Thursday, December 26, 2013


Two days after Oguz and Simone left, I thought I heard Al speaking Turkish with somebody, while I was busy in my cabin. Then I had a glimpse of a white head, and thought that the Swiss guy we had met earlier came to visit after all. Not really, this was a tall and lean stranger (Selcuk), actually in deep conversation with Al in Turkish. He said that he had been anchored in the bay for almost a month, and recently saw a mono-hull, anchored very close to us, flying a Turkish flag. This morning he went over to say hello, but was not received too warmly. However he saw our Turkish flag from that boat. Al raises the Turkish flag whenever we have visitors and presently did not have to time to take it down. After making sure that the flag was Turkish, Selcuk came directly to us. Of course we were delighted to meet him, invited him on board and spent some time together.

He has a 58 ft Catana called Orient Express, which he is sailing single-handedly at the moment, his wife and young baby are in Maine, USA.  He is getting ready to join them after Christmas. He is a most interesting person with an incredible life story.

Selcuk was the younger son of the owner of the  Bebek Hotel in Bebek, Istanbul. Bebek is where my mother was born, at my great grand parents' home, which was turned into an apartment by my grand father, where my mother's extended  family lived all their lives. I sold my share of the property ten odd years ago, so we had a connection there almost all my life. Bebek Hotel was built before I was born, so it had always been a landmark for us, one of the most prestigious hotels on the Bosphorus.
Selcuk related that his parents died when he was 16 years old (in 1968), and he and his  brother, who was five years his senior, were left alone to deal with the hotel for some time. It appears that he had enough of it after he married somebody and had a baby, and decided to immigrate to the US in 1984. He said he sold some properties, rented the hotel out, and landed in Florida, with US $100,000.- in his pocket, which he used to buy a mono-hull, and learned how to sail it from the vendor. He said he had always been interested in sailing, thanks to Sadun Boro, the Turkish sailor, who sailed solo around the world in our youth.

Selcuk said that he went up the US east coast by boat, and decided to buy a property in Maine, but never stopped sailing.  He said since then, he sailed around the world twice, demolished two boats until he got his present Catana built to his specifications about nine years ago.

Selcuk also told us about another Turk, Levent, living in Le Marin with his wife Guylaine, who is from Martinique. They own and operate Elite Kebab together, which is located across the street from the new marina. Selcuk offered to take us to Le Marin in his mega dinghy to have lunch there.

It was an interesting experience. It took him less than ten minutes to fly us there with his 60 hsp engine (as opposed to our 9.8). Levent is making a mean chicken donair, which he serves in sandwich or wrap, and making a lot of school children happy. I was really impressed with the taste of the chicken, which I ate with a salad. Apparently Levent uses a marinade before pressing the chicken pieces together around the donair skewer himself, rather than buying frozen from a supplier. But it is a lot of hard work from beginning to end. When I asked him if he knew that trade from before, he laughed, that in Turkey he only knew how to eat donair,  but never dreamed of making it himself. He said that he had met Guylaine in London, England fifteen years previously, at a language school, and they ended up in St Anne a few years ago. Apparently he has been labouring at this business for the last three years, but it looks pretty good.

Selcuk became a good friend of  Levent , and is planning to take him and Guylaine on Sunday to a sailing trip down to St Vincent an the Grenadines. Selcuk asked us to join him, but no thanks, I don't think we can keep up with him. He has little care about the weather or sea conditions to start sailing. His monstrous catamaran can handle anything it seems, and he is fearless. We are everything but. For the time being, I can hardly listen to the howling Christmas winds every night and day, let alone bring my nose outside of the bay.

They are due to come back on the 31st of December, and I invited them to celebrate the New Year's Eve together. I am to cook, and we are to gather at his boat (more space and ice making capability) for that night. We are going to anchor side by side at Le Marin, since Selcuk is leaving for Maine the next day. He needs a ride to shore to catch his plane.

There was only one year in most of our lives, that we celebrated new year alone (our seed family). It was our first year in Canada (1981). We had felt extremely sad. I had left my mother alone in Turkey, we knew nobody in Canada, except Al's professor at the University of Alberta. Al had done some work at somebody else's  lab, and earned an extra $1,000.-  that month, so I cooked an elaborate meal, but that was no consolation.

Now I have to find something new to wear. Last two years, our very good freinds Deniz and Zeynep had been keeping us company for the new year, and Zeynep was bringing me nice blouses to wear that night. It is a pity that they did not come this year, but I am hoping that we might lure them here a little later in the season.

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