Visit to Bodrum and Area

29 November 2021 – Visit to Bodrum and area

It was time for a road trip. Looking back to July/August of this year, we met our friends Niko and Marina while cruising along the coast of Turkey. They invited us to visit them in their home in Bodrum. Also, our friends Steve and Liz on SV LIBERTE had just arrived in their winter berth in Kusadasi at the Setur Marina “nearby” – so we decided to pay them a quick visit as well. Our route, including side trips, totalled more than 1500 km.

We stopped for pide along the way. It is similar to pizza and you can have a wide variety of toppings.

Kusadasi is a much larger city than we were prepared for, or really wanted to stay in “long term”. While it was nice to visit, we didn’t think it was appropriate for our interests, as a winter berth. There were just too many shops and restaurants, and much of the geography was all on hills, steep hills. Nonetheless, it was good to stop in and see our friends. So, we headed back to Bodrum, to see what that was like. In Bodrum, we stayed with our friends Niko and Marina in their beautiful 3 story home. Surrounding the home were dozens of fruit trees, and we had fresh squeezed orange juice every morning.

Lording over the seafront of Bodrum, the Castle of St. Peter is a must-see attraction. The Knights Hospitallers of St. John built this structure between 1402 and 1437 (during the crusades), and knights of the various nationalities of the order were entrusted with the defence of particular sections of the walls.

During the reign of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, the castle passed into Turkish hands and the chapel was converted to a mosque. Today, many of the vast halls inside the castle display various exhibits, including Bodrum’s Museum of Underwater Archaeology. This is the Theatre at Halicarnassus, also known as Bodrum Antique Theatre, a 4th-century BC Greco-Roman theatre located in the centre of Bodrum. The theatre is considered to be built in a similar style to the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus.

On the Bodrum waterfront, the marina is jam packed, mostly with large and expensive Turkish Gullets. There is no berth that we can afford here.

A tour around the peninsula of Bodrum yields stunning views of the islands in the distance. These Greek islands are very close.

We easily found a Turkish restaurant featuring authentic non-tourist cuisine.

In the area NW of Bodrum, lies Lake Bafa, a vast inland freshwater lake.

Thousands of years before, Lake Bafa was a bay, and lay on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. With the receding sea levels, the lake eventually became landlocked. Apparently, this is an important bird sanctuary in Turkey, a shallow area where migratory birds stay and breed in autumn and spring. Lake Bafa was declared a nature reserve in 1994, but, the changing chemical content and decreasing oxygen levels have resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of fish and the ecosystem suffered irreversible damage. Redirection of the Büyük Menderes river away from the lake and the continuing waste of olive oil factories surrounding the area has distorted the natural habitat. Nonetheless, it was very picturesque.

We spent one day touring the ancient city of Ephesus. This city was built in the 10th century BC (1,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ) on the site of the former Arzawan capital by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. During the Classical Greek era, it was one of twelve cities that were members of the Ionian League. The city came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC.

The city was famous in its day for the nearby Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), which has been designated one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It’s many monumental buildings included the Library of Celsus and a theatre capable of holding 24,000 spectators. This is what remains of the Library of Celsus.

Ephesus was also one of the seven churches of Asia cited in the Book of Revelation; the Gospel of John may have been written there; and it was the site of several 5th-century Christian Councils. The city was destroyed by the Goths in 263 AD. Although it was afterwards rebuilt, its importance as a commercial centre declined as the harbour was slowly silted up by the Küçükmenderes River. In 614, it was partially destroyed by an earthquake.

Today, the ruins of Ephesus are a favourite international and local tourist attraction, perhaps partly because they are easy to access from Adnan Menderes Airport and from Kuşadası, a cruise ship port some 30 km south of it. In 2015, the ruins were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can even buy “genuine fake watches” there.

16 Ephesus Genuine fake watches.jpg

Turkey is covered in ruins, from all ages. Driving on the highway to Ephesus, we passed by the Magnesia Ruins, named after the Magnetes from Thessaly who settled the area along with some Cretans. In earlier times, it was the site of Leucophrys mentioned by several ancient writers.

The territory around Magnesia was extremely fertile, and produced excellent wine, figs, and cucumbers. It was built on the slope of Mount Thorax, on the banks of the small river Lethacus, a tributary of the Maeander river upstream from Ephesus.

We also stopped in to visit the Shrine of the Virgin Mary – considered to be the last home of the Blessed Virgin, mother of Jesus Christ. According to historical records, St John cared for Mary and took her with him, fearing persecution and leaving the Jerusalem area for Asia Minor. Also, the tomb of St John was found in Ephesus. This Chapel was rebuilt upon the original foundations of the house of the Blessed Virgin, dating back to the first century.

Just on the outskirts of Bodrum, you will find the ancient city of Pedasa, where the ancient Lelegs lived during the Bronze and Iron Ages. Lelegs were considered as a separate nation of the Ancient Carya, and they moved to this area after the Trojan War. Their civilization existed during the period from 11th to 6th centuries BC.

Today Pedasa’s ruins are fragments of fortress walls and two internal towers. Several dome-shaped tombs have been preserved in the southern part of the hill. To get to them you have to leave the road and walk quite a bit by foot over rough terrain and steep hills.

There was no shortage of stunning landscape views.

Driving back to Alanya, we were finally able to stop in for lunch at one of these road side restaurants that offer fresh grilled lamb. We had a feast.

Back in the Groove

13 November 2021 – Back in the Groove

It has been three months since I last blogged. We had a holiday, in September and part of October, flying to Austria, Netherlands and finally Canada to visit family. As always, it was a whirlwind trip, and this time a little more complicated because of the pandemic travel restrictions. Nonetheless, we prevailed, and brought back the usual suitcase full of boat parts and other hard to find things.

On return to Alanya, we bought new e-bikes. These are made by Volta, here in Turkey – although I suspect they are actually Chinese manufacture, and assembled in Turkey. We bought identical VB1 models: weight 22.2kg, max speed 25 km/hr, 36V, 8.8Ahr, 250W motor – and a stated range of 30-110km (although in practice, I find it might be more like 35km). These are definitely “starter” e-bikes and were cheap for us to buy (about $710 CDN each) and we are getting a great deal of use of of them.

Independence Day, or Republic Day is a public holiday in Turkey commemorating the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey, on 29 October 1923. The annual celebrations start at 1:00 pm on 28 October and continue for 35 hours. Here in Alanya, we noticed that only the government offices were closed, and the shops remained open. At the marina, they threw a small party and invited the cruisers to attend. Since this is the first time this marina has had any sort of public gathering (largely due to COVID-19) restrictions, I thought it was newsworthy. We attended, had free food – and mixed it up with many foreign and local cruisers.

We have had an annoying problem with our Volvo engine, one that has plagued us for the past three years. The engine has an alarm (idiot light) and a gauge to indicate coolant temperature. As the engine gets close to 80C (operating temperature), the idiot light and alarm start to sing, ever so slightly. As it gets just a little warmer, the sound gets louder. Of course, I immediately hop into action with an infra-red heat gun to check the actual engine temperature in a number of places, and it’s never more than 80C. After much deliberation, I decided that the sensor must be defective. This Volvo sensor (ordered through the local Volvo dealer) cost me 150 euros – an exorbitant price in my opinion (but apparently normal for Volvo).

I drained the coolant, replaced the sensor, ran the engine up to temperature – and refilled the coolant to the proper level. Afterwards, I tested the old sensor in a coffee cup with boiled water. Both the new and old sensor are identical, indicating maximum temperature 120C, and operating temperature of 95C + or – 3C. Like a good mechanic, I checked the operation of the old sensor and observed that it triggered at 80C, much too early. It was an easy, although pricey fix – but I’m glad to know the reason for the failure. At least my labour was cheap.

Our HF/SSB radio, an ICOM IC-M802 – bought and installed in 2008 – has had a failing screen for more than a year. We have been in hot/humid environments for so long – that the LCD screen fails. Other screens have similarly failed, and we had to replace of VHF radio – since it could no longer be repaired.

Falling on the advice of my friend Ken Gooding, I undertook the repair myself. I ordered the part from ICOM Canada in Vancouver, and then took the control head and screen apart. This is the start of the process.

This is the end result, after about 1.5 hours of labour – again, cheap – because it was just me. This kind of job is in direct contrast to the labour required to work on the engine, or repair a facet. There are many small wires and delicate connectors. In the end it worked out fine.

I bought a box of carbon water filters the other day on, a Turkish online site. These filters cost me about $1.00 USD each, an incredible deal compared to West Marine in the US, where they sell for about $ 25 USD. It’s a good time to stock up.

Turning to the engine, the Volvo TMD-31B, I: changed the oil and filter, changed the primary and secondary fuel filters, changed the anode, and adjusted the valve tappet clearances. Next on my list is to work on the ONAN generator, which I haven’t been able to start in a while (not the battery, or the starter….).

Anchoring Holiday

15 August 2021 – Anchoring Holiday

We finally left Alanya Marina for a summer anchoring holiday on 14 July (nearly two weeks later than planned). It was our chance to get away from the city, away from the day to day grind, and sample some of the pristine clear water and thousands of beautiful anchorages that Turkey is known for. We left on Wednesday 14 July, and our first anchorage was a 72nm motor-sail West of Alanya, the very protected Ceneviz Koyu.

At Ceneviz Koyu, we met our Turkish friends Tahir and Yonca, who had recently completed a sailing course and were renting a sailboat for the first time, and anchored next to us. This bay was incredibly clean with bluish-green crystal clear waters with several turtles living nearby. The bay is surrounded by cedar trees and there was a constant buzz in the air from the cicadas humming. It was very peaceful – and as an added bonus, there was a good mobile phone signal.

While there, one day we drove our dinghy East to “nearby” Olympos Beach and took a taxi to the tourist attraction at the base of Mount Chimaera. This is a group of natural vents spouting perpetual flames above the ruins of the temple of Hephaistos. Mount Chimaera was the name of a place in ancient Lycia, notable for constantly burning fires, based on methane and other gases emerging from the rocks. Some ancient sources considered it to be the origin of the myth of the monster called the Chimera. The “walk” up the hill in 42C was a bit of a slog. It took about 30 minutes to hike up 1000m, and another 45 minutes to walk down.

As promised, there was a hint of methane gas and fires were burning. It sure was hot!

We took our “go-fast” dinghy twice to the nearby beach about 2nm away, and picked up provisions at the Orange Supermarket. This run used up a lot of gas! The beach was swarming with tourists, it appeared that 90% of them were Turkish.

Our next anchorage was further West at Gokkaya Limani, near “Smugglers Inn”, the only “restaurant” in the area. This bay enjoys cooler, fresh and clean water because of several natural underwater springs. It was humming with activity and chock-a-block with mostly Turkish boats, but a few international cruisers as well. There was actually an enterprising young man with a small covered motorboat, a large solar panel, and a freezer chock full of ice cream. He came around in the afternoon, and one day we tasked him to buy us bananas and yoghurt – and take away our trash.

This is a very well protected anchorage, and other than the wakes from Turkish water sports boats, there was no swell. This, of course, completely died down at night. Smugglers Inn seemed to be a bit of a disappointment. It was more of a local “watering hole” than an inn – so we looked forward to future finds. Our daily routine consisted of swimming, casual walks on shore, reading and relaxing – lots of relaxing.

There were no people on shore, but plenty of goats on a small island.

At this anchorage, we met our Turkish/Canadian friends Nico and Marina on Canadian flagged SV BRACONNIER.

After nearly a week at this anchorage, we finally moved on further West to yet another beautiful anchorage on the Lycian Way. Along the way, we passed these ruins on the hillside near Kekova Roads.

We anchored just SW of Woodhouse Bay, near the Turkish restaurant Yoruk Ramazan.

We had a walk ashore on a rocky, somewhat challenging trail and saw some of the countryside.

After returning to the restaurant, we filled up on cold water, beer and home-made french fries cooked over a wood fire. We returned to this place a few nights later to celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary.

Then, we moved again further West to the marina in Kaş (pronounced “cash”), or more accurately, the bay next to the Setur Kaş Marina. This anchorage was also a source of many cold water natural springs. Anytime we jumped in the water to get cooled off, we could see the temperature inversion layers, and feel alternating warm and cold water. It was very refreshing and more invigorating than we had ever experienced before!

After 14 days of anchoring, we timed our arrival so that we could visit the weekly market and stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables. At Kaş, we went by car with our friends Nico and Marina back to Demre, to see the UNESCO site of St. Nicholas Church, an ancient East Roman basilica church in the ancient city of Myra. This Eastern Orthodox church was built above the burial place of St Nicholas, a 4th-century Christian bishop of Myra, an important religious figure for Eastern Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics and the historical inspiration for Santa Claus. Its use dated from its 6th century construction for the state church of the Roman Empire by Justinian the Great.

There were probably about 6 dogs inside, resting in the shade – out of the sun. Nobody bothered with them, and they looked right at home.

While in Demre, we also visited the ruins of Myra: an ancient Greek, then Roman Greek, then Byzantine Greek, then Ottoman Greek town in Lycia, which became the small Turkish town of Kale, and was renamed Demre in 2005. More recently, in 1923 the Greek inhabitants were required to leave through a Population exchange between Greece and Turkey, at which time its church was finally abandoned. There is a lot of history here in this area.

There are several necropoles cut from the rock face, as well as a large, well preserved theatre – all dating back thousands of years.

On another outing, we headed out to see the ruins at Xanthos, an ancient city in Lycian times. Xanthos is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site together with Letoon, the centre of the Lycian civilization. However, when we got there, it was all closed down TIGHT. There have been a lot of forest fires in this area over the past week, and the government shut some of these sites, closed the gates and posted signs in Turkish that the site was closed until the risk of forest fires diminished.

OK, we changed gears and went instead to the ancient ruins at Patara, on our way back to Kaş. Patara (later renamed Arsino) was a flourishing maritime and commercial city on the south-west coast of Lycia along this coast line. Coincidentally, it is also the birthplace of St. Nicholas in 270 AD, who lived most of his life in the nearby town of Myra (Demre), which we already visited.

In addition to the ruins, this area just happens to have one of the best beaches in Turkey. Of course, this isn’t a photo I took, it was swamped with tourists when we were there!

We did stop by Letoon, to see even more ruins just a few kilometres away. This site is unique because of the discovery of a stone bearing inscriptions in three ancient languages, a decree of some kind. The languages were ancient Greek, Lycian and Aramaic – all dead languages.

If only this thousand year old olive tree could talk ……

By 5 August, we reported to the local government hospital at Kaş and got another COVID-19 vaccination. Over the past few months, we have received two shots of Coronavac / Sinovac (one of the Chinese vaccinations). According to the World Health Organization (and the Turkish Ministry of Health), we were fully vaccinated. However, our home country of Canada does not recognize this vaccine (probably a political issue between China and Canada) so, if we went to Canada for a visit, we would be considered unvaccinated. Therefore, we took Turkey’s offer up for a third shot, a “booster”, this time with BioNTech Phizer. Our hope is to get another Phizer shot in a few weeks time – and therefore be considered fully vaccinated in Canada. After getting this shot, we then started to move slowly back East.

One of things that is new for us, is seeing so many boats dropping anchor, falling back and taking a line ashore. I’ve occasionally seen that before, but here, even in 25 feet of water, I’ve seen boats lay out 200m of chain and fall a long way back to a line ashore, tied to a rock. This can make things challenging when they pickup, as other anchors and chains can become nestled in. This boat, for example, dropped right in the middle of the channel (maybe 40 deep) and took a long line (200m) to an island, or somewhat near the island. His boat was right, smack, in the middle of the channel. I’m surprised nobody snagged it during the night as the line was about “neck high” from the water and no attempt was made to make it visible.

We are now back at Alanya Marina, snuggled into our berth and have thoroughly enjoyed our 6 weeks at anchor along the Turkish coastline. In the past, our usual mode of operation has been to arrive in a country, explore on land and transit through the country as we exit. Well, with the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, things are just not the same in 2020/2021 as they were in previous years. Next week, we will fly to Austria to visit family, and then we’ll see what happens next.

Bow Battery

22 June 2021 – Bow Battery

During yet another COVID-19 lockdown period, another improvement job was to look at the bow battery – that drives the bow thruster and windlass. This battery is physically separate from the house bank, and gets charged from the house bank or the Volvo while running. The Wesmar bow thruster uses a very powerful motor, and draws over 300A at 12V DC. It’s not unusual for this kind of current to produce a voltage drop. I last replaced the battery when in India two years ago with the best one I could find, an Exide dual purpose wet cell maintenance free lead acid battery. It didn’t quite “fill the space” in the battery box, and always left me wondering whether it was up to the task.

Unfortunately, that Indian battery was still not “big enough”. When operating the bow thruster, the battery voltage falls down to only 10.5 volts (at the battery monitor) and I’m sure it’s even less at the motor terminals. I needed something that “fills the box” more, just gets more lead in. Finding a replacement in Turkey, or anywhere for that matter is a challenge. This meant finding the biggest, heaviest battery – the size of the 8D standard in North America. The local chandlery was able to offer a Mastervolt 8D AGM battery with 225 Ahr storage, at a weight of 63.5 kg, but I wanted the next size up, the Super 8D model with 270 Ahr coming in at 73 kg. After 3 months of waiting, and still no prospect of delivery, I sought out other batteries in stock anywhere in Turkey. I came across a vendor in Istanbul who had an Exide 8D battery with 240 Ahr and weighing 72 kg – a winner. Kemal at the local chandlery brought it in for me at the same price. This 72kg battery came with its own “challenges” to lift up and put in place, and thankfully Mesut and Ennis (two of the marina Marineroes) carried it in for me.

I felt that another incremental improvement could be gained by replacing the existing “copper welding cables” with larger diameter proper tin-plated copper marine cables. These old cables were given away to a “new home”.

While replacing all these cables, I need to remove this switch, and of course – had to fabricate a new trim ring.

After installation tests confirmed that the 300A current draw pulled this new battery down to 11.4V, a slight but worthwhile improvement over 10.5V. Another COVID-19 lockdown project finished.

Water heater – revisited

9 June 2021 – Water heater Revisited

I needed to come back to do some work on my water heater. Let me explain.

We have a 6 gallon Kuuma water heater on the boat. This water heater has two methods of heating the water, an electric element (controlled by a thermostat) and an engine coolant recirculating loop. When the Volvo engine is running, the coolant is circulated through the water heater, and makes the domestic water in the tank very hot. Even 24 hours later, it’s still hot.

The second method of heating, the electrical element – is the subject of this post. This Kuuma water heater comes standard with a 1500W element. It is also possible to buy a 1200W element or even a 900W element. When docked, it shouldn’t make much difference. A higher power element will consume more electricity, but get hot water faster. Some years ago, I discovered a dual element sold by SV Hotwire that enables boaters to get either AC or DC current into the element, using a dual element: 300W DC or 500W AC.

I hooked this all up several months ago, but unfortunately, one morning I mistakenly left BOTH the AC and DC heating elements in the ON position for about 30 minutes – and sadly, that was enough to burn out the element.

I sourced a replacement dual element from SV Hotwire again, and this time John supplied me with a small timer circuit for control. I used a SPDT 80A relay (sourced from AliExpress) and made up this circuit diagram. I tried a 30A relay, which should have been sufficient since the current for the water heater is about 23A — but it just got too hot with the continuous current. So, I upsized to an 80A relay, with larger connectors and wire – which is more suited to the continuous current. I have considered different methods of controlling this hot water circuit (temperature, battery SOC, battery voltage, time) and eventually decided that a simple timer circuit is best. This way, I can simply set the time (in minutes) at the moment I turn it on. It will automatically shut off when the allotted time is reached. If we have to leave the boat to go shopping, the circuit will shut down on its own. This is the circuit diagram I made up.

This is a photo of the finished product. I considered putting it all in a small box, but in the end, I don’t mind the way it looks. It’s easy to operate, just set the time and push the ON button

One more boat job taken care of.

Take the Mast Down

8 June 2021 – Take the Mast Down

Our Raymarine ST60 wind instrument has not worked, or at least not properly, in more than 2 years. The system is based on a wind sensor or transducer that is mounted at the masthead, and an ST60 instrument in the cockpit.

I have once changed the display and twice before changed the masthead sensor, and although it is somewhat fragile, it is irritating to see large birds sitting on it – and this commonly happens. It is also fairly expensive to replace at more than $600 CDN. But, it is not the only technology out there. After months of research into various different technologies, I finally decided that I would no longer continue to invest in a flawed product. I decided to “up the game” a little and buy an ultrasonic sensor (no moving parts) made by LCJ Capteurs in France. This is the CV7-STBG ultrasonic sensor that I bought, and had couriered in from France. It is based on a 4 wire (rather than 5 wire with the Raymarine product) bundle. I decided against a wireless system, due to conflicting reports of their reliability.

Although it is theoretically possible to cut, splice and solder the new CV7 transducer (4 wire) to the existing Raymarine wires (5 wire), it would not be a comfortable job or sturdy installation. So, the wires had to be replaced.

I first tried to “fish” the old wire out, replacing it with the new wire – but it would not budge. The wires that are run inside the mast were stuck solid. So, we decided that we had to take the mast down to run this wire. We also had to wait until the most recent Turkish COVID-19 lockdown was over so that a crane could be brought in. First, let me give a little preamble on the cost. There is no rigger or sailmaker that works here in Alanya Marina. I was told that “Omar” the welder (an outside contractor but frequent worker), also doubles as a rigger when required. So – we took the sails down, removed the boom and stored it on deck, cut and marked all the mast electrical connections, raised both furlers, exposed all the turnbuckles and removed the cotter pins. This was probably about 5 days work. I approached the marina office and requested a quote to complete the remaining work, which I estimated to be a maximum of two hours (unscrew the turnbuckles and take the mast down) and another two hours (screw in the turnbuckles and put the mast up). After Omar visited our boat, and surveyed the work required, he gave a quote of 1700 euros, that included 450 euros for the crane. WTF? 1250 euros for a maximum of 4 hours work? No welding, repair, or specialized tools were required. Just labour (which I estimated at 4 hours, but in the end actually took 2.5 hours) and coordination with the crane operator. Omer has done a few small jobs for me, but usually I refuse his quotes as they are based on the highest I might expect to pay in a marina on the French Riveria! Not surprisingly, I balked at this quote too – and did the job myself for one third of the cost.

Somebody had to go up the mast, and although I’m perfectly capable of being hoisted up, I’m also rather heavy, and with the electrical connections severed – it would mean somebody would have to manually crank the winch to hoist me. Eric on Pied-a-Mer III generously volunteered for the job.

After Eric secured the sling, the next step was to unscrew all 12 turnbuckles, and have the crane pick up the mast and start to move it over to the shore. All available marina employees / Mariners were on hand to help.

Then, lay the mast down – carefully.

With the mast on the ground for the next 6 days, I used the time to get new bronze bushings fitted into the gooseneck. This should stop most of the noise (clanking when in low wind conditions) from the base of the mast, where the boom connects into the gooseneck.

With the mast on the ground, we completely inspected all standing rigging and fittings. I decided to install a new VHF antenna and RG-213U wire with new PL-259 soldered connectors at each end. This is a very stiff, large diameter wire, and much better replaced while the mast is on the ground. (sorry – no photos)

A few months earlier, while watching a YouTube video, I watched as a guy promoting these “new” connectors based on heat shrink and low temperature solder. They are essentially a small clear heat shrink tube with a ring of low temperature solder in the middle (sized for many different sizes of wire). Strip the wire pieces and place them in the centre of the connector – and then apply heat with a heat gun (not a flame). I found this kit on AliExpress.

These are the wind sensor connections I made at the bottom of the mast, afterwards they were covered in black heat shrink tubing.

The wind sensor wires are run all the way down the mast, through the mast compression post and under the floor to the cockpit, to the instrument pedestal and connected to the back of the Raymarine ST60 display through an STBG interface. I have tested the system and it works! Soon, we will leave dock for the day, do a test sail and calibrate the wind instrument.

In addition to working on the mast, we also had to change out our washing machine. We had it removed more than a month ago and a repairman completely took it apart. In the end, our 12 year old Maytag was not repairable (at least not here, where we could not get the parts) with a completely corroded drum and axle bearing. We replaced it with a very fine Turkish made model, which fit perfectly into the slot. It is a 220V machine, so while dockside we have it plugged into a 220V receptacle, but when at anchor we will plug it into a transformer.

Finally, Turkey has eased it’s COVID-19 restrictions to the point where we were able to take a ride up into the nearby hill to see the marina from above. More freedom of movement is coming, particularly since we have been vaccinated with a WHO approved vaccine, Sinovac/Coronavac.


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, 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.