Whisper HR is in the South Pacific

Whisper HR

Apr
12

Farewell Turkiye

Posted by mei-sm We cleared Fethiye, Turkey yesterday and stayed on a mooring at 22 Fathom Cove in Scopea Limani last night. Today we left at dawn and are currently motoring to Rhodes. Our position

Gulf of Fethiye

Fethiye Harbour

Fethiye Harbour

We zoomed here from Marmaris to visit the lovely Scopea Limani. This is a group of islands at the SE location of the Gulf of Fethiye. We decided to visit all the anchorages we missed the previously. We liked Tomb bay although we didn't stay to hike to the ruins. There were no bouys there and it would have to be a med moor to a bollard, in this area a tree is not an acceptable mooring point. The season is very intense for seven months and the yachts and gullets had been known to kill trees. The local govt for this area puts in bouys and bollards for the yachts. The water is very clear and the bottom is surprisingly very clean. They must have clean up campaigns. We visited Gocek and discovered a town that is very reliant on the boating tourist. This town is close to the Dalaman airport and is the yacht charter HQ for sunsail and moorings. The shops are groceries, chandlers and sailmakers. We were there a few days and had a bag made for our trolley. When we got it we were astonished at how large it was. It looked as if I could curl up and have a nap in it. We visited Fethiye and caught up with Margaret and Jack. We met them on our trip to Cappadocia. They had decided to leave UK for Fethiye. A warmer climate, lovely apartment and only bicycles for transport. They looked fit and hale. They took us to the local market and it was enormous; there was not enough room for all the sellers as they spilled onto the sidewalks and roads. We bought some good cheese a punchy tulum and a Bergama. Got some amazingly tasty strawberries. Margaret volunteers her time at a local charity that tries to help the kids up in the mountains. The poverty and housing conditions made her cry. A real eye opener.

Jack and Margaret

Jack told Kevin that a few scenes in "Skyfall" was shot in Fethiye and the whole town was in a frenzy. Apparently they built a market place on a beach and many of the Brit expats got parts as extras. Daniel Craig stayed at the Yacht Classic Hotel, whose dinghy dock we were using. We bumped into Craig and Leslie on "Shirley Valentine". Their motor died and they had to sail to Ece Marina in Fethiye. Curiously their filters looked pretty clean, although there looked like some black gritty plastic rubbish in there. The problem seems to always come back to fuel. We had a little problem with our dinghy throttle cable, we finally discovered why we could not plane the dinghy for the last year. Craig took Kevin to the sanayi area to look for the cable. Leslie and I went to a tea house and played backgammon. Leslie plays backgammon online and was really up with the tactics. I finally memorised the set up pattern. For her it was like playing with a toddler. But for now it's farewell Turkiye, It was a great experience.
Apr
04

Whisper HR has cut the dock lines and has left Marmaris

Posted by mei-sm Whisper HR position I'm trying a new method of blogging. Sometimes it is hard to get internet and I procrastinate about the point of writing. But I can use my HF and the ubiquitous pactor modem. The pactor is last century's technology but works like a freight train. The iridium with the Mailasail software is unreliable and at the best slow and sporadic. I had given up hope with the iridium when I came across Ed Kelly on Angel Louise. They had similar problems with a newer model Iridium and pointed me towards superior and reliable software and I will have a go with it when we are ready to cross the Atlantic. We will invest in a new iridium sim and be contactable on the ocean. Iridium is also last century's technology and supposedly a good deal faster than the HF. We shall see. We left Marmaris three days ago. We are floating around in a bay near Fethiye. It was good to leave and try out our sea legs. But it was sad to leave the friends we made during our stay there. We spent a day wondering around saying goodbye. It felt like leaving a particularly good party. But as ever it was see you around. We never know if we will meet again and the community is wide and far flung.
Whisper in Kapi Creek

Whisper in Kapi Creek

goat

goat

We headed for Kapi creek. I like Heikell's food recommendations; he doesn't make them often so when he does it's worth paying attention. The bread here is delicious. The owners of this unique spot have see the rise of yachts in this area over the last 20 years. They built some piers and put in laid lines. They can squash 40 boats here and you might think they charge like wounded bulls but I don't think that comes close. Kapi creek is lovely and sheltered from every direction. It is the place to stay when a blow is forecasted. We went for a walk and came across a few farm houses. There are innumerable olive trees, goats and cows. The goats were having kids and we saw a newly born struggle to stand up, the mama was jumpy and refused to let him suckle. Kevin suggested she was being wary of us and we left. We will get to Fethiye in a few days.
Dec
27

Cappadocia

Posted by Mei We enjoyed the Cappadocia trip. I like the Sagglasso ruins which we dropped into on the way. We arrived in Cappadocia in the dark. The next morning we were off for a dawn balloon flight. But it was super foggy and the balloon company cancelled it and drove us back to the hotel. We were still not seeing much as you can appreciate. The forecaster suggested that there would be similar conditions the next day. But in the back of my mind I thought about this very experienced pilot I knew, whose favorite saying was, “How do you know when a weather forecaster is telling lies,.. his lips are moving.” Also paired that with our own experience of the forecast accuracy for the marine environment, hmm… The next day the whole group piled into the van at dawn, and went for the first balloon flight of our lives. It was superb. Hey maybe it was cloudy and the visibility was not fantastic. But I could see and we hovered over the land maybe 10 m, so we did not miss anything. We floated over three valleys and it was pure adrenaline bubbling through our veins. The Cappadocia scenery is very interesting with the beautiful Fairy Chimneys. It got a little fraught when we lifted to the top of a valley and was enveloped in cloud. The balloon meister turned up the heat and we found ourselves above the cloud. It was like a fluffy sea with the tops of the mountains like little islands. I finally got my clear blue sky with 100% visibility. All the other balloons were there too. The balloon meister had gps and VHF and was talking all the time, My hope that it was about proximity and not the latest football game. We floated for a while atop of the clouds and I noted some possible landing sites on top of the mountains. But we began to descend through the clouds, it was a white-out. The balloon meister created a little angst by asking us to alert him of anything we saw below us. We entered the valley and we could suddenly see and curiously it was where we took off from. How did he do this? We landed with a tiny thump and then hovered 100 mm above the ground while the ground crew put us onto a trailer and tied us down. They drove us to some clear ground with the 4 wheel drive and tipped the balloon and deflated her. We were then allowed to get out. To keep with tradition we had some champagne. But we were in Turkey so there was a twist and we had Saudi champagne and it tasted like sparkling apple juice. Not so bad on an empty stomach. Check the video we made on Cappadocia We spent two days looking at the rocks and clambering through the caves. Some had been made into churches with the frescos of the assumption, nativity, cruxification, resurrection, nativity etc. umm milestones in the life of Christ. There was an underground city that the peeps hid out in when the invaders came. They came all the time, Persians, Genhis Khan, Alexander the Great stc.. They could hide 35,000 people in there and keep them alive for quite a while. .The walks were lovely and I could see it would be fun just to go for walks from Goreme. There’s not lot of free time with Gwen’s tour. But it gives you a good look at everything. It was cold there. 1 degree C at dawn. Kevin froze, he didn’t pack the right clothes. The food was never ending and we were stuffed. Varying quality. Everyone liked the mushroom restaurant; the mushroom soup tasted suspiciously like Campbell cream of Mushroom. But I’m sure it’s the original. The company here are fun and we’re expanding our network of friends. I’m doing Turkish lessons, and it is interesting. At least I know some numbers.
Nov
27

Santorini

Posted by Mei

Mei and Kevin in Santorini

Santorini is an interesting place. It has been forever changed by the tourists a bit like Ubud, Bali. The locals however are few yet have managed to keep a firm grip on the style and look of the place. It is a bit like a theme park. But they don’t hassle and they are friendly. We stayed in a hotel room that was an ancient windmill. It had beautiful views of the caldera (cauldron). The views from most angles were breathtakingly beautiful. We went to the archaeological site call Akrotiri an ancient Minoan city. 1700BC a volcano engulfed the city.  They discovered it last century and have been excavating pretty much until recent times. The excavations have been suspended due to the economic crisis. They had built some very good walkways and a shelter to keep the site undamaged and accessible to the tourists that throng there. Santorini gets a million tourists a year and the Akrotiri is a hot ticket. The museums are interesting especially the archaeological museum which displayed the antiquities from Akrotiti, and the Santozeum; live sized frescos have been recreated by Kodak Pathe. We saw 3-5 cruise ships every day hovering in the caldera, The crater is way too deep to anchor safely. The cruise peeps have to catch a gondola ride up to the rim or grab a donkey and lurch up the cobblestone path which is sporadically covered with donkey doo. It’s fun to watch some of these peeps with those fancy carbon fiber trekking walking sticks with shock absorption walking on the cobble stones. The walks are really not that rough or that steep. But Kevin says they were very old. There were people doing a home made wedding shoot. The bride naturally had heels too; fun with the cobblestones. There is a bit of industry and wine is grown and manufactured (since 3500BC).  The vines are grown without trellises and look quite messy on the dry volcanic soil. There are wine tours, tastings etc. They also grow capers and have caper leaves as a specialty.  The leaves taste just like capers. The chess sets have the Greek Flavor. One of the Greek myths and the other of the Cycladic earth mother figurines.

Greek Gods Chess Pieces

Cyclades Chess Pieces

Strange to say but for all that blah blah about Europe being VV expensive; Greece is not that expensive to live. Even with 23% VAT and 18% on food. The boating hardware and bits are easily as cheap or cheaper than west marine catalog prices (even with the tax).  Cheapest food is a Gyros in pita with shaved pork or chicken, yogurt and cucumber, lettuce and tomato for 1.5 Euro. Average dinner at a café/bistro is 20-30 euro with alcohol for a couple. One euro is 1.2 AUD. Beer is almost the same price as coke. A six pack of beer (330ml) costs 3.8 euro, The marina we are in Athens cost 23 Euro a night.. Electricity is .29 cents/KWH, water is 6 euro for 1 Ml. but anchoring out is free in the med (not always so in Croatia). Fresh food and vege is cheaper than Australia fruit in season 1-2 euro/kg, pork chops 5euro/kg, chicken maybe 3-4 euro/kg. and it is the only place in the world that gives invoices with fruit bought at market stalls. They are trying to stamp down on Mavra (black) that the max cash withdrawal limit is 2k at the bank/day. In Turkey, the cheapest food was the chicken donner 1.5 TL (similar to Gyros but the wrap is thinner and bigger 30cm diameter) Beef donner 3TL. Food at a Turkish diner for a couple without alcohol is 20 TL. Tea and they drink stacks of it all day is 0.75 – 1.5 TL. One TL is about 50cents AUD. Alcohol is expensive a six pack is 14 TL but each bottle of efs is 500ml. Fresh fruit and vege was very cheap, can’t remember just how much. Fantastic quality but not the variety we have in Oz. The yat marin Marmaris in turkey cost about 9 euro/ day however daily rates were expensive, one week at the daily rate cost as much as a month.  There were places that charged 50-80 euros/night we did not visit. The imported goods like boat bits are considerably more expensive. We paid 1440 USD for a rocna 33kg. ( We needed a better anchor than the 60 lb CQR, which repeatedly dragged in soft slimy mud) . However things made in Turkey are very reasonable. Of course we’re talking of food where the locals eat and not tourists. People were telling me that the countries in the black sea were even cheaper than turkey. So far the most expensive place on the planet that we’ve been to since 2010 is AUSTRALIA.
Oct
08

Athens

Posted by Mei We've been in Athens almost a couple of months. I really like it. The Greek peeps are nice, just like back home really. Athens is big into six story apartment blocks; everywhere you look. One unique thing that seems to define Athens to me are the cars. I find these cars adorable.

Coffee - Freddo Expresso

In Australia we all love our Italian coffees.   In Asia we tried the Ipoh White Coffees. They're OK but I wouldn't want to bring it home. I don’t like the instant mixes. In Turkey the Tea was better. In Melbourne the iced coffee is usually with an ice cream, too rich for me.  In Asia the iced coffee seemed to be kopi or instant with ice. It’s not that great. In Greece, on a 40 degree day, hot exhausted and desperate for a pick me up. I saw a coffee frappe on the menu. Greek tourist menus are in English with a lot of explanations. I noticed this is made with instant coffee and thought yuk. Kept reading and spotted a Freddo Espresso and a Freddo Cappuccino; what on earth? A coffee I hadn't seen before. What was I missing? I loved It. If they don’t have it in Oz yet, this is how to make it. Ta Ta Freddo Expresso
Jul
19

Northern Sporades

Posted by Mei

Red Sky at Morn, Sailor Be Warned

We left Nea Skioni at dawn. I noticed the very large red sun creeping over the horizon. Hmmm... The forecast was for 12 knots gusting to 16 from the NE. Perfect winds for Pelagos, Sporades. A beam reach. What we didn't look at was the forecasted wave heights. Two meter seas caused quite a roll on the yacht. Burying the rail was to become common. Convincing Kevin to reef harder was difficult. The wind was 17 knots gusting to 22 knots. Being beam onto the swell was bloody uncomfortable. We anticipated ten hours of this. We had the headsail reefed to the first reefing spot and the main to 1.5 reefing. We were still burying the rail once every seven to fourteen waves. We finally ended up reefing three points on the headsail and main. What was interesting was every time we reefed we did not loose any speed over ground. In fact  because we stayed more upright we had less wetted surface and we actually went faster. God knows it was more comfortable. In Nea Skioni, we went shopping and met an unusual lady.

Omos Kira Panayia, Pelagos

This was our first Island in the Sporades. The anchorage was calm, turquoise water, clear and the temperature was 25 degrees with a cool wind. Heaven!! We  were in a small bay with six yachts tied to the rocks and one at anchor. We decided to tie to the rocks. It seemed like the more courteous option and certainly less angst on our part. The temperature actually felt too cool to swim. The rocks by the water were jaggered flesh shreddingly sharp. We were afraid to let the dinghy even brush it. The hills were rounded and very rocky. There were all sorts of shrubs and some olive trees. We saw some goats, and some peeps on donkeys and horses. Pelagos is in a marine national park to help protect the monk seal.
Jul
18

Sithonia and Kassandra Peninsulas

Posted by Mei We visited a few anchorages on these peninsulas. Some were quite lovely. It was very hot topping 35 deg C everyday. Luckily the water is crystal clean and inviting. We discovered that the shops all close about 2pm and reopen around 5pm. This is the ideal time to go swimming as everyone can be found on the beach, your butcher, post office staff etc. The anchorages were fairly large and everyone decided to anchor out. It turns out it really wasn't a large enough harbour as the boaties tend to clump just were you are; one boat length away. Even when there is plenty of room elsewhere. A strange type of herd instinct. It certainly kept Kevin busy yelling at peeps about how close they were. One bulgarian yachtie came by on his dinghy after being asked to move by Kevin, he chatted and gave us a bottle of Bulgarian whiskey. We were a tad perplexed. The med mooring anchoring technique; anchoring then tying the stern to a rock or tree certainly makes more sense and less impact on others. Certainly no yelling. We found these beach side towns a little boring. Just tarvernas on the waterfront with exactly the same food in each. There are the BBQ seafoods, seafood stews, mousaka, greek salads and snacky appetizers. Oh and the tourist bland menu of selection of pasta, selection of pizzas, chops and steak and the standby hamburger; all with chips. Every now and then we'd get excited to see something new on the menu. The prices were similar to Australian prices for takeaway. And the quality is ordinary. It is difficult to find where the locals eat because these are Greek tourists in these towns.
Jul
10

Northern Greece

Posted by Mei

Limnos

We arrived in Greece on 6 July 2012. We have till October 3, 2012 in Schengen.

The brand new wharf at Myrina was interesting, it looks very nice and there were nice shops nearby. It is a tourist town but fairly low key. We were told that the tourist were expected in about a weeks time and they wouldn't stop coming for a while. It appears we have once again dodged the tsunami of charter tourists.
We drove around and encountered some villages. Kondias had narrow lanes with sudden angular deviations and just wide enough for two donkeys and a cart. We were in a small shopping trolley of a car and it was six inches either side at times. Thank God we had cell coverage because Kevin's samsung note was working flat out for the navigation. We saw some ancient windmills in Kondias. We went to a ruined city called Poliochni. The city began it life in 3500 BC and was abandoned in 1500 AD. It lasted 5000 years and yes the streets were wide enough for two donkeys and a cart. The Gallipoli campaign HQ was in the Moudros harbor, some 60 nm from the Dardenelles. They might as well have been on the far side of the moon. It was interesting parking in a harbour in Greece. Every evening the locals and tourist go for a stroll, it is the coolest part of the day and temperature is about 25 degrees. perfect. Where do they go, the harbour front is the prime location. We have group after group of people stopping to chat to us simply because of the Aussie flag and the fact most of these people knew or lived in Melbourne. Several lived within 5km of Beaumaris. There is a large Byzantine fort at the harbour. Early at dawn we noticed the deer foraging on the harbour front council gardens.

Mt Athos

We sailed past Mt Athos peninsula (south side) yesterday. Mt Athos is a huge volcanic cone. Between the rock, scree and pine forests are these tiny areas devoted to monasteries. Women have not been allowed on this peninsula for 800 years. Intriguing to say the least. They allow 100 orthodox male visitors /day and 10 non orthodox. You can get a 4 day pass (~30 Euro) and you can trek from monastery to monastery. you walk on steep mountain trails, with the donkeys. There exists 21 century conveniences like buses, ferries, solar panels and mobile phone towers. Food / accommodation is free, you just need to book.

Some of the monasteries were enormous, some looked exceptionally hideous. Most were located in areas with fantastic views upon cliffs, near the top of the mountain and on beaches. All had farms where they grow their own food. Many had scaffolding up waiting repair.Orthodox Christians from all over the world including Australia have their own little meditative monasteries/retreats. I suppose it is the Vatican or Mecca or Lhassa of the orthodox christens. Is this where the priest retire too?

Jul
10

From Fettiye to Canakkale Turkey

Posted by Mei To Be Written
May
02

Whisper HR Unloaded

Posted by Mei We unloaded from mv HR Facility. Whisper HR Unloading in Marmaris video with audio. Turkish for hello is "Mah-ha-ba", goodbye: Guley guley, and thank you, (a real killer, said fast): "Tey- shure- kur ad-rum". A little girl explained to Kevin how to pronounce these words; he recorded it on his Samsung Note. Turkish Audio for basic words.

yat marin

We’re here in the marina Yat Marin. Got a new anchor because we heard from everyone we need a serious anchor. Our 60 pound CQR has failed us too many times. We were at the West Marine shop humming and harring about the Rocna. The 33kg looks really huge. We asked if we could return it and get our money back if it didn’t fit. The Turkish sales lady knew how to close a deal. She said how about we send one of our guys with you, drive to the marina and test it on the bow roller. Then you can come back and pay for it if you want it. How’s that for service? I said you’re good. She said the equivalent of “Ill throw in the steak knives.“, "…I’ll teach you to play black gammon”. We have not tested it as an anchor yet. We also needed a pasarralle. We bought a second hand one for 50 euros. This is good because when we’re done with it I will have no hesitation to toss it out. Chris (Gitano) and very clued up in this area gave me a brief rundown on the anchoring. When you’re in a bay you cannot presume the winds will approach from a consistent direction. If the ground slopes steeply away from the shore the probability of pulling out the anchor becomes high. Tying your stern to a tree will keep your anchor safe. Also the katabatic winds are very strong and always blow from the land When you are in a harbor you need to observe the orientation of the boats as they are tied to the harbour wall. You cannot presume that the harbour wall drops off sharply, there maybe rocky rubble at the base of the wall and can damage your rudder. So mooring bow in would be safer. This was all new and interesting. We’re trying to learn the visa laws to determine how to cruise for a longer period. There seems much confusion with the authorities. New laws and local interpretations. Confusing and frustrating. The area for cruising looks amazing. There are some anchorages near underwater ruins. So you can snorkel over antiquities. WOW. Skip and Bobbi from Rozianate are sailing with us. We’re all learning together. It’s nice that the previous load of boats are still here. Growing roots and sticking. We’re just talking and listening to marina yak yak. They are so painfully organized in the marina with a sched at 9am with social events and “wonders from the bilge”. It’s useful. The marina makes Boat Lagoon look weenie.