Log #28c Marina Life Part 2

March 29, 2003 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 28 Winter in Turkey, The Logs

Kemer, Turkey
March 29, 2003

Hi Folks,

Here is my last log about marina life. I think other marinas will pale in comparison to the rich social life we have experienced here at Kemer and the hospitality of the Turkish people.

I still find myself feeling compassion for the situation Turkey finds itself in regards to the Iraq war. It has listened to its people and restricted US access to its bases to launch aggression against Iraq. It has permitted overflights, but even then is considering some restrictions as three tomahawk missiles have erroneously landed in Turkish territory. The military and the government would like to help more, but the people are against it, even if it means losing much needed financial assistance from the US. Turkey needs some good PR as the US and the EU are hostile to Turkey. The EU, rather than complimenting Turkey for not participating in the war as the EU is reluctant to do, threatens Turkey if it puts any of its troops into northern Iraq. Similarly the US has told Turkey to stay out.

The Turkish army has been in Northern Iraq for many years guarding its borders from terrorists. Its present policy there is three fold; to provide humanitarian relief, to provide accommodation inside Iraq for the thousands of refugees expected, and to support the integrity of Iraq. In the previous Gulf war in 1991 there were over 500,000 refugees, mostly Kurdish and some Turkomans, fleeing the Iraqi forces, including many Kurdish separatist terrorists who subsequently wreaked a terrorist campaign in Turkey for ten years or more, killing over 37,000 people (far more than the Trade Towers). Concurrently over 15,000 refugees died of malnutrition and disease as adequate arrangements were not available. Turkey wants the preservation of the integrity of Iraq, as any Kurdish independence movement would be a “Casus Belli” destabilizing not only Turkey, but Syria and Iran as well. The US is saying “Stay out”, but it is Turkey’s back yard, not that of the US!

I have read some well reasoned Turkish editorials suggesting that Turkey should do more for its Kurdish minority in eastern Turkey to help them, especially economically, so that they will not be tempted by any “greater Kurdistan state” emerging from the ashes of Northern Iraq. The Kurds in Turkey have recently obtained language rights in administration and education. It is hoped they can get a better economic situation within a compassionate, tolerant, Turkish secular democracy.

Turkey is obsessive about protecting its territory. The EU accuses “Kemalism” as an obsessive nationalism that it suggests detracts (threatens) from Turkish suitability to be accepted into the EU. As far as I am concerned this is EU prejudice simply against Turkey as a Moslem nation. “Kemalism” refers to Kemal Attaturk’s establishment of modern Turkey after the downfall and overthrow of the Ottoman Empire after WW I. At that time the dominant powers, Britain and France, along with Greece, wanted to dismember Anatolia (Turkey). During WW I Turkey repulsed the Royal Navy and British,  Australian, and New Zealand troops attacking Gallipoli (Turkey refers to it as the Battle of Canakkale) under the leadership of Ataturk, and he subsequently in 1920-21 fought and defeated the Greeks who were trying to conquer the Aegean coast of Turkey. France and Britain wanted to break up the eastern part of Turkey as they were redrawing the borders of the mid east (As it was, they gave the Dodecanese Islands off the SW Turkish coast to Greece, as well as other islands close to the Turkish coast). Ataturk would have none of that, and thus Turkey is very protective of its territory. It has no territorial expansion aims (not even the Greek islands lying just off the Turkish coast), but similarly will not countenance any threat to its territory such as a Kurdish secession.

Turkey of course is not alone in displeasing the US. Even their closest neighbours, Canada and Mexico, did not support the war without UN approval. We in Canada will receive hostility and economic retribution from the States for our stand, and they will forget that we have tried to support them elsewhere, such as the 3,000 Canadian troops sent to Afghanistan to relieve US forces for Iraq, or the three or four Canadian warships patrolling the Gulf, enforcing the embargo, if not actively assisting the invasion fleet. So, Turkey, you are not alone in receiving the ire of the US, and whatever attempts you have made to help them (such as airspace, and use of Turkish air bases for evacuating wounded) will probably not be appreciated. They will cut you no slack for the fact that you have a totally new government only four months old, and a new Prime Minister only two weeks ago. Get on with your nation building and your economy, and work on your PR.

Unfortunately I find myself in greater disagreement with US policy, and see it as an instrument of neo-imperialism. This issue against Iraq has been orchestrated by George W. Bush, and as everyone knows, if a few thousand votes had gone differently in Florida, Al Gore would not have brought this issue to such a head at this time, and may have listened to the international community more (I am not any fan of his or the Democrats, but…). The “coalition of the willing” that supposedly supports the US attack on Iraq is not “willing” in a moral sense, it is a coalition of the “bribed and bullied”, as many of those nations fear the economic retribution of the US if they do not support it. Yes, Sadam is a bad man, but does not merit a major war by the US putting their sons and daughters in harm’s way, and pulverizing a nation 1/10th its size on the pretext of liberating them and giving them “freedom” and “democracy”, and eliminating the supposed threat of weapons of mass destruction, none of which have been used or found so far. This has not contributed to the security of Americans; it has increased the potential for terrorist attacks on Americans throughout the world. Even the East Mediterranean Yacht Rally will probably be cancelled this year as a group of western yachts visiting the mid east, as we did last year, may prove too tempting a target for individual terrorists who wish to die for their cause.

To my American friends, I hope you can accept that I disagree with President Bush’s policies, and that it is not anti-Americanism. I feel badly as much of your sacrifices economically, socially and individually will not be appreciated by much of the world. I fear that the good intentions of President Bush will not come to fruition (the road to hell is paved with …), and who knows what will result from this situation?

Maybe when we get off sailing I can stop reading Turkish Papers and listening to the news, “stop the world “and just sail, planning our next passage and next port?

Please feel free to react and respond to my thoughts, as I know I side with Turkey (and Canada) and get my news from Turkish papers, the International Herald Tribune and the BBC.

A week from now we hope to be off!

All the best,

PS – I think some of my E-mail has been hijacked by hackers who send false attachments possibly with viruses. I do not send attachments, unless I specifically say “attached are such and such…”, and then only to those who have indicated they can download the occasional picture I send out. So, if you get an unannounced attachment with my E-mail, do not open it, as I did not send it. I only send text or cut and paste material.

Log #28c Marina Life Part – 2

Kemer, Turkey
March 24, 2003

In spite of the Iraq war, life goes on here much as before. There are people getting their boats ready for another season sailing the Med., or preparing to go further abroad such as down the Red Sea, or heading west to reach Gibraltar for a winter passage across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. Sails are spread out on the concrete dock being scrubbed to rid the previous year’s soil; dinghies are being uncovered, cleaned and prepared for launching after a winter on shore. Cruisers are re-stitching their dodgers and biminis, inspecting and cleaning their hulls, varnishing their brightwork, lubricating blocks, winches, windlasses, and most moveable parts and rigging. Sails are flogging on boats still secured to the docks as they unfurl them for the first time in months to check for mildew, split seams, or other defects. Tarps are being removed and cockpits cleared from their winter clutter. On nice days, sheets, mattresses and cockpit cushions are being aired out. Some national and courtesy flags worn from the winter gales are being replaced with fresh new ones.

The pace of activities in the boat yard is increasing as vessels are given their final coats of bottom paint prior to launch. Many of the boats on the “hard” are grinding out gouges in the hulls, or sanding their bottoms down to the gelcoat preparatory to osmosis treatments. Propellers are being changed or installed (feathering props are increasing in popularity), and anchor chains hang down from bowsprits awaiting regalvanized or new anchors (the “bugle” anchor is the popular and economical choice over here). The breakwater on the far side of the boat yard accommodates many boats for the winter. These have to be hauled on a low slung boat transporter around the marina docks over to the travel lift in the yard for launching or re-mounted on cradles for last minute repairs before returning to the water for another season.

The several maintenance shops are extremely busy fabricating and repairing equipment to get the boats ready for launching. There are electrical, woodworking, metal, painting, and engine repair shops with modern equipment and skilled craftsmen ready to help the boaters get ready for launching. Oktay, the technical manager, is in great demand to be consulted and employ his staff to meet the many demands of dozens of boats to get ready for sea. On the far side of the boatyard are the larger, graceful, wooden gulets getting ready for another season chartering. Kemer is home to a large fleet of over 30 gulets. Some older ones are having structural revisions made such as enlarged aft platforms, new or refurbished masts, and in some cases planking replaced, and seams re-caulked. The dry smell of sawdust, and the acrylic sweet scent of varnish combine with the visual spectacle of these classic prowed wooden vessels with their towering masts to create a warm sense of  a bygone era of sailing ships (even though few of these gulets use their sails nowadays).

On Veleda, we have many tasks completed, but at least five more major ones before we are ready to set off. We have the wire on board to replace our lifelines. However, to do so requires us to cut and swage the ends, and mount them fore and aft adjusting the proper tension with turnbuckles. These need to be mounted before we get the outboard motor and Sprite operational and hoisted on our dinghy-tow. We need to set up the bimini once it is returned from having a new window stitched in it. I have just started removing and sanding all the woodwork on the upper deck prior to at least three coats of Cetol, a varnish-like wood finish. This includes four dorade boxes, two five foot lengths of handrails, a new wooden door for the propane locker, and support slats for the cockpit cushion platforms. Then will come the final scouring and cleaning of the entire upper deck, and using metal polish to get rid of rust on the stanchions and bow and stern pulpits. Then we should be ready for sea.

However, we would like to become familiar with new navigational software we bought back from Toronto while we are still here and have some expertise available to us from other cruisers. We also want to try out our new network connection with our laptop at a local internet café as we will no longer have the luxury of a phone line from which to send E-mail after we leave Kemer. In addition, there is a final Kemer barbecue on April 5th that we don’t want to miss. So, April 6th I hope is our departure date. I originally wanted to leave by April 1st. The slightly later date may also bring better weather. Today we are having another gale, with steady winds at 35 knots gusting to 45, and very cold weather. We even saw a few snow flurries this morning for a few minutes! Oh well, warmer weather is on the way.

March 29, 2003

We move our clocks ahead one hour tonight. Work is proceeding well. We got the wire for our lifelines, but the plugs for the swage fittings which we had made for over $70.00 Cdn were defective and we were unable to mount the last three parts of the lifelines. Additional plugs have been ordered from Holland Marine in Toronto for 1/10th the price and will be brought over by David Mulholland who will be joining us on April 21 in Kos. Nothing is ever simple!

The weather has been improving and during sunny days the temperature is up to 21 C, shorts weather. The painting and varnishing has gone well. Our bimini is now back and installed, and I have sprayed a water repellant on our dodger and bimini. Unfortunately, Trish, a Canadian/American lady on Rhumb Line who was sewing in our new window, fell and broke her sternum last week, putting her out of commission for a while. She is healing well, staying with friends ashore, and expects to be back on her boat in a few days. We live with these risks of accidents or injuries which can really restrict our sailing plans. However, most of us are quite healthy while sailing, and accept bruises and scratches as part of the price of doing our own maintenance to keep us safely afloat.

Judy and I have been on the Atkins diet  for the past three weeks, Judy losing about 5 kilo (11 pounds) and myself about 8 kilo (18 pounds), and several inches in various places. We will stay on it until we are at our goal weights, then moderate to a regular but less copious diet. This is the first time we have really gone on a diet, and we have reduced our food intake dramatically; but are comfortable with it, and are pleased with the results.  We are aware there is some controversy about the low carbohydrate approach, and we miss breads and fruits, but we will stick with it until reaching goal weights. We were both overweight when we came back from Canada, and needed to get rid of the excess.

I had a dental bridge replaced and a molar pulled last week for less than 20% of what it would have cost in Canada. The dentist did a good job, overseen and approved by Judy (who is a retired dentist).

We still have a busy social calendar. I have never been to more symphonies in my life than I have here. We have attended and helped out in cruising seminars on the Adriatic and the Western Mediterranean, and will be assisting in a seminar on “man overboard procedures”. We had a delicious “pot luck” supper tonight with “barbecued” chicken provided by the Navigator out on the breakwater dock/patio. I say “barbecued” chicken, as their way of cutting up and cooking chicken is quite different from what we expect of barbecued chicken in North America. We were advised that we would have chicken quarters, but the butchering here in Turkey is different from what we expect in Canada. Quartered chicken just seems to mean chicken pieces chopped into sixths or eighths, not breasts, thighs, wings and legs as we are accustomed to. We have had several enjoyable Sunday walks up in the mountains, wandering around the hills and valleys, though local towns and enjoying remote restaurants serving local fare, especially at the trout farms.

The winter season is coming to a close, most of the maintenance is done, and we are looking forward to getting back to sea, exploring the remote anchorages of Turkey and the Aegean on our way up to the Black Sea. Next Log I will talk about the touring we have done here in Turkey, and hopefully, our departure.