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.
The week of August 20-24th was a big holiday here in Turkey as this marks the five day Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and pretty much all businesses, schools, banks and government agencies were all closed.
We found this Q&A on the hajj pilgrimage to be very informative and provided a very good overview of the history and details of this important set of events and customs in the Muslim world. There is a lot of historical overlap with the Christian and Jewish history as the rites of hajj are believed to trace the footsteps of the prophets Ibrahim and Ismail, or Abraham and Ishmael as they are named in the Bible.
As you can see in the picture above of the cube shaped Kaaba in the upper right area in the center of the the Grand Mosque in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca it must be an amazing experience to be part of the re-enactment of the various activities around Mecca itself. Things were much more subdued and more life as usual here in Antalya. As we read up on the history and details of this week long series of events we wondered how those who lived in very densely populated urban areas such as here in Antalya follow some of the typical practices of this week. In urban areas this is a time when families gather for this holiday week and the final days of hajj coincide with Eid al-Adha, or the festival of sacrifice, celebrated by Muslims around the world to commemorate Ibrahim’s test of faith. During the three-day Eid, Muslims slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to the poor. As we understand it some of the meat stays with the family that owns the animal’s owners and the rest goes to the community who look after distributing it to the less fortunate in the area.
This all traditionally takes place on the Tuesday of the week which happens to be the day of the weekly fruit and vegetable market where Christine does most of our grocery shopping each week. But this week they shifted the market day to Monday and sure enough as we were bicycling over to the Mediterranean beach near us last Tuesday we rode by the big covered area where the market is centered and could see that people had brought quite a few sheep to this area in the back of their trucks.
We stopped to check it out and were able to catch just the end of the whole process which as you can see was mostly down to the skinning and butchering of the sheep and then distributing this to community organisers and people in the area. Very fascinating and we will be sure to get there earlier next year so we can experience the whole event and buy some very fresh lamb to enjoy afterwards.
Christine and I used this pause in the building of Möbius as an opportunity to explore more of the areas around Antalya and thought you might like to see some of the sites we visited.
I first came to Turkey for about a month back in 1982 on my BMW R100RS and my wife Diana on her R80T motorcycle, when I was teaching at the Canadian DND or Department of National Defense schools in Germany. One of my most vivid memories was visiting the famous travertine terraces on the hillsides of the town of Pamukkale.
As you can see Christine and I were not the only ones wtih this idea so the pools were a bit crowded but we were able to find places to get some of these more open shots.
Christine found us a great little pension hotel right in the middle of the town of Pamukkale which is about a 3 hour drive North East from Antalya and we had a fabulous time cooling off in these other worldly pools and exploring some of the ruins and the museums from the past Roman and Ottoman empires.
These naturally formed pools are most alien looking but oh so very beautiful.
Above and behind the rock faces with all the travertine terrace pools were these remains of the Roman baths from a few years back and there were also a series of museums with artifacts from this area as well as an ancient pool area where the original mountain mineral stream still runs through and you can swim along some of its length and cool off.
The next day we drove about an hour and a half South and West to another geographical wonder that is a crater formed Lake Salda in Burdur province.
Ruby and Barney enjoyed being back on a beach and being able to cool off in the crystal blue waters and we did too as it was a very hot day.
The sugar like white sand combined with the mineral rich waters gives the lake this very ocean like appearance in spite of it being a relatively small crater lake in the middle of the mountains.
About an hour’s drive West from Salda took us to Christine’s real find of the trip, the Sagalassos Lodge & Spa. This is the view looking south from our room.
We enjoyed time in the pool and later the included and delicious Turkish buffet, while Ruby and Barney enjoyed their air conditioned room and well pillowed bed.
Next morning after enjoying the included breakfast at the Lodge and when it was a bit cooler we drove a few kilometers up the small gravel road from the lodge to see the archeological site of the ancient city of Sagalassos which is one of the best preserved ancient cities in Turkey.
Human settlement goes back to 12.000 BC. Other parts of its history are unknown until 334 BC. when Alexander the Great arrived and sacked the city.
In 518 AD city was struck by a horrifying earthquake. It was rebuilt, but then another earthquake happened in the 7th century. It destroyed the city’s water resources so it was abandoned.
As is so often the case in our experiences wtih such sites in Turkey, we were the only ones there other than the 40 or so archeologists from several universities who were all busy working at digging out more items, cleaning and cataloging them and putting them back in their original locations and structures.
In spite of being hit by several major earthquakes in the past, this Roman fountain and square have been put back together and was impressive to walk around. The original mountain sprint still feeds and fills the trough at the base of these arches and columns.
We hiked up the hill to the right of the town square to see the theatre which has not faired quite as well since the earthquakes and has not yet received the attention it deserves but was still impressive to see. Being in such places I always find it fascinating to think that I am sitting on the same spot where some theatre attendee sat hundreds of years ago.
While much work remains to be done they have already pieced many of the major items such as this column and arch back together.
As awemazing as all this was, the most special moment for me was reading this small plaque. One of many spread throughout the site, explaining that this site has been excavated and restored by the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. Mildly interesting to most but I know this University VERY well by its native name of KU Leuven because it is where my dearest and unfortunately departed friend Professor Erik Duval was the head of the KU Leuven Human Interface Department. A very moving experience for me. I miss you my friend.
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?
Last week Christine and I took advantage of our fabulous location here in Antalya Turkey to take a break from building our eXtreme eXpedition Passage Maker boat Möbius and go on some land based eXpeditions.
After a 5 minute drive from our home and Naval Yachts, we met Dincer and Baris, our two awemazing builder brothers, at the base of our local mountain and took the gondola ride up to the top.
Christine isn’t the biggest fan of heights but everyone else was all smiles. Dincer on the left and Baris on the right.
About half way up here and you can see the whole Antalya Free Zone to the left of the cable right in the middle here. Directly to the right on the other side of the cable is the breakwater and then the cable cuts through the Free Zone harbour.
We are on the far Western end of the city of Antalya so you can see the rest of this large city stretching out as far as you can see towards the top of the photo.
Off to the West on the other side is beautiful forested coastline on the D400 coastal highway that winds all the way from here to Istanbul if you kept going. The marina you see here is very new and mostly for the local commercial fisherman and local boat owners.
Turning to look North you are treated with views like this of the mountains which surround us.
We enjoyed a leisurely lunch with Dincer and Baris at a little Gözleme making restaurant
All this about 5 minutes drive from our apartment and from the Naval yard so you can see more reasons why we made this choice to locate here and build Möbius with Naval Yachts and Dincer and Baris. After this lovely luncheon outing it was back down the gondola and back to work for all of us!
The summer weather has been beautiful and quite hot with more and more humidity creeping in this month, so Christine had cold mountain streams calling her name and on Saturday morning we drove about 60 km east and bit north to Köprülü Kanyon.
The roads were great and we were there in about 90 minutes after leaving the apartment.
The air temp was a bit cooler as we wound our way along the riverside and soon found what Christine was longing for, cool mountain streams.
This canyon is the most popular for river rafting so we knew were were getting closer when we started seeing more and more of this.
If you click to enlarge this shot and look a bit more closely you will see all the rafts full of people about to head down the river.
Soon after we came to this very skinny old bridge and knew we were getting close. It was definately a one car only width but has been there for centuries by the looks of it and we had no problems getting across.
Hard to tell from this distance but the river current is very fast so it takes on this slightly muddy green colour in the main parts with all the sediment it is carrying down from its mountain origins.
Once across the bridge and down the road on the other side of the river, we knew we had arrived when we came to this beautiful swimming hole.
We hadn’t reserved a place to stay yet so we kept driving down the road following the river as Christine’s research said that there were supposed to be several places with little cabins to rent that were also offering full “pension” or meal services.
Sure enough we found this little spot and they had a room for us so this was home for the night.
Don’t think we can get too much more on the river than this do you?
This is where we had our dinner that night and breakfast the next morning.
Total bill for room, dinner and breakfast? 300TLY or about US$50 This is actually relatively high but given the area and that it is high season now, it was a bargain and we were delighted with our stay.
Our room had a lovely little balcony overlooking the river that was just what the doctor ordered after the warm drive up.
But pretty soon that swimming hole was calling our names so we changed into our swimsuits, left Ruby and Barney on the balcony with their food and water and we walked to the swimming hole which was about a kilometer or so back up the river.
Turning 90 degrees to the right looking across the river you can see how narrow the river is here as you are looking at the road on the other side just behind that picnic shed.
As we walked along the river to get here there were families all along the banks and at several camping spots along the way. Lots of BBQ’s grilling up some tasty smelling meats and lots of laughter.
So when we got to our swimming hole we found more of the same with lots of people of all ages and origins enjoying this idyllic pool of mountain fresh water. Best we could tell some of the people were from Antalya and up here like us to cool off and enjoy this very different mountain river environment, others, mostly from Russia and former Soviet block countries, had come in on tour busses for the weekend of river rafting and swimming,
This was yet another example for us of why we so enjoy living in Turkey. As we relaxed and took it all in there was everything from wee babies to people even older than us and every age in between and most seemed to be groups of families and friends. There were about as many men as women and you could see every sort of bathing attire possible from the skimpiest of string bikinis to other ladies fully covered in bright beautiful and colourful outfits. Everyone was laughing and playing together wonderfully oblivious to any such differences. We were all there to enjoy this beautiful setting and cool off in this pristine water.
Christine was a bit hesitant but we soon both dove right into one of the deeper spots, about 1.5m/4 feet deep and BOY was it ever refreshing! Or as Christine would have worded it; VERY VERY cccccccccccccold!
The water It was literally numbingly cold and that soon helped to make it quite wonderfully refreshing and invigorating.
It didn’t take long to warm up again though once we were out of the water so we jumped back in several times over the few hours we were there enjoying this newest bit of Turkish delight we had found.
We strolled back to our cabin to rescue the poor little abandoned puppies, enjoyed some reading time out on the balcony and then headed back to the river side for dinner.
The evening air was delightfully cool with the river babbling in the background so we had a very restful sleep followed by a delicious breakfast here on the river again and then enjoyed the drive back down this side of the river and back to our apartment in Antalya. Gold star goes to my Beautiful Bride for finding this new bit of paradise for us to enjoy.
Not a bad few days, up the gondola for lunch one day and then up this river the next. More examples of why we are so delighted to be here and enjoying this whole experience so thoroughly.
Many of you have asked for more information on the “Free Zone” and surrounding area here in Antalya where Möbius is being built at Naval Yachts shipyard and hence this post. I’ll do my best to provide more postings over time to show you around the Free Zone, Antalya and this part of Turkey and the world in future blogs.
* Note that you can click to enlarge any of these photos.
The aerial shots above and below will give you a good birds eye view looking approximately SW over the majority of the Free Zone area with the Free Zone harbour in the distance. The Free Zone and our apartment which is just off to the right of this photo are at the very western end of the large city of Antalya which makes for a great location for us as we are nestled up against those beautiful mountains you see in the background here and we can be on the D400 coast highway that runs all the way up that coastline you see stretching off into the distance at the top of this photo.
There are 2.2 million people in Antalya Province so the rest of the city stretches out for about 15km along the crescent curve of the coast to the East. This photo is looking approximately East across the buildings of the Free Zone and you can see the first stretch of the city and the coastal “main street” going off the top.
The Antalya Free Zone is one of 15 that Turkey has created so far and you can read more about these at the Antalya Free Zone web site ASBAS. Each Free Zone has been setup to attract very different kinds of businesses and as you can see for Antalya this has turned out to be large scale yacht and ship building. There are several other industries here such as medical supplies and electronics but I’d say that more than 85% of the businesses and buildings filling up this 63 hectare area are shipbuilding. “Free” in this context means that there are significant exemptions for any of the companies located here including:
100% exemption from customs duties and other assorted duties.
100% exemption from corporate income tax for manufacturing companies.
100% exemption from value-added tax (VAT) and special consumption tax.
100% exemption from stamp duty for applicable documents.
100% exemption from income tax on employees’ wages (for companies that export at least 85% of the FOB value of the goods they produce in the free zones).
Goods can remain in free zones for an unlimited period.
You get the idea and so it is no surprise that many of the world’s top design firms for large yachts and ships chose to build their boats here. We have chosen Naval Yachts to be our builders and as you see more of their shipyard below and the results of their work in upcoming posts, you will easily see why.
To give you a bit better feel for the area I thought I’d start with this short video I shot yesterday as I was leaving the yard and heading home from “the office” at Naval Yachts. Yesterday morning Christine was looking out one of the many corner windows we have in our nearby 10th story apartment (see map below) had saw this little guy docking . Then as you can see it was rather hard for me to miss as I drove out of the Free Zone on my way home last night.
What you’ll see in the video is the harbour contained within the Free Zone where boats are launched, hauled out and worked on. I’ll do my best to provide more photos and videos over time and hope this quick 360 video of one aspect of the Free Zone would give you a better sense of the scope and scale of this place. I will maybe mount the GoPro camera in the car and shoot some video driving around the various company shipyards here in the Free Zone but even in this short 360 video you can see several of the buildings of builders such as Damen and Ares. And I’ll come back for more videos of this harbour/launching area over the coming months when other interesting ships are being launched or here to be worked on. And of course Christine and I already have dreams of the day when we’ll be here to watch Möbius slip into these waters for the first time but that’s a ways off yet and we have LOTS to keep us busy and excited with the building process in the meantime.
As you might notice in the video the we have a rather lovely mountainous backdrop to this location as well. If you look closely you’ll see there is a cable car ride up to the café at the summit which is just on the other side of that cruise ship.
Here is a small clip of a sat map that will show you the breakwater and harbour and the overall Free Zone area. Our apartment is literally within walking/biking distance, the container port where our container is hopefully going to arrive soon as well as all the loads of supplies we need for Möbius is right beside the Free Zone and you can see where you catch the little gondola to go up to the top of that peak I mentioned in the video.
Continuing with the title’s theme of Scope & Scale let’s fly up a bit higher so you can see more of the whole indented coastline we are in the midst of. Even this small shot shows the diverse geography and climates we are surrounded by. Walk on the beach in the morning, gondola ride up to 2800m throwing snowballs at the top of Mount Olympus in the afternoon for Christine’s birthday a few weeks ago and back to the 5th largest city in Turkey for dinner.
And up a bit higher still to help put our location into context of this end of the Mediterranean. Take your pick; Europe to the left, Asia and Middle East to the right and Africa below.
Not a bad place to build a boat when you’re sandwiched between mountains on one side and a Mediterranean beach on the other and those were amongst the many factors which convinced us that Antalya Free Zone was the best place to spend the next few years building Möbius.