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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 21, 2013 - My arrival in Gocek and Destiny getting some TLC

I’m back with Frank and Destiny.
Sadly I spent the entire month away tending to my parents’ home and was hardly able to spend any time with my daughter and grandson. But at least I managed to get part of the house cleaned up and some repairs done. We will return in November and with Frank’s help I may complete the task and then spend a lot of time with them.

In Gocek we first stayed in the small apartment for a short while awaiting Destiny’s completed repairs and subsequent return to the water.


Frank in the apartment

On recommendations from Bill and Judy Rouse (s/v BeBe), Frank hooked up with Riza of Emek Marin for work on Destiny. Riza is actually the Amel rep in Turkey but they trust him, and so shall we. Frank has already established a wonderful relationship with Riza and his crew.

With Riza having a Turkish feast
Our first Turkish Pide in Gocek - the best we've ever had.

They are giving Destiny quite an overhaul. During transit the ship had encountered seriously bad weather at sea - waves coming up over the yachts! Sustaining two monsoons, the Clipper Aurora had to go in toward shore a few times during the passage to get out of the treacherous conditions. Destiny has some very large custom canvas pieces that enclose the gooseneck portion of the boom and mast, and pulpit at the helm. Both are shredded from the sandblasting of the desert storms the ship encountered when cruising close to shore. Right now we have more critical matters to address before replacing those.
Many, many workers are crawling all over inside and out getting us back in shape. I’m reminded of ants coming and going.
Although the boat is watertight we are finding a dusting of very fine sand, like talcum powder coating the entire interior. When we splash I’ll empty every locker and cabinet for a deep cleaning. A job no one enjoys!

It is very hot but Gocek is a wonderful little village with everything we need: great restaurants, good shopping and a fabulous Sunday fresh market with booths for home goods and DVD’s for 3 TL each. The USD is strong over here so we are getting a good conversion rate. Gocek is home to Skopea Marina, which is one of the mega yacht marinas in Turkey. We have seen some phenomenally massive yachts come in here.
During times that we were awaiting parts to arrive we would cruise the stunning 7-islands area where the water is crystal clear and swimming is great! There is probably no safer place to swim because these waters are nearly devoid of sea life but for the urchins attached to the shallows and wharfs. Nearly every bay or cove has a taverna/cafĂ© where you can berth for free as long as you dine there. We sometimes do but the charter boats come en masse and just cover us up so we prefer the hook.  Our favorite anchorages were Wall Bay (an ancient wall comes right down to the bay), Tomb Bay (where you can see tombs carved right into the cliffs above), and 12-Fathoms cove where a little ship restaurant called Amigos serves the best darn home cooked casseroles we’ve ever tasted. They specialize in wild boar. 

Our biggest challenge is med-mooring to shore; we drop the hook or grab a mooring ball, and then back up toward shore taking stern lines to a bollard or boulder on shore to hold us in place. This is essential because the bays are too crowded to swing anchor, and are also often too deep to do so. Trying to do this with any wind or current at all is nearly impossible for us. We may never master this!

We managed to do a little sailing with Endangered Species, Bebe and Scallywag in the area, before they eventually moved on, as we would frequently return to Gocek when parts arrived.
Frank loves him some Efes Beer!!

Sundowners in Gocek with Judy, Bebe, Bill, Paul, Glor

Thursday, July 18, 2013

June 20 – July 16, 2013 - Phuket, Turkey, & Destiny’s Journey to Turkey


Frank stayed in Phuket where it rained torrents every day until he flew to Istanbul on June 26th. He spent one night in Istanbul before flying to Dalaman, which is the closest airport to Marmaris where Destiny will be unloaded.

Here is a note Frank sent on his arrival in Istanbul:

“After my 1st 12 hours here are are a few of my thoughts.

I have to preface this with from where I am staying and the neighborhoods  I have been able to ride or walk through.

Everything is very clean.  No litter to speak of, sure there is a little here in there but mostly very clean.

The streets are in good repair and there is a continuous sidewalk.  

More people in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand spoke some English.  Very rare if you find someone who speaks English here. The TV is almost all Turkish or some other language I don't understand. There are over 70 channels and only about 2 are English. There aren't even English subtitles. Oh, that's right I am in a foreign country I forgot.

No bars or nightclubs.  No beer or anything else served at the restaurants. When I went out to dinner tonight I thought for sure there would be some joint that had beer.  Not happening at least in this area.  The only American food place was Burger King and Popeye’s. Everything else is their stuff.  Instead of bars there are a lot of bakeries. Beautiful stuff and all fresh.

The weather is down right perfect. A breeze and a high of about 80.  I didn't feel any humidity.  No smoke in the air.  

I think you can say we are back in civilization.  Hurry and get here I miss you a lot.”

The Clipper Aurora would be Destiny’s home for nearly a month. The crew finished loading all of the yachts on June 21st and then set off for The Maldives where a few more yachts were waiting to load before transit up the Indian Ocean, through Pirate Alley and the Red Sea into Turkey. We were in a very anxious state because the shipping date has moved well past what is considered safe for this transit. Pirate Alley is extremely active with daily reports of incidents. Without any detail we have been lead to understand that to some degree during the voyage there will be protection on board the m/v Clipper Aurora. Monsoon season is now in full swing and desert sand storms sweep out to sea from Africa. All we can do is pray that all goes well.

Marieke Derks of 7Star (we call her our Angel) kept us apprised of Destiny’s status the entire journey, from loading and departure from Phuket to arrival in Marmaris. She would forward us the reports from the home office in Amsterdam. Here is a copy of the first report we received:

Sent: Monday, June 24, 2013 3:42 PM
Dear Sir / Madam,

Mv Clipper Aurora is on route but is suffering from the bad weather caused by the Monsoon. The vessel cannot maintain her speed and is delaying as result.

schedule is than as follows:
ETA @ Male pilot station: 27th of June, 2013 @ 22:00hrs  AGW WP
ETA @ Marmaris, Turkey pilot station: around 10th of July, 2013 AGW WP

Note that ETA Marmaris is July 10th

Frank got to Marmaris and waited for Destiny’s arrival. While there he had plenty of time to get to prepare for the arrival & plenty to do with paperwork and red tape.

Meanwhile we received another report from the Shipping Company… I’m including the full detail to show what we were seeing.

Amsterdam, June 26th, 2013

Dear Sir / Madam,

Mv Clipper Aurora is on route but is suffering from the bad weather caused by the Monsoon. The vessel cannot maintain her speed and is delaying as result as cargo safety is first priority in these conditions.

Following received from the master of mv Clipper Aurora:

Date of report                        : 26-06-2013
Time of report                        : 08:00 (GMT+6)
AAA. Position                       : 05-08 N / 081-32 E
BBB. Course                         : 263  Deg
CCC. Speed                         : 10.0 Kn
DDD. Distance for 24 hrs  : 256 Nm
EEE. Daily average speed  : 10.7 Kn
GGG. Distance to go       : 483 NM
III. Wind/Sea/Swell       : SW-6/WSW-4/WSW-3
JJJ. ETA to next port     : Male 28-06-2013 08:00 LT wp agw
LLL. Comments             :     Ship's cranes are on starboard side.

Vessel is pitching & rolling heavily, ETA may be changed considerably.
Cargo checked, all in good condition.

ETA @ Male pilot station: 28th of June, 2013 @ 08:00hrs  AGW WP
ETA @ Marmaris, Turkey pilot station: around 11th of July, 2013 AGW WP. Discharge will take place on the anchorage.

We continued to receive similar reports, as the monsoon season threw gales at the ship constantly. The Aurora had to at one point go into shore to hug to coast because of severe seas, and while coastal cruising, got hit with severe sand storms.
Meanwhile I received updates from Frank as well. He was pretty miserable in Marmaris. He had booked a nice hotel online, but when he arrived it was closed for renovation. So he was put elsewhere. The new room was above a disco that roared all night long and his bed was wall to wall in the room. So he changed again as you will read:
“Ok this morning I have been very busy.  I changed hotels, that was #1 on my list.  The hotel situation has been a total fuck up.  The manger of the hotel that I was supposed to be staying in asked me if I had looked at the rooms of the hotel I was going to?  I told him it was twice as big as advertised with a balcony at half the cost of where they put me. I ask him if he had seen my room and that any thing in town including backpackers would be a step up. So I got to go back down there to work out the financial arrangement.  I know I'll get screwed on that but at least I will get a night of sleep.

Took my clothes to the laundry.  I am sure I wasn't pleasant to be around. I will pick that up this afternoon.

Talked to Soner our agent. We will get together for coffee tomorrow morning.

Having dinner with Brian and Isabel on Wasabi this evening.

I might need to take a nap I’ve been so busy. Take care and I will send some pictures.

Love F”

Poor Frank! We continued to receive scary reports form 7Star and then the reports just stopped. Apparently when in the heavily pirate-infested areas the boats go Radio Silent. We heard nothing until July 13th when Frank got word that the Clipper Aurora was at the Suez Canal. Sweet Blessings! She made it through Pirate Alley!

July 16, 2013
Hooray! Destiny is reunited with Frank after a dreadful passage that lasted just shy of a month! She is caked with salt and desert sand but as far as Frank can tell, we only lost a canvas cover from the anchor locker hatch, a cockpit instrument cover and the use of our wind instruments. The crew broke our swim ladder on the stern using it to board to check the boat from time to time, since she was in the very front during two Monsoons and a Sahara sand Storm. The goosneck cover and pulpit covers are completely shredded. A few areas of our stanless are cracked and everything looks sandblasted. Frank has not surveyed the damages yet but we paid for extra insurance for this.

Unloading was first delayed by the presence of a cruise ship in the Marmaris port, but as soon as Clipper Aurora got the thumbs-up to begin unloading, he said it all happened so quickly he didn't even have an opportunity to snap pictures because Destiny was second off the ship. Once on board, he immediately deployed the mainsail and headed south to Gocek where he'll worry about getting her cleaned up and re-dressed as she is getting her bottom scraped and repainted on the hardstand.  I'm really looking forward to joining them soon.