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DESTINY DIARY 2011, Part 1.

The Thousand Mile Cruise or Three War Zones in Three Weeks.
Alanya Marina Happy hour Alanya.jpg
Alanya 'Mme' Bird's eye view. The evening study group.
At the end of my 2010 diary I wrote that we were looking forward to join the East Med Rally in 2011. Unfortunately our 2011 cruising season was not at all what we had hoped. John had to spend some time in Hospital so we had to cancel our participation to the EMYR.
So it wasn't until June 13th that we finally returned to Alanya to prepare Destiny for her 2011 cruising. She was out on the hard and we quickly went back to our routine of getting up, going swimming in the pool then shower and breakfast, a good healthy start of the day!
By June 17th Destiny was afloat again. John was tiring easily during the day, so we decided to take it easy. It looked like Destiny was not going anywhere soon and besides, we had a few small problems to sort before going.
First, the fridge would not get cold and we had to get the 'man' out to sort it. Then the outboard didn't want to play, it took some time to find out that the problem was not the outboard at all - we'd changed the fuel tank connectors because the old ones looked like they were going to fail (sic), but it turned out that the replacements from the local chandler weren't compatible and stopped the fuel flow completely - there were fumes and not only from the petrol.
Next, the engine battery died and had to be replaced. Then, I had to go up the mast to sort the Mast Head Unit (wind indicator) and we had a plumbing problem, Johns favorite! The toilet macerator had to be replaced (luvvly jubbly) and then the water-maker feed pump gave up!
On top of this, the weather was not friendly, a lot of wind coming down from the Aegean.
Fire of Anatolia
'Fire in Antalya - the spectacular.
July arrived and we were still in the marina! (Were we making excuses and finding reasons not to go - I don't know?) But life in Alanya is not too bad. Happy hours from half six every night to catch up with friends and meet some new arrivals, and the Saturday night BBQ's. We went to see a dance spectacle Fire of Antalya a fantastic choreography like the Irish 'Lords of the Dance' but with a Turkish theme; great! We also spent a lot of time entertaining and being entertained, life in paradise! OK we were not going anywhere with the boat, but we were having a good social life and John was slowly recovering frfrom his operation.
Then it was my turn to feel bad, a minor stomach ulcer made me suffer for a while until, upon the advice from our friend and doctor Andr, I bought some medication which stopped the pain. It has not returned, so hopefully that will be the end of it.
On July 13th I received a panic text message from our shop tenant at home there was major flooding after strong rains. Between Hajiba (who looks after the house) and our friends Andr and Heidi we were reassured that the situation was overblown and under control. By now it was very hot in Alanya, 35 in the boat, and disco music most nights from the yacht club restaurant. On July 19th we decided to go to the sea for some quiet and some cool air and check the boat systems. It was good to be back at sea. We went to Gazipasa just a few miles down the coast and anchored there for the night.
Gazipasa is supposed to be a marina one day, now only few fishing boats are anchored inside the sea wall. It was not the peaceful time wme we expected because, there were some wedding parties going on onshore! but it all stopped at midnight. The following day we dropped anchor in Anamur Bruny for lunch and swimming, unfortunately the wind and swell came up making the sea very uncomfortable, we had to up anchor and went to Bazyazi for a more peaceful mooring. Another empty harbour, a friendly man called us to come along the quay, but we discovered it was not so friendly after all, he asked for 50, but we negotiated to 35TL! Still a lot for this place, but since we had power we slept with the airconditionning on as it was really too hot to sleep without.
But, then another flood at home! So, we decided to return to Alanya and go home to France and sort things out. We sailed back with 20 knots of wind and current behind us, very enjoyable. We did stop and had a last swim before going into the marina though. That evening there was a drink in the pub with people from the Med Rally (who had left Haifa in Israel for Alanya via Cyprus). We took the time to find out more about the possibility of visiting Israel.
On July 24th we left the boat, and flew back to France for cooler weather it turned out that we had a heat wave, and the temperature in La Clayette reached 40!. It was the first time we had been at the house in August and we enjoyed a lot of activities organized in the summer months. There was a 'Son et Lumiere' evening spectacular at the chateau, an equestrian event, again in the chateau grounds, horse racing at the local racecourse, where we extravagantly made bets of one or two euros (and lost it all) and finally the hot air balloons came to town. None of which, as far as I know was scheduled in Alanya !!! Fun!
On August 29th we returned to Turkey with a plan to do our own EMYR, i.e. go to Cyprus, Lebanon and Israel. We couldn't leave straight away as it was bank holiday in Turkey (the end of Ramadan) and we still found some repairs to do on Destiny. The fridge would not work again and the 'man' had to be called d back! John also found that there was a leak in the engine heat exchanger, which necessitated a rebuild and the fuel transfer pump decided to give up the ghost! But, on September 4th we went out for a sea trial to check things and finally on September 6th at 14H40 we left Turkey for Cyprus.
Latsi Customs. Latsi Harbour
Customs - 'You'll have to pay tax on those legs!" An evening harbour view of Latchi.
The Thousand Mile Cruise or Three War Zones in Three Weeks.

We used the run down the coast as a shake down and spent the night in Gazipasa again, (which strictly we were not allowed to do having already checked out of Turkey), but we didn't want to arrive in Cyprus during the night, (always difficult in an unknown port) and the crossing would take 16hrs. We chose to go to Latchi on the northern Akamas Peninsula which is part of Greek Cyprus and a port of entry. Because of the political situation in Cyprus a boat is not allowed to go from northern Turkish control to the southern Greek region, although they say that a boat coming from the south can go to the north, but it's not a popular choice at the moment. (Things are quite touchy between the North and South and with the latest rumptions with the south and Israel drilling for gas offshore, it was getting worse).
On 7th September at 5H45 we left Gazipasa for Latchi, we had an uneventful passage, no wind but swell on the beam and the current against us. We entered the port at 17H30, a cheerful harbour master on the VHF told us to go alongside a powerboat as there was no free space in the harbour. Then we checked into the country, the police office was on the other side of the harbour where a friendly staff greeted us and did our paperwork. Then we waited for the veterinary agent! to check that we did not bring any infectious diseases with us and finally the customs agent, no fees to pay just lots of forms to be filled and stamped.
The skipper of the power boat we were alongside, gave us information about the Island and the in's and out's of where to go and where to stop. He also told us about the increasing tensions; the Turk's were very upset with the Greek Cypriot's and the Israel's, apropos the offshore drilling the old problem!
In the past, Latchi was just a small fishing port. Today the old stone warehouses have been converted into restaurants, bars and souvenir shops; and plenty of estate agencies. Outside the port there is nothing to see or do that we could see, other than take a car and go somewhere else! We paid 45 for 3 nights, which was also valid for staying in Paphos our next port of call.
Moored in Paphos Old Paphos
Paphos harbour - squeezed and cluttered. Stones and Bones in Paphos.
At 10 o'clock on September 9th after paying the bill with the elusive harbour master (he also made arrangements for our visit to Paphos), we left. We stopped in the Blue Lagoon for lunch as John wanted to clean the propeller, the water was beautifully clear but not so warm. We arrived just before six. What a messy place, your can't call it a harbour, we had been told in Latchi to make for a particular motor boat and go alongside, which turned out to be tied up to a floating pontoon of the sort that is normally used for ski-boats. We were worried that if the wind came up we would take the whole pontoon with us! There was no water or electricity, but we had free internet from the nearest cafe. The police formalities took time, even though we'd just come from up the coast, - more forms to fill, and the harbour master office was closed (it never did seem to open in all the time we were there), so we couldn't arrange for a better place.
The following day we found the harbour master (Tony) and managed to move to the other side of the harbour, not much better but at least a more stable mooring alongside an old wreck. (Clambouring over the wreck to get on and off was an experience not recommended for the over 40's).
Having read about Paphos, I was looking forward to visiting the place. In Greco-Roman times Paphos was the island's capital and was the most famous and important place for worshipping Aphrodite. The historic ruins are just alongside the port, so we went to see the remains of villas and palaces and the beautiful mosaics as listed. The ruins date from the Hellenistic and Roman periods, with the theatre dating to the end of the 4th century BC. Although the site is extensive, it is not so fantastique as described in the brochures. We had planned to spend the best part of the day exploring, but were back in time for coffee! On the way back, we visited the Castle built as a Byzantine fort to protect the harbour and rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th century.
We stayed 3 days in Paphos, although not the best place to stay, too many discos, we found a good supermarket in town, and good restaurants on the quay (for the first time in months we could buy ham!). We were moored next to the refueling quay and we met s several Lebanese powerboats that came through to fuel up on their way back home from Greece, they told us how beautiful Lebanon was and passed on information that would later be useful.
We left on September 12th and dropped anchor in the pretty bay of Pissessouri, clear but cool water, only 23 (Wimp! - ed). The following day we had planned to go on to Limassol. We called the marina but they had no space, so we called the St Raphael marina and were told, curtly, that we could not go there, not even for an hour. By then we were becoming very unimpressed with Cyprus. We had no choice but to go on to Larnaca, where we were welcomed but only found space in the outer harbour on the sea wall. We arrived at 6pm. The harbour master was very friendly and agreed that there was a problem in Greek Cyprus for visiting yachts. I checked in with the police, again more paper work, amazing the information they wanted, about the engine, the batteries capacity etc. most of it I did not know and the captain was on ththe boat! We were moored between an Israeli yacht and Lebanese power boat (to keep the peace?), the two countries that we were planning to visit and gleaned as much info as we could.
Larnaca Lazarus Church Larnaca Lazarus Church
Orthodox Church in Larnaca. Inside was more impressive than the outside.
Larnaka is well known for its picturesque seafront which includes rows of palm trees and a long seafront promenade. There are plenty of shops and we even found a Carrefour supermarket. We visited the Orthodox Church of Lazarus, which was built in the town over the tomb of St. Lazarus and admired the unique baroque wood carved gold-plated iconostatis.
We met an American couple, Jim and Jeanette on a boat called 'Jungle', a sailing boat built by the same yard that built Destiny, which was a first for us and furthermore, Jim used to work in the same semiconductor industry as John and they knew a lot of the same people - a very strange coincidence!! On our last evening in town, we went to a very good seafood restaurant with the Jungle crew and their newly arrived guests.
Whilst in Larnaca we had arranged our visits to the ACL YC in Jouneih (Lebanon) and the Carmel Yacht Club in Haifa. We were finally ready to go to the end of Eastern Mediterranean! On September 16th we paid the harbour master his 48 and cleared out with the authorities, so at 7.30pm, everything was ready. We tried to leave, but the anchor had become 'fouled' with another chain - it took a few minutes to sort out, then as we turned to the harbour entrance we saw a cruise boat coming in, and that was the moment the captain realised he hadn't put the nav lights on! (Wot a plonka).
We had a very nice passage, a full moon lighting the sea and just a light sea breeze. As you cross to Lebanon, the UN naval ships contact you by radio to check on who you are and where you are going, not a problem at all, just be prepared to spell everything phonetically. We had a been given en a waypoint for the entry to Lebanese water and as instructed, we contacted Oscar Charlie (the name used for the Lebanese Navy), giving them the information about the boat and its crew (us) and where we came from. We were then allowed to go on towards Beirut. At about 2 miles from the coast you are finally given permission to head north to our destination of Jouneih.
ACL Jouneih Jouneih
The pool at Jouneih. Bay of Jouneih.
At 3 O'clock we entered the ACL marina. Captain Naaman was waiting for us and helped with the formalities, which were quick and easy. We paid $50 to the customs and handed over our passports, they issued us with a 'shore pass' and that was it - we'd arrived. We were quoted 88$ for one week in the marina included electricity and water, a good price. The marina is overlooked by the mountains and the statue of the Madonna in Harissa which was made in France. It's really a very pretty location. The ACL (Automobile Club Lebanon) Yacht Club is a 100 year old club, but they only moved into the marina when it was built some 15 years ago. It is really a club complex with an Olympic size swimming pool (you don't do many lengths of that pool), which we used almost every day; an indoor heated pool, 2 small pools for children, club house, bar and restaurant, several tennis courts, and lots of little ski boats. ACL is not really set up for visitors, I suppose that they don't get many!
During the war the wealthy left Beirut and came out to Jouneih, since then, the place has continued to grow, building shopping centers with major haute couture shops, and lots of Ferrari, Porsche and Mercedes. Money is ostentatious, and you have to show that you have wealth - we didn't.
We couldn't find any tourist information locally, but we were made very welcome, and speaking French made life much easier. Our first trip was into Beirut, a big bustling city, John called it 'Monaco on steroids!'. Everywhere, there are buildings going up and the center has been completely rebuilt since the war. It is a pleasure to walk through with lots of expensive shops everywhere and we also found a great restaurant - 'Karam', which serves the best houmus ever. Beirut is a must see for everybody - go there - but don't take your credit cards.
Beirut Remains of war in Beirut
Stylish, modern Beirut. The last of the war damage.
Beirut Beirut
The promenade with the city in the background. Where the famous night life of Beirut happens.
We arranged with the harbour master for a rental car to go inland, we got an old banger (Chevy) which was OK as driving in Lebanon is special, there are no rules, everybody wants to be in front! Imagine a three lane motorway going into the city, well the Lebanese manage to get five lanes of traffic onto this road, all going as fast as possible, then somebody will cross the road on foot, whilst a motorbike is coming in the opposite direction weaving between the traffic. Meanwhile three or four kids are playing on the central isle! - unreal, but what fun? You know the funny thing is that in all of our driving in Lebanon, we never saw a single accident - you see more bumps on the M25.
We went to the fantastic Jeita Grotto located only a few kikilometers up the road from Jouneih. The grotto is made up of two separated but interconnected limestone caves spanning an overall length of nearly 9 kilometers. There is a long path through the upper, but the lower cave can only be visited by boat, (provided; we couldn't get 'Destiny' up the hill!) since it runs along an underground river that provides fresh drinking water to the city. It was really worth the visit. The upper cave is about 800M deep and I'd guess about 3-400m from top to bottom - it was quite amazing.
Jeita Jeita
The Jeita caves, -caves,
Jeita Jeita
-caves, and more caves.
The following day we went to visit Baalbek in the Bekaa valley. Jouneih is on the coastal strip of Lebanon. From the coast you immediately start climbing, up to almost 2000m, then it levels off onto a plateau, which resembles the moon, you drive across this 'moon' (where the Lebanese ski in the winter) for about 30-40 klics before you come to the edge and the agricultural Bekaa valley is laid out before you, right across to the Syrian mountains in the distance - amazing geography.
As we drove through the mountains we stopped in the ski resort of Faraya where we met (cos we wuz lost) some very friendly Lebanese people who told us over coffee to go and see a natural stone bridge at Kfardebian, 50m long, 60m high and 20m wide!
Lebanon natural bridge Lebanon Bekaa Vallee
The natural stone bridge - naturally going nowhere! The Bekaa valley, view from the 'moon'.
We eventually found the site of Baalbek with the help of a local. If you want to see antique ruins, Baalbek is a must, situated atop a high point in the fertile Bekaa valley, the ruins are one of the most extraordinary and enigmatic holy places of ancient times. Long before the Romans conquered the site and built their enormous temple of Jupiter and Baccus (now there's a religion I could get interested in - ed), long even before the Phoenicians constructed a temple to the god Baal, there stood at Baalbek the largest stone block construction found in the entire world, really worth a visit, (especially if you like old stone blocks - ed).
Balbeck Balbeck Balbeck
The temple of Bacchus. The Temple of Jupiter. Baachus' interior.
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