Robn & Dave bring you up to date

Robn and I have been out of touch for so long, that Mark Twain comes to mind. He once said, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”

We were just so busy that we did not communicate well with you guys. It has not all been drudgery. We are getting back into going for walks and stair climbing as both fun and exercise. We have been to concerts in Antalya, and various social activities here in the Marina.

The Marina cat that lives on our pier, variously called Chatterbox and “Chat a Lot”, was limping when we returned from Germany. It turned out that one of the vicious cats from outside the Marina bit him on his left elbow, and it got very infected.

I have broken up several fights during my stay here. At night, very aggressive cats move in from outside the Marina and cause trouble. This often gets unfairly blamed on the resident cats.

“Chat a Lot” and I have an arrangement, that if he will start howling as soon as he sees the cat, I will pop up on deck at any time and squirt the aggressors with a hose. They have learned that hearing my hatch open means time to leave.

The veterinarian gave him a shot for the infection and we thought all was well. But the germ was resistant to that antibiotic, and the infection grew. The veterinarian got him on a different antibiotic that worked, but there was a lot of dead skin over the abscess, and he had to have surgery and stitches. The stitches meant that he had to wear a cone around his neck, which especially at first, made it very hard for him to even walk, much less jump on and off of boats. So, he has been staying at the veterinarian’s and we visit him twice a day.

We think he will get out of cat jail on Wednesday the 28th.

Also prominent in the excitement since we’ve been back was a storm that lasted several days with heavy rains and high winds. Some friends took a video of pieces of it:

Michel and Martine of La Foret Deau provided a short video of the weather on 13 January. Note that the bus tips over at the exciting climax of the first video!

and

But the weather was such that we just stayed inside and didn’t stick our heads out. There was some damage in the Marina because water coming over the breakwater was deep enough and fast enough to destroy one portable building, and moved several others around, which destroyed big portions of one of the fences.

I think someone said that a catamaran sank in a nearby area, but I did not see anything like that inside our Marina. There are also videos on the web of waves shooting up in the air a few miles west of here. The highway runs right along the water and I would guess that some of the biggest plumes of spray were well over 100 feet high. Perhaps 200 feet. That’s spray not green water, but it made driving along that road more exciting than most people liked.

As I think I have mentioned, on my way to the airport to meet Robn, my luggage, with computer, camera, 2 GPS’, external 2TB hard disk, a bag of memory sticks, clothes, etc., original value over $3000, was stolen. The main danger was that, using information from my computer, they might have been able to get into my bank accounts and leave me literally penniless. They did try calling one of my accounts on the telephone but there’s not much you can do on the phone to steal my money.

I changed all of the important passwords, and most of the lesser ones within a few days. And I think I’ve gotten them all by now. But I have many accounts, and it is a complicated business.

That took about two weeks full time. And, happily, it appears that I have successfully locked them out. There has been no other suspicious activity.

My two existing computers are old, and Robn had offered to bring me a new one from the states. Robn and the new computer arrived 2 November. The new Dell computer died, stone cold dead on November 16. Dell got it working again December 30th. My previously better computer had been stolen, and my old, somewhat crippled computer was all that was left running. I think I have mentioned that I feel that Dell seriously misrepresented their repair warranty. They promised me onsite, “Next Business Day Service,” even in Turkey and Germany. But, they lied.

During this nightmare they replaced the motherboard three times, the input output board twice, and another major component once. Each time they theoretically repaired it, it still had major problems like no sound.

Robn and I flew to Hamburg, Germany, 12 December, for a visit with her wonderful in-laws, and returned 2 January. Her husband passed away a few years ago when they were sailing through South Africa. He and his brother escaped a long time ago from East Germany, after growing up in Wismar, where the family still has ties. They were wonderful hosts, and I really enjoyed my visit there. Robn was in heaven. The weather was terrible most of the time, but when the rain stopped, we went for long walks. There was a very nice organic grocery store (Bio is the term they use) about two or 3 km away. It was a popular destination for our walks. Many stores carry organic products.

Korn bread

The “Whole Korn Breads” were fantastic. In that context it has nothing to do with what Americans call corn or maize. It means that it has whole seeds (kernels) incorporated in the bread, sunflower seeds, wheat seeds, barley, etc.. The many other hearty breads were also wonderful, as were the cheeses from Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, etc.!

Robn’s nephew wanted to spend New Year’s at his apartment in Wismar and we were invited to go along.  I’m very glad we did. The fireworks were absolutely incredible! In America, it seems universal that only professionals do the major fireworks holidays, like Fourth of July and New Year’s. In Wismar, and I think all of Germany, the amateurs do it. And wow, was it ever impressive. Far better than anything I’ve ever seen before, anywhere!

Everywhere you looked there were people shooting off fireworks in parking lots and vacant lots or even just along the street. As you might fear, some of these were not the smartest people in the gene pool, but I did not see any disasters.

For example, some did not seem to realize that aiming the fiery balls of a Roman candle, in the direction of another large crowd that was shooting fireworks, is not a good idea. There were headlines the next day about people being injured, but I saw none of that.

The thing that amazed me was that many of the aerial bombs were quite large, and they came from literally everywhere. There was a lot of activity even an hour before midnight, and it increased to world war magnitude at midnight. And continued at approximately that level for at least 40 minutes! It gradually tapered off and became sporadic after perhaps an hour and a half. I went to bed so I don’t know.

Apt

But we were in her nephew’s apartment which was on the (American) second floor, called the first floor in the rest of the world. In other words there was another floor below us, and that floor was actually about 4 feet above ground level. So, we could look out across many of the buildings in the area, and we saw fireworks literally everywhere we looked! Major fireworks.

I think all of us have seen a red highway flare, and the maritime equivalent is pretty much the same. I would say it’s about as bright as a good taillight, perhaps as bright as a brake light. But several times I saw people with red flares that were more the magnitude of a car headlight or maybe even as powerful as the aircraft landing light that I used to have. Like a very powerful spotlight, but in this case it was shining in all directions. I wonder where they got them? If I were trying to signal someone that I was in trouble at sea, that would be a very impressive piece of gear to have.

A huge portion of our time was spent wrestling with the German branch of Dell. Robn speaks a very useful amount of German, having lived in Germany at various times. But, getting through Dell telephone robots to reach the right department was challenging. Even our German friends had great difficulty at times understanding what the German robot was wanting us to do.

And Dell Germany, has some sort of major bug in their phone system. It frequently hung up on us before we had been successfully transferred to the correct technician, and sometimes while we were talking to the correct technician. This happened perhaps 30 times. Kind of annoying. Each time it takes about 5 to 10 minutes to get back to that point. Also most of the time that we called in they gave us to the wrong technician, who then had to transfer us, with a lengthy delay.

Happily, many Germans spoke enough English to help us with various things.

The fourth time the computer was opened up, and the third motherboard and input output board, were installed, it seem to fix it. However, it seems to randomly lose contact with the USB ports. So I am going to craft a letter to Dell Turkey and ask if they will send me a completely new computer in exchange for this one. Since most of the parts that they installed in this one to repair it, were defective.

I also took this opportunity to replace my winter coat, my other good pair of blue jeans, and other important items that were stolen. I’m tall enough that just walking into any old store, does not mean that I can find anything that will fit. I never did find socks in my size. Depending on the brand, my shoe size is 14EEEE, which would be 49 in Europe. Bigger than most. I remember one time I had a pair of shoes that I had to buy in size 15 in order to get a proper fit.

Robn has also been spending a lot of time helping me organize things on the boat, correcting the massive inventory list, and getting rid of things that I no longer need. But that is a major job. She flies back in mid-February, and I’m sure that we will not be done with organization before she leaves. Even though we HAVE made great progress.

We’re trying to decide the best way to spend our time after mid-February. One thing that’s being strongly considered is for me to fly to Trinidad with her and help her work on her boat, for routine maintenance before launching. Then sail the Caribbean a little bit and find the best place to put her boat on the market.

We have obviously spent a lot of time getting to know each other better and we are both extremely happy with what we have discovered. It’s just that this lifestyle is a little complicated, and we need to simplify things in the best possible way.

I’m pretty sure that I will be flying through North America sometime between now and Summer. But, we have no idea just when. I will let you know when I know.

We appreciate all of our friends that have been patiently waiting for news. I can’t promise when the next bulletin will come out, other than it will be as soon as we can manage.

New Developments with Dave

I feel like I need to bring everyone up to date on some developments in my life over the last five months or so. In early June, a longtime cruising friend, sent me the name and email address, of a friend of a friend who was also a long-distance cruiser and had been widowed a couple of years before Janet passed away. He felt that we needed to meet.

Unfortunately she was sailing in the Caribbean, and I’m still in a marina on the south coast of Turkey. So, I was more than a little skeptical, but thought it rude to ignore. I sent off a polite but not very hopeful email to her, and she replied in a similar manner.

Then, it really got like something out of the Twilight Zone. We started exchanging emails, and inserting our comments in the appropriate place in the previous email, and sending it back. Then one of us would insert comments among the comments, and send it back.

The spooky part was that we were so much alike. To the point that I would be reading an email and did not remember writing that particular paragraph. But it was clearly ME talking. And then I realized that she had written that paragraph! Many times I accused her of really being a CIA computer, that was spying on me, and knew my innermost thoughts.

I’m not sure that I have explained it clearly. But, I became convinced that we were from the same zygote, and there was some sort of experiment, like in the movie, “Twins”. Except I was clearly the prototype. They held back her half and greatly improved upon it for about seven years.

With both of us being relatively nerd like, we eventually figured out how she could Skype from her boat. Previously she had to go to a cybercafe onshore, and when you’re on a mooring, in an area that gets frequent torrential rains, that can be a little annoying.

The Skype is ever so much better than an email. Of course it crashes frequently, but it works most of the time.

I have amazed myself with my power of persuasion. She is putting her boat on the hard, and flying to meet me in Istanbul, on November 3. While we are quite aware that there will probably be some learning experiences after she walks out of the International Arrivals door at the airport. We have covered such an incredible amount of conversation since June, that we clearly will be very close friends for life. But, perhaps only as penpals.

Obviously, both of us hope that it will be far more than that, but without actually having been within 9000 km, (abt 5,500 miles) of each other, there is still a great deal for each of us to learn.

A brief curriculum vitae of her many life experiences:

She was born in Massachusetts, to a family that occasionally forgot to put letters in names. She was born, “Robn Gras” (as in Robin Grass). Which actually frightened some of her college friends. They thought that she was going to, “Rob their grass.” But, fortunately for all of us, she never had any interest in such things.

Her father, was the son of an illustrious professor at Harvard, who actually kind of ostracized him, when Robn’s father said that he was planning to go to MIT.

That was considered a trade school. Something akin to aspiring to ride on the back of a garbage truck. Or so Robn’s grandfather claimed. People are really amazing, aren’t they?

But her father knew what he wanted and had a long career as a mechanical engineer including work for the space program. He built the first privately financed, solar heated home in the USA, way back in the 1950’s. Another one of his dreams was to sail around the world on his own boat. Which until recent years, was similar to wanting to be an astronaut.

But he made it happen, and in 1969 Robn, her mom and dad, and two of her brothers left on their around the world trip. In French Polynesia, Robn, became very surprised at her interest in a German single hander. Whom she eventually married. They lived in Germany for a time, and then Sequim, Washington, which is west of Seattle. Not all that far from where Dave was living. They ran a successful plumbing business for many years, and raised a wonderful daughter.

Still infected with the sailing bug, they bought a sailboat and lived on her for several years, leaving on their own round the world trip in 2001. Unfortunately, her husband passed away in South Africa in 2010. And, one of her brothers helped her sail her boat to the Caribbean. Where she has been single handing ever since when crew is not available.

That may be more information than some of you wanted. But that’s just the way I am. And I didn’t even tell you about Gerhard escaping from East Germany.

Robin’s last name is now Diekow, pronounced something like “Dee – Co” as in copilot.

There will be a lot more info in the months to come.

New Photo of the hike

Proof that the old geezer can still smile after a 1300 foot climb on broken rock. Thanks Karla for the great photo!

Dave on Zig Zag Trail 2013-12-8 Finike

Dave on Zig Zag Trail 2013-12-8 Finike

No. That is not Photoshop. But, it might have something to do with the fact that Elizabeth had just given each of us a Kit Kat Bar. As in, “What would you do for a Kit Kat Bar?” I suggested, “Climb a bloody great hill!”

Also, notice that it is still T-shirt weather on December 8, 2013. Unfortunately, today is December 10th and it is cooler. They say low 43F high 56F. 49/64 is the Average for Dec, one website says. That sounds about like I remember it. But, in fairness I’m usually and the United States from mid-November to the end of January. So what do I know about it?

I need to stitch together a couple of panoramas and see if they’re worth anything. But it will be a few days or even a week or so. I need to go shopping right now. So, if you care, you may want to check back to this particular page in a couple of weeks.

David

More about the marina & Dave

As I recently said, I continue to do well. We just had a couple of days of rainy weather with heavy clouds. But today dawned clear again. There is now snow on the mountains for the first time this season.

Friday, 15 Nov, some industrious people in the marina hired a small bus for 16 of us to go to Antalya for the day. These are the most common form of public transportation. The name in Turkish is pronounced something like, “dolmush.”

We had kind of a late start (10AM) and an early return (back by 1800). The drive takes almost 2 hours, even when you are not stopping at the various bus stations that the normal bus would do. So we had around four hours in Antalya, but all of us got a lot of shopping done in the big city. And got to yak yak en route.

Today, Sunday, is one of the socially busy days. At 0900, every day, there is a radio net, where we share information and ask questions, etc. Then, about 930 I help the charity sale set up for their weekly sale of miscellaneous items donated to raise money to pay the veterinarian to help animals here in Finike.

I am told that when they started doing this, (was it seven years ago?) that they saw many crippled and diseased animals wandering around town. There was no neutering program and the feral animals were really rampant. Since very few people cared about them, they had a tough and often short life.

In Marmaris, a Turk told us that 25 years ago, very few Turks had gotten into the idea of having pets. They just had never learn to think that way. There were dogs to guard the sheep or guard your property, but not many Turks owned an animal just for the joy of owning an animal. However, many of the tourists brought their pets, and the idea of the pleasure that often comes with having an animal around caught on. Slowly at first, of course. And it is still somewhat of a novel idea.

But, now you see many Turks owning animals and helping strays. And there seem to be a lot of tortoises around in this part of Turkey. It is not common, but by no means rare for people to have pet tortoises. In fact the veterinarian, here in town, has assigned that shows the silhouettes of a dog, a cat, and a tortoise.

I think the very worst place we’ve been for animal abuse was Spain. There, many people we met had firsthand accounts of Spaniards cruelly killing strays and getting dogs for the hunting season to help them hunt, but then just killing them rather than keep them through the rest of the year. There were many stories of animal torture and cruelty.

My apologies to the large number of wonderful Spaniards that we know. I do not mean to imply that even a large percentage of them are cruel to animals. I’m only saying that when we were in that area, we heard many terrible stories.

I sincerely hope that the bad news was greatly exaggerated. It seems to be the way the telephone game works. The telephone game was something that we played when I was very young. We would sit in a circle, and whisper a message to the person next to us. They would whisper it to the person next to them. And by the time it’d made it all the way around the circle, it was usually almost unrecognizable, but often quite sensational. Any aspect of the message that made your eyes get big, or was juicy gossip, got at the minimum maintained, and more commonly, embellished shamelessly.

Gossip in the Marina is no different. After all, people that live in travel on boats are clearly the exceptional ones, but they are still human. At least a little bit. (Attempt at humor.)

But back to the setting up for the charity sale. That takes quite a while as there is a lot of stuff to drag out of storage and put on display. Then, today at about noon, I will help set up the tables and light the barbecue for the Sunday potluck. This is my first time at helping with that. Since I never barbecue anything, I thought it more logical for me to help in some other capacity, and let the people that know just how they want the barbecue, to get it done the way they wanted it. But today they are auditioning a newbie. Me.

The Marina pays for the charcoal for the weekly barbecue. They also recently purchased 2 new barbecues, as many years of extreme heat had taken their toll on the existing one. Also, with so many people, there was quite a lineup waiting to use it. Which cause people to hurry and not do a good job. This led to people either eating things that were burnt on one side and undercooked on the other, or some kind of problem due to trying to rush and make room for your neighbors.

Then I partake of the weekly potluck which is mostly visiting with other boaters while trying whatever taste treats they have brought to share. Today I’m making tabouli.

It is not uncommon for the social aspect of it, the visiting, to last till after dark. There are still a large number of inhabited boats are in the Marina, even though many have already flown home.

The Marina recently bought some additional tables and chairs for the barbecue, as even before there were so many people you could not get a seat unless you came very early. Which meant that the people that came anywhere near that the appointed hour of 1300, were out of luck unless they brought their own chairs to sit on, and tables to eat off of. The solution to that, probably temporarily, is to have another barbecue on Saturday at 1500. And, for the people that didn’t really want to have the main meal of the day at 1300, to come drifting in later in the day when some of the 1300 group have already left and empty chairs have appeared.

I wish you all a nice Sunday also.

Dave

Computer things

I am trying to clean out some hard drives and my goal is to have a backup of all the data that I want to save, stored on at least two separate hard drives. At least two complete, redundant systems. Because I’ve had several drives fail in the past with no warning in the data lost. Sometimes I could recover all of it, frequently I could recover part of it, but several times, all the data was totally lost. Most of the drives that I left behind when I went to the states, have been fine. However, two of them have been defective right from the get-go, as I tried to read them recently.

It’s a slow process, and when I get failures like this, is particularly frustrating. Also, going through and cleaning out old files that I no longer want, is very time-consuming. It would really be simpler to just buy some more drives and keep filling up drives ad infinitum. However, I really have a lot of storage space that I already own, and I’m already storing in my limited space. So, I think it’s better for me to try to minimize the redundancy. Because I have backups of backups of backups on some of these drives. So, the older data, that I often don’t want anyway, I might have 10 or more copies of it here and there. I use Heatsoft CloneCleaner Pro,
http://www.clonecleaner.com/HCCdownload.html

for finding files that are exact duplicates of each other. I see that they have not come out with a new version for quite some time. And I also have had the experience that it does not always do what I thought it was going to do. But that’s usually operator error. And I don’t know of an alternative that would be even close to as good. So I put up with it.

So, in summary, I am doing quite well in most areas. But, I really get tired of some of the chores that I need to get done. But isn’t that the normal state of affairs in life? It is in mine.

Dave

Update

I continue to do very well, all things considered. The marina is starting to fill up again as people return for the Fall. Many of those people are leaving to go home. Some are arriving to spend their biannual visit, a few months in the Fall and a few months in the Spring. And, hopefully many to spend the Winter and make life more interesting for me. Speaking of making life more interesting for me:

An Israeli boat came in a few days ago and tied up next to me. For the first several minutes it appeared that there were only three gorgeous women on board. It perked me right up!

It turns out there was a guy on board, and he certainly has excellent taste. As I got to meet them and talk to them, it turns out that two of the women and the guy all have Capt.’s licenses and do deliveries. That’s what they were doing this time. Delivering an Israeli boat back to Turkey. The owner had sailed it out here somewhere, for several months during the summer, but the owner had flown back to Israel and was having a delivery crew bring the boat back.

The woman who was not a licensed delivery skipper, turned out to be a doctor and longtime good friends with the others. In fact, one was her sister. They were all very nice and very interesting to talk to. As people with boats often are

They were all roughly 30 years old. Or, I think so. We left on, ‘The First Trip’ (to Tahiti) when Janet was that age. A very pleasant age from my viewpoint. So, they could all have been my grandchildren, I guess. But, I still feel in that ageless age. Where the calendar is just a number and I want to know how interesting you are, not your age, occupation, nationality, color, or so on.

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain

Like Janet said, “We are just getting started.”

They were very nice to have as neighbors. For me, that was because they were so interesting, not just because they were very easy on the eyes. The, “I’m Hot Stuff” was totally absent with them. Part of the charm. They were just four friendly folks that left far too soon.

I had stopped swimming because, the cold freshwater was just too annoying. What a wimp. But, I might give it one more try. I was talking with a lady from another boat last evening, who has been feeding octopi by the swim area. As I recall she said that she met the first one in the Spring of this year and it has doubled in size and has become extremely friendly to her. It is my understanding that octopi are considered to be extremely intelligent. This one recognizes her and comes out from hiding and now will even attach itself to her arm. She said that, if it’d done that the first day, she would’ve been terrified.

As I understand it, when it is on her hand, it’s tentacles reach to her shoulder. She also said that one day she saw six octopi but yesterday she could only find five. And, often fewer. The others were all smaller. I guess they must of been discussing her and decided that she was worth the risk.

Most humans in the Mediterranean enjoy eating octopi. So, it is very a good idea for them to stay hidden when they see us coming by. In Greece, you would often see dozens of small octopi, hanging from ropes around a restaurant. I assume that they were drying them. But, I have no idea. It seems to me like they might spoil quite quickly. But humans have dried seafood for thousands of years. I certainly hope they were not wasted. Personally, I would rather they not be eaten or bothered in any way. But, I understand that few humans feel that way. It would just be a shame to have them killed for nothing.

I have watched for them as I swim over there, in the marina swimming area, but I have not seen anything at all. They are extremely good at camouflage and crawling into improbable spaces. The same friend of mine has also often seen squid swimming over there. Squid are quite amazing to watch. Janet and I saw some while we were diving in Belize, but only one time in all the years I’ve been diving. About 20 years ago, I saw a really interesting video, about them. I should Google around and see what’s on the web now days. The author of the video felt that they communicate by manipulating their colors. Not just turning red or green, like a traffic light, but creating very complicated multicolored patterns on their skin all over their body. Kind of like the sign on the side of the Goodyear blimp.

In the video, it was absolutely like modern computer-generated special effects. The author was trying to work out what the different patterns meant. And, that was a long time ago. So, hopefully the humans have gotten smarter in the interim. Although, clearly many humans have not.

I believe I fixed my freshwater pump a few days ago. It was a real battle. I’ll spare you the long and complicated details. But, when I rebuilt it a few weeks ago, I thought I had fixed it then also. Because it worked perfectly for perhaps a week. So, I know that I will not know whether I really have solved the problem for a month or maybe several months. But, in any case, it is certainly nice to have it working when it works. I spent quite a few days filling up water bottles at the marina in order to have drinking water on the boat, since the pump, at first during this time, was hard to use. And then I disconnected it completely while I tried testing the system. Keep your fingers crossed.

During this period of unreliable freshwater, I was having a conversation with an experienced cruiser from another boat, who agreed that pressure water systems and many of the complex accessories that are so common on boats today, like water makers and air-conditioning and gigantic refrigeration systems, create a fertile ground for failures in constant and expensive maintenance.

I totally agree.

But, then he said that, the manual systems never break, and I had to give him the bad news. But, I certainly believe that they are far more reliable in general. Yet, it would be fair to say that most technology has gotten much more reliable in the last 20 years. Automobiles go far longer, and so on.

Keep having fun,

Dave

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