Log #24c Medical Problems and First Cruising

April 22, 2002 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 24 Turkey, The Logs

Ucagiz Limani
Kekova Roads, Turkey
36 11.75 N, 029 51.16E

April 22, 2002

Hi Folks,
We are enjoying a beautiful anchorage here in Ucagiz Limani, a bay just off Kekova Roads, with Lycian sarcophagi on the shoreline 100 metres away. We met up with Blue Highway for the first time since last July and had a couple of meals with them and a dinghy trip over to Kekova Island and the sunken city. More about this fantastic Lycian archeological area in my next log.

The weather is clear and the afternoon Meltemi is blowing about 15 knots. We will leave about 0545 tomorrow to get as much distance in before it comes up in the late morning as it blows from the direction we will be heading. I won’t be able to send this off until we reach a larger community with phone or internet access, but  I want to have it all ready to go as soon as we arrive.

I have some great pictures but will not be able to send them until I have phone access. I am working on getting my mobile to access the internet, and have a chap at Kemmer who is trying to get the necessary software to hook up my Com 3 port to it. Nothing is ever simple. If we do get it working, it will only be for Turkish waters.

We are fine and glad to be off cruising again.

All the best,
Log #24c Medical Problems and First Cruising

Finike, Turkey
36 15.7 N,  030 08.7E
April 19, 2002

We are at present here in Finike, just 30 miles down the coast from Kemer, at the marina for a second day, waiting out the Meltemi, a very strong westerly wind. Guess which direction we were headed. – southwest! More about this later. Right now I want to finish up my trip back to Canada, and bring you up to date on departing Kemer.

As I mentioned in my last log, we enjoyed speaking at several sailing groups and offshore classes, and look forward to more next winter when we return for a couple of months. I may even have my pictures on CD to ease the organizing of them for each group. We are available to yacht clubs, Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons, service clubs, or for motivational seminars for businesses, retirement or vacation groups January or February next year.

Judy and I had a range of medical checkups which for me proved a tortuous regime of procedures. At one point I was becoming depressed at the bad news I was getting, to the extent I was ready to cease checkups and just return to Veleda and cruising. However, common sense prevailed and I went through all the hoops and came out with a basic OK healthwise. However, the tortures included the following:

My dermatologist had to scrape off a small growth on my back and send it off for biopsy. I had a growth removed from my arm in 1997 that was malignant and they had to cut deeper to excavate all the cancerous tissue. This time it was benign. So I only had a small incision where it was removed.

My cardiologist was concerned for high blood pressure and had me go in for stress tests, the initial one I flunked and they had to short circuit it. An appointment was made for another stress test whereby they injected a medication, took pictures of my heart, and had me on the treadmill again. I never did get the full results of what the problem was, but I was put on a medication to lower my blood pressure which I guess I should be on for the rest of my life. No precautions or dietary recommendations were made other than common sense: reduce red meats and salt. No restrictions on activities were suggested nor was I counseled not to return sailing. So here I am still hauling up anchors by hand, hoisting sails, and dealing with the many emergencies of sailing a boat in the open waters of the Mediterranean, but taking an extra pill a day.

My General Practitioner had me go in for some blood work, to find all was normal except for a high PSA which is linked to prostate cancer. A real downer! So in I had to go for a prostate biopsy – Ouch! In the hospital they not only took 8 snips of it, but preceded the procedure with a bladder cystoscopy (?) in which a catheter was inserted up the penis for a look around inside. At least the bladder was announced as clear, but I would have to wait a couple of weeks for the biopsy results. They were clear; no cancer! Why the high PSA? Who knows? It just is.

I went in for a dental checkup and cleaning. Bad news! Under a bridge was noted some decay. I had no pain or problems, but it could become worse and out in the middle of my sailing season would not be the time for it to act up and cause pain. To treat it completely would be a long complicated procedure of removing the bridge, having a root canal done, then making and fitting a new bridge. I did not have time for a new bridge to be made, and so had the root canal done by an endodontist, and my dentist did a filling over the opening made in the bridge to tide me over until next year when I will have to have the bridge replaced. Actually, the root canal was surprisingly not uncomfortable at all. A dental dam was used so that I didn’t have to keep spitting out the detritus being excavated. The freezing used was amazingly local, and did not spread over half my face as I remember from having some cavities filled. In fact the topical anesthetic dabbed on the gum beforehand numbed all sensation when the needle was used. After all the stories I have heard about root canals, I was expecting the worse. But, it was the least uncomfortable dental procedure I have ever experienced. It was not as uncomfortable even as having my teeth cleaned. So those of you out there fearing root canals, don’t; a skilled endodontist has all the tools and skills to ease or eliminate the discomfort.

I then went to a Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncturist for three treatments and advice on self treatment using TENS electronic stimulus acupuncture. She gave me good advice on diet, some dietary supplements I might use, and explained the acupuncture points involved with high blood pressure. I had acupuncture before in Japan and England. I value the more holistic approach of some of the alternative treatments, but will not ignore the recommendations of the medical fraternity.  There were only a dozen or so needles inserted each treatment. I hate needles but these weren’t uncomfortable.

So I am back cruising, in good health, with a few more pills to take, and an intention of watching my diet a bit more, reducing salt, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, fat and red meats, using my TM more (I learned Transcendental Meditation over 25 years ago and have been using it sporadically since, a very valuable relaxation technique), doing more stretching and aerobic exercises (I should get back into Yoga), and losing a bit of weight (shouldn’t most of us?). However, these experiences stress the importance of good health, and remind me of my mortality. Just last week a friend of ours had to go back to the US, as he had a serious problem diagnosed over here. I hope and pray for his recovery, as he is facing some heavy stuff. He was set to go on the East Med Yacht Rally next month, but that seems unlikely now. So there his boat sits in Kemer awaiting the uncertain future of its skipper. There but for the Grace of God go I. So I intend to embrace life and get on with it.

Part of our enjoyment of Kemer is its proximity to many interesting archeological sites, and the fascinating history of Turkey along the mountainous Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. We took a jeep safari up into the mountains, doing some cross-country, going up rock strewn roads and fording mountain streams. We saw a few ruins standing in untended fields and valleys, mute testimony to the ancient civilizations and caravan routes that dotted this area 1500 to 2500 years ago.

Another trip took us up to Termessus, an ancient mountain top fortress city, whose fierce inhabitants called Solymians, mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, even held out against a siege by Alexander the Great in 334 BC. We had to climb several hundred feet up from the parking lot to reach Hadrian’s Gate and further through the city walls and extensive ruins that have been deserted since major earthquakes destroyed it in the 5th century AD. The vista from the remains of the Greek theatre illustrated a primary difference between the Greek and the Roman styles of theatre. The Greek theatre looks down at the stage and over its low one story backdrop, out across the expanse of the mountains and valley behind it, so the audience can not only enjoy the performance, but have a magnificent panorama to please their senses. The configuration is three quarters of a circle, whereas the Roman theatre is a semicircle, with a three storied stage background to impress the audience with its architectural grandeur and close off the outside world

The necropolis was an extensive set of ruins, the sarcophagi scattered helter skelter by the force of the earthquakes, and their tops thrown off, or holes bashed in the sides from vandals and grave robbers centuries ago. The ancients often buried treasures with their dead to be used in the afterlife. (I have some good pictures of the theatre and sarcophagi for those of you interested and able to download. I will also send some to the <www.searoom.com> website.)

The cost of the site was only 4,000,000 Turkish Lira (about $5.00 Canadian), a worthwhile fee. After that we went to Perga, another archeological site from which many of the Hellenistic statues and sarcophagi were removed to the Antalya Museum. The inhabitants of Perga were alleged to have been descended from the mythical heroes of the Trojan wars (incidentally, Troy is also in Turkey). However, we did not go in as the cost was 15,000,000 Turkish Lira each (close to $20.00 Canadian), and we only had a couple of hours left. That amount is outrageous, and Turkey will be the loser if such exorbitant prices are charged for their sites. Perhaps we will go next year when we have more time or if they drop the prices.

On to Aspendos where we did pay the 15,000,000 TL to see this remarkably well preserved Roman Theatre. The stage backdrop towered up three stories of ornate architecture, consisting of columns, balconies, intricate beveled porticos, Roman arched windows, niches to house statues of the patrons, all in golden brown or weathered black limestone. This is the best preserved Roman theatre in Turkey, and is still used for performances on special occasions. The three tiers of seats are enclosed at the top by a colonnaded corridor arching around the whole semicircle of the theatre. The view from the top seats is one of architectural beauty, balance and precision. Over the top of the stage nothing but sky is to be seen, as Aspendos is located in the Pamphylia, a verdant plain watered from mountain streams, with fields of wheat and cotton, north of Antalya.

We have been to several other sites I will describe in future logs.

We are reluctantly staying in Setur Finike Marina a second night. The marina itself is fine and reasonable, costing only 15,000,000 TL per night, a good price for a full service marina for a 10m boat, but outrageous for an archeological site. We finally were able to leave Kemer on April 17 by 1600, after helping the last few days to prepare and revise and revise the manual for the EMYR (helping out our friend who had to go back to the States). We had a nice tranquil mountain enclosed anchorage at Cineviz Limani with a British, a Swedish and three Turkish boats. The sky was overcast but cleared up during the night for a glorious starry sky, the water also glittering with phosphorescence. We left early next morning, 0750, hoping to get down to a lovely area called Kekova, a distance of only 45 miles. After tranquilly motoring an hour or so, I discovered the heads was seized up and wouldn’t flush! Oh well, another messy maintenance task, but after we get to anchor.

After we rounded Tasklik Burnu, motoring across Finike Korfezi (Finike Bay) we encountered the Meltemi, the local daily wind from the west or southwest that comes up midmorning and blows until late afternoon. At first I thought we could motor into it for the remaining 15 miles, but it became more intense and the waves higher, with long breaking swells. After the wind reached a steady 40 knots and we pounded through some high breaking waves, we were hammered by a two metre trough with Veleda burying her bow and water washing back along the side decks. After shuddering her way through it, Veleda’s engine stopped pumping water. We must have had an air blockage from the violent motion. We also heard something clang up forward and realized the port 35 lb CQR anchor had been thrown out of its roller and across the starboard anchor, and was dangling over the starboard side. We were not going to secure it in those seas.  We turned to starboard and unfurled the genoa, heading for Finike at the head of the bay. We soon realized the full genoa was being overpowered and reefed it. We had a fast sail across the bay and called ahead to request possible assistance as we thought we would be coming in with no engine power, or perhaps just a few minutes of power until the engine overheated from lack of water flow. However upon entering the breakwater and flashing up the engine, it spontaneously started pumping water again, and we were OK.

Sob, sob, sob, …we were not OK! The bloody anchor dangling across the starboard anchor gouged several streaks in my new paint job!!! I’ll have to see if Oktay, the boat yard manager at Kemer has any suggestions as to how to smooth them out and cover them. AARRGGHHH!!

We worked on the plumbing. It wasn’t the pump, we discovered after taking it apart. That meant we had to remove the armored PVC piping to eliminate the blockage. After removing one, bashing it on the concrete jetty to dislodge the calcium accumulated, and re-installing it, we discovered we had another blockage further along, past the Y-valve going to the through-hull fitting. Tomorrow! We’ll do it tomorrow and stay an extra day if need be. We had wanted to get going early, by 0600, in order to be at our anchorage which was only 15 miles away before the Meltemi came up again mid-morning.

We completed the job by 1000, and after Judy had a quick shower, we departed under light winds. However, I noticed the early morning winds came from the north, but by 1000 had swung east and now were coming from the south. When we exited harbour the winds were light force 3 from the southwest. Would we make it across the bay before the winds really got up? No such luck! Within a half hour we were pounding into 30 knot winds and long rolling swells already. We didn’t need this, so we turned around and headed back to the marina, thus giving me time to sit down and do this log.

I had hoped to be able to send it out tonight, but the office closes at 1900, and I have run out of time. So, I’ll save it to send next time we are in a town where I can do so, which may be a week or two hopefully, as we want to gunkhole this coast, staying at anchor in secluded bays, and exploring them in Sprite II.

Next log I hope to describe more ruins, our plumbing system and the other joys and frustrations of the cruising life.