Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Jordon River

Today we went rafting in the Jordon River, that was a adventure. The Jordon River is were Jesus was baptized and we got to raft in it! Cool! First we tried on our life jackets, then we listend to the rules then we sarted. There was Lily, Zoe, Mom, Dad and me in one boat, and in the other boat there was Maggie and Levi. They were faster than us but it was ok. There was two bridges and two waterfalls. On the first waterfall Lily was a little scared, but then she had fun. It took about an hour then we went on shore and there was two buses that went back to the cars. We got there to the rental car and drove away, how cool! It was one of the best things in Israel! I would do it  again!

                               By Emma
                                     9 years old.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Goodies from the Galley....:)

Passage Food! :)

Well we made it to Cyprus. Our first over-night passage complete (actually 2 nights). But since I wanted to be outside and not baking during the 45 hours the night before we left I made muffins! Awww they turned out so cute! A little smaller than the recipie said but hey, they were still eatible! I think I ended up with 62 so it was enough for 3 mornings! :) I also had an ex-tra helper this time..Thanks Ems! We made two different types. Banana....and blackberry!

So here's pictures of my bite-size, mini muffins..... :)

Then on our way to Israel we had a little bit rougher seas but I managed to go down below and make a quick batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies. Thanks Grammy and Gramps for the chocolate chips you brought over! :) They were a good snack at around 4:30am....

Til next time.....Maggie

Friday, April 23, 2010


Too much to say! This past week has felt like a month! We look back one week from when we left Turkey and it feels like a long, long time ago!

The week started with us leaving Turkey on a two day trip to Cyprus. Then we scooted around to the bottom of the island for a couple of days, and then jumped off again to Israel. 

Our second crossing! and in the same week! I guess after the first one went so smoothly, we figured....why not? Actually, the plan was to get to Israel and explore and get back up to Greece before the summer heat kicks in full swing, and to beat the summer winds called the 'meltami' They are annual winds that blow strongest from mid June through late August from the north/north-west and would make going north difficult.

We had heard from people who have visited Israel, that they are extremely security conscious, with all the tensions going on here, its no surprise. We were also told to expect contact from them as you approach land. We didn't know exactly what that meant, so the unknown was a little unnerving. We passed several more oil tankers, even larger and closer this time. One even contacted us on the VHF radio to let us know he saw us and calculated and adjusted his his route to come across our bow and we would continue our course behind him. Boats under sail have right-of-way and apparently, size does not matter! We must have looked like a rubber duckie next to them!

We had a little surprise right at dusk when Levi spotted a school of dolphins right in front of our boat as we sailed! There was, we guessed, 30 of them jumping right in front us, and poor Maggie was trying her best to catch a picture. As soon as she moved to try and catch one, another one jumped on the opposite side. Frustrating! They were close enough for us to hear them 'squeak' to each other (or us?) and gasp for breath through their air-holes. Pretty amazing! Here's the best shot we came up with:

As the night went on, we could hear the Haifa port calling other vessels that were either passing through, or approaching Haifa. Our turn came at about 1:00 am and we had to answer a lot of questions over the VHF. Crew number, names, nationalities, passport numbers, etc. Then, as we got closer, a navy ship came up and circled us, no navigation lights except spotlights on our boat, and the captain on the VHF asking us all the same questions. We thought they were going to board the boat, but they just looked us over really closely and turned and zoomed away. we finally entered the actual port, around 6:00 this morning, another police boat came out and ended up escorting us all the way to our slip in the marina where there was another group of police and customs people to check our papers and stamp the passports. Talk about security! I've never felt so safe in my life. No one is getting here with out a thorough check!   

As it turns out, today, April 20th is Independence Day for Israel and the marina we're at, although it's outside town for shopping, etc. it is now surrounded by hundred of Israelis having picnics and playing in the parks. Happy Birthday Israel!! 62 Years!



first 'crossing'

First Crossing!

We finally did it! For those of you following us, wondering if we were ever leaving Turkey, we made the jump! 

After 7 months here, we decided we were actually going to miss a lot of things about Turkey. The fresh bread available, EVERYWHERE! The doner kebaps, sandwiches sliced from a big drum of meat roasted on a skewer, fruit markets, pimento olives, aged cheeses and the friendliness and helpfulness of the people. We didn't think we were going to be here this long, but were glad of all the amazing sites we able to see and all the new friends we made. That is one huge drawback to this nomadic lifestyle, you make a lot of good friends quickly, but also have to say good bye soon after. 

We left on Tuesday afternoon, calculating that it would take us close to 48 hours to sail to Cyprus, averaging 3+ knots. We planned it for a stretch where there would be light winds and calm seas and that we had to motor a lot of the time, we would fit in that weather window. None of us wanted to fight waves and seasickness for the first one! Calm seas is exactly what we got, some sailing, but a lot of motoring as well. The boat has two Yanmar 18hp diesel engines and the mileage was great. We went some 150 nm on about 10 gallons of gas. 

Our boat was equipped with autopilot, but we hadn't been able to locate the 'controller' to make it work. The previous owners said it was on board, but after looking in every corner we could find, no luck. Well, as we were waiting in Finike, we looked at the sale board in the marina, and someone was selling the same brand of system, Auto helm. So, we met with him and  looked the unit over, verifying to see if it would mate up to our system. He assured us it would, having installed several on other boats, and we even managed to talk him in to installing it on ours. So, literally an hour after we installed it and got it working, we headed out towards Cyprus!

It was a strange feeling watching the sun sink low in the horizon, then crawling below the waterline, no land in sight in any direction, knowing the next thing to look for, is the sun coming back up the next dawn. Incredibly peaceful, just the waves lapping at the boat and a gentle breeze. The ocean calmed down to almost flat, just big rolling swells every now and then pushing us along. We took turns on night watch. Rachel and Levi had the 8:00-1:00 am shift and Erik, Emma, and Maggie had 1:00-6:00. We all took turns watching during the day, as the kids were on deck reading, listening to ipods, and Emma and my Yahtzee tournaments. What a lifesaver the autopilot turned out to be! I can't imagine having to sit there steering every mile, and even though we were working the kinks out of the new system, it was a huge time-saver. Now, we just had to basically be awake and be on the lookout for lights of any other boats. The only other boats we saw in the two days were huge oil tankers and both were a long way off. 

Slowly, the town of Paphos, Cyprus started to fill the horizon at dawn two days later and we made landfall around 10:00 am, even ahead of schedule! We were all a little 'jet lagged' afterwards and just cleaned up the boat, took short naps and tried to get our bearings. Erik did check-in processing, which included: port police, harbor master, customs, and health department! It was pretty painless and it all took just a couple of hours, just sitting and answering questions while they filled out the various forms, and STAMPS! Just like so many other countries we've visited, they love their stamps and they way they pound the forms, I think it's somehow therapeutic for them as well. So long as they get their frustrations out on the paper and not by adding to our fees, pound away!

We found a supermarket later in the afternoon, and with two British military bases on the island, it was very well stocked with all kinds of things we haven seen for months! Doughnuts! Sliced turkey lunch meat! We grabbed only a few things and they were quickly devoured by the troops. We took the next few days heading to Limassol on the bottom part of the island and our launching point for Israel.......see you then!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Kas, Kastellorizo, Kekova, & Kale Koy....whew!

We moved on from Kas, and all it's charms, and on down the coast. Rachel and I were able to squeeze in a date night! We wandered the streets for a while as the sun was setting, having fun listening to the presentations from the different restaurants. They usually have a 'salesman' on the street to pull you in, go over the menu with you, then show you the mezes (appetizers), then the fresh fish, calamari, shrimp, and go through the whole pitch about the "free" bread, salad, chips, tea, etc. After two or three of those, you're starving! Our technique is to find the most crowded restaurant and the one with the most locals, and the price is better if you're a couple streets from the waterfront. We had a great meal and it was fun catching up without being surrounded by little ears.

There is a unique little  island just 4 nm off the coast from Kas: It's actually a Greek island, the last in the string of the Dodacanese islands. It only has 200 full time residents and the law apparently states, that if the population drops below 100 full time residents, it automatically becomes the property of Turkey!
We, of course, had to see it so we sailed over there in an hour or so and after lunch in a bay, went in town to scout it out. It felt abandonded except for the main harbor, which is lined with fish restaurants and coffee bars. It has a very relaxed feeling to the place, and we decided to keep moving before we got sucked in and added to the population!

We sailed on to a long bay called Kekova Roads. It is littered with anchorages in it's craggy coast all tucked behind a four mile island just opposite. It is the ancient site of and just around the corner from Myra, where Paul the Apostle spent some time. The winds picked up over the afternoon and we had a steady sail getting the 20 or so nm. We anchored in 'Woodhouse Bay' and it was calm considering the 20+ knots out in the open.

The next day we sailed just down the bay to Kale Koy, a small hamlet in the shadow of a very intact mideveal castle. Levi and I took the girls, Lily Emma, & Zoe up to explore in the afternoon, and we able to see 360 degrees into the valley on the other side and the whole bay, pretty spectacular! The castle also had a small amphiteater cut, not built, into the rock and the girls took turns doing skits and shows. We met a family in a restaurant where we tied up who were raised here and it looks like the summer is busy with boats and people from all over the world. Pictures and flags from every corner of the globe are hanging all over the restaurant. Their high school daughter rides a fishing boat at 6:00 am with 10 other kids from the village to another village near here, where she rides a bus another 1/2 hour just to get to school! Definately a unique way to get to school.

On our way on to Finike, our last stop for Turkey, we stopped at a cave inside an island. It's a hangout for the local fishermen to cool off and hide out in the heat of the day, but here in spring, we had it to ourselves. It was amazing! We took our dinghy's a small entrance, and it opens up inside to a couple of huge rooms with ceilings soaring 50 feet above our heads. We felt like looking for the treasure from 'Count of Monte Cristo' and I can't imagine pirates haven't used it at some point. The only locals in the cave were a cluster of bats squeaking at us for intruding while we were there. We left amazed at God's diverse creation.......again!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

south by south east

We've been moving along...a few long sailing days, a few rough weather days, and of course, a few fun days to keep the crew from forming a mutiny!

Last week, we stayed in Fethiye a few more days, waited for the fruit and veg market on Tuesday and loaded up. Maggie and I went exploring for the market and found that the easiest way it find it is to follow the people carrying fruit upstream to the market. It was bigger than the market we'd been to at Marmaris or Bodrum and was spread over several city blocks, we could have easily spent all day there! The selection and prices seemed better as well, either that or because it's Spring, everything seemed bigger and's like grocery shopping when you're hungry......bad idea. We left there struggling to carry all the apples, bananas, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, (& blackberries!) heading to the dinghy and all for just over 30 Lira (20$) Money well spent! 

We left on Wednesday and sailed back across Fethiye Korfezi, a huge bay with dozens and dozens of anchorages tucked into it's nooks and crannies, and were able to tie up "side-to" to a rickety old dock in 'Tomb Bay' so called for the ancient rock tombs carved into the hills surrounding it. The guy who owns the dock and adjacent restaurant, has been there for 12 years and the only way in is by boat.....quite an existence there! It was the last night carravaning with 'Time Warp'. The next morning, we said our good-byes, which was difficult, and hopefully it's only for a while and we can hook up again. They are heading back to Marmaris and we're moving south to Kas and Finike. We're going to miss them. Their web page is: if you want to meet them and see their journey. 

On Thursday, we motored out of our corner of the bay, light winds, thinking we were going to have a nice easy day hooking around to the next bay some 15 nm away. Once we got out of the small corner we were in, we got blasted with 12-15 foot waves, and we had to cross them at a 45 degree angle, ALL day. We were forced to motor most of the way as the wind was not in our favor. It made for a pretty miserable day, rolling against the waves and not feeling like we were gaining any ground. After about 2 hours, we all felt pretty sick, and Rachel wound up over the lee rail, losing breakfast. We made it around the corner and into the next bay, but the seas were so large, the swell got pushed into our bay as well. We managed to anchor in a calm(er) corner and all collapsed for a short nap. We'd skipped lunch, and were in good enough shape to have a good dinner that night. The bed never felt so soft (or calm!), and I think we were all in bed by 8:30, asleep by 8:32!

Friday, we wandered over to 'Saint Nicolas' island in the dinghy. There was a Catholic priest who "Santa Claus" was named after who was born just 20 miles or so down the coast from here and lived on this particular island for a time. It had some excellent ruins and a long tunnel that ran several hundred yards, tying the ancient houses and businesses together. After, we went around the corner to a beautiful sand beach with crystal water and spent the afternoon lying there, enjoying the sun and the girls were jumping in the surf with their new friends they met from Germany. They couldn't talk to each other, but they spent all day playing in the sea, making sand castles and having a ball. We left as the sun was setting and hooked into a deep corner bay with our line ashore and had another peaceful night. 

Saturday was a long sailing day and we covered some 35nm cruising all the way down to Kalkan. The day started our calm, wind in our favor and we were cruising at some 3 knots with about 8-9 knots of wind. We wandered out a little farther and by early to mid afternoon, the wind had picked up to 25 knots steady, 30 knot gusts. We struggled to reef in our sails and only had a small headsail on and were still making 5-6 knots!! It was fun, but the sea followed and built in the high wind and got very rolly with 15foot waves. Thankfully, we were going with the waves and sort of "surfed" along with them.....much better than going across or against them!
We made it to Kalkan and were happy with a free side-to mooring at the town dock, courtesy of the Turkish Coast Guard. So we slept soundly with no worries of anchors dragging or swells making the boat roll all night. 

Sunday and we motored in almost no wind for 15nm to a town called Kas. It's been funny to watch the vendors slowly gearing up for their summer season and tryng out their 'pitches' on us. Lily and Zoe still get an amazing amount of freebies from the shop owners. 
Kas, meaning 'eyebrow' is an ancient harbor in an amazing setting surrounded by steep cliffs. It was a Greek settlement up until only 1922 when it was taken over by the Turks. It's funny how many times over the centuries these different places have been conquered, & re-conquered. It explains why the Turks are fiercely patriotic and very eager to protect their land and their flag. It's a little like the patriotism America went through right after 9-11, except all the time, times 10. 

The kids have slowly and reluctantly getting back into their school routines. It's difficult with only part of a day to do school, either the early morning before we travel, or after we anchor and usually no one feels like doing anything by then. There is a lot of other lessons the kids are learning for sure......getting along with each other as their 'stuck' with each other for days on end, and the history that's all around us. It's amazing to be walking down a street in a village and suddnely there is a 1000 year old tomb or mideveal castle in the middle of town. Trying to piece together all of the history through the centuries is a challenge. Just think of the history of the US after only a little over 200 years: Reveloutionary War, Spanish-American War, Civil War, settlements, trains, cars, airplanes, on and on. Now times that by 100 and try to figure out 2000 - 3000 years of history! It just gets condensed into "Eras"! Byzantine, Greco-Roman, Ottoman, and even then, it's difficult to keep track of who was where, and when.

It's off tomorrow towards Finike! Good night!