Change of Seasons

I just realized that I missed commenting on the equinox at the time it happened. September 22 for most of you. That’s when the sun crosses the equator, and the hours of daylight and hours of darkness are virtually equal.

Time flies when you’re having fun. I guess that must mean that I’m having fun. For me, the summer went by quite quickly. I hope everyone had a great summer.

By the way, I found out why I feel like the water is annoyingly cold when I swim into the freshwater that is floating on top of the salt here near the Marina. As I mentioned there many springs coming in and there is a lot of freshwater that has not yet mixed with very well with the salt water. So you get large areas of, for me at least, annoyingly cold water. Today I got out my thermometer and measured some of it. The areas here around the boat were typically 64°F, 17C. While the deeper water, say 3 feet or a meter down, was 80°F, 27C. It turns out I like 80, and actually prefer 85. But, I really don’t like 64. Not in my bare skin. I appreciate that people living in higher latitudes think that is positively bathwater, but that’s why I don’t like to live in high latitudes. I’m a wussy.

Here’s a picture I took of one of the charter boats that are very common around Turkey. You can charter any size boat if you go to the right place, but these large boats, really small cruise ships, are extremely popular. As I said some time ago several of them offer a yoga cruise.

Yesterday and today I am checking out a hard drive that was acting a little suspicious. It is very new. So I certainly hope that it is happy. But it appeared to have at least one corrupted area on it that was giving my backup software nightmares. And this sort of stuff could easily be why I seem to have so many computer problems. So, I’m having my less used computer scan the entire drive for bad sectors. It is a 3 TB drive and so far it is been working for 26 hours on the project. Good thing I don’t need it soon. But it would be nice if they would give me some reasonably accurate clue as to when it would be done.

The cat that I am feeding for Brian and Jane has been really good all summer about not coming on to my boat. He jumps on the other boats with gay abandon. And I tell him that’s between him and them. But I don’t want him to come on to Alegria, primarily because I get extremely upset when cats spray things that I own, or any surface that I want to be anywhere near.

The first time he came aboard I just kind of ran him off. The next time, I happened to have a spray bottle right by where I was standing. Kind of like a generic bottle that Windex might come in. It has a big trigger and when you squeeze it pumps out water and either a spray pattern or a jet. It makes a nice high-capacity water gun. I gave him several squirts with that and he immediately got the message. I did not get him very wet, but they don’t like it at all.

A similar eternal question is, “Why is it that when you blow in a dog’s face, he hates it and may bite you, but when you take them for a ride in the car he sticks his head out the window and the breeze completely rearranges his face and ears?”

I’ve seen a couple of cats in my lifetime that actually like to swim, but they surely must be less than 1/10 of a percent of the cat population.

The squirt gun message worked extremely well. He remembered it for several weeks and then he tried again to come aboard. I did it again and that worked again for several weeks. We did work out kind of a compromise. He would sit on the bowsprit. Not on the deck at all. Just on the bowsprit. And I would allow that. But I’ve read the story about don’t let the camel get his nose inside the tent, and would’ve preferred that he not come aboard at all. But he seemed to be promising me that he would only be on the bowsprit, so I let it go after a short while. I let him use the bowsprit.

Well, that was many months ago. A few days ago, he was sitting on the bowsprit when I got up at dawn. I saw him out the forward porthole. He was just fine. I got dressed and combed my hair and came out the hatch, near the back end of the boat, and there he was all glad to see me and rubbing up against things. All lovey-dovey. I yelled at him and squirted him with the squirt gun. And he ran away. When I got onto the pier I told him that I was not trying to be mean to him but I did not want him on the boat.

The next day it was déjà vu all over again. The exact same thing, except this time I happened to have the garden hose hooked up with a pistol nozzle on the end. So, I squeeze it enough to make a vigorous mist and he immediately went to the pier. This time I refuse to talk to him other than in very upset tones. I put down his food and went off to feed the other cat that I’m feeding while his people are away. I gave in the cold shoulder. Cats seem do that to humans when the cat is upset at us, so I hope that he would understand that I was angry at him.

Later in the day, in my continuing effort to try to communicate to him that I like him, but he must not come on the boat, I petted him and talked to him and was friendly whenever I saw him, which was not often.

The next morning I got up and saw him on the bowsprit. Behaving himself just fine. But, as I was about to come outside I double checked and he was gone. This did not seem to be a good sign, because the consistent pattern that we’ve had for the last several weeks was that he waits on the bowsprit for me to come up to him, and then he gets onto the pier. So, I was 99% sure that he was coming back to greet me at the hatch again. So, as soon as I was ready to go outside I slid the hatch open very rapidly and looked all around. But saw no cat.

In order to get ventilation in the boat without having to go to the very difficult job of moving the dinghy all by myself, I have lifted up the front of the dinghy, which allows me to open the skylight over the main salon and get quite a bit of air through. Almost the maximum available airflow. The dinghy is tipped up in front so it of like a child’s robin trap where the child props up a cardboard box with a stick.

Well, just as I decided that maybe I had misjudged him and he really had jumped on the pier, he stuck just the end of his head out from under the dinghy. Sort of ‘peekaboo!’ Perhaps even, ‘You can’t get me!’

Well, the garden hose was still right there at hand, so this time I squeeze it all the way, which makes a concentrated stream like a small firehose. And it takes some time for a startled cat to get up to speed and navigate all the obstacles to get to the bow. I continued squirting him even after he was on the pier running away, and so it appeared to me that he was essentially as wet as if I’d thrown him overboard.

Again I put down his food at the normal spot, and did not talk to him at all. I immediately left to feed the other cat.

I wish I could just explain it to him. I would really rather not terrorize him, but I don’t know how else to enforce my rule.

Since that day, several days ago, he has been quite good as far as I’ve been able to see. I worded that way because the cat that my folks had at the ranch that we loved dearly, but that we also did not want to come aboard the boat, quickly learned. But, not the lesson that we wanted. We wanted to teach him to not come aboard the boat. But he learned, ‘To not get caught aboard the boat.’ An altogether different lesson. We knew that he snuck up there, because either he did not understand about footprints in the dew or on dusty surfaces, or he understood them completely, and it was a little, thumbing my nose at you message.

This Finike cat, which the first month that I knew him on the pier, before Brian and Jane left, would be softly meowing, almost constantly, whenever I saw him. He did not appear to be meowing TO anybody. Just talking to himself. The English speakers call him, ‘Chat a lot’, among other things, and since he is mostly black the Turks call him, ‘Arap’, which I think is the same word as for Arab and I wondered if it was also expressing an opinion about the cat.

I later met some Turks that spoke excellent English, and knew the cat, and so I asked if calling someone an Arab had any connotation, good, bad or otherwise. Apparently not. They were the ones that pointed out that the name I was hearing was not Arab but Arap, which in addition to meeting Arab in Turkish, also means black. No implications. Just a fact of life. The cat is 95% black.

I have no idea what if anything has changed, but now he does not seem to meow to himself. He often will meow at me if I’m walking by and I haven’t seen where he is hidden himself on somebody’s boat, and I make my best imitation of a meow back at him. I think everyone figured out that I’m kind of weird, long before I started meowing to cats. So, I assume that that doesn’t really lower my reputation any further.

The weather is getting cooler, and I usually use a light blanket at night. Brian and Jane thoroughly enjoy having ‘Chat a lot’ come inside the boat with them, and it could be that his insistence on testing his limits recently was due to the cooler weather and wanting a warm place to sleep. It is possible that that is the reason he was under the dinghy. He was asking, “This is a nice little clubhouse. Is it okay if I sleep here?”

No.

Many of the uninhabited boats have elaborate covers and enclosures that would be relatively warm and certainly out of the wind. He’s quite clever and I assume that he scouts around for nice spots. Some of the people returning to their boats the summer, mentioned finding secluded areas on their boats covered with cat hair. All but a few close up their boats when they’re not on board. These areas were not inside the boat. But for example, on top of a dodger that was covered by an awning. That way he has a nice little cloth hammock in a protected area. It would be relatively soft and relatively warm.

More and more boats are coming in for the fall. And several have come in and their owners have flown a way to wherever they live. They’re also starting to get more boats in the dry storage yard. It was extremely empty during the summer. Perhaps only five or 10 boats at the most. The first winter we were here, they kind of oversold the dry storage. They completely filled up the yard, and even took down some fences, so that they could drive boats hundreds of meters down the road into the main Marina area, and fill up a lot of the parking area around the, ‘boats in the water part,’ of the Marina. It was not that way when I got here this year, so I assume, based on only two data points, that that is not normal. The travel lift moves very slowly. So, it takes him forever to bring boats all the way down here. And forever to take them all the way back again. Plus, if they were to do any nasty stuff like sending off bottom paint. It is much harder to keep that out of the environment. The normal dry storage yard is all concrete. And there is a cleaning lady that works very hard at keeping it spotlessly clean. Well, spotlessly clean for a dry storage yard, or boat yard. She really keeps the crud picked up including cigarette butts, and all sorts of things. It makes it a very nice environment for people working on their boats. Also if you’re painting, there is much less dust than in most yards that we’ve been in. Not zero you understand. Just much less.

Well, even though the untrained eye would not realize that I’ve spent a couple of days straightening things up and putting them away, I have been. It is not much fun, but I better get back to it.

I have added some more videos to the list of funny videos. Several of them are not funny at all, but I thought they were interesting. I’m quite aware that that’s a slippery slope. I find it quite easy to fritter away a lot of time searching for interesting videos on the Internet. The terrible Internet connection that we have here makes it easier to not get trapped into that. It takes so long to download a video, and if I’m using my Turkcell Internet connection, which uses cell phone technology, that is slow AND I’m paying by the megabyte. Not all bad, because it gives me constraint against the seduction of searching for amazing videos.

Dave

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