Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Visit to Finike before we commit

August 13 - 16

We rented a car and drove the 4 hours to Finike to see what life will be like in our new home. We took the coastal road, which was extremely twisty. Amazing views, it very much reminds us of BC. Not what I expected Turkey to look like at all. Mountains, valleys, ocean and prairies are just the beginning. Tons of agriculture and fresh fruits and veggies.

We stopped in Fethiye for lunch as we may need to stop here to have our fibreglass repair done from when we were hit in Mykonos. We also stopped in Kas to check out their marina and get a quote. The marina is beautiful but the marina is not within walking distance to town. There was not much there other than the Migros market and a few restaurants. We decided against this marina for these reasons.

umbrella covered street in Fethiye

lunch in Fethiye
I am glad we made the trip to Finike before arriving by boat. It would have been a shock had we not been prepared. It is a small agricultural town. Unlike Marmaris that is EXTREMELY touristy, Finike is the opposite. I thought that I didn’t really care for loads of people and busy places but was shocked to find out how much I would miss the craziness of Marmaris (loud clubs and tourists) and our new community of people. By the end of our 4 day trip I had come to terms with the small town feel and knew that we would be able to make a new community of people once we arrived.

Finike is like Hope, BC (mountain views and all) with the exception of the ocean, 12 KMs away is a larger busier city called Kumluca, and 1.5 hours away is Antalya the 4th largest city in Turkey. 

Shaun had booked us a super cheap 2 bedroom apartment not far from the marina. The apartment was very spacious but lacked many basic items including towels. Sorry, they provided 2 towels, not much help for 4 people. Luckily we had brought all of our dirty laundry that we forgot to drop off in Marmaris. We were able to grab towels for showering. Everything happens for a reason. There was 1 roll of toilet paper and no drying towels for dishes. We realized that we would have to pick up some staple items fairly quickly. The apartment complex was next door to a huge orchard of pomegranate trees.

pomegranates galore
more pomegranates
We headed back to the marina and parked the car with the idea of fighting out what was within walking distance and how long it would take us on foot. We walked along the main street (lined with orange trees) which included several play parks and a snack shop. We found a local Doner (Donair) shop and sat down for chicken and rice wraps. For 20 turkish liras we had 4 huge wraps. The gentleman that runs the place doesn’t speak much english but was super friendly. We walked back to the car on the main street and hoped back into the car to grab the few groceries from the Migros Jet down the street. We carted them up to the apartment and chilled out in the main room with the air conditioner.

Although there were 2 bedrooms we ended up pulling all 4 mattresses into the main room because everywhere else in the apartment was stifling hot. Paige was very much out of her comfort zone as she was concerned about bed bugs. She wanted to sleep on the floor but I made her sleep on the mattress. She piled up our towels and didn’t use the pillow. By the 3rd night she was using the mattress, pillow and covers like a regular human.

The following morning we headed back over to the marina to meet with the marina manager Ziya and to look at the facilities. He is a friendly and accommodating fellow. We were asking if there were any children activities available. He was uncertain about this so asked his receptionist to come in and chat with us. She has 2 boys and explained that there is a sportsplex that offers several weekend activities. She offered to help us when we need to book the kids in. This made us feel better knowing we can get some help. We also met one of the cleaning ladies who also has an 11 year old daughter. She offered to bring her down to the marina to meet Paige. Very accommodating. 

Ziya took us around the marina, we checked out the showers and toilets (in excellent condition), the sail cleaning area along with the “Port Hole”, this is the local building that has books, a BBQ area, a table and a bar area. This is where a lot of the celebrations are held. Every Saturday or Sunday the local cruisers BBQ. The local cruisers also host a radio net everyday to keep everyone informed of events, weather and any other information that comes up. 

In our conversation with Ziya we found out about a Friday market in Kumluca the town that was 12 KMs away. I was feeling under the weather so Shaun took me back to the apartment to rest while he took the girls back to the play park and snack stand. They arrived back about an hour later as Jordan needed the toilet. We all jumped into the car and headed over to Kumluca in search of the market. We had no idea where it was so we parked the car down from the main street and followed our noses. We turned right at the main intersection and happened upon the market. Very cool. Tons of excellent produce, nuts and dairy items. We headed back into Finike after we had our nw favourite dessert called triliçe. It is a cake with a creamy milk and a strawberry or caramel topping. I was sceptical at first but it was refreshing. We are now on the hunt for it in Marmaris.

We woke up on Saturday and headed to Finike’s market. There were stalls and stalls piled high with some of the best fruit and veggies I have seen and tasted. There were stall after stall of one of my favourite “vegetables” olives. We also stopped to watch 3 ladies rolling out dough very thin, adding a mixture of herbs and potatoes and then cooking it on a dome frying plate. It was amazing. The one lady got me over to flip the lovely packet and then wanted me to try rolling the dough out. I politely declined as I was scared I’d mess it up. In hindsight I should have jumped in with both feet. I will try next time I see her at the Saturday market.

clothing stalls at the Finike market
view from the back of all the stalls
more stalls
the colours were amazing
nuts and dried fruits
potatoe/herb crepes
my attempt at flipping
looking like I know what I was doing

It was time to leave so we packed everything up and carted it down to the car. I drove this time and headed along the inland road back to Finike. The views, valleys, mountains and pastures were amazing. We again marvelled how much this part of Turkey reminded us of Canada. Along our way we were in a line of traffic behind a tanker truck. It took forever but I passed it finally….. here is where my years of hearing the Dora the Explorer “I did it” song come into play. Shaun and I started to sing it…… it was hilarious.

Follow our video adventures on the following youtube channel:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Rhodes our 13th and final island this season before returning to Turkey

July 28 - August 7

We left Tilos at 8:20 AM heading 39 nautical miles to Rhodes, Greece our last stop before we have to leave back to Turkey for 8 months. We motor sailed and arrived safely into Mandrake harbour. It was quite something entering the harbour. On either side of us were deers standing watch. 

We were put right in the heart of the commercial vessels and on the main street. Our neighbour on the left was captain Nemo, the yellow submarine boat - We became friends with them.

Captain Nemo
We noticed a moth visiting our Canadian flag as we were getting settled. Once we had finished our post sail check list we headed out for a walk to explore the town. We ended up having a beer on a street full of tavernas. If you didn’t know any better you would think you were in Vancouver or New York. Very upscale shopping districts with loads of selection.

our first visitor in Rhodes

first large beer in Rhodes
We headed back to the boat with plenty of sunlight left and hooked Paige up to go up the mast to get photos of the rigging. We had an audience of tourists passing by as she went further and further up. Yanis with the yellow submarine company next door was so impressed that he invited us for free on their excursion. After the excitement we got Jordan ready for bed and Shaun and I headed out for a drink on our own. We left Paige in charge, turned the VHF on and took the hand held radio with us in case of emergency. We headed back to the street where all of the tavernas were. What a transformation, each one is blasting music to outdo the one next door. It all ends up sounding like a mash-up. It was wall to wall people. We grabbed a table and had a couple of long island ice teas. 

view from up the mast
The following day once we finally got up after our late night we took the girls and walked into the old walled city. It is incredible to see the walls, turrets, places for cannons, and cobble stone streets. Inside there is a mixture of tavernas and stores. We aloso encountered the lovely sound of the singing birds. They are in tiny cages which always bothers me. I think that they should be free. The old world charm mixed with modern day. This particular old city was built by the knights of St. John.

As we were heading in the direction of the boat inside the walls we came upon some parrots that the girls got to hold. Of course there was a string attached. Said string was a taverna wanting us to have a drink, so we sat and had a beer. We put Jordan to bed and Shaun and I headed to our new favourite watering hole the “Yachting Café” which had excellent wifi and drinks.

view of the walls of the Old town

inside Old Town

one of the main streets

one of the long streets

one of the store keepers loved Jordan and wanted to take a picture inside the store

fountain inside

another street lined with shops

this parrot wanted to eat Jordans hat

crazy parrots

a beautiful wall

one of the main entrances

close up of the main entrance
The following day we decided to go on the hop on hop off bus system to check out some sights and stop at the aquarium. We found out later that the aquarium was really close to the boat and we really didn’t need to spend the 34 Euros for the bus…… Life lesson. The aquarium was a lot of fun. We saw some great fish and eels along with Dave the octopus from Penguins of Madagascar movie. He really put on the acrobatics for the girls and I.

up on the top floor of the double decker bus in the scorching heat. I had puddles under my legs.

view along the wall of the city

old stadium

entrance to the aquarium

Dave the octopus

Dave being acrobatic

hiding away

diving platform at the beach close to the aquarium
We headed back to the boat in the 43 degree heat. There isn’t much that can be done in heat like that. As the evening closed in the temperature dropped to a manageable temperature so we took Jordan to the play park across the street. It was a good place for her to play with other kids.

The following morning we headed out on the 10:00 AM trip with captain Nemo of the yellow submarine. There were not many people aboard which was nice. We were able to see the entire “dive show”. The girls and I really enjoyed ourselves. Later in the day we headed back into the old town so the girls could visit the parrots again. We bought Jordan a new 2 piece bathing suit. We followed our noses through the labyrinth and located the parrots. Unfortunately, Paige was bit by the blue parrot as he didn’t want to be touched.

top deck on Captain Nemo

view from the boat

view of the old town

below deck on Nemo

dive show, showing us a starfish

Paige at the bow below deck
One of the afternoons that Shaun and I left the girls at the boat Jordan fell in the water while looking for crabs. Paige jumped in after her and then Yanis the yellow submarine guy jumped in after as well. We got a frantic radio call from Paige. By the time Shaun got back to the boat the girls were in the shower smiling away as they got cleaned up. We took Yanis a bottle of wine later that evening.

We rented a car for 2 days in order to grocery shop, pick up some boat parts and get laundry done. We were happy to find that she charged 5 Euros for a 5 KG bag. One of the most reasonable places for laundry so far. So we dropped the laundry, picked up the boat items and headed for our first round of grocery shopping as the car was pretty small. We also were able to stop at a store similar to Futureshop and Chapters called Public. We purchased a router and a larger storage device for our movies and pictures. We are now able to watch movies wirelessly on board when we are plugged into shore power. We also found an awesome selection of English chapter books in their upstairs portion. We stocked up on Rick Riordan and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

We headed back to the boat to drop off the first load of groceries and then Shaun and I headed back out to pick up the rest and to grab the clean laundry (it is the little things that make life). It was a busy day running around.

The following day we drove to another portion of the walled city. Close by was a big play park with a taverna attached. We stopped by so that Paige and Jordan could play for awhile. Shaun took a walk over to the walled city. When he came back he insisted we make the 10 minute walk over to check out the moat and walls. It was well worth it. Incredible! It would have been very interesting to see how life was lived.

sitting while the girls played at the park

views of the walls and castle

more castle views

On our last evening Shaun was feeling a bit under the weather so we were in bed early. We were planning on leaving Rhodes at 10:00 AM so we had time to prep the boat in the morning.

The following morning during our preparations Yanis popped over with a gift for us. It was a glass triangle with elephants etched into it. So very thoughtful. We were lucky to be beside such nice people. It was a bittersweet departure. Excitement to return to Marmaris but sadness for leaving Greece. On to our next adventure.

crabs that live on the wall where we were docked

chilling in the lounge chair

I forgot to mention our nighttime visitor while we were sleeping....... A cockroach was crawling on me and then Shaun. He turned the light on after he had swiped his back and the critter felt big. When he said what it was I shot out of bed quicker than I have ever moved cursing........ I didn't get much sleep after that thinking about what other critters were possible in our bed.

Follow our video adventures on the following youtube channel: