take a cheap cruise ship*
from Miami to Barcelona,
then fly on to Turkey
join Panope in Turkey, sail
along the Turkish coast for a couple weeks, make the passage to Cyprus
fly from Cyprus via Barcelona
... Cuenca, Ecuador - spend a month or two there
bus to Coca
boat down the Rio Napo to the Amazon,
then down the Amazon to the border with Colombia and Brazil
then up the Amazon to Iquitos and return to the Bahamas
Miami to Barcelona
Twisting my knee last year in Turkey has freaked me out a bit. To where I
want to try getting in my serious travel while still relatively healthy.
Thus, this year's ambitious plan. I also plan to keep an eye out for that
acre with my name on it, somewhere in South America. But very important,
I'll try to lose some weight and get in decent condition before leaving on the trip.
that for a comfortable, cost effective way to cross the
Atlantic, you could take one of the cruise ships when they "reposition"
from the Caribbean to the Med in the Spring.
I'd expect to arrive in fairly good condition - not jet lagged and
worn out from too little leg room.
The cheapest of these "repositioning"
cruise ships I could find is Norwegien Cruise Lines Epic departing
Miami April 19/arriving Barcelona April 30, making one stop in Portugal.
The lowest fare appears to be $599 for a solo
passenger. But I think I'd splurge and get a balcony cabin,
NCL Epic Balcony cabin
bringing the fare up to about $1000 plus a $12/day service fee.
For comparison, the cheapest one-way air fare I'm seeing is $316,
The reviews I've seen on the buffet food (no extra cost) don't look too bad.
Internet is expensive and
reportedly very slow ("dial-up speeds"), but I can bring some reading and can
also spend time restoring old photos (in Photoshop) from the
Abaco Herritage Trust project.
Between Madeira and Gibraltar, 27 Apr 2015
The ship is large
(~4600 passenger capacity) but the person who checked
me in said there were just ~3900 on this crossing.
The public spaces must be large or peoples' schedules spread out enough,
that I never felt like it was overly crowded.
The Cirque du Soleil performance was great - 1½ hours of non-stop
high-energy entertainment, in a small venue with the performers right next
to the audience. You could literally reach out and touch them.
The food in the buffet restaurant was surprisingly good and the selection
varied from day to day so it didn't get monotonous.
I paid for the unlimited WiFi - pretty expensive but the speed wasn't too
The time advanced an hour every other day or so - very civilized.
The crew was all friendly and helpful.
All-in-all, a good trip.
The first (and only)
Approaching Funchal, Madeira early on the morning of the 10th day
The pretty park at Monte
stop on the 12-day passage is Funchal on the island of
Madiera. I took the tour to Eira Do Serrado and Monte.
Nun's Valley (Curral das Freiras) where, as
goes, the nuns fled to escape pirates in 1566
(Click to enlarge)
Continuing to Barcelona, we pass the island of Porto Santo.
On the ship's "Navigation Channel"
Porto Santo off in the distance
Barcelona, 30 Apr 2015
Arrived in Barcelona
early this morning and checked into a pension (cheap hotel) near the port
and a couple blocks from a sushi buffet*.
Leave for Turkey tomorrow.
Fethiye, 20 May 2015
I arrived in Antalya on the 1st and met up with the rest of the crew -
Rick, Ed and Edmund. The next day, Rick and I went to the museum
while Edmund and Ed took the bus to Finike where Panope was berthed.
The harbor in Antalya
An old mosque on the harbor's edge
Aphrodite Perge 2nd Century A.D.
Artemis Perge 2nd Century A.D.
Hecate Valvec 3rd Century A.D.
Dancing Woman Perge 2nd Century A.D.
From the museum in Antalya
This small exhibit
A small exhibit on Early Bronze Age in the museum in Antalya
was interesting because of the bronze work and my working on the design for
the bronzes for the
Man-O-War Boat Builders Memorial.
There wasn't much information though - just a mention of the Early Bronze
Age. A google search says that the Bronze Age started in Turkey around
The next day, Rick and I bussed to Finike to join Panope with Ed and
Edmund aboard. We spent a couple days there, attending to some
details on the boat.
The days are warm with strong sunlight (I manage to get a sunburn).
The nights are quite chilly.
There is still snow on the top of the nearby mountain -->
The marina in Finike
Then we all set out for Kaş aboard Panope.
In Kekova Roads, we passed a castle overlooking
("Castle village" in Turkish).
That night, we anchored in a nice little cove nearby.
Castle at Kaleköy in Kekova Roads
There was a "gulet" anchored at a little island near us.
It had a stern line to the island and sort of looked like it was trying
to tow the island.
A gulet anchored next to a little island in Kekova Roads
The next day we continued on to Kaş where we tied up to the municipal
After a couple days in Kaş, we sailed on toward Fethiye.
The harbor in Kaş
After anchoring overnight in a bay nearby,
we arrived in Fethiye.
We have dinner in the "fish market".
One of the many "gulets" tied up in Fethiye
From Fethiye, we sailed on to the area around Göcek and anchored for
the night in one of the little bays there.
A small fishing boat anchored next to us in the bay
Early in the morning, before sunrise, from the boat
The next day, we motored into Göcek and spent a couple days there.
We use the time to have the capable marine workers there repair the head
We make plans to return to Fethiye tomorrow to wait for crew, Len and
Panope tied up at Skopea Marina in Göcek
But for tonight, we return to the very pretty anchorages
around Göcek, look for a good spot to spend the night and decide to
anchor in Cleopatra's Bay.
We launched Panope's dinghy to run a stern line to shore where we tie
it off to one of the bollards (posts) that have been placed along the
shoreline. Somebody has placed them there to protect the trees
from being damaged.
Our bow anchor is in fairly deep water. We are a little nervous
about the stern of Panope being just a few feet from the rocks of the
shore and opt to put out a second anchor - Panope's small "lunch hook"
from the stern - from the bow.
Ed prepares yet another delicious meal aboard Panope.
Shrimp Scampi with raki, butter, olive oil and garlic. With
spaghetti. And a salad of fresh tomatoes with basil, olive oil and
Panope's dinghy, ready to retrieve the anchors the next morning
Ed preparing Shrimp Scampi for dinner
Panorama photo from Panope anchored in Cleopatra's Bay (well, very close to it) of Wall Bay Taken early in the morning (click on image to enlarge - there are boats on the other side of the bay)
After a couple days in Fethiye, I departed Panope for Kaş to spend a week or
so in a small pension* near the square
- 50 TL a night (less than $20), a large, sunny, spotlessly clean room,
conveniently located, good WiFi and shower. I'd like to spend
some time working on my "Curator" app. I'll rejoin Panope in Finike
for the crossing to Cyprus with Edmund, Len and Elaine.
Nicosia, 6 June 2015
I took the 20 minute ferry boat ride from Kaş over to the Greek island of
Kastellorizo. It is much smaller and quieter than Kaş.
I spent the day there and then returned to Kaş.
Kastellorizo waterfront - with Turkey on the left in the background
A Greek naval ship So close to Turkey.. so far from the nearest Greek island (Rhodes)
Photo taken from the restaurant row on the harbor
A local treat
Kastellorizo (click on image to enlarge)
A couple days later I took the bus to Finike to meet up again with
Panope with Edmund, Len and Elaine aboard. We made a quick passage
to Cyprus in 20-30 knot winds on a beam reach - 133 NM in about 22
hours which is pretty close to hull speed. We were met in Panope's
homeport by Edmund's wife, Amal.
Nicosia, 6 June 2015
After settling in at their home, Villa Yasmin, and
resting up from the passage, we visited the Archeological Park in
Paphos. Lots of mosaics.
Hunting scene mosaic Late 2nd/early 3rd century A.D.
Narcissus, son of a river-god and a nymph, admiring his reflection in the
lake water Late 2nd/early 3rd century A.D.
Detail from "The first bath of Achilles" mosaic - Cupids hunt wild beasts
From "The Four Seasons" mosaic Late 2nd/early 3rd century A.D. The border is kind of cool
Theseus and the Minotaur in the Labyrinth of Crete
"The Rape of Ganymede" Late 2nd/early 3rd century A.D.
(l) Dionysas and Acme, (m) Icarios leading ox-driven cart filled with sacks of wine,
(r) two sheperds in a state of inebriation
The notation on the right says "The First Wine Drinkers"
Sylla, the mythical sea-monster who is part-woman, part-fish and
part-dog. She is illustrated holding a ship mast and trident
and is surrounded by illustrations of sea life.
Late 4th/early 3rd century B.C.
Peacock Late 2nd/early 3rd century B.C.
Another day we visited Aphrodite's Beach and Aphrodite's Sanctuary.
After a few days at Villa Yasmin, I bid fairwell to Edmund and Amal
and took the bus to Nicosia to spend a week there.
Sunset from Villa Yasmin's patio
Nicosia, 8 June 2015
In Nicosia, I visited the Cyprus Museum.
Ancient fertility goddess
Limestone statue from Tomassos, 550-530 B.C.
Limestone portrait from Arsos Early 3rd cent. B.C.
Funerary statue from Marion, 4th century B.C.
Aphrodite 1st century B.C.
Cypro-syllabic script 350-300 B.C.
Late Bronze Age (1650-1200 B.C.)
Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus
Kyrenia, 13 June 2015
I crossed Nicosia's "Green Line" from The Republic of Cyprus to
Northern Cyprus. There, I took the bus to Kyrenia
I'm staying in the
It is well located - a couple short blocks to the harbor, quiet and the
room I got (in their Ferman building across the street) is very nice.
The rate was €35 per night with a €10 extra for the better
Kyrenia harbor, the castle in the background
Kyrenia, 15 June 2015
I took a taxi up to Bellapais to see the abbey and look for the
Tree of Idleness (ToI) prominently mentioned in
Lawrence Durrell's Bitter Lemons,
“but I must warn you, if you intend to try and work, not to sit under
the Tree of Idleness. You have heard of it? Its shadow
incapacitates one for serious work. By tradition the inhabitants
of Bellapaix are regarded as the laziest in the island. They are
all landed men, coffee-drinkers and card-players. That is why
they live to such ages. Nobody ever seems to die here.
Ask Mr. Honey the grave-digger. Lack of clients has almost
driven him into a decline.…”
- Bitter Lemons, ch. 5
I had seen comments on the web saying two
Tree of Idleness (on the right) with Bellapais Abbey in the background.
The color photo is one I took yesterday - the black & white photo is
from the cover of Bitter Lemons.
"if you once drank coffee under it you were
forever consumed with idleness". I drank a beer
under it so I'll probably be no more lazy than usual.
places were laying claim to being the ToI. I also found a couple of
old ToI photos on the web and copied them to my iPad to try to sort it out
once I got there:
1. One of the photos is from the cover of the first edition of
That's the one I've overlaid here on the photo I took yesterday.
2. The ToI in the other photo
looks to have been located slightly to the left of the one from photo
#1. I wasn't able to locate it yesterday.
After touring the abbey, I went to the café (next to the ticket office)
mentioned on the web
as claiming to be the location of yet another ToI. I noticed
they have a nice old tree there, but they directed me across the street
to the other spot. That other spot is actually called the
Tree of Idleness Restaurant. I compared the old photos with the
tree the restaurant claims to be Durrell's Tree of Idleness and
it looks like a good match with photo #1 (the one from the jacket of
Bitter Lemons). Case closed, I think.
Barcelona, 26 June 2015
I took a flight from Larnaca, Cyprus to Barcelona where I'll stay a
couple days before flying on to Miami and then Ecuador.
I am staying in the expansive old part of town that extends south of
Plaça Catalunya to the waterfront and the fancy Port Vell Marina (where I
met Panope a couple years ago).
It's a nice area where you can walk a couple blocks in any direction
and find a plaza with open-air cafés, a church, some statues,
etc. There are bakeries, restaurants, ice cream parlors, tapa bars
scattered everwhere. Perfect, right?
Today, walking back from an early dinner, somebody tried to pick my
pocket! Mostly by luck, he didn't get away with it.
It was a busy street in broad daylight. The sidewalk was a bit
narrow with vehicles parked along one side and small shops on the
other. The culprit came up from behind and held a small card
in front of me, trying to get me to take it. He was very
talkative, saying he was from Brazil and trying to engage me in
conversation. I said "No gracias" and tried to back away from
him. Then he tried to get me to "fist bump" him, ostensibly a
gesture of friendliness. I took another step back, repeatedly
and politely saying "No gracias". At that point, I felt my iPad
Mini being removed from my cargo pants pocket. I look down and
see he has it in his hand. He looks at me a little sheepishly
I think (maybe embarassed that he'd been caught than any guilt that
he'd done it). He could have very easily run. I take a
step forward and grab it from him. He turns to walk away.
I shout "ladrón" (thief).
Maybe not a shout - more of a loud voice. I actually manage to
kick him in the butt - not exactly a karate kick, but fairly sound
all the same. I start walking after him, saying "ladrón" more
times. He turns the corner to a smaller side street. I
hear him tell the people standing on the corner that I am "loco".
I follow him for a bit more saying "ladrón" a few more times as he is
looking over his shoulder at me. He turns down onto a smaller
street and I decide not to follow. There's not much I could do
if he turns on me with a knife, say. I return to the corner and
ask the people if they know him. They claim not to and ask what
happened. I tell them that he tried to rob me. I doubt
it will make much difference but at that point I need to do something
while my adrenaline subsides.
I think the lesson here is that if anybody approaches you on the street
and tries to get too close/too friendly (and in particular, tries to tap
you to create the distraction they need), assume they are trying to pick
your pocket. Or an accomplice is trying to lift something from your
bag. Memo to self: Do not try to be polite with these
people. Instead, tell them in no uncertain terms that if they get
too close or try to touch me, I will fight back. Also,
start carrying my money belt pouch thingy around my waist - not in one
of the velcro-closing pockets of my cargo pants as I have been.
Cuenca, 2 July 2015
from Barcelona to Cuenca, Ecuador.
It has been 6 years since I've been here.
So far, it doesn't look like much has changed - dinner at Raymipampa next to
the Cathedral followed by ice cream at the always popular Tutto Freddo next to
the restaurant. For breakfast - a good cup of café con leche and a
croissant at Panesa ($1.95 for café con leche, a good ham & cheese
croissant and a chocolate chip cookie). Then a stroll over to the very
nice Parque de Calderón to sit on the bench in front of the statue for a
The temperture is generally in the 50's and 60's - cool enough for a
windbreaker at night, good for sleeping. My hotel room doesn't appear
to have either heat or A/C. Last night, I heard marching band music
coming from around the corner. They love parades here. All the
people have been nice - as I've found in the past. I don't know why
I've been away so long.
But I'm sure there is still some petty crime here and I don't have any
delusions there. I do need to be careful like in any big city in the US
Cuenca, 4 July 2015
I have been here nearly a week now. I have noticed a stronger police
presence. In the parque and also on the streets around the parque.
Cuenca, 5 July 2015
Last night, I had dinner with a couple I'd met here 6 years ago - retirees from
Vancouver, Canada. They said when they moved here 7 years ago, there were
about 300 expats living here. Now there are reportedly between 3000
and 5000 (they said depending on which report you read). They said some
of them are angry - possibly because they
can't afford to live in their homelands on their retirement income (at least
to the level they'd like) and are not having an easy time adjusting to a
foreign country (my view: they are fat and spoiled by a too-easy life).
The couple telling me this said some will yell at the locals - demanding that
the Ecuadorian speak English. I have resolved that if I see this, I will
remind them that they are visitors here and suggest that they learn some
Spanish. There are lots of Spanish language schools in Cuenca. I
find that if you make an honest effort to speak Spanish, the person you're
talking with will almost always make an extra effort to understand
Today, at the coffee shop where I go each day for a breakfast of café con
leche and a piece of tasty carrot cake there were 2 older, apparently American
from their accents,
couples at a table on the other side of the café. They didn't appear
to know *any* Spanish but were familiar with the
city, so I assume were retired and living here. I was about to translate
for them, but they got their Cokes and didn't make a fuss so I just kept
quiet. Jeez. I feel like I've appointed myself to the
be-courteous-in-a-foreign-land-police-force. Have I come to that?
Gainesville, 6 Sept 2015
It's been quite a while
Opening game against New Mexico State
61 to 13, Gators
since I've updated my journal. Let's see.
another change in my trip - sort of "it's about the journey, not the
destination thing". My goal this summer was to find a more permanent
base - a house or an acre of land of my own. I got to thinking about
what it would take to work on my projects from a base there in Ecuador.
That led to
a burst of curiosity over the current state of 3D printers - something I'd
been thinking about getting for a while. The thought of importing the
printer plus odds&ends, and then the material periodically made me wonder
if Ecuador would be such a good place for establishing a base. After a
month in Cuenca, I ended up
returning to the states ("the land of stuff"), looking for a house
or condo for a while,
and eventually renting an apartment for a year, half a block from the
University of Florida campus in Gainesville.
A kind of neat thing is that the state of Florida has a deal where Florida
residents over 60 can audit classes for free. I signed up for two:
UI design and programming on iOS. They're both kind of fun to
attend. It feels good to be back in school. And the nice thing about
just auditing the classes is that I have time for my projects:
The MOW Boat Builder's Memorial with
Pete and the
folks on MOW.
3D printing. I went ahead and bought an
Ultimaker 2 Extended.
The prints are coming out
better than I expected - with no sign of layering (using the "high
quality" settings, albeit taking longer to print).
I've just been printing stuff from
said to contain 500,000 models.
The first thing I plan to model myself is the base for the
Boat Builder's Memorial.
The macro photography/pan-tilt app that I had started with Paul at
Gainesville, 15 Sept 2015 An interesting TED talk:
"life is an organic process", (paraphrased) 11:50 into the talk.
Kaitensushi Buffet Giratori, located at Passeig Colom, 4
Ali Baba Apart Otel,
Hastane Cad. Kaş - very inexpensive,
a large, sunny, spotlessly clean room, good shower, conveniently located, very
pleasant staff (I assume she is the owner), good WiFi. Recommended.