Most of the winter we were on the boat in the marina. During the holidays we headed back to the USA and had the boat lifted out of the water and stored on land. In Turkey boats on land need to be bonded. The marina handled that responsibility. While the boat was out we started the intensive refit. Of course the bottom of the hull was cleaned and repainted. Very little growth on the hull since the last repaint a year ago. The Micron paint seems to work well in this part of the Med.
The most extensive upgrades were to the electrics. We replaced all the batteries with AGM to eliminate the concern for acid and hydrogen formation under the salon floor where the batteries are stored. The capacity was also increased to 1000 amps at 24V. For engine driven charging we replaced the standard 24V alternator with a Balmar 140 amp unit and retained the original 12V 80 amp unit. Charging via generator and shore power we upgraded to Victron charger/inverter and Skylla 24V charger for the 24V system. On the 12V we replaced the Dolphin with a Mastervolt charger. Now we have the ability to create 230V electric form the batteries while at anchor or in a town quay with no power connections. It also avoids running the generator frequently to run the microwave, ice maker, and even the stern air conditioning. Quiet at anchor.
Many other smaller items were performed to improve things for living aboard. More cabinet space, a couple new small fans, repairs to the navigation system, etc, etc. All the important work is done but there is always something to do each week.
The town of Göcek in the winter is mostly closed down. However the “supermarkets”, chandlers, taxis, and boat repair people keep operating. A couple of restaurants stay open and one hosts the weekly Trivia night. Big excitement for the ex-pats. Of course the new tennis courts are open now so many ex-pats are very happy. Saturday mornings is dog walk day at the local pound. An active group works with the town to maintain and dog pound (75+ dogs) and supports a strong neutering program (over 300 cats neutered last year). IT makes a difference. In the town there are essentially no stay dogs now. That can’t be said for Greece or Italy where the packs roam the towns.
One of the dogs from the pound we brought to the boat and then to the Vet to have some stitches for a cut under her arm. Many puppies get dumped at the pound by locals. Better than abandoning them. The pound interacts with Holland and Germany and is able to move some dogs north to good homes. Older dogs are a issue.
Cute but a complete terror with the other small dogs at times. Really fighting for human attention. Good dog once out of the pen.
We did take several trips to places in Turkey, Austria and Hungary over the winter. Nice to visit many of the these places without the crowds. The trips outside the country work well since the Visas are only for 90 days before you have to leave the country for at least one day. Upon arrival a new Visa is purchased at the airport just before going through passport control, 20 dollars and good for another 90 days.
Weather through the winter is mild. Only had frost one day. It does rain and can be cloudy but not bad at all. Spring plantings start at the end of February and most plants are sprouting out new leaves in March.
What we can’t find in Göcek we can usually get in Fethiye or Marmaris the two larger towns relatively close. Beef is available but limited, chicken no problem, lamb, local fish, fresh veggies in season, pork at the Pork Shop in Fethiye, limited alcohol, wine and beer. Local Turkish wine dominates and some is not bad but price is huge as is the rest of the alcoholic beverages. All restaurants generally serve beer and wine however. Don’t count on a local Starbucks, McDonalds or Wal-Mart but so what.
Overall we made many friends here. The Turks are very friendly and want to help. They are hard working and proud of the progress the country is making. The road system is a mix of old small lanes and modern interstate highways with nobody on them. Watch out for the tractor (a favorite means of transportation still) driving the wrong way to get to where he wants to go. But the roads in Arkansas and Pennsylvania are worse than many of the roads here. The drivers are better than Italy but not Swiss is obeying every rule.