Thursday, September 6, 2012

We Are Greeted By Dolphins

Life is richer when you believe in connections we cannot prove.

An aroma of earthy belonging fills your head. Colors are vibrant with purpose. Potential is more fecund.

Besides, believing in the supernatural is just more fun.

About an hour after leaving the industrial port of Izmir, we were greeted by a pod of dolphins. This was quite a surprise since we were deep into a bay at whose end – not too far away – was a commercial port. But to us, this greeting, though surprising, was immediately understood with quickened pulse.

Dolphins in Izmir bay.
Almost a year after the burning of Dolphins, our previous Hans Christian 33, we were finally beginning our voyage again. This was the very first passage Phoenix was making on the continuation of our adventure.

We were delighted to get this nod of approval from Dolphins.

Dolphins are difficult to photograph. Timing is everything. So I got the shot of the pod, but not while Jennifer was watching. Therefore this shameless photomontage.

We spent about ten days in Cesme. We scrubbed the dreck off Phoenix. Salt and exhaust flecks and grime she had accumulated on the freighter over. We polished the rust off the stainless. We made electrical repairs and improvements. We mounted the spare anchor, re-organized our entire boat for living aboard, and finally, our mast was stepped.

All the while with this beautiful castle in the background.

The castle of Cesme, Turkey. It was decimated by Catherine the Great. Even though the Turks lost this sea battle, it is their claim to fame, and the castle has a museum about the battle, including caustic cartoons printed in newspapers at the time about Catherine the Great being an imperialist ... how do you say in English: tawdry infidel?

We also finally got our mast stepped. The gentleman who stepped the mast and I developed a nice relationship in the short while we worked together. He even offered to do some free tweaking of my lousy lazy-jack system.

Mast stepping in Cesme: That's me in the foreground with my arms tensely clenched.
I’m beginning the appreciate the Turkish system. We waited two days beyond the promised stepping date for him to finally arrive. Then, when he arrived at 10:00, we had to wait for about an hour for the marina to clear the dock space we needed. Then we waited hours for the crane to arrive. And finally we started sometime around two o’clock in the afternoon. But so what? Why not relax and take it slow? Sure, sometimes it’s frustrating, but this time, I totally got it.

Once stepped, Ugur went up to affix the windvane and adjust the spreaders.
Just before setting the mast down, I had to reconnect all the wires. The only way I know I got it right is because that night I tried the switches and to my delight the right lights came one with the correct breakers.

So next we are off to Fourni. It’s a Greek island close to Turkey. Good luck finding it since the Greek islands are notorious for being spelled in fifteen different ways.

It’s a small island that is pretty much off the tourist grid. And since it is our first Greek island to visit, and they might not have a cell phone store, we won’t be able to post updates on our blog, read emails, check our voice mail, or receive any kind of calls.

In other words: It will be old style of traveling: We’ll be completely out of reach for a while. Eventually we will make our way to another Greek island with a cell phone store and get internet connection. Or maybe back to the Turkish coast.

We hear the fishing is good near Fourni. So I’ll be trolling.

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