The Möbius Rollercoaster Rolls On

Kitty2

For this week’s Situation Report, we’ll start off outside the door to our Airbnb, as I, Christine, tip-toed out on Monday morning past the Türkitty security system to catch a taxi from the village of Bitez where we were on day 17 of our forced exile from Greece and the EU.

Wayne Airbnb2

I left behind my family who would be spending their forced internment doing hard labor, as usual.

I was on a mission to free them, no matter the cost. 

That cost started out to be rather substantial as the taxi driver asked me in his broken English (better than my Turkish) which ferry I was taking, Castle or Cruiseport. I checked the ticket on my phone and it didn’t say anything about where to catch it. We hadn’t arrived at the castle several weeks ago, so I told him the Cruiseport. Turned out I was wrong, so I had to forego that 18 Euros and buy a new 26 Euro ticket. It wasn’t a good start to the day, and I still hadn’t found any coffee.

The high speed catamaran makes the trip across to the island of Kos in less than an hour, and I made it through immigration with no problem. I still had about 17 days left of 90 allowed in the EU, but I had been in and out many times, and it was clear that the young man who leafed through my passport did not really check all the stamps and do the math to calculate days. He just stamped it, and I was on my way. However, there were two of them working the window, and I had no trouble recognizing the woman sitting next to him. She had been on the job the day we left Greece, and she was a potential problem for us.

Good bye Mobius2

You see the day the mermaid waved us off as we left Möbius behind wedged between the tug and the tanker on the island of Kalymnos, Wayne got stopped by that immigration officer as we were exiting EU immigration on Kos. As she had flipped through Wayne’s passport, she came across a stamp from the TRNC, or Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. She refused to stamp his passport as exiting the EU, but rather stamped a white piece of paper and slipped it into his passport.

Way back in 2017, before we had even started building Möbius, we were on our friends’ Lagoon 50 catamaran in Cyprus, and Wayne visited Antalya to talk to builders and to move our vehicle from Rhodes to Antalya. It is not possible to fly from Türkiye directly to Southern Cyprus, so he just flew from Antalya to the north, then walked across the border and took a bus back to Limassol. Later, we learned that though the exact law is in dispute, many Greeks will not let you into their country if you have such a stamp in your passport.

That morning as I had purchased my (second) ferry ticket, I saw a big sign over the window that said, “Persons with a passport stamp from the TRNC will not be allowed to enter Greece when the ferry arrives.”

We had done so well clearing in at Rhodes, and I thought this whole thing was finished. The whole point of our coming to Türkiye was to prove to the Greek immigration authorities on Kos that we had done as they asked and left the country. But Wayne didn’t have the passport stamp to prove it. If we showed them the white piece of paper, the visa issuing authorities would know they had missed seeing that stamp in his passport, and they might never let him back in.

One step at a time. There was no printer in the Airbnb, so as soon as I landed in Kos, I pushed that problem to the back of my mind, got myself a coffee, and then I went in search of a copy shop that could print out the papers that showed that Mr. Gee 2.0 had actually arrived on the island of Kalymnos. The most difficult part of getting around in Greece is that you can’t even read the alphabet, and often the names of the places on Google maps are in the Greek alphabet. But after two or three false leads, I finally found a nice lady who printed out the three pages for 1 Euro. Bargain!

I made it to the police station where the immigration office is located by 10:15, only to be told to come back at 12:30. Okay, breakfast. There was a restaurant right next door.

Eggs Benny2

I couldn’t resist sending a What’sApp message back to the prisoners with this photo and the caption, “Eggs Benny, Baby!” And the cappuccino wasn’t too bad either. (The land visible in the distance in the photo is the Bodrum peninsula in Türkiye)

When I returned to the office, the immigration officials looked over the documents I had brought. I explained that the engine was there at last, and we were simply asking for two weeks to get it installed and then we would leave the EU. They went upstairs to talk to the chief. The nice lady came down after a 30 minute wait and said my husband should come the next day with his passport and she gave me the list of documents needed. She also gave me a paper and told me to take it to the Post Office and pay the 30 Euros for the visa. I took care of all that, even went back to the copy shop and printed out copies of all the papers needed and took her the entire file. She approved it and told me to have him there by 10:00 the next morning.

I had planned to go over to Kalymnos and check on the boat, but I called Wayne and told him the good news first. Then I said, look, if we’re both going to be going to the boat tomorrow, I might as well go back to you tonight. It was difficult to even wrap our heads around the idea that after the weeks of making Plans A, B, C, and D, we were both going home the next day.

So I made my way back to wait for the 5:30 ferry, and took a taxi back to Bitez. We enjoyed a “clean out the fridge” dinner and set our alarms for another early morning.

I didn’t sleep well as Wayne’s passport stamp was not the only fly in the ointment. During our stay in Türkiye, I had done my homework on importing the dogs back into the EU. They have had EU pet passports for several years, and they needed to update their rabies shots and get new titer tests done. We did all that. They would also need to have proof of anti-parasite drugs administered and a health certificate from a vet both no longer than 10 days before entry. We had done all that when we entered Rhodes, and I had considered taking them to the vet while we were sitting around in Bitez, but we weren’t sure of dates or if we would even be allowed in before the end of the year. We discussed it that evening and we decided to just go for it with the old health certificate. If we got to Kos and they wouldn’t let the animals in, I would go back with them and take them to a vet and do what I could to get them legal while Wayne went on to the boat.

Exiles luggage2

The next morning we were off with suitcases, backpacks, dogs in travel bags, and after yet another taxi ride to the ferry dock, we were on our way. I asked Wayne, “How many times is it now that we have said Good-bye to Türkiye? I don’t think I”ll say anything. I don’t want to jinx it.”

The plan was that when we got to the immigration window, if the man was available, Wayne would go first. If the woman became available, I would go. My heart was beating overtime, but we breezed through that and went around the corner to the Customs lady. She motioned for us to put the bags up on the table. Wayne set down the bag with Ruby in it and when the woman started to open it, Ruby let out a loud whine. The woman jumped back. We all laughed and explained that we had two dogs. She peered at the cases and asked if we had their pet passports. I handed them to her. Then she smiled and told us about her dog and asked our dog’s names. We lucked out. She was a dog lover and she waved us through. 

Halfway around the marina basin en route to the police station, Wayne parked me and all the luggage at a cafe while he went on alone to immigration. Suffice it to say that our luck held and they somehow didn’t notice that he had no stamp out of the EU. Some four plus hours later after Wayne getting fingerprinted and lots of waiting, Wayne got his visa extension for two weeks. We took another taxi to Mastichari where we could catch the ferry from Kos to Kalymnos.

Ferry foredeck2

It was so great seeing that island on the horizon where our home had been docked all alone.

It was dusk by the time we got home to the boat. The dogs were almost as happy as we were. The boat was fine, no dead rodents in the traps we had left (that was another story), no signs that anyone had been aboard other than the local cat population that likes to sleep on the Skybridge, and all was well. We had left the boat unplugged, and we had been able to monitor the batteries and solar situation with the Victron VRM. Without us aboard, there wasn’t too much draw, but we did leave one fridge and one freezer working and all the inverters. The batteries were down a bit, but as you know if you’ve been reading this blog, we were happy that the firefly batteries did as well as they did.

Wayne wasted no time. We arrived Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon, this guy came barreling down the quay.

Mr Gee arrives2

In case you haven’t guessed by now, I am writing this Sunday blog because he has had his hands full the last several days.

Wayne and G2

But that will be his story to tell. We just wanted to let you all know that we are back aboard Möbius and Mr. Gee 2.0 is getting lots of tender loving care.

Kalymnos church2

And Kalymnos has worked her magic once more.

 

Fair winds!

Christine

Happy Birthday Wayne!

Happy Birthday Wayne!

Christine here, guys. Yes, I know. Wayne did not have time to write a blog on Sunday, and it was my fault. You see, Sunday, January 23rd was Wayne’s birthday. It’s really hard to figure out what to get him for his birthday. At this point in our lives, we don’t really need more stuff, so we decided recently to try to simply give each other experiences. My first plan (which sadly got thwarted) was a pretty good one, I thought. On one of my daily walks, I came upon this banner strung up between a couple of trees. What were the odds? They were going to have Turkish Camel Wrestling in the next town over on January 23, Wayne’s birthday. IMG 0370 Camels were used as an important form of transportation in this Antalya region where we live for over 1000 years and up until about 50 years ago. They were important in the Ottoman Empire and a big part of the Turkish culture. Today, they have these festivals where they dress up the animals in these fantastic costumes and they have them “wrestle.” Essentially, they try to get the males to do what they might do in the wild, which is to fight over a female, so they parade a female camel (who is in heat) before a pair of males which makes them start foaming at the mouth, and then they go into the ring and “fight” for the female. Usually, after a bit of jostling, the loser runs away. I think it sounds fascinating and I am dying to go before we leave Turkey!  If you are interested in seeing a video of a camel wrestling event click here. However, the whole event got cancelled due to the weather getting down to freezing. With nowhere to house the camels locally overnight, the event has been postponed. So, there I was with a rented car for Wayne’s birthday, and I needed to do a fast change of plans. IMG 0423 I understand that people who have to commute to work, don’t think that driving is much fun, but when you don’t own a car, having one for a day does become a sort of a treat. And I know Wayne loves to drive, especially on curving mountain roads, and we had ourselves a little standard 5-speed diesel Citroen. Map2 We also were out of coffee and a few other more exotic provisions, so a trip to the “Big City” of Antalya was in order. I opened Google maps. Our route is highlighted in orange above. We normally drive to town on the route called the D400 which more or less follows the coastline and that is the way we came home (more or less). However, I noticed this tiny curvy road inland, and while I was a bit worried about how high it might take us given the snow level on the mountains, I decided we’d give it a go. Finike Marina is at the bottom where we started out, then we went up through the town of Kumluca and into the mountains. We came out at Antalya and drove back mostly on the D400 with a side trip to Adrasan and Karakoaz before returning home to the marina. It totaled about 275 kilometers. IMG 0381 I took this photo of the marina here the last time we had a gorgeous cold, clear day. Since then we had another rainy few days and the snowline had crept lower. Just so you understand my concerns about how high we might get without chains or snow tires. 669CF983 7B47 4646 AEED D3F80E5F2EAD The storms we get here can be pretty fierce and the temperatures lately have been slipping closer to freezing even here on the coast. The snow is creeping lower and lower down the mountains. IMG 0294 The last time we took our intrepid sea dogs with us on a curvy coastal road, our darling Yorkshire Terror, Barney, suffered a bout of motion sickness (he who has crossed the equator and sailed to New Zealand) and puked all over the back seat of the last rental car, so we decided this would be an Adults Only trip. IMG 0362 So on Sunday, we closed the door on the pups assuring their safety inside the boat and climbed into the car for our drive up into the mountains. The weather was spectacular to start with a clear and cloud-less blue sky. IMG 0418 The tallest peaks of the Taurus Mountain range were off to our left as he wove our way over this pass through the lower mountains. Sometimes the road got so narrow, there was only space for one car. When we started out that morning down at sea level, the temperature had been about 6C. Lots of people have a stereotype in their minds when they think of Turkey. They think about camels and desert. Turkey also has amazing mountains and pine forests. IMG 0408 As we climbed upwards closer and closer to the lower snowy peaks, the trees grew taller and the temperature started slowly dropping. IMG 0415 I was actually surprised at the number of villages we passed, and the many small farms that dotted the mountains. The cows scrambled up and down the mountains almost like goats, but they generally seemed to prefer walking on the road. IMG 0416 As we climbed higher, we got closer and closer to the snow. After passing through the village of Altinyaka, there were signs posted saying you had to have snow tires to go any further. Ha! We don’t need no snow tires. We have a Canadian driver! IMG 0406 Or so I thought until I started to see how much snow was down close to our road.  IMG 0412 And I checked the car’s thermometer. IMG 0411 I always get nervous when I start seeing the banded sticks on the sides of the road that will measure the depth of the snow, and show drivers where the road is in the drifts. Fortunately, we never got that high, but I was able to access my iPhone’s altimeter through the iNavX app. IMG 0413 We topped out around 4,267 feet. IMG 0419 Then we started the descent down the other side into the city of Antalya, our old stomping ground.  IMG 0424 It was goats and sheep crossing the road on the way down.  IMG 0427 We got a nice bird’s eye view looking down on the port of Antalya. The Free Zone where MÖBIUS was built is on the left side of the harbor, opposite the cruise ship that appears to be parked due to the pandemic. IMG 0430 I took the birthday boy to Starbucks for his birthday piece of chocolate brownie cheesecake for which he had to fight an armada of sparrows (and his wife) to get a few bites in. IMG 0428 After a nice grocery and wine run, we hopped back into the car and started the drive back home to Finike.  IMG 1787 The sun was warm, the Mediterranean was the usual gorgeous blue, and the drive along the coast was almost as much fun as the mountain drive. Sorry to all who were anticipating a Wayne blog, but he deserved to take a day off from all the boat projects.  I promise he will be back soon with more tales of our travails of getting MÖBIUS ready to go to sea. Fair winds! Christine

The Drone Report

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Readers of this blog have asked us for more video, but we have both been so busy these past months, we have not followed through on those requests. Part of it is because we are at the bottom of the learning curve on using lots of our gear, and we haven’t had the patience to get out the manuals again and read up and put in the hours to learn how to do it. When I logged in to our YouTube Channel, I saw that it was August 22 of last year, almost exactly one year ago, when we posted our last set of boat tour videos and I know it is high time we do a One-Year Later Update.

So, this past week, I decided to get out all the gear and dive back in. Time to learn how to do time-lapse photography on the GoPro, how to navigate in the DJI Fly app, and how to use the handheld gimballed DJI Osmo 2. We really enjoy watching YouTube videos, especially sailing, power boating and travel channels, and the stunning drone shots are often what stand out the most for me. For that reason, I decided to go to work first on becoming an expert drone pilot. 

I was curious about how long this would take. This week I found out it takes MUCH longer than I thought.

Fair winds!

Christine

 

Taking a break for family time

Just a quick note from Christine here. Wayne and I have had a fabulous time with our California family visit . I know that many of you have come to expect the weekly blogs, but Wayne has not had a minute to write. We will return to our slower speed of life soon, and I’m certain that Wayne will put together a blog not long thereafter to fill you in on the latest news about Möbius and Mr. Gee.

In the meantime, here are some quick notes about our two and a half weeks showing off this beautiful country and our new home, Möbius.

We met the family in Istanbul and spent three days being tourists in that splendid city. We mostly walked from our Airbnb close to the Galata Tower and crossed the bridge over the Golden Horn to the old city. Another night we walked to Taksim Square and ate dinner at a restaurant along the way home.

TaksimSquare

And of course we did go for a ride on a speedy cruise boat on the Bosphorus. It wasn’t Möbius, but we still enjoyed the ride.

Bosphorus cruise boat

Cruising the Bosphorus is just such a great way to see the city.

Maiden

When we returned to Antalya, we picked up our rental car, a Dacia Lodgy-Logan. This 7-passenger diesel Romanian car has been taking us all around Antalya and now Turkey.

The two grand-girls took to the boat right away. In fact, never have more fearsome pirates roamed this historic coast.

Pirate girls

We tested out the family to see if we were going to have any seasickness problems with another trip to the little island outside the port of Antalya. Happy to say all went well, not a single green member of the crew. In fact, one young pirate turns out to be quite patient with her own fishing pole as well. Don’t tell her that Gramma bought a whole fish at the market, and Grampa snagged her line underwater and aided in the hooking of her monster catch! 

Fishing

After some side trips around Antalya, including some white water rafting, we took the gang on a 60-mile passage around the southernmost tip of Turkey and to our new homeport of Finike. The weather was fairly quiet for the two-day trip, and it was so wonderful to finally be out at sea on Möbius after all the years of the build. Wayne had always said that the bow was going to be his favorite seat on the boat.

Wayne bow

Thanks to a comment from our reader Peter, we split the trip into two days and spent the night in the lovely anchorage at Cineviz Limani below. We had a great sunset swim with only a few other boats in the bay. However, the next morning there was a Turkish gullet (tourist boat) invasion, and we were happy to take off and start the second half of our trip.

Anchorage

The summer weather here in Turkey often goes over 100 degrees. We haven’t decided yet what we want to do about blinds in the main salon, and it was starting to get really toasty in there. Before we left Antalya, we went to the big hardware super store BauHaus and bought ourselves 20 meters of this shade cloth in the garden department. We have it clamped to the handrails around the outside of the salon. It’s not exactly elegant, but it doesn’t look THAT bad, and it sure has made a difference in the temperature inside the boat.

Shade cloth

The family is now gone and Möbius is tucked in to her Med-moored slip out along the breakwater here in Finike Marina. An extra plus with the shade cloth is it provides us with more privacy in these tight quarters. Wayne and I have been taking a little breather the last couple of days and exploring our new home town. The list of jobs to do is extremely long, as we have had a few system failures, but Wayne will try to get out a blog in the next day or two.

Mobius Finike

 

Fair winds!

Christine