One of the joys of the cruising community is that people really look out for each other. After last week's entry, where I talked about the challenge of launching the tender in the surf and hopping back onto a rocking and rolling boat, Eric from Awildian reached out with some excellent advice. Boarding the boat from the swim deck in unsettled conditions IS very dangerous, so use a "fender step" (a type of fender/balloon to protect the side of the boat that has steps built into it) to board from the side decks. It's good advice, the irony, of course, being that we had one of these when we took over Matilda, but I threw it out because we didn't think we'd have a use for it!
Our Sunday was very relaxed; we hung around the apartment, went for a few walks and tried to avoid boat work, which is our usual Sunday goal. We did pop down to visit and see how things were progressing. The contractor, Zafer, was working on Sunday as well in order to get everything completed.
Monday was a major milestone as the new solar panels were tested for the first time. With everything ready to go, we were advised to fully charge the batteries off the shore power overnight, and then we'd turn the solar on properly on Tuesday morning.
On Monday afternoon, after a quick washdown of both the decks by the painters and the hull by me, Matilda was ready to splash again. We moved out of the apartment, and once we were ready to go, she was quickly back in the water. The original plan was to try and leave on Monday afternoon, but unfortunately, we needed to spend one extra day to complete the work.
Tuesday morning, the air conditioning contractor returned and now that we were in the water, tested the installation. We now have AC that not only runs but actually cools the room it's installed in!
The solar panels were turned on and, after a small tweak, have worked seamlessly since. It's wonderful to have them. Now, every morning, by about 11 am, our batteries are fully charged again without needing to do anything. It's very clear now that the previous installation wasn't done well - either it was far too small or, more likely, hooked up incorrectly. Even on a very cloudy, rainy day, we can now see the panels pushing charge into the batteries.
Zafer finished measuring up the templates for the new bimini, and then we were free to go. We headed south towards St. Pauls, where we were two weeks ago, just around the corner from Samos. It was a rocky journey as the wind had started to pick up off the beam, but once we were there, it was peaceful enough tucked up in the small anchorage. A fishing boat came and went a few times through the night, but after the noise and partying in Kuşadasi, it was very peaceful.
From there, it was further south again to Didim, with no real goal other than to find the most sheltered anchorage we can and enjoy ourselves.
Although the weather and the water are still warm enough for swimming, the water quality is not that great. Plenty of locals swimming, but frankly, it's too green and smelly for us to enjoy! The area around Didim is full of commercial fish farms, which, along with the secluded nature of the harbours, means poor quality water.
Other than that, we've been having a very pleasant time. It's nice to be on the boat with no aim other than to have some fun. We have nowhere in particular we need to be, we've got plenty of solar power (yay!), and we don't have to rush. The weather is getting cooler overnight; we are noticing the days getting shorter, so the winter quilt had to come out of storage. Summer is definitely coming to a close; we're now well into Autumn.
The other milestone we reached this week was that I published the book I've been working on. Called Footloose: Or How to Run Away to Sea, it's currently in review with Amazon, but you can be sure I'll share a lot more about it once it's available! Hopefully, by Monday afternoon. Here's a bit of a teaser (the blurb):
Have you ever wondered what life could be like if you woke up, quit your job and ran away to sea? This is the story of a pair of desk-bound keyboard jockeys from Silicon Valley who stopped dreaming and started doing.
Part love letter to the sea, part adventure story with a dash of how to; it’s an entertaining tale of learning about life aboard when you have no idea if the next switch you press will turn on the thrusters or empty the black water tank. Tim and Karina learn to navigate not only their boat, Matilda, but also a new way of life.
If you’ve ever dreamed of living aboard, felt the lure of the sea, or just wanted to trade the everyday for something more unconventional, this story is for you. Prepare your resignation letters because, by the end, you’ll believe you can join them too.
So that's the week! We'll continue to hang around here south of Didim while we wait for the biminis to be complete. With luck, the book goes live, and I can promote that. There's a ruin here at Iasos to visit, and we'll continue to hunt down calm and peaceful anchorages while we wait out the end of the season before heading "home" to Mytiline in Lesvos.
Until next time
Tim & Karina