I know, we were heading towards the Atlantic this year but …
Our plans have changed.
If you’re not going to the Atlantic, where are you going?
We’re going back to Turkey!
Why? What’s happened?
Nothing’s happened, but we’ve been re-evaluating our situation and want to take crew on board this year. More about that later.
We’ve also realised that heading out to the Atlantic will mean spending several weeks in the countries west of Greece (obviously lol) and possibly having to spend a month or two in Spain or Gibraltar. After doing the research, it turns out that the further west we go, the higher the cost of living gets, and coupled with the poor exchange rate of the Euro to our Australian dollar, we felt a bit edgy.
As you can see the exchange rate for Euros/Aussie dollars isn’t good for us. We only get 61 Euro cents for every Australian dollar.
Compare this to Turkish Lira / Aussie dollars exchange rate. For every Aussie dollar we get 4 Turkish Liras.
Cost of marinas
Also, looking at many of the stretches of Italian, French and Spanish coastlines, there are a lot fewer safe, sheltered anchorages (compared to Greece and Turkey) if the wind picks up or changes direction, which means we’d very likely have to spend much more time in marinas as we travel west than we’d originally anticipated.
In Spain alone, marina prices (and I’ve checked fourteen of them) range from AU$7,000 to AU$21,000 for 12 months. That is AU$19 – AU$57 per day if you divide the annual rate by 365. But actual daily rates are higher. For instance, while the annual rate to stay at the yacht port of Cartagena is EUR 5,062.90 / AU$8170, one night at Cartagena marina actually costs 32.76 Euros / AU$55.40. A month would cost us 452.20 Euros / AU$764.92. If we stayed over winter (as we’d need to if we remained in the Med), you can figure out the cost for yourself.
Given that we’d also probably have to stay a month or so to do final boat maintenance (including getting a code zero sail which is another cost) before crossing the Pond, all of those amounts start to add up.
Cost of living
For us, coupled with the Euro/Aussie Dollar exchange rate, the cost of living in Europe is crazy. Even in Greece. Here’s a chart which shows a comparison courtesy of Cost of Living.
The colour of each country on the map corresponds to the price level in this country [USA] divided by the average world prices for the same goods and services multiplied by 100%. Green shows the lowest prices while red shows the highest.
As you can see, Greece and Spain have a cost of living that is almost on par with the US, but Italy and France are quite a lot higher at 126% and 142% respectively. By comparison, Turkey has a much lower cost of living at 69%.
(As a point of interest, my Aussie friends might like to note the cost of living in Australia is one of the highest in the world).
Turkey is looking good
Given our income is currently fairly low, Turkey is looking like a good place to regroup. But money isn’t our only driving factor. Apart from being a country that we love, with people who are incredibly warm and welcoming, we have other reasons:
First and foremost is friendship
We have what I like to call sailor-soul-family in Kaş and over this last year we’ve missed them dearly and realised how important it is to be able to spend time with them.
Winter at a marina is a must
I know, we swore we’d only live at anchor. Well, we’ve got our reasons for this too …
Wherever we are in winter, we will need to be somewhere protected from the fierce storms that rage across the Mediterranean and Aegean during the European winter months. These bad boys can kick up big waves with their high knots, making staying at anchor untenable – stupid even.
Given that we’ve decided to return to Turkey, we’ve been looking at our options and Kaş is one of the most sheltered areas along that coast.
Taking on crew
Over the months Baz and I have received many emails from subscribers saying that they’re considering following in our footsteps of selling their home and buying a yacht and they find our YouTube videos inspirational. Many haven’t any sailing experience. Some have never stepped on board a boat before.
Baz and I have talked about this and realised that we could give our subscribers the opportunity to experience the liveaboard lifestyle in a cost effective and friendly way. A ‘try before they buy’ experience. So we’re going to take on crew a week at a time, let them stay on board, share our meals, go out sailing (weather permitting) and discover for themselves the reality of the sailing life.
For those who haven’t been aboard a yacht, it will also be a chance to find out how you handle being on the sea. You can see how the ship’s systems work, learn about cooking and storing food in the small galley and even have a go at basic crewing.
Being based at a marina will make it much easier to transport crew and their luggage to and from A B Sea, as well as providing the conveniences that come with marinas.
Why not return to Kaş town harbour?
In summer, the harbour is full of gullets, so it wouldn’t be feasible during the peak season. And I remember how difficult it was for us to navigate the passerelle from the high dock down onto A B Sea. I can’t imagine how hard it would be for new crew plus their luggage!
Kaş Marina is one of ten Setur marinas in Turkey
Taking out an annual contract with Kaş marina would provide us with a full 12 months protection at relatively little more expense than if we took out a contract for the winter months alone (given annual costs are cheaper than monthly, which are cheaper than daily rates). Included in the annual contract is the opportunity to stay at each of the other Setur marinas for 30 days per marina during the 12 month contract. This would allow us to sail up and down the Turkish coast and pick up/drop off crew at different locations.
Kaş is also in an ideal situation for crew to explore the region if they choose, as the town is situated on the ancient Lycian Way.
Anchor and marina
We would also have the flexibility to stay at anchor or a marina, giving our crew an opportunity to decide which would be a better choice for them.
Turkey has a myriad of stunning anchorage locations up and down its coastline and with the strict legislation, the sea water clarity is crystalline, making it ideal for snorkelling off the back of the boat. In fact there are so many anchorages, we’ll be able to explore many new ones, along with visiting old favourites like Karacaoren.
They have hair dryers in the marina shower blocks
Don't say a marina is an expensive way to dry my hair, I just thought I’d throw that in as a joke! It’s true though, we don’t have a hair dryer on board as you’ve probably noticed on our videos! And I must say, I do love the luxury of showering and washing in style on land! It’s amazing what you learn to value once you live on board a floating tiny home.
Before we go to Turkey though, we’ve got to get the old girl back in the water and that means ticking jobs off the Boat Jobs List.
Baz goes into greater detail in his blog, but this week we tackled:
Cleaning the dinghy
Added fins to the outboard engine
Topped and tailed the anchor chain and repositioned the 10 metre markers
I went up the mast and changed the steaming light bulb. That still isn’t working so we’ll have to investigate that further. Going up the mast wasn’t as scary as I’d thought, and coming down was more uncomfortable. I was safe though, I had on a safety harness and the bosun’s chair. Nothing like redundancy.
Next week, we’ll have a look at the keel and see what’s really going on. But until then, have a great few days, wherever you are. If you’re interested in coming aboard as crew to see if you like the liveaboard lifestyle, send us an email by clicking here.
If you’d like to see the video that accompanies this blog, just click here.