We flew to London and had 2 nights there, we had a whole day seeing the sights of London, it was very busy! Princess Charlotte was born on our last morning! We caught the train to Liverpool, a 3 hour journey that cost 81 pounds each, or about $160 each and we had to sit on the floor with our luggage, near the toilet! Not impressed Virgin Trains! There was barely room to move and there were lots of people sitting on the floor, including a hen’s party who were drinking champagne!
My first impression of England was as I thought, the countryside is breathtaking beautiful! Green fields, beautiful old trees, stone walls and the most gorgeous cottages and houses. The weather was cool, but this was rather refreshing after the heat of Thailand.
Tony and Jordan met us at the train station in Liverpool and took us back to their gorgeous house in Aintree. I just love all the houses, mostly brick, mostly 2 storey and a lot of character. Tony has built an extension onto their house and it is just lovely. Janet was at work and the first thing Robbie wanted to do was get Chicken Foo Yung, chips and curry sauce from the local chippy! His favourite meal from when he lived in Liverpool over 30 years ago.
We had the best time with Tony and Janet, we explored Wales, The Lakes District, Yorkshire and of course Liverpool. We traipsed around all the old haunts of Robbie and Tony when they were young, the farm where the Ashtons lived, their old houses, schools and of course the local pubs! We caught up with Robbie’s Nephew Ashton and his wife Kerry and Kynan and their new baby, Jax, the kids are gorgeous and it was great to see them. We also caught up with Robbie’s eldest brother George and his partner Sue, and her daughter Chantelle, husband Shaun, and gorgeous children Bel and Alex. Ironically George was the first sibling who moved to Australia to live, but is now the only one not iving in Australia.
We sadly farewelled Tony, Janet and Jordan and flew to Istanbul, where we had booked 3 nights in a hotel but had to cut it short as the M.V. Weibke was now 4 days ahead of the estimated date and was due to arrive in Fethiye on the 16th. We arrived at midnight the first night, had the day sightseeing around Istanbul visiting the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque, and the royal palace. The Grand Bazaar is a sight to see. A beautiful old building full of tiny shops and persistent sellers! Beautiful stalls of spices, Turkish delight, handbags, Turkish carpets, lamps, you name it they sell it. Gorgeous shopping if you don’t have the game keeper!! (Going shopping with your husband is like going poaching with the game keeper!!)
That night we went on a river dinner cruise up the Bosphorus River with David and Andrea (off the Australian Yacht Diomedea) we were picked up from our Hotel and delivered to the boat. The Bosphorus is the strait that connects the Black Sea to the North with the Marmara Sea on the South. It is a natural border between Europe and Asia and is the only outlet of the Black Sea, which is connected to the Aegean through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. Located on the shores on either side of this natural waterway, are the most beautiful Palaces, mansions, mosques and beaches. There are two large suspension bridges that we cruised under, with the night lighting, the views were very spectacular.
Our night consisted of a meal with drinks included, a Turkish dancing show and a Belly Dancer!! She was very good but unfortunately one of the local Turks decided to join her for most of her show which was a bit annoying but no one else seemed to mind. After the Belly Dancer the disco music was turned up quite loud and the younger passengers took over the dance floor so we sat outside and enjoyed the night cruising. Quite nice not to have to worry about navigating and driving!
We departed Istanbul the next morning and flew to Dalaman where we caught a cab to Fethiye. Would you believe that our cab driver stopped and brought us 2 waters and 2 juices? How nice was that! We booked in the Yacht Boutique Hotel, which was right behind the marina.
We walked up to the restaurant the next morning, which was a lovely open one on the 4th floor, and as we looked up we saw the M.V. Weibke pull into the harbour! This was very exciting for us! It was such an unknown quantity whether or not we were unloading today or tomorrow and no one could tell us. The Hotel was fully booked and weren’t sure if they could give us a room for another night or not. Eventually we were told yes we were unloading today and we met the local agent, and after a lot of waiting we were taken out to the ship where we spent 3 hours and finally we were unloaded and in the water at 4:30pm.
We ticked over to ECE marina where we were assisted to stern tie on A arm. This was quite stressful as the boats are all right next to each other, virtually fenders touching each other! Basically you back into the dock with a mooring at the front and two ropes from each side of the stern of the boat to the dock. They lent us a plank to disembark with until we were able to purchase our own – this is called a Passarelle.
Now the cleaning begins! Our first impressions was that it wasn’t too bad, but unfortunately that wasn’t true. Robbie spent 4 hours that night using the water power wash just rinsing off the dirt. There was a waterline of water around the bow that didn’t want to come off. We later realised that Sevenstar had loaded Southern Star in a bow down position, which meant that any water didn’t run into the drains, and ponded in the front of the boat, up to 3 inches high. They must have had a lot of rain, or they hosed the ship a lot and the water just sat on our bow. We spent the next two days solidly cleaning and tidying up and getting our girl back to her normal clean state.
Tuesday we hired a car and went to the farmers markets! Oh boy what a smorgasbord of delicious fruit, vegetables, spices, nuts, Turkish delight and much more beautiful food! We stocked up, this took a couple of hours as the markets were so huge and we walked around the lot. Really nice produce.
Peter and Heidi arrived with their friends from Germany, Brita and Holger and David and Andrea were also now in Fethiye. We drove with David and Andrea and met Peter and Heidi at the sugar Beach Club and then drove around to Butterfly Bay, where Peter, Heidi, Brita and Holger had cabins. Wow, firstly the drive itself was stunning, very narrow roads, high cliffs, sheer drops down to a sparkling very blue ocean. This is the med!! We stopped a couple of times for photos, the views were just amazing.
We stopped and had a few drinks at the restaurant where they are staying, with a lovely view over the valley and ocean. We were given a couple of bowls of fresh apricots with our drinks, the hospitality and friendliness of the hosts was lovely. We decided to head back to town before dark, we did not want to be negotiating the road in the dark!
The next day Robbie and I drove up behind Fethiye through some back roads to the Ghost village at Kayakoy, built in the 2nd part of the 19th Century and the first part of the 20th century. Shortly after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic, The Greeks living in the region were exchanged with the Turks living in Greece. This ghost village is the remains, and very picturesque, now complete with residing goats and vines. There were 400 houses, 2 churches, a school and a customs house. Unfortunately it is all high on a hill and we did not have our walking shoes so will have to make a return trip to walk through the ruins. We drove over to the other side of the coast to Gemiler Adasi, wow very pretty, with a lovely protected bay and nice beaches, we will definitely cruise to here on the boat.
On Friday we did a day trip with peter Heidi Brita Holger David and Andrea on Southern Star. We had a late start as we had to pump out the black tank and finalise the marina account. It was a bonus for me having the helping hands aboard as it was a very tiny, narrow spot we had to get in to do the black tank. This cost 80 lira ($40 Australian) to pump out, and it was recorded on our “blue card”. This is a must in Turkey and it is a huge fine 3,000 euro if you are caught discharging grey, black or bilge water. As we had only stayed 6 nights they wanted to charge us the daily rate of 106 euro a night, rather than the weekly rate of 450 euro, so I said Ok we come back in tonight and pay for the week, thus saving 148 euro, or around $208 Australian dollars, crazy really.
We had a great day, first of all we saw another Nordhavn 47, called C’mon girl, and she was anchored, ready to be loaded on a ship to the USA. Unfortunately the owner didn’t speak English so our communications were very limited. We cruised over to Kizil Adasi, a nearby island where we had lunch and the brave – namely Peter, Brita, Holger and Robbie swam. The water was lovely but still too cold for me! We enjoyed a gorgeous lunch of the local Turkish bread which is divine, local sausage/salami which is an orangey colour and a bit spicy, ham, the tomatoes which are the nicest ripest red tomatoes I have ever had, and of course the local cheese, and lastly cherries – very nice Thanks to Heidi and Brita for bringing all this food. We finished off with some beautiful chocolate thanks to David and Andrea – no wonder our waist lines are not diminishing!! We headed back into the marina and tied up alongside the outside dock – the only part of the marina where you can tie alongside rather than stern tie up.
We had dinner with some of the marina permanents John and Denise from the Gold Coast, and John and Sue from England had a lovely meal and enjoyed meeting these long-time residents of the marina, and learning some local knowledge.
Next day we departed the marina at 1:30pm for our first stern tie anchorage! We headed to Boynuz Buku, not too far from Fethiye. We arrived around 3:30pm. I was dreading this as someone has to either swim in the stern ropes or take them by dinghy. This is not so easy with our dinghy, as it is so heavy and the shoreline in this bay is all rocks – so not ideal to try and do this by dinghy. We dropped the anchor and backed up and Robbie swam ashore to tie the ropes while I held Southern Star in position with the stern and bow thrusters, and a little reverse. This worked really well with no dramas – phew!! We then sat and watched a yacht across the other side of the bay attempt to stern tie for over 40 minutes, he was drifting very close to, and across the other yachts moored nearby. We felt really relieved and quite proud that we had done so well on our first attempt! There are a lot of big, very big yachts and motor boats moored in this bay. Most of them are super yachts and they all seem to have the latest toys which are like a jet propelled scooter that zips around the water with one person hanging on.
We took the duck into shore where there was a small restaurant, which we bypassed and walked up the hill behind the bay. We walked up the stony road to the top of the hill, gingerly as we did not have walking shoes on. The view over the bay was stunning, the water is just such a gorgeous blue colour. Back to the boat and cooked Salmon for dinner which we had brought in Fethiye, very nice.
We departed the following day, just after 12 with me driving, nervously as Robbie had to release the two stern tie ropes while I had to initially reverse, then I loosened the ropes and he was able to undo them and then tie the duck to the back of Southern Star whilst I began lifting the anchor, and then slowly ticking out. No problem, piece of cake! I hope they are all that easy!
We arrived in the Bay of Sarsala Koyu around 2:00pm and after a quick lunch went to shore for a walk. There were a few people enjoying picnics, and we walked around the rocky shoreline to the point, and back again. As we got down to the foreshore there was a Turkish family just starting to cook a Bar-B-Q. They insisted that we join them. Such a lovely family with two young children – Mum Nefise, her husband, Umit who is the Police Captain in Dalaman, and his brother – Mutlu. Kareem 7 years old, and Fatima 2 years old. The children were just gorgeous! The food and the hospitality were amazing, it was an impromptu invitation from a lovely family to join them for lunch. There was so much food, lamb, chicken, beef, kidneys and some other meat -beef – that with the language barrier we could not determine what it actually was. The salads were awesome, and of course the fresh Turkish bread also. The hospitality shown to us, truly blew us away! Our Turkish language is non-existent (still learning how to pronounce thank you – Tesekkur ederim) -and this beautiful family had a little English, but we got by. We look forward to pay forward this kindness! Umit offered Robbie a beer, but we brought a couple from the restaurant, Mutlu offered us some of the local Raki, which is an aniseed flavoured liqueur that you mix with water. We declined and stuck to a beer. Maree Metforth – you would have loved it!! We said our farewells and headed back to the boat. It was so enjoyable and we were impressed with their friendliness.
Tuesday 26th May, today, we departed Sarsala at 9.45 and headed down to Ruins Bay, a very protected and scenic bay. Tomorrow there are strong winds forecast in the morning. There are old ruins right on the waters edge and protruding into the water, very charming. There were a lot of boats stern tied when we arrived at 10.45am, some of them the traditional Turkish wooden sailing boat, either 2 or 3 masted, called a Gulet. They are usually tourist charter boats and mostly diesel powered.