Monday, April 18, 2011

Sailing the Greek and Turkish Isles Coming September 2010

I have my itinerary set for the 2011 trip everybody picked for me. From my research I have found that the eastern side of the Greek Isles offers some of the richest history and also allows me to visit the Turkish Isles. I may even extend my trip and visit the interior of Turkey. Below is the itinerary for the trip. I will be sailing on a The T.G. Ellyson a 44 foot sail boat.

Please vote on where I should go in 2012 (Poll in on the left)

Gocek . The Club Marina in Gocek is the scenic ultimate in yacht marinas. It is situated up against pined slopes of a national forest in the NW corner of the Gulf of Fethiye twenty-five minutes by road from Dalaman International Airport.

Tomb Bay (1st night). An easy six mile sail from Gocek, on the wind, Tomb Bay is the idyllic site of ancient Crya, a Carian and Lycian city-state the citizens of which are believed to have been bi-lingual and the ruins of which date from the 5th century BC. Among numerous tombs are the remains of a Roman-Byzantine baths once fed by a nearby spring, while the Carian acropolis immediately above is distinguished by both outer and inner walls of mixed ashlar and polygonal masonry. Positioned around the bay's startling and inviting blue sea are two 4th century BC Ionic temple tombs, three house tombs, numerous pigeon-hole tombs, and a free-standing vaulted tomb. Lycians are believed to have been Cretans driven from Crete by Minos of Knossos. Carians are thought to have been native to Asia Minor.

Ekincik (2nd night). Twenty-seven miles from Tomb Bay, on the wind, Ekincik is like, well, a mountain lake plopped down with its own pine trees against the red buttes of Sedona, Arizona. And does it have a restaurant! Perhaps Turkey's best comprehensive menu. River boat piloted by our friend Aladdin to ancient Caunos. You can read about Caunos in Herodotus's History, a city-state and maritime power. Dramatic rock tombs further up river near Dalyan and its fresh-water lake.

Kumlu Buku (3rd night). Ancient Amos fifteen miles on and off the wind west of Ekincik. Ruins a short climb above the beach, including an early Hellenistic theater with a hill-top view of Marmaris Bay. Behind the beach below is an extravagant example of modern bank-insider excess. At the other end of the beach is a restaurant featuring superb Beijing cuisine and unsurpassed ice cream crepes.

Loryma (4th night). A Rhodian outpost twenty miles off and on the wind from Kumlu Buku, the fortress here dates from the third century BC while the two acropolei are Chersonese and centuries older. The anchorage during the fourth century harbored the Persian fleet of Conon the Athenian while it prepared to end Sparta's sea supremacy in a battle fought nearby. The seafood at Kucuk Mustafa's can be surprisingly good, while one of the statue bases in his back yard may well have supported a bronze Conon. Meanwhile the swimming and kayaking (the TGE carries two kayaks, a single and a twin) in clear water over a sand bottom doesn't get much better.

Datca (5th night). Nineteen miles on and off the wind from Loryma, Datca was Knidos before Knidos moved to the Triopian cliffs about 365 years before the Christian era. As Knidos the city was famous for its school of medicine, and many Knidian medical analyses have come down to us as parts of the Hippocratic Collection. Later, as Stadia (whence Datca), the city flourished as an agricultural center. Now it's a resort town where rug merchants are somewhat reasonable if still cunning. The Kebapca above the harbor has a fine ambience, a wonderful view, and good kebaps. Port of Exit.

Simi (6th night). Having put into 248 Greek islands, this one, seven miles off the wind from Datca, is among the more striking. Simi Town has a special charm with neo-classical homes of long-gone sea captains climbing steep harbor slopes. From the heights above Simi Town see the straits in which the Spartan fleet in 411 BC trapped the Athenian fleet, beginning a six-year decline in Athenian maritime dominance culminating in final defeat at Aegospotami. See as well remains of the tropaion (monument) erected to celebrate the local victory. The best taverna dining in Simi may be had at Meraklis one block south of the harbor, while the seafood at Taverna Manos fronting the harbor is popular at upscale prices. Port of Entry.

Ova Buku (7th night). Fifteen off-the-wind miles from Simi Town, Ova Buku is a sleepy resort beneath steep slopes close by ancient Triopium. The latter is situated within fortified Archaic-period settlement walls with bastion above the village of Kumyer, the walls still standing to a height of 25-feet. If visiting, take a rope with which to rappel into the largest cistern where amphorae lie about. Also take a metal detector to locate hoarded coins. In Ova Buku the principal attractions are beaches fronting Ogun's Place, while at Ogun's Place the camaraderie is welcoming and the fare superior.

Knidos (8th day). Sounds Greek but is Turkish, a clear-water cove at the tip of the Doric Peninsula twelve miles off and on the wind from Ova Buku. Triopian cliffs seasonally flush in rosemary and myrtle. Theater and stoa at the water's edge. Temple of Aphrodite once housing Praxitele's first nude. Great swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling over underwater ruins. A must visit.

Pali, Nisiros (8th night). A motor-bike island ten sailing miles west of Knidos, Nisiros is a volcanic cousin to the more-visited Santorini, last erupting 25 thousand years ago. Its verdant exterior and quaint rim-villages mask a crater floor nevertheless still bubbling in places. Thick-soled shoes are recommended, as is a visit to the ancient city said by some to have the finest Classical Period walls in all of Greece. Wonderful dining at Christina's Taverna Afrodite.

Kos Town, Kos (9th night). One hour by air from Athens and eleven miles by fast ferry to Bodrum, Kos is one of the green Dodecanese islands, its beaches and inland treks popular with travelers since Cleopatra. It is also the birthplace of Hippocrates, and is remarkable both for its beaches and for its evidence of history. Among the latter is the medieval fortress built in AD 1470 by the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem in part from Hellenistic blocks purloined from the Asklepeion school of medicine founded in 357 BCE in memory of Hippocrates. Both are worth a visit. Fine dining on the beach at Taverna Spitaki immediately east of Kos Island Marina.

Should be a great Trip.



Thursday, April 7, 2011

National Half Marathon and Skiing in Colorado

National Half Marathon:

After a week in St John celebrating DUG turning 50 not much can be better. As I had said, since I got back to the US on Margarite's dime I figured I should take advantage of it.

My brother 337 had been wanting to do the National Half Marathon, I told him I would join him. The race runs all through Washington D.C. Even if you are not a runner you will enjoy this race. 337 had been training hard especially the week before the race. He decreased his sleep to just a few hours a night and increased his drinking to a 12 pack a day. By race day he was primed and hung over. The weather was perfect sunny and 45 degrees. Our pace was a consistent 9 min 40 second per mile. Nothing to write home about but respectable. At mile 7, 337 starting going into convulsions at first I started to panic, but then I realized he was dry heaving from being hung over, dehydrated and maybe a still little drunk. Even with the dry heaves 337 held his pace. At mile ten a mild case of diarrhea hit 337. While he showed true stamina with the strength of his sphincter muscle he did have to end the race. We had been running for an hour and forty minutes and had reach the ten mile mark. There was nothing I could do to help 337 with his diarrhea so I went on to finish the race. I had 3.1 miles to go a 5K. I really wanted to be under 2 hours. I would have to do a 20 minute 5K not bad for a 50 year old fart.

I finished in 1 hour 58 minutes for an 18 minute 5 K. I know I ran fast but not that fast so something had to be wrong with my watch.

The best part, we all had a bunch of fun.

I would like to give an honorable mention to Dan the Man Van Bellingham. Dan the Man Van Bellingham ran the full marathon in 3 hours and 30 minutes (the clock shows over 3:31 but his time was behind the clock time).

Now for a small world story before the race I was sitting in the parking lot of RFK stadium in Washington D.C. This is where the race started. Who pulls up next to me? Flower, from our Hells Canyon Snake River rafting trip. So we meet in Idaho do not talk / have any contact for 2 years and then in a parking lot of 16,000 cars Flower parks right next to DUG. What are the odds?

From Washington D.C. To Colorado:

My last chance to ski in Colorado for the season. Jack Daniel a friend of my brothers and sister in law is joining me. Jack Daniel the great, great, great grandson and heir to the Jack Daniel Distillery is not just a great guy, but as you might expect from a person that grew up in the Whiskey Business he is somewhat particular and peculiar. For example he has ski goggles with a fan built in to keep them from fogging up. Everybody else I know just cleans their goggles with a tissue or lint free cloth. His gloves are electric to keep his hands warm. He actually brought 4 pairs of skis and 2 pairs of boots. He switches between three pairs changing them each ski run depending on how his run went and the conditions. He saves one pair for after lunch. His thought process is that after he eats lunch he weighs more, so he needs a pair of skis to match the extra weight. I told Jack Daniel to just take a Duce after lunch and everything will balance out.

Friday was a great day of skiing. In our group was "A" , Sue, Jack Daniel and myself. It was 60 degrees "A" was just wearing a T-Shirt and of course ski pants.

Saturday was so nice we skipped skiing and Ross and I did a very hilly fast bike ride. 60 miles covered in 3 hours. Elevation change over 4,000 feet, the last 10 miles was up hill with a 37 MPH head wind, what a great ride.

Sunday another exciting day of skiing you may remember Rita, "A's" girl friend was joining us. I found out that Rita is a world class snow boarder. She has won several Junior Olympic medals. Her snow boarding abilities are second to none. Also joining us was Sue "A's" mom.

We showed up to 3 inches of fresh snow and more coming down. By the end of the day over 24 inches of new snow had falling. Jack Daniel hurt his back carrying all his ski gear so he was skiing the bunny slopes by himself.

Sue on a snow board was paired with me, while "A" was off with Rita. I had never skied in such deep powder. Think about skiing where you can not see your skis. Tons of fun for a beginner skier like me. Sue on a snowboard was unbelievable. It was like watching a genie fly on a magic carpet. I found out snow boards float on top of powder while skis slip under the powder.

I felt like it was my first day of skiing, I accomplished several head plants followed by minutes of searching for my skis and poles. At 3:30 Sue and I were on the lift heading for our last run. All of a sudden both our phones started ringing. Not wanting to drop our phones from the lift we did not answer. As soon as the phones stopped ringing they would start ringing again. Once we got off the lift we saw "A" had been calling us so we thought we should call him back. He had some awful news.

Rita had been attempting a 250 foot jump. That is 250 vertical feet. She completed 5, 360 degree rotating flips when she realized a run away skier was directly where she was about to land. Rather then plant her landing which would of surely killed the run away skier, Rita at the last moment some how wiggled her hips which moved her entire body about 20 feet to the right of her planned landing place. Unfortunately the wiggle offset her rotation and she landed directly on her head. "A" went on to tell us Rita was upside down buried in the snow up to her belly button.

Luckily Rita has a hard head and only suffered a minor concussion . Sue and I raced to the medic hospital. When we got there we found out Rita actually had no injuries from her fall and landing. The concussion happened when the ski patrol took Rita down the mountain in the sled. The patroller forgot to strap her head down and each bump forced Rita's head to SMASH against the metal sled which is what caused the concussion. (Since Rita has sponsors she asked me to blur he image for the pictures, she was concerned about losing her sponsors if they knew what happened)

After we collected Rita and rounded up Jack Daniel it was close to 6:00 pm. When we explained to Jack Daniel what had happened his response was," I wish I could ride in the ski patrol sled". Like I said peculiar.

After taking care of Rita all day "A" must have been famished, we stopped at a local steak place and I swear "A" was eating a whole cow right off the bone.

Monday Jack Daniel and I went skiing we had perfect conditions. I had convinced Jack Daniel to only bring one set of equipment. His back was getting better and he was able to ski better. We did a dozen or so runs, had lunch and went back out for more skiing.

We were skiing down a moderate blue slope I got ahead of Jack Daniel so I stopped to wait. After about 15 minutes of waiting a snowboarder stopped and asked me if I was "expletive" DUG. I reluctantly said yes. Who wants to be greeted by a stranger with a curse word before their name. He said some guy up the mountain is cursing his head off and yelling "Why did I listen to expletive DUG I knew I should of put on my afternoon skis". As I was listen to the story my phone rang. It was Jack Daniel in between his curses I figured out he had fallen while skiing and he blamed me because I told him he did not need to change his skis after lunch. Once I got Jack Daniel to calm down, I asked if he took his Duce after lunch. All I heard was silence on the other end of the phone.

A very sheepish Jack Daniel finally asked if I would call the ski patrol, he could not ski his knee was in intense pain. He also said he needed to use a bathroom. I guess now he was ready to take that Duce.

I called the ski patrolled, skied to the bottom took the lift up and met the patrol where Jack Daniel was lying in the snow. Jack Daniel got the sled ride he had wished for, along with a torn MCL. I skied the rest of the afternoon had some great runs. Then picked Jack Daniel up at the medic hospital, they remembered me from the Rita incident and asked to stop referring patients.

What a way to end a ski season, the bad news two major injuries, the good news they were not mine.

I want to give a big thank you and great job to the Copper Mountain Ski Patrol and the doctors, nurses, and staff and the Copper Mountain Medical Clinic.

Back to Botswana,