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!
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.
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.
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.