Deks walk # 5 to the Carob Warehouses

  It’s Thursday and so as long as there is not rain, it’s a Deks Walks Day.  Our walk today began close to town so Robin and Julia, back for a few days from Famagusta where they celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve, came to get us in their car.  Usually we meet at Deks but that is the other direction from town, so Denise came to us.  Her daughter and son-in-law are visiting so they came too.  All of the walks provide good company, great scenery, and good exercise.  Most include really interesting structures and some history.  Today’s walk took us to the old carob warehouses, so of course, I had to start looking for information about the carob industry and one thing always leads to another.  So here it all is.  If you skip most of it, try to read the write up about the Carob Festival by Sue Steel.  It’s really quite funny.  I don’t know her; I found it researching the festival.  Funny enough, because I have mentioned carob in past emails, my carob research kept leading me back to our website!


Deks Walk # 5

Walk number 5 was along the Yenierenköy coast to see the ruins of the carob warehouses. Randal and I had once gone looking for them, unsuccessfully, so were especially looking forward to this hike. Julia was there, though Scruffy was still vacationing in the Kaplica kennel: Julia and Robin will be off again for the New Year’s weekend. Mick and Dedi were home in Kumyali waiting for the plumber. But Denise’s daughter Dina and her husband TK were visiting from Marmaris, Turkey so it was a nice group indeed!


A flat land hike along the coast.


TK and Dina

TK works on an oil tanker. He has his Captain’s license and his specialty is navigation. A good man to have around! Dina, we are told by everyone who has heard her, has a very beautiful voice. And like her mom, she is fluent in both her native British English and Cypriot Turkish. TK is Turkish so soon Dina will have her Turkish citizenship rights allowing for more employment opportunities.


A carob warehouse (photo was shot into the sun so not very good.)

But the more interesting warehouse was closer to the coast and almost “church-like” with its arches.


Inside of a carob warehouse.

This carob-warehouse site has the exact same photo! has some interesting info. Below is the first paragraph.

Like sentinels along the Cyprus shore, stand the slowly crumbling relics of a wealthy past. These are the remnants of an ancient trade that once helped make Cyprus very rich. Dotted along the coastline, now abandoned and neglected, stand carob warehouses that are inexorably crumbling into a state of ruin that will soon be beyond repair. These warehouses, built wherever there was a convenient natural harbour, were used to store the carob harvest before it was packed and exported into Europe.





I just love the stone buildings.


The old harbor now broken down and silted up.

Below is some carob info and websites for those really interested in the carob trade.

“Table 7 – The ratio of agricultural products in extra-island trade (%)

Product 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

Agricultural extra-island trade is dominated by Citrus (mostly to Russia, Ukraine and Turkey), followed by other products and potato……77 % of the trade consists of dairy products (mostly cheese to Turkey and Arab countries), followed by citrus (14 %), processed carob (6 %), olive oil (1 %) and tobacco (1 %).”


Carob is another typical plant of Cyprus. It requires no water and thrives well in the

natural habitat. Each part of fruit can be used (seed, outer part) for production of

organic foods, syrup, animal feed and cosmetic industry

Carob processing. Carob trees are one the main markers in the northern Cyprus landscape and the carob pod is a popular product used for feeding animals and producing pekmez. Carob seeds are exported for different purposes (film production, cosmetics, etc.). A producer’s cooperative, participated by the Kooperative Bank Co, manages one storage and processing plant, located in Iskele district that serves all the northern part of Cyprus. This plant processed 600 tons of carob in 2009 that is a vertical fall from the 6.000

tons processed in 1985. There is a deep crisis in the carob seed international market, due to the world over production as well as to the introduction of alternative products. Prices are so low that the last three years carob seed couldn’t be sold and is stored waiting for better market conditions. The other products derived from carob, animal feed and pekmez have a stable domestic demand.

pekmez, (traditional sweet preserve made from carob) explains what it is and how to make it. I’ll have to get some.

In Turkish it is called keçiboynuzu Horn of a goat. I actually recognized the word keçi and knew it meant goat and the pictures of the pod make it look like a goat horn.


Wikipedia’s photo

North Cyprus has a carob festival, but we were home in the US when it occurred. ( I grew up in New Bedford, MA where we had the Scallop festival which later became the Seafood Festival. We also had the wonderful Portuguese Feast in August when the fishing fleet was blessed and there was lots of great Portuguese food.)

Tatlisu Carob festival. (I found this funny write-up)

Festivals abound in North Cyprus to the extent that, during the summer months, we are inundated with the things. We have the carob, potato, grape, apricot, orange, watermelon oh….. you get the idea.

They are always held outside and the village life is suspended for the duration of the festival….anything from 3-9 days but it is all done in the best possible taste.

For instance, we have just come to the end of the Tatlisu carob festival where activities as diverse as judo and kite-flying, photography and fire-eating were on offer. Actually, the fire-eater was short lived as he could not put out the flame shooting from his mouth. He was unhurt but it did give cause for concern, after the laughter subsided that is.

I enjoy the festivals each year as it is a time for all the family to go out together, eat, drink and generally be merry, at very little cost.

The villagers enjoy it because it breaks up the hum-drum of everyday life and generally, the women do not go out too much (whereas the men do!) so they dress in their glad rags and hit the town.

The children enjoy it because instead of going to bed at midnight, they can go to bed at 2am.

Festival time is almost over for this year but everyone is eagerly waiting what will come next year and who will top the bill and which village will bring more to the table than the next. It’s a bit like stalls on Ponty market, all vying to get the best stall but generally it stays the same.

Sue Steel


The sea washing away the coastline and creating lots of sculpture and caves.


Dina taking her photos.


Randal and Dina discussing the housing bubble burst and Khan Academy website where you can learn about such things.


Julia insisted this was her weekend house on the coast. It is definitely a fixer-upper with loads of potential…unless you need a roof, doors, windows. There was a mattress already provided.


But the views would be worth it.


I just like this photo Randal, Denise and Dina


Dina setting up the timer on my camera for our group photo…


TK, Denise hiding Dina Randal Julia and me


This dog was “guarding” the food in the back of the truck…

When he saw the trail would take us by “his truck” this dog jumped in and grabbed one of the loaves of bread and took it back further into the truck. Then he came for another loaf! Not sure what the owner, working off in the field will think. It was really comical.

After the walk everyone came back to DoraMac for coffee and apple cake. I had made the cake the night before hoping everyone would have time to come. The cake was somewhat experimental. Randal and I wanted to test out our small convection oven which we’d stopped using because it got too hot and sort of melted the open/close mechanism. It is also a microwave and that works fine. The recipe, something I must have found on the Internet, once upon a time, called for 1 ¼ cups of cooking oil so I had my doubts. We had “bought cake” and cookies in the pantry in case the cake was terrible. But it was fine and everyone had seconds! (We work up an appetite on our walks!) Denise, Julia and Dina wanted the recipe which I gladly photocopied, but had to tell them I’d added this and changed that…but luckily it all worked out. And thankfully most of it is now gone so Randal and I won’t eat a ton of it. It also had 2 cups of sugar!

Everyone had walked the plank off the boat when I made them all come back for a photo! There was no place to put the camera so we took turns taking photos. Robin had chauffeured Julia, Randal and me back and forth to the hike so was here for the snacks and photos.



Denise kindly wore the white scarf I’d knitted her for Christmas.  Very basic knit knit knit, next row, knit knit knit.  But it did keep her warm along the chilly coast.


Randal and Dina having another philosophical discussion as we walked everyone back to their cars.

Lots of fun!

2011 endings and some new words in Turkish

I went to my Turkish lessons today though apparently they had been canceled for Christmas!  Somehow I missed that when it was discussed at last week’s lesson.  Denise came to the restaurant, saw me there and very kindly gave me a lesson. That was great because she backed up to beginner stuff for me with flashcards that she’d created. More and more makes sense and now it is just a matter of the work of MEMORIZING. Hoşbulduk is the response when someone says, "Hoşgeldiniz." (Welcomes you into their shop or home.) I couldn’t imagine how I could remember the response until I came up with Horse Bull Duck! Now I’ll always remember, though it is pronounced Hoshboolduk and the last things you’d want in your shop or home are horses, bulls or ducks!

Randal came to get me and we ate lunch. While we were there a couple with "American Accents" came in and we got to talking. We told them we had a boat in the marina and they asked if the marina was near the Malibu Hotel on the coast. That gave me a chuckle because that is a small fishing harbor, picturesque but not a marina for cruising yachts. They live in Istanbul where she works for Save the Children. He is a journalist and was the overnight editor for Morning Edition on NPR. She had been stationed in Tel Aviv and Ramallah before Istanbul so I hope we ever meet them again to hear their stories. We gushed on about NPR for a few minutes and then had to go while they were just starting their lunch. We later saw them in Yenierenkoy and they had noticed our marina and asked if one of the huge yachts was ours. We told them ours was a diesel trawler and not a mega-yacht and told them to stop in if they were our way again. Then they asked how to get out of town. There are only about two roads, but you have to know to follow the one pointing towards Lefkosa and G.Maguza to get back toward the road towards Bellapais where they were heading. Randal gave them directions and we said good-bye. We got back to the boat and Randal took apart our front cabin air conditioning/heating system which was having issues. For dinner he cooked some of the meat we’d bought at the local butcher Monday. We’d bought some expensive frozen "bon filet" recommended by other cruisers and that’s in the freezer. We also paid $5.98 per pound for shoulder cut of meat that came in chunks and Randal cooked it in a frying pan with olive oil and soy sauce and it was some of the best meat we’ve bought in years traveling. It tasted like steak. I can’t imagine what the other meat tastes like and I don’t really even like meat. Tomorrow we’re having the rest of the shoulder with the fresh mushrooms I’d gotten at the Monday market. Yum!


December Final Bits and Pieces

Deks Walk # 4 Thursday December 22, 2011


Up, up, up, up up! But it was worth the hike!

At the top of the ridge looking at the southeast coast of Karpaz Peninsular on a somewhat overcast day. We had some bits of sun and some very light drizzle: a perfect day for an uphill hike.


We are at B 13 though none of us had the map to match; we just follow Denise.


Looking back towards the Med on the northeast coast of the Karpaz Peninsular.

Denise says in the spring we’ll see loads of wildflowers!


Julia waiting for Scruffy to come back from her wanderings (a few days before she went off to the kennel.)


Randal was telling Denise how he’d love to have a house up on this ridge and would anyone notice if we did build one? (No we aren’t but it would be a dream location if we had a 4×4.)


Pre-Christmas party on M.Y. Souris Rose Thursday afternoon….

A lovely pre-Christmas Party on M.Y. Souris Rose was hosted by David and Jill for all cruisers who were in the marina for Christmas. They provided everything, made sure everyone kept eating and drinking and then did all the clean up after we’d all gone home to rest!


Our hostess Jill with her camera.

My classmate for Turkish lessons, Pete in the background. Pete has done a wonderful job of writing up his notes from the Turkish lessons which started while Randal and I were home in the US. I am now, thanks to Denise’s teaching and my classmates’ patience, finally starting to understand all of those notes.


Sitting in the saloon (living room) chatting before dinner.

Souris Rose is 65 ft. long compared to our 50 ft.: and wider. It is also a sedan so shaped somewhat like DoraMac rather than sailboat shaped.


Looking from the saloon to the enclosed back deck where the buffet was served.

Pete’s wife Sue is the woman in dark mid picture. She and I will get together in the new year for some sketching and watercolor painting. We both think we’re terrible so we can encourage each other to “just do it.”


Scenes of Christmas present….

There was a whole cooked salmon and smoked salmon quiche and salads and later in the evening, huge whipped cream covered trifle and other desserts. I concentrated on anything with salmon!

And also the fresh fruit trifle with gobs of whipped cream. Good thing Randal and I had hiked in the morning and skipped our usual post-hike meze lunch at Deks.

I’m sorry that I have no photo of David who kept himself busy filling and refilling everyone’s glasses with red or white.


Scruffy goes off to the kennel for a Christmas holiday in Kaplica!

I apparently confused some folks, but Scruffy isn’t our dog. She is a wonderful dog and I’d love one just like her one day, but Julia and Robin would never part with her. Randal and I went along for the ride.


Penny, the kennel owner, and two boarders welcome Julia and Scruffy


Penny sitting on her front porch.

Penny and her husband are in the process of building a new kennel across the road up into the hill and also in the process of selling the kennel to 3 women…I think that’s the story. Penny also takes in strays though now will only take them if they are sponsored to help pay the cost of food and shelter. There are way, WAY too many stray dogs and cats in North Cyprus and so far that’s the only real gripe I have with the people here. They need to take better care that their pets are neutered and also not left to fend for themselves just because they might no longer be useful as hunting dogs or whatever. Most strays are incredibly friendly and just want A HOME!!! Too, too sad. It’s why Julia and our other dog walking friend Mick have taken in stray dogs and why Jan is the Cat Lady of Boğaz.


The kennel….


Being out in the countryside, Penny and her husband have to generate their own electricity.

We waved good-bye to Scruffy and went off for lunch in a seaside resort.


Robin had suggested that Randal and I go with them to Kaplica because the restaurant near the kennel served large fresh voppa, sardines, and I’d mentioned wanting to try some since I’d loved the ones I’d eaten in Izmir, Turkey. But, alas, they were not available that day…so I had sea bass instead. It was quite good and the meze that came with the meal and the toasted bread were all very good and filling. The owner of the restaurant came to our table and said, “Nasılsınız?” (How are you?) I knew 3 different responses, muddled them all up in my head, said part of one and then told him I couldn’t remember what came next! He laughed and shook my hand because he knew we weren’t Turkish speakers and at least I’d tried. I now know what to say….though it depends who is asking, how well they know you, and how many of us there are and ….it gets tricky.


Day 6 of Hanukkah and Christmas Day


Early morning storms gave us a beautiful rainbow.

Randal and I took a pass on both the Marina’s and Deks’ big Christmas meals (Deks was actually all booked up when we’d begin to think about it,) and had a quiet day on the boat. I made some really good banana bread in the morning and took myself for a lovely walk in the afternoon. The internet was working and so, amazingly was our TV. My sister, nephew and I had a nice Skype video visit.

Sundays and Wednesdays are hunting days so I stay out of the fields and keep to the paved road into Sipahi. I thought I’d walk up to the Greek Church and see if it was open for Christmas. It wasn’t but I had a lovely walk.


These chickens seemed to be unsure where they wanted to go and were running about in a dither watched by the black cat on the table.

Then “my shepherd and flock” came by again! I love watching this man with his sheep.


This sheep had come for a reassuring pat. I wanted to pat it too.


This photo was the next day when Randal and I were walking; same shepherd (not in the photo) and sheep.

I had made myself learn how to say, güzel koyun (beautiful sheep) and to ask if any were goats because sometime it’s hard to tell. He told me, “keçi yok.” (No goats.) I told him görüşürüz (see you again.) He smiled and said, “Bye Bye.”


Monday Market

Monday is market day and thankfully, so far, the weather has cooperated and been sunny.


Randal was buying some elmalar (apples) so he can make a pie.


Not all play and no work…..always something.


110 outlets on the port side of the saloon aren’t working.

Randal had to take down the TV and box and mess with the plugs to see what was what.

The port side 110 outlets still aren’t working but now the TV which is plugged into 110 outlets not on that wall, is working…so maybe it wasn’t the satellite or maybe complaining in Girne did something. Who knows? But with TV to watch, I didn’t do my Turkish homework….just like when I was a kid.

Girne with Julia and Robin: Line Dancing, Harbor Master, Dome Hotel, Digiturk

  Earlier this evening we had wind gusts of 40knots and the wind now is still strong enough to rock the boat making it a bit hard to type.  This morning, I had managed to get in a walk up to Sipahi before the rain; but the laundry, several pairs of jeans, is still drying in the saloon.  I knew the weather probably wouldn’t cooperate, but we were going off on another adventure with Robin and Julia (Rob and Jules) so hanging our jeans in the saloon wouldn’t be in our way.  And we each needed some clean jeans so there was no second choice.  I can use the marina dryer in a pinch, but the saloon works ok for small amounts of laundry.  Our adventure today was to take Scruffy off to the kennel where she will stay while R and J go to a Famagusta hotel for Christmas and New Year.  The kennel is about an hour away and then we went to a restaurant on the coast for lunch.  We all missed Scruffy but she’ll be fine.  Earlier in the week we’d gone to Girne with J and R and here is the story.


Girne with Julia and Robin: Line Dancing, Harbor Master, Dome Hotel, Digiturk

Our friend Julia is a member of a line dancing group that meets at a golf resort not far from the city of Girne. Robin suggested that Randal and I come along and he would take us to Girne after dropping Julia at the resort and then he and Julia would come to Girne and we’d all have a late lunch. That was perfect as Randal and I had to go to Girne to hopefully, finally clear up the problem of our motorbike’s exit from Turkey. Our agent in Turkey had failed to do the paperwork to check the motorbike out when we’d left and now Turkish customs needed to make sure we hadn’t left the bike in Turkey. When we’d checked in at Girne last August, Randal had asked if we needed to complete any paperwork regarding the motorbike. We had been told, “No.” Maybe that wasn’t the correct answer….but the agent in Girne is working with Efe, one of the Karpaz Gate Marina managers and our agent Soner in Turkey to get it straightened out. Randal’s passport is stamped with the motorbike’s entry into Turkey and must have proof of the motorbike’s exit if he is to travel into Turkey with his passport! It took 2 visits to the Girne harbor and we still have more paperwork to do, but hopefully it will be resolved with email and fax rather than a very long motorbike trip to the Turkish embassy in Nicosia.

Robin and Julia picked us up at the marina at 9:15 and off we went. Our first stop of the day was at the Korineum Golf and Country Club in Esentepe.


The main building where the dance group meets and where Robin, Randal and I had a coffee.


No sheep and goats here!

The Korineum is lovely, but I prefer the sheep and goats of Karpaz. Our friend Carol needs to come here to play golf.

While we sat and drank coffee, Julia got her exercise! I went down to watch and it was great fun. Maybe one day I’ll go and try it too. The Texas Two Step in North Cyprus!

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The man in plaid is the caller and the woman in blue is Jan, the “Boğaz cat lady.”


Julia and Jan having a pre-workout chat.


Welcome flags in the parking lots indicate North Cyprus isn’t a huge destination spot for Americans.

Then it was on to Girne.


I read an MC Beaton Agatha Raisin murder mystery set in Kyrenia/Girne and the Dome was part of the setting. Now I’m reading Genocide Files by Harry Scott Gibbons who I later found out is married to Beaton. He mentions the Dome also. Robin suggested that we all meet there so we did and had coffee.


Julia and I ordered hot chocolate but the expression on the young waiter’s face should have warned us that maybe it wasn’t such a great idea. Luke warm milk flavored with chocolate was a better description. Earlier in the afternoon Randal and I had stopped for a drink. I was amazed and impressed that I could read the sign Taze Elma Cayi (with dots and underscores not on my keyboard,) and knew it said, Fresh Apple Tea.


Dressed for Christmas and New Year


One of the dining rooms.

………..Then it was back to the car to visit the Digiturk office and to return to the Girne harbor agent’s office.


Geereesh and Chuhkuhsh I think that’s how they are pronounced.

Robin needed to make a stop at an ATM and while he was doing that……


So, for some reason the man driving this car drove into this ditch..

Lots of guys came to help, including Randal. But instead of everyone pushing they made several of the men, including Randal; get into the back seat to add weight for traction. It didn’t work. So everyone got out, the big stone was put just behind the front tire and all the men pushed and managed to get the car out. AAA not needed!

Our next stop was the Digiturk office to see if we could get that office to help with our TV problem. When the Digiturk box was first installed it worked and I watched an old Gilmore Girls episode and an old In Treatment. Once Upon a Time is shown here too; and House and lots of good stuff that Randal doesn’t like, but I do. He likes National Geographic and History. We paid for a year’s service (they are afraid we’ll run off with their box because we live on a boat…) but it only worked for a week. The Famagusta repair man said it was because the boat moved and the satellite signal gets lost, but that can’t be true because it worked the first week and we do get 2 Turkish stations loud and clear. And if the boat moves, the program should come and go, but it doesn’t come at all. We hoped the Girne office would be more sympathetic. The English speaking woman rep called the main office and they knew about the Johnson’s TV problems along with other problems in Karpaz where we live. So sometime after the new year they will give us a new satellite dish to replace the one we brought from Malaysia. They just weren’t sure exactly when after the new year! We only hope they come at all and that it will work. Not sure what we will try next if it doesn’t.

From there we went back to the harbor to see the agent who hadn’t been there earlier. Our marina office had told us any time after 11:30 but we should have been told any time after 1 pm. We got there about 3:30pm, the agent was very helpful, and we left about 4 ish so our lunch with Robin and Julia became dinner instead. We went to a place called Peanuts near the harbour and I had a wonderful salad with salmon. Randal had a burger and fries. Julia had pasta with veggies and Robin chicken shis.


Girne harbor where we originally checked into North Cyprus and where we returned to deal with the motorbike.

On the way home we stopped at a grocery store for odds and ends and then drove home in the early evening dark. It had been a long but very nice day!

Thanks Robin and Julia!

This and that with photos

It’s Thursday and the weather cooperated so we could do our weekly Deks walk with Denise.  It was uphill the whole way, but the view at the top was worth it.  This afternoon/evening was a lovely party on Surrey Rose owned by David and Jill who put on a feast for all of the cruisers here in the marina.  Tomorrow we’re off on another Julia/Robin adventure to take their dog Scruffy off for a stay at the kennel while Julia and Robin go off for a long Christmas weekend.  Robin knows a restaurant near the kennel where I can get sardines like I had in Izmir.  We’ll see. 

This email is a mish mash of photos from different adventures.


Variety Pack…a little bit of this and that from the past week of so

These are some photos I want to share from the past week or so.

Food photos

Fish and chips at Deks.

Friday night is fish and chips night at Deks. Last Friday after our visits to Philon and Aphendrika we joined Julia and Robin and what seemed like half the British population of Karpaz for a fish and chips dinner. We were asked if we wanted hard peas or mushy peas…or something along those lines meaning “do you want your peas still round or mashed up”…I think. It felt as if we were in Jolly Old England listening to everyone talk.


I had my peas “unmashed” but next time will ask for the mushy ones just to see what that really turns out to be. Everyone at our table ate “hard” peas or skipped them altogether.


Deks, “Where everyone knows your name!”

Sunday, after our walk to the nearby light house, we tried a Yenierenkoy restaurant recommended by Julia and Robin for pide. We’d eaten pide in Turkey, except Randal couldn’t remember what it was. It’s basically seems like a cross between pizza dough and bread dough topped with cheese or meat or whatever. My Turkish/English dictionary translates pide as “fat bread,” probably because it is stuffed.

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"Mixed Pide"

It was pretty good, though next time I’ll skip the pink baloney like meat and just get cheese and veggies. Randal ate some but concentrated on the bread and hummus that we also ordered.


During our Famagusta trip on Monday we stopped at a wonderful bakery for some bread and sight- seeing. There were lots of interesting theme cakes. There were car cakes and Elvis cakes, but I though these two said a lot about where Turkish interests lay…


A laptop cake


Looks like the score is 0 to O.

Actually the cakes remind me of Hope Cemetery near Montpelier, VT where the headstones are carved to look similar to these cakes!

“Located on a small hillside in Barre, VT, the "Granite Capital of the World", the Hope Cemetery stands as a magnificent tribute to the stone cutters and artisans peacefully interred amongst their very own creations. Entering the front gate, you will pass by two granite sentries, forever watchful over their abode. From the moment you arrive you’ll notice this is no typical resting place for loved ones gone by. It is truly a gallery of splendid artwork in the most unusual of settings.”


Hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats…

Well, maybe not that many, but lots of cats in Boğaz Harbor. One of Julia’s line dancing buddies raises money for food and health care for the cats. Jan is a psychiatric nurse by training, but a cat lover by nature. On weekends she has a booth in Boğaz harbor and sells whatever people have donated, the money all being used for the cats. Randal and I donated some too-small clothes and a few other things. Julia had knitted a lovely toddler sized yellow sweater, pants, and hat to be sold most likely for less than the cost of the yarn! We stopped in Boğaz on our way to Famagusta to see the harbor and visit with some of the cats.

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Julia and the cats

Julia and Robin have one rescued dog, Scruffy and one rescued old cat.


Finding wool in North Cyprus

You would think that North Cyprus shops would, with all of the sheep raised here, sell yarn made from wool. All of the shops in Yenierenkoy sell acrylic. In Famagusta I found a shop selling a mix or mohair and acrylic so bought some…just in case. Maybe I’ll knit a vest. Here are the yarn ladies who gamely tried to explain about their yarn to me with my very limited Turkish.



Closer to home, back in Sipahi, on one of our walks we passed the Greek church that is sometimes used for Sunday services.


You can see the rope going from the bell tower to the door, making one tempted to pull it just to hear the bells. But I didn’t do it.


We also passed a “just born” baby lamb.

We were told that when the grass is available this time of year, more lambs are born. It certainly seems that way. I didn’t want to get closer and disturb the mom, or the woman who lived at the farm and was a bit suspicious of me taking photos.


We saw a parade of UN trucks driving through Sipahi one day on their way to deliver supplies to the Greek Cypriots who still live in the north. The Greeks have “refugee” status so are entitled to supplies from the UN.


Interesting remains I saw on a wall through the hills of Sipahi

I can see how people could become interested in archeology because seeing old bones and pieces of things lying about. It makes me want to know more.

I have more photos from Famagusta, Salamis, and Julia’s line dancing in Girne. Maybe I’ll catch up over the weekend.

The end of the Philon story! and a lesson on Cyprus sheep

Hi Everyone and Happy Holidays whatever you celebrate.  Here in North Cyprus the Brits and other Europeans celebrate Christmas, the North Cypriots celebrate Bayram, and everyone celebrates New Years.  There is a Jewish community in south Cyprus so they will be celebrating Hanukkah.  And just in time for all of that the marina wifi is being terrible making it difficult to email family back home.  We do have a dongal, so if the marina wifi won’t work I should be able to email using our Turkcell dongal.


Our new friends Robin and Julia have included us on several adventures in the past week.  We visited Famagusta Monday and Girne yesterday.  Today we all did the Deks Thursday walk.  Tomorrow we’re riding with them to the small town where they will board Scruffy while they spend Christmas and New Years at a Famagusta hotel.  Robin knows a place where they serve the same wonderful grilled sardines like I had in Izmir.  In about an hour Randal and I are off to a cruisers holiday party just across and down the dock from us.  Surrey Rose is providing all the food and drink.  After our uphill walk this morning, to some wonderful views! Randal and I can indulge a bit this afternoon. 

This email is the completion of the one I started what seems ages ago about our coast walk to Oasis and Philon Church.

Oasis at Philon and Aphendrika


Time for a coffee at Oasis, a restaurant and beach resort.


Robin, Denise (in black,) Sue, John and Randal

Denise had been orange picking the day before and brought some for us to share with our coffee.

After the coffee, Denise, Michael and his dog Didi got into the van driven by Sue’s partner John and they headed back to Deks. But Robin and Julia offered to continue down the track to the ruins of Aphendrika so we piled into the car and off we went. Julia and I sat in the back seat with her dog Scruffy and I got my pet fix for the week.


“In the second century BC, Aphendrika was one of the six most important cities in Cyprus…… Like a lot of sites in North Cyprus, much has still to be excavated, and virtually all that remains are the three churches you can see on your approach. To your left is Agios Georgios. Beyond there is Panagia Chrysiotissa, while over to your right you will see Panagia Asomatos.

Panagia Chrysiotissa

Agios Georgios is a late Byzantine church, having been built at the tail end of the 10th century.

It was single aisled with a double apse at the eastern end and niches on either side. West of the apse, you can see the remains of four piers which had arches joining them. These in turn supported a dome on top of a rounded drum, most of which has collapsed. Most of the western end of the church has long gone.

Agios Asomatos Basilica

Close to Agios Georgios is the church of Panagia Chrysiotissa, being built some four hundred years earlier than its neighbour, in the 6th century. After Arab raids, its original wooden roof was replaced by barrel vaulting in the 10th century. Further destruction meant another rebuild in the 16th century. This time the church was much smaller, but enough remains of the ruins for you to get a feel for the size and design of the original.

Over to the right is the church of Panagia Asomatos, loosely translated as "Blessed Virgin Mary, the Devine". It is similar in design to the original Panagia Chrysiotissa, and is the best preserved of the three churches. This was also built in the 6th century as a three aisled basilica. Like its neighbour, it had a wooden roof, again replaced with barrel vaulting in the 10th century. On its southern side, the apsidal passages and barrel vaulting remain.”


Panagia Chrysiotissa

Robin Randal and Julia




Agios Georgios

We got back into the car and headed down the track back to Deks only to be stopped by flocks of sheep coming our way.






One last look!

It’s the strangest sight to see these flocks of sheep just walking down the road seemingly unattended by shepherd or sheepdog (I have been assured that there was a shepherd, I just didn’t see him.) They don’t have the curly wool one thinks of for sheep, but what looks like long hair. Researching North Cyprus sheep is pretty interesting. First I found mention of the ancient and feral Mouflon sheep, but the pictures didn’t look like the sheep we see. Then I found a great article about Awassi sheep and it led me to another article which mentioned the Cyprus fat tailed Chios and again the Awassi sheep. The pictures of the Awassi look like what we see.

The main breeds involved were the Cyprus fat-tailed, Chios and Awassi.


The Awassi has long wool with an open, lofty and moderately lustrous fleece of carpet wool with distinct, wide crimps. The fleece con­sists of an outer coat, an undercoat and kemp. It has the principal req­uisites of carpet wool, namely coarse­ness and resilience, qualities that make carpet wool resistant to matting down and to wear under the constant scuff­ing of passing feet. An ideal carpet wool should have a fibre diameter of 30 μ, a fibre length of 10 cm with a 20 percent variation in length, and 4 percent by weight of kempy fibres. Awassi wool complies with these re­quirements as regards fibre thickness and length, but the fibre length has a greater variation and kemp contents are somewhat greater.

The Cyprus fat-tailed sheep (see appendix Figs A-l and A-2) present a special problem with regard to their relation to the Awassi group. They are undoubtedly allied to the Awassi of the mainland, which they resemble in many physical and physiological respects. Maule (1937) writes that the ‘Palestinian breed… is probably the one nearly akin to the Cyprus sheep’, while Mason (1967), grouping the Cyprus with the Awassi, notes that the Cyprus breed ‘is similar to the breeds of the neighbouring mainland and resembles the Awassi of Syria more than the White Karaman of Turkey’. Yet there are also significant differences between the two breeds, which may be due to the long isolation of the Cyprus sheep on their island or the influence of Turkish sheep. Thus, unlike the head of the Awassi with its typical brown coloration, that of the Cyprus sheep is commonly white with black on the nose and around the eyes, more rarely white, black, brown or mottled. The greatest difference is the size, weight and shape of the fat tail. In the Cyprus the tail is much longer, broader and heavier than in the Awassi, its twisted end often reaching to the ground. It is widest in the middle third and then tapers gradually to the tip, making a half-turn to the right or left at the junction of the middle and lower thirds (Mason, 1967). Mason (personal communication, 1979) also notes that ‘it would be confusing to include the Cyprus as a variety of the Awassi since the name Awassi has never been used for them’.

The Awassi sheep with special reference to the improved dairy type

By H. Epstein


Rome, 1985

ps..I don’t know if these really are Awassi sheep…I’m just guessing.

And then there are the wild donkeys…

During the war in Cyprus in 1974, large numbers of domestic donkeys and pigs were allowed to go feral. Most of these were subsequently captured, but feral populations of donkeys and pigs have persisted in the north of the island (e.g., the Karpaz Peninsula). Population estimates are uncertain, and the local Department of environment Protection estimates the number of feral donkeys to be about 300. However, villagers complaining of agricultural damage estimate the population to be in the thousands. Besides these free-ranging populations, the government has been releasing additional donkeys captured and obtained in other parts of the region, in a fenced area on the Karpaz Peninsula. This has raised concerns about the impact of donkeys on native vegetation and wildlife. Although a 22-km2 area of the Karpaz Peninsula was declared to be set aside for conservation purposes, neither organized leadership nor plan was ever set up for the area. Most of this area has been fenced to keep donkeys inside. However, this was not very successful as demonstrated by donkey population found outside of the fenced area. It is not known if there is movement of donkeys across the fence or those outside represent animals that have simply not been captured.

Therefore, the primary goal of this research, undertaken by KAYAD, was to develop abundance estimation techniques and obtain reliable baseline estimates of these populations. (KAYAD is an environmental organization on Cyprus.)

They are definitely cute! But I’m sure they have an environmental impact. We couldn’t get very close and I didn’t want to chase them away trying to get closer. I want one!

clip_image012 clip_image013

We arrived back at Deks about 1 PM. Julia and Robin only wanted a coffee but Randal and I had our usual meze lunch of cheese, yogurt, olives, bread, hummus etc.


Robin looks at our DoraMac boat card while Randal adds Robin’s phone number to his phone. We made plans for a trip to Famagusta the next day. Rob had to go to the dentist (who is Denise’s niece by marriage) and Randal and I were going to find a new computer printer…as ours gave up the ghost while we were in the US.

Julia and Robin are really nice people who are teaching us about North Cyprus and taking us along when they have to go off to Famagusta or Girne or wherever.


Several of our friends take advantage of the holiday season to update their friends and family on the past year’s events. I like them so much I have decided to try it too.

On Nov 28, 2010 we departed Puteri Harbour Marina where we had been since mid August for our leisurely trip up the west side of the Malay Peninsula to Langkawi. We stopped at islands and coastal anchorages along the way each night, primarily because of the danger of traveling along the coast in the dark and not being able to see fish traps and debris in the water. Night passages can be stressful and it usually takes several days to get into the swing of standing two-three hour watches at night. We were in no hurry.

We arrived at Rebak Marina in Langkawi, Malaysia on Dec 7 at 5:40 PM. The next day we started making arrangements to have Dora Mac pulled out of the water so we could do a bottom paint job and get her in the best shape of her life for the long passage to the Mediterranean Sea.

We spent most of December making sure everything was in working order, repairing or replacing what wasn’t, and provisioning for our long journey. Our first stop would be Cochin, India, a distance of 1522 nautical miles and 10.5 days underway.

On the morning of Jan 6, everything was ready. We had said our goodbyes and our friends were on the dock to hand us our lines; it was 10:15 AM. They actually had untied us from the dock and were holding the lines in their hands when an alarm went off in the boat. It was the “LOST HEADING” alarm. The Heading compass is what the autopilot uses to keep the boat going in the right direction.

I restarted the system and the heading came back. We left the dock at 10:35 AM heading for Telaga Marina a few short miles away to load up with fuel. On the way there we lost the heading again. We arrived at the fuel dock in less than an hour and took on 1308 gallons of fuel. With what we already had, I estimated we had a total of 1,919 gallons onboard.

We left the dock and pulled outside the marina and dropped anchor as I needed to solve the lost heading problem. We have two autopilots, one connected to our primary GPS heading compass and the backup autopilot connected to a flux gate compass located in the flybridge above the steel of the boat hull. I connected the flux gate compass to the primary autopilot and away we went on Jan 6th at 6:30 PM.

We had a long passage ahead of us and quickly set into our routine. I would take the first night watch from 7-10 then Ruth 10-1, then me 1-4, then Ruth again 4-7. I would take the watch again while Ruth prepared breakfast. Each of us would take naps during the day to compensate for our watches.

We experienced some difficulties as the engine died twice and I shut it down twice to change fuel filters. Apparently we had dirty fuel and although I had filtered the fuel many times before leaving Langkawi, I didn’t get it clean enough. I can tell you it is a frightening experience to have the engine shut off so far from land.

We also experienced a rotating storm that had developed east of Sri Lanka causing us to make a 180 degree turn and go back towards Asia for 36 hours. One of our fellow cruisers who had left Langkawi two days ahead of us lost his boat in the storm. He and his two crew members were rescued by a Japanese freighter.

The storm encounter and delay caused us to seek shelter in Sri Lanka which we had not planned to do. We dropped anchor in Galle Harbor, Sri Lanka on Jan 17, 10:15 AM. We had been warned of the corrupt officials; and they were. They took every opportunity to take anything and everything they wanted. Helping themselves to snacks and cigarettes we had brought to trade to fishermen for fish.

We escaped Sri Lanka on Jan 24 at 3:50 PM and I was glad to see it disappear from our stern.

The three day passage to Cochin was even worse than the earlier storm we’d run into. I got sea sick and threw up in the cock pit. Ruth was a true trooper and kept the boat going in the right direction. The problem was not a storm but the NE monsoon wind was getting funneled and intensified between the land masses of India and Sri Lanka. We experienced 25 to 35 knot winds and three meter seas right on our starboard beam. It made for a terrible rolly ride. We were relieved when reaching Cochin to hear some 20 year veteran cruisers say it was the worst passage they had ever made.

I don’t want you to think we were oblivious to the piracy threat before leaving Asia. I had been tracking their activity for three years, up until the 2011 piracy season. Yes, there is a piracy season! It is during the NE monsoon when the wave conditions in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea are settled enough for the pirates to use their skiffs. It is also the best time for cruising yachts to make the passage.

It was thought, up until this year, that staying 60 degrees east and 15 degrees north would keep you out of range of the pirates but this year they changed their tactics. In the past when they took a ship, they would head right for the Somalia coast and start negotiating a multi-million dollar ransom. This year they started using the captured ship as a mothership to expand their range and launch new attacks.

This new MO allowed them to cover routes previously used by yachts to avoid them. There was no safe passage. Three cruising boats in front of us turned around. Most boats behind us were making other arrangements but options were few. One could only turn around and go back to Asia, go around Africa which added 10,000 miles and one year to the journey, or ship their boat to the Med on a freighter. All three options were used by friends of ours; we chose the shipping option.

I give much credit for making that decision to fellow cruisers Bill and Judy Rouse on S/V BeBe. While in Cochin they were tracking each attack and indicating them on a map of the open ocean that made the map look like it had measles. Looking at the map, it was very easy to see that your odds were not good.

The S/V Quest was on the dock beside us in Cochin and apparently thought they could make it. They didn’t. On Feb 18 they were captured by pirates and on Feb 22 all four crew were murdered.

Prior to the Quest tragedy, on Feb 10, we decided to ship Dora Mac from Male, Maldives 400 miles south of Cochin.

We departed Cochin on March 12 at 2:45 PM and arrived in Male on March 15 at 7:50 AM. We remained in Male as the freighter was delayed again and again; the last of the 16 yachts finally loaded on April 14. Ruth and I flew to Istanbul and joined up with fellow cruisers Linda and Michael on S/V B’Sheret. We traveled together through Turkey, finally reuniting with the transport freighter and Dora Mac in Marmaris, Turkey on April 30. Dora Mac was in good shape and the house battery bank had actually topped up as a result of no draw and the solar panels charging for the two weeks.

We spent three months in Marmaris and enjoyed the use of our 110cc Honda motorbike we had bought in Malaysia. We completed a 10 day, 1500 kilometer trip into the lake district, the rose fields of Guneykent, and the whirling dervish center, Konya.

We left Marmaris on July 30 and arrived in Karpaz Gate Marina in N Cyprus on August 1 where the boat has remained. We flew out of Cyprus two weeks later for an extended stay in the US. We normally go home for two months in the fall but this time we stayed three months as there were some chores to attend to regarding the lease of a warehouse we own. I’m happy to say we did get that all sorted out and the tenant has signed a five year extension contract.

Because of our extended stay, we decided it would be cheaper to buy a used car than to rent one. Within 12 hours of our plane landing we had purchased a 1999 Buick with 85,000 miles on it We drove it as far south as Savannah, GA; as far east as Provincetown, MA, and as far north as Charlotte Island, Lake Shabot, Ontario, Canada. We left it with Ruth’s sister to drive and keep it loosened up.

During that trip to New England and Canada, we had a wonderful time seeing everyone. Our friends in Canada, Charmaine and Linda, have bought flight tickets to come join us here in Cyprus in late March and will go with us on the passage to Israel in April.

We arrived back to the boat on Nov 18 and are starting to become acquainted with our fellow cruisers here at the marina. When we left there were about 20 boats here. When we returned there were 70 but only about 40 people as most boats are unoccupied.

We continue to be amazed by the finding of ancient ruins in N Cyprus. At first it seemed to be just s desert waste land but digging deeper, it is obvious that this place has had a long history and has been an important part of the development in the eastern end of the Mediterranean. We are still learning but the Byzantines, Romans, Ottomans, British, and probably many others have held influence here. The UN is here to keep the peace between the Northern Turks and the Southern Greeks as their recent conflict is still fresh in the minds of the living.

It is Dec 17 as I write this and Ruth and I still enjoy this lifestyle. We are making friends among the cruisers and the local British expatriates. We have become regulars at several of the small shops in Yenierenkoy, a nearby small village.

I have an internal conflict as I do not want to give up traveling but have an urge to build another house of our own design. I think about it daily. Ruth keeps reminding me that I’m no spring chicken anymore and old men don’t undertake the task of building new houses too often. I keep telling her I’m only 63.

Having said all that, we’re planning on remaining in the Med for up to five years. We want to spend as much time as we can in Israel, perhaps as much as a year. Because we missed the Red Sea, we want to go through the Suez Canal and winter over in the north end maybe in Egypt. We want to go up to the Black Sea one summer and visit the north coast of Turkey. We also want to go back to Marmaris and maybe spend a year there.

That could all change if someone walked down the dock one day in the next few years with a pocket full of money and a love of steel trawlers or the perfect piece of land became available overlooking Roanoke City with enough space for a garden.

It would be a very sad day for me when we do give up Dora Mac. Tears come to my eyes when I think about it. I even kissed her goodbye when we placed her on the ship and when we left her to visit the US in August.

Well that has been our year. We hope all of you have had a good one and continue to enjoy life as we have.

In Memory of Dora McManaway Johnson March 9, 1910 April 30, 2006.

Randal & Ruth Johnson

From bored to busy!

  Randal and I went for a walk this morning, took a new route, saw a brand new baby lamb, got lost, met some young girls who tried to teach me how to say sheep and goat in Turkish, got lost, met two amused Turkish women who pointed through there fields as a "short cut" back to the coast road, passed by two very suspicious BIG cows, one with horns, and finally got back to the boat STARVING!  This afternoon I spent an hour with the online Mango language product on the RCPL website.  I’d tried it not very successfully, when we were in Turkey, but now that I’m taking lessons from a real person, I can use this online product and understand it. 

  I have my Turkish word cards to paint and label and a scarf to knit as a Christmas gift.  I did paint an orange and learn the word is portakal (from the word Portugal because the Portuguese introduced oranges into countries who then named it for them.  So much to do, so much to do!  I have adventures worth of photos to share and will try to catch up.  This one is a start.


About a week ago, Randal and I were wondering if winter in Cyprus wouldn’t be as great as we’d hoped. Thanks to some cold rainy weather we were spending too much time on the boat, our usual Thursday Deks walk being rained out.  We were getting, I’m embarrassed to say, bored. Two things my mother used to say about boredom: “Only bores get bored,” and “if you’re bored, go for a walk.” I certainly know going for walks cures boredom. Making new friends and learning new languages also, has not only eliminated boredom, it has left us with too little “free time” these past few days. Or so it seems and that’s why I’m behind on my emails.

Tuesdays are Turkish lesson days and this past lesson ran from 10:30 am until 1 pm. After that Randal and I biked to the Lamar supermarket about an hour away. We left the marina about 1:45 pm, stopped for gasoline, got to the market, shopped and were back on the bike heading home about 3:15 pm. We stopped in Yenierenköy at the hardware store sometime around 4 pm as it was getting dusk and finally got back to DoraMac chilled and tired just before 5 PM. Wednesday morning was walk up into Sipahi and Wednesday evening our new friend Eve came for dinner. Eve, an Israeli, is a single-hander. We’d met at a “Monday evening cruiser get together” and had invited her for a chat and drinks one night. Eve left today for travels and will be back in March. We wanted to nab her one last time before she left so had invited her for an informal salmon patty dinner Wednesday night.



Eve has a catamaran that she charters. She had been married with two children and teaching ceramic arts also creating one-of-a kind pieces in her studio. One day, after her two children were grown, she decided she wanted to be a charter sailboat captain. Her husband wanted to be a recreational cyclist. They parted amicably each to pursue a dream.

Thursday was a Deks Walk Day with an added tour at the end. The usual group met at Deks 9 AM and then piled into 2 cars to caravan down the road for a coastal walk to the ruins of the 5th century AD Ayios Philon Church. According to the local guide book, “Ayios Philon is the last remaining remnant of the ancient Phoenician city of Karpasia which used to be a marketplace between Salamis and Anatolia.” Thanks to fellow walker, Julia and her husband Robin we actually made a visit to Salamis on Friday.


We were ferried to a spot about 1 ½ hours from the Ayios Philon Church and the Oasis Restaurant where we would have a coffee at the end. Then we would have been driven back to Deks except Julia and Robin kindly drove Randal and me farther down the coast to visit another site, Aphendrika.


The beaches along the coast are nesting spots for sea turtles.

Denise and one of the walkers, Sue, have volunteered during the nights of hatching.


From across the hillside tractors came zooming down the path stopping at this cultivated field.


Oh boy, a puddle!


The dogs really are such fun to have with us on the walks.


They run two miles for every one that we walk!


Sheep ahead so the dogs go on the leads.

This was the funniest group of sheep. They would walk ahead and then stop and all face us and then walk on, stop, and then face us until we finally passed them by.


Lining up to face us.

I don’t know if they were entertaining us or we were entertaining them. There were no shepherds in sight here or later when we saw 3 more herds of sheep.


We left the sheep behind and continued on to the beach.


The beaches had litter washed up from the sea but the water was clear and you can see the ripples in the sand under the water. Closer to the Church is the old harbour where apparently you can snorkel and see odd bits buried in the sand.


Ayios Philon Church

“In the centre of Dipkarpaz, if you leave the road that takes you to along the southern coast of the Karpaz to Apostolos Andreas Monastery, and take the northern coast road instead, you will end up at Ayios Philon.

The church here, was built in the 10th Century, on top of a much earlier, possibly 5th Century, basilica, and is virtually all that remains of the ancient Phoenician port of Karpasia. Founded by King Pygmalion of Cyprus, it was a flourishing trading port, half way between Salamis and Anatolia. It was, however, abandoned in 802, after Arab raiders burnt and sacked it and its inhabitants moved inland, founding Dipkarpaz. (This is a fate seen time and time again when we look at the coastal villages of the time.)

Traces of the old harbour wall can still be seen off shore, but the majority of the village is now under sand dunes to the west of the church.

The church is named after St Philo, who converted the people of the area to Christianity, and had been ordained by St Epiphanios in the 4th Century. (St Epiphanios’ Basilica is to be seen at Salamis) It is a typically domed Byzantine church, with a three-part apse and a courtyard surrounded by columns. There is a cistern and baptizing room, as well as numerous mosaics all around from the earlier structure.

Ayios Philon is a pleasant place to pause your exploration of the Karpaz. From here you can continue to the Aphendrika, or turn back to Dipkarpaz to continue to Apostolos Andreas Monastery. Or have a snack overlooking the old harbour while you think about it.”

We did have a snack and we then continued on to Aphendrika courtesy of Julia and Robin. That will be my next email.


Church interior




Ruins of the 5th Century Basilica and the Church interior.


The mosaics look to be laid out like a Jewish Star.

Hunting for the same spot shone on the Ayios Philon postcard we bought in Yenierenköy.

In August Randal and I had gone looking for the ruins but somehow had missed.



Found it.

More walking and sheep

  Not sure if you’re getting tired of the north Cyprus scenery, but I always love it.  We are holding off on doing much castle or museum touring until our friends Charmaine and Linda arrive in late March.  Then we’ll rent a car and see everything.  They will stay with us until we all move the boat from Cyprus to Israel in April.  If the weather is nice we’ll probably make some trips to Famagusta and Girne where, hopefully, we can meet Heidi and her husband in person.  Until then we’ll do our Thursday Deks walk and I’ll continue with my Turkish lessons and we’ll continue our walks around the hills of Sipahi.  And I’ve decided to try to create a Turkish picture dictionary for myself.  I sketch a sheep or cat or hill and then write the word in Turkish and make flash cards.  Actually sounds like fun rather than like work!  Amazing!


Sipahi Trail and Sheep

I took the dirt trail that leads up to Sipahi rather than the usual paved road. It’s pretty hard to get lost since the trail is through fields rather than forests and as long as I can see the sea, I know how to get back to the marina. This trail actually looks as if it were made by humans rather than by goats or sheep so it was easier to follow.


An animal skull skeleton.

It’s amazing the amount of animal bones I see when we walk the trails. I didn’t pick it up, but if we go back I will and add it to the leg bone and the electrocuted lizard in my collection. Randal found the tiny lizard behind a 220 outlet he was fixing.


The Med and tiny bit of the marina are visible: a security blanket when I hike.


The path is easy to follow.


Everything is green now with small green plants and tiny yellow flowers.

On the left is a pasture for what looked like a hundred sheep. You can hear their bleating and bells throughout the valley. Their Bahaahaa, Clang Clang attracts me like a magnet.



I didn’t want to get to close because when they saw me they started to bleat louder and walk closer to the fence. They seemed to look at me very intensely which is a bit off putting when it happens. I didn’t want to disturb them and possibly attract the attention of any herd dog that might be around. I saw neither dog, nor human, but still since I don’t know proper “sheep viewing etiquette,” and didn’t want to do something “wrong,” I just took a few photos and went on my way. These sheep for some reason reminded me of the sheep from Wallace and Gromit!


A pile of stones arranged to support the branch of this tree.


But not really.

It was such an unexpected sight, very intriguing as to who would have placed the stones there and why.

I came out from the dirt path onto the pave road to Sipahi and heard more sheep so went to look. They were behind what might or might not be an empty house so I didn’t invade the yard to get close. Being watched seems to disturb sheep, and this flock had a shepherd, so I just walked off to see if I could find the high school boy and his flock since it was after school time in the afternoon.


Cat on a ladder.

This house was where I found help cutting the choking twine from the puppy that found me in the basilica last August. I hope the puppy is doing well; too many abandoned dogs here on Cyprus.

I turned around to walk back to the main road and saw the sheep coming my way. So all I had to do was stand there and watch. I did say “Merhaba” to the shepherd and he returned my hello but only focused on his sheep.


Notice the sheep on the far left looking at the camera? It’s so odd because you just feel as if they are staring at you and waiting for some kind of explanation of what you are doing.


The lambs would jump and folic and butt heads with each other and play! I want one!


With just his voice, the shepherd could keep the sheep moving where he wanted them to go.


The stick was just for show….though he would tap it on the ground and that got the sheep’s attention.


Off to another pasture for the night.

All of this walking wool and no wool yarn in the local shops. It is all acrylic!

I probably shouldn’t add this, but Rustam said the meat/lamb on North Cyprus was wonderful because it was so fresh and there are several butcher shops in the small village of Yenierenköy. But at least their lives seem good until the end with lots of lovely grass and scenery and shepherds who really seem to care for them.

And to change the subject…


A sculpture? Archeological find?


More geologic than archeological or art, just part of the hillside on the road to Sipahi, but interesting.

Turkish lesson 2 and stuff

Hi All and Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law Jim!

  It’s 9:38 PM and I’m tired!  But it’s a good tired so that’s okay.  Here’s the story.


A Very Full Tuesday

It was a bright and sunny morning and the forecast was for sun all day. A good day to do laundry. When we were here in August, everyday could be a laundry day, but not now. So when the sun shines, do laundry! But Tuesday is also Turkish Lesson day at Deks. The lessons begin at 10:30, but I like to walk the almost two miles and I wanted to get there especially early to finish my sketch of the Ayios Thrysos church just next to Deks. It came out, “not bad.”

About 10:25 Pete cycled up. Pete rides his bike from the marina where he and his wife Sue have their sailboat Rock Hopper. This is Pete’s 7th lesson and I’m really impressed and proposed that during the week we could meet once and I would buy him beer and he would teach me what he already knows. Sounds like a fair exchange to me. We will hopefully start that this week. Our homework had been to find a word beginning with each of the letters of the Turkish alphabet. It was fun to learn new words and to learn what words were important to each of us. Most of Pete’s words were boat related. Mine were food or hiking related and Evelyn had a variety, but her A word was at which is Turkish for horse because she loves horses as does my niece Jessica.  That led to a discussion about what you call someone who rides a horse which is jokey and seyis (with no dot over the i because an i with a dot is a different letter and different sound) which is the person who takes care of the horse. And very importantly I learned that to be polite one asks for the lavabo which means sink in Turkish, rather than the tuvalet which means toilet though it’s what you see written to indicate where there is a public bathroom. My K word was kitaplik which means library or really anything that holds a group of books, kitap means book. I’m also learning how to make words plural and a bit of grammar which Denise thinks is easy once you get the hang of it.


Deks Entrance

Giris (with a squiggle) also means the noun login. Girmek is the verb to logon.

I noticed all of the church doors were open and a women sweeping inside. Evelyn said there is a Greek Orthodox holiday tomorrow and Thursday to celebrate the day of Saint Thrysos whom the church is named for.  Not sure if we’ll go see any of the service, but maybe.


Pete, Evelyn and Rustam.

Pete has his laptop, his Turkish dictionary of boating terms and a small general dictionary with tiny print.

Evelyn had her Polish/Turkish dictionary and her Turkish lesson books and her Turkish husband who was born in Turkey but relocated here after finishing university here. His grandfather was born in south Cyprus but was relocated after the “troubles.” Evelyn was in Cyprus in university studying archeology. I have a Berlitz Turkish phrase book and dictionary and my google translate which can be good or wrong, depending.  My Roanoke library has an online language product that I think I am ready to try again.  I had tried earlier, but now with the lessons from Denise I think I can use it and it will make sense.

The class really is a lot of fun and I’ve never thought studying any language has ever been fun. So that says something!


A discussion of ‘minced meat” led to these words… ground beef, lamb,…. which is fitting because the board is usually used for Deks specials!


Denise, our teacher and also our Thursday walk leader.

We often have quesitons about word stems and how to make them plurals or possesives, etc. My knowledge of English grammar is at times shakey as is my spelling so this is all a wonderful learning experience. And we have tea as you can see from the pots and cups.

Rustum offered to drive me back to the marina, but he an Evelyn were going to stay for lunch and though it was tempting to join them, Randal and I had planned on a bike trip to Lamar Grocery Store for “our essentials” that we can’t get in the village shops. Raisin Bran cereal for Randal and Diet 7UP for me so I can avoid the caffeine in Coke Zero. We did get a few other things too, but most items we really can get in Yenierenkoy shops or the Monday market. Good thing too because it took us an hour to go the 40 kilometers – 24 miles from the marina Lamar. We had left the marina about 2 PM in the sun and I was pretty comfortable for the trip to the market; but the sun was going down on the way back and I got pretty chilly. Randal even got cold and he doesn’t usually. I bought some tam yagli beyos peynir which is “full fat white cheese.” I’ve left out the vowel marks and added i dots where they don’t belong as I haven’t figured out how to change my the type yet. I’d tried to buy some white cheese the other day in our favorite local market but somehow confused the owner so I ended up with mozzarella. When I used Google Translate to see what I’d gotten it translated it to fresh parmesan! Luckily I like all cheese so it’s just a fun learning experience.

I have to mention too, a local artist, Heidi Trautmann. is her website. I’d found it and emailed her asking if she knew any local artists in the Yenierenkoy area who could give me lessons. Unfortunately she didn’t but has written several times offering pointers. I love her artwork and her philosophy of creating art. Unfortunately she lives in Girne, too far for me to join the Thursday art group that has met at her home for the past 6 years. Hopefully one day we will visit Girne and we can say hello. She and her husband are sailors and have sailed the entire Mediterranean.

Hail Storm, Again!

More rain and strong winds!

  We certainly don’t have tropical heat to complain about any longer!  And I really don’t miss it.  What I do miss is the dry weather we were lucky enough to have had during our July in Turkey and August in Cyprus.  Rain and winds, not so good for motorbike travel.  We did bike in the rain in Malaysia, but it was warm rain and there was usually an overpass or restaurant where you could wait it out.  Cyprus has long stretches of nothing that offers protection so we really wouldn’t want to get caught out in anything other than a light drizzle; certainly not one of the intense hail storms.  Oddly, I do remember cycling in one in Boones Mill, Virginia and freezing my feet.   And biking on the Blue Ridge Parkway when it was closed to car traffic due to snow.  But you don’t pedal a motorbike; you just sit and get cold.  And that was then;  I’m almost 20 years older now.  Good Grief! 


Thursday’s Hail Storm

We moved onto DoraMac in February 2006 so experienced some cold Chinese weather, but not hail storms like we’ve had in Cyprus.  And that cold, damp February in China was years ago. Sweltering in tropical heat for years since then had dimmed that memory and we were sure we’d enjoy a winter on the boat. Now, not so sure. Actually, it’s not the cold that we mind; it’s the wet and wind. Can’t ride the motorbike in the rain and certainly not in gale winds like we had today.

Rain was predicted for Thursday’s 9am Deks’ walk.  Denise said she goes rain or shine, but we opted out because by 8:45 the early rain still hadn’t cleared. By 9:30 it had so shortly after that I took myself for a walk up the paved road to Sipahi just for the exercise. I walked for about 90 minutes in the very light warm drizzle. By mid-day the sky turned dark and by mid-afternoon we had our second hail storm since we’ve returned. It was pretty amazing to experience it on the boat.


Hail hitting the water


Walking on the teak deck afterwards was like walking on ice marbles


Hail in the cockpit


The force of the storm created enough run off from the hills that it turned the blue marina water brown.

By about 3 pm the storm had stopped and the sky had cleared enough for us to motorbike into town. We needed to pick up our motorbike insurance papers and also some small blades Randal had ordered. They were to have been delivered by 3 pm. I put on about 5 layers of clothing including an old pair of snow-skiing pants that Randal had bought years ago. I don’t know what had possessed either of us to have loaded them on our palate for China but I’m glad we did. I wore them over my jeans and it really makes a difference. I can pull them up about 4 inches above my waist keeping my back warm too. And since the legs zip half way up the calf and snap, I can get them on and off over my shoes. So we bundled up, biked to town and were told that the weather had been too awful for either the insurance papers or the blades to have been delivered. Today, Friday, was no better. We had no hail, but we had 35 knot winds indicated in the marina and rain. Tomorrow’s forecast is for sunny weather so we can finally get out for a walk and a ride to town. Maybe we’ll even bike to Dipkarpaz down the coast. Maybe.