My grandfather was fond of the saying "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Here in Kaş, Turkey I'm finding that to be very true.
Mike, who helped us to sail to Turkey from Spain, has lived here for 5 years and when we first arrived he introduced us to quite a few people around town. One particular person, who is now a fast friend, is Ismail the owner of Smiley's Restaurant.
Ismail or Smiley as he's best known, helped to arrange our berth in the harbour for the winter months and he's a font of knowledge on pretty much anything boaties need to get done. He speaks English, German & Italian and his restaurant is open year round. So if you ever find yourself in Kaş make sure you introduce yourself to Smiley and do try some of the best cooked fish in town at his harbour side restaurant.
Everyone needs a magician in their life and luckily we have a magic mechanic who can create almost anything in his small workshop. Aydin was another introduction from Mike and since we've been in Kaş we've found his workmanship and ability to think outside of the box, when it comes to finding solutions, to be amazing. Before you spend crazy money on parts at a marine chandlers, check first to see if Aydin can help you out. His workshop is on the side road just up the hill from the weekly market area.
Our relationship with Aydin began when he serviced our outboard engine. He picked it up from the marina and dropped it back the next day after a complete service, including engine and gearbox oil replacement for just 450 Lira (AU$115). It now purrs like a kitten and runs like a dream.
Since then we've had all sorts of big and small jobs done by Aydin and some of those are featured in this week's Sailing A B Sea YouTube video. We're also going to get Aydin onboard to look at two small leaks on A B Sea's main engine before we leave Kaş in March.
The phone saga
I usually don't write about Aannsha's 'stuff' in my blog but the phone saga has had a big impact on my new found serenity. Long story short, Aannsha's screen died on her Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and our first opportunity to have it repaired was when we anchored in Fethiye, Turkey on the 21st October this year.
We, in good faith, paid upfront and were told that the phone would be ready in 3 days as parts had to come from Istanbul. Three days later back at the repair shop we were told that the parts wouldn't arrive for a further 2 days. That was no good for us as we had to leave Fethiye and get to Kaş before a week of big winds came in. We paid extra to have the phone mailed to us in Kaş once it was repaired.
Six weeks, several emails and numerous phone calls and every excuse under the sun as to why the phone was not in Aannsha's possession (Including telling us his mother had died) and we decided to take the bull by the horns and take a 2.5 hour bus ride to Fethiye to collect the phone. When we got to the repair shop the guy wasn't there and even though we were told they could finish the repair and have it ready by the next day we'd had enough of the saga and opted to just take the phone and get it repaired in Kaş.
To see the final outcome of the phone sage watch this week's YouTube video. Lesson learned, don't pay upfront, always wait until the job is completed.
The 'to do' list
We have ticked off quite a few smaller jobs from the list this week and I must admit I'm feeling more motivated to crack on with some more. I think one of the reasons, or maybe two of the reasons why I've been procrastinating is because;
A) I have to think about which cameras to use, where to place them, what I'm going to talk about and how to make sure the story being told is coherent and has continuity with the rest of the segments that we may be featuring in our weekly video. So that's a lot of planning for a job that may take 30 minutes to do if it wasn't getting filmed.
B) Doing even the smallest jobs on a yacht generally means taking whole areas of the boat apart and making the place look very untidy with tools scattered everywhere. I guess I'll just have to get over myself being a neat freak.
Banks, international calling and sim cards
Don't you love it when you get up at 5.30am with a full on plan to get a lot of shit done and the first thing you try to do says 'you can't do this!'
Since we left Spain in early September my international currency card has been blocked. Luckily we have two cards, so we've just been using Aannsha's to buy stuff. But always in the back of my mind was the nagging thought of what happens if hers get blocked too.
So Wednesday morning I got up early to rectify the situation. I was up at 5.30am to make sure that I could call our Australian bank within Aussie business hours. After the call I have now learned that the currency card department operates 24/7. Sheesh!
We've just recently purchased a Turkish sim for Aannsha's 'new' phone and it came with 4GB of data, 500 minutes of calls and more text time than we'd ever use in a lifetime. So I thought I'd take advantage of the call minutes and phone Australia to get my currency card unblocked.
'Nope, no you're not' said the pre-recorded ladies voice when I dialled the international number. At least I think that's what she said as I am in no way fluent in Turkish. But usually when you get a pre-recorded message it is generally to tell you that something cannot be done.
OK plan B, get a small amount of credit on the Travel Sim on my phone. First though I've got to find the password that I set up 12 months ago in order to log into my Travel Sim account to purchase said credit. With that done and the 'add credit' button clicked I was happily told that I'd get an extra AU$20 bonus if I agreed to purchase AU$200 of credit. WTF!!!
As per the 'more text time than we'd ever use in a lifetime' that I mentioned above, I'd need several lifetimes to use that much phone credit as I am a certified Internet only type of communicator. However if you scroll down the Travel Sim page there is an option at the bottom to choose another amount of credit. Great!
But the minimum amount that I could purchase was AU$25. Sigh!
Running out of options I took the offer of AU$25 and the credit appeared instantly on my phone. Great ! Things were starting to move in a positive direction. Plus as it was coming up to Christmas and New Year I could probably use the phone credit to call our son Luke and other family members.
I dialled the number and it connected in seconds and I was ready to explain my plight to a concerned and understanding operator. But before that could happen I had to listen to 2 minutes of pre-recorded legal disclaimers, product advertising and some other nonsense about disclosure to regulatory bodies if directed to do so by a high court injunction. Bloody hell, I just want to unblock a currency card!
Finally I heard a very nice sounding Aussie bloke, called Joe, come on the line and after answering several security questions correctly, it was like being on the old TV quiz show Mastermind, Joe happily announced that my card was unblocked and that I should enjoy the rest of my holiday. Holiday! That made me smile.
Apparently the card was blocked by an overly protective computer algorithm that had concluded that 10 purchases in several locations within a 'short' timeframe that added up to over AU$500 constituted possible illegal card activity. Obviously that particular computer algorithm has never owned a yacht and been last minute shopping for final provisions before sailing across the Mediterranean. It should get out more.
The single call to get the card unblocked cost AU$3 or maybe it cost AU$25 if I don't get around to using the rest of my credit within the next 6 months. Keep your phone handy, I might be calling you!
Thanks for reading and catch you next week.