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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As we climbed upwards closer and closer to the lower snowy peaks, the trees grew taller and the temperature started slowly dropping.
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.
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!
Or so I thought until I started to see how much snow was down close to our road.
And I checked the car’s thermometer.
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.
We topped out around 4,267 feet.
Then we started the descent down the other side into the city of Antalya, our old stomping ground.
It was goats and sheep crossing the road on the way down.
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.
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.
After a nice grocery and wine run, we hopped back into the car and started the drive back home to Finike.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cruising the Bosphorus is just such a great way to see the city.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
A bit of a slow week progress wise on XPM78-01 Möbius this past week as our work week was unexpectedly reduced to four days due to a complete power outage at the Antalya Free Zone where Naval Yachts and about 30 other shipyards are located. We are now entering the wet winter season here in Antalya and while we have been having some spectacularly beautiful blue skies and sunny days, the rain has also been arriving along with LOTS of thunder and lightning last weekend. I assume this is what took out the power in the Free Zone and gave us all an unexpected “snow day” off as we used to call it when I was a kid growing up in various parts of Canada where we would often get so much snow overnight that the roads were all impassable and so all the schools would close. Oh drat said all the parents, Oh Yayyyyyyy, said all us kids! While I’m still very young at ❤ I was now saying “Oh Drat!” at not being able to work on Möbius at Naval but I just turned my bike around and pedalled back home to work from there so it wasn’t a totally lost day.
Several members of Team Möbius were not working on Möbius this past week but for those of us who were we did get lots done so I have plenty for this week’s Show & Tell for you and I also have some photos to share that I didn’t have time to include in the past few blog updates. So grab a comfy chair and tasty beverage and let’s go see what happened onboard the Good Ship Möbius for the four days of December 15-18, 2020.
You will figure out this week’s Update title as you go through this posting where many of the jobs being worked on started wtih the letter “T” such as the dinette Table, the Tender, Teak shower floors and TreadMaster. A bit like when Sesame Street would be “Brought to you by the letter T” perhaps? and you will soon see what the “Ado” is all about so let’s get going ……………………….
First though, we interrupt our regular programming for a word from our sponsor, well MY “sponsor” so to speak.
** Wayne’s “mushiness” Warning!!! This next bit is NOT technical boatbuilding stuff so if that’s what you are anxious to get to, scroll down to the next section please.
For the braver souls and fellow romantics, read on……………
Happy 7th Anniversary of our First Kiss Captain Christine!
* If you have not already done so you may want to read my previous post here on 22 November for some context. It was titled “The simple comment that Changed My Life Forever Better” which it tells the story about how Christine and I first connected thanks to this little character; “Barney the Yorkshire Terror” . If you read that story you will already know that I’m a hopeful romantic. (who would call romance helpless?!?!?!!?!?)
Given our rather unconventional first connection and all the equally unique adventures that followed, we have a LOT of different “anniversaries” and we LOVE celebrating every one of them, every year.
My favorite anniversary though is the one we celebrate today, December 19th of our very fist kiss on the very first day we met in person when Christine flew all the way from her sailboat in Florida to where I was on my sailboat in Fiji and I snapped this very fist photo of her as she walked into the Arrival gate at Nadi International Airport on 19th December, 2013.
Christine says that for her it was “Love at first Skype”, which happened about a month earlier and I won’t refute. However for me it was THAT FIRST KISS when we finally first met in person on 19 December, 2013 and I knew for sure that I had just kissed (and been kissed back I might add!!!) by the woman who would become my best friend, my lover, my wife, my Captain and my partner in life, for life.
Happy 7th First Kiss Anniversary my Love! Can’t wait to get started on our next set of adventures for the next 7 years together! First though, lets start by enjoying this First Kiss anniversary day with these flowers in our cozy little apartment in Antalya.
OK, OK! Now back to our regular programming ………………..
All this aluminium beauty comes from the Zwaardvis Pedestals company in the Netherlands and it is all “boat jewelry” in my eyes. This Z-axis or vertical height adjustable pedestal has 2 stages for maximum height adjustment which is assisted by an internal gas lift cylinder similar to what you might have on the rear hatch of a SUV. You order these by the weight of your table top so the assist is just right and changing the height an easy single handed operation by simply releasing one or both locking handles, moving the table up/down to the height you want and closing the levers. The XY slider, allows us to move the table 200mm / 8” fore/aft and side to side to also get the XY position of the table just right.
Up high and close in for eating or working and then down and out for more of a coffee table setup and then all the way down to put the table top and surrounding seats all the same height to create a very large bed for those rare occasions we have more overnight guests than our lovely Guest cabin with a Queen + Pullman bed can accommodate.
This is where Ramazan started on Tuesday with the solid 50mm / 2” solid Rosewood edging all glued with biscuit joints around the circumference. Then he has put a large 40mm / 1.6” radius around all the edges and given it a good sanding. Now the table moves up to the 2nd floor Finishing Room where Neşet here is inspecting all the surfaces with a very fine eye in order to …… ……. find any remaining small spots that need filing in order to make them glass smooth after this first coat of clear Polyurethane “varnish”. Then it is “rinse & repeat” four more times to build up the five coats of PU that goes onto each piece of Rosewood cabinetry.
This is how it looks after the 2nd coat has been applied and is ready for wet sanding before the 3rd coat is sprayed on.
“T” is also for Teak Shower Floors
We didn’t want any Teak on the exterior of Möbius, nor any SS, paint, etc. but we welcomed the use of Teak to make the removable floor inserts in both Showers.
Orkan is the Teak Decking specialist and Naval so he was the perfect guy to apply those deck making skills to these interior floors as you can see he has done masterfully here.
In keeping Low Maintenance as a top priority, we didn’t want to have a Teak grate style flooring so we came up with this self draining system where all the water simply runs off the four sides through these recesses and then runs over to the drain in the center of the fiberglass shower floor below.
These floor plates have a series of fiberglass “feet” on the bottom to keep the air/water space between the teak and the fiberglass and they can be easily lifted out to clean underneath from time to time.
We use diaphragm pumps almost exclusively for all our water, bilge, crash pumps on Möbius as our experience has taught us that these are FAR superior to centrifugal style pumps in that they have that proverbial “suck a golf ball through a garden hose” type of suction power and require NO filters or screens so they almost never clog.
The IC or Intelligent Control that Whale has added to these pumps makes them work all the better by having a simple solid state water sensing probe embedded in the Yellow manifold you see here which automatically turns the pump On/Off as needed and allows you to connect 2 different sources of Grey Water which we use to drain both the Master Bathroom/Head and Shower floors.
Simple and efficient, what’s not to like?!! At the other end of the size scale of our diaphragm pumps is this brute underneath the Stbd/Right workbench in the Workshop. It does double duty being both our high volume/high water bilge pump and our Fire “hydrant” system that pumps sea water from the Sea Chest to a fire hose and nozzle stored in he Aft Hazmat locker. Several of you were curious about this pump so HERE is a link to the basic specs on our Feit PVM 1R diaphragm Pump.
* 24V 0.75 HP motor
* 120 Litres/min / 32 USG/min
@ 7 meters / 23 ft Delivery and 4m / 13 ft Suction
“T” is also for TreadMaster:
Another job continuing on from last week’s Progress Update is the laying of the last of the TreadMaster on all the aluminium decks and stairs. You can read all the details of the method in the previous posts and here is the TreadMaster Team; Faruk (Left) spreading the epoxy adhesive, Ali bringing the cut-to-size piece of TreadMaster to lay down on this epoxy, and Orhan following behind getting ready to cut the next piece. Ali in position with the piece of TreadMaster that Orhan has pre-cut as Faruk evens out the peanut butter consistency West Systems epoxy with his V-notched spreader. More “Rinse & Repeat” and they soon have the Aft Deck fully covered with TreadMaster. After drying overnight Ali covers all the fresh new Treadmaster wtih protective cardboard as these will continue to be high traffic areas during the rest of the build. Taking a quick tour around the boat to show some of the other areas getting the full TreadMaster treatment.
Treads on each of the Spiral stairs up from the Aft Deck to the SkyBridge ready for their TM. et Voila! Super safe, easy on the feet stairs up to the SkyBridge. And same going back down. Rough cut TM set in place down the Starboard/Right side of the SkyBridge with the 20mm / 3/4” spacers fast glued in place to keep the spacing just right while they are being epoxied down. With all the SkyBridge deck sheets of TM cut to finished size with their radiused corners, Faruk and Ali get busy gluing them all down. SkyBridge Helm Chair just set here for now. Once the TM all dries it will be moved aft to the Helm Station and through bolted in place there.
Hmmmm, with a view like this maybe a good spot for a 3rd or 4th Llebroc chair?? Swim Platform done. Stairs on both sides going up from the Swim Platform to the Aft Deck all TM’d now. Side Decks ready to have their TM glued down. Front Deck all done and dusted!
Protective cardboard all taped down. Anchor Chain Stopper all mounted so this Anchor Deck can now have all its TM glued down. And the Forepeak Hatch has its Bofor Dog Latches all mounted and has received its full TreadMaster treatment.
Much “Ado” about Flooring!
This will just be a preview to wet our appetite for next week’s Möbius Progress Update and will complete the rest of this week’s title riddle for you. This is a stack of the Ado LVT or Luxury Vinyl Tile “click-in-place” floor planks that we are using in all the interior floors on Möbius.
Ado is a HUGE Turkish building materials company and one of their specialties is Luxury Vinyl Tile or LVT flooring systems typically used in very high traffic situations such as airport terminals, commercial buildings and residential homes. LVT is completely waterproof, Fireproof, made for use overtop of in-floor heated floors, quiet and eXtremely tough with life spans over 20 years even in very high traffic applications such as airport terminals so it seemed like the Goldilocks Just Right choice for Möbius. This link will show you the white highly textured “Aperta 2010” we have chosen to use from their “Viva Series”. As per this label on the boxes, this is the “Click” type with a 0.7mm thick “wear Layer” as per the Tech Spec illustration above. Tough to focus on but this is my attempt to show you how the interlocking “Click” system works. I suspect many of you will have installed flooring with a similar system in your homes and boats as this has been popular for over 20 years in the building trades and is a very DIY system. Difficult to show how well textured this flooring is, but think well seasoned and aged wood decks on boats and homes and you’ll have it just right. We have tested samples with bare wet feet and it has proven it will be eXtremely non-slip throughout the boat.
Stay tuned for more as the Ado flooring installation begins next week.
”T” is also for Tender:
Nihat (seen here) and Uğur only worked on Möbius two days this week but I have all of their work from last week to catch up with you on so still plenty to show you as they finished off their “hot works” stage of welding up the aluminium jet drive tender hull. Nihat has now had an eXtreme amount of practice at grinding down the welds on all the hull plates on Möbius herself so he was VERY fast at getting all the Tender’s welds flush and all the corners nicely radiused. meanwhile, inside the Tender, Uğur was busy cutting in this access to the area underneath the bench seat in the Steering Console. Like Nihat, Uğur is also very fast and he had this hinged seat lid all done in one afternoon from start to finish.
We will either just make up some rectangular seat cushions for the seat and back or perhaps buy some “bucket” style fish boat seats to go in here. Uğur was even faster at welding in these two Lift Bridle attachment points up at the Bow. And mere minutes later, these two matching ones at the Aft end corners down at floor level. Next up was fabricating and attaching these two boarding safety handrails that go on either side of the flat Bow. Uğur is a master at these nicely radiused bends at any angle which work out better than using a hydraulic pipe bender for small numbers of bends.
A series of evenly spaced cuts with an angle grinder make it easy to form these different radius bends. And then each cut is welded back solid. All the welds are ground down and sanded and you’re done!
40mm / 1.6” OD thick walled AL pipe These safety boarding hand rails needed to be removable so we played with a few positions and picked this one. We used the very simple bolted flange system that we have used throughout the building of Möbius. The thicker (10mmm / 3/8”) bottom flange is threaded and welded to the hull itself to create a base for the thinner top flange welded to the handrails to bolt to with NO penetration of the hull itself. All four bases get tacked in place with the Handrails bolted to them so we can test for just right position before fully welding the threaded bottom flanges to the hull. Super Polisher Nihat then comes in and cleans up the welds and the hull areas around them and it is all done!
I will probably pick up on the work to complete the Tender by installing the Castoldi 244 Jet Drive and the 4 cylinder Yanmar HTE 110HP engine, but that will all need to wait till after we launch Möbius so this may be the last you see of the Tender here for the next few months but do stay tuned for that and the test drive! And that’s going to be a wrap folks for the 4 day week that was December 14-18, 2020 here at Naval Yachts and onboard the Good Ship Möbius.
Thank you SO much for taking time out of your busy day to join me here and hope you will do so again next week. Love to get your thoughts, questions and suggestions on any of the above so please type them into the “Join the Discussion” box right down below.
Seven years ago today, this little fella, aka Barney the Yorkshire Terror, changed my life in ways and degrees that I am still unable to fully comprehend.
More accurately, it was seeing him for the first time in the short 25 second video below that captured my attention, so take a look and a listen and then come on on back for the rest of this wonderful story.
Friday November 22nd, 2013 started out no different than any other of my days in Fiji at Vuda Point Marina, where I, ably assisted by Ruby the Wonderdog, was working feverishly to complete the latest and largest renovation on my 52’ steel sailboat sv Learnativity. As with most such boat projects it was taking MUCH longer than expected and I was working non-stop because the Cyclone season begins in November and I should have left for Majuro in the Marshall Islands long before now. (click to enlarge the map or any photo) These two maps will fill in some of the geographic information and the short story is that in general, as a liveaboard sailor, to be outside of the cyclone zone in the South Pacific, you want to be no more than 10 degrees from the equator. Vuda Pt. Marina is on the far SW corner of Fiji sits at 17º41’04”S
177º23’02”E so it well into the Cyclone Zone and yes, you can ask me how I know!
The atoll of Majuro, pictured here, is at 7.0667° N, 171.2667° E is well below the 10 degree limit and I had been there twice before to get out of the Cyclone Zone and just loved it so I was anxious to get back there ASAP.
If it were a straight line, the passage to sail those 24 degrees from Fiji at 17° S to Majuro at 7° N is about 2895 km/1799 miles/1563 nm but the actual sea miles of this passage are about 2000 nm, assuming not much tacking, would typically be about a 14-15 day sail. But for me, a stop in the tiny spec of an island called Rotuma is a must. Rotuma is a much longer and fascinating story which I serendipitously stumbled upon when I read that it was still part of Fiji even though it is WAY up in the far NW corner about 500 nm from any other part of Fiji which meant I could wait till I got to Rotuma and still officially check out of Fiji.
So this stop over adds a few days to the passage and has taken me 17-18 days in the past. OK, Wayne but what the heck does this have to do with the Barney video that changed your life so incredibly?
So back aboard the good ship Learnativity, that Friday morning 7 years ago, Ruby the Wonderdog (my little Black Spoodle who had been with me since I started my single handed sailing adventures in San Francisco in March 2007), and I were up just after sunrise as usual for most sailors, had fixed my breakfast and was sipping my morning Latte and enjoying yet another beautiful sunny morning up in the cockpit of LTY (Learnativity).
This was typically the only time each day when I could sit and relax a wee bit catch up with all the Emails and other online content that had come in the past 24 hours. As I was zipping through all those Emails I came across an auto-generated one informing me that there was a new post on the Write on the Water blog which was of the several hundred blogs that I subscribe to on a wild range of topics.
Little did I know that clicking on that link was going to be one of the most life changing events of my already VERY eventful life!
Seeing that “Write on the Water” name, I vaguely recalled that I had been subscribed to this blog several years ago because, Christine Kling, one of four writers/sailors who wrote one post a week on Write on the Water (get it?), and she was not only an author of some very good best seller mystery novels, she was also a fellow single handed and very experienced sailor, currently sailing around the Caribbean islands on her sailboat sv Tale Spinner from her home Port in Ft. Lauderdale Florida.
The link opened up the blog post fine, but there was no text, no story? Simply the Title “Barney the Yorkshire Terror” and that little face staring up at me with a “Click to Play” button on his nose. I hit Play and as I suspect he might have just done for you, Barney gave ma a good morning chuckle. It also piqued my curiosity as to how this cute little animated dog video had been made? So I quickly fired off a short comment to the author which just happen to have saved and it reads;
Wayne says: November 22, 2013 at 07:17 am (Fiji Time) Very cute and fun Christine. I too am out single handed sailing with my 6 year old “Spoodle” Ruby the Wonderdog and we are currently in Vuda Pt. marina in Fiji finishing up the latest refit in preparation for the next few years sailing through the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and making my way through Indonesia. I’d be interested to know more about how you made this little video if you care to share? Also enjoying your books and have several loaded on my Kindle for upcoming passages. Thanks for all. Wayne
I finished up my coffee and Email updates and got back to work on Learnativity.
Next morning, same routine and as I was enjoying my first coffee and going through the latest Emails, one was a WordPress comment from the Write on the Water blog, which thanks to the wonders of cloud storage and my somewhat geeky nature, I also still have a copy of so you can read it for yourself.
Apparently two of Christine’s blog followers had asked the same question so as you can see her response was to both Wayne and Gerald. Nice of her to respond I thought as so many such questions go unanswered, and so being Canadian and just doing what I think is important, I wrote back a short note to thank her for getting back to me and that I would try out this little “My Talking Pet” app and maybe use it to make one with Ruby the Wonderdog. And then it was back to work for me and I never gave it another thought.
Well, as I was to learn weeks later, Christine was quite taken aback that someone had actually said “Thank You” ? Apparently when she dutifully answers all the thousands of questions a famous author receives, she rarely receives anything but more questions and never a Thank You. Who knew???
And so she wrote me back, and the following Email was on my screen as I was sipping my first coffee the next day: (click to enlarge if you want to read it)
No need to read the whole Email, but if you do, you will see what a catastrophic error she makes in the very first sentence when she starts off with; “Hi Wayne, Thank you so much for the interesting note full of info about you and your boat. I love getting long emails, so don’t ever
worry about writing too much.”
Oh the poor innocent dear! She has NO idea that she is saying that to Mr. Neveraparagraphwhenasentencewilldo! Though she might have started to clue in when I wrote back:
I will spare my full response, lucky you!! and just share the first of my brief four page Email response. Not to worry, I am NOT about to share ALL our Emails back and forth in the coming days and weeks, again Lucky, Lucky you!
Suffice it to say, that the Email exchanges got longer and longer and more and more often.
Then Emails led to voice calls which followed my same “brevity challenged” arc.
Voice calls quickly led to Skype calls and let’s just say neither one of us got too much sleep in those first two weeks or so as we were living literally on the opposite sides of the world and I was on the other side of the International Date Line so we were not only many hours apart in different Time Zones, we were also on different days! Hence we were both on Skype calls in either the wee hours of our respective mornings or on very late night hours. Our internet connection had quite literally become the “International Date Line”.
Think about it for a minute and I’ll wait till you get it ……………………………….
OK, OK, enough already Wayne!!
You know where this is going so let me just quickly summarize what happened from there.
Video calls are fascinating, especially when you start logging hundreds of hours of them with someone you have never met. They pretty much cancel out any chances that either of you can be “faking it”, so you do end up learning more and more about the very real person on that screen for hours and in your ears and in hour head. But it still isn’t the same as the “real thing” and so at some point we started to talk about how, when and where we could meet up in person and find out if all the sparks that were flying back and forth through the ether were really real or just our twitterpated imaginations?
It was now December and so my first suggestions had been that I would sail up to Majuro and get Learnativity safely moored there as I had done in the past few years and then get the short flight from Majuro to Honolulu which happens 3 days a week and we could meet there. A bit longer but easy to get flights for Christine to fly from Florida to Honolulu and so that was the tentative plan. Emphasis on “tentative” of course because WAYNE still needed to finish the work on LTY, get her all sea worthy and ship shape for a relatively long passage and only then be able to know what sort of dates we could fly and meet.
Of course things never go as planned, especially when it comes to big boat projects. I was working longer and longer days, as was Christine who was in the midst of finishing and publishing her latest book at the time “Dragon’s Triangle” and we were both getting more and more frustrated that our “Launch Date” for this distant blooming romance seemed to be getting more and more elusive and later.
Hmmm, why does that sound so familiar??
Several hours into one of our Skype calls at that time, partly out of pure frustration, partly for some levity, I said something like “You know what would be really crazy, would be if you just flew here to Fiji and we could have our first date be the sail up to Rotuma and Majuro”.
Keep in mind that it is now only about two weeks before Christmas and I was sure that she would not want to be away from her family in Florida over the holidays so maybe Honolulu in the New Year would be best after all. So we started to look a the calendar and figure out the likely length of my sail up to Majuro and what dates early in the New Year we might be able to fly there and meet. So I simply asked “What date do you think you could fly?” And surely she understood I was talking about her flying to Honolulu right?
I had already learned that Christine can have some VERY “pregnant pauses” with her responses so I just patiently waited after asking what date she thought she could fly as I watched her eyes look up as if she was searching some calendar on the ceiling and then watched her lips moving a bit as she seemed to be doing some calculations in her head. After several minutes of this, she looked back at me on the screen and said “Tuesday”.
Huh? “Tuesday” I said? What do you mean “Tuesday”?
Never missing a beat and with a very quizzical look on her most serious face, she said; “I can be in Fiji on Tuesday.”
This was all happening late on a Friday night on Christine’s side of the International Date Line and in a very rare for me “pregnant pause” with my mind reeling with what I thought I had just heard I think I simply said “Are you kidding me?!?!?!”
She wasn’t kidding and while I don’t remember much of those next few days, I found myself standing in the Nadi airport early on the morning of December 19, 2013 intently watching the passengers of the just landed red-eye flight from LAX walk to the baggage claim when THIS vision of loveliness walked through those glass doors and into my heart. We drove back to the marina where I had Learnativity pretty much finished and waiting for her to see for the first time and we were both giddy with excitement, nervousness and disbelief that this was all REALLY happening?!!!
I had borrowed my dear friends Ian and Coleen’s car to drive the 25km or so to the Nadi airport from Vuda Pt. Marina as their beautiful big boat mv Summer Spirt and had been my dock neighbors as you can see here, for all the months I had been there in Fiji over the last few years.
This is our first photo together, thanks Coleen, on the aft deck of Summer Spirit. Ian and Coleen invited us over to mv Summer Sprit for lunch and so they could meet this mysterious woman who their dockside friend Wayne had been talking with and about endlessly for the past month. Fast forwarding through the months and years that followed:
We had a VERY eventful 18 day “First Date” passage up to Majuro and that’s a much longer story for another time. Captain of my heart by now and the only REAL sailor onboard. We made it to Rotuma for another longer story of our first New Year’s Eve. Crossed the equator for the first time as a couple after multiple times by ourselves. And Wayne was FINALLY able to swim across the equator, yet another much longer story for another time. Sailed into the atoll of Major with no rudder and no steering. Another story for another time.
Flew back to Florida to meet Christine’s family there, then flew to St. Martin to drop of Ruby with our dearest friends the Alonso’s who were living there on their boat sv Discovery.
Took off a few days later for a whirlwind tour of Europe that Christine had previously all planned out as research for her next book that became “Knight’s Cross”. First stop the island of Malta Where I proposed up on a grassy hillside overlooking a little harbour in Malta. And she said YES!!!
OK, OK OK!!! Seriously this time, ENOUGH WAYNE!!!!
More of those stories for another time.
Right now, I sit here in Antalya Turkey with my Beautiful Bride of six years making us another one of her delicious meals and we have a bottle of bubbly in the fridge that I’m about to go pop so we can celebrate the 7th anniversary of our First Contact.
Which was all thanks to THIS little guy who is sitting here at my feet tonight.
I am the luckiest and richest man in the world all thanks to YOU! Happy Anniversary!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!