Drying out in Didim
Since our good friends Frank and Dian left us one short week ago, we managed to find one of the nicer, and certainly more interesting anchorages. We explored a small, not-so-touristy town and “landed” where we are today, on the hard in the largest marina we’ve ever been in yet, perched (uncomfortably) on stilts 10’ above what looks like to be about a 10 acre concrete yacht compound. We feel very small nestled among 15 or so superyachts and 30 or 40 various others. We are here for some unplanned but much needed “scheduled” maintenance and it seems, for Sue to entertain the yard workers as she tries, fighting physical against psychological forces all the way, to force herself up and down the 8 or so foot high ladder to get on and off of our boat!
After our friends left, we slipped away from the (very small) Mandalaya Marina (there were only 3 other boats when we left!) looking for a nearby comfortable anchorage where we could do nothing at all for a few days. This was the first time since moving aboard in Tunisa this past April that we had no one coming and nowhere to be for the next month and a half. This is going to take some serious getting used to time!!
One thing we found lacking here compared to the Caribbean, is a good cruising guide. The books we have are geared at giving you what you need to keep you alive (not a bad thing), and they have most of the pertinent information about how protected an anchorage is and type of bottom etc., which don’t get me wrong, is important to know (I haven’t found an anchor yet that will dig into a sheer rock ledge). They even tell a little about the towns and their harbours, but they do not describe nearly all the potential anchorages in an area, nor do they talk much about what kind of anchorage it is, like is there a beach, is it lined with beach clubs, or is it completely secluded, neat things to see and do in the area, etc. So we end up having to poke around ourselves sometimes, relying on more years of experience than I care to admit reading charts looking for good anchorages. It certainly paid off on this occasion. We stuck our nose into a couple of places that were not at all pretty before we found what would be our home for 4 nights/5 days, a nicely protected, unnamed bay behind Ziraat Ada (island), about 2.5 miles NW of the small town of Gululuk (at N37⁰ 15.244 E27⁰32.551).
It turned out to be a spectacular anchorage that we had all to ourselves the whole time we were there. The region is quite remote (compared to other places we’ve been), hilly and wooded to the water’s edge and relatively mountainous in the background, miles of area that is virtually uninhabited save for a few fish farm supply depos along the shoreline, and of course the ever spreading vacation village outcroppings that seem to be being built everywhere! We had spectacular views out over several miles of water (not typical in well protected anchorages) that lit up at night with the Town of Gulluk a few miles away in one direction and a shipping port for Emery ore (the abrasive rock used in sandpaper that Turkey and Greece are the world’s major suppliers of), off in another. There was always a freighter anchored in the distance giving the anchorage another, completely unfamiliar feel.
We did almost nothing for 5 glorious days other than swim (warmest water yet!), walk through the town, play scrabble and cards, edit pictures and write a little. It was awesome, and very hard to leave!
On the 4th day, when reality started returning and I started thinking about things that needed doing, I remembered that we had a little maintenance item that needed attending (I had been pushing it off for a month or so) on one of our Volvo Sail Drives. Sail Drives are part transmission and part drive shaft. They are the drive train part that takes the rotational energy from the engine and turns the propeller, which is attached to them. Sail Drives are used on catamarans and other boats where it is desirable to place the engines as far back in the boat as possible. They bolt onto an engine and go straight down through the hull of the boat, sort of like an inboard/outboard. Without them working properly we can’t do all kinds of cool stuff like go forward and backwards! So I looked up the nearest Volvo dealer who just happened to be in a marina not 15 miles from where we were anchored. He knew right away what we needed and told me it was an easy little job that would cost less than $300 (CDN – I’ll use CDN everywhere to keep it simple), which brought a very large smile to my face, until he added that the boat had to be out of the water for the work to be done, which deflated my smile faster than a popped balloon! So I called the marina to find out how much that would cost, and was very excitedly informed that we were very lucky as they were right in the midst of a promotion! We would get 15 days of free dockage with every haul out, which immediately caused an involuntary contraction in my sphincter! You see, I already knew that the cost at that marina for us to dock for one night was $210 (which is why we don’t do marinas very often!), and they were offering 15 nights for “free” with our haul-out! So in a matter of about 10 minutes I went from a $300 to almost $3,000 to do a 2 hour repair!!
But we really did need to get the repair done. If there are two things I learned in 35 years of operating trucks (with diesel engines and all kinds of mechanical stuff on them) don’t skimp on the preventative maintenance, and don’t hold off on a repair once you know it needs to be done! It can only get much more expensive if you wait! And, since it is not easy for us to find marinas that have facilities capable of lifting a boat as wide as ours (width is our problem, not weight or size), and since this marina is truly quite a good marina to come for a repair because it was one of the few “super-yacht” marinas around, and therefore has almost every type of service a yacht owner could dream of, just waiting to help him/her part with their money! And since we had a few other things that we wanted to get done that required a haul-out anyway. And since we wanted to see inland Turkey for at least a week which meant we needed a marina to keep our boat in while we take off in a rental car…. We figured “may as well” bite the bullet.
1 yacht + 1 yard with every kind of service + the onset of “may as well” syndrome, can only = expensive, or worse, very expensive!!! If one needs to do these things sooner than later anyway “may-as-well” amortize the haul-out costs over a few other to-do list repair items. I was starting to feel better, hell, if I could come up with enough projects I could argue that the haul-out didn’t really cost us anything!!! Wait a minute; I’m beginning to sound like Sue does when she finds a Nine West shoe store that has a sale on!!!! 🙂
So now I start looking to see what other preventative maintenance might be needed and find that in addition to the small ($300) seals, the main sail drive through-hull seal (the fittings that allow the drives to pass through the hull of the boat and that keep the ocean out and engines nice and dry inside – there’s a no-brainer PM) should be replaced every 7 years – hmmm, let me see, our boat is a 2008 + 7 = another $3000.
In addition to the sail drives, we had two through-hull valves that had started leaking… Yup, you guessed it — “may as well” replace all 5! The through-hull fittings are the connecting fitting that allow the inside of a pipe to gain access to the ocean – without of course allowing any of the ocean to spill inside the boat!! On our boat we have 5, one for each of our three head (toilet) holding tank discharges (the pipe that is connected to our holding tanks that allows us to dump our holding tanks when we are at sea – as opposed to keeping them open in an anchorage and discharging directly!), one for the water intake for the generator and our anchor and deck wash system (our seawater garden hose on deck) and one for the water intake for the water maker.
The water maker is one of the best inventions ever for cruisers, right up there with GPS. Without it, I’m not sure we would be cruising. It takes water from the ocean (that comes into the boat through one of our 5 through-hulls) and turns it into wonderfully fresh drinking, and showering, and washing water at a rate of about 140 liters per hour. In years gone by we had to go to a marina or town dock periodically to fill our water tanks. As you can imagine, that is very awkward and limits your ability to stay out at anchor incredibly, not to mention that it forces rationing! On Purrr we have never rationed water. We take showers as long as we like and as often as we like, and we even have the ability to switch our deck wash hose from seawater to freshwater and rinse the salt of the boat after a long or wet sail, which we have done numerous times. When it’s just Sue and I on board we seem to be using about an hour per day of water-making. And we have the added bonus of knowing that our water is always clean and drinkable. In fact we will not fill our tanks with water that we didn’t make ourselves.
As if that wasn’t enough, there is the bottom paint. Every two years a boat must have its bottom (the part that is always underwater) painted. Purrr’s pretty little bottoms were painted a year ago last April, so while we are out “may as well” give the bottom a coat of paint too! And, we had a minor repair to the dinghy to do (we are liking our new 18hp engine even better than we liked the 25!), and a few other minor odds and ends, all of which we hope to have done so we can be dropped (figuratively speaking) back in the water by Monday. I purposefully didn’t add up the cost of all of the above yet because I didn’t want to start crying!
Seriously, although I have not done my accounting yet, I am still fairly certain that the cost of these repairs, plus all the others we’ve done along the way this year (many of which are multi-year maintenance items, just like putting a new roof on your house), are going to come in at a very similar operating cost as we had/have with our house. In fact I think, once we are all settled in (after we get the new-to-us boat bugs out, we will be cheaper annually.
Enough of the technical stuff, and on to the best part of this whole adventure….. Suzie’s ladder adventures! Just when she started getting used to walking across the passerelle (the boarding plank used to get from one’s boat to the dock!), we go and put Purrr on a concrete pad 8’ above the ground, which yup, requires a ladder to get up and down! Not a problem at all for 99% of the population, but since Suzie is in the top .1 percentile of petrified ladder climbers, she has had quite a time of it the last couple of days! To add to her pain, the first thing the work crew did is cut out the valves for the heads, rendering them completely unusable, so poor Suzie has to climb down and up the ladder every time she wants to go anywhere – including the bathroom! On her second attempt yesterday, she was having such a hard time (which I couldn’t help her with because I was above photographing the events for the family album) that a painter working on a superyacht about 100 yards away came running to her rescue!! That was almost worth the cost of the haul-out right there!
So, the work is progressing and Suzie is planning our road trip next week, and although life is a bit different, all is good aboard sv Purrr.