Vasco da Gama
Ian Strathcarron
Fri 12 Mar 2010 15:10
Vasco da Gama, has been in Kemer Marina since the end of October, and now we are both back on board, making plans for our departure in mid April. Vasco is as beautiful and welcoming as ever, although needing a good scrub inside and out, and next week she comes out of the water to be scrubbed and repainted.

Kemer is an unprepossessing, unfinished new town, built behind a row of resort hotels on a beach, with nothing of interest as far as I can see. This area, though, a coastal strip below high, snow-covered mountains, has great natural beauty.

Kemer Marina is considered to be one of the best in this part of Turkey, especially popular with live-aboard yachties. Ian had joined in the live-aboard
community life with great enthusiasm and introduced me to it on my return last week. The majority of yachts are English and American , with a smattering of other Europeans and Antipodeans. Many people have spent several winters here, and like people in any expatriate colony, they have organised a busy social and sporting life to fill in the winter months before they set off sailing again in the Spring. Community life centres on the Navigator Bar which includes a restaurant, a club room and a library. T|here are tennis courts which are busy every day with tennis training and tournaments. There are keep-fit, line-dancing, cooking and art lessons, trips to hike vast stretches of the Lycian trail in the mountains, and visits to symphony concerts and operas in Antalya, a big city, one hour’s drive away. The live-aboards live in a parallel universe. Many have lived on their boats for ten years or more. Some stay in the Mediterranean, others have crossed the Atlantic or the Pacific. Their stories at night in the Navigator Bar ‘Happy Hour’ include experiences from nearly all the seas on the planet. Everyone rides around on bicycles (Ian included) and most go to bed early, then get up early in the morning and potter around all day.

When we leave we will be sailing east, towards Syria. The next part of the voyage will need a lot more planning as we are heading into a region less visited
and less accommodating to yachtsmen than the Mediterrranean so far, and obviously into the different culture of the near and Middle East. There is only one marina in Syria at Latakia which is the jumping off point for ancient Aleppo, and we would then head south for the Lebanon and Beirut, the nearest point for visiting Damascus, the famous and ancient capital of Syria, and the fabled ruined city of Palmyra (City of Palms).

Hope you will keep reading my blog, as the next few months will be very interesting!