While Dikili Sleeps

3 am. In the cockpit a cold land breeze is held at bay – only just – by our aged side curtains. Jupiter is up and about, shining bright, but apart from the barking dogs the little town, the rows of fishing boats and my crew sleep.


Rosie has befriended all of those dogs. As her departing present she has doubtless brought armies of fleas, lice and other nasties on board Tainui, but for me it will have been worth it. Such is the power of a daughter over her adoring papa.

I am sipping hot coffee in the cockpit with head torch and Ian M Banks open on my lap, contemplating today’s adventures.





Dikili is a delight. Cafes line the watrefront and locals sit in the sun and sip tiny cups of tea. No tourists. Fishing boats come and go, their unmuffled 2 cylinder Turkish engines raucous in the harbour. I couldn’t work in one of these little boats. I have wondered whether there might be an opening here for a muffler maker, but no one seems to mind the noise.



Our bus trip from Dikili into the crowded and narrow streets of Bergama traversed land hallowed by millenia of human activity.

On a mountain above the town sits the Acropolis of Pergamon, a jewel of a site, whose rich history defies belief. We wandered among the parched white corinthian columns in the Sanctuary of Trajan and looked across the steep, 10,000 seat amphitheatre to the vast panorama of rolling hills and valleys beyond Bergama.





From the town itself there rose 50 simultaneous calls to Muslim prayer in what an sound engineer could only describe as acoustic mud. Eerie and very moving it was. There were few tourists and we wandered for hours through the ruins of this extraordinary place.

Slightly more prosaic is my continuing pursuit of a working mobile phone. I got and activated a Turkish SIM card in Bartin, as readers well know. But the good folk at the Vodaphone shop there neglected to tell me that I had to register my iPhone with the Turkish government. This is a separate activity requiring a visit to a Taxation office and the payment of 150 TL, receipt for which must then be brought back to Vodaphone for processing. They did not tell me either that my failure to do all this within a week would mean that my phone itself would be blocked throughout Turkey. The barely credible reason given for phone registration is prevention of telephone theft.
For the last 4,000 miles we have been using our phones for access to GRIB files (downloadable weather maps), email and website posts. For convenience you just can’t beat it. As I say, I was not told about the need for phone registration, and a week after my triumph in Bartin my phone stopped working. So did the iPad. So did Rosie’s phone. It took visits to 4 Vodaphone shops in Istanbul before we found out what was wrong. Of course, once a phone is blocked it takes 10 days to reverse the process. And just try finding the tax office in Istanbul. In Dikili the Vodaphone centre is closed on weekends. Dispirited but determined I trudged back there on Monday morning while Pasha, Tatiana and Rosie enjoyed hotel showers. No, Vodaphone told me, the nearest tax office is in Bergama. You will have to go there.

So our Pergamon visit was combined with a Vodaphone exploration. But in my fine tradition of galloping senescence I forgot to bring my passport. So a day born in high hope was tarnished. A phone will have to wait. Pergamon was a fine consolation prize though.

Later this morning we say goodbye to gorgeous Rosie. Another hole in Tainui – why this fine vessel doesn’t sink, I don’t know!


Our Rose


Rosie and Lesbos

8 thoughts on “While Dikili Sleeps

  1. October 10, 2013 at 15:48

    Dear skipper,

    Not sure whether you’ll receive this.
    This website has a penchant for deleting posts. Well, mine, at least…

    Will we be seeing you in Sydney on the night of the 31st October???
    (The requests for this information have been many).

    NSBHS ’63 ers.

    1. October 13, 2013 at 00:34

      Yep, I’ll be back by then. By the way, the website only deletes material which is offensive, malicious, derogatory, boring, repetitive, prolix, nugatory or otherwise unsuitable for kiddies

      1. bill
        October 17, 2013 at 17:27

        Ah, so it was my pithy but inappropriate remarks that got my IP address blocked, then? I thought it was Max, who didn’t want me to see she had spilt her drink again.

        1. October 19, 2013 at 11:49

          Bill, it takes more than frank reference to the effect of gravity on a body part to block you, mate. A comment about suspension doesn’t lead to suspension. I hope you will again talk dirty next spring.

  2. October 9, 2013 at 08:33

    Dearest Ahab,

    It seems you have transited from pure adventure to pure indulgence – keep up the astonishing array of pics. Just beautiful.

    All of NSBHS ’63 continually harass me about your return. Will you be joining us on the 31st Oct?
    It’s at a skiff club. The water is in view. There will be red wine. All the lubbers will be well behaved….?

    Thank god Rosie takes after her mother (well….physically) – you must all be so relieved….

    Chester Nimitz.

    btw-which of the late Banks are you reading?

    1. October 13, 2013 at 00:32

      Chester old man, it looks as though I will survive this nonsense and be back in Oz before 31 October. Am saving to buy a new frock for the event.

  3. Michael
    October 8, 2013 at 22:40

    G’day Mate,
    are you reading Iain M. Banks (science fiction) or Iain Banks, who writes novels? They are the same person, but he only uses the “M” for the science fiction. I had to ask because I don’t see you as a science fiction kind of guy. I don’t know whether you heard, but the very sad fact is that he is now the late Iain Banks. He was diagnosed with liver cancer I think, in the late Spring, and only lasted a few months……….it had spread considerably and was inoperable. A huge loss for the literary world…………..the greatest talent in the last half century in my opinion. If you have not read it, I recommend “Complicity”, my favourite……….I have read it three times.

    1. October 13, 2013 at 00:30

      Iain with the “M”. Quite engrossing stuff, isn’t it? I knew about his illness. What a shame. Next summer, mate, get your arse over here

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