Log #25b Joining the EMYR

June 13, 2002 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 25 EMYR, The Logs

Enroute to Herzliya, Israel

June 13, 2002

Hi Folks,

We are on the last leg of the rally now, heading for Herzliya in Israel. This will be our last port, and I wanted to have this log ready to send as soon as we get ashore. We have had great sailing for a change on this end of the Med, going from Israel to Egypt and back. The course is NE – SW, and the winds have been blowing 10 to 15 knots from the NW. We had a great time in Egypt, impressed by the pyramids as I will describe in more detail in the relevant log. Israel has had at least two terrorist attacks since we were there, the worst at Megiddo where 17 were killed about 20 km from where we were at Haifa. However, we feel safe as long as we avoid some of the known areas of turmoil. The Israelis are very glad that we are brave enough to visit their country in this time of turmoil, and help their tourist industry. In fact the Ministry of Tourism is giving us a free over night trip to Jerusalem and Massada in appreciation of our visit. The tourist industry in Israel has been devastated by the intifada. In fact as I key in this letter, I wonder if any terrorist organization might eavesdrop my E-mail and set up an attack? I doubt it and feel comfortable in visiting the safer areas of the country.

In both Israel and Egypt there were armed guards everywhere. In Egypt our buses had armed police escorts for our trip to Cairo. In Israel we saw a young woman in civilian clothes in the Crusader castle in Acre casually wandering around a group of elementary students, with a carbine in her hands. She explained that she was accompanying a school trip and that any school outings had to have an armed security guard present. This was a way for her to pick up a bit of extra money, as she was trained by the Israeli army when she spent 18 months with it, and now as a freelance security guard with a gun  permit she escorts school field trips. It is not uncommon to see young people in uniform sling a machine gun or M16 rifle over the back of a chair at a Macdonald’s while having a hamburger with a friend on their way to or from their duty station. It has not changed since I was in Israel in 1978!

We hope to be in Herzilya early this afternoon and I should be able to send this. We plan to stay in Israel for a week or two seeing other parts of the country, diving down in Eilat, and perhaps going to Petra in Jordan, as well as visiting Israeli friends we met on the rally, and other friends of Judy’s family.

More about our trip as we work our way through the EMYR. It will be over in three days, and I have a considerable amount of material to put in my logs. Once we have stopped touring I hope to spend a few days catching up on my logs, from Israel, as I think they have more reliable internet connections there. I am even considering buying another mobile p0hone with “roving” capabilities so I can send d from my boat. “Hope springs eternal.”

All the best,

Log #25b Joining the EMYR

Ashkelon Marina, Israel
31 40.9 N, 034 33.3 E
June 6, 2001

We have been with the EMYR for a month now, having joined it May 6th in Bodrum. We had a pleasant motor the 20 miles from our tranquil isolated anchorage at Cokertme. It was to be our last quiet anchorage for at least six weeks or more as the rally follows a heavy schedule with all 42 boats going from one popular marina or port to another. However, most boats would not be joining until Kemer where the official start was to take place on May 17th. No boats started from Istanbul on April 28, possibly for the simple reason that none of the boats registered for the EMYR were in that area. In fact no boats joined at the first four ports (Istanbul, Bozcaada, Ayvalik, and Cesme) as they were too far north, and most boats winter in more southern areas of Turkey. April can still give some nasty storms, and so most boats waited until May to start their sailing season. However four boats (Joho from Holland, Bleo Gwenn from France, Hula from England, and Malaika II from the US) started at Kusadasi on May 4th and we met up with them when we joined in Bodrum May 6th.

Bodrum Karada Marina is a good first class marina, with full facilities, clean washrooms, travel lift, fuel dock, workshops, and a large concrete yard; the complex fringed by a small shopping mall and restaurant, and only a few minutes walk into the waterfront street lined with many shops restaurants, travel agencies, car rentals etc. On the other side of the harbour is the Crusader castle of St John, a Hospitaler order castle. The town is an interesting friendly place with good tourist attractions and facilities.

As we were on the committee organizing the rally, Umut came down from Kemer with all the “goodies” to be given to the yachts joining before Kemer on the 14th.This package of materials for each yacht was included in the registration costs, as are all the receptions, meals parties, and the courtesy gifts that many of the marinas gave to the yachts. The basic package that we distributed to the yachts enroute to Kemer included the following: two vinyl banners with the EMYR logo and yacht registration number (ours is 645), two Tee shirts a golf shirt, mug, lapel pin, and a knap sack. These were packaged up into the knapsack and a plastic bag for each vessel. We loaded 21 packages and were soon aware that we had no room for all this gear on our small 10 metre boat. However, Hula, a 14 metre vessel, took 15 packages relieving our crowding.

This gave us a chance to introduce ourselves to each of the boats at Bodrum, and at each port enroute to Kemer. That evening the marina hosted a doner meal with “free” drinks throughout the evening.  I put free in quotation marks as the host indicated such, and thus I enjoyed a few rum and cokes which I hadn’t had for a while. However at the end of the evening the waiter asked how many I had and gave me a bill for 40,000,000 TL (4 drinks at 10,000,000 TL or $12.00 Canadian, each), as he said the imported liquors were not included in the “free” bar. One or two others were also charged as they did not order local beer, wine or liquors. That was a bit of a let down, however the evening went well. Judy and I as EMYR Committee members, were given plaques to present to the town and marina officials for their hospitality. This was to be a pattern we follow in each port whereby we give plaques as tokens of our appreciation on behalf of the EMYR, and in many cases we, the rally, get mementoes of the community or marina we are visiting. David Mulholland an old navy friend of ours, and a chaplain for the Mission to Seafarers, successfully arrived from Toronto. It was good to see him again. He will be with us for a couple of weeks on the rally, his first time on a small sailboat.

Another frustration was when I attempted to send E-mail. I was allowed to hook into the marina’s phone line, but the AOL connection could not be made. After several frustrating tries, each time taking a couple of minutes to link up, indicating the several steps completed, only to finally indicate “connection to AOL could not be completed”, I gave up and went to the counter to indicate it wouldn’t work. There was some concern about the number used and eventually they gave me a bill for 28,000,000 TL (about $32.00 Canadian) for phone charges. Apparently the connection was made and the total time spent was about 15 minutes, but without the final step connecting to AOL. This was the most expensive phone charge I have had since Cuba – and for nothing! Damn AOL!!! Its service has been abominable in Turkey.

Judy and I distributed the EMYR packages to the yachts gathered in Bodrum, a total of  seven boats at this point. Next day we had a free tour of the Crusader Castle of St. Peter, not only a well retored castle, but one with an excellent Underwater Archeology Museum, a Fatimid shipwreck showing glass cargo retrieved and archeological procedures used, and well designed displays of ancient and medieval artifacts. There would have been separate charges for some of the museums within the castle, perhaps costing up to 15,000,000TL, but was free to us courtesy of the castle management and the marina. We went up to the manager’s office at the end of our tour to thank him personally. The hospitality the EMYR has been shown by municipalities, marinas and other agencies is impressive and much appreciated. This Castle of St. Peter is a must see if in the Bodrum area of Turkey.

Another interesting side trip Judy and I took in Bodrum was to the ruins of the mausoleum of Mausolus. Yes – this is where we get the term mausoleum. Bodrum was founded in the 9th century BC by the Dorians but called Halicarnassus. It was occupied by Xerxes, the Persian in 480 BC, but continued developing, and subsequently joined the Greek Delian Confederacy. The Greeks then ceded it once more to the Persians, and the Satrap of Caria, Mausolus, (377 – 353 BC) made it the capital of the province, leading it into a golden age of prosperity. The funerary monument that King Mausolus built for himself was so magnificent that it was listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, and lasted for 16 centuries until destroyed by an earthquake in the 14th century AD. In 1402 the Crusaders dismantled it to build the Castle of St. Peter, and in 1522 additional plundering was done to build their fortifications in Rhodes. Thus today, the term “mausoleum” designates a large burial chamber, a legacy from Bodrum and King Mausolus of ancient Halicarnassus.

At Bodrum we received via fax the passage planning notes for the next leg of the rally up Gokova Korfezi to Marti Marina at the end of the gulf, across the peninsula from Marmaris. It was a 61 mile sail in an easterly direction, and we should have had help from the Meltemi which blows from the west. We left early at 0530 before it started, and by 1000 it should have been blowing 10 to 12 knots in our favour. No such luck! We had a light SW breeze of about 7 knots, allowing us to motor sail. If we were to cover the 61 miles before dark, we had to maintain a 5 knot speed. Those light winds would move us at only 3 to 3.5 knots, and so we turned on the “iron jenny”, our engine. The wind never did come up that day, but at least it was not against us. We arrived at Marti Marina (36 46.0N, 028 07.6E) by 1600 to be joined by one more EMYR boat, Utholm, from Germany.