Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Mutlu Yillar

The sun goes down on 2013
This is the time of year when the blog gets sleepy. We're hibernating here in Marmaris. Alex plugs away at boat jobs which, if it keeps him happy, keeps me happy too. He gets a real kick out of making things work, or work better. In my less amenable moments I wonder when it was that I agreed to live in a workshop, but hey, this boat's plenty big enough for me to find a corner to park myself even when every floorboard (okay, the sole for those of you who speak marine lingo) gets lifted during a day.

Hostess in the galley - NYE table setting
The self-help extends to the fun department too. On New Year's eve, not to be out-done by Sydney and London, Marmaris town council put on a credible fireworks display. Alex did too, in his own fashion. "I didn't make a fool of myself, did I?" he asked when we got back to the boat from that den of iniquity, Sailors Corner. Of course not. Snake-hips, one of the onlookers murmured as Alex powered through his sixties playlist. He had the dance floor largely to himself, but does that ever matter? I think most of those who held back had joint envy. Back? What back? When it's good, it's very very good, but when it's bad etc. Sorry not to have photos of the dancing queen.

On a more serious note, we now have a straight mast. You might think this was a pre-rerequisite for a sailing vessel such as ours, but for reasons we have yet to fully fathom, Enki was specced with unduly loose forestays. The slackness in them has always bothered us. To deal with it, we've sailed her these past two seasons with quite a lot of tension on the backstay, but that's put too much bend in the mast for a furling mainsail and, on the two occasions we've crossed the Aegean in robust winds and short, choppy seas, produced a disconcerting amount of groaning on the mast step (the mast is deck-stepped for those who want to know). 

Straightened mast

This week Alex called over Mustafa of M2 riggers, acknowledged as the best in town. He prescribed the chop. His boys removed the forestays, took 10 cm off the front one and 7 cm off the inner, and put them back up again. They installed new Sta-lock cones in the rigging, and while the whole lot was on the dock, cleaned and serviced both furling drums.

Laying out the forestays on K pontoon

Pushing in a new Sta-lock cone after cutting off 10cm from the forestay

Marmaris town is built right up to the castle ramparts
On a clear warm day which could easily have passed for summer in Sweden I coaxed Alex off the boat to visit the castle. Our castle, the one we look up at every day from the aft deck of the boat.  It was closed for renovation all last winter and re-opened in October. It's not a massive castle like the ones in Rhodes and Bodrum. Suleyman the Magnificent built it as a base from which to launch his naval assault on the knights of Rhodes in 1552.  The French blew up Suleyman's citdel in World War I, so what's there now is a reconstruction. But it's built on ancient foundations. Herodotus, the Greek historian, maintained that people had been living on this spot since 3000 BC. In ancient times, the town was known as Physkos and was part of the Rhodian empire. That's Turkey. Layer upon layer, empire upon empire.

Natural fortress

Low season traffic,  from the castle top

Inside the castle's small musuem are a few really nice bits and pieces from the once-powerful trading city of Knidos, at the end of the Datca peninsula,  Among them is this lovely Grecian marble head which brought to Alex's mind Jane, the daughter of friends Tim and Nola.

The most famous marble of Knidos was a stand-alone Aphrodite, the first life-size representation of the female nude. She didn't survive into the modern era, although she inspired many copies which did. Sculpted by the 4th century BC Greek sculptor Praxiteles, the Knidos Aphrodite was reputedly so luscious that one delusional sod locked himself in the temple overnight so he could have her to himself. Or so they say. We had the Marmaris castle to ourselves, but only for educational purposes.

Mutlu Yillar (Happy New Year)....

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