Well, first of all, I’d like to say that I don’t want to see another lamb bone or piece of fat for at least a year. I actually got to the stage of not knowing what to do with it all, after all, there is only so much a dog can eat, and we don’t have pockets. I tried hiding some of it under the cockpit cushions, but that didn’t make me very popular for some reason.
Most sailing is quite boring, which is good. I go to sleep and hope we will be there when I wake up, which usually works, but sometimes they decide to sail on one side for some reason, and keep flapping the white bits of cloth they hang up. This is annoying, especially if I’m sleeping on the deck, as they hit me on the head. I think they do it on purpose sometimes. When I’m trying to sleep off several kilos of sheep bone it drives me mad.
But to be honest its not such a bad life, really, although I would prefer not to do the long bit where I don’t get off for 4 days. On the bright side, I improved my swimming technique this year. My swimming technique is mostly actually wading, with a little bit of panicking and scrabbling, but this year I added lying in shallow bits, and got quite good at it.
For some reason they aren’t keen on me sharing the nice cool mud I bring out with me.
Its hard to understand humans sometimes, after all, they went and did the same thing themselves;
Home, tied up at our berth in the Kishon, things are strange. We left a country expecting nothing worse than a hot sticky summer and maybe another hike in the price of ice-cream, and arrived in Turkey to hear that war had broken out. As we gently swayed at anchor in tiny deserted bays with crystal clear water, or sat enjoying the company of other cruisers in Captain Ibrahim’s restaurant as Chasamba sat tied to his pontoon, we wondered constantly what was happening in Israel. News was sometimes hard to get, and most evenings, at dusk when reception was best, we took turns trying to decipher the garbled radio broadcast of Galai Tsahal. We managed to hear about half the news- 150 katyushas fell, but where? soldiers were killed, but how many? Nasrallah said something, and Olmert replied, but what they said remained in the realm of speculation.
We were lucky- our children and other relatives were all in relatively safe places, which helped us to push the news to the back of our minds and enjoy Turkey. Even so, there was always a feeling hanging in the air that things weren’t quite as they should be.
The events in the Middle East apart, Turkey is experiencing problems of its own. Until we got home, we didn’t understand why Turkey was so quiet. Restaurants stood empty, gulets waited tied to the city docks for tourists who never came, and souvenir shops loaded to the brink with all kinds of trinkets, leather goods and “designer” t-shirts reminded us of modern day versions of the Marie Celeste. Now we realise, looking at the hysteria in the American and British media about terrorism, that things are changing rapidly. As though a critical mass has been attained, suddenly there is an unstoppable process of alignment. Politicians who were critical of anti terrorism measures in the past, or were percieved as being pro-muslim, are scrambling to identify themselves with the prevailing mood. In the British media, the phrase ” war on terror” has become acceptable and is in common use, and ordinary people seem to have very little choice but to accept that the rules have changed.
The problem for Turkey is that most westerners see it as nothing more than one of the Muslim nations, and therefore feel that visiting may be risky. Kurdish terrorism just makes things worse, even though it is directed against Turks. This is actually a big shame, since Turkey is crying out for western help, and could easily become the bridge connecting moderate east to west. After all, this was Turkeys traditional role in the past, simply because of its geographical position, and the Turks are both overwhelmingly secular and overwhelmingly pleasant people, hard workers and very capable. We really hope that they don’t get pushed into the position of having no choice but to give in to fanaticism, and would recommend to anyone wanting a pleasant, if rather hot, holiday to try Turkey (they have almost no air-conditioning). After all, then you could say that you spent your holiday working to reduce Islamic fanaticism!
I’ll be updating the site gradually over the next few weeks with pictures and a log, including the ongoing saga of our shaft, which eventually fell out 4 times, including once on the way home, after it had been “fixed” .
Heres a picture of my shaft fixing gear, meanwhile;