The patter of little feet, a possible mistake on my part and Wonderful News!

See also Breaking News at bottom!!

I was awakened in the night last night by the pitter patter of little feet on the deck. There are no little feet that have permission to be on the deck, night or day. There are six or eight cats that roam around the Marina. Some are pretty wild, and some are pretty tame. Several times now since my return I have seen examples of them climbing the steel ladders in the dry storage and getting on the boats. Twice I have caught them on Alegría and once on the boat next to us.

I wish I could see how they climb the ladders and more importantly how they descend. The ladders are almost vertical and made of steel pipe about an inch in diameter, and most of them have rungs about 17 inches apart. Ours has rungs that are spaced at 8.5”. I call it the Granny ladder. There are one or two of them around the Marina, but most of them have the awkwardly large steps. Perhaps to repel cats?

My main concern with cats coming aboard, is that male cats spray to mark their territory. That is totally unacceptable in my book.

So, when I heard what I hoped was a cat on the deck, I got up and banged on the skylight from the inside, and he got the message and left. I open the hatch in time to see it on the ground running away at a high speed. I would much rather have cats, than mice or rats. Mice and rats are a very serious threat in some marinas. But, as far as I know, not in this one. There is an island along the Turkish coast, that is called Rat Island. Perhaps you can guess what you have a very high probability of getting added to your crew list, if you anchor near that island?

Rats and mice are serious in the sense that, aside from not being potty trained, and sampling and contaminating your food supply, they like to chew on things. There is not any part of a boat that the owner would like chewed on. Especially not the wiring or the hoses below the waterline. Electrical fires and a sudden influx of a large amount of water, can really change your vacation plans quickly.

But, about the cats spraying. I spent the next 30 minutes while falling asleep, trying to think of acceptable ways to keep it from happening again. The ladder is surprisingly heavy and awkward, so pulling it up frequently, is not really an attractive solution, even though it would probably keep the cats off the boat.

The solution that I’m trying is to split some 1.5 L water bottles down one side and put them over two of the adjacent rungs. My fervent hope is that the cat cannot get purchase on such a large smooth surface. They move very easily at the slightest touch. Plus, it makes a crinkly noise if any significant weight is put on that also might deter them. I will let you know if I discover that it has failed.

When I went to the Saturday market, today, to provision with fresh food for the week, I may have made a mistake.

Very shortly after arriving in Turkey, Janet and I investigated the many wonderful examples of Turkish food. One of the things that we discovered early on, that was usually vegetarian, and also usually excellent, was gözleme. (Gooz-le-me with no significant accent on any particular syllable. Most Turkish words have little or no emphasized syllable.)

Turks have many foods that I really enjoy, including many different styles of bread like things. One of them is I think called lavaş (lav-ash), but I’m not 100% certain that is the correct name.

I found the Wikipedia site

And you can do a Google on
gozleme recipe

Although I did not make an extensive search. I am supposed to be getting the boat ready to launch after all. But I found this video. In the first portion of it they are making gözleme in a typical market.

Although, if you’ve ever watched people making gözleme, these two are not operating very efficiently. I assume it is because the cameraman, or whoever is doing all the talking, is distracting them mightily. Usually they just crank them out. The norm is to be very fast, with the skill of ‘after the first hundred thousand, the rest are easy’.

You’ll notice that the woman is using a rolling pin that looks a little like a broom handle. It may not be obvious that it tapers towards both ends. The man is using a domed grill that is the norm in my limited experience. *

The woman rolls out, in effect, a gigantic flour tortilla, that is also paper thin. Then she puts various ingredients on half of it, and folds it over and seals the edge. Creating a gigantic empanada, or turnover. Then it is very quickly cooked on the domed grill. It may or may not be brushed with oil.

They use the giant flour tortilla for a variety of foods. It can be laid out flat on the domed grill and cooked until done, with no filling, just like a normal flour tortilla, except for the size. Then it is folded in a special way, in order to make it more manageable, and sold. In the market in Marmaris, there was a man who had a giant stack of unfolded, lavaş that were very fresh. You told him how many you wanted. They were quite economical. And he quickly folded the correct number, put it in a plastic bag and you are ready to go home and make some treats.

So, back to my mistake. In walking around in a new part of the gigantic Saturday market, I noticed three women, busily making gözleme. They cost about US$1.40, and they gave you samples, just to make sure that you were thoroughly and hopelessly hooked. I suspect that you will find me there every Saturday from now on. One gözleme per week may not seem like much of the sin, but I think it will take me a while to tire of their wares. They appeared to be making them with potato and cheese or you can have some sort of green leafy vegetable and cheese. Just like in the video. I can testify that the potato and cheese is quite tasty. Next week I will try the green one.

I think that the spices that they use (their secret ingredients) are the key. Of course, being freshly made right on the spot, and eating it while it is still too hot to touch are also very important.

Janet used to buy the cooked lavaş in the Marmaris market and make a very tasty gözleme in our skillet.

We found a restaurant in Istanbul that had excellent gözleme, where we could get an excellent lunch for an excellent price, and often walked long distances to go there for lunch when in Istanbul. It was also the first restaurant that we had found in Turkey that was non-smoking. A definite plus.

However, a few months later, non-smoking became the norm, by national decree. It seems to be largely enforced. In Spain, it was the law, unless the manager of the restaurant did not want it to be non-smoking. It seemed that hardly any manager wanted their restaurant to be non-smoking. So, it seemed like the epitome of a nonsense law. Happily for my nose, and probably lungs and the rest of me, even though a gigantic percentage of Turks smoke, eating out, and just being out and about, has not been a huge problem from tobacco smoke.

Well, enough of this. Back to progress on boat jobs,


* Have a look at
for a very different way that I have not seen in person, but find interesting. The hole in the ground is an over. Watch and be amazed. Just click on the video, down on the right side, where it says, “In a small restaurant in Yerevan, Armenia, two workers are making a lavash.”

PS, I noticed that yesterday, as often happens, I get in a hurry and don’t proofread adequately. After posting, I went back and made quite a few corrections. If any of my frequent typos bother you, I will not be offended if you politely point them out to me. I would love to be an excellent proofreader, but the likelihood at this stage looks slim. I believe that I do many things very well, but proofreading, spelling, grammar, singing, dancing, and many more, have lots of room for improvement.


There was a quiet little tap on the hull just as I was proofreading this, and it was the man from FedEx. I was not expecting anything, so I was more than a little puzzled. He has tried to delivered other people’s mail to me before, so I checked and then rechecked to make sure that it was for really for me.

It turned out to be the vessel documentation from the US Coast Guard. That’s like the title on your car. Until five minutes ago, the only one that I had in my possession, still shows both of us as owners, but with Janet as being managing owner. She has been captain of Alegría since 1981. And, I was very slightly concerned, that I may have trouble checking out of Turkey, into Greece, and then back into Turkey and my upcoming paper shuffle.

It certainly appears that that small stress has now been removed from my life. I see no errors in the new document.

In case you’re asking, ‘what’s the big deal?’ I had to wait many weeks to get Janet’s death certificate. Then I hired an attorney to handle her estate. Then we had to get together the paperwork to transfer the title and find out what the rules were for transferring the title with the United States Coast Guard. What hoops do we have to jump through?

That all took quite a while. Then we finally got the paperwork submitted to the Coast Guard. But, it is a mildly complicated document, and I fully expected to have something or other not filled in correctly. That department is horribly underfunded, and from when they receive something until the day that they actually hold it in their hand and think about it, appears to take about three months. Then, if there is any question or problem or other hoop that we forgot the jump through, it may take us a few days to jump through that hoop, and then presumably another three months before they look at the paperwork again. Bureaucratic delays, but probably not due to any wrongdoing on the part of the US Coast Guard. They just don’t get enough money from the budget, to hire enough people, to be quick.

But, when I was looking up something on their website a few weeks ago, I ran across a form that you could fill out if you were getting ready to leave the United States soon, and needed your documentation expedited. Of course, I’ve already left the United States long ago, but I’m getting ready to leave Turkey soon, and I sure would feel better if I had the real documentation. I was not optimistic, but it came very quickly and I would’ve happily filled out the application in the beginning, if I’d known how useful it was. Of course, I only recently found out that it existed at all.

So for the few of you out there who have US documented vessels, and are in a hurry, there is hope.


5 thoughts on “The patter of little feet, a possible mistake on my part and Wonderful News!

  1. Hi Dave,
    First, the cuisine; I miss the Turkish rice! I loved the rice with the little golden orzo or whatevers in it.
    Next, the Documents. We are in Mexico now, staying at the new marina in Puerto Chiapas (Madero) for the hurricane season and are STILL waiting for our updated documents. It seems the bureaucrats have no problem with stamping checks and getting them processed, but anything else takes time. Our payment was cashed in early March and here we are at the end of April and no documents. When we arrived in Golfito, CR from Panama, we were warned by a fellow sailor that unless our documents were “original and current” (a copy or faxed current document would not do–had to be the “original”) P would be put in expensive impound until we got the “original”. We have gone all around the world on our old documents. We did get the paperwork going but after 3 weeks, we left. We had to have them mailed to my Dad’s address because they couldn’t be mailed outside the US. Then we would have had to wait at least 2 weeks for the mail to arrive in CR. We slipped out of Golfito and sailed past CR (except for a few nighttime anchorages) and El Salvador. We had no problems in Nicaragua. but apparently, we can’t check out of Mexico without new, updated documents . We are going home for 6 months. Hopefully, somebody will be able to find the time to print a new copy of our document and affix a stamp in that amount of time. We simply need a new document (no estate probate, etc).–like a new registration and it is ridiculous that it should take so long. It’s a good thing we didn’t check in and wait in CR–we’d still be there and hurricane season is right around the corner.
    The rats–I remember a couple telling us a rat story. I can’t remember who it was, but they had us in stitches telling us about a midnight battle with a giant, killer rat. The wife was standing on the salon settee screaming and the husband battled the aggressive (scared to death) rat with a pan or some such weapon. He never did get the rat. I think it moved out soon afterward. It really isn’t funny, but the way the told the story was. I would definitely NOT be happy to have a rat aboard, but I did have a rat as a pet when I was a kid, and I am quite fond of them.

    We’re glad you are aboard and working.
    Love, Gene and Sue

  2. Dave – Thanks for your news. I always enjoy reading posts from you, and you are a GREAT proofreader. With the prevalence of e-mail and everyone being able to expound on anything anywhere, I am totally horrified at the state of English grammar and spelling, especially since English is my second language, and I know most people could do much better with it.

    I have a rat phobia (musophobia) from having them in a basement where my family lived in Germany after WW2. There was so much destruction, that the government inventoried all liveable space and assigned it to refugees like us. So, people who had some kind of roof over their heads might wind up with several families living with them. Things are, of course, much better for me now, but I still have an extreme fear of the nasty beasts.

    Hugs from Trudy

  3. Hi Dave! We have had Pitter Patter, too. And on an aluminum deck it often sounds like “galumping” when a cat runs around the deck. We had a very determined sea otter, even noisier pitter patter!) come aboard three different nights up in Blind Bay a couple summers ago. Nasty animal! Brought his fish aboard and used the bulkhead to kill it. There was blood and stuff ALL OVER, in addition to his slimey oily foot prints. And stink??? PeeUUUUU. Better a curious cat. Never had one spray, just seems to want to check things out. Guess we are lucky on that one. Mazatlan Marina has a whole herd of cats and a couple are pretty brave. Getting to give them the “stink eye” seems to discourage them. :-)

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