Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Isles of Greece

There is so much water in between ... and then the days are so long, fluttering through so many changes ... is there enough wind to cross this stretch of water, and is the sea state smooth enough?
Each one we reach turns out to be a jewel ... Simi, Nisyros, Kos ... each striking in its own way ... I take photos, edit them on my laptop and post them on Facebook. For all the world to see.
Storing up colourful pages with which to brighten the grey days of winter.
Am thinking of writing memoirs of our time in Turkey (title of course is Two years in Turkey) and for this I shall retire for a time from blog-epistles ... as you note, dear faithful followers, the production has been somewhat sparse this year.
Don't worry, I have been making many photos and jotting down memorable thoughts in one of my Women 's Travel Diaries... Wrote a lot about our (almost) two weeks in the land of the Kurds, last November. Antalya to Gaziantep to Diyabakir and back... An unforgettable experience.
I would forget the astonishing details were I not to write them and catch, hold them, forever.

One thing I will always remember: as soon as we left Turkish waters and approached Simi (Greek island Symi) the appearance of the place changed dramatically. Of course, there were the ubiquitous domed Greek churches perched in high places, in marked contract to the elegant minarets of the equally ubiquitous mosques.
But, as well as the language, the very smell of garlic seemed to change ... yet the people are the same. The woman who we encountered off the Turkish coast selling bead necklaces from her small boat with its outboard motor, could have been the sister of the shopkeeper selling me croissants on Simi.
So I have enough fuel to furnish me for many months ... and hope to get a lot written when once again on terra firma, in June.
Ciao for a while.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Thoughts in Finike Marina

Little kinda poem I wrote in mid-March (2014) sitting on our boat Stroemhella here in the marina.

Soon the snow will melt on the encircling mountains
the brown rock re-emerge
the air will daily grow warmer, kinder
stroking the bare feet
gladdening the bare back
And the waters will gain a new light
more subtle truquoise
paler aquamarine.
The many masts in the harbour will sprout sails, white or tan
The prows will nose out beyond the breakwater
into the bay where centuries ago
the last battle was fought between Byzantine and Arab ships
which the Arabs won.
Today, with fewer watery disputes
we can still sail away to other lands
and our sterns fade into the far horizon
like snow melting in the sun....

(Wendie Shaffer, 2014)

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Farewell to Finike

There has not been time (for all the visions and revisions...) and now we are about to leave Turkey, with a small smattering of phrases, but certainly the right sounds in our ears, so that if we hear someone chatting on a tram in Amsterdam, we'll know when they are speaking Turkish.
There were a hundred and one things to do getting the boat ready, like washing the sails (big job) and hoisting them to dry, stocking up with non-perishable foodstuffs, filling the tank with water, checking that all the lights work and the anchor really does descend, and much more...
Now almost ready to go, and one last expedition planned for tomorrow to visit a ruin atop a nearby hill, ancient remains of Roman presence here.
The sun increases in warmth (in fact, I already need to apply lots of suncream before venturing off the boat) and we have grown accustomed to the pattern of strong wind getting up during the morning and then dying down late afternoon. This is one reason why we plan an early getaway on Thursday, to round the headland and get the wind on our beam. Then Westward ho!
I am not really looking forward to the actual sailing, but I guess it will be OK. We have new dynamics on the boat with three of us instead of two, and Dany speaking only French. I noticed what a joy it was when English speakers arrived in the marina here, to be able to speak my best-known language! But it has been great fun practsing my French and German (and of course, from time to time, recalling my Dutch!!).
Today, unfortuantely, I woke with an excruciating pain in my back, lower left, David made me a hot-water-bottle and I took several ibuprofenon, and even diagnosed the cause: watching a film (very enjoyable, titled Juno, about a 16-year-old US school student) yesterday evening in the marina "Porthole" I must have been sitting badly, or even in a draught... anyway, it is very paintful so I am shortly returning to the horizontal.
No poems for today. But the words continue marching around in my head, like the Grand Old Duke of York. Not sure where they get to...
Won't be writing blog for a while now because we may not have internet. But I'll be tapping on my laptop and composing fine thoughts in my handy small black book.
Alors, adieu tout le monde, pour un petit temps...


Saturday, 3 May 2014

The yachts are departing...

A typical morning in Finike marina ... David wakes first and I hear him tapping away on his laptop (we have identical laptops except mine is a slightly older model with fewer bells and whistles...).
Then he brings me a cup of chay (either elma/apple or the wonderful green tea that is an ongoing gift from Shenghui, lightly scented, refreshing way to start the day).
Breakfast takes place in the back cockpit, beneath the bimini, back warmed by the already friendly sun.
I wash up while David does more boatish admin. and answers emails  and so forth.
Then sometimes I take some washing in a bucket, clamber off Stroemhella, walk down the pontoon (we are one of the boats right at the end) and into the laundry room, where I often encounter another boatie, either washing clothes, or sails, or doing the dishes.
Chats ensue, either in French, German, Dutch or English (no Italian speakers at present).
Such a delightful group of people. There is a real sense of community, of problems shared, or rejoicings celebrated (lots of good wishes for me and David on the birth of our new granddaughter).
I sing as I stroll around the marina, and watch the sky where now the swallows swoop.
This past week many yachts have left for their summer cruises ... I've collected a quantity of email and Facebook addresses.
Despite the many jobs to do, there is a great sense of peace here ... I think it's due to the open sea, glittering  beyond the breakwater, and the mountains that embrace this coast.