Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ashore Yat Marina, Marmaris, Turkey

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and after a 36 hour flight with Etihad we are back in Marmaris. We didn't fly on an Etihad plane at all, but with Qantas, VAustralia (can't recommend them highly enough) Turkish airlines, then Pegasus. At every stage, after much worrying head-scratching by the officials, we could only check in for one flight, and had to retrieve our luggage at each airport and check it in again. This meant going through immigration at Australia, so I needed a last minute visa and we had to declare loads of stuff in our hold luggage that wasn't expecting to see the light of day in Oz. However they were in a good mood, and let us through without confiscating anything.

Back 'home' we were pleased to find Matador looking dry and dusty, not soggy and damp after our 3 months away, thanks to Bob and Liz's (Birvidik) watchful care. We are totally landlocked by boats and it doesn't look like we might launch in the next couple of weeks as planned.
Spot the boat launching in 1 week!
Ali (Aldo Marin)has done a superb job of scraping and painting our hull. A rare example of a Turkish job done well, with no hoodwinking or cheating, and for the agreed price he actually did more than we asked.  Nice guy too.

Marina swimming pool

Yat Marina is a huge and strange place. Some fantastic facilities and there are thousands of boats here, most much, much bigger than ours, having hugely expensive refits done. The 300 ton crane is up and down the runway constantly passing within millimeters of the stored boats. The crane drivers are really skillful and experienced here, unlike many other yards we've seen. As the supersized yachts glide gently along hanging in the slings towards the launch site, people walk, cycle and drive cars between the wheels of the crane and the suspended boat. I like cycling through like this, in the knowledge that anywhere else in the world someone would be hollering at you to keep away.
There have been a number of injuries this year; a broken back from falling off a boat ladder, broken ankle slipping off scaffolding, broken foot from jive dancing(!), double hernia from overenthusiastic gym work, a couple of slight electrocutions from dodgy earthing and a few yoga induced injuries too. Oh yeah, and some burns when a boat blew up! A worker was vacuuming the solvent filled bilge with a normal electric vacuum, when it sparked an explosion, and the top of the boat flew up and the funnel fell over. Turkish boat yards are great places to do risk assessments, once a manager in the UK risk-obsessed workplace, one can't help pondering the 1001 accidents that by some miracle are not actually happening despite the many blind-eyes turned to health and safety.
Now the underwater jobs are all done and we are itching to get back on the water, quite literally itching. The corner of the yard where we are is so dusty and grimy a thick layer of dirt covers every surface inside and out, due to countless boat bottom scrapings, and endless sanding. I dread to think what the heavy metal content of the dust is. The local pollen and fungal spores from the hills around us are driving our allergies crazy and the mosquitoes are truly mafioso. They know where we live, and they know where we sleep. They pay us regular visits all night, and are resistant to spray and all plug-in mossy killers. We put up the mossy net over the bed, but they bite through it. As soon as we put the light on to catch them they play an extensive game of hide and seek, until you give up and just get back to sleep, when they start divebombing our heads and ears relentlessly again.
We will be so glad to be bobbing gently back on the water, well away from all the noise and chaos.

We did a chart exchange and photocopy today to enhance our Caribbean chart collection, and I could almost smell the rum and coconuts. I just measured on the chartplotter, and it is just over 6100 miles direct (51 days at 5knots) to the first islands – but of course we will be taking a lot longer than that to get there, and we will be able to fill our lockers with interesting Mediterranean specialities from each country we revisit on the way  out of the Med.

 With a blaze of triumphal trumpets.....
At long last the Black Sea Experience blog is finished and online. It is long winded and dull – just like the trip, at times! Read and enjoy so you don't have to go there yourself.