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.
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.
A quick post to refer you to a 2016 article in Yachting World magazine which Christine came across with an article about a fascinating fellow ex sailor now eXtreme eXploration passage maker David Cowper who recently completed one of the most challenging passages through the Northwest Passage. Cowper, a Brit, has completed three circumnavigations by both sail and power and in 1990 was named Yachtsman of the year. Quite rightly so I would say with feats such as being the fastest to sail single-handed around the world in both directions before he made the transition from sail to power in 1984. Well worth the few minutes it will take you to read the full article.
David’s current boat mv Polar Bound is a custom designed pilot/lifeboat like 48 foot all aluminium with eXtremely thick plate up to 15mm with very close and heavy inner framework supporting it, is self righting, very heavily insulated, sealed collision bulkhead compartment up front, thick keel bar from stem to stern, huge integral fuel tanks below the waterline and stocked with spare parts for everything.
And what powers this eXtreme eXploration power boat though ice and around the world? A Gardner of course!! In David’s case it is the 8 cylinder version of the same Gardner LXB family as will be powering have in Möbius.
Certainly not the boat or the life for most people but we certainly resonate with many aspects of it, though probably with a bit more time in tropical climates than David does.
But when it comes to boats we are in heated agreement with David that the combination of eXtremely thick and strongly framed aluminium powered by an eXtremely efficient and reliable Gardner is the just right Goldilocks combination for these kinds of eXtreme eXploration Passage Makers.
Congratulations David! We follow humbly and proudly in your wake.
Wow! This family of unique new eXtreme Passage Makers I’ve been writing about seems to be gaining new members every day.
I had no sooner finished writing up yesterday’s “Canadian Kissin’ Cousins” posting about the recently announced Tactical 77 when Andy, one of our most enthusiastic followers reminded us of the new “Circa 24 meter (78ft) Expedition Yacht” which Circa Marine has recently announced and has on their drawing boards/screens.
As many of you reading this would know, Circa Marine in Whangarei NZ is the very talented engineering firm and shipyard which worked with Steve Dashew to design and build all of the FPB series of boats which totals about 20 boats all together I think.
With the Dashew’s recent decision to very deservedly retire themselves so they can finally spend time enjoying their very own FBP78-1 “Cochise” and their decision to also retire and end the Dashew/SetSail/Circa alliance, Circa is now developing their own version of these new type of passage makers.
Christine and I were fortunate to spend a day with the great people at Circa back in November 2016 when we sailed our previous boat down there and they were extremely generous in answering the hundreds of questions we put to them as we made our way in and around the FPB78’s and FPB70 they were building at the time. As we discussed the four different size FPB’s they had built, 64/115/78/70 we got the distinct impression that the FPB70 was their favorite and they had many of their own ideas they’d like to incorporate in the future. Of course we didn’t know then and neither did they that the FPB series was going to end and so not too surprising to us that they have decided to create their own new Circa version and take advantage of their deep experience in building these kinds of boats. Clearly these boats will benefit from what is now about 20 years of experience in building these types of boats, let alone many other boats they have been building for even longer and that this new Circa 24 will be an incredible boat.
Looks like our intuition when we were visiting them was right and like us Circa has decided that the 24m or 78ft size is the sweet spot or Goldilocks just right size for these kinds of boats and owners so we take that as great validation for our coming to the same conclusion with Möbius several years ago. This makes sense as well in that the FPB70 was the last of the FPB’s to be designed and therefore the one which benefited the most from what is almost 2 decades of gathering such a plethora of real world data from all the previous boats, all those years and hundreds of thousands of nautical miles of owner experiences and all of Circa’s experience in building these boats. Steve was extremely diligent at collecting and curating all this data, sharing it so generously and articulately on the SetSail blogs and learning from it all and the results certainly show this evolutionary journey. Everyone from Steve to all the talented people who worked with or at Circa over all those past 20 years certainly deserve a great deal of credit and a huge amount of gratitude for developing this new style of boat and putting them on the marine world map.
New Zealand is certainly a hot spot in the marine world in general and especially so for these new kinds of eXtreme Passage Maker style boats and the “family tree” has very deep roots there. Back in the early 2000’s, prior to the FPB’s, Kelly Archer another very talented Kiwi, had designed and built his personal boat “Ripple” which obviously caught Steve’s eye at the time and Steve and Kelly went on to have a long partnership designing and building the FPB’s.
Oh, and I might add that Kelly chose to put a horizontal version of the same Gardner 6LXB main engine in Ripple. Brilliant!
No coincidence then that we found our own “just right” designer for Möbius in New Zealand when we met up with Dennis Harjamaa at Artnautica Yacht Design. Dennis had designed AND built a boat for himself based on the same DNA I’ve been outlining of long, lean, low all aluminium low maintenance boats for couples with the shared passion for crossing oceans in extreme safety, comfort and efficiency.
These boats known as the LRC58 and there are now four of them out exploring the world and a fifth beginning it’s build phase at Aluboot in the Netherlands. Good article here on the three LRC58’s which Dickey Boats in NZ have built and you can follow along with Rob at Artnautica.eu while he was building his LRC58-3 “Britt” at Aluboot.
Thanks to all our “Giant Teachers”:
Since I was very young I’ve always been fascinating by the way in which we humans are able to continuously learn, innovate and advance by “standing on the shoulders of giants” which Wikipedia nicely describes as:
“… expresses the meaning of “discovering truth by building on previous discoveries”.
This concept has been traced to the 12th century, attributed to Bernard of Chartres. Its most familiar expression in English is by Isaac Newton in 1675: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”
Christine and I are retired teachers as are most of our siblings so we have that in our DNA as well and we see these “giants” as the great teachers in our lives. We do our best to be very highly motivated learners and we certainly want to add our deep gratitude and appreciation for the many giants whose shoulders we humbly stand upon, learn from and leap forward.
Currently we find ourselves standing upon the shoulders of several other such giants and teachers such as Dennis at Artnautica and Dincer and Baris here at GreeNaval who have been instrumental in transforming our vision into the reality that is Möbius and we can’t wait to launch her and join this growing family of eXtreme passage makers out exploring the world one nautical smile at a time.
Last month I put up a post “Newest Member of this Family of Passage Makers” about the newest members of Dennis’ Artnautica LRC58 line of boats, the LRC58-3 “Britt” and LRC58-4 “Raw” which have both been launched and are now at sea as will be joined by LRC58-5 being built in the Netherlands. My larger comment and purpose for that post, and for this one, is to highlight the rapid growth of a whole new style and type of long, skinny ocean crossing passage makers which are most often designed to be owned and operated by a couple with no crew.
An overall name for this new family of passage makers has not emerged as of yet and they aren’t trawlers, they aren’t pilot boats, they aren’t military boats though they have characteristics from all of these types and many others.
I will write a future post that will go into more details of this new style of ocean crossing beauties but wanted to introduce you to the newest family member which my crack researcher Christine uncovered yesterday in this recent article Simon Murray wrote for Power and Motoryacht magazine entitled “Meet the Special Forces-Inspired Tactical 77”.
The “Tactical 77” as it is being called is a recent design from Bill Prince of Bill Prince Yacht Designs of a 24 meter all aluminium ocean crossing passage maker for an ex Special Forces gentleman to take his family out cruising the world.
She will be built by the Canadian builder Tactical Custom Boats located near Vancouver British Columbia and near where I lived while going to the British Columbia Institute of Technology BCIT and University of British Columbia back in the early 70’s and then taught High School for many years in nearby Ladner.
Located in Richmond B.C., Tactical’ s web site says they build;
High performance aluminum boats designed for speed, comfort, and safety in all operating conditions – without compromising dependability, luxury or design.
As you can see from these pictures, location is not the only thing we have in common. The similarities to our upcoming addition to this new family named Möbius which we are referring to as eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker or XPM are striking. It is no coincidence that the looks of these boats are so similar because the owner’s requirements and the design goals and use cases overlap extensively. To quote this P&M article;
“Prince was tasked with designing a cohesion of extremes. The client wanted a high-performance vessel with pseudo-military exterior styling and interiors that emphasized luxurious, superyacht-like accommodations.”
It will if you’ve read over my earlier post “Project Goldilocks: Mission Impossible” where I outlined the overall mission and all the key characteristics Christine and I have for designing and building Möbius.
Prince went on to say about the client;
“He wants a really comfortable yacht that will scare the Coast Guard from a quarter mile away.”
Christine and I are not interested in scaring our friends in the world’s Cost Guards but are very keen on similarly deterring any “bad guys” with mal intent towards us.
“We have designed go-anywhere capability and luxurious accommodations inside aggressive, pseudo-military exterior styling,” says Prince.
There are a few differences mind you when it comes to weight, costs and power. For example “the boat will be propelled by twin MAN 1,900hp inboard diesels giving the Tactical 77 combined 3,800HP and top speeds over 35 knots.” Yikes! Mobius for comparison will have about 150HP and a top speed of 11-12 knots. But I’ll be much happier paying our construction costs and our fuel bills!
However at their core all these new kinds of boats share very similar purposes and owners and I was most intrigued by a story the designer Bill Prince shared when interviewed for this article:
With the owner’s highly specialized background, you would think clients like him are exceedingly rare. Yet Prince had three people come to him separately a few years ago, asking for essentially the same thing:
a low-maintenance, go-anywhere-in-any-kind-of-weather, aluminum cruising boat that doesn’t require a full-time crew.
“In the space of six to eight weeks I listened to three gentlemen who were all experienced yachtsmen describe almost the same spec,” said Prince. “So, I’ve seen this coming for a couple of years.”
Almost like reading my own writing!
In the Mission Impossible posting I shared that the mission statement Christine and I brought to Dennis, Dincer and Baris is:
“The just right boat for exploring extreme locations in equally extreme safety and comfort.”
and some of our key characteristics for Möbius included:
- all aluminium, no paint, no stainless
- Go far, Go everywhere, Go nowhere (@ anchor), Go alone
- couples boat
- lowest possible maintenance
- Strong Industrial/commercial quasi-military “vibe”
- Interior with extremely high craftsman level fit and finish
You get the idea.
On the one hand the owners of these new style of boats have their own unique use cases and criteria, so each of their boats will be similarly unique. However when viewed by others they will tend to look similar because at their core these boats are designed and built for those who share a passion for long, low, lean & mean low maintenance boats which inspire them to cross oceans in eXtreme safety, comfort and style. We can’t wait to add Möbius to this growing family of ocean crossing passage makers and more so to join them out exploring this awemazing watery world of ours.
Lest you should think from my previous posts that the only thing being built here in the Antalya Free Zone (AFZ) are Mega Yachts and Super Yachts, thought you would enjoy seeing a recent visitor here.
This little fella was anchored outside the entrance to the AFZ for a few days earlier this week and we had a bird’s eye view out the windows of our 9th story apartment a few blocks away.
She was particularly striking at night when she was lit up like a Xmas tree. My zoomed in blurry shot from several miles away doesn’t do her visual light show justice so you’ll have to use your own AI (Augmented Imagination) to get the full effect.
She soon moved into the AFZ harbour and with the vehicle and people in the foreground you can see that she really is Super Sized!
One of many such drilling rig ships in the Turkish Petroleum company’s fleet.
While I was at the harbour taking these photos I thought you would also enjoy seeing the way they move the Super Yachts in and out of the water. You’ll recall seeing mv Lady Jade from the previous post “Another Day at the Office” when she went by riding on the big yellow transport trailer and here she is in the water. Look closer (click to enlarge) and you will see that white trailer you see on the right is on rails to slide down the ramp into and out of the water.
Here is a bit closer full view of the rail mounted trailer. It is all hydraulic and each of those pads you see along the trailer are big independent hydraulic rams to fit up under any hull and support these super sized yachts.
If you click to enlarge this photo you can check out some of the other boats in the background which have been built here in the AFZ and get a sense of the diversity of boat building that goes on here.
Walking further up the launching rail ramp you can now see what I wasn’t able to show you in the previous posting about how they transfer ships from the yellow road based trailer to the rail one. Yellow is the road version as you can see by its many tires and then the white rail based trailer behind it.
Can’t wait to be showing you Möbius coming out of the GreeNaval shipyard and going into the water for the first time and that could be as soon as late next year.
Now you can understand a bit better why we are building Möbius here and why we say everything is “SUPER” in the Antalya Free Zone.