.4GHz networks, so I bought and installed a Mikrotik Groove, alongside my Bullet. I used the Groove and 5GHz omni-directional antenna for some networks and the Bullet and 2.4GHz antenna for others, flip flopping back and forth from month to month – depending on the network. Finally, when in India two years ago, the Bullet “died in the sun”. So I ordered a replacement Ubiquiti Bullet M2 HP through Amazon – but took delivery in Canada. We had planned to return to Canada in 2020, but because of COVID-19, were unable to. This left dozens of spares and replacement parts stranded in Canada. We have a Canadian friend right here in Alanya who’s son flew from Canada to Turkey for a visit this past winter – and we were very grateful that he was able to hand carry this replacement Ubiquiti Bullet for us. I finally installed it a few weeks ago, and we are back to normal (using the configuration file provided by Bob on IslandTime PC). Thanks Bob. 

After years of living in countries where the toilets are fitted with nozzles or have a hand sprayer nearby – we finally decided to install one in the aft cabin. I would love to install one of these “butt spraying” toilets in our boat, but boat toilets are very different to “land-based” home toilets.

Our toilets are Lavac Zenith vacuum toilets, and it would be way too difficult to drill through the Royal Dalton China bowl to fit a sprayer – so the next best thing is a “butt sprayer”, as shown in this photo.

A few months ago, in order to completely eliminate galvanic corrosion (which seemed to happen more with us being plugged into docks in 220-land and running A/C), I removed two Guest Galvanic Isolators. I reconfigured the existing Victron Isolation Transformer to completely isolate the live, neutral and ground wires. This is a photo of the installed 220V Isolation Transformer.

This past week, I completed the installation of a second identical Victron Isolation Transformer. 

This one is especially for the 110V circuit, something that we won’t connect up for several years – not until we return to “110-land”, North America and much of the Caribbean. Now, I am convinced that I have done “all that can be done” to prevent galvanic corrosion from happening. The only thing remaining is to check my zincs every month, and replace them as necessary. 

Odds and Ends

15 March 2021 – Odds and Ends

We have been suffering with an erratic tachometer for nearly 20 years. I know these things are expensive, but I asked the local Volvo dealer to give me a price on a replacement one. It was going to be 450 euros. Now, to put that in perspective, when I bought the engine in February 1993, it cost me $10K CDN, plus taxes. I cannot bear to spend 450 euros ($671 CDN) or nearly 7% of the purchase price of my engine on a single tachometer. Alternatively, I bought one from an online company, parts4engines.com and they supplied a generic substitute (which works just fine) for about 75 euros. I had to install and program it myself, but it meets the requirement.

Diane and I have been working on refinishing our cabin sole (the floor) for nearly a month. The original floor is a laminate, made by Pergo, that I bought in Home Depot and installed circa 2001. Over time, the floor has been chipped, scratched and dented and it has become increasingly difficult to cover this up.

The solution we came up with was a four stage effort: 1. crack filling; 2. sanding; 3. staining; and sealing. For the first stage, crack filling, I chose to use a two-part polyester putty, made in Turkey and commonly used for automotive work.

This seemed to be a good product to use, easily sand-able and stuck well inside the cracks and dents in the floor.

The next step, staining, was Diane’s responsibility. She used a foam brush, and this water-based light coloured stain commonly used for decks and outdoor wood. She brushed on two coats of this stain, with 24 hours between each coat.

This photo is of the forward cabin, after two coats of stain on the “removable hatches” and one coat on the remainder of the floor.

We realized that the best way to do this project while actually living on the boat, was to first coat the removable hatches, put them back in place and then cover the remainder of the floor. This way, we could get around from one end of the boat to the next, while stepping on the hatch panels. It made life a little awkward for a few weeks, but it was a good project to undertake while COVID-19 restrictions were in place. This is the Turkish made glossy urethane that we used.

This is the hallway by the engine room after staining, and then after urethane finish – to show the difference with the original floor.

We are closing in on the last portion of this project, and are just painting the last remaining area now – the aft cabin floor. In this case, we decided to make a ramp (using one of our existing fender boards) so that we could walk in and out of the aft cabin – even with a wet floor.

We are very pleased with our floor renovation, and once the carpets are down – it looks super.

On another topic, last week we went for a short road trip to Antalya to visit our friends Wayne and Christine, and their “boat under construction” MÖBIUS. MÖBIUS is an aluminum motor yacht, 78 foot LOA, being built in the Antalya Free Zone by Naval Yachts. It is quite the vessel and well worth exploring their website to learn more about the yacht and they myriad of systems that are involved.

Also, I would be remiss if I did not mention that Diane made us a “key lime pie” for Valentines Day. It was clearly the best key lime pie I’ve had in years! She did a great job using local products, including fresh limes.

We go to the fresh market every Friday morning, and I thought this photo of Diane sampling cheese (we both did) was noteworthy. Masks have to be lowered to taste!

We have all sampled “Turkish Delight” at various times, but last week at the market – we bought 2 kg of absolutely fresh Turkish Delight. Wow it tastes so good, and fresh. It was not the “filling remover” sticky-gooey candy we have had in the past. It was rather like a blend of marshmallows and a crunchy bar – with dozens of different flavours. To me, it looks odd, perhaps “unappealing” – but it is very, very fresh and tasty.

Another project that has come and gone is new ZINCS. We have 7 zinc anodes on JOANA, to protect the hull from galvanic corrosion. One of these anodes is on the rudder, and rarely need to be changed. The other 6 need to be changed every 12-24 months, depending on the circumstances. When we left Canada 12 years ago, I had a supply of these custom anodes, but had more made in Pangkor Malaysia 3 years ago. Now, looking forward into time, I envisioned even more required, so I had 24 made through the local chandlery. Kemal arranged to have these cast at a foundry in Izmir Turkey (Turkey has almost 1500 foundries) at a price of 320TL (even cheaper than in Malaysia) and notably less than the 690TL we were quoted in Antalya. It pays to shop around.

A final item of interest is the Turkish truckers. I frequently see them stopped by the side of the road having lunch. I’ve never noticed this kind of behaviour amongst European or North American truckers. They seem to eat fresh, every day.

Roadtrip to Sapadere Kanyon

6 March 2021 – ROADTRIP to Sapadere Kanyon (Canyon)

We took another road trip with Pam and Eric (SV PIED A MER), this time to Sapadere Canyon about 45 km from the Alanya city centre.

We first drove along the coast heading SE, passing banana plantations, greenhouses, and countless resorts, and then turned into the mountains.

Our driver Kareem drove us first to his family home and then through the Sapadere Canyon road to the Canyon itself. This was actually his mother’s home, and she spends the winter living with her sons (one at a time) and then returns in the summer – and then they come to visit.

On the way to Sapadere Canyon, you get the feeling that you are traveling through the heart of the Taurus Mountains.

You pass through small villages, and endless picturesque scenes, as the car moves higher in altitude.

Eventually, the snow and ice are found at the edge of the road in the shade.

At the end of the road, there is an area where you can easily park your car, several artificial ponds, a small restaurant, a picnic area and a gift shop. There was a modest entry fee of about $2 CDN per person. The waterfall and natural pool are at the end of a 750m walking path at the end of the road – through the deep canyon.

The water pipes shown in this photo provided fresh, clean, “pressurized” water for many of the local villages. We read that swimming in this canyon water is popular in the summertime, but it is WAY TOO COLD to do that in March.

Life (this tree, perched on the edge of the canyon wall) always “finds a way”.

We enjoyed lunch at a picnic table outside and then headed back home.

ROADTRIP to Marmaris and back

12 February 2021 – ROADTRIP to Marmaris and back

We just returned from another road trip with Pam and Eric from Pied-a-Mer. This time, we went all the way NW to Marmaris, passing through – and checking out the marinas at Finike, Kas, Fethiye, and Marmaris. Our interest was three-fold, exploring further East away from our usual neighbourhood, visiting cruiser friends in Turkey, and scoping out other marinas. Altogether, it was nearly 600km, mostly by the coastline, although we took the mountain road on the way back.

We stopped overnight at Finike, to see our friends Steve and Liz on SV LIBERTE. We first met Steve and Liz when In Trinidad in 2012, and many times in between.

Finike Marina is one of the smaller, cozy marinas in the Setur Group with a large live-aboard / expat community. It is set in the agricultural city of Finike. Both the marina and town are warm and inviting.

The next morning, we drove through the town of Kas, a beautiful village set on a hillside.

This whole coastline is just so picturesque. The marina at Kas is definitely “up market”, and nearly full with very glossy boats. Even from the highway, the views along this coastline are stunning.

The last stop was at Marmaris, where we met up with George Greenberg (of SV RIO) who we met last year as he was passing through the Red Sea. George’s RIO is currently berthed at Marmaris Yacht Marina. I actually inquired about a berth at Netsel Marina, but they are completely full, and very expensive (more than double our cost at Alanya Marina). The great thing about Marmaris is that it has a lot of shops and services for yachts, more than we have seen in a long time. Sadly, we feel that this area is just too glossy, too glitzy and too expensive for us “cruiser trash”.

Here, we are having a cheeseburger “on the street” COVID-19 style (take out food only). Our trip did not violate any of the current COVID-19 restrictions in Turkey. Masks and social distancing are becoming the norm here. Although it is perfectly acceptable to remove your mask when eating!

The next morning, we headed back on the road and took the mountain route for a change in scenery. At one point, Diane checked the “compass app” on her iPhone 6SE and saw an elevation of 1400m and rising. There was snow in the distance, but getting closer by the minute.

It was definitely the coldest we have been in years. We were very close to the snow line at 1030am, and we were still in the shade.

On the way back down through the mountains, heading to Antalya, the surrounding clouds and valleys were beautiful. We noticed many of the same greenhouses that are in the Alanya area but they were NOT growing bananas, and the plastic was OFF the greenhouse roofs, probably because of the danger of winter snow loads.

A few weeks ago, we bought and tried out some kumquats (in the market) – for the first time. A kumquat isn’t much bigger than a grape, yet this bite-sized fruit fills your mouth with a big burst of sweet-tart citrus flavour. In Chinese, kumquat means “golden orange”. In contrast with other citrus fruits, the peel of the kumquat is sweet and edible, while the juicy flesh is tart. Diane used them with papaya to make some chutney, that we eat with our spicy dishes. In this photo, the kumquats have a white circle around them.

I figure that no boat blog is complete without evidence of some maintenance work. So here is a photo of the toilet diaphragm pump in our aft head (toilet). It was stuck for a day, so I had to take it apart and over-haul it.

This maintenance work (done about every two years, only when I HAVE to) involves taking the pump apart, cleaning it with various cleaners and chemicals, replacing the rubber bits and then putting it back together – and hoping it makes a seal. Amongst all the other things you might expect to find in a toilet pump, the parts are usually encrusted in crystals that are formed by the combination of urine and sea water. This stuff has to be thoroughly cleaned out. Its much easier, but more expensive, just to replace the rubber flapper and the two valves.

ROADTRIP

24 January 2021 – ROADTRIP – Alanya Marina Turkey

Even though COVID-19 restrictions are in place here in Turkey (like nearly everywhere in the world), we were still able to take a well deserved break from the Alanya area, primarily to visit Mamure Castle about 130km East along the coastal highway 400 – situated on a sandy beach near the town of Anamur (Mersin province). Mamure is reported to be the best preserved Roman castle on the Mediterranean coast in Turkey. For our trip, we had beautiful blue skies but cool weather, starting at 12C in the morning and 16C in the afternoon.

There is snow in the mountains, a good thing because it is very dry here in the summertime.

Unfortunately, when we reached Mamure Castle, it was CLOSED. Consequently, it will be forever remembered as “Manure” Castle in my mind. In the days before departure, we did our research – did everything except actually phone the place, which is pretty difficult for us to actually do. We were attracted to the place based on a Facebook post on the Alanya Expats site a few months ago. When we arrived, it was obviously in a state of disarray and a worker told it was under construction/renovation – something I thought was finished last year. Bummer. We didn’t even try to bully our way inside, just drove away and took a few external photos.

We drove on, heading back in the direction of home in Alanya – and picked up some take-out food in Anemur (all the restaurants in Turkey are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions) and then took a few minutes recalibrate. We discovered that there was a very good alternative site, only a few minutes away. These are the ancient ruins of Anemurium.

But first – our take-out lunch.

Anemurium dates back to the Hellenistic period and is nearly 2000 years old. The ruins are completely vacant now, and stand within view of the Turkish city of Anemur. This is a tourist sign or placard at the entrance to Anemurium. Based on my experience to date, ruins like this in Turkey are always accompanied by good signage written in Turkish, English and sometimes other languages as well.

There are bits and pieces of the aqueduct still in place, although obviously not serviceable. We were looking into a window to the past.

This is “The Odeon” (dating to the 2nd century AD), a special covered structure which was built for musical performances in ancient times.

In addition to performances by the arts, it is known that these buildings also facilitated council meetings. This particular Anemurium Odeon is one of the best examples still standing in the province of Anatolia. It measures 31m X 21m, is 10m high, has four facades and two stories. It has the capacity to accommodate 925-1130 people, consisting of 15 rows of seats, an orchestra, scene backstage and vaulted gallery. Unfortunately, the top canopy or sun cover has long since fallen to ruin.

Here are Eric and Pam (from SV PIED-A-MER III) and Diane.

I was there too!

Diane took these flower photos, and I thought they were cool too.

We had an uneventful drive back to the marina, and I can offer an update on my solar project. I’ve changed out 4 of the 10 solar panels (the back 4, since they are nearly 20 years old), bumping up our solar production to 1820W. I replaced 4 X 75W panels with 4 X 190W panels in “nearly” the same footprint. The new panels actually hang out the back a little bit, which isn’t a bad thing. This required me to move around a few antennae, but things are all working fine.

I also replaced the Blue Sky MPPT solar energy controllers with Victron MPPT controllers (100/50) in order to handle the current, leave room for future expansion and so that I can follow the systems on my iPhone with the Bluetooth app.

A few days ago, I had a record 56A coming into the battery bank (after satisfying the loads). This will only get higher as we move towards summer! The extra current goes into the water heater, as planned.

Finally launched

29 December 2020 – Finally Launched – Alanya Marina Turkey

Its almost the end of the year. As I’ve done many times before, I’m posting a year end snap shot of our travels. In 2020, we broke free from Cochin India, sailing by and stopping at Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan and Egypt – and stopping at Alanya Marina Turkey. This was a total of about 3980nm. 

We have been “on the hard” for nearly four months, and we have finally finished all the painting work and yesterday – launched JOANA.

The sandblasting contractor tried his best not to damage the white boot stripe, but in the end I decided to give him a contract to sand and spray that single white stripe. Of course, while he was working on this, we gave in and decided to repaint the hull (above the waterline to the deck) as well. The hull was last painted in December 2017 in Pangkor Malaysia with Jotun Hardtop XP polyurethane (colour AWL Grip – Jade Mist Green) – but we had lots of bumps and scratches from local fishing boats over the past 3 years. This time, we wanted a glossier finish so we paid “top dollar” for Jotun Mega-gloss polyurethane, and again went with the same colour. Here, the contractor is mid-way through sanding and washing the “green”.

He continued to sand, spray primer, sand/fill and spray more primer.

Then he sprayed 4 coats of the final glossy paint.We were very impressed with the end result. 

After the contractor finished sandblasting and spraying the bottom with epoxy (4 coats), a few weeks ago – Diane and I carried on with 6 rolled coats of the same epoxy, giving the bottom at least 600 mils of Jotun Universal epoxy paint. This was going on in the gaps when the contractor was painting the grey/green hull. Next for us was 4 rolled coats of Coppercoat, together with our friends Pam and Eric (Pied-a-Mer III) on the same day. This is the same antifouling paint we have been using since September 2008.

Diane and I put some new vinyl letters on, and presto, JOANA was looking like new again. 

We even adjusted the painted booted stripe, lowering it a bit (maybe 6”) at the bow, and raising it a bit at the stern (maybe 4”) in ordering to make the boat look a little more “balanced” in the water. We borrowed a laser level from another boater, and laid the red LED line at night. 

I found time to replace the 1500W element in the water heater with a dual element: 500W AC and 300W DC. 

My theory is that when there is excess solar energy (in the summer), this can be diverted to make hot water, instead of just heating the cabin like a heat sink. While I was at it, I also changed out the magnesium anode that is part of the drain. 

Our last aluminum hot water tank only made it to the 4 year point when it started leaking! I had to buy a 3/4” drive 38mm socket especially so that I could remove and replace the element and drain. I tried last year when we were in India with an adjustable wrench and a pipe wrench but it was impossible – I needed a socket.

As we have moved from country to country, we have not encountered much difficulty in filling our propane tank, probably because we only use it for BBQing. In NZ, due to regulations, we couldn’t get our fibreglass tank filled, but instead bought a NZ tank that used the same threads. In Australia, we exchanged the NZ tank, and again, used a tank that had the same threads. We had both our Australian and US tank filled in Malaysia and India. However, Turkey is different. The tanks, the threads, the valves, even the gas – are all different. This is a photo of our 12 year old fibreglass tank.

To get around this, I simply cut the rubber hose about a foot from the tank valve, and bought a Turkish 10kg tank with valve and hose. I did not use tape on the hose, but the black plastic hose “cover”. The hose is secured with a hose clamp. 

We bought a second hand Vitrofrigo freezer when we were in Malaysia 3 years ago, but in the tropics we were never satisfied with its performance. It didn’t freeze fast enough and used a lot of energy. We bought a new slightly smaller but very efficient Isotherm upright freezer. It can run on 220/120V AC or 24/12VDC. This time, I took my time and built it in as a complete installation. 

Taking the issue of solar one step further, we have decided to replace the 4 oldest of our 10 solar panels. These 4 panels are nearly 20 years old. We are in the process of replacing 4 X 75W panels with 4 X 190W panels, getting 760W into nearly the same footprint as the previous panels. This will bump up our solar panel total from 1360W to 1920W. More on that in the next post.

On Christmas eve we “scored” a 5kg turkey, and as is our tradition – had a Christmas dinner get-together with our friends. Well, as many as we could safely and legally have during the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic. This included Duygu (a female Turkish member of the marina staff), Pam and Eric on Pied-a-Mer III, and Jean-Yves and his wife Tuba. The celebration was held on Pied-a-Mer because they had the largest table. Here, Pam and Diane are getting the turkey ready for consumption.

More than a month ago, a fairly large Turkish “gulet” (wooden tourist boat) sunk in the nearby bay when a big wind whipped up some slightly large waves (3 feet, tops). Sadly, one Russian tourist died. The boat was raised from the bottom and brought over to Alanya Marina to be lifted with the travel-lift and a crane. 

Before launching, I had to sand the bottom paint, the Coppercoat – with an orbital sander and 180 grit paper. It took about a day, and wasn’t too hard. This is necessary to “activate” the bottom paint, exposing epoxy encapsulated copper – so that it can work as a bottom paint.

We launched yesterday, without any drama. I finally noted that the travel lift (regardless of its weight capacity) needs to have a vertical clearance of at least 7.8m for us to lift and launch without taking down any hardware. Alanya Marina uses a 100T lift.

A few hours after we were floating in the water, I did a corrosion survey without connection to shore power, and with connection to shore power (the ground is isolated through an isolation transformer). I did this once in Trinidad about 8 years ago using borrowed equipment. A few months ago, I bought my own Corrosion Reference Electrode and used my digital multimeter to do my own test – after we launched. Their recommendation is -.850mv < protection < -1.100mv. I found that the readings varied between -1.035mv and -1.040mv so my conclusion is that we are more than adequately protected with zincs in the water. 

We still have our scooter, but have given up the apartment and moved back onto the boat. Oh, it is good to be home at last sleeping in our own bed. 

Yard Work

29 October 2020 – YARD WORK – Alanya Turkey

There has been lots of work done on our boat in the last two months, since my last blog entry. First, we hauled out of the water on 8 September. The boat yard at Alanya Marina operates a 100T travel lift, and its a tall one – which means that I didn’t have to remove any rigging or wind generators. The crew were gentle with our boat and did a great job with the pressure washer.

Then, they moved us over to a “remote” area of the yard, one where we could make a mess and a lot of dirt.

We received two fixed price quotes for “sandblasting” the hull, selected one, and then basically waited for 5 weeks for the blaster to show up. The price was good, much cheaper than in NZ. In that 5 week period, I worked on finishing the deck painting. This was the paint programme:

  1. Remove all the 21 year old Treadmaster, and grind off the remaining epoxy.
  2. Roll on Jotun Jotamastic epoxy, one coat of grey, one coat of red, and another coat of grey.
  3. Roll on Jotun XPrimer epoxy, one coat of white.
  4. Roll on Jotun XTreme Gloss polyurethane, two coats of Lynx White 5097
  5. Roll on Jotun XTreme Gloss polyurethane, one coat of Delphius Grey 0967
    Liberal sprinkling of Jotafloor aggregate non-skid additive, Medium grit (0.4 – 0.8mm)
  6. Vacuum the un-bonded grit off, and then roll on two more coats of Grey.

This was a total of 9 coats of paint, some over bare metal, but most over several previous layers of paint. Hopefully, this will look good for many years to come.

I divided the deck area into 3 roughly equal sections: the raised cabin, the foredeck and the poop deck. This is what the raised cabin looked like after the first coat of grey polyurethane and the non-skid additive.

The poop deck was the next section to be finished. This photo shows the section after the red epoxy coat.

This photo shows the poop deck as I was applying the non-skid grit over the first layer of grey polyurethane.

This is the finished poop deck, we just have to remove the tape.

This is the foredeck, midway in the process. I had to apply lots of West System epoxy “fairing compound” (micro-balloons mixture) in order to smooth out the deck, all the deck.

The deck repainting project is now finished. We have yet to do the toe rail (the outside edge), but it will happen “in a few weeks”. The deck is noticeably cooler to walk on than the Treadmaster was, and the new non-skid is tenacious (like 80 grit sandpaper) but not too hard on the skin. Here is a photo of the foredeck and raised cabin, with the dorade boxes refinished (by Diane) and re-installed.

While waiting for the sandblaster to show up, I had a very close inspection of the hull. Although the bottom was last sandblasted and painted a mere 4 years ago in NZ (it should last more like 20 years), it was really a shitty job and had to be redone. Why was it shitty? Because they did not spray enough epoxy paint (should have been at least 600 mils, equal to 6 rolled coats) and they “wet blasted”. This means that the epoxy was sprayed over “rust bloomed” wet steel. After 4 years in salt water, this is an example of the result.

This was a piece of paint that just flicked off with my fingernail, just above the rudder. I blame the yard in NZ for this sub-standard job. I figure its not worth while mentioning their name, or trying to get compensation from them – the Manager was incompetent, a lier and a crook. Unfortunately, we were not present for 90% of the work done (our bad) so most of it was covered up by the time we saw the boat. This time, in Turkey, we had DRY “sand-blasting” with basalt grit and we were on site, full-time.

Another reason for the bottom job, is that we had evidence of some galvanic corrosion leaving some “pit holes”. Although none punctured the hull, they were concerning to me. Since there were no actual “holes”, I determined that the best course of action was to fill the “pits” with a special epoxy compound – Belzona 1311 (Ceramic R-Metal) (made in the UK and approved by Lloyds for metal replacement, machinery and hulls used in sea water immersion). It was fairly pricey stuff, at 370 euros for a 2kg kit, but it was perfect for the job, and easy to apply immediately after grit blasting, before spraying on epoxy.

This is a photo of one of the worst areas, clearing showing a very small corrosion pit.

I have since traced the reason for these pits to the connection to my Victron isolation transformer. Of course, all the hull zincs were completely eaten away, and this was really not possible to detect or correct while we were in India. The marina water was really foul. The situation will be rectified before we launch.

The “sandblaster” equipment was laid out next to our boat, showing his bags of “basalt” grit. It was really clean, dustless in fact, until he started to recycle the grit that fell on the concrete bottom — then it got dusty!

Inside the tented area, it wasn’t dusty at all, on the “first round”.

I figure the grit blasting took 16-18 hours in total. They did have some technical difficulties, and had to stop to refill the hopper, but it took nearly two full days.

This photo was taken at about 2100, after the first full day of blasting. I asked them to get paint on, immediately, but they insisted that it wouldn’t make any difference – they could paint the next day…

The next morning, I had a close look and found a few sections that looked like this. It forced them to re-blast in some areas.

After reblasting those areas, then they got paint on the one side.

After the blasting was completed, the painter sprayed on 4 coats of Jotun Universal epoxy primer, to a dry film thickness of approximately 100 microns. I figure that I need 600 microns of dry paint before rolling on the anti-fouling – Coppercoat. Over the next week, Diane and I will continue to paint the bottom and I’ll report on that with the next update.

Another job I did was to re-install our rejuvenated 200A alternator. I had removed it several months ago, and had the yard replace the bearing, clean and paint it. The adjuster arm also needed to be beefed up, and painted.

3 September 2020 – Side and Aspendos Turkey

The Treadmaster (rubber deck material epoxied in place 19 years ago) removal project is going fine. I can say not that all of it has been removed, but there are remnants of the rubber backing still on the poop/aft deck. It has been challenging to remove this while still dockside. I have to say that the marina staff have been very tolerant of the noise and dust, and of course, I have done a lot to try and mitigate that (only work for a couple of hours a day, and using drop sheets to close off areas). The next step is to use epoxy fairing compound to fair all the nicks, scratches and gouges in the deck remaining after this removal. That will take a “few weeks” and will be completed “on the hard”.

The solution to best removing the Treadmaster, efficient and nearly dust-free, was to use a hammer-drill, with a chisel attachment.

This is a good, but very short Treadmaster removal video I made so that others that follow this path might jump directly to the best method. Nobody mentioned this on YouTube, and its really the best method.

We are very close to finding an affordable apartment that we will lease for “a few months” and hope to finally haul the boat in “a week or so”. It will be much more comfortable to be living in an apartment with the planned sandblasting and painting of the bottom – while I’m also painting the deck!

We took a day off today and rented a car to go sight-seeing with our friends Eric and Pam on Pied-a-Mer. Our plan was to see the amphitheatre in Aspendos as well as the ruins in the area of Side (pronounced See-Day) – both of which are about 1.5 hours drive to the West of Alanya.

Aspendos was an ancient Greco-Roman city in the Antalya province of Turkey. The wide range of coinage throughout the ancient world indicates that, in the 5th century BC, Aspendos had become the most important city in Pamphylia. At that time, the Eurymedon River was navigable as far as Aspendos, and the city derived great wealth from a trade in salt, oil and wool. In 546 BC it came under Persian domination. The fact that the city continued to mint coins in its own name, however, indicates that it had a great deal of freedom even under the Persians.

There are plenty of ruins in the area, and these photos are of the aqueduct ruins that remain. I have read that some Roman aqueducts date back as far as the 7th century BC.

I thought these ruins were particularly interesting because its just on the edge of town, and if you look closely, you can see local farmers even store their farm equipment in the alcoves of the aqueduct.

Aspendos is best known for its 12,000 seat amphitheatre, which is still in use today for ballet and concert performances. It was built in 155AD by the Greek architect Zenon, a native of the city. This is a photo from the top looking down (you have to walk from the bottom to the top, and its pretty steep).

This is a view of the bottom level, currently setup for a concert series.

Of course, there are plenty of other ruins in the surrounding area, and a short hike in the 38C sunny weather will yield all kinds of old buildings and rubble.

The next stop was to the resort town of Side on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast, commonly known as the Turkish Riviera. Side was an ancient port city, known for long beaches and its Greco-Roman ruins. In the centre are the remains of the 2nd-century Antique Theatre, which seated up to 15,000.

The white marble columns of the Hellenistic Temple of Athena stand near the harbour. Its a classic view, one that is found on most of the tourist pamphlets for the area.

Other sites of ancient interest are sprinkled throughout, with most interesting finds housed at the Side Museum, the site of a restored Roman bath complex. This is a sarcophagus that was inside the Museum. Not only was the museum an interesting and economical visit, but it was also air conditioned – providing much needed relief from the sweltering heat.

Visit to Cappadocia

18 August 2020 – Cappadocia Turkey

We were extremely fortunate this past weekend and took a 3-day excursion with our friends Jean-Yves and his wife Tuba to Cappadocia. The region of Cappadocia lies in central Anatolia, in the heartland of what is now Turkey. Jean-Yves drove nearly 5 hours to get us to this high plateau over 1000m in altitude that is pierced by volcanic peaks, with Mount Erciyes (ancient Argaeus) near Kayseri (ancient Caesarea) being the tallest at 3916m.

To get there, we had to drive up and over mountains and then across the “breadbasket” of Turkey. The roads were excellent, as we have come to expect in Turkey.

This picture could have been taken in Saskatchewan Canada.

There were a few real police officers, but more often than not – they were “cardboard police”, like this one – pretty convincing at a distance.

This was probably our first view of what we came to see with respect to homes carved into the hills.

During these COVID-19 times, there are very few tourists. There are still many government restrictions in place, one of which prohibits the flying of small groups of tourists in large hot air balloons – probably because they can’t maintain the social distancing requirements. Typically, photos of this area show many colourful balloons in the sky – particularly in the morning. One could say that we were fortunate, and the crystal clear blue sky was unpolluted by the usual dozens and dozens of balloons. We were also fortunate to visit in the summertime as Cappadocia has a markedly continental climate, with hot dry summers (nearly the same temperature as Alanya, but very dry) and cold snowy winters. Rainfall is sparse and the region is largely semi-arid.

This is my “play on words” with a Turkish “inuksuk”. It is more commonly known as a manmade stone landmark or cairn built for use by the Inuit, Iñupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America. These structures are found in northern Canada, Greenland, and Alaska – but it looks like nature makes them here in Turkey as well.

The name Cappadocia, is traditionally used in Christian sources throughout history, and continues in use to define a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterized by fairy chimneys and a unique historical and cultural heritage. These are the fairy chimneys.

Cappadocia is diverse, with Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks inhabiting the region. The earliest record of the name of Cappadocia dates from the late 6th century BC. Every meal was an event.

We stayed at the Grand Elite Cave Suites in the city of Göreme, first settled in Roman times.

The Yusuf Koç, Ortahane, Durmus Kadir and Bezirhane churches are found in Göreme, and houses and churches are carved into rocks in nearby area.

The Göreme Open Air Museum is the most visited site and contains more than 30 carved-from-rock churches and chapels, some having superb frescoes inside, dating from the 9th century to the 11th century. All photos and videos inside were prohibited, by the way.

Obviously, this cave was used by the community for grinding grain.

We rented ATVs and quickly explored 4 nearby valleys.

One very interesting side trip is to the underground private ceramic museum, Güray Müze. This place was massive, with excellent displays of thousands of ceramic items, presumably found in the hundreds of former dwelling places inside the nearby caves.

It was cool enough inside that Diane and I took a comfy seat next to the fireplace.

On the first night, we had a wonderful dinner right in the town centre, with a commanding view of the caves and wonders of Göreme.

On the way back, we followed the same route, but this time stopped at a truck stop for lunch and were treated to a region speciality – pizza made on flatbread.

They say that first impressions are lasting, and I have to admit that I’m somewhat disappointed in the views of Turkey that seem to be held by some of my friends. These views have been promoted by the main-stream media that launches on every news-worthy story, particularly stories about fear and desolation. Yes, Turkey is a police state. There have been many coups here. But, Turkey has first-world infrastructure and hospitals – and the people are honest, hard working and pleasant. If I didn’t tell you, you could hardly tell that the majority of the population were Muslim. When the mosque starts up with a loud-speaker “call to prayer”, it lasts for about a minute, compared with the norm of 20-30 minutes in Indonesia or Malaysia. I would argue that you would see A LOT more hijabs worn by the women in downtown Ottawa or Toronto than you do around here. Come to Turkey – you won’t be disappointed. Hopefully, you’ll see the balloons in Cappadocia.