Flying high over a magical world

Flying high over a magical world

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As Wayne mentioned in his blog this week, we took a couple of days away from the boatyard to see one of Turkey’s most visited and photographed regions: Cappadocia, famous for the unique “fairy chimney” structures on the landscape, cave dwellings, and the underground cities first built by the Hittites around 3000 BC, and enlarged by the Byzantine Christians, the Romans, the Ottomans, and used by the Turks as food storage until they were discovered by archeologists who made several into museums.

I had started to be afraid that we would never get our chance to visit this magical place before leaving Turkey, but a surprise visit by friends made us decide to take the risk in these unsettled times. We didn’t want to go in a hot air balloon with over 20 strangers, but we were able to make a reservation for four people and a pilot.

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We were visited by our Swiss friend Philip, whom Wayne has known ever since they first met in Ecuador while single handing their very different vessels: Philip was aboard his Outremer 43 catamaran Blue Bie, and Wayne was on his Bruce Roberts Custom 52′ steel cutter, Learnativity. Throughout the next ten years, they would meet up in some corner of the South Pacific. And we had the much anticipated opportunity to meet our friend’s partner, Nancy, a fascinating American woman who met Philip at the end of her two year stay in Vanuatu with the Peace Corps. 

After a couple of days of local sightseeing around Antalya, we flew on a very short direct flight to Kayseri, the city with an airport closest to the Cappadocia region. There we picked up a rental car and drove for an hour to get to our hotel in Göreme, one of the small villages where there are cave hotels. Some of these are actually in caves, while most are just designed to look like caves. There are several other small towns spread among valleys in this stunning region, each known for something different. 

Turkey map

The reason this landscape has grown into this eery Middle Earth like place is because of Mount Erciyes, the highest mountain in central Anatolia, with its summit at 3,916 meters. I saw a huge mountain out the airplane window as we approached the airport at Kayseri, and I suspect it was the volcano that erupted thousands of years before mankind settled in the area.

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Several eruptions over the centuries rained thick layers of ash down more than 100-meters deep on the area we know as Cappadocia. The ash hardened into something called tuff, which is a very soft stone. Sometimes the different layers would have more hard stone in them. The oddly shaped towers came about because one layer would not erode and it would form a little hat or roof on top of the column of softer tuff, protecting it from the rain.

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And yes, one of the valleys in the region was named Love Valley by a Frenchman because of the resemblance between these towers and a part of human anatomy.

So the best way to show you the stunning beauty of the area is to take you along with us on our balloon flight. And you won’t even have to get up at 5:00 in the morning like we did!

Fair winds!

Christine

Video Tours of XPM78-01 Möbius; July 15, 2020

Merhaba as we say here in Turkey, to all our faithful blog readers.  Just for a change of pace, this is Christine here and I wanted to let you know that we have heard all your many requests asking for a video tour showing the current stage of construction of our new boat and home Möbius.  So it is with great pleasure that we are finally able to honour your requests.

It had been a year since the last full video tour, and lots has changed for sure. Wayne just loves to talk and write – at great length – about his beloved Möbius, so one day he just took the camera and spent the next several hours walking through the boat and talking about it. That was a few weeks ago now on July 15, 2020

Wayne is far too busy working on Möbius right now to do the editing, so I took it upon myself to learn a new program (DaVinci Resolve, for those who are interested) and start my new career as the Möbius World video editor. I apologize for taking so long to get this done, but it had been a long time since I had done much video editing and the program is complex.

Also, there was A LOT of footage to take on for my first project; thanks Wayne!  So I decided to divide it in half and create a two part series for you, Part I of the Exterior of Möbius and Part II of the Interior, both of which you will find below.

First, a few notes about what I’ve done to these videos so you know how best to navigate your way through these quite long videos to get at just what you want.

CHAPTERS:

For those who want to skip through and just look at the portions of the video that interest you, I’ve divided the video into chapters which you can access two ways. 

  1. When viewing these videos on YouTube if you look in the text area below the video window, you will find a list of the Chapters in this video.   Click on any of the topics in that list to jump directly to that Chapter in the video.
  2. When watching the video if you hover your cursor over the bottom of the video window the timeline will appear at the bottom of each video and  you will see some dashes or marks along that timeline bar where each Chapter starts/ends.  If you hover your cursor over any bar a pop up text will tell you the name of that Chapter and if you click it will jump directly to that point in the video.

Here is are the lists of the Chapters in each video to give you an idea of what you will find when you watch the videos by clicking on the two video windows below.

PART I:  The Exterior

CHAPTERS in this video:

  1.      00:00 –Intro
  2.      00:42 – We introduce ourselves
  3.      01:50 – The swim platform
  4.      04:10 – The aft deck
  5.      12:00 – The sky bridge
  6.      20:56 – The side deck
  7.      21:44 – The foredeck
  8.      27:02 – Below the waterline


PART II:  The Interior

CHAPTERS in this video:

  1. 00:00 – Intro
  2. 00:46 – The workshop
  3. 15:20 – The guest cabin
  4. 20:42 – The tanks
  5. 21:58 – Aft circuit breaker panel
  6. 23:32 – The super salon
  7. 24:22 – The galley
  8. 32:26 – The settee
  9. 34:50 – Lower Helm
  10. 44:28 – The Basement
  11. 58:44 – The Master Cabin

I hope you will enjoy the tours AND that you will send us your feedback, comments and questions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.

– Captain Christine

MÖBIUS will be all-PC, and we don’t mean politically correct

MÖBIUS will be all-PC, and we don’t mean politically correct

The first time I sailed across the Pacific was in 1975. This is a much younger me in Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas.

Generous Marquesans gifts

We navigated with a sextant and a chronometer that we kept in a velvet-lined box. Paper charts and pencil. The only pieces of electronics gear on that 44-foot sailboat were a Heathkit home-built digital depth sounder and a battery-operated multi-band short wave receiver. No radio, no refrigeration, and for entertainment, we usually read books by the light of a Coleman lantern.

My, how things have changed in 45 years.

While I’m really glad I got the opportunity to experience those early days of cruising, I have never longed to go back to the “good old days.”  Rather, most of my life I have been an early adopter of technology, from Loran to Sat-Nav, to GPS, to computer navigation, to iPads and navigation apps. So it just seemed right when Wayne was finding himself a bit overwhelmed with the work of ordering equipment and overseeing the build, and not finding enough time to work on our beloved Mr. Gee, that the job I could most likely help out with was in the area of electronics and networking. So I dove in to the deep end of the research pool and quickly found myself over my head. But, hey, I find it really exciting to learn new stuff, and that’s a huge part of what this building Möbius  is all about for us.

Over the next few weeks and months, I hope to write several blog posts covering my journey of learning and decisions we have made about our various networks, from NMEA 2000 to ethernet, to our Victron smart management system of our batteries, chargers and solar panels. Today, I’m going to start with our decision to go all-in on PCs.

Multifunction display chart plotters, or MFD’s have become the standard on most recreational boats. When I met Wayne, he had a single Raymarine E7 chart plotter on Learnativity, the boat we sold before starting this project. He had fitted that boat out 15 years before, upgrading the original electronics. Then he upgraded again many miles later when that plotter failed. Each time, it was rip out the old and stick in new hardware.

Today’s multifunction chart plotters show radar, AIS targets, depth, fish finder graphs, sonar, and night vision cameras. Some interact with the boat’s stereo system, can switch to internet browsing, and even take control of the boat’s drones! They are amazing, but essentially, they are closed black boxes that need to get sent back to the manufacturer for repairs.

As versatile as today’s MFD’s are, there is still much they cannot do. You cannot install any other software on them. At the very least, we knew that we wanted to have a pretty big and complex Maretron monitoring system on the boat, and we would need to run N2K View software. Plus, we wanted a permanent ship’s entertainment system with all our collection of photos, music and video on a Synology NAS hard drive system. We were going to need a ship’s computer anyway.

So then we started to look at the navigation equipment we wanted to use because that would, in part, drive our decision as to the navigation software we would use. Early on, we made the decision to go with Furuno for most of our electronics on the new boat. We started with what radar we wanted and Furuno won on that count, and their customer service is very good, their equipment extremely robust. So initially, we were looking at Furuno MFDs.

But one of the problems we faced was that we wanted lots of screens to see all those different systems all the time at two different helms. And given that we both wear glasses and are not getting any younger, we wanted decent-sized screens. Each MFD chart plotter has a powerful computer inside. These days most manufacturers also sell Black Box chart plotters allowing customers to connect them to their own monitors, but the Furuno TZT2BB while it has two Windows computers inside, only allows two monitors. And the 15” TZT2 MFDs we were looking at started at an MSRP of over $5000.00 each.

In the end the main reasons we decided to forego MFDs and go as a strictly PC boat were:

1. Cost

2. Upgradability

3. Versatility

Another thing we liked about Furuno was the fact that their navigation software that runs on Furuno MFDs is also available from Maxsea Nobeltec for PCs. Today, the program is called TimeZero, and while Furuno licenses the software for their MFDs, we can also run it on a Windows 10 computer. We considered OpenCpn, a free, open-source navigation application, but we read too many posts about people having the application crash, and it only will work with some radars, not all. When we investigated the TimeZero software, we were sold. The interface is beautiful and it works with Furuno radars. TimeZero comes in two version, Navigator and Professional, and while it’s not cheap, we decided to go with the Pro for all the extras, and we bought two licenses for just over $2000.00. Yeah, ouch.

Our first plan was to have our two computers be a permanent ship’s computer and then Wayne’s laptop would stand in for the second. It would give us redundancy, and we could do planning on the laptop.

Then I went on the forums and started to research computers. There is the Trawler Forum, the Cruisers and Sailing Forum, the Facebook Group TimeZero Navigation Software User’s Group, and the Furuno Community Forum. There are also lots of blogs we have mentioned previously as our favorites. I searched and read as much as I could, and of course, there was lots of disagreement.

Some folks are adamant that the ship should have a navigation computer with no other software on it, while others use theirs to navigate AND watch movies and check email, and they’ve been doing it for years.

Some swore by powerful machines, while others were happy to run OpenCPN on Raspberry Pi computers. Some said they would never trust a home-built, hack-job, while others said that nearly everything on their boats was DIY so they could fix it when it died. Some said you could buy a computer, but you’d save lots of money if you built it yourself.

When I talked to a Furuno rep about what specs they would like to see in a computer to best run TZ, I was told, “Our standard currently is an I7 CPU, 8/16 GB ram, gtx1060/1070, and a 250gb solid state HDD.”

In the end, I decided to do a bit of all of it. We will have two ship’s computers – in addition to our laptops. For the skybridge, we will buy a fanless industrial computer that will be kept pure as a ship’s computer and will run only TimeZero and N2K View. On the more powerful one at the main helm, we will not worry about contamination, and we’ll run whatever software we want. It will be our entertainment center as well. And this Apple fangirl decided I would build this Windows 10 box myself. While you can run TZ on older i7 processors, I didn’t want our system to lag while outputting to multiple monitors and running the graphics intensive charting software. So, I decided to spend the money on the 9th generation Intel processor in part because it can support up to 4 monitors, and that is what we have planned for the lower main helm: two 15” monitors at the helm, one 43” monitor to port and a 49” TV to starboard. TimeZero Pro only supports three “workspaces,” but we will want a permanent display for Maretron N2K View.

I really enjoyed the learning for the build process. I made heavy use of the website PC Parts Picker, and I started reading the forums where the gaming guys talk shop. I built this back in December 2019, and I decided to pay for a newly released processor so we could get some years out of it. When I opted for the “small form factor,” I thought it would be smaller than it is, but it doesn’t really matter. We have room on the boat for a full-size tower.

Here’s the parts list for my final build:

Intel Core i7-9700 Coffee Lake 8-Core 3.0 GHz (4.7 GHz Turbo) processor $349.99

Noctua NH-U12S – Premium CPU Cooler with NF-F12 120mm Fan   $59.95

Fractal Design Define Mini C MicroATX Mid Tower Case.  $79.99

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 3200MHz Memory kit  $74.99

MSI MPG Z390M Micro ATX Motherboard  $155.00

MSI Gaming GEForce GTX 1660 Ventus XS 6G OC Graphics Card  $227.99

Crucial P1 1TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive.  $99.00

Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-12 120mm  Computer Case Fan  $15.99

CORSAIR TX-M Series TX550M CP-9020133-NA 550W ATX12V Semi-Modular Power Supply.  $89.99

Windows 10 Pro     $129.00

Total price: $1281.89 

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As you can see in the photo above, I’m not sure how they get away with calling this a MicroATX Mid Tower. For someone who is used to laptops, this thing looks huge. And when I compare this to what you can buy that is similar in power and design, I’m not convinced I saved much money. But the big advantage I feel is that I learned so much, and as time goes on, I can easily increase the RAM if necessary, add a more powerful graphics card, or switch the built-in power supply from 110 to 24 volts. In the photo, you can see it is running on an AC converter since we are in Turkey with 240V and the computer currently runs on 110V.  The 24V power supply I looked at was $330, and since we don’t have the batteries hooked up yet, I went with AC for now so I could actually tell if my creation worked and start up the learning curve on Time Zero Pro. Perhaps I will pop for the other power supply in the future.

Helm

This Mid Tower computer will reside in the cabinet on the port side of the main helm behind the TV in the main salon. You can see that cavernous area on the far left of the photo above. The TV will be mounted on a swinging door that can be opened to access the air handler and the computer, as well as other networking bits and pieces.

Here’s the sort of computer we intend to buy for our second computer:

Fanless PC Industrial Mini PC Windows 10 Pro 16GB RAM / 512GB SSD Intel Whiskey Lake i7-8565u, TDP 15W8M Cache, up to 4.60 GHz, Quad Core 8 threads Desktop  Computer with HDMI/TPC/EDP Ports, M.2 WiFi, BT 4.0, 4K HD, RS232 / 485 COM, SATA 3.0 for 2.5 Inch HDD/SSD

Total price on Amazon: $917.00

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And the size is quite different! It has an 8th generation Intel Processor, so it will still support three monitors, but that does push the price up. At the moment, we only intend to have two monitors at the upper helm, but it is nice to know we will have room to grow. Screen Shot 2020 03 08 at 6 24 54 PM

Also, these are just basically Intel NUC computers, so I know they are expandable in terms of adding a larger SSD or more RAM.

This one will go into a cabinet that is just to port as you go down the steps into the main salon. Both computers will have dual LAN ports. Furuno is fussy about insisting that their hardware needs to be on its own isolated network. We will have a FAR 1523 radar, BBD-S1 bottom discriminating depth sounder, and the Axis camera encoder for our FLIR camera, as well as some exterior cameras on that network. All the wifi, additional cameras, Synology NAS, and other non-Furuno stuff will be on the other network.

For monitors, after a fair amount of research, we chose Litemax Navpixel marine displays. At first, I searched and searched for regular monitors, but since we only had room for two 19” displays at the lower helm, the choices were few. We didn’t really need the waterproof aspect, but I wanted them to be able to dim almost to black easily, preferably with a hard knob, and I wanted them sunlight readable, even for inside. We have so much glass in our salon, and our eyes aren’t getting any younger. By going direct to the supplier in Taiwan, we were able to get two 19” displays, two 24” displays, and one regular non-waterproof 43” monitor for about $8000.00 including shipping.

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This is a photo of one of the 24” monitors from Litemax. This is a full multi-touch,1920×1080,1000 nits sunlight readable, IP65 sunlight readable Marine Display.

One 19” TZT3 ChartPlotter sells for $8,495.00. To be fair, that includes the sounder, and we will have to buy the sounder module ($500) for our TimeZero software.

In addition to the TimeZero software, we will also have Rose Point Coastal Explorer software. We will have CS on our laptops for planning purposes, and for back-up in case we lose both of the ship’s computers. In addition, we have tablets and phones. For redundancy and back-up, we feel we are covered.

In the end, we won’t know until we get out there, but we’re both pretty happy with our decision to make Möbius an all-PC boat.

We will carry very few paper charts, just a few large area ocean charts, but we will have paper pilot charts. And in the event we lose all electricity, we both have sextants, a copy of the tables, and a nautical almanac on Kindle (with a tiny portable solar panel).

If I have to break out the sextant, I think it will be just like riding a bike.

Stay safe and healthy everyone. We’re on a long passage with this Pandemic, but as Wayne and I always say to each other when things blow up on us — This too shall pass.

Fair winds,

Christine

Searching for Sunrise

Searching for Sunrise

I’ve been here before. This is not my first time taking part in a new boat build. It was 1978, and I was 23 years old when my first husband Jim and I decided that we wanted to build a bigger boat, so we could make a living doing sailing charters. Jim had built boats before, and he had been working at Kehi Drydock in Hawaii just before I met him. He was a professional, so I figured, “How hard can this be?” Ha!

We named her SUNRISE, and she was a 55-foot cutter, but it took many, many long hours in the boatyard to get her there. We considered building the hull ourselves, but when we found a company in Costa Mesa, California building a Bruce Roberts design that suited us, we put our money down. We rented their mold and had their crew lay up the hull to our specs. We wanted solid fiberglass, not a cored hull, and we paid extra money to leave it in the mold to cure for 30 days.

I remember the day the boat mover truck arrived at the DIY boat yard in Ventura, California. We arrived at first light, and there was the truck driver asleep in the cab. When he climbed out, I was standing there, gazing up at the boat admiringly.

I said, “She sure looks like she’ll go fast.”

Without so much as a pause, the truck driver said, “Well, she did about 50 on the way here.”

I can’t begin to explain how different that experience was from what Wayne and I are doing with Mobius today. In those days there was no such thing as CNC machinery, and everything in the boat was cut to fit. We did everything ourselves, and there was no lovely boat shed to protect us from the sun and the rain.

We had no yacht designer to get us from that huge bare hull to a completed boat. We designed our own deck, cabin structure and interior. The price of lead was high at the time, so we bought scrap steel rods from the companies doing off-shore oil drilling, cut it into 3-foot lengths and stood them end in the keel–ten thousand pounds of them–then poured resin in to lock them in place. We built integral tanks, fabricated the mast step, and laminated the deck beams.

I worked as a waitress the whole time, but nearly every day of those three long years, I went to the yard and worked before or after my shift. I fiberglassed in bulkheads, sanded and filled surfaces for the overhead and the shower stalls, and I held the other end of the wood as Jim worked his magic on it. We did the interior in solid black walnut and cherry wood, no veneer, and I must have made tens of thousands of plugs, including for the teak on the decks.

SUNRISE was a special boat. Jim was a master woodworker, and he did all the inlay and carvings, while I did all the finish work and the stained glass. Most anyone who ever saw the boat, remembered her.

We sailed her from California through Panama to the Caribbean, up to Florida and back to the Caribbean a few times. By the time we sold her in 1996, we had owned and sailed SUNRISE for 15 years, and raised our son, Tim on board until the day we sold her and got divorced. Sadly, Jim died a couple of years later.

Recently, I dug up lots of old photos, some of them very damaged after years of storage on board boats, and I made this little slide show about those years we built SUNRISE.

These days, Wayne and I are enjoying watching several of the YouTube channels that feature the new generation of young cruisers chronicling their lives afloat. Recently, one of them said, “I really wish I could find the original owner of this boat. I would have so many questions for him.”

That comment got me thinking. I wondered if SUNRISE could still be afloat today, 38 years later. What if her current owner would like to see that video and know more about her construction and her story? So, I went to the US Coast Guard Documentation database and looked up SUNRISE. Now, there are 90 some vessels in that database named SUNRISE, but only one of them is 55 feet long and was launched in 1981. It’s got to be the same boat.

So, I have decided to see if I can use Facebook and the Internet to track him down and get photos to see what she looks like today. Here goes.

I am trying to locate the boat owner by the name of Jonathan Wright and the boat’s hailing port is Fairhaven, Massachusetts. And below here is the most recent photo I have. It’s one that a previous owner sent me about 15 years ago. He added the hardtop and bimini and some big davits on the stern.

If any of you have seen this boat or if you know of anyone who has, please send me an email at wayne.christine@mobius.world.

Let the hunt begin!

Loving Life in Turkey

Loving Life in Turkey

When we were going through the process of choosing a boat builder, we knew that the location mattered a great deal to us. We didn’t know for sure how long it would take to build the boat, but we knew we would be measuring the time in years, not months, so it had to be someplace we would enjoy. That played a big part in why we chose Turkey. When we first announced we were moving here, lots of people ask us if we weren’t worried for our safety, or were concerned about the standard of living over here. So many people don’t know what a gem this country is. The archeological sites are extraordinary, the nature is stunning, and it’s a modern, well-developed and tolerant country. Even more so, lately, lots of folks have written asking if the political and economic situation is impacting us. I hope that by sharing in this post a little of what our day to day lives are like here, our friends, family, and followers will understand better why (aside from the great boatyard at Naval) we like it so much here.

In February 2018, we signed a year’s lease to rent a three bedroom, two bath,1900 sq. ft. fully furnished apartment, and after more than 6 months of living in the place, it has become home. We are on the 9th floor of a 12-story building, and there are only two apartments on each floor. The three buildings in our complex are arranged around the enormous swimming pool and a small playground you see in the photo above. There is 24-hour security on the gate supplied by three very kind gentlemen who smile indulgently at our attempts to greet them in Turkish. One of the three bedrooms is set-up as my office and out the corner window, I can see a small strip of the blue sea over the rooftops in one direction and the imposing granite mountains in the other. For this, if we count rent, maintenance fees and utilities, we are still under $500 a month.

Our apartment is located about six blocks from a long gorgeous beach that was nearly empty in the winter, but is now covered with tourists from elsewhere in Turkey, and primarily from Eastern Europe. It’s not unusual here to find restaurants with tourist menus in English and Russian. The Free Zone where Naval Yachts is located is a kilometer or two from the apartment, and for the last month or longer, Wayne has been riding his bike there every day.

I stay at the apartment where I get to work on my book business. I’m drafting a new novel and running advertising for the existing books. I take the dogs out, go shopping and visit the pool. And every day, I try to spend at least one hour studying Turkish. It’s a tough language, but I am determined. I’ve got apps on all my devices and I listen to vocabulary as I walk the dogs, cook and do dishes, and I practice with Duo Lingo, Babbel, Monday and Memrise. The language is unlike any I’ve learned before and Wayne teases me about my fascination with the grammar and structure of the language, but I will be able to speak by Christmas. Maybe.

Every Tuesday, there is a neighborhood market selling fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, eggs, fish, olives, dried fruits and nuts, and various household goods. I take my little rolling trolly just like the other Turkish housewives and walk the few block to fill my shopping cart with all the healthy makings of our Mediterranean diet. The market spills out of the main structure and for two blocks on every side street, people are selling honey or homemade yogurt or bath towels and T-shirts out of the trunks of their cars. We eat what’s in season, so we were enjoying the winter squash and Brussel sprouts back in March, and now it is all about peaches, cherries, grapes, melons, and figs. There are so many different types of peppers, I can’t keep track, but surprisingly few of them are very hot. And tomatoes, a staple of Turkish cuisine, come in every size, color and shape.

I look forward to my Tuesday market days as the place is crowded and loud and wild, but loads of fun. The men are always shouting and joking, the Turkish ladies are squeezing the produce with a skeptical look, and the tourists are wandering around showing the whites of their eyes. The fish vendor is also the waiter at our neighborhood restaurant and the young man at one of the olive booths always practices his English with me. The prices you will see in the photos of the market are in Turkish Lira per kilo, and today the TL trades at about six to the USD. It’s hard to beat a kilo of fresh cherries for about 85 cents.

Because there is so much good inexpensive food here, we eat very little processed food. I have even taken to making my own granola cereal. I use oats, coconut oil, Turkish honey, and walnuts, hazel nuts, almonds, chia, dried cranberries and whatever else I can find at the market. Bake it in the oven to crisp it up and with sliced peaches on top, it’s yummy.

All over Antalya, there are loads of small neighborhood parks, and most of them have playgrounds for the kids and exercise equipment for the adults. With all the good Turkish food here, and no longer living a boating lifestyle, we found our waistlines growing. Back in May, we decided we had to do something about it. We don’t see too many people using the equipment, but for the last three months, we have been getting up at 6:00 a.m. and spending about 60 minutes working out. We take the dogs for their morning walk around the block and we stop at the park for our workout. I had been noticing so much loss of strength in the last few years, and I didn’t think I would ever get it back. Surprise! I’m feeling stronger and healthier than ever.

Since we are going to be living here for a long time, we haven’t been in a rush to see all the sites, but in six months we have managed to get out and about a bit.

In March, for my birthday, Wayne took me to the top of Mount Olympus Teleferik(Tahtali mountain) via the cable car.

The temperature outside the car as we drove the seaside road past Kemer was in the 70’s. We drove up through a fragrant forest to the cable car base, and after a long ride in the cable car, we found ourselves in snow at 2365 meters height. The views were stunning and the whole cable car structure was a feat of engineering.

In late June, friends aboard an American cruising sailboat, Chuck and Patty on Soulmates came through Antalya on their cruise along Turkey’s southern coast. We shared some meals, and I spent one day showing them around a few of the local sites. We visited the best-preserved Roman theater of the ancient world at Aspendos where they still hold performances since Ataturk had the theater restored in the 1930’s.

We also stopped to see the ruins of the huge Hellenistic city at Perge built in the 2nd century BC with its baths and market and stadium. The volume of archeological sites within a day’s drive of our apartment is stunning. And they are continuing to find more. People have been living in this area for thousands of years through dozens of different cultures and civilizations.

Finally, we stopped off at the Duden falls park right here in the city of Antalya where a waterfall drops into the sea. We ate a late lunch at a restaurant along the river and watched the guys taking rafts up the river so folks could do a mini raft trip down this stream. It’s a good thing they have a good net at the end. You wouldn’t want your raft to go over these falls!

Recently, we also got the chance to go up on our local Antalya cable car with our friends, Baris and Dinçer Dinç, the brothers who are the owners and the brains behind Naval Yachts. Though the climb was not as high as Mount Olympos, the views of the city we have come to call home were stunning. From the marina, the port and the Free Zone in the foreground, to the miles-long Konyalti Beach along the shore, you can see why Antalya is a favorite for us as well as tourists.

We ate gözleme and talked of travel, family and politics. And we had the opportunity to talk about what the impact of the drop in value of the Turkish lira is having on the average Turkish citizen. They explained that in the marine business, almost all prices now are quoted in US dollars (such as our contract). They also said that as employers, they try to help their workers with bonuses to make up for the loss of buying power. And while we haven’t really seen prices change much at the market, the supermarkets, or even at the gas pump, inflation is coming. Right now, Antalya is brimming with foreign tourists, and people here are not perhaps feeling the impact yet, but when the customers have gone and the city returns to the sleepy town we saw last winter, things are going to get tough for some of these folks. Yet, not once in all my time here in Antalya has anyone ever made me feel unwelcome when they found out I was American. They have reason to. I know Turkey has had economic difficulties for some time now, it’s not new.  But there is no doubt that the severe drop in the lira one week ago was brought on by the war of words between the USA and Turkey. In spite of that, I have been treated with nothing but courtesy, kindness and respect.

And I often don’t get that back in the USA! Is it any wonder we are loving life in Turkey?