The first time I sailed across the Pacific was in 1975. This is a much younger me in Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas.
We navigated with a sextant and a chronometer that we kept in a velvet-lined box. Paper charts and pencil. The only pieces of electronics gear on that 44-foot sailboat were a Heathkit home-built digital depth sounder and a battery-operated multi-band short wave receiver. No radio, no refrigeration, and for entertainment, we usually read books by the light of a Coleman lantern.
My, how things have changed in 45 years.
While I’m really glad I got the opportunity to experience those early days of cruising, I have never longed to go back to the “good old days.” Rather, most of my life I have been an early adopter of technology, from Loran to Sat-Nav, to GPS, to computer navigation, to iPads and navigation apps. So it just seemed right when Wayne was finding himself a bit overwhelmed with the work of ordering equipment and overseeing the build, and not finding enough time to work on our beloved Mr. Gee, that the job I could most likely help out with was in the area of electronics and networking. So I dove in to the deep end of the research pool and quickly found myself over my head. But, hey, I find it really exciting to learn new stuff, and that’s a huge part of what this building Möbius is all about for us.
Over the next few weeks and months, I hope to write several blog posts covering my journey of learning and decisions we have made about our various networks, from NMEA 2000 to ethernet, to our Victron smart management system of our batteries, chargers and solar panels. Today, I’m going to start with our decision to go all-in on PCs.
Multifunction display chart plotters, or MFD’s have become the standard on most recreational boats. When I met Wayne, he had a single Raymarine E7 chart plotter on Learnativity, the boat we sold before starting this project. He had fitted that boat out 15 years before, upgrading the original electronics. Then he upgraded again many miles later when that plotter failed. Each time, it was rip out the old and stick in new hardware.
Today’s multifunction chart plotters show radar, AIS targets, depth, fish finder graphs, sonar, and night vision cameras. Some interact with the boat’s stereo system, can switch to internet browsing, and even take control of the boat’s drones! They are amazing, but essentially, they are closed black boxes that need to get sent back to the manufacturer for repairs.
As versatile as today’s MFD’s are, there is still much they cannot do. You cannot install any other software on them. At the very least, we knew that we wanted to have a pretty big and complex Maretron monitoring system on the boat, and we would need to run N2K View software. Plus, we wanted a permanent ship’s entertainment system with all our collection of photos, music and video on a Synology NAS hard drive system. We were going to need a ship’s computer anyway.
So then we started to look at the navigation equipment we wanted to use because that would, in part, drive our decision as to the navigation software we would use. Early on, we made the decision to go with Furuno for most of our electronics on the new boat. We started with what radar we wanted and Furuno won on that count, and their customer service is very good, their equipment extremely robust. So initially, we were looking at Furuno MFDs.
But one of the problems we faced was that we wanted lots of screens to see all those different systems all the time at two different helms. And given that we both wear glasses and are not getting any younger, we wanted decent-sized screens. Each MFD chart plotter has a powerful computer inside. These days most manufacturers also sell Black Box chart plotters allowing customers to connect them to their own monitors, but the Furuno TZT2BB while it has two Windows computers inside, only allows two monitors. And the 15” TZT2 MFDs we were looking at started at an MSRP of over $5000.00 each.
In the end the main reasons we decided to forego MFDs and go as a strictly PC boat were:
Another thing we liked about Furuno was the fact that their navigation software that runs on Furuno MFDs is also available from Maxsea Nobeltec for PCs. Today, the program is called TimeZero, and while Furuno licenses the software for their MFDs, we can also run it on a Windows 10 computer. We considered OpenCpn, a free, open-source navigation application, but we read too many posts about people having the application crash, and it only will work with some radars, not all. When we investigated the TimeZero software, we were sold. The interface is beautiful and it works with Furuno radars. TimeZero comes in two version, Navigator and Professional, and while it’s not cheap, we decided to go with the Pro for all the extras, and we bought two licenses for just over $2000.00. Yeah, ouch.
Our first plan was to have our two computers be a permanent ship’s computer and then Wayne’s laptop would stand in for the second. It would give us redundancy, and we could do planning on the laptop.
Some folks are adamant that the ship should have a navigation computer with no other software on it, while others use theirs to navigate AND watch movies and check email, and they’ve been doing it for years.
Some swore by powerful machines, while others were happy to run OpenCPN on Raspberry Pi computers. Some said they would never trust a home-built, hack-job, while others said that nearly everything on their boats was DIY so they could fix it when it died. Some said you could buy a computer, but you’d save lots of money if you built it yourself.
When I talked to a Furuno rep about what specs they would like to see in a computer to best run TZ, I was told, “Our standard currently is an I7 CPU, 8/16 GB ram, gtx1060/1070, and a 250gb solid state HDD.”
In the end, I decided to do a bit of all of it. We will have two ship’s computers – in addition to our laptops. For the skybridge, we will buy a fanless industrial computer that will be kept pure as a ship’s computer and will run only TimeZero and N2K View. On the more powerful one at the main helm, we will not worry about contamination, and we’ll run whatever software we want. It will be our entertainment center as well. And this Apple fangirl decided I would build this Windows 10 box myself. While you can run TZ on older i7 processors, I didn’t want our system to lag while outputting to multiple monitors and running the graphics intensive charting software. So, I decided to spend the money on the 9th generation Intel processor in part because it can support up to 4 monitors, and that is what we have planned for the lower main helm: two 15” monitors at the helm, one 43” monitor to port and a 49” TV to starboard. TimeZero Pro only supports three “workspaces,” but we will want a permanent display for Maretron N2K View.
I really enjoyed the learning for the build process. I made heavy use of the website PC Parts Picker, and I started reading the forums where the gaming guys talk shop. I built this back in December 2019, and I decided to pay for a newly released processor so we could get some years out of it. When I opted for the “small form factor,” I thought it would be smaller than it is, but it doesn’t really matter. We have room on the boat for a full-size tower.
Crucial P1 1TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive. $99.00
Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-12 120mm Computer Case Fan $15.99
CORSAIR TX-M Series TX550M CP-9020133-NA 550W ATX12V Semi-Modular Power Supply. $89.99
Windows 10 Pro $129.00
Total price: $1281.89
As you can see in the photo above, I’m not sure how they get away with calling this a MicroATX Mid Tower. For someone who is used to laptops, this thing looks huge. And when I compare this to what you can buy that is similar in power and design, I’m not convinced I saved much money. But the big advantage I feel is that I learned so much, and as time goes on, I can easily increase the RAM if necessary, add a more powerful graphics card, or switch the built-in power supply from 110 to 24 volts. In the photo, you can see it is running on an AC converter since we are in Turkey with 240V and the computer currently runs on 110V. The 24V power supply I looked at was $330, and since we don’t have the batteries hooked up yet, I went with AC for now so I could actually tell if my creation worked and start up the learning curve on Time Zero Pro. Perhaps I will pop for the other power supply in the future.
This Mid Tower computer will reside in the cabinet on the port side of the main helm behind the TV in the main salon. You can see that cavernous area on the far left of the photo above. The TV will be mounted on a swinging door that can be opened to access the air handler and the computer, as well as other networking bits and pieces.
Here’s the sort of computer we intend to buy for our second computer:
Fanless PC Industrial Mini PC Windows 10 Pro 16GB RAM / 512GB SSD Intel Whiskey Lake i7-8565u, TDP 15W8M Cache, up to 4.60 GHz, Quad Core 8 threads Desktop Computer with HDMI/TPC/EDP Ports, M.2 WiFi, BT 4.0, 4K HD, RS232 / 485 COM, SATA 3.0 for 2.5 Inch HDD/SSD
Total price on Amazon: $917.00
And the size is quite different! It has an 8th generation Intel Processor, so it will still support three monitors, but that does push the price up. At the moment, we only intend to have two monitors at the upper helm, but it is nice to know we will have room to grow.
Also, these are just basically Intel NUC computers, so I know they are expandable in terms of adding a larger SSD or more RAM.
This one will go into a cabinet that is just to port as you go down the steps into the main salon. Both computers will have dual LAN ports. Furuno is fussy about insisting that their hardware needs to be on its own isolated network. We will have a FAR 1523 radar, BBD-S1 bottom discriminating depth sounder, and the Axis camera encoder for our FLIR camera, as well as some exterior cameras on that network. All the wifi, additional cameras, Synology NAS, and other non-Furuno stuff will be on the other network.
For monitors, after a fair amount of research, we chose Litemax Navpixel marine displays. At first, I searched and searched for regular monitors, but since we only had room for two 19” displays at the lower helm, the choices were few. We didn’t really need the waterproof aspect, but I wanted them to be able to dim almost to black easily, preferably with a hard knob, and I wanted them sunlight readable, even for inside. We have so much glass in our salon, and our eyes aren’t getting any younger. By going direct to the supplier in Taiwan, we were able to get two 19” displays, two 24” displays, and one regular non-waterproof 43” monitor for about $8000.00 including shipping.
This is a photo of one of the 24” monitors from Litemax. This is a full multi-touch,1920×1080,1000 nits sunlight readable, IP65 sunlight readable Marine Display.
One 19” TZT3 ChartPlotter sells for $8,495.00. To be fair, that includes the sounder, and we will have to buy the sounder module ($500) for our TimeZero software.
In addition to the TimeZero software, we will also have Rose Point Coastal Explorer software. We will have CS on our laptops for planning purposes, and for back-up in case we lose both of the ship’s computers. In addition, we have tablets and phones. For redundancy and back-up, we feel we are covered.
In the end, we won’t know until we get out there, but we’re both pretty happy with our decision to make Möbius an all-PC boat.
We will carry very few paper charts, just a few large area ocean charts, but we will have paper pilot charts. And in the event we lose all electricity, we both have sextants, a copy of the tables, and a nautical almanac on Kindle (with a tiny portable solar panel).
If I have to break out the sextant, I think it will be just like riding a bike.
Stay safe and healthy everyone. We’re on a long passage with this Pandemic, but as Wayne and I always say to each other when things blow up on us — This too shall pass.
Captain Christine, AKA my Beautiful Bride, completed her latest circumnavigation of the sun this past Sunday March 15th and as is our policy, we give experiences for gifts rather than “things” so we flew over to London for a few days as one of her experiential gifts was to fulfill a live long wish to see a play at one of London’s iconic theatres, the Apollo Victoria.
Happy Birthday Baby! As usual in London, there are way too many great choices but I decided that Wicked at the Apollo Victoria would be the just right choice for my musical loving Captain and as her smile after the experience seems to indicate that I guessed correct. It was a great play and we both enjoyed it and the whole experience thoroughly. We flew over to London Gatwick on Thursday night so we had the whole day Friday before going to see Wicked at the Apollo and the Spring weather was fabulous so we took advantage and drove the whole SE coastline from Brighton to Whitstable just north of Canterbury. It was cool and windy but very sunny so perfect for a good Birthday drive. The ocean is like a magnet for both of us and it is constantly calling our names so we drove up around the SE corner to the little harbour town of Whitstable where I’d been once before and I treated my Birthday Girl to some of THE best Fish and Chips at Wee Willie Winkles. Why drive all the way around the SE corner to the Canterbury area you ask?
Because that is were Mr. Gee, our Gardner 6LXB engine is from and we can’t be THAT close and not go for a visit to Gardner Marine now can we? Plus Christine had not been yet and of course there were a few “bits and bobs” I needed to pick up for Mr. Gee’s “born again” process.
In this photo I am talking with James who is an walking encyclopedia, as is everyone at Gardner Marine of both the history and the technical details of all things Gardner and he graciously let me pick his brain for several hours as we walked around the expanding Gardner Marine facilities. This is a picture from my first visit to Gardner Marine several years ago to meet Mr. Gee for the first time just after he had been taken out of a tugboat on the River Thames after almost 50 years of non-stop service. Michael Harrison who is the CEO of Gardner Marine spent the better part of that day with me to answer all my questions and take me through the finer points of the 6LXB engines. While we didn’t know it at the time it was a harbinger that was not able to meet with us this visit because he had just returned from a trip looking after some other Gardner engine installations in Spain and France so he was taking the precaution to self isolate himself at home until he could be tested. As we know now, we were all about to be in a similar situation.
Back to the present, James is taking me through just one of three of the side by side two story buildings which hold the treasure trove of “a few” Gardner engines of all ages and sizes as well as all their rebuilding equipment and eXtreme eXtensive spare parts inventory of Gardner Marine. They are about to expand into the fourth building next door as business continues to grow. Can you tell that I’m in one of my “Happy Places”???
My fellow gearheads will appreciate that places like this are akin to the Louvre for the works of art and engineering that Gardner Engines embody. Back to the Birthday Girl, we dashed back to London just in time to check into our lovely little AirBnB there and catch an Uber over to the Apollo Victoria to see Wicked.
Wow, Wee Willie Winkle Fish & Chips, Gardner Marine and Wicked at the Apollo all in the same day!?! Now you know why we call these “experiential adventures” and why we a life so densely packed with them. Next day we continued the adventure by taking advantage of being in London where one of our “god children” and most special people Kate now lives as she attends the London campus of Florida Sate University. While not sunny, the temps were Spring like and the lighting was outstanding for photos of beautiful women as you can see here. We spent the entire day, 22,000 steps Christine’s watch says, strolling throughout “Kate’s downtown London”. It might have been Christine’s birthday but I seemed to get much of the gifts such as chances for more hugs with the phenomenal and powerful women I am so fortunate to get to share this life with. London’s skyline may not be as high as some but it is a marvel to see such a mix of the new architecture ………. ….. and the old. But wait! There’s More!
While we had to fly back to Antalya a day earlier than originally planned we were able to meet up with some very dear friends, Robin and Jayne and go see the new acreage they and their children have just acquired out in the rural countryside not far from Gatwick airport.
This was on Sunday which was Christine’s actual Birthday and Robin’s is next week so we treated the both Birthday Babies to a fabulous Pub Lunch at a nearby 15th century pub. What could be more fittingly delicious and British than roast Beef with Yorkshire pudding and gravy with such good friends?
The perfect end to Christine’s 2020 B’day experiential adventure. Or so we thought ……………………….
Turns out that the adventure continued into the next day as our flights from both Gatwick to Istanbul and connecting flight to Antalya were both delayed and we didn’t get home until well after 3am on Monday. But it was GREAT as always come home to the welcoming party of Ruby and Barney. Particularly so in the the context of the current and rapidly evolving situation we all find ourselves in right now.
To Turkey’s credit everyone flying in from out of the country had to fill out new forms with all our personal info, flight and seat numbers and places visited so they can be aware of each person’s travel history. We were also all advised to “self isolate” ourselves at home and do as much “social distancing” as possible for the next 14 days. Naval Yachts to their credit as well has asked that we and any others who have recently traveled outside of Turkey self isolate themselves for the next 14 days.
Christine and I had decided to voluntarily join the new “self isolation Club” in any case so we will be staying home and won’t be going back to the shipyard for the next 14 days. While challenging and disappointing in the eXtreme, this was an easy decision to make as it is simply the smart and right thing to do right now. As my cousin who is also in a similar situation at her home in Qatar reminded me we are now members of a not very exclusive new Club!
As with the storms we encounter out sailing the world, Christine and I know that “this too shall pass” and we continue to count ourselves as most appreciative members of the “most fortunate people in the world Club”. We are both healthy and happy, we have each other and our friends and family and we see this as being the start of but our latest eXtraordinary adventures in this awemazing life we are so privileged to live.
I hope that all of you reading this are finding your own ways to be happy and healthy by doing whatever is best for you to get through this latest “storm”. As for me, I am grateful for this opportunity to be isolated with my best friend, partner, Captain, Bride and beautiful young lady. Could I be any more fortunate or appreciative? Me thinks NOT!!!
Well as you might have noticed time got away from me and I didn’t succeed in getting the Weekly Update posted for last week. But wait, I’ve got some great excuses! The week was not only more densely packed than ever with the ever increasing progress on Möbius but I also received THE best Birthday gift on Thursday evening when my Beautiful Bride and newly minted Captain Christine flew back into my arms from Florida!
But wait! There’s more…………….! After only a few hours sleep, we were up very early Friday morning and drove back out to the airport to catch our flight to Dusseldorf for the big “BOOT” show that is one of the world’s largest where we met up with several fellow boat builders and some soon to be boat builders and had a fabulous weekend get away swimming in a totally different boating pond.
I just wanted to let you know that we are both alive and well and I will do my best to make up this lapse in the weekly Progress Updates by putting together “2 for the price of 1” blog post this weekend that will cover all the progress for these last two weeks of January and some shots from the eXtremely large and fun Dusseldorf Boat Show.
Hope you find the extra wait to be worthwhile and thanks for your patience with me.
This was a week full of wonderful gifts the first of which is that Möbius now has her one and only official Captain!
Christine flew back to Florida last week in large part to finish here marathon of testing and certification with the USCG for her 100 Ton Captains License. Christine first received her 100 Ton license a few years ago in her early twenties but things have changed a wee bit in the ensuing years and this USCG license now covers many, many more topics and at great depth so this was truly a marathon of new learning and studying for many months.
After a full afternoon and evening of testing Christine passed every one of the individual qualifications with flying colours and was informed that she is now a fully certified USCG 100 Ton Captain with the “six pack” option as well which additionally entitles her to captain boats with up to six paid guests aboard. We don’t have any plans to use that, but she had this designation previously when she used to run a chartering business in the Caribbean so she figured she might as well keep it and added that to her testing and certification.
So please join me in congratulating and welcoming Captain Christine aboard her newest boat, the Good Ship Möbius. Way to go my Beautiful Bride! I could not be more proud of you nor want to serve any other Captain at sea or in love and life.
And if you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll let you in on a little secret ……………………………………………………. I get to KISS that Beautiful Captain every night before we go to sleep so yes, the rumours are true, the little Möbius Cabin Boy is sleeping with the Captain!! But don’t tell anyone OK???
But wait!! There’s more!
As if having a newly minted Captain wasn’t already enough fabulous news, we got more this week with the confirmation that three of our five children and two of our three grandkids now have their flights booked to come join us here in Antalya for American Spring Break in April! Daughter Lia, husband Brian, son Skyler and granddaughters Brynn and Blair will be here for over a week in what has become a bit of a tradition of having a family get together during this time when teacher Brian and the kids are all off school. Hard to tell just where Möbius will be or in what condition at that time but we will at least get to spend time sharing our new home with these dear family members as well as showing them this part of the world which we have come to love so dearly as well. More to come on all that as it happen but now let’s get on to the other news of the week with what has been happening with the building of the first XPM here at Naval Yachts.
Just to mix things up a bit, I’ll start with the “New Arrivals” this past week.
Any guess what Yigit knows is all wrapped up in inside this pallet full of boxes? Uğur lent a helping hand and was just as curious. The unusual L shape of the two big boxes might give you some clues…………….. How about if I tell you each box contains one of the same thing and give you a peek inside this one to show you the colour of the Ultra Leather? Heating up your clues with a glimpse inside the other box and its slightly different colour leather. And some of you more boat savvy people might recognize the brand logo? That’s right! How fitting that Möbius’ Captain’s Chairs should arrive this week just in time for Captain Christine to test out on her return next week. I will hold off unboxing until she is here so will give you this example from the LLebroc company web site to give you a better idea of what the “Bandera Series 2” Captain’s Chair will look like. We went with this higher backed and more snug fitting Tradewinds CX HB model for the Upper Helm in the SkyBridge where the motion might be more pronounced due to being up higher above the waterline. You can use your imagination to map the colours you see in the two examples above onto these chairs while you await the full unboxing with Captain Christine. I did pull out one of the footrests which as you can see are up for the task of matching the eXtreme strength of the XPMs. I’ll show you the even more robust air adjustable pedestals when we set them up.
I had put a Llebroc helm chair on our previous boat “Learnativity” and after sailing her largely single handed for the first ten years I literally lived in that chair 24/7 on the many ocean passages I made and LOVED this chair. When Christine joined the crew in 2013 she was equally amazed at how great these chairs are to spend hours and hours in while being super comfy and super safe. We have tried out many other makes and models but always kept coming back to Llebroc and so we decided to do as we have done with much of the equipment on Möbius and go with what we know.
Another example of Llebroc helm chairs. We met up with Nick Covey at the Llebroc booth at FLIBS the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show last year and kept going back over the three days we were at the show and Nick could not have been more patient and expert in answering our non stop questions as we dug into all the details of their new chair construction, features, materials and options and then sat down with him and ordered up the two Goldilocks just right just for us chairs. Now we can’t wait to be sitting in them aboard Möbius so stay tuned as we get to installing them.
OK, on to the next new arrival and next quiz; what’s inside these two new wooden boxes that arrived this past week? This one is a little more obvious with these two boxes being so clearly branded but for those not familiar this is the propulsion system for our Tender. The XPM Tender, which is being designed and built here at Naval Yachts will be all aluminium, of course! with a hull length of about 5m/16.45’ and beam of about 2m. It will have an inboard diesel engine powering a jet drive and that’s what’s in these two boxes.
Many of you will be familiar with the Yanmar name of marine engines and this is a 2 Litre 82kW/110HP four cylinder 4JH4-HTE model. Most notably for me this is a rare model that has “old school” mechanical fuel injection rather than electronic common rail. A “must have” for me for two reasons; I can maintain and repair it with tools and equipment I carry onboard and there are no electronic black box to be damaged by things such as lightning strikes. It is turbo charged but I’m good with that based on my previous experiences and should be good for many thousands of hours of operation and serve us very well. For those wondering why we chose such a powerful engine for our Tender it is largely because we intend to have our Tender be our emergency propulsion system in the highly unlikely event that Mr. Gee our Gardner 6LXB main engine should become completely incapacitated and I was unable to get it up and running. Given that this is a Gardner, that is eXtremely unlikely but as you’ve read here many times we practice “Readiness for the Unexpected” in the design and build of XPM’s and especially our Möbius. I will have lots of details on how we will make this work in future posts. We bought this engine and jet drive as a complete package from Denpar Marine and Selim Yalcin has been outstanding to work with putting this all together with us. It is a very complete package and about the only things we need to add is a water lift muffler and a starter battery. This is the gauge cluster that comes with the Yanmar and all the other components from alternator to cables and filters are in the crate with the engine.
Castoldi Jet drives in Italy might be less well known to you as jet drives are not as common as outboards but they have been building jet drives, both as complete Jet Tenders as well as just the Jet Drives themselves for over 50 years since 1962. They are one of the largest manufacturers of jet drives and we are eXtremely excited about how well this will power Möbius’ Tender. As per the DD in the model name, this is a Direct Drive which helps us with our focus on KISS Keep It Safe & Simple by having a direct connection through a short cardan shaft CV joints. This section view Yigit created lets you see the whole assembly. Castoldi designed this 224DD model to be specifically matched with and direct driven by this 110HP Yanmar which factored into our decision as well. As drive systems go, this is a relatively simple and eXtremely tough setup. The majority of the drive itself is all solid cast aluminium with the impeller and its housing being all stainless steel. One other very nice feature is inside the bubble wrap on the right side of the crate here which is a solid aluminium mounting frame which will be welded directly into the AL hull of the Tender and ensures a perfect match for the AL body of the jet drive itself to bolt to. Jet drives are most popularly known for their use in recreational jet skis but they are also very commonly used in workboats and tug boats due to their phenomenal steering and 360 degree of thrust which enables them to “hold station” at any point no matter what the forces of currents or tides might be doing. For us this figures well into our both our day to day use of the Tender making it very easy to maneuver as well as acting as a tow boat or tug boat if we ever need to help out other boats in distress or ourselves.
Then there is the playful side of our Tender when we are using it to explore our surroundings, take multi day trips up rivers and estuaries and most of all having fun with our grandkids and other family and friends. Having no propeller makes this all MUCH safer and have extremely little draft so we can get into the shallowest of areas, swamps and sandy or coral strewn bays.
I look forward to showing you MUCH more about our Tender in upcoming posts but let’s get back to the progress Team Möbius made this week.
Let’s start with this handsome and fun loving guy, Cihan, our prolific plumber. He’s getting ready to plan out the installation of our wash down system with both Fresh and Salt water pump outlets on the Foredeck and Aft. We’ll show you more of that next week as the installation gets underway. Cihan also our master of mounts and he is getting ready to create a new set of mounts for these two Johnson Aqua Jet Uno Max 5 chamber diaphragm pumps with built in 2L accumulator tanks to eliminate any pulsing and have very even flow. These provide all our house water pressure throughout the boat and we have two for redundancy. If one goes out a simple flick of a switch brings the other one online. Here they are all mounted on their noise cancelling soft mounts and ready for plumbing and wiring. Each pump produces about 20L/min/5.2GPM at about 2.8 bar/41 PSI and should keep us with all the fresh water pressure we ever need. Cihan installing two more of these 24V Johnson Viking 16 diaphragm pumps on the WT Bulkhead in the Basement with the Master Cabin on the other side.
One of the running jokes on the Team is that for a boat with “no bilges” we sure have a lot of bilge pumps! 16 to be exact. This is in reference to the characteristic of having all our floors being tank tops and hence other than under the engine there aren’t really any bilge areas. Rather we have “gutters” running down both sides of the hull where the tank tops angle down to join the hull at a 90 degree angle for maximum strength such as you can see in this example by the steps going up from the Corridor in the Guest Cabin area.
They will likely almost never see water but each one still needs its own bilge pump as they do not run through from Cabin to Cabin area.
This shot looking forward towards the bow from the aft end of the Master Cabin is a good example of Cihan’s plumbing prowess everywhere you look. Hull sides now filling up with plumbing carrying everything from Fresh, Black and Gray water, fuel, vent lines, Bilge water, hot water and now the floors are filling up with their runs of the Red PEX tubing for the in-floor heating. Finished wall partitions now going up for the Shower and Head in the upper Left. Same story back in the Guest Cabin now that all its cabinetry has been taken back to the Cabinet shop on their way to the Finishing Department. Some of that PEX tubing snaking its way through the Master Shower floor with manifolds for hot and cold water on the hull sides on the Right. Vertical Black pipes in the Yellow collars are for the drains from the Shower and Head floors we saw a few weeks ago with the nifty “smart water sensor” in the little Yellow manifold just visible on the middle far Right which connects to a diaphragm pump in the Forepeak. I got a few questions about how the in-floor heating PEX lines were fitting into the rigid foam board insulation with the 10mm / 3/8” marine plywood atop so I grabbed this close up to show how that looks. You’ve previously seen how they used a hand router to easily create the U-shaped grooves in the foam, then lined those grooves with aluminium tape and pressed the PEX into place. The plywood flooring goes atop all this and traps the PEX in the grooves so it can help transfer the heat to the vinyl finish floor. Simple to install and use and provides THE best heating of a home we know of. My toes are tingling in anticipation already!
These are the Supply and Return PEX lines as they enter and leave the Master Cabin into the Basement where they connect to the little circulation pump and in-floor water manifold. More of Cihan’s pump mounting. This is one of the circulation pump for the Webasto BlueCool chiller. This is located under the workbench on your Right as you enter the Workshop from the Swim Platform. If you were wondering what that wood disc is in the photo above it is this mock up of the 75L/20USG IsoTherm Calorifier which is essentially our Hot Water Tank. The real unit has not yet arrived so we’ve been using this wood mock up to position it under the Stbd/Right side Workbench.
Chiller on the Workbench above, Watermaker in front, water pressure pumps in front of Calorifier and Day Tank at the far end. Okan seen here along with Cihan and Nihat have fabricated this hanging mount setup to tuck the Calorifier nicely up out of the way and with no danger of any water reaching it from the shelf below. Last but not least for this week, Cihan is also responsible for plumbing the Webasto Air Handlers which have either chilled or hot water piped to them with a large fan blowing air through the liquid to air heat exchanger, like the radiator in your car, which then flows through air ducts to warm up or cool down the room.
Yigit seems to have Cihan scratching his head as we work through the best locations for the two air handlers up here in the SuperSalon.
We decided the one on the Stbd/Right side will work best here in the big area created by the side decks outside those big picture windows. This still allows me plenty of room to be able to get inside this area through this big opening behind the Dinette seat whenever I need to service or work on any of the plumbing or wiring running through this area.
There was a LOT of progress with the electrical systems onboard Möbius this week and Hilmi and his team were very busy.
Can you guess what this example of their work is? Help if I show you where those Red & Black cables lead to next? Correct! These are the 6mm2 / 10 AWG cables connecting the 14 Solar Panels to the 14 MPPT SmartSolar controllers in the Basement. The cables run through this welded in place penetration and will be sealed with special class rated watertight foam just before we launch. Cables then run along the upper roof area as in the first photo and then down through the flexible conduit in the I-beam window mullions and down into the Basement. The cables in the photo above will soon plug into the three 320W panels that lay on that hinged frame atop the front roof area of the Pilot House in front of the SkyBridge. When we are anchored, this Solar Panel filled frame will be raised to be horizontal using the hinge on the edge along the SkyBridge window glass to create a massive wind tunnel bringing fresh air through that large vent you see to the left of the wiring in the photo above. Click to enlarge this (or any other) photo and see if you can find the hidden Hilmi?
On the Right you can see the Red & Black solar cables he is running down through the conduit in the window mullions and then down into the Basement. Having 14 Solar Panels in three different banks up on top and all connected to their own MPPT controller results in seeing these Red & Black cables everywhere you looked this week. Such as these ones laying on the Galley countertops by the stairs up to the Aft Deck. And these ones over on the Starboard/Right side …….. ……….. and these ones coming down from the Arch into the ceiling of the Guest Cabin and running forward into the Basement.
This is the penetration tube through the ceiling where these Solar Cables exit out the bottom of the Arch tubes and then run along the White cable trays you can see in the background here. Peeking through the oval penetration tube before the cables went in, you can see the base of one of the Arch tubes above and the slot through which the cables run.
And of course EVERYTHING insulated with at least 50mm/2” of the ubiquitous Black EPDM foam. Similar oval AL penetration tubes in the SuperSalon floor/Basement ceiling are filling up with all the cables which need to run In/Out of the Basement which is Grand Central for ….. ……. our Electrical System. This is what Grand Central Electrical Station looked like early in the week as they ran the Solar Cables and started to build the “Blue Wall” that where most of the bright Blue Victron boxes will mount. One of the primary reasons we designed the XPM78 with this cavernous Basement area which is 1.2m / 4’ high running under the entire area of the SuperSalon floor, is to provide plenty of room for mounting most of the Electrical System components. One of the great benefits of building in aluminium is that we can easily weld in walls such as this one they are building overtop of the two big House Battery Banks that you see Hilmi on the Right standing in.
And the flood of Victron Blue boxes begins!
Victron 120/240V Isolation Transformer on the Left for the rare occasions when we have shore power. Two Victron MultiPlus 120V 3000W 70A Inverter/Chargers in front on the far Right
As you can see this open mounting system provides lots of room for spacing each of these high heat producing devices well apart from each other and providing plenty of air flow around all six sides of each box. Here is a shot of two of the three big Victron MultiPlus 240V 5000W 120A Inverter/Chargers on the other side of the wall.
Each one of these devices has its own thermostatically controlled fan pulling air in from the bottom and out through those two slots on each side and same on the back. The whole Basement is similarly ventilated with thermostatically controlled fans to ensure that all the Basement residents keep their cool which is eXtremely important as heat dramatically and negatively affects their performance and they will shut down all together if they get too hot as many other boat builders and owners have discovered the hard way.
More Blue Boxes will be moving into this neighborhood soon as will the central DC and AC Distribution Panels with their respective high amp switches, fuses and circuit breakers.
On the other side of the mounting wall above we are also using the WT Bulkhead just in front of it to weld in these five black rubber covered AL brackets for an additional mounting surface for all 14 of the Victron 100/20 SmartSolar MPPT controllers and their junction box. With each Solar Panel having its own dedicated MPPT controller keeps each panel independent from the others to minimize the effects of shading on any one panel and maximise overall solar output. A simple AL plate provides both some protection for some of the many bilge pump lines running behind it and a large open surface for easy mounting and future access to all the MPPT controllers and junction box. This AL plate is not only the perfect surface for easy mounting it serves double duty as we often do by providing a giant heat sink for all the heat coming from the heat sinks in each MPPT controller. A justifiably happy Hilmi with his handiwork surrounding him as he puts in all three of the 240V MultiPlus Inverter/Chargers on the Right and begins mounting the top row of the smaller SmartSolar MPPT Controllers on the plate on the Left. 12 of the 14 MPPT controllers now mounted with their accompanying cable trays ready to receive their respective Red & Black Solar Cables and then the cabling to connect the output from each MPPT controller to the central bus bars and circuits breakers in the junction box in the middle. Maybe we will call this Blues Ville? But trust me, I will be singing anything but the Blues when I’m working in this area over the years and have this glorious amount of space and easy access to every hose, wire and device. My fellow boat owners will appreciate just how rare and precious this is. It also adds to very real benefits of faster installation time, reduced maintenance time and costs, better cooling, easy spotting of problems, leaks, etc. What’s not to love?
WORKSHOP & ER PANELING:
The Alucobond Brothers, aka Yigit and Okan finished fitting the aluminium/composite AlucoBond sheets that cover all the EPDM foam insulation in the walls and ceilings of the Workshop and Engine Room. Once they are all fitted they will be taken out while they finish putting in penetrations and other work in the ER & Workshop so they are using sprung in place plywood sticks to hold the ceiling panels in place for now. As we showed last week, one of the great features of using AlucoBond is that you can put in a small V-shaped kerf on the back side and then bend the board along that line to create a vey smooth and strong bend of whatever angle you need. So that is how they have bent this ceiling panel to wrap around the huge ER Hatch opening in the Aft Deck. Makes for a very strong, safe and easy to clean surface throughout notoriously difficult to keep clean ER walls in most boats.
RUDDER & TILLER ARM:
The Rudder received lots of TLC from the team this week as they installed it with its Jefa roller bearings and began the critical fitting of the Rudder Post and Tiller Arm up in the Workshop. These hand cranked jacks supported the large heavy Rudder and enabled precise vertical adjustment of the position of the Rudder Post to the Tiller Arm and Steering gear. Which is what is going on here with the humongous 127mm/5” solid AL Rudder Post now in position supported top and bottom by Jefa Self Aligning roller bearings which you saw a few weeks ago. The largest White flange here is the top of the Upper Jefa self aligning roller bearing where its lip sits atop the machined edge of the welded in Rudder Tube. On top of that is a special White ball bearing ring Jefa provided to look after the vertical thrust forces. Then the Black anodised AL collar will slide all the way down and be locked in place to the Rudder Post with the SS set screws you can see on its outer circumference.
For the coup de grâce the solid CNC machined AL Tiller Arm is set in place on the Rudder Post and setting atop the Black collar to lock the whole assembly in place.
The two halves of the Tiller Arm are clamped in place with the SS key inside.
The two vertical pins are upside down here but they are where the Heim joints on the ends of the hydraulic Kobelt cylinders will attach. Down on the bottom end where the Rudder Post fits into the Rudder Tube, there is a 6cm/2.5” thick Delrin bushing to provide a smooth slippery surface whenever forces want to push the rudder upwards. A simple job for our in-house machine shop to turn from this big block of White Delrin. And create this White Beauty to fit snuggly into the Rudder Tube. There will be two large radius grooves cut into the outer circumference to provide a space for the special adhesive that will be pumped through small holes drilled through the 10mm / 3/8” thick AL walls of the Rudder Tube.
The lower Jefa roller bearing rests atop this Delfin bushing and is adhered to the Rudder Tube with the same method of pumped in adhesive which once set makes for a solid single assembly. Now we need to be able to rotate that massive Rudder through its full 90 degrees of lock to lock travel so we unboxed one of the two 24V Kobelt Accu-Steer HPU400 Hydraulic Power Units and double checked all the geometry and dimensions for mounting them on a shelf above the top of the Rudder Post. Lots more details on that as the installation happens next week.
GUEST CABIN CABINETRY:
As a reminder, here is how the Guest Cabin is laid out. The couch pulls out to make a Queen bed and the Pullman Berth folds down from the upper Right area to make a good adult sized single bed. Plenty of bookshelves and storage when Captain Christine is using this for her Office with her desk along the Aft wall on the far Right with plenty of storage areas built into its far end.
In spite of appearances to the contrary on board, the cabinetry for the Guest Cabin is coming along wonderfully with Omer over in Naval’s Cabinetry Shop next door so let’s go check in with Omer. Here is is working on the Desktop in Christine’s Office in the Guest Cabin. The rectangular opening will provide access to the Webasto Air Handler that mounts inside a cabinet at the far end of Christine’s desk up against the Stbd/Right hull. To keep this super solid and yet light he has built this with these boxed frames laminated from that same super lightweight marine plywood made from Poplar. Once both top and bottom are skinned with 16mm plywood this lightweight assembly becomes incredibly solid and stays perfectly flat. In the foreground is the cabinet riser that sits atop the outboard end of Christine’s Desk and covers up that rectangular access hatch to the Air Handler which Omer is working on in the background. Not something I should need to access very often but we put a high value on easy access so we design in features such as this. Of course all the lower surfaces are coated with Ro$ewood and Omer is an true artisan and craftsman when it comes to creating works of art with his veneering skills. This starts with him selecting the just right set of matching flitches of Rosewood veneer, cutting and matching the pieces together to create the most beautiful flow of the swirling grain and then taping these in place on the outer surface. Once ready, the bottom surface is coated with thermal reacting glue and put into the heated veneer press to clamp the veneer to the underlying plywood and then back to his workbench as you see here for machining the solid wood edges and joinery. Features such as grooves for the indirect LED floor lighting and my infamous Blue Horizon Line need are machined next with tools such as this small handheld router. These are all parts which make up the settee in the Guest Cabin which pulls out into a Queen Bed. The pull out end of the bed is on the far Left here and the interlocking slats which allow the bottom of the couch/bed to slide in and out are stacked on the Right.
I have used this sliding “fingers” style in several beds I’ve made for my homes over the years and it works extremely well and lasts forever so seemed to be the just right choice for this multipurpose couch and bed onboard Möbius.
MASTER CABIN CABINETRY:
Back onboard XPM78-01 Omur and his team have gone on to the next stage for this room where they are now bringing all the cabinetry components back from the Finishing Shop with their expertly applied 5 coats of Poly Urethan varnish and being assembled and attached to their respective foundations on the floor, ceiling and walls. This early rendering of the Master Cabin will help you visualise this Master Cabin. You are standing in the entryway door looking diagonally forward to the glass walled Shower in the far Port/Left side hull. Standing in the shower looking Aft along that same diagonal you see the raised King Bed with all its drawer storage underneath, closets and bureau of drawers on the Left and entry door in the far Left corner leading up the stairs to the SuperSalon. Celal has just finished setting the hanging closet at the bottom of those stairs. Omur and Selim now begin to put all the jig saw pieces together as they assemble all the other Master Cabin cabinetry. They have the Bureau of Drawers in place on the far Right and are here working on the bottom of the closet cabinetry that goes in front of it. Doesn’t take them long to put the puzzle pieces back together but it is a bit tricky sliding this into place on its base. But that too goes well as they fit the bottoms of the vertical dividers into their respective set of biscuits which have been inserted into the base of the closets. The module for the stacked Washer & Dryer slides in next. Horizontal divider where the ubiquitous Rosewood handhold and Blue Horizon Line will attach is set into its slots. Working his way counter clockwise around the room Omur preps the foundations for the Vanity Sink that sets up against the WT Bulkhead with the Forepeak locker on the other side. Next set of puzzle pieces that make up the Vanity Sink base cabinet and upper Medicine Cabinet. Both of those cabinets now in place and Omur is taping off the corner surfaces to protect them from the squeeze out of the sealant between them for any spills around the sink which rests atop that Ro$ewood surface. Carcasses all in place now ready for their drawers and doors and …….
……… just to wet your appetite for what is to come this is the sink that will be mounted in there. Just wait till you see what this looks like in contrast to all its Rosewood and leather surroundings! On to the next set of cabinetry, the big Master Bed platform, flipped on its side here starts to go together. Headboard rises all the way up to the ceiling where there will be a large overhead dropped ceiling box that you’ll see next week. However you can already get a sense of how much storage space there is under the bed alone. Looking aft overtop the bed shows how some of the storage will be in large open spaces such as the Birch lined one on the Left and then much more in the twelve drawers which go into the Rosewood lined cabinets at the base of the bed facing the Shower and along the sides of the walkway past the bed on the Right. Leaving you with one of the thousands of little details of the interior and evidence of Hilmi’s handiwork, this is the 24V power wires for the indirect floor lighting from a continuous strip of LED lights set into a groove in the underside of the overhang of the cabinets from the toe kick frame.
And th-thh-thhhhhh That’s all for this week folks!
Hope you enjoyed this latest update on the building of the Good Ship Möbius aka XPM78-01. We sure appreciate having you join us and we are particularly grateful for all the comments, suggestions and questions you send in so don’t be shy and please add your latest contributions in the “Join the Discussion” box below.
Captain Christine will be back on Thursday night so just four more sleeps for me to wait! Not that I’m keeping track or anything.
Oh, and just to let you know in case it delays next week’s update post, we are going to fly to Dusseldorf for the huge “Das Boot” boat show there next weekend. So if any of you happen to be attending this big event please do be in touch and we can try to meet up.
We decided to go partly as a treat to each other for a break from all the non-stop action here and also to pick up more parts and equipment for Möbius to bring back with us on the plane. We get back on Monday afternoon so we’ll show you what new arrivals we have brought back with us and have Captain Christine unbox those Helm Chairs for you so do stay tuned for all that and more.
I’ve been here before. This is not my first time taking part in a new boat build. It was 1978, and I was 23 years old when my first husband Jim and I decided that we wanted to build a bigger boat, so we could make a living doing sailing charters. Jim had built boats before, and he had been working at Kehi Drydock in Hawaii just before I met him. He was a professional, so I figured, “How hard can this be?” Ha!
We named her SUNRISE, and she was a 55-foot cutter, but it took many, many long hours in the boatyard to get her there. We considered building the hull ourselves, but when we found a company in Costa Mesa, California building a Bruce Roberts design that suited us, we put our money down. We rented their mold and had their crew lay up the hull to our specs. We wanted solid fiberglass, not a cored hull, and we paid extra money to leave it in the mold to cure for 30 days.
I remember the day the boat mover truck arrived at the DIY boat yard in Ventura, California. We arrived at first light, and there was the truck driver asleep in the cab. When he climbed out, I was standing there, gazing up at the boat admiringly.
I said, “She sure looks like she’ll go fast.”
Without so much as a pause, the truck driver said, “Well, she did about 50 on the way here.”
I can’t begin to explain how different that experience was from what Wayne and I are doing with Mobius today. In those days there was no such thing as CNC machinery, and everything in the boat was cut to fit. We did everything ourselves, and there was no lovely boat shed to protect us from the sun and the rain.
We had no yacht designer to get us from that huge bare hull to a completed boat. We designed our own deck, cabin structure and interior. The price of lead was high at the time, so we bought scrap steel rods from the companies doing off-shore oil drilling, cut it into 3-foot lengths and stood them end in the keel–ten thousand pounds of them–then poured resin in to lock them in place. We built integral tanks, fabricated the mast step, and laminated the deck beams.
I worked as a waitress the whole time, but nearly every day of those three long years, I went to the yard and worked before or after my shift. I fiberglassed in bulkheads, sanded and filled surfaces for the overhead and the shower stalls, and I held the other end of the wood as Jim worked his magic on it. We did the interior in solid black walnut and cherry wood, no veneer, and I must have made tens of thousands of plugs, including for the teak on the decks.
SUNRISE was a special boat. Jim was a master woodworker, and he did all the inlay and carvings, while I did all the finish work and the stained glass. Most anyone who ever saw the boat, remembered her.
We sailed her from California through Panama to the Caribbean, up to Florida and back to the Caribbean a few times. By the time we sold her in 1996, we had owned and sailed SUNRISE for 15 years, and raised our son, Tim on board until the day we sold her and got divorced. Sadly, Jim died a couple of years later.
Recently, I dug up lots of old photos, some of them very damaged after years of storage on board boats, and I made this little slide show about those years we built SUNRISE.
These days, Wayne and I are enjoying watching several of the YouTube channels that feature the new generation of young cruisers chronicling their lives afloat. Recently, one of them said, “I really wish I could find the original owner of this boat. I would have so many questions for him.”
That comment got me thinking. I wondered if SUNRISE could still be afloat today, 38 years later. What if her current owner would like to see that video and know more about her construction and her story? So, I went to the US Coast Guard Documentation database and looked up SUNRISE. Now, there are 90 some vessels in that database named SUNRISE, but only one of them is 55 feet long and was launched in 1981. It’s got to be the same boat.
So, I have decided to see if I can use Facebook and the Internet to track him down and get photos to see what she looks like today. Here goes.
I am trying to locate the boat owner by the name of Jonathan Wright and the boat’s hailing port is Fairhaven, Massachusetts. And below here is the most recent photo I have. It’s one that a previous owner sent me about 15 years ago. He added the hardtop and bimini and some big davits on the stern.
If any of you have seen this boat or if you know of anyone who has, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When we were going through the process of choosing a boat builder, we knew that the location mattered a great deal to us. We didn’t know for sure how long it would take to build the boat, but we knew we would be measuring the time in years, not months, so it had to be someplace we would enjoy. That played a big part in why we chose Turkey. When we first announced we were moving here, lots of people ask us if we weren’t worried for our safety, or were concerned about the standard of living over here. So many people don’t know what a gem this country is. The archeological sites are extraordinary, the nature is stunning, and it’s a modern, well-developed and tolerant country. Even more so, lately, lots of folks have written asking if the political and economic situation is impacting us. I hope that by sharing in this post a little of what our day to day lives are like here, our friends, family, and followers will understand better why (aside from the great boatyard at Naval) we like it so much here.
In February 2018, we signed a year’s lease to rent a three bedroom, two bath,1900 sq. ft. fully furnished apartment, and after more than 6 months of living in the place, it has become home. We are on the 9th floor of a 12-story building, and there are only two apartments on each floor. The three buildings in our complex are arranged around the enormous swimming pool and a small playground you see in the photo above. There is 24-hour security on the gate supplied by three very kind gentlemen who smile indulgently at our attempts to greet them in Turkish. One of the three bedrooms is set-up as my office and out the corner window, I can see a small strip of the blue sea over the rooftops in one direction and the imposing granite mountains in the other. For this, if we count rent, maintenance fees and utilities, we are still under $500 a month.
Our apartment is located about six blocks from a long gorgeous beach that was nearly empty in the winter, but is now covered with tourists from elsewhere in Turkey, and primarily from Eastern Europe. It’s not unusual here to find restaurants with tourist menus in English and Russian. The Free Zone where Naval Yachts is located is a kilometer or two from the apartment, and for the last month or longer, Wayne has been riding his bike there every day.
I stay at the apartment where I get to work on my book business. I’m drafting a new novel and running advertising for the existing books. I take the dogs out, go shopping and visit the pool. And every day, I try to spend at least one hour studying Turkish. It’s a tough language, but I am determined. I’ve got apps on all my devices and I listen to vocabulary as I walk the dogs, cook and do dishes, and I practice with Duo Lingo, Babbel, Monday and Memrise. The language is unlike any I’ve learned before and Wayne teases me about my fascination with the grammar and structure of the language, but I will be able to speak by Christmas. Maybe.
Every Tuesday, there is a neighborhood market selling fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, eggs, fish, olives, dried fruits and nuts, and various household goods. I take my little rolling trolly just like the other Turkish housewives and walk the few block to fill my shopping cart with all the healthy makings of our Mediterranean diet. The market spills out of the main structure and for two blocks on every side street, people are selling honey or homemade yogurt or bath towels and T-shirts out of the trunks of their cars. We eat what’s in season, so we were enjoying the winter squash and Brussel sprouts back in March, and now it is all about peaches, cherries, grapes, melons, and figs. There are so many different types of peppers, I can’t keep track, but surprisingly few of them are very hot. And tomatoes, a staple of Turkish cuisine, come in every size, color and shape.
I look forward to my Tuesday market days as the place is crowded and loud and wild, but loads of fun. The men are always shouting and joking, the Turkish ladies are squeezing the produce with a skeptical look, and the tourists are wandering around showing the whites of their eyes. The fish vendor is also the waiter at our neighborhood restaurant and the young man at one of the olive booths always practices his English with me. The prices you will see in the photos of the market are in Turkish Lira per kilo, and today the TL trades at about six to the USD. It’s hard to beat a kilo of fresh cherries for about 85 cents.
Because there is so much good inexpensive food here, we eat very little processed food. I have even taken to making my own granola cereal. I use oats, coconut oil, Turkish honey, and walnuts, hazel nuts, almonds, chia, dried cranberries and whatever else I can find at the market. Bake it in the oven to crisp it up and with sliced peaches on top, it’s yummy.
All over Antalya, there are loads of small neighborhood parks, and most of them have playgrounds for the kids and exercise equipment for the adults. With all the good Turkish food here, and no longer living a boating lifestyle, we found our waistlines growing. Back in May, we decided we had to do something about it. We don’t see too many people using the equipment, but for the last three months, we have been getting up at 6:00 a.m. and spending about 60 minutes working out. We take the dogs for their morning walk around the block and we stop at the park for our workout. I had been noticing so much loss of strength in the last few years, and I didn’t think I would ever get it back. Surprise! I’m feeling stronger and healthier than ever.
Since we are going to be living here for a long time, we haven’t been in a rush to see all the sites, but in six months we have managed to get out and about a bit.
In March, for my birthday, Wayne took me to the top of Mount Olympus Teleferik(Tahtali mountain) via the cable car.
The temperature outside the car as we drove the seaside road past Kemer was in the 70’s. We drove up through a fragrant forest to the cable car base, and after a long ride in the cable car, we found ourselves in snow at 2365 meters height. The views were stunning and the whole cable car structure was a feat of engineering.
In late June, friends aboard an American cruising sailboat, Chuck and Patty on Soulmates came through Antalya on their cruise along Turkey’s southern coast. We shared some meals, and I spent one day showing them around a few of the local sites. We visited the best-preserved Roman theater of the ancient world at Aspendos where they still hold performances since Ataturk had the theater restored in the 1930’s.
We also stopped to see the ruins of the huge Hellenistic city at Perge built in the 2nd century BC with its baths and market and stadium. The volume of archeological sites within a day’s drive of our apartment is stunning. And they are continuing to find more. People have been living in this area for thousands of years through dozens of different cultures and civilizations.
Finally, we stopped off at the Duden falls park right here in the city of Antalya where a waterfall drops into the sea. We ate a late lunch at a restaurant along the river and watched the guys taking rafts up the river so folks could do a mini raft trip down this stream. It’s a good thing they have a good net at the end. You wouldn’t want your raft to go over these falls!
Recently, we also got the chance to go up on our local Antalya cable car with our friends, Baris and Dinçer Dinç, the brothers who are the owners and the brains behind Naval Yachts. Though the climb was not as high as Mount Olympos, the views of the city we have come to call home were stunning. From the marina, the port and the Free Zone in the foreground, to the miles-long Konyalti Beach along the shore, you can see why Antalya is a favorite for us as well as tourists.
We ate gözleme and talked of travel, family and politics. And we had the opportunity to talk about what the impact of the drop in value of the Turkish lira is having on the average Turkish citizen. They explained that in the marine business, almost all prices now are quoted in US dollars (such as our contract). They also said that as employers, they try to help their workers with bonuses to make up for the loss of buying power. And while we haven’t really seen prices change much at the market, the supermarkets, or even at the gas pump, inflation is coming. Right now, Antalya is brimming with foreign tourists, and people here are not perhaps feeling the impact yet, but when the customers have gone and the city returns to the sleepy town we saw last winter, things are going to get tough for some of these folks. Yet, not once in all my time here in Antalya has anyone ever made me feel unwelcome when they found out I was American. They have reason to. I know Turkey has had economic difficulties for some time now, it’s not new. But there is no doubt that the severe drop in the lira one week ago was brought on by the war of words between the USA and Turkey. In spite of that, I have been treated with nothing but courtesy, kindness and respect.
And I often don’t get that back in the USA! Is it any wonder we are loving life in Turkey?