April 2011


Marmaris, refit, friends and getting under way.




April 30th

Anchored off Datca. Got a chance to see some wedding highlights at local bar before scurrying back to the “Bird” with the WiFi code. Hoorah!


April 29th

I can’t remember the last time I felt this homesick! Wild Bird is stuck in a very Turkish boat yard just outside Bozburun. The place is famous for the construction and repair of Gullets, but not for it’s association with out of season tourists.
We listened to the run-up to the Royal Wedding on the glorious BBC World Service, (may the powers-that-be preserve this wonderful service which we get free and direct from the satellite without internet and without having to hunt around the HF frequencies) then we raced around the bay in our dinghy to try to find a tv in the town. Finally found one in a quiet café bar where they kindly switched to some Turkish CNN-type channel. And so, we were just in time to see the procession up the aisle and listen to the glorious music. The picture was squeezed between financial ticker-tape, and the vows were barely audible above the Turkish commentators. Penny and I both, surprisingly, had tears in our eyes and Libby too was impressively rapt.

Libby found some nice Turkish kids to play with, but she still misses terribly the girls from Islay Mist and Summer Lightning.

Here I sit now alone on the Bird awaiting the workmen to return from lunch. It’s been a right old nuisance this repair job to our passarelle and the fairlead. Two separate incidents in the same day caused by bad weather, a bit of ill attention and very bad luck.


April 27th

A cracking sail from Ciftlic compensated a bit for the sadness of ruining the new passerelle block which had been one of the winter projects. Like all accidents it happened in a flash and was perfectly preventable. We were just about to leave the dock and I had one more task – to turn off the water hose. In worsening weather in the bay, the boat was surging back and forth on the wooden jetty. I dropped the passerelle to get onto the dock and it went too low as the boat surged back and crunch. The end of a fiddly job which had taken hours to achieve. Penny and I were both furious – I with myself and Penny, also with myself! Moreover it was the disappointment of ruining a recently completed job. Penny recovered her composure and comforted me somewhat.
Then, after a windy but thrilling passage to a busy town on an island some miles distant we approached the town quay. Alarmingly, the wind was still howling, even in the centre of town. I wanted to put her alongside, but the local berthing master had different ideas. So, we attempted a stern-to in almost impossible conditions and the anchor failed to obey the laws of gravity – the chain links no doubt having been welded together in the tempestuous seas. As I tried to take the weight off the downwind boat on the dock, the starboard fairlead exploded under the strain, destroying the wooden deck underneath. Finally the docking master allowed us to go alongside – which we achieved with complete dignity by ferry-gliding into the tight spot. This one I KNEW I could do though! GRRRrrrr!!
So, after some phone calls, we were introduced to a “70% carpenter” in Bozburun by the chap who had been responsible for fixing the deck during the winter.

April 24th

Out cruising for a week on their own Sunsail charter yacht, (Summer Lightning) John and Emma with their 6 year old daughter Ellen cruised into Marmaris to join us at anchor in the bay. The kids got on famously, and so did the adults. We had Easter lunch together, and the following day sailed around to Ciftlic in glorious weather. The girls played on the beach for hours, and the adults chilled and chatted some more. Perfect.!


Ellen and Libby had a "No adults allowed" tea party on the dock for some favourite toys.

April 18th

Whilst mulling over whether or not we should buzz over to Greece for Easter, we spotted some youngsters disembarking from a tender into a nearby yacht. Penny and Libby went across to investigate and we thus met the magnificent family aboard the yacht “Islay Mist”. Alistair and Linda and their 7 and 5 year old girls Alisha and Kaylee have cruised here from the Shetland Islands. Impressive enough, but when you notice that their yacht is a weekender cruiser-racer, namely a Hanse 411 then you start to appreciate the talents of these people. You rarely meet such independent folk – Alistair has transformed this boat into a deep water cruiser with water-maker, stove, solar panels and countless other mods, all by his own fair hand. In the mean time the saloon looks like a cosy school room and the girls are clearly happy and doing very well.
So first off, they all came aboard the Bird. Libby entertained the girls in her cabin while we did some serious damage to a bottle of gin.


The following day we posted Libby aboard Islay Mist while Penny and I did some important chores, unencumbered. Later I took all three girls on a tour of the play parks in rain-swept Marmaris.


Rain utterly failed to stop play for this hardy bunch!

The cameras of Turkish tourists were much in evidence as this rather crusty sailor was making his way about in the company of two gorgeous bright blonds, and one very pale-skinned cutie. I felt both very proud and desperately anxious as we navigated around the town. Pavements are not walkways, they are places to park cars, vans and motorcycles or to set out your wares. Storm drains, broken kerbs, racing motorcycles and buses all add to the difficulties.

(Libby often makes up her own characters among her toys, and some mornings before anyone gets up, we are treated by evesdropping on the various "friends", Ellie the elephant, spotty dog etc as they discuss the affairs of the day. One of these toys has now acquired a distinct and accurate Scottish brogue - clearly inherited from young Kaylee!)

Early to mid April

First we have to mention Gary and Gill on s/y “Second Nature”. These folk went cruising about 7 years ago for a year with their 11 year-old son. (7 years later they are about done, and their son has excelled with his exams.) Gill came and generously entertained Libby for hours. Then I went for a jam with Gary who is a brilliant folk guitarist and singer. A heavenly afternoon for me!


So, here’s the thing with cockpit instruments. I really wanted a big pedestal display with room for instruments such as pilot head, wind, log, sounder and of course chart plotter. However, the budget just didn’t extend to a great big nav-pod, and now I have to say I’m jolly glad it didn’t. You see we’re not the kind of sailors that spend all day at the wheel trying to get that last quarter knot out of the old girl. In fact, we are the sort of sailors who spend quite a large proportion of a passage tucked up under the spray hood at the forward end of the cockpit bench. In cold weather this is to get out of the biting wind, and in warm weather it’s to stay out of the sun.



To get to the point. We have demonstrated without a shadow of a doubt that for OUR type of sailing, the chart plotter is best mounted just behind the windscreen. Ours is on the port side – my own preferred perch. Furthermore the instruments are ranged where they were intended (when this boat was built), above the companionway hatch. Now the only awkwardness with this arrangement was that when I did happen to be behind the wheel, I had to coerce a crew member to cancel alarms, zoom in and out etc in order to save myself the bother of squeezing my tummy around the wheel to do it myself. Enter centre stage the final solution; a full function remote control at the helm. Our kit all comes from Raymarine – largely because I used to work for them and therefore much of it is officially “on test”. This after all was my job before I left, and the powers that be thought it would be worthwhile to have some items on long term test during our sabbatical.



Well here we are in April. Penny and Libby joined the boat on the 4th and have been acclimatising ever since. Poor Libby is missing her playmates at nursery, and I must admit I’m missing my pals too. Penny is certainly stressed out from having to close up the house and I expect she’ll take a good few days before she gets on an even keel