From some Cruising Friends

(This may not post correctly due to me using the wrong format. I fixed what problems I noticed. If anything is goofy, please come back and I will try to repair it ASAP.)

Darramy on tour No 25: Vanuatu Cyclone Pam and Aid Work

April – July 2015

Hello Hello,

More Darramy tales!

Home not so Sweet Home

After a lovely time in NZ for over 3 months and a visit home to see family, friends and Sue’s new Grandson Henry. We arrived back in Fiji in mid April and prepared Darramy for sea once again. We had watched news clips of some of the devastation that had taken place on the some of the Islands in Vanuatu caused by cyclone Pam in March. A grade 5 cyclone, (They don’t get any worse). This made us think about changing our plans for this year. We have had such a fantastic time in the Pacific for the previous three years, Sue and I both felt we would like to put something back, and maybe Vanuatu would be the place to do that.

Pam left her mark

After contacting all the usual large aid organisations and getting fobbed off, we discovered there were a couple of small organisations that were interested in what we could offer. We settled for “Sea Mercy” who although small they had the motto of giving “Health Care and Aid to Remote Islands” in our area of the Pacific. We had come across one of their medical boats last year in Fiji, so we volunteered our services to them in Vanuatu. Now medics are not our specialised subject, but we understood there were many more things that were needed besides health care. In some islands the whole infra structure had gone. Roads or tracks blocked by fallen trees, often completely washed away. Water, sanitation and shelter were a big problem.

The well known aid organisations (NGO’s) and governments of first world countries were quick off the mark to offer initial relief. All in all they seemed to do a good job, but after the first couple of weeks the NGOs apparently seemed to want to grab territory, and put their own mark on their area. We understand it became quite political, but eventually the Vanuatu Government managed to regain some control over the NGO’s, after all, it was not their country. We were still in Fiji at this time hearing various stories of what was needed, what people should take to assist. Fortunately it was not every island in Vanuatu that was devastated, Vanuatu was still open for business, don’t forget, tourism is their main source of income. But the information was very mixed and confusing. We spent time trying to source fruit and vegetable seeds, as we were told all the crops were washed away. Well after a week and what felt like I had obtained a degree in biology, we gave up it was just too hard, too many regulations, controlling imports etc. In the end we had a collection in Vuda Point amongst the Cruisers, and came to Vanuatu with some cash towards buying what we needed when we got here.

Fijian Send Off

Well we eventually got a weather window for the 550 mile passage to Vanuatu, so we left Fiji, with only two days of the boat visa left to run, and a little tear in our eyes. It had been a good place to be. We even had a farewell Fijian song sung to us by the marina staff as we departed from the Marina. (how cool is that)?

Four days later we arrived in Port Vila after a good sail, but not even a bite on the fishing line! We met the other Sea Mercy boats, two of which we were going to be with “Buffalo Nickel”, (Stan and Val) and “Persephone” (Brian and Sandy) both US flagged boats. We also met with three other Sea Mercy vessels, of whom we knew. They had just finished a three week medical/aid rotation in the southern Islands of Vanuatu. It was useful meeting up with them as they were able to give us much needed information about what they had experienced, and also an understanding of the culture and customs of the Vanuati people which is very different from our own.

Meetings are not for all of us!

Aid stuff starts arriving

We were straight into a few meetings which although useful, and probably necessary, were not what we were there for. We managed to get through our own meetings quickly and do the hands on stuff, Val took on the secretarial role to report to Sea Mercy and liaise with other NGOs, Sue and Sandy researched, the education side and the needs of women and children, as we had been given to understand that schools needed assistance, and this society was male dominated, and the females were not always on the top of the list of priorities. It did not take long for yours truly to get tired of “send me an e mail”, it seems that nothing can happen these days without everyone e mailing each other, what happened to lets just get on with it? Seems to slow everything down, and you spend half of the day at the computer screen.

Our destination was the Shepherd Islands, where the Governor of the Shepherds had asked Sea Mercy to assist on the remoter Islands. At last, right up our street.


More goodies, we left the children!

Stan’s little dinghy, large loads!

Brian, Stan and I took to procuring hardware to take with us, as we had three boats with various amounts of space to carry needed supplies. Whilst Sue went shopping, buying things for the women’s groups. Sewing supplies, material, and school supplies. There was also lot of gear donated from Australia by small organisations, and we were able to source much needed stuff from that, also going to the local hardware store for roofing nails and simple but essential building tools and supplies. Large rolls of tarpaulins anything that could be used to give improved shelter until rebuilding took place.

So, we loaded up our boats to the gunwales, and set off, we had various briefs to follow, one was from the World Health Organisation (WHO), and that was to assess outlying medial centres, and drop off lighting and water purification systems and much needed medical supplies for the temporary medical shelters that they had had erected on two very remote islands. This is the nearest yet we have come to drug running! You may recall we did some money laundering in Columbia years ago! Yes, we know how to live!

So we had a fast sail up to Emai in blustery conditions. Emai, looking at the chart seemed a good place to be based, with a reasonably sheltered anchorage from the prevailing winds.

Consulting room

When all three boats arrived we went ashore to meet the local Disaster Relief committee. They were please to see us and wondered what goodies we had for their communities. Well we could not tell them that as we did not know their needs, and did not want to build their hopes up by making promises we could not keep. Also we had to remember we had other places to visit, so we did a once over on the island the next day. It soon became apparent that the school side of things were fairly well cared for, apart from a few supplies everything was functioning reasonably well. We went to the medical centre, which definitely showed signs of need. One of the problems we discovered was water storage, no natural supplies of water here, just storage tanks. All supplied by guttering off the roofs. Problem: many roofs damaged, and no guttering thanks to Pam.


We also learned that a couple of the community fishing boats had been damaged, so they could not go out fishing. One in a remote village 8km away, The village used to sell the catch and make some money, but the usual problem no boat, no fish, no money. Now I could see where we could help. Can it be repaired was the question. We need to see so we all piled into the back of a truck and of course the two Brian’s ended up in the load area, whist everyone else got in the cab! It was ok we got with the local guys and had a good laugh.

Main road Emai

After 6k, the track was blocked by fallen trees that they had not yet cleared. We began to realise the devastation caused by Pam. It is hard to imagine the track had fallen trees over it for 8 solid km. Exactly like making a clearing through a jungle, just to access one village. We had to walk the last 2 km along the beach. We found our little village, and it really brought home to us all how bad it was and still is for these people. One house left standing, just debris every where, they had a tent provided for storage, and a couple of tarpaulins dropped off by NZ aid. The boat was up amongst the trees a fair distance from the shore line.

Chief George and family

So we met the chief George, and went to see the boat, It was aluminium, and although a bit bent and battered. We three blokes thought we could probably get it sea worthy again, we agreed to return the next day which was a Sunday, a religious day here, but we were given dispensation to work on the Sabbath as it was a good cause.

Important to involve the locals in our task

Buffalo Nickel had a super big tender so we loaded it up with all our supplies needed to do the repairs and aid things we were going to leave in the village. Instead of the long truck ride, we went by sea. When we found the village we had to unload our stuff and get ashore. Thankfully, some of the islanders were there to help. We had to anchor the boat then pass tools and supplies down a line of people who kept everything above their heads in the swell that was running, and carried it all ashore. We had then to dive in to get ashore to start work!

Boat repairs Sea Mercy style

Amazingly, nothing got wet apart from our clothes! At the end of the day we achieved more than we set out to do. We repaired the boat and had a naming ceremony. The boat was named “Sea Mercy” (good for our photo shoot)! We also repaired the village generator, put up some tents for those people who having to share living space in the one house.

The village team

Stan, a vet by profession, did some medical stuff on a chaps injured foot. We then had to reload the tender, a reverse of the mornings unloading and head back to the boats before it went dark. This was a really rewarding day, the village was very grateful, we felt we had done good work, and our efforts had enabled a small village to begin functioning again. We all gelled together well, and worked as a good team, even though the two American’s had a strange way of describing some tools which led to a bit of confusion and much hilarity. (Why did they insist on trying to ruin a perfectly good language)!

The night ended with a BBQ that the ladies had arranged.

It’s gutter repair time


Wheel chair user gets that sinking feeling!

We had many days similar to that one, we spent the next day repairing or putting up water catchment systems at the medical centre, attaching a sink to the wall, and generally trying to bring some normality back to their lives. There are many things still to be done on Emai, we could only just scratch the surface. We found another damaged community fishing boat in another village. Also there were plastic water tanks that had been delivered by an NGO, sadly there were no taps on them so they were just lying about unused. When you consider it is coming up to the dry season, they need the water. We started asking questions through Sea Mercy as to whom had supplied them, the NGO’s said they did not know, it was not one of theirs it all went very quiet.

It seemed sad to us but also annoying to think someone had delivered them and as they were, they were no use, a total waste of effort by all involved. We began to see more and more of, not sure if you call it incompetence by the NGO’s, certainly inefficiency, they apparently were on a lot of the islands with clip boards making notes, but here we are now over three months down the line, and besides the initial burst of activity all the people have seen is more people with clip boards making even more assessments.

WHO medical tent and lights

Tangoan children all smiles

Old School

New School

We sailed to Tongoa another island to visit and check on the temporary clinics put up by the World Health organisation, and deliver medical supplies and lighting, and fill in crazy questionnaires (probably thought up by some fellow in an office who had no idea what life in the real world of disaster areas was about). The first clinic was really good, but then as we travelled on unmade roads we saw that there were very few houses left standing without some cyclone damage, but every village we travelled through the inhabitants all gave us a cheery wave and a big smile. Their spirit was amazing to see, and despite the fact that many had lost nearly everything, they still carried on with a positive attitude and, I say again a lovely smile. We found the other clinics, well, they were in a sorry state one was completely unusable, but sadly, so was the tent put up by the WHO. So the villagers had to walk about 5 miles to the next clinic for any medial needs. The final clinic on the island we visited had the WHO tent up, but they preferred to use their existing building which although damaged was usable. We showed them how to connect up the lighting, but we realised that if we did not install it for them, nothing would not happen, so Brian and I set about installing the lighting system, although basic would enable the clinic to function more efficiently. Oh, I forgot to mention each clinic had been issued with a new generator. At this place I don’t think they had even started it up so we had to show them how to use it, I found a whole bag of tools and spares that they had not even opened. When I asked why had they not used the tools supplied to them? They said they thought it belonged to the dispensary committee, and not them, so would not use it. Maybe I went against their custom, but it was going to get dark, and we had to get back to the boats, so I found a couple of villagers who appeared practical and armed with some tools they helped to install the lighting. At the end of the job I asked them all to put their hands in the air, this they did and I switched on the lights. Explaining the old Chinese proverb “many hands make light work”! We left them all smiling under the bright lights.

Bright lights in ward 34

Heading home at the end of a busy day

Fred, transferring our load for Buninga

We made it back to the boats just before nightfall. The weather was not being kind and we spent an extra day waiting for the strong winds and big seas to abate before heading to Tongariki and Buninga with more deliveries. Meanwhile Buffalo Nickel had headed off to Epi (another island) to pickup more supplies for Emai. We agreed to meet back at Emai in a couple of days. Persephone and Darramy set off for Tongariki, in the still strong winds. Persephone made better time than we did on Darramy, and by the time we had arrived Brian and Sandy had done 2 loads ashore. Well when I say ashore, they anchored the dinghy and dropped back on a rope to near the shore line where the waves were breaking. A team of local men waded into the surf and carried the loads on their heads often their bodies were completely submerged, but they kept the load dry. We arrived and used Brian’s dinghy to unload our supplies. Another extremely rolly anchorage that night, and the following day we were due to go to the next and final island Buninga. We had already checked out the landing place and it did not look good. The village was up a hill, and it seemed we would have to land first just to get assistance. Fortunately a local boat from Tongoa came into our anchorage to drop some people off, and we asked them if they were going to Buninga, the boatman Fred said yes. Before he knew it we had talked him into taking all our deliveries to Buninga, so that would save us having to put ourselves and boats at risk on such a dodgy landing and anchorage.

Within half and hour we had transferred all our aid stuff to Fred and were on our way to the smooth waters of Emai. It is always good to get back into a quiet and smooth anchorage. After three nights of rolling we were all knackered.

Who sent Stan to fetch a bottle of water?

The last few things to unload

The next day Stan and Val returned from Epi, and we had a busy afternoon getting their boat unloaded. They had managed to carry 4,500 litres of bottled water, 50 cases of tinned tuna and quite a bit more as well. It took 12 dinghy loads to get everything ashore. The locals all joined in and we left them with everything piled up on the beach. We were coming to the end of our Sea Mercy Rotation we had nothing left on board.

Finally unloaded over to the shore crew

The six of us had a final supper, and then the next day Persephone set off for Australia to continue their cruising, while Stan and I went to fix another community fishing boat in a village. This was a fibre glass boat, and a bit beaten up by Pam. We had no fibreglass on board, but the Green Peace ship Rainbow Warrior had been in our anchorage, delivering cement and building supplies to the Island.

Rainbow Warrior. (No Frenchies allowed)

I had previously spoken to them on our SSB radio net, so called them on the VHF and they generously offered some repair stuff. I went over in the dinghy, and was invited onboard this well known ship.

(This particular one is a replacement for the previous one which was blown up by those naughty French in New Zealand a few years ago). I was invited to stay for lunch but sadly had to decline as I knew Buffalo Nickel was due back at any time and needed to be unloaded.

Stan and I went ashore the next day to repair the fishing boat, by this time I had a nasty tropical infection on my ankle, and was not in the best of humour. However after circumnavigating local politics, we managed to repair the boat so they could go fishing. We named the boat “Mercy Warrior”

Nearly the end!

T’was only a small scratch

We headed back to Port Vila to pick up some supplies for ourselves, have a much needed rest and see a Doctor about my ankle.

But those water tanks and no taps really had got to me. So in Port Vila, we located all the parts needed and bought them. This was funded out of the rest of our kitty and a few donations from other cruisers.

Bring on the rain and fill me up!

Job well done

Subsequently, Sue and I have returned to Emai and shown them how to fix all the taps on the tanks. Thus enabling them to store over 30,000 litres of water. Good result!

Although we say it ourselves, this was a very satisfying end to a hard and tiring four weeks.

Question: Would we do it again? To right we would!

It may appear that I have a bit of a downer on these large organisations, I know we can’t do without them. Their initial response in humanitarian aid is vital. But having seen the end results, I just wish they could get their acts together a bit more. That person on the street corner in your home town with a collecting box is doing a great job, but what percentage of the collections gets to the disaster victim, how much is wasted?

So if giving a donation look at organisations similar to “Sea Mercy” there is a place for everyone and they seem to make your donation go further.

Any way for us we are going to stay in Vanuatu to enjoy some of the northern Islands for a while, do some diving, I know there is a water cistern to be repaired in the Maskalin Islands, so will be picking up some sand and cement in Luganville. Then I think we will head towards Australia via New Caladonia for the cyclone season, who knows we may even see in the New Year in Sydney Harbour. Oh, what about Indonesia I hear you say. Maybe next year!

So as usual it’s TTFN

(Delete as applicable)

*Best Wishes* *Kindest Regards* *Love and Hugs* *Cheers*

Brian and Sue

You can view this and all our previous travelogues of the last ten years on our OCC site.

So try this link, you will see travelogues 1-20, keep scrolling down and see No, 21,22,23, 24and now hopefully this one No 25. Click on the blue print and hey presto: (Boredom unlimited)! A small charity organisation that gets a big job done.

This was sent to me by a Swiss cruiser in Vanuatu:

Yesterday we met some French people who work here since 2 years. It was interesting to speak with them about Pam. They said: We have had 2 cyclones: One was Pam and the other was the big “help-organisations”

They came from different places: more than 1000 people, big discussions, no efficiency, Friday pm they stopped their work….because…. weekend!!!!!”

The Dream Team!

See it not just me!



It is with sadness that Robn puts her HEIDI on the market

Recent research has caused me to lower the price to



New blue info 5 paragraphs down added 25 Feb. Older edits near the bottom. This must drive you crazy, but I will be adding things frequently over the next few weeks. If you are at all interested, please check back. I will change the date to reflect my additions.

Here is a preliminary report from memory. Robn returns to the boat in a couple of weeks. Better info then. Contact us at svalegria AT hotmail dot com.

One puzzle that we are wondering about: People seemed to say that the boat should be empty when the new buyer sees it. Having lived aboard her since 1990, and voyaging since 2001 – from Sequim, WA down to Panama, across the Pacific, down to New Zealand three times, up into the N Pacific, across to Guam and the Philippines, down to Jakarta, across the Indian Ocean to South Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope, and on to the Caribbean with full itinerary and details available if interested. She has a lot of important spare parts and miscellaneous boat bits on board. It seems silly to dispose of these important items when any new owner that knows anything will want them. Any thoughts on that?

I (Robn) am very fortunate that in 1969 my parents took me and my two younger brothers on a 5+ year circumnavigation aboard a 52′  Rhodes Ketch. I was 20 at the beginning of that trip.

Some History added 25 Feb

While on that trip, I met Gerhard (a German) in Tahiti. He had also begun his circumnavigation, from Germany in 1969. We continued to sail west, finally getting married and living ashore, building our own home in Washington State. We then sold our house and bought HEIDI in 1990,  moved aboard her, and began to ready her for another circumnavigation. She has been my only home, since 1990. Sailing was/is in our blood.  In Sept 2001, we were finally able to retire and set sail from near Seattle, in the NW United States. We coast hopped to Panama. then zig zagged around the Pacific, including Guam and 3 trips to New Zealand. The condensed itinerary is available here:  

My husband passed away in December 2010 and I sailed HEIDI to the Caribbean and have been actively sailing HEIDI there since then. Often singlehanding.

I met David in 2014 and that is the only reason that I would part with HEIDI. We do not need two boats.

Heidi, a 1978 Hans Christian 34′, is presently in Trinidad, on the hard.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHeidi at Pago Pago  (Usually clicking on the photo makes it larger and detailed)


>Whats the price you have in mind?

A fair market price. We are studying comparable boats online. I had been thinking 70,000 USD because I see boats not nearly as seaworthy or in as good condition asking much more. However, recently, research has caused me to lower it to US$64,900.00. Offers considered.


The engine is a Beta “BV1505,” 37.5 HP Diesel, about 2000 hours, installed in 2000.
Two Racor filters w/bypass. Use one or both, can change one while running engine on the other.
Exhaust shut off valve for use in high seas
Dripless shaft seal new in 2011
Optima Starter Battery (Spiral Gel Cell
3 Optima House Batteries 65 AH each = 195 AH.  New in 2008. Previous set lasted 12 years and tested still good after replacement. Turned out the lost performance was probably due to a corroded connection on the solar panel reducing the input but not discovered till later.
100W solar power: 2 x 50 W panels by Siemens, installed 2001.
Shore power converter not used since 2001.

Sails: 2 Mains, 1 storm main, 1 cruising spinnaker (with sock), 1 genoa, 1 yankee, 1 storm jib, 2 staysails.

2 CQR type SS anchors
chain (90 meters?), rope, snubber.
spare anchor line.
Manual windlass
1 Fortress Aluminum Anchor
1 dinghy anchor
1 Anchor Buddi (lead weight to roll down chain to improve scope)
5 fenders, plenty of docking lines

Achilles Dinghy inflatable, with 8HP mercury outboard. Both new in  Dec 2008
Autohelm wind vane w/ auxiliary rudder.

4 man life raft new in 2011
EPIRB new in 2011
Drogue (cone type sea anchor) that is the size recommended for the boat.
2 Drogue lines 300 ft each.
3 bilge pumps. (1 automatic, 1 emergency, 1 hand gusher.)
Life jackets, harnesses (3), jack lines, spot light, 4 fire extinguishes, man overboard pole w/horseshoe buoy, horn, sledge hammer, radar reflector, bosun’s chair.  Flares – outdated but have been stored very well.  (even plugs for dorade vents if bedding down in a hurricane! Never used.)

AIS transmitter/receiver
Garmin GPS 128
handheld Garmin GPS 12
GPS antenna for computer
Acer laptop with Open CPN, CM93 world wide charts, other navigation software.
Handheld VHF
Kenwood 2005 SSB receive only
a 2nd SSB receive only
Hummingbird Fish finder/depth sounder
Speedometer – light not working
2nd compass

2 burner kerosene stove w/oven by Taylor

Sewing machine (household from 1977 but it has gone through 14 layers of Sunbrella! Possibly not included – not sure I want to part with it!)

Car deck w/ usb mp3 player (no CD).

Assorted hand tools including DeWalt 12 Volt drill and flashlight w/ 2 batteries and charger (2014).

H20 pressure pump and galley foot pump. Salt water galley pump.

Porta Potty – Thetford 135

Jerry Cans: 2 diesel 5 gal, 1 gasoline 5 gal, 3 water 5 gal, 2 kerosene 2.5 gal, dinghy gas tank 3 gal.

A lot of assorted spare parts and materials.



Heidi has been traveling the world since 2001 while being carefully maintained since our lives depended on her.  She has been our (my) only home since 1990.
Major projects:

abt 1999 replaced Stb Samson post with purpleheart.
2000: new engine (replaced salt water cooled Volvo 34 with the Beta before heading to tropics)
2001: new rigging and solar panels
2002: water tank leak repairs.
2003: new VHF and antenna, new speedometer after lightning strike. No other damage sustained. Bottle brush added. Major paint work, New awning and sail covers.
2003: Auxiliary rudder repairs.
2005: New wiring for navigation lights (both masthead and pulpit), other work on mast including paint.
2006: Replaced port diesel tank (black iron) with epoxy/glass and re-plumbed fuel lines.
2007: Removed bowsprit for caulking access, discovered some rot and replaced the entire bowsprit with kauri. Re-glazed all port lights.
2008: New dinghy/outboard. 90M new chain – not much work done this year.
2009: replaced bow stem chain plates and inner fore stay after the former broke. Blister repair job (first sign of blisters after 1990 job) including one new layer of glass and lots of painting, – unfortunately not taken further up – there are blisters above the water line recently. Also a new awning.
2010: 2 way AIS added. New cushions, new fenders
2011: New life raft, new EPIRB, new docking lines, some new running rigging
2012: New wood for overhead in salon & galley, w/new LED lighting, interior paint and varnish, misc. wood work. New galley cabinet and stove surround. Replaced 2 chain plates (aft shrouds – one showed hairline crack). Re-bedding of forward haws holes.
2013: replaced upper shroud chain plates, new 90M chain. Forward chain plates (shrouds) still original.
2014: re-caulking and refastening teak deck. New engine damper plate. Port Sampson Post replaced with Ipé. New dinghy floor boards.

This list is from memory and is not all inclusive.  Lots of additional smaller jobs have been done over the years and items added or replaced.  Sails are mostly from my brother-in-law’s sail loft in Germany – Diekow Segel. They are now making sails for the German Tall Ship, Gorch Fock.

Actual repairs due to failure have been relatively few thanks to the pro active work. The only failures over the years that come to mind are the leaking diesel tanks (One was replaced in 2006, the other (black iron) is beginning to leak); the broken twin bow chain plates (as a result they were replaced in 2009); and the auxiliary rudder shaft was replaced in 2003 after it bent when a bolt came loose.

Current projects include refastening the deck. It has gradually gotten thinner over the years though it’s still a half inch thick, so I need to finish setting the teak plugs deeper. Restitch mainsail cover, new slip covers (for upholstery).

Future projects: Topside blisters and paint , replace stbd diesel tank.
Replace the last two old chain plates and perhaps the genoa tracks.


Someone asked if Heidi had a bridge deck. Yes. The cockpit seats go all of the way around. In the photo of Mieze the cat, supervising  the cook making dinner, the slightly open door you can see to the left of Mieze, opens to the back of the engine instruments which are at the front end of the cockpit just below the forward seat. I would guess that the seat is just slightly higher than the top of the sliding door.

All of the shrouds, including the lowers are attached to chain plates at the gunwales, not the cabin side. There are permanent shrouds that act as back stays for the staysail.

Inside, beginning near the bow, there is the anchor locker, followed by the V berth, then the head and hanging locker, and then the salon, with a U-shaped settee on the port side, for seating around the table. And if you lower the table it can be used as a double bunk. There is a straight settee on the starboard side.


Continuing aft on the starboard side, is a short closet, and aft of that is the Navigation station, and aft of that is the quarter berth. The galley is on the port side just aft of the salon.

You can access the engine by lifting up the steps and opening a hatch there, and/or by removing some of the four panels from the quarter berth, and/or by opening the hatch in the port cockpit seat, and climbing down in. If you’re going to be doing a lot of work on the engine, the large box between the companionway stairs and the bulkhead can be lifted out of the way, rather than just using the hatch in front of the box.  Beta is well designed for easy maintenance including a mounted oil removal hand pump.

In the photo with the cat, you can see the four galley drawers between Mieze and Gerhard’s blue jeans. This is the only Hans Christian that Robn has owned, so she does not know about other galley arrangements.

I found a little information on

I don’t know how accurate it is. The difference that we noticed is that Robn changed the Volvo for a Beta, 37.5 hp in 2000. And it has about 2000 hours on it now. The main boom was also shortened by about 6 ft, increasing the aspect ratio and reducing the chance of bumping into it with your head. When Robn gets back to the boat, she can take some better pictures. But here are a couple we found on the computer.

This photo shows a view from the stern (in Borneo) with the black outboard, shows the companionway and other details.


The original hatch on the forward end of the cabin, was a poor design, and leaked where the Plexiglas joined the wood. Robn and Gerhard redesigned it, with the Plexiglas going all the way to the edge, but covered with the teak trim. That stopped the leak.

But if I start listing all of the improvements that Robn and Gerhard made over the years, this letter would get pretty long.


Dave & Robn

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn passage past Cape Agulhas and Cape of Good Hope. 2011


I am back onboard. Here is the full list of my planned maintenance. I got behind on the cosmetics when my husband died in 2010 but have kept up on the essentials.  With this list I would be caught up on all systems. It is, of course, always possible that more stuff will be discovered during the work. That is the nature of boat maintenance.

 1. pulpit (to be installed this last week of Feb) and wiring bow nav lights which are on the pulpit.
 2. Chain Plates (at least one of the two remaining has a stress crack and since the others are already done. . .)
 3. Set  new, shorter, teak deck screws deeper, bung, and caulk. (Teak still 1/2″ thick). If you’d rather remove the teak for some reason, then there would not be any point in doing this – I happen to love the teak.
 4. Ceiling Trim –  not much work here as the trim is already varnished, just needs to be cut and drilled. Trim is not essential, of course, but these wood pieces are in the way until installed.
 5. Paint and Varnish. Teak can, of course, be left au natural, so again not necessary, but the fiberglass would sure look prettier with the job completed. All of the painted teak was varnished and in great condition BEFORE painting. Thus, we assumed that if we wanted to go back to varnished teak, that we could just remove the paint. The paint is NOT into the pores of the teak.
 6. Galley sink drain – didn’t have a chance to buy a new one in USA. They are not leaking but they are substandard materials (already starting to rust) installed last year by a “professional” and I want it re-done right.
 7. Stair tread re-glue – truly not needed yet but it’s bugging me. The old glue is liquifying and slowly seeping – making for a few sticky spots on the companionway.
 8. Engine heat exchanger clean. Reinstall water impeller.  Grease winches and seacocks. Bottom Paint. (All regular standard maintenance.)
 9. Replace mast head nav light (working fine but not LED so draws more power that an LED. While my LED anchor light is too dim – I’ve been putting this off waiting for LED nav light prices to come down.)
 10. A couple grease fittings on the steering system need to be cleaned. The last time I tried to add grease to the nipples (last spring) they weren’t accepting any. This will lead to problems at some point if not dealt with.
 11. Auxiliary rudder bearing and control lines. I replace the control lines (Kevlar) before every long passage and as needed in between. The bearings are developing some slop so I’d feel more comfortable with them replaced before too long.
 12. Re-caulk bolt: There is a small sometimes leak with one of the mast step bolts. A few drops twice in the past couple years.
 13. Replace dodger and possibly awning. Again not necessary, but I don’t like to wait until they are.

 Things that a buyer might want that I don’t:

 Refinish topsides – there is a band of up to approximately 6″ of tiny cosmetic blisters (max dia less than 1 cm)  above the water line. Everything good below the water line (redone in 2009/10 at which time there was no hint of needing to go higher). I had planned to do this but I consider the other stuff higher priority. Heidi has been out of the water since Oct 2014, for my flight to Turkey. The blisters have disappeared, so I have 4 months of drying the hull already accomplished. There are people in Trinidad that are said to be very good at doing this sort of work. Before I launch would be a VERY good time to do it, but I will let the new owner decide, IF they buy before I want to launch!

 Refrigerator, speedometer, wind instruments, auto pilot, water maker, electric windlass, etc.. These are popular items these days but would require an upgrade in the power generation and more maintenance. I’m personally happy with a minimalist life style.



One of the jobs Robn has planned is to redo all of the exterior paint. She was planning to do it last summer, but got interrupted. If the new owner wanted to go back to varnish, or even wanted to have the paint a different color, or different kind, then it would save Robn a lot of work to not have to paint it before she sells it. It’s just that a freshly painted boat, looks so much nicer, and she has already purchased all the materials. She just needs to have time to get around to the various jobs.

As the saying goes, “Cruising is just doing boat maintenance in exotic places.” I will be going to help her in a couple of weeks. As soon as I can get my things done here in Turkey.

By the way, I don’t know if you’ve looked into the cost of flying to Trinidad, but when I was pricing flights between Turkey and Trinidad, flying through New York, Washington DC, Houston, or Miami, and then flying from there down to Trinidad, was a lot cheaper. At least from Turkey. Although I think there are some direct flights from Europe, etc., to the Caribbean in season.

We like using

However, some of the cheap flights like Pegasus, Atlas, Condor, Thomas Cook, and so on, do not always show up there. So, I find a website that tells what airlines serve Trinidad or wherever I am going, and then I look at the individual airline websites.

One site shows the following for “POS,” the airport you want:
United,    jetBlue , American Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, British Airways, US Airways, and Copa.
shows these:
Albatross Airlines
American Airlines
British Airways
Caribbean Airlines
Copa Airlines
Linea Turistica Aereotuy
Sunwing Airlines
Surinam Airways
United Airlines

In theory, the whole point of using,, etc. is that they check all the possible combinations. In practice that is absolutely not true. I think they wanted US$5,000.00 or some ridiculous amount for Robn to fly from Trinidad to Turkey and back. And it was not a fast or direct flight. Long layovers.

Fortunately I knew that Turkish Air, had a special going between Turkey and certain US cities, and I eventually found a combination, with relatively fast connections that totaled less than US$1,500.00 and routed her through Houston, which allowed her to do some other chores during her travels. But it was not easy. However the reason that I have been able to cruise for so many years, is by being willing to do a little extra work to save money.

Make certain that the site(s) you use tell you the TOTAL, FINAL, price. There are many ways that dishonest sites can sound like they’re giving you a real bargain, and then you find out that that does not include things like the tax, which is commonly one third of the cost of the ticket. Some airlines charge you for reserving a particular seat, and many charge for meals. Some airlines charge for any luggage over 5kg. I might have that much weight in my pockets. Robn has been on a site that quoted a good price. However, that price required that you get their special credit card for US$75.00/yr. So,  buyer beware. But, the sites I mentioned, tend to be honest, at least in the past.

If you have Frequent Flyer Miles, try that. My last Seattle to Antalya flight, I was able to fly First Class, with three 70 pound suitcases INCLUDED for a very nice price. Who would have thought that Dave would ever fly First Class?

As many boats discover each year, the hurricane season is like playing Russian roulette. There were a lot of tragedies last summer. It is my understanding that Trinidad has been very safe so far, which is the reason so many boats spend the hurricane season there.

Depending on where you live, you may find it very advantageous to keep your boat in Trinidad and commute back and forth for the sailing season(s). I have seen slightly better fares between New York and Trinidad, than New York and Tampa. And there is no comparison on the sailing choices.

Many people have figured that out.

I have some more photos that Robn sent that I need to add. I will do that soon.

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!


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.


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.

A wonderful power boat is for sale!

We first met Bruce Butterfield in Papeete in 1978. He worked all over the world, as captain on large commercial ships for many years. We got to visit with him again briefly in Hawaii in 1979, when he was captain of a tanker that was visiting there. He retired a few years ago, to the busman’s holiday, of cruising in first a sailboat, and then Desert Venture.

My mom and I even got to rendezvous with Bruce and Angela in Seattle in 2010 for an all too brief meeting. I have not been aboard Desert Venture. She was not in Seattle on that day. They had needed to drive back in to get some things, and we met at a restaurant. But, I am confident that she is top-of-the-line in every facet.

Any boat, particularly a successful cruising boat, is a whole collection of compromises. That is in absolutely no way, a bad thing. It is absolutely essential, that in all of the countless choices, one must choose the very best compromise for each particular purpose. Every part, hose, bulkhead, every atom of the boat, could be more economical, in order to save money and use it where it really matters. It could be more corrosion resistant, or stronger, or more beautiful, or lighter weight. So, what I think everyone is seeking, is the very best collection of compromises for their purposes. That is the way you try to approach perfection.

I just bet, because I know Bruce and Angela, mostly through correspondence over the last 35 years, that you would find Desert Venture to be an exemplary vessel. This is what a very experienced professional mariner, chooses when he goes to sea for fun.

If you know anyone who would like to buy an outstanding vessel, or you just want to have a peek at one, here is their link:

I’m sure that you will enjoy reading past entries in their blog. Both for just the pleasure of it, and also to see how carefully they have maintained Desert Venture. It may also be useful to see a woman who enjoys cruising so thoroughly.

Back in the 1980s, Janet often crewed on a similar sized powerboat that cruised between San Diego and the Pacific coast of Mexico each year. One year there was another woman crewing with her who said that her mom had written a book, with the excellent title, “One Man’s Dream : One Woman’s Nightmare.”

Far too often, that is the way men and women think of cruising, whether on a powerboat or sailboat. It’s a pink job, blue job kind of thing. It has destroyed many marriages.

By the way, the author of the, “Dream/Nightmare” continued cruising as a couple for many years after writing the book. Janet read it and pronounced it a great book.

But, cruising as a couple, certainly does not need to be that way. Many thousands of women love it. Angela is an excellent example, who writes a great blog and will significantly increase the chances that other women will see the enjoyment that she has experienced.

One of Janet’s favorite quotes was, “The difference between an adventure and an ordeal, is attitude.” It has long been my opinion that everyone needs to work out, for themselves, how they want to spend their time. They used to call it, “finding yourself.” Sadly, many people never seem to accomplish that.

But, Janet and Dave, Bruce and Angela, and thousands more, really enjoy messing about in boats. We certainly have to put up with things that no one enjoys, but the pleasures are many, and they are very satisfying to the soul. It is extremely fortunate that it is not for everyone. If you think the anchorages can be crowded now, what would they be like if every fool were out here.

But, the Desert Venture blog, gives you an excellent perspective of life aboard your own personal, petite luxury liner. Nice work if you can get it.


‘Interlude Update’ from friends of Alegria

I am trying to preserve the format of the email they sent me and I hope I can. I liked it a lot. Frank & Linda are American friends that we first met in Rome and spent several Winters with, in Marmaris and Finike. Let’s see if this works.   David  on ALEGRIA
Spain to The Canary Islands Dear Family and Friends,Dear Family and Friends,We have arrived in the Canary Islands, our jumping off point to cross the Atlantic Ocean on our way to the Caribbean. Many sailors refer to the Atlantic as “The Pond” but, for us the 3,000 mile crossing will take about 24 days and that is one heck of a pond. Our last newsletter was sent from Valencia, Spain, and we would like to comment on some places we visited between Valencia and The Canaries. Americans can only get 90 day visas when they arrive in the EU and then they need to leave for a country outside of the EU if they want to stay longer. After a bit of research we decided to go to the principality of Andorra which is in Europe but not in the EU, and therefore does not follow the Shengen visa regulations. We rented a car and drove the 3 hours to the compact, alpine “country” of Andorra. In the winter it is a skiing paradise while all year it is a destination for buying duty free. There was a happy Disneyland atmosphere about Andorra which swept us along in a river of people from one shop to the next. The entry stamp in our passports took up a whole page with the words, “Andorra, The country in the Pyrenees Mountains”. Above those words is a caricature of a lipstick imprint. After seeing that comical stamp in my passport I was feeling certain that we would not be legally allowed back into the EU. Or at the very least we would be fined by immigration police at our next port. However upon our exit at the Andorran/French border we luckily were met by 5 friendly immigration police, who after much deliberation, agreed to give us a new entry stamp into the EU. After becoming legal again we sailed from Valencia along the Spanish coast to Gibraltar and visited several small seaside towns along the way. We took our time and savored some beautiful weather and great sailing. In Cartagena, Spain, a week long festival captured our attention and we stayed to see many hundreds of men, women and children parade through the city in Roman and Carthaginian dress. Mock battles were fought, plays were put on, bands played, and as thousands watched, hundreds in period dress put on a great show. Food and drink was plentiful; we drank our share and ate pork ribs as if it were to be our last. Also while in Cartagena we met two young Frenchmen who were kayaking from Gibraltar to Istanbul. They are following the coastlines of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and by their calculations it will be a 10,000 mile trip. During this very challenging trip they will be taking water samples of sea water to document a new algae that has taken root in the Mediterranean Sea and is causing havoc with some sea life. We heard about their adventures when they joined us for dinner one night. Their web site if you would like to view their adventure is

As we sailed westward along the Spanish coast we eventually reached Gibraltar and became familiar with its unique geography, history, and present day ongoing squabble with Spain over ownership rights. Our boat slip at the marina was a hundred yards from the airport runway. We had front row seats for take offs and landings. As a matter of fact we had front row seats to everything. Gibraltar is so small in area that no place is far to walk to. The “rock” still has the Barbary apes. Although they are now so well protected from humans that a person caught feeding a peanut to an ape can be fined $1,500 dollars. To escape the confines of Gibraltar, we rented a car and went to visit Spain’s Alcazar and Cathedral in Seville. Our little rental car zipped us, and our friends Bob and Nancy, there in a couple of hours through countryside that looked like rolling hills in Southern California. Along the way we had just enough rain to nicely wash away the dirt on the windshield. Once we arrived in Seville we parked the car in an underground parking lot where we emerged in front of a McDonalds at the exact time we thought of lunch. While we rarely eat at McDonalds, the food is predictable even abroad and sometimes that is what our American bodies need.

The Moorish Palace of Alcazar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is considered a must see as is the famed Alhambra in Granada, Spain. The Moorish architecture is something to marvel at with all its graceful arches and intricate stucco detail. The gardens are laid out in a relaxed, balanced manner that invites a sense of serenity. Geometric patterns are the hallmark of Muslim art. The perfection of this thought can be found in mosques. All mosques have no paintings or mosaics of living things so as not to distract the worshiper from prayer.

Another UNESCO site in Seville is the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, the largest cathedral in Spain and the third largest in the world. It is magnificent in size, ornateness, and graceful interior design. The walls are filled with paintings, statues, mosaics and all sorts of embellishments in silver and gold. The cathedral that is seen today was built hundreds of years ago within a mosque that was built by the previous Moorish rulers. What an interesting dichotomy of worshiping God. One religion tries its best to create visions of the unknowable, and another religion believes the unknowable is too perfect to humanly recreate. The huge tomb of the historical celebrity, Christopher Columbus, has a prominent spot upon entering the Cathedral. Amusingly, the Dominican Republic does not accept these claims by the Spanish for they say that they have the remains of Columbus in their city of Santo Domingo.

After a few days stay we left Gibraltar and sailed to Rabat, Morocco. During our one month eye opening stay in Morocco we had the good fortune to talk to Moroccans about their culture. One Moroccan family invited us to their home for the Celebration of Eid al-Adha, a three day feast. The feast day commemorates God’s test of Abraham. In the Muslim world, on the first day of the feast a ram is sacrificed and the liver and heart are removed, barbecued, and eaten. On the following day the carcass is butchered and divided 1/3 for the family, 1/3 given to friends, and 1/3 given to the poor. The family that invited us sacrificed 3 rams because of their wealth and status.

Our travels in Morocco took us to the celebrated cities of Casablanca, Marrakech, Meknes and Rabat, the capital. The trains were fast, clean and well organized; and they were inexpensive. All the major cities of Morocco are similar in that they have an ancient walled city (a medina) within the modern city. These medina have their various sections, e.g. metal shops, leather works, ceramics, clothing, etc. which are called souks. Sometimes the walkways of the souks are so crowded that one is constantly in contact with someone else. My first experience with this mass human contact gave me feelings of apprehension. But soon, we learned to flow in that sea of humanity. Bargaining is the name of the game in these souks and tourists are at a definite disadvantage. Such give and take on the price is a game that is skillfully played by those merchants. The talent is in their blood, their genes, their culture.

In Rabat, we took a Disneyland like tram from our marina to the Kasbah. We walked along the impeccably clean, maze-like walkways admiring the unique entry doorways. The doors are so beautifully designed and maintained that one can’t help but go on a picture taking tour. In Marrakech we watched the cobra snake charmers in the main square. The snakes would rise up, spread their hoods about their heads and look exceedingly nasty. We kept our distance. Nearby were men with monkeys that onlookers were invited to have on their shoulders for picture taking. Another picture taking opportunity was the possibility of climbing up on an absolutely perfectly groomed and gorgeously dressed Arabian stallion.

Having a coffee in a sidewalk cafe or tea and pastries and watching life parade by was a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. Or even better was enjoying lunch in a lush garden served by three smiling waiters who genuinely looked pleased to make us feel welcome. Also in Marrakech we spent a couple nights in a riade which would be the equivalent of an Italian pensione or B&B. Dinner was served on a landscaped rooftop with minarets doting the skyline. The squab dinner was sinfully good and the cook blushed when we complimented her talents. Another night we tasted her lamb tagine with herbs and spices, a specialty to North Africa. It was another memorable meal.

In Casablanca we walked the shaded avenues, viewed the largest mosque in Morocco, and got lost looking for the famed Rick’s Cafe as portrayed in the movie “Casablanca”.

We send our love,
Frank and Linda


Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Hanukkah

It is 830 in the evening here. I apologize for being so late writing this, but things have been pretty busy. The Thanksgiving celebration went extremely well! I think there were 55 people attending. Everyone ate far too much. Just like a traditional Thanksgiving, right? You just don’t mess with tradition.

We had many really great people working hard to bring it all together on time. Three separate households on land, volunteered to cook three large turkeys. Getting up at four in the morning to start the cooking.

It looked like about five guys, volunteered to carve the turkey so that the serving line could move quickly. Some very imaginative and resourceful people use their skills to decorate the tables with festive boughs, various improvisations, and even harvest season napkins. Now what are the odds that you would find napkins colored with predominantly oranges and browns, with pumpkins and cornucopias on them in a small town in Turkey?

She bought all they had, and it was almost enough for everyone. She also found some other excellent choices.

And countless other behind-the-scenes choreographers and worker bees and amazing facilitators did lots of stuff that I don’t even know about.

The bar that owns the meeting room, really outdid themselves trying to make everything exactly the way we wanted it. His whole family was involved in bringing out extra tables and chairs, and rearranging them. They were opening the folding glass walls of the venue, when we thought we needed more room. Then closing them, when some clever folks figured out an even better seating arrangement.

It was like a potluck in that each couple brought food. Fantastic food. Many of them, careful to make vegetarian versions, for yours truly. The leftover Turkey and rice and some of the other ingredients are going into a gigantic turkey soup for the Sunday barbecue. There are some really fantastic cooks out there. 55 of them at least.

Even though I’m late with this message, the time zone difference is to my advantage. I sincerely hope that all of you had, or are having, a fantastic Thanksgiving with family and friends and lots of laughs in good times.

And, to my many dear Jewish friends, I just saw this on the Internet:

“This year, Thanksgiving Day is also the first day of Hanukkah1 — an extremely rare convergence that will not occur again for 79,043 years! The last time it happened was in 1888. So for Jewish Americans, November 28 may be doubly festive this year.”

So, I hope that you all have a wonderful Hanukkah!

And that every single one of you, regardless of religion, race, creed, socio-economic status, hair color, and whether you have a boat or not, have a great time doing doing whatever you like to do, and/or being able to not do what you don’t like to do. I think that should cover it. If not, just edit the above, and pretend that I said it.

My friends that were crossing the Indian Ocean and their sailboat, very recently arrived in South Africa. A few bumpy days near the end, but that is behind them now. They are already having a great time.

You do the same.


International Comunity

As I have mentioned, the people in the marina are definitely an international community. Mostly Europeans, but some Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, and of course Turks, and other nationalities.

I think I mentioned that at lunch on the trip to Antalya about 10 days ago, I discovered that I was the only person at the table that it never been to Singapore.

On Thursday we are having American Thanksgiving. Ably coordinated by a bunch of Americans that are trying to get many of the characteristic aspects of American Thanksgiving Incorporated in the venue of one of the little restaurants near the marina. Everyone is welcome to attend, and most of us enjoy attending a party, whatever the excuse. We will happily celebrate the invention of the paperclip, or the invention of the traffic light.

We are each bringing dishes to share. Concentrating on traditional American Thanksgiving foods. However, I bet there will be some very pleasant surprises.

And I just received an email that we are all invited to the meeting room at 1700 hrs., the next four Sundays, for traditional “Glühwein / gløgg”. To the best of my knowledge the word, “Glühwein” is pronounced something like glue-vine, and is a type of spiced wine, serve hot. It is nothing like any glue that I am familiar with.

Many people in the marina get all excited about watching Formula One races, or rugby matches, etc. The group meeting room has a large screen TV, with 5.1 sound. I find it a little bit startling to occasionally have the sound come from behind me while watching a video. And the restaurant where we will be going for American Thanksgiving also is famous for getting popular sports activities on their big-screen TV.

The group meeting room, called the Porthole, gets a lot of use. Many organized activities take place there. Often they are back to back. So, one finds us, setting up tables and chairs for a computer class, when the yoga class is done, or after the watercolor class. And on Monday nights we have been having movies on the big screen TV. There are Turkish lessons, Zumba, German night, from the writing left on the whiteboard, it looks like there was a French night.

Some of the industrious computer geeks have arranged to have the communal calendar posted online, so that we will be a little more likely to know what is going to happen. Especially when things are added to the scheduling.

This marina has a very versatile public meeting space that is one of the several nice and relatively unusual features here. There is also a large sail washing area. Imagine a medium-sized swimming pool, that is about 8 inches deep, with a smooth and easily cleaned concrete bottom. I think I’ve mentioned the laundry room with several large stainless steel sinks. The clubhouse has a communal refrigerator that is used for cooling beer etc. on days that that is going to be served. Boaters may use it to store something that won’t fit in their own refrigerator, if they have refrigeration, which is almost guaranteed now days.

And yesterday, two wonderful eager beavers, turned a large packing crate that recently arrived with a replacement engine for one of the boats here, into a really nice large workbench and a smaller workstation. They also used remaining lumber to modify a large triangular table that had been a cockpit table on a large catamaran here. But, had been made redundant, by the owners deciding the preferred a smaller one.

I think I’ve mentioned that there is a weekly quiz night, and pub night, and games night, and a group has bridge games in the afternoon, and so on.

And in case you’re wondering why I keep saying American Thanksgiving, the Canadians celebrate their Canadian Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October, and many agrarian cultures celebrate a very similar festival of the harvest.

I hope everyone has a very happy ‘whatever you are doing’ and not just those celebrating American Thanksgiving. There will also be Christmas and New Year’s celebrations here in the marina, although the population is getting smaller as many people are going away for the holidays.

In case you wonder why I often capitalize the word marina, it is not I that does it. It is my computer program. I suppose it seems to think that it could be a person’s name and better to be safe than sorry. I try to keep correcting it, but I realize that I often don’t notice.

That’s the least of my worries. Like the song says. Don’t worry. Be happy,


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.



We had our first Sunday barbecue in a long time. There were perhaps a couple of them during the summer, but from now on until spring, there will probably be one every weekend. The Marina provides a fairly large charcoal fired barbecue, and I think they provide the charcoal. But I’ve never organized it, so I’m not certain. Most people bring some sort of side dish that they share, and then they cook something or other on the barbecue.

In the Saturday market there is at least one big tank truck, full of live fish, that are farmed somewhere nearby. Those are very popular. As are all the other usual pieces of flesh.

And the usual examples of people not paying attention and burning the fool out of whatever it was that they were trying to cook. It’s all taken in good humor. And people help each other a lot.

There is usually a lineup at the barbecue, waiting for a little space to cook their piece of whatever. So, I’ve never used the BBQ. It seems to me to be so much simpler if I just bring some sort of vegetarian offering. Which I hope will be well received, and usually is. And then I partake of the other shared offerings that are vegetarian. Generally there are quite a few.

Some of the pillars of the local long-term Marina community are usually selling beer, wine, cakes and desserts. This raises money for the Marina clubhouse or the, “help the stray animals of Finike” project.

Quite a few of the people make cakes and desserts and donate them to this cause to sell. So, you never know, what they will have. It is always good. And frequently make she sort of weak in the knees to taste it. There are some really good cooks out there.

I was told that it a couple of letters ago there were several French boats in the Marina that tried to out cook each other each Sunday. Since their divine creations were usually shared with the BBQ crowd. Most people thought they died and gone to heaven.

But the main attraction for me, is to visit with people that, are in the Marina, but I don’t get to see very often, because it’s a big Marina, and they are busy with their own chores.

Quite a few boats prefer to keep to themselves. And some people that come to the barbecue, prefer to do the same thing. Not sharing their special dish with the whole group, but just with their subset. The people at their table. That seems perfectly fine to me. Why not embrace having everyone do what they want to do?

And sometimes, a language group, will have their own barbecue, or picnic, at another location on Sunday. Or use the communal barbecue area on a different day of the week or different time of day. This might be all the German speakers, or a group of boats that have known each other a long time. Or whatever.

As the Marina manager in Portugal said they used to think of marinas as a parking lot for boats. And then they realize that no, it is more like a hotel. But, as they gradually got more observant and had more experience, and learn more things, they realize that they were wrong. That the best Marina, is a community. And if they encourage that and facilitate that, they have a lot more customers, and the customers have a lot more fun, and come back year after year, or encourage their friends to come.

Fortunately many marinas are figuring this out. And, they are not certainly not all equally good at it. But Finike Marina does a great job.

Since this was the first barbecue of the season, and probably only about half of the people are here right now. We didn’t expect a huge turnout, but it was difficult to find a place to sit. It pays to get there early. And some people even brought their own folding chairs and their own folding tables. But I think everybody had a great time. And we look forward to next weekend.



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,