Gardening was a planned job, our garden was empty of plants/ trees from when we moved in August. Not a good time of year here for new plants in 40 degrees just wanted it looking a little more homely.
Bills to be paid, mooring fees 1800 tl , council tax 420 tl.
Pool needed grouting and cleaning for family visits.
Then the kitten arrived!! Everything else was forgotten.
It's mum 'Squeak', turns up every few days, she is feral but likes a bit of fuss. In March we realised she was going to be a mum. 9 weeks later, they were born ( still unsure how many) after about week 3 we were out walking and heard a kitten cry, looking around, we spotted a tiny tortoise shell walking towards us on its own. Quickly realising that it was one of her brood, we looked for mum who was nowhere to be seen. There were also no sign of the other kittens! After a long think and discussion, we felt we had to help this squeaking ball of fur, at 3 and a half weeks old, this was not an easy decision. With his sticky eyes and very loud mewing, we just couldn't walk away.
We bundled him into a box with a soft cloth, tried a little milk using a very small squeezy bottle. He was pretty reluctant. Having clean eyes and filled tummy, he looked a little less sorry for himself, and fell asleep snuggled into a pink fluffy floor cloth ( a clean one!)
He slept all night, around 6.5 hours, when he woke, we tried again with the milk, managed to not drown him with it, before he dosed off once more.
Our plan was to get him to the local vet, really nice guy, ask his opinion and decide what to do from there. Half an hour later, he (as it turns out ) was injected for cat flu, eye drops prescribed and formula milk / baby bottle all packed up ready for us to bring home!!! Help, that was not quite what we had intended !! not sure what we expected either!
Within 24 hours our lives had changed from carefree travellers to anxious parents of a furball with blue fluffy cloth attached! :(( We straight away realised that we could not actually keep him, but sooo cute! Kevin set about contacting all cat / kitten related groups on local, social media for some ideas and assistance. Geeza, as Kevin named him was flourishing rather well, despite my pathetic attempts to get the milk into a very hungry, claw covered little fur coated set of teeth. He settled into a routine quickly and loved to be with us, either settled on my shoulder or chewing Kevin's toes (I know which I prefer! ), but always with his pink fluffy cloth.
I hadn't considered what a cat actually has to do for such a small kitten, no one told me we would have to wipe bottoms having massaged bellies to encourage toilet habits! In addition, how do you burp a kitten ?
Another trip to the vet a week later revealed a very healthy kitten :) he survived a week in our clumsy hands. We explored the idea of a cat passport and taking him with us on our travels, however, so many issues came up that meant no........it was not to be. Still no sign of a cat lover, willing to handle a now, 4 and a half week old (with pink fluffy cloth) We became very attached to this little fellow, loving the pin sharp claws half way up our legs ouch !
Again we tried to rationalise the cat on boat issue, with our trips back to the UK. Still, the outcome was not reasonable, and all for Geeza's welfare. We were beginning to panic knowing the longer he was with us, the more we would struggle to let him go. However day 10 arrived and at a healthy 5 weeks old, and now nibbling on kitty biscuits, a very helpful lady said she would take him on. sad and happy emotions tugged at our hearts.
Geeza has moved out to the countryside with two dogs to play with. (Fluffy cloth went too!) Heartbreaking, but an amazing, unforgettable experience. It took a week or so for us to recover, he had an enormous impact on us, in the short time he was with us.
We needed to head back to Akbuk for a few weeks to catch up with friends, do some work on both 'Kejstral' and the house and much to our surprise, foster a kitten!! That we will come to in a moment.
Our journey took around 4 hours, which was a good sailing experience. With 13 knots of wind filling our sails, our course north easterly should be pretty straightforward. However, the wind was coming straight over the bow, therefore, plenty of tacking was required. In addition, around this coastline are fish farms, about 20 of them. These are massive circles 40 to 50 meters in diameter, of net with a rubber edge, built to contain those growing little fish. Sometimes ten circles link together forming a pattern. An ariel view would look a little like two rows of massive tyres lying on the sea. Alongside these huge circles is a floating cabin for the technical bits and just to make it harder to travel past ....... there are small medium and large fishing boats moving between each set of fish farms!! So what a challenge, tacking around those like an obstacle course with the wind gathering spread, making our little arms ache from pulling and manoeuvring sails. It's no wonder we are exhausted by the time we reach Akbuk harbour.
Our mooring in the harbour is not as easy or straight forward as we would like. However, we realise that as a fishing harbour, it was not designed to have yacht's and other pleasure boats. We are very grateful to be there as it is a 12 minute walk from our home. The unfortunate thing is that it is always a little daunting coming in, especially for the first time in our new boat! In our previous motor boat, it was a challenge, this boat is twice the size and six times more stressful!!
Our friends were standing on the harbour side, with the harbour security guy and two neighbouring boat owners. What could go wrong !! Actually, to our surprise, the space was somewhat tight but, we pulled in, Kevin at the helm reversing stern to. I, fending off the neighbouring boats with my achy arms and pathetic strength, and we were in.
After an hour or so of setting up a lazy line ( anchor dropped and set permanently into the sea bed, with rope attached from anchor to shore)
We can now just grab this rope as we arrive in with the boat, and immediately we are then stable and securely fixed.
Successful journeys end.
Torba is a very idyllic, quiet location. However, we decided, that today a bit more adventure was required :)
So after breakfast, we made our way back to shore on the tender (Getting pretty good at this now!)
We wandered to the small row of shops and followed the hill up towards the main road. Only a 10 minute walk from the shore line. There was a little collection of dolmus (turkish local buses) all awaiting their gaggle of passengers. For the costly sum of 6.5 Turkish lira, or £1.25 for the two of us, we were very comfortably taken into Bodrum, around 10-12 minutes away. These little buses have improved hugely over the years, yes occasionally, you do still have to sit next to an old goat....... yes a real one, and your payment is still passed down through the many passengers, with any change you require, coming back much the same way !
The view as you reach the hilltop in front of Bodrum is stunning. An amazing glimpse of what you are about to be absorbed within. From the spectacular scenery of mountains either side, Kos (the Greek island) directly ahead. To the bustling town, beautiful harbour and eyecatching castle. Very exciting :)
The magnificent scent of herbs and spices, together with busy market stalls, Turkish carpets billowing from their hanging place on old stone walls, brightly coloured glass and the Mosque calling in the background, it transports you to another world.
A 10 minute stroll downhill slightly from the Otogar (bus station), will take you directly to the seafront.
What a sight they have in store for you, from the Pazar markets full of vibrant colours, sounds and of course the spices........ to the tranquil promenade decorated in marble and sandstone, beautiful old stone buildings with Turkish red flags flying from every possible location, it can take your breath away.
On the south side of the castle, Gulets line the whole harbour, millions of pounds worth of stunning wooden boats ready to take you on a cruise around the bays and inlets of the area. Their gleaming chromework, highly polished wooden hulls and colourful cushions becken you on board. Of course the crew are eager to have you on board, delighting you with their tales and wit. Taking some of your hard earned spending money too, no doubt :) but what a wonderful, novel way to experience Turkey.
Along the entire length of the harbour / promenade on the roadside are a huge assortment of eateries and drinkstops, from the cheap and chearful to the down right extravagant. All however, have an amazing view of these gulets and the local fishing boats working side by side to make a living. There are a few small fish stalls filled with unusual species, a variety of colours and shapes of fish can be bought for a reasonable price. Bartering can be attempted in most gift and clothes shops. The less expensive goods are more likely to be knocked down in price, please however, do not try this in the more exclusive, designer style places!! In some of the marine stores, we have had good deals and discounts for some of our items, without the embarassment of asking. At the south tip of the harbour lies the marina, a spectacular collection of super yachts, fishing boats, Gulets and everything in between.
North of the castle, is another large bay where the anchorages are easy to come by, many anchor buoys line the bay, just not sure if the belong to anyone in particular! The sea is shallow for a few meters from shore, then there is depth enough for all sizes of keel / hull. Again the same variety of super yachts, powerboats, gulets and smaller vessels sway alongside each other in the afternoon breeze.
The vast shoreline if filled with yet more snack bars and restaurants, some with their own stretch of beach, sunbeds and waiter service.
At the far end of this bay is the cruise liner port, which this year, maybe somewhat quieter with the recent world events!
In the centre of these two large bays is the castle, an outstanding construction dating back to 1402 and built initially by the knights of St John. The chapel was the first fully complete structure within its square green volcanic stone walls. Peacocks and crows can be heard throughout the stone construction, tortoises stroll alongside tourists through the twisting passageways and turrets. Only the tourists, however, can ascend the numerous steps and ramparts leading to amazing views of both the north and south bays of this beautiful city. Once we have had our fill of archeology and history, we head back down to the south bay promenade for a stroll and some food. Waffles, well you cannot possibly leave Bodrum without a visit to the Waffle King! So without hesitation, we were seated, order taken, delighted tastebuds and full tummies later, ready for an afternoon beer. We headed through the busy Bazar, gazing at the cake shops and kebab houses, jewellery stores and gift shops, while listening to the Turkish chatter and music. On the north side is another Belediyesi (council cay bar) with the most amazing view of the bay. This is our spot for a beer, lots of Turkish chattering alonside us, we strive to pick out words we are familliar with, in order to enjoy their conversations. It is really hard to eavesdrop when you only undertsand some of the language !! :( Feeling really snoozy, we wander back to the otogar to find our dolmus back to Torba, they are all colour co-ordinated for your ease.