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Aannsha’s Blog #168 – NOT Pirates of the Caribbean

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

We talk pirates in this Saturday’s video.

But first, the local farmer’s market

I usually do the fruit, veggie and cheese shopping at the weekly market in Kaş on Fridays as there’s a great choice of fresh, locally grown produce. There are also two wonderful cheese stalls with a great variety of Turkish cheeses, marinated local olives and small cheese stuffed peppers. I can buy herbs, spices, teas and nuts from another stall. Honey, dried carob pods and other seasonal produce are all available at Kaş markets. There are also clothes, bedding and carpet stands, along with kitchen items that can be purchased there. Farmers are also catered for with simple tools, sharp knives and sheep and goat bells. There’s a fellow who makes all natural fragrant soaps and you can also purchase shampoos and face products.

I love the place. It’s a bustling environment, filled with sounds of shoppers, bright colours of wares and aromas of spices that almost overwhelm the senses. And with some of the canopies tied to an old Lycian tomb, you have a constant reminder that you’re in an ancient exotic land.

Hygiene is also very evident here with hand sanitiser at the entrance and the current compulsory use of face masks. So I’m always happy to shop here.

Last Friday Baz popped up to the market before I did and shot some great footage at the request of a few viewers. He also filmed the food stall lady making a Turkish traditional food: gözleme. This is a very large circle of thinly rolled pliable dough that is filled with either a mix of vegetables, or veggies and meat. It’s then folded in half and cooked on a large hot plate. The lady transports the folded piece to the hot plate by rolling it quickly and expertly around a rolling pin. It’s obvious she’s done that many, many times.

With a few brushes of melted butter the gözleme cooks on one side and is flipped, before being cut into strips and handed to you, wrapped in a sheet of paper. OMG and it tastes wonderful!

Baz took his back to the marina and ate it at a table of one of the currently closed restaurants overlooking the yachts. For 20TL (or approximately AU$3.80), this is a supremely tasty, good value brunch.

What’s this about pirates?

We always said that once we built up confidence, we’d sail back to Australia. And we’ve always naturally considered sailing west out of the Mediterranean Sea and across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands, via the Cape Verde islands to Brazil. Then north to the islands of the Caribbean.

That’s what most people do. However for us, it presents a couple of issues that we’re not comfortable with.

Route Option One

The first one is that once leaving the Caribbean, there’s a costly passage through the Panama Canal into the Pacific Ocean. If you have a look at the Pacific on Google Maps, you’ll see that it covers the whole of one side of the globe. That’s a lot of expanse of sea, with very few islands in between.

So apart from spending many days at sea crossing both the Atlantic and the Pacific islands en route to Australia, we’ve got another concern, especially since we’ve spent the last – almost 12 months – fixing A B Sea. If we have a boat issue out on the ocean and need a part, there are very few places where we can get those parts in a timely and cost effective manner.

Plus, if you’ve followed us for any length of time, you’ll know that we’re travellers first and sailors second. So along with any boat maintenance issues, we also want to spend more time coast hopping and exploring what’s on land, along the way.

We also now have the issue of the Schengen Dance now that Britain has left the EU. This means we’d have to get from Turkey all the way across the Mediterranean and leave the Canary islands within 90 days. Or do the stupid shuffle (90 days in every 180 days) between Schengen/non-Schengen countries along the way . Not our idea of fun, especially as we’d need to time it correctly so that we left the Canary islands during November, which is the best time to cross the Atlantic going west.

Route Option Two

This is where the pirates potentially enter the scene. (But hopefully not).

From Kaş in Turkey, we’d head south to Port Said in Egypt, travel through the Suez Canal and down the Red Sea, then east across the northern part of the Indian Ocean. We’d hug the Indian coast as we travel south, and then travel down the coast of Thailand, through the islands of Indonesia and cross south east to the north of Queensland, Australia. We’d hug the coast and eventually arrive at the Port of Brisbane.

Cons of Route Option Two

There is the cost of travelling through the Suez Canal, although it is less expensive than the Panama Canal. Travelling along this route entails providing baksheesh, which is a custom in this part of the world, although westerners would consider it bribery if European officials were to ask for ‘a gift’. Apparently packets of cigarettes are acceptable in most cases.

It would be important to travel south down the Egyptian coast as apparently the Saudis are more likely to be ‘unwelcoming’ of yachts that travel through their side of the Red Sea.

Once we exit the Red Sea and hang a left to travel east, there is the issue of piracy (from Somalia).

And we’re not talking Jack Sparrow. We’re talking guns handled by men who aren’t afraid to use them. Although there haven’t been any officially recorded cases of pirate attacks on yachts since 2011, it is still something we need to be extremely aware of. There are naval ships that regularly travel east and west to offer protection to cargo ships (which are more likely to be targets for piracy), but they do travel faster than we could, so we’d still be pretty much on our own.

There’s trouble in Yemen at the moment and unauthorised yachts hugging the Yemen coast would be considered an enemy vessel and targeted. It would be very dangerous to travel too close to land at that point.

At certain points of the year, the wind (Force 6/7) would be coming from the east, making passage uncomfortable and tiring due to constant beating into wind and waves. It has been known for yachts to have underestimated the difficulty of passage at the wrong time of the year and some have run out of food, water and fuel, putting them at great risk. It would be vital to make the crossing to India at the correct time of year, when the strong wind would be behind us.

Pros of Route Option Two

It is slightly shorter and potentially quicker to reach Australia. There would be land more easily reachable (or in the case of emergencies along the Yemen coast, possible assistance from a NATO vessel). Boat work in Thailand is done well, and much cheaper in terms of labour and parts, which would be more easily available, than it would be in the Caribbean.

Scuba diving opportunities abound. The Red Sea is renowned for its amazing diving sites. And of course, so is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Plus there are many other sites in between.

Chances to experience diverse cultures: Egyptian – ancient sites such as Luxor and the Valley of the Kings spring to mind here. Indian – spiritual customs and amazing food in this country. The same can be said for Thailand and Indonesia.

Last but certainly not least, we have to think of interesting footage for our YouTube subscibers. So many YouTubers visit the Caribbean and have filmed the iconic pigs swimming in the sea, the red lighthouse and other well-known sites. We don’t want to bring more of the same. We want to bring different vistas to you. Plus the adventurous side of following the road less travelled.

I drew a blank at the Caribbean

Whenever I’ve tried to see myself travelling west through the Mediterranean, I’ve always drawn a mental blank. Arriving in the Caribbean is just not been something I’ve been able to imagine. Yet, despite the risks involved, when Baz asked me what I thought about travelling via the Red Sea, I got a huge “Yes!” bubbling up inside of me.

When I think of this particular route, I feel hugely excited and massively scared at the same time. But I don’t draw a mental blank. So I’m thinking, if we do the research correctly, wise up, prepare well and stay alert, then this way home is doable.

We welcome constructive advice

If you’ve sailed this route and have any helpful advice, we would greatly welcome it. Also, if you live along the route and would like to meet us, let us know and we’ll try and hook up with you when we’re in your area.

But first, Istanbul!

Of course, we’ll have to wait for countries to unlock their covid restrictions, as we don’t want to get caught somewhere with no safe place to go. But in the meantime, we have many miles of Turkish coastland to explore and we can’t wait to see that. Our first big passage before we leave Turkey, is going to involve heading north towards Istanbul and visiting anchorages and the Setur marinas along the way (as staying at the marinas is free as part of our Kas marina contract).

So those our our big plans! What do you reckon?

To watch the YouTube episode that dovetails with this blog, just click here.

Until next week, I wish you health and happiness, as you take the actions that bring your dreams to life.

Link to Aannsha’s next blog

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