Saturday, 24 May 2014

Flag fall

We did leave Marmaris. Not without regrets, and not without a minor operational glitch, but hey, who ever leaves port without something not working the way it did when the boat was tied to the dock?

And look where we find ourselves... Could it be anywhere else but Greece?

Enki in Symi harbour

Enki (right) alongside Nutmeg (Malo 39)

Real estate sign going up signals the opening of the season

Evening in Symi harbour, near the customs house 

We spent our remaining lira on 2nd hand books in Datca
Datca, the charming coastal town where we checked out of Turkey, is so close that you feel you might hear the call of the muezzin if the wind were blowing from the right direction (mosque loudspeakers are certainly pitched loud enough these days). Symi is one of those Dodecanese islands which fit inside the curves of the Turkish coastline like a ball cupped in the hand. From Symi harbour, the Datca peninsula looms hazy blue in the afternoon heat, thunderous-looking clouds rising like souffles above its jagged ridge lines. Ah, but that's Turkish weather over there, isn't it?

Enki at anchor in North Bay, Datca

Between Datca and Symi we crossed a line on a chart. What of it? The sea which traditionally provided a living for Symi sponge divers and shipbuilders is the same brilliant blue as along the Turkish Aegean coast where the same wild herbs grow out of the rocks - oregano, thyme, sage. But there is no denying that we are in another country here. You can manipulate the physical boundaries, but religion, and the history of religion, draws heavy lines between peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean. We've left the strictures of Islam over the water. Tomorrow no doubt church bells will ring out across Symi harbour.

The best view is always from the church

I fell hard for the beauty of Turkish ceramics

The ferry from Rhodes arriving in Symi harbour
We're waiting for Freddy. He'll be here soon, on the evening ferry from Rhodes. I can't think of a more perfect Greek harbour in which for him to arrive. The English couple whose Malo 39, Nutmeg of Poole, is tied to the sea wall alongside us (yes, we still burn a candle for Malo yachts) say it's the loveliest one they know of. Their opinion has some weight - they've been sailing the Aegean for 17 years.

You could stick around Symi for a lot longer than we plan to. But if that were to happen, I'd want to get off the boat, rent a pastel-coloured house high up above the harbour, and....well, who knows what would happen then.

Let's not deviate.

Mehmet (left) and Ismail (right, and below) figuring out the autopilot installation

He's done it

There's more to tell about our last weeks in Marmaris, but I'll let Alex go into detail on a separate boat page. He's the one wiping the white board clean on the day we left the marina.  It's his list. He's solved the problems, some of them expected, some of them quite unexpected, around the installation of a new (spare) autopilot.

We prevaricated about whether we would spend the money on a back-up unit but as ever, we decided in favour of safety and paid the money. We might never use this expensive piece of gadgetry, so we're thinking of it (like all spares) as insurance. Ironically, just as we were leaving Marmaris, we bumped into American friends, Bill and Bunny Bailey, who were bringing their Norseman 447 cruising yacht, Onset, back into Marmaris because their autopilot had died a few miles down the coast.

Cathy (Waverunner) and Bunny (Onset) at happy hour at Yacht Marina

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