Didim – where we and Scolamanzi will have to part
It was a cold start at 5.15am – leaving in fabulous show of colour and light … As if ordered for us on our last day on board of our lovely yacht, Scolamanzi! The most beautiful sunrise took us on our way to Didim!
A perfect sail in light conditions and with not much wind predicted, we thought to stay just outside of the Marina, anchoring in the bay off Didim. Well, we were there early enough to test the holding there.We were only 3 yachts at anchor and across from us was this massive line-up of fishing boats at the docks!
As sunset approaches, with the BBQ ready to have our favourite meal for the last time at sea, we just wanted to relax en enjoy this last moment!
Sitting outside on the deck having a gin and tonic with the sun slowly setting over Didim, there just could not have been a better setting to go with our thoughts … the silence between us needed no word – we were both reliving the great places, moments and people we have encountered in the last 3 years, sailing on Scolamanzi ! The flashbacks of my very first night watch that was so intimidating on this vast open ocean in the South Atlantic, to the bedazzled blue of the open ocean, surrounded by dolphins and whales to the idyllic islands and coastlines and the breathtaking bays we have anchored in! We have come a long way! It really feels like I’m living a dream… so many moments, so many places … shared mostly with the one person I have so much respect for – the best captain, soul mate and friend I could wish for – the one person that believed in our dreams and made it happen!
How am I ever going to get over this yacht? She has been my home, the means to so much pleasure and adventure, my first experience with sailing, my travel companion and most of all our wonderful safe haven!
We have never had any reason to doubt her safety, she never let us down – not even in the harshest of conditions during the Arc North Atlantic crossing (where most boats had some damage or failures of some kind) – we sailed through without a single problem! She is just such a banker! Oh my word! The next few days will be hard! Packing up and saying goodbye was never my favourite thing and I suck at it at best of times!! The walk away moment is closing in on me…
We re-anchored just before it was to dark and was happy with our anchor. The wind was slowly picking up and a light swell came into the bay. It’s not dark yet and we noticed the fishing boats leaving one by one … then one of the boats at anchor left too… and we were wondering if they know something we don’t? The bay is pretty exposed with the swells coming straight into the bay. It is not yet uncomfortable, and the Marina is just about 15- 20 min away if we need to go there. We decided to stay put – we so desperately want to have one more night at sea before taking Scolamanzi in to D-Marin (the Marina at Didim).
At about midnight we realised that the conditions are slowly becoming dangerous – the wind has picked up a fair bit and we thought the anchor is dragging! The fishing boats were all gone and only one little boat is swaying vigorously in the swells and wind! That’s it – we will have to get going – this weather is here to stay and will not improve soon! A storm is approaching with winds of 28 knots now forcing us to seek a safer haven!
It is never an easy task to up anchor at night and approaching a marina that time of night with no idea where we should go! We contacted the Marina and was pleasantly surprised that they will send a boat out to guide us into the Marina. The entrance can be tricky in these conditions – By now the wind was howling (35-40 knots) with thunder and pouring rain joining in as well! They had a vehicle on the docks with a massive spotlight to make sure we know where we are going and their boat led us to the empty fuel dock! Just as well as we have to fuel up anyway and the docking is just so much easier on a massive (open) dock like this!
So this is what Scolamanzi had in mind for us … another adventurous moment for the very last time!… just to make sure we will never forget our last day with her!
D-Marin blew me away! It is modern, super organised and well managed! We were so happy to stay on the fuel dock for the night – and the peace of mind that we will be save, made for a very welcome few hours of sleep!
It was only the following day that the wind allowed us to take Scolamanzi to her birth F-25/26 where she is still waiting for a lucky new owner that will hopefully love and cherish her as much as we have!
Johann spent 8 more days with us on board, packing up and cleaning out. We used Scolamanzi as a base to visit a few wonderful places nearby.
Didim the town is a delightful little place. One of the best fresh food markets I have been to in Turkey is right here in Didim! Totally mind-blowing! The spices and variety of spices were out of this world! We spent almost 4 hours wondering around at the markets and could not believe the size, vibrancy and cheap prices of all the products! If ever you get to a market in Turkey, do not leave without a good selection of Turkish delight – the home made ones are to die for and is nothing like we get at home. That is the one thing I am sorry that I did not bring home in kg bags!
We have found so many wonderful restaurants, bars and a couple of really great Turkish baths. Unfortunately time was too short to visit them all. We really took a liking to this town with its friendly helpful people, a great long stretch of beach, good transport and great restaurants. After 9 months we could almost call it home!
Didim certainly gets a second breath at night with a huge amount of night clubs making big noises!! Dax even had a go as a DJ one night! The Turkish people are very friendly. It is a pity once again that the language barrier prevents one from really getting to know them well.
One of our most memorable meals was at the night we had the clay pot meal called the Ottoman Hot Pot! What an experience! They dressed us up in traditional clothes and made a whole theatrical spiel opening the pot – complete with us having to do the Turkish traditional dances in the street with them and then Johann had to take a big sword and slash off the top of the pot! It certainly got all the attention from the public that they need and it was great fun!
Apollo’s Temple was a wonderful day-trip from Didim – some of the biggest and tallest columns I have ever seen and the most intriguing detail in stone work and craftsmanship! These stone masons knew what they were doing for sure!
Pamukkale was our last wonderful trips together (with Johan) in Turkey! Pamukkale means “cotton castle / cotton palace” in Turkish. It is one of Turkey’s top attractions. The name derives from a landscape of bizarre forms created by calcite deposits from the hot springs that surface through forming mineral forests, petrified cascades and terraced pools. No wonder they call it a nymphaeum (a shrine of statues and fountains for the nymphs) .
This breathtaking hot springs in a cliff almost 200 m high with its travertines overlooking the valley is a must see! These terraces of carbonate minerals (that looked more like snow to me!) forms calcite basins that are constantly overflowing with lukewarm water and forms pools ranging from of aqua blue to the most amazing midnight blue!
The weather prevented us from having a swim, soak or a bath in the terraces’ springs. It was early October and it was clearly the start of autumn – just too nippy for me to want to get into swimmers! Hundreds of other young Europeans thought it was beautiful summer weather – I guess if Norway or Canada is home to you … this is summer weather!! Bathing or not bathing … it is a stunning sight and a must visit if you ever get to Turkey! It is a photographer’s dream!
The underground water was the very reason why the impressive ancient city of Hierapolis (a World Heritage Site) existed! It is believed (and claimed to be scientifically proven) that the water has healing properties! The springs form part of a complex hydraulic system extending 70 km along the valley of the Menderes River. Accept the healing properties of the water, it was used for agricultural purposes as well as scouring and dying wool in ancient times.
We opted to go on a bus tour to Pamukkale from Didim and it was well worth it. The tour does not force you to stay in a group with a guide, which suited us! It was wonderful to mingle around in our own good time, taking way to many pictures and having a swim in the world famous Cleopatra’s Pool, hoping that when you get out, the magic healing waters would have visibly taken years off and leave you almost too young to be recognised! .. It was not quite that magic, but it was a pretty awesome hot spring pool and experience! The ancient city in the background made the pool setting and the cold beer absolutely idyllic! An amazing lunch (included) at the end of the day top it all off and ticked all the boxes!!
The ancient city Ephesus was another wonderful visit – an ancient city, located in Selcuk, a small town 30km away from Kusadasi. Located in a very fertile valley, Ephesus was once the trade centre of the ancient world.
We were lucky enough to get one of the young Turkish guy, working on a boat nearby to take us there with his own vehicle. He has never been to Ephesus and we thought it will be a great opportunity to get there and get him there!
This was my second visit to Ephesus and it again amazed me from beginning to end! The architecture is quite something!! What an amazing place! This ancient Greek city has been inhabited for over 6000 and had continuous occupants for a 1000 years – that in its own is pretty impressive. Later taken over by the Romans, it shows the most well preserved examples in the change of architecture over the centuries.
Most of the ruins are so well preserved and restored (with the majestical Celsius Library my favourite) that for most of the time it feels as if you are walking back in time! Here I was indeed sorry that I did not take a guided tour. There are so many interesting tales and facts locked up in this beautiful sight, that I (by eavesdropping here and there) can guarantee it to be money well spent!
On the 8th of October it was time for Johann to leave Scolamanzi for good! It was a sad, sad moment and thought to see him walking away … they almost became one … Johann and Scolamanzi … and the sight torn me apart! He mothered this baby for so long … from the first mould and screw that went into building her till the last day of folding away sails with dearness and cleaning the engine rooms to perfection! I truly think they will miss each other!
Johann left us behind and the big clean-up and clean-out was now in full swing! Systematically we got rid of what we could not and did not want to take home and as the time came closer, the moments on board became more emotional. In the end I just could not wait to get off and leave … it was a bit like dragging the final goodbye out over 2 weeks! It was exhausting in many ways – physically and emotionally!
As I walked off Scolamanzi the last time, leaving her behind all sparkling and clean (almost clinically and stripped of all her character – as you do with a boat that is going on the market) –the last thought I had was: I hope I have enough reason to just once more come back to D-Marin … just one more time! She suddenly looked so lonely, so bare and it made my heart shrivel… Dearest Scolamanzi – you are just the best! And that is a fact! I could not look around one more time … the car pulled away and in the rear mirror I got my last glimpse of this beautiful proud Leopard 4600! I was silently praying: God … please give her a good owner with a soft heart!…
So…Where do we go from here?
Our time on our first boat, the Leopard 4600 catamaran has come to an end. It was not an easy decision to make, but in the end we have decided that to cruise around the waters of Alaska and Canada, we will need a different vessel that is customised for those waters and weather. As I am typing here, the new vessel (Nordhavn 60) is been built and we hope to take ownership of her around January 2015.
Scolamanzi is on the market, and whoever wants to buy a wonderfully fitted out yacht, which is easy to handle (we have sailed her double handed for 98% of the time). We have crossed the Atlantic twice with her and spent wonderful moments in the Caribbean, BVI, USVI, Spanish VI, Bermuda, Azores and in the Med – sailing from Portugal, Balearics, the Spanish coast, Sardinia, the southern Italian coast, Croatia, Greece and Turkey – without any problems!) We have spent time and money on upgrading her and making her the best equipped Leopard 4600 because we thought we would love to keep her for ever!
Someone once said – When One Door Closes, Another One Opens :
I like to believe it is true. We are looking forward to an amazing time on our new boat … but will always treasure the many wonderful moments on Scolamanzi! This is the end and last blog on this website but not the last of our adventures. I will keep this website active and will have a link to the new website as soon as we have set it up. I would love you to keep following us on our future adventures!
The last notes from the most inexperience First Mate that ever crewed on a yacht crossing the Atlantic Ocean! I have certainly come a long way and will always be thankful to my Captain and Love of my life who exposed me to so many wonderful adventures and taught me that whatever you want in life, you need to put your heart and soul into it and it will come to you in good time! It sure did!