Message from the First Mate
I would just like to thank everyone for the thoughts, prayers, emails, phone calls, and visits while I was away from Shiraz and back home with my Mom. As you all know, she was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer so I flew home as soon as we arrived in Turkey in June. Mom had surgery and followed that with six months of chemotherapy. She is now "cancer free" but still taking preventative monthly chemo at the suggestion of her surgeon. She has had such a great attitude about this whole episode that it has made it easier on all family members. And I might add that she made it easier on my brother, sister, and I - she was a wonderful patient. Never complaining, always positive and caring, even in her worse moments. For that Mom we all thank you and we are so happy that you are well. We love you!
Back on the Boat
Traveling without the internet, newspapers, and NPR it is difficult to keep up with what's in the news and when you step off the plane back in the US news is available 24/7. By the time I reached the US the Presidential debates were underway, NCAA football had started and we were in the midst of the worst economic and personal financial meltdown in my history. Watching the DOW Industrials every half hour made me long for the days on the boat when that kind of information is only available every week or so.
While Rene was helping with her mother's recovery in NC, I was testing the limits of family hospitality. For three months I kept on the move so as not to over burden anyone with my company and I thought it worked out great but please don't ask my relatives, they may have a different view. It was also great to see friends or to pick up the phone to say hello. In October Rene traveled to Indiana for a short visit and we attended Kenny Slack's daughters wedding. It was nice to see many family members that we hadn't seen in a while. In November I drove to NC to visit Rene's family and brought Rene back to Indy for Thanksgiving, taking her back shortly before Christmas. We were able to see all of our kids and grandchildren over the holiday season. Spending time with Zoe, Taylor, Trevyn, and London is always special. They grow up fast when you only see them once a year. I spent Christmas in Indianapolis and Rene was with her Mom and family in NC.
Our plan was to depart from the US on December 31, albeit from different airports, and arrive in Istanbul on January 1st. Upon arriving in Istanbul I waited for Rene's plane and an hour later it was evident that she wasn't aboard. I checked our email account and found that Rene had been denied boarding since the reservation and the payment somehow were never matched up. I traveled on to Fethyie to try and resolve the situation with the travel agent. I arrived late in the evening and made it to the boat around 10:00 PM to find both bunks wet and the temperature inside the boat around 50 F and no power on the dock. It was a miserable night sleeping in my clothes with my coat on and under two blankets. I awoke at 1:20 AM shivering. The downpour made it impossible to go out and turn on the propane to make a cup of coffee. Okay so I'm a wimp.
It took two days to get Rene's tickets squared away and I almost told her to postpone until February or March but hey, misery loves company and besides she was bringing a 110 volt heater compliments of her brother. It rained for the full two days before she arrived and while I stood around at the bus station for two hours waiting for the bus. I finally gave up and found an internet cafe so that I could check for emails, just in case something else went wrong. Meantime the bus arrived and I wasn't there so Rene took a tax back to the marina. I walked the two miles back in the rain and found Rene waiting at the security station at the entrance of the marina. Once on board we tore into the luggage and plugged in the heater since we now had shore power but still the beds were wet and unusable. But hey here we were together again with two extra suitcases filled with boat part.
This is the first time we have lived on the boat in cold weather and that is not to say that it is terribly cold in Fethiye but since few boats are insulated outside temperatures quickly find there way inside. The nights are around 45 F and the day temperature is 55 to 60 but if the sun is out it is a glorious setting with the harbor ringed with snow capped mountains. We have found that the way to stay warm on a catamaran is to have a small electric heater you can move from side to side and cabin to cabin and to keep the doors closed at night.
A few other things have changed since we left last summer:
Fethiye is a tourist town and many of the businesses are closed during the off season and the ones open appear to have adjusted prices to appeal to locals. And then there's the fact that the US dollar has gained about 35% on the Lira making the cost of living much more reasonable for us. Too bad we bought all those batteries before leaving for the US and that we paid our dockage in advance.
We have found several wonderful small cafes and a good internet cafe since the wifi connection at the boat is intolerable. So for now life is good. The boat is as low on provisions as it has been since we left the US in 2002 so we shop almost every day. We are within walking distance of the grocery stores and on Tuesday and Friday there is an open air market where we buy fresh vegetables, cheeses, nuts, fruits, candies.....well almost anything perishable.
Boat projects keep us busy and there is always something that needs our attention, but for now we are reading and watching DVD's, planning an inland touring of Turkey sometime in February, and we have started planning a route from here to Gilbralter.