Saturday, 8 September 2012

It's our pleasure to have you aboard

Just as the Queen lets her subjects know where she's resting her royal head by flying her flag over her palace or castle rooftop, so with the Vice Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and his dear wife now on board we have his ensign hoisted on Enki's port spreader. I'm not sure when we'll next be entertaining such special guests, so please note (if you can make it out against the majesty of the landscape) our extra decoration.

There was a terse exchange between the VC and his wife when she hoisted his ensign upside down one morning (below). Oops. Easily fixed though - and honestly, only a flag officer would know such things.

Flag business aside, the duties involved in this "royal" visit are light. For Andy, they revolve around getting wet, drying off, lifting a can of beer to the lips and, in a departure from tradition, immersion in a Scandinavian thriller. "A complete indulgence," he judges the taste for fiction "but because it's your boat, I don't feel bad."

We are loving having Barb and Andy on board. They're boat people, and the living is easy. After six days, they've stopped looking for clouds  - but we've seen a couple today because, as our barometer and the weather chart tell us, we are pretty close to the centre of a "low" sitting above Rhodes, just across the water. It's a low of 1006 hp, which hardly counts, but still, clouds are something to notice in a sky which for the past two and a half months has been uniformly clear each morning, noon and evening.

Alex and I decided not to do too much with them because a) next week they'll be hobnobbing with Serious Yachting Officials in Southampton and London, and the pace will be wicked and b) who needs it? We've moved only a few short miles from Marmaris as the crow flies, but into another world of rugged mountains, turquoise coves and remarkably few other yachts. They've left their suitcases and fine clothes therein largely untouched. Andy wears nothing much but a Turkish towel cum sarong, bought from our Bozuk Buku floating store (Ceren came by with her boat of wares) and Barb swans about in a bikini most of the day. Alex and I, of course, lead by example.

There are a lot of interesting things they won't be seeing on this visit, which I'm sad about. Ephesus, the Lycian tombs, Knidos. But as Alex said, who wants to be clambering over ruins in 30 degrees (only me, I guess)? So we've taken them back to the places we enjoyed when we were in the Hisaronu gulf last week. All low key. All beautiful.

Barb is queen of the castle at Bozuk Buku

A waterfront walk-by at Bozburun
Nosing about the coastline 
There's a little place I mentioned recently, a beach which is spoken of in passing in the Turkish pilot, and we returned there for a night. Alongside us was a homely-looking gulet (carrying families from Istanbul on holiday with their young children) and pulled up on the beach were two Hobie cats. We think it must have been a boys' own adventure holiday - with provisions shipped in to the campsite by an obliging Turk in a fishing dory. The palm trees on the beach, I read in the Lonely Planet guide, are rare - the last remaining populations are found only around this peninsula and on Cyprus. They're called the Datca palm (or phoenix theophrastii, to the botanically minded).

From where we're anchored now, further down the gulf towards our final destination of Keci Buku, I  hear the chatter and music of picnickers on the beach but little else except the turning of pages and shifting of bodies on the cockpit squabs or into the water. This morning, with alarming energy, Barb made scrambled eggs on grilled Turkish bread - the first time a cooked breakfast has been served on Enki, I told her. "I know why," she said, as she climbed out of the galley, searching for the breeze. A  good effort though, Barb.

So here's to more holidays with my lovely sister, and her husband, a man of the sea and a man of the world.  Alex and I will hoist their flag any time, anywhere.

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