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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sheesh! Half way through the month of August already!
Time for a brief update on what’s been happening with us and Möbius over the first two weeks of August.
Weather here continues to surprise us with how ideally cool it is. This past week has seen the daily temperatures drop a few more degrees from their previous norms of about 32C / 90F down to about 28C / 82F as I sit typing this at about 3pm on Sunday. Evenings and mornings are even cooler and with the constant Meltemi winds blowing through the boat sleeping is very comfy and mornings are starting to feel downright chilly! Not sure why this area is experiencing such relatively cool summer when the rest of Europe, the UK and many other parts of the world are seeing record high temperatures but we’ll just enjoy and be grateful that we’ve got such ideal conditions.
Here is what else we’ve been up to the past two weeks.
Update from Kalymnos Greece
Christine and I have settled into a nice rhythm here onboard Möbius and in this lovely south end of Kalymnos Island that I showed you around in the last post. If you did not see that post, this map will help orient you as to where the small island of Kalymnos is at (red pin) in the bigger picture of this Eastern end of the Med. This satellite view of the island of Kalymnos (click to enlarge any photo) will help you see how arid and mountainous it is. Möbius is the south harbour at the Red pin. To give you a sense of scale, the coast road allows you to circumnavigate the whole island in just 68 km/42 miles. So not too big which suits us just fine.
Christine continues to be very dedicated to getting her knee back to full working order and goes for a swim each day where the surprisingly brisk ocean water is the perfect medium for her physio exercises. Progress is slower than she’d like but improving. This is but one of may swimming spots she gets to chose from every day. And almost all of them have a beachside taverna so she gets to enjoy a Freddo Cappuccino and water in the shade when she finishes her exercises. Thanks to her E-bike that she got before we left Turkey she is able to get to pretty much any of the swim spots on this end of the island in less than 10 minutes and with no strain on her knee, so all good. The town itself is small but lively with daily arrivals of Turkish Gullets and other sail boats as well as lots of ferries that bring people to and from the surrounding islands or as far away as Athens. Makes for good people watching including this very salty dog of a Captain. As with most small towns though there are some less savory characters like this one who manage to sneak in when no one is watching. In addition to swimming, Christine loves to use her E-bike which she calls her “Freedom machine” to explore further afield and she has been super impressed by how well the “pedal assist” of her trusty E-bike allows her to climb even the steep hills that are the norm everywhere on the island once you leave the waters edge. Her explorations down random little roads and alleys continue to produce finds like this old church. Which can often reveal surprise treasures such as this interior of the building above if you go up the stairs and push the door open. When not out swimming or exploring, Christine is hard at work in her office every day here aboard Möbius as she starts doing the heavy mental lifting of creating a whole new set of characters and timelines for the newest book she is writing. Stay tuned for more on that as it develops.
Meanwhile I am kept very busy with the combination of remaining boat jobs on the list and fixing the inevitable gremlins that pop up. Our Kabola diesel boiler suddenly stopped earlier this week after working flawlessly every day for the past year and a half so trying to sort that out. For now I’ve just turned on the 220V element in the Calorifier (hot water tank) for daily dishes and showers.
One of the unfinished boat jobs this week has been finishing building the paravanes so we can test them out when we next head out to sea. As you may recall from previous posts, Paravanes are passive stabilizers which work by “flying” about 6m / 20’ below the water. These help keep the boat level by resisting forces trying to roll the boat from side to side. As the boat rolls, one of the paravanes or “fish” or “birds” as they are sometimes called, resists being pulled upward while the other paravane dives down and sets up for its turn to resist being pulled up as the roll forces go to the other side.
The paravanes themselves, are suspended from Dyneema lines (super strong synthetic rope) that hang off of long booms extending out from each side of the boat at about 45 degrees. Here is a paravane in action from another boat.
If you’d like more details on our Paravane setup check out THIS blog post and THIS one from back in June when I was rigging the booms and starting to build the paravanes.
Before we left Finike in Turkey I had finished shaping and painting the 20mm / 3/4” plywood “wings” for the two paravanes and bolting in the T-bracket where the line goes up to the boom. Now I needed to cut these two aluminium plates to act as vertical fins that will help keep the paravane tracking parallel to the hull. Pretty straightforward to cut with my jig saw and shape with my angle grinder. Now just need to drill holes for the bolts that will attach the vertical fins to the T-bracket and the paravane wings. Like this. The holes along the top of the T-bracket are where the line going up to the boom attaches and provide adjustments for the angle the paravane will slice through the water at different speeds and conditions. Final step was to bolt on these two zinc weights that weigh about 15kg / 33lbs and create the nose of the paravane. This forward weight ensures that the fish will dive down quick and smooth when not being pulled upward. When the boat rolls the other way, the line pulls up which straightens out the fish and immediately start resisting the roll. Rinse and repeat! Here is the finished pair of paravanes all ready for testing, though I will probably put on another coat of epoxy paint for good measure.
Next week I’ll finish the rigging and get the lines attached from the ends of the booms to each paravane.
Not too bad a spot to be in and we are eXtremely grateful for just how fortunate we are to be here.
I’ll be back with more as our time races by here in Kalymnos and hope you enjoy these briefer updates. Let me know by sending your comments and opinions in the “Join the Discussion” box below and I’ll be back with more as soon as I have it. -Wayne
A very busy week filled with several major milestones just flew by that included some fun birthday celebrations, an eXciting birthday gift and some eXcitement in the Engine Room with Mr. Gee 3.0.
I’ll cover them in that order so let’s jump right in and bring you up to date on the week that was the 14th through 20th of March, 2022.
Christine’s Birthday Breakfast
Captain Christine completed her latest circumnavigation of the sun and started her next one on Tuesday the 15th. We awoke to a beautiful sunny morning with no wind so her first gift was for us to walk over to our favorite little spot on the beach here in Finike which is about a kilometer around the waterfront from the marina.
As you can see they serve quite the traditional Turkish breakfast and the only problem is finding enough room on the table for all the plates! NOTE: If you look up at the top of the photo above Christine’s head you can see the masts of all the sailboats in the Finike Marina where Möbius is docked.
This is me wondering just how many people they thought were going to be attending this birthday breakfast? We did not manage to eat it all but we put a good dent in it. On the walk back along the beach, we stopped in to check out this little building that we had passed on all our previous trips to the restaurant. Can you guess what this is? How about if I include this bench as a very good clue? Correct! It is a mini library! You pick out the book you want from the shelves here and then walk up the spiral staircase and ………………. …… read your book while sitting in this 360 degree glass reading room while taking in the view.
Just a few of the reasons we love living here for the past 8 months.
Christine has been researching eBikes for at least a year and so it seemed like the perfect birthday gift. The one she decided on is made in Turkey by Alba and she chose their 2022 Fold2 model. It is quite impressive with 8 speed Shimano Altus chain shifter and then 5 power assist levels from the 36V/7.8Ah Li-Ion Battery Pack that gives her an average range of 50km.
Sports this easy to read screen and even has a USB port to charge her phone when she is out riding around town. The box arrived at the marina from the factory in the center of Turkey in 3 days and came almost completely assembled, just needed to have the seat and handlebars set up.
Made with all aluminium construction which we obviously prefer and keeps the weight down to just 19.5kg / 43lbs which is very good for a folding eBike. It was cold and a bit wet outside when the box arrived so we moved it inside the Workshop and quickly went through the unboxing. et Voila! A VERY happy B’day girl was soon zipping up and down the concrete dock behind us at up to 26 km/hr!!!
She has since been out to the market twice and now has about 20 km on it and she says the battery still says full so she is very pleased that all her research paid off. Happy Birthday my Captain!
Guess what? As Mr. Gee Turns is a Trilogy!
Meanwhile, I was making good progress with Mr. Gee as I come to find out that the mystery series I’ve been writing here on the ever elusive oil pressure is a actually a trilogy! Who knew? All along I had thought there was just one dastardly plot to foil me but it turns out that there were three different stories to be told here. I now believe that I am finally ready to write the final episode in this three part series so read on to see how this all ends.
When I left off last week I had just completed checking out the drive gears for the oil pump and confirmed that they were all working properly. All my testing and evidence suggested that the oil pump, which I had recently replaced with a new one, was working properly and putting out good volume and pressure.
This past week I renewed my focus on the second scenario of there being an internal oil leak that was still eluding me and could explain the lack of oil pressure. In what I now realize was the second book in this trilogy, I had found and fixed the problem with the rubber O-rings so I was very sure that these were now sealing well and if there was a leak it had to be somewhere else internally. With Mr. Gee still up in the air with his oil pan/sump still off it wasn’t possible to run the oil pump so I decided to build a little tank that I could fill with oil and pressurize to simulate the output of the oil pump. Last weekend, in one of our many calls my dear friend Greg and I came up with a series of tests and this was one of them.
Turns out that great minds do think alike as Gary, one of our fabulous followers, left a comment here on the blog with the same suggestion a few days later. Thanks Gary!
Making the most of what I’ve got available and in true McIvor fashion, this yellow 5 liter jug had quite thick and sturdy walls that I thought would work to turn into a pressure oil tank with two modifications. First I needed an outlet in the bottom where I could hook up a hose to carry the pressurized oil from the tank to Mr. Gee so I drilled and tapped, aka threaded, a hole in the bottom end. This allowed me to thread in this brass fitting for the ball valve and hose barb to attach to. The threads did not reach all the way to the top of the hex surface of the fitting so I mixed up some epoxy filler and liberally coated the threads before putting it in place and hoped that it would be good enough to stay sealed when under pressure. For the pressure, I kidnapped a Schrader valve from a poor unsuspecting bicycle tube in our spares department and threaded the black cap on the jug and screwed this in place with some epoxy to seal it as well. Now I needed a way of getting the pressurized oil into Mr. Gee so I fabricated a little flanged adapter that I could bolt on in place of the copper pipe that carries the oil from the oil pump up to the Pressure Relief Valve or PRV that you can see in the labeled photo above. A bit more epoxy sealer and I had this bronze hose barb threaded into and sealed to the flange. Which I now bolted to the bottom of the PRV where the pressurized oil from the oil pump on Mr. Gee would have normally been attached. Next I fitted one end of a reinforced hose to the fitting on the PRV and the other end to the fitting on the yellow tank. The final actor in this scene was my trusty bicycle pump which attached to the Schrader valve and enabled me to pressurize the oil in the jug. Well, Christine actually did all the pumping as I was positioned under Mr. Gee with my flashlight watching the crankshaft area for any signs of oil coming out where it should not.
It was not the most conclusive test as there was of course oil coming out of each of the main and con rod bearings as there should be so oil was dripping down everywhere. But after thoroughly checking from all angles as Christine kept the oil pressurized, I could not see oil coming out anywhere that it shouldn’t be. That was all the testing I could do at this point but just for good measure I decided to add a second oil pressure gauge to the same junction block on the left side of the oil filter. Both of these are brand new gauges and the one on the bottom is the one that has been on Mr. Gee since the very first rebuild and had been working reliably. Once again, great minds thinking alike as two days later two other helpful followers, Gary and “Sail Free Spirit” added their comments here asking if it might be possible that the oil pressure gauge wasn’t working? Thanks guys.
Didn’t seem likely as it had been working fine and reading properly for all the times Mr. Gee has been running, about 20 hours in total, but still worth checking right?
Finally time to put Mr. Gee back together again and lower him down onto his engine beds one more time. Not my first rodeo doing this so I’m getting pretty fast and only takes me a couple of hours now.
I filled him up with oil and connected the starter motor so I could use that to crank him over for a few seconds and check to see if there was any movement on the oil pressure gauges. Both needles moved so it was looking promising and I continued connecting water and exhaust hoses and everything needed to start. As usual, Mr. Gee fired up on the first spin of his crankshaft but my heart sank as I looked at the oil pressure gauge I was holding in my hand! Only 16 PSI when it should be 35!!
But hang on a minute!
What’s up with the second gauge behind it? It IS reading 35 PSI, a difference of almost 20 PSI! WTF!?!? Now the question became which gauge was correct? Interesting challenge. Fortunately I happen to have no less than 10 other pressure gauges on board, several used ones from back in my mechanic and hot rod days and some brand new liquid filled ones I use for providing pressures of oil, water and fuel throughout the boat.
As you can see here, now things got eXtremely curious! Here I have THREE different gauges attached and THREE DIFFERENT readings; 45, 34 and 30 PSI. After testing 7 different gauges, I finally got two that read the same! The one on top is one of the new liquid filled gauges that I use throughout the boat and have at least 10 on hand. They have all proven to be very accurate and each one of those read the same when attached to Mr. Gee. The smaller black Gardner gauge below is a previously unused new Gardner gauge that I had for a spare.
In this photo, Mr. Gee is running at about 1000 RPM and the PRV adjuster on the far Right is adjusted to proper Gardner specs with 5 threads showing above the lock nut.
Holy jumpin’ gauge needles Batman! We have proper oil pressure!!!!
I have since permanently mounted these two gauges to Mr. Gee just in case one should decide to go MIA in the future and I got busy getting Mr. Gee fully installed and ready to head out to sea.
Such as checking and adjusting all the intake and exhaust valve clearances to be 0.004 and 0.008’” respectively. Finish mounting the SS support rods for the overhead wet exhaust system.
Connect all the AC power cables to the two Electrodyne alternators. Reconnect and precisely align the Nogva CPP output flange to the propeller flange and then torque them all down. And with all that done Mr. Gee is now running like his famous self and oil pressure is holding steady at 35 PSI!
So here at last is the video that so many of us have been waiting so long for:
I am putting together a longer video tour of Mr. Gee that so many of you have been asking for and hope to get that posted later this week. We are experiencing excruciatingly slow upload speed right now for some reason but hope to have those fixed soon.
In putting all the evidence together now, here is what seems to have played out. Rather than a single problem causing the oil pressure to drop, it seems that there were three completely separate problems that shared the common thread of low oil pressure.
Series #1 Massive Overloading. In the first episode an inept captain who had been hired to do the first sea trials, had pushed both throttle and pitch levers to their maximum position and left them there causing massive overloading on a brand new engine. This lead to rapid wear on the main bearings and caused the oil pressure to drop.
Series #2 Too Tolerant O-Rings. After the second rebuild to fix the damage caused by the massive overloading all seemed to be well and the engine ran with full oil pressure for the first 7 hours of sea trials. Then it started to drop off slowly again. After tearing down the engine once again, I discovered that the O-rings sealing the crankshaft main bearing oil pipework had been damaged on installation because O-rings with maximum sectional diameter happened to be installed in grooves with minimum depth such that there was more rubber than space and the O-rings were pinched and sliced open when they were installed. After about 7 hours of run time these damaged O-rings began to leak which caused the oil pressure to drop once again.
Series #3 Faulty Oil Pressure Gauge In this week’s final episode of the trilogy, for reasons that remain unclear at this time, the oil pressure gauge that had been working fine, continued to show pressure but as was in fact showing 20 PSI less than the actual oil pressure. Over adjusting the PRV had been successful at raising the oil pressure so that this faulty gauge would show 35 PSI but what I went on to discover with a second gauges was that in fact the actual oil pressure was about 55 PSI! The oil pressure had been correct 35 PSI with the PRV adjusted as it should be with about 5 threads showing, but because the gauge was just off by about 20 PSI it was only reading 15. Truth is always stranger than fiction right??
This latest situation with the new Gardner oil pressure gauge working fine for many months and then suddenly giving a false reading that was 20 PSI lower than the actual pressure present remains a mystery to me. I guess this is another example of how assumptions can always bite you in the #$ss and that I probably should have tried swapping out the gauge sooner. Having had the gauge be reading correctly right up until it didn’t took me by surprise as normally these mechanical oil pressure gauges either work or they don’t. I’ve not previously experienced this sudden change in the pressure reported by the gauge itself when the actual oil pressure stays the same, but I am now!
As you can see these mechanical gauges are very simple and not too much to go wrong with them but obviously its possible. I may open up the one that failed to see what I can find inside but so far nothing appears to be amiss, all clean and it does work, just all of a sudden not giving the correct reading. For those of you with some thoughts on this please put them in the ‘Join the Discussion’ box at the bottom. While I won’t feel like this final episode is completely finished until I put 20-50 hours of sea trials on Mr. Gee 3.0 but right now both Christine and I are feeling the best we have in many months as this mystery series seemed to be unending.
There are a LOT of lessons to be learned here and I will be processing all this for some time. And while it has been an eXtremely long and winding road, it has not only lead to what appears to be a very happy ending, it has also reminded me just how fortunate I am to have such a supportive Captain and such awemazing friends, family and followers who have been there throughout this entire trilogy. Thanks and I am eXtremely grateful to ALL of you!
Hope you will all stick around for the fun part of enjoying the flip side of when you make it through a big storm at sea with how much better you appreciate the sunsets that follow. My sincere thanks to ALL of you who have been on the adventure with me and I’ll continue to do my best to bring you more interesting and entertaining content on topics other than oil pressure!!!
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.