I can't give you an exact figure of how many years it's been since I last encountered snow. My best guess would be somewhere around the 30+ year mark, when I was probably spending a few days passing through England during the winter months on my way to some other much warmer country.
It's no secret that I'm not a fan of cold weather and as I write this blog sitting on board A B Sea in Kaş , Turkey in mid January the midday temperature is 12C (53.6F). Night time it drops down to 1C (33.8F). The only form of heating on board is an electric fan heater and whilst it does do a good job at raising the internal temperature of the saloon and cabins, it's terribly expensive to run and sucks through shore power credit faster than a pickpocket at Piccadilly Circus.
With all that being said, when we recently had a hire car for a week to see the local attractions of the Lycian Way in Turkey, the snow capped higher peaks of the Turkish mountains called to us and like many sailors before us we succumbed to the sirens call. So armed with a map and a rough plan we made reaching the snow one of our day trip mission destinations.
A quick check in with Smiley, before we set off, informed us that if we headed for the inland town of Gömbe that should put us pretty close to the snow. It took us an hour and a half to drive the 68 kilometres (42 miles) to Gömbe and we marvelled at the majestic vistas that greeted us at almost every twist and turn along the way.
Raising goats is a common occupation in Turkey and we saw many goats grazing along the roadsides, but only once did we encounter a goatherd with his flock and we were quite surprised as noticed the sunlight glinting off of a rifle slung over his shoulder. It made us wonder what the rifle was for. Did he use it to hunt rabbits for his dinner? Or was it for protecting his herd of goats from something that may want to hunt them? Wolves? Bears? We found out later that the answer was both.
Getting to Gömbe was easy, getting to the snow proved difficult and it took a further hour and a half and many u-turns and dead ends before we reached our goal. It was freezing and we were thankful that there was no wind at all to further reduce the temperature. Aannsha attempted to make a snow angel but the snow had fallen a few days previously and had formed a slightly thick crust so it was no longer powdery.
Some of the more interesting things we saw at the snowline where animal footprints. We instantly recognised rabbit prints and what looked like small cat prints, but the biggest surprise were the bear prints! Research back at the boat told us that there are still 3,000 brown bears wandering around in the wilds of Turkey and we'd been lucky enough to see the prints of one of them. You can see them too in tomorrow's YouTube video.
Ships that pass in the night
Rob, the 61 and three quarter year old 'overlander', who I introduced you to in Barry's Blog # 60 - Older, wiser and richer, departed Kaş this morning to continue his adventure. He has finally decided that he's taking the 12,000km (7,455 mile) African option and will drive from Turkey to South Africa in his 11 tonne MAN truck.
As Rob had been a neighbour of ours since he arrived in Kaş just before Christmas we've had a lot of time to catch up and share information, stories, laughs and our movie collections. It's only been a short time but the three of us have become firm friends and we were sad to see him go, but at the same time excited for him and we'll be following his journey on Facebook. May you always have at least three wheels on the ground my friend.
Oliver and Dagmar, the 'overlander' couple we also met at Christmas, have rented an apartment in Kaş for the winter
months and they very generously allowed us access to their place while they drove north to Fethiye for a day to get their vehicle professionally serviced before they continue on their journey towards Mongolia at the end of January. The day at their place allowed us to wash all of our laundry and enjoy a long hot shower. It was a day of bliss as we, freshly showered, wrote more blogs, listened for the washing machine finishing its cycle and smiled happily as more and more clean clothing got added to the maiden to dry. Thanks guys!
First time in four years
Just a few days after New Year's Eve I woke up feeling a little strange and it had nothing to do with alcohol.
I am generally in good health, so it took me a while to figure out what was going on from the symptoms my body was experiencing. Slightly achy joints that seemed to ripple around my skeleton, a dull overall headache and an odd ache behind my left eye. As the day progressed the symptoms became less ethereal and more corporeal and I was able to nail it down. I had a flu virus. The last time I'd been sick with a cold or flu was over 4 years ago and I never experience headaches.
The achy joints became a permanent fixture, the headache felt like my brain was being compressed in a coffee plunger, the ache behind my left eye felt like someone was sticking a needle through it from inside my head and now added into the mix was a shivering cold feeling and the inability to warm up no matter how many layers of clothes I put on.
Luckily the weather was generally good so A B Sea didn't need any babysitting whilst the whole thing ran its course over three days and I spent as much time as possible laying down and drifting between awake and asleep. If previous history is anything to go by, then it should be another four years until I experience my next cold or flu and I'm very happy about that prospect.
Things I'm concerned about
Procrastination is not really the word for it... But it feels like procrastination and it's creating a lot of inner turmoil for me.
There are only about 7 weeks (maybe 9) until we leave our safe winter haven of Kaş harbour to begin the next leg of our journey and there are still a few big and small jobs that need attending to onboard. All of them require me, with my pitiful Turkish language skills, attempting to buy things, maybe get them delivered, get specialists to come and visit A B Sea and everything that involves.
There are four big jobs I'd prefer to get completed before we leave Kaş.
The first is extending the stainless steel pushpit rails on both sides of the stern, which will give us a less exposed place to store our dinghy outboard engine.
Second, we'd like to have the cockpit fully weather enclosed so that when we're on passage the helm is mostly protected from the wind and rain.
Third, I really want to have a pair of comfortable helm position seat cushions and back rests custom made. We spend many, many hours sitting there, so it should be a comfortable place to park our aging bums.
Fourth, we want to mount our life raft on a specially made simple mount above the companionway sliding hatch. This serves two purposes, it frees up cockpit locker space for storage of more lines and it gets the life raft in a position to be easily deployed should it ever be needed.
I know I need to crack on with these tasks, but I wake up on any given Monday morning and it's pissing with rain, so I say I'll deal with it tomorrow and it has rained a lot while we've wintered in kas, Turkey. Then the rain continues for a few days and then it's time to write blogs or edit videos. Then it's the next week. Eventually I'm going to run out of next weeks.
I HAVE to get my shit together.