September 30, 2012
Saying Good Bye

September 15, 2012
Reflections on Our 27 Year Circumnavigation

September 01, 2012
Sea of Cortez Sailing

August 15, 2012
Back to the Sea of Cortez

August 01, 2012
After Circumnavigation: What to Take, What to Leave Behind

July 15, 2012
Mexican Booby Trap

July 01, 2012
Tackling the Tehuantepec

June 14, 2012
Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico

June 01, 2012
Sailing northern Costa Rica and Nicargua

May 15, 2012
Costa Rican Cruising

May 01, 2012
New Found Friends in Golfito, Costa Rica

April 15, 2012
It’s a Jungle Out There

April 01, 2012
Hunting and Gathering in Panama

March 15, 2012
Money.... Money.... Money

March 01, 2012
Feel Free Transits the Panama Canal

February 15, 2012
Transiting the Panama Canal

February 01, 2012
Feel Free is Back in the Pacific

January 15, 2012
Charter Skipper for a Week

January 01, 2012
Confessions of a Charter Cat Chef

December 15, 2011
Away to the Andamans Part 2

December 01, 2011

November 15, 2011
Sailing in a Freshwater Paradise

November 01, 2011
To Barf or not to Barf, that is the question

October 14, 2011
Remarkable Cruisers

October 03, 2011
The Sea of Cortez, Another World

September 15, 2011
Panama Canal Here We Come

September 01, 2011
Sailing for Humanity

August 15, 2011
A Hard Lesson on the Hard and Reflections on Boat Work

August 01, 2011
Here Come the Lion Fish

July 15, 2011
The Joy of Books

July 01, 2011
The Sailors of San Blas

June 15, 2011
The Good Life in Kuna Yala

June 01, 2011
The Dirt Dweller in Paradise

May 15, 2011
People of the San Blas, Then and Now

May 01, 2011
Cruising in Kuna Yala

April 15, 2011
Near Disaster in the San Blas

April 01, 2011
At Last in the San Blas

March 15, 2011
Chilling Out in Cholon

March 01, 2011
Ah, Cartagena!

February 15, 2011
Cruising the Cape Horn of the Caribbean Part 2

February 01, 2011
Cruising the Cape Horn of the Caribbean Part 1

January 14, 2011
Aruban Interlude

December 30, 2010
Hunkering Down for a Hurricane

December 15, 2010
A Day in the Life - Our Passage to Aruba

December 01, 2010
Stuck in Curacao

November 15, 2010
Stormy Night Sailing

November 01, 2010
Sailing In The Sticks

October 15, 2010
Safety, Security and Circumnavigating with some tips on how to stay safe

October 04, 2010
Feel Free Transits The Suez Canal

September 15, 2010
Red Sea Sailing

September 01, 2010
FEEL FREEs Voyage Into the Red Sea

August 15, 2010
And just a little further, to Curacao

August 01, 2010
Bonaire Diving

July 15, 2010
Then To Bonaire

July 01, 2010
Cruising Remote Venezuelan Isles

June 15, 2010
Cruising St. Vincent

June 01, 2010
Right Place, Right Time

May 15, 2010
The Spice Isle

May 01, 2010
To the Grenadines

April 15, 2010
We Be In Barbados Mon

April 01, 2010
Atlantic Passage Part II

March 15, 2010
Atlantic Passage Part 1

March 01, 2010
Provisioning for the Atlantic Crossing

February 15, 2010
Atlantic Crossing Preparations

February 01, 2010
Cruising the Canary Islands

January 15, 2010
Out Of Africa

January 01, 2010
Come With Me To The High Atlas Mountains.............

December 15, 2009
Two Years Of Mediterranean Sailing

December 01, 2009
Moving On To Morocco

November 18, 2009
Leaving The Med

November 13, 2009
Reaching The Rock Of Gibraltar Milestone

October 15, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del Sol

October 01, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del High-rise

September 15, 2009
Sailing The Spanish Isles

September 01, 2009
At Sea Or On The Hook, These Recipes Travel Well

August 15, 2009
An Interlude At Menorca

August 01, 2009
A Pleasant Passage To Menorca

July 15, 2009
The Agony And Ecstasy Of The Tunisian Coast

July 01, 2009
Tripping Around Tunisia

June 15, 2009
Tales From North Africa

June 01, 2009
Dont Freak If Your Fridge Fails

May 15, 2009
Into Africa

May 01, 2009
Meandering Around Malta, Then Off To Tunisia

April 15, 2009
Low-Tech DIY Ideas For The New Economy

April 01, 2009
The Med Set A Few Cruiser Profiles

March 15, 2009
That Sinking Feeling

March 01, 2009
Thailand to Oman: Three Passages, Three Ports

February 15, 2009
Doing Hard Time in Malta

February 01, 2009
Pirate Alley Part 2

January 15, 2009
Pirate Alley Part 1

January 02, 2009
So Many Islands, So Little Time

December 15, 2008
Cruising With The Bear

December 01, 2008
Versatile Vinegar, The Boaters Friend

November 15, 2008
What I Did In This Summer -- Dock Masters In paradise

November 01, 2008
Over The Top Of Oz

October 16, 2008
The Tumultuous Tasman

October 01, 2008
Sweet Memories Of The Splendid Surins

September 15, 2008
And Then We Were In Malta

September 01, 2008
Feel Frees Siracusan Story

August 15, 2008
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

August 01, 2008
All Tied Up In The Ionians

July 15, 2008
A Greek Odyssey Our Journey to Ithaca

July 01, 2008
Anatomy of a Near Catastrophe

June 15, 2008
Good-bye Turkey, Hello Greece

June 01, 2008
More Winter Cruising in Turkey

May 15, 2008
Winter Cruising in Turkey

April 15, 2008
Talking Turkey: Marmaris Marina Living

April 15, 2008
The Joy Of The Side Trip

April 01, 2008
Return to Marmaris, And The Budget

March 15, 2008
Passing Time And Dodging The Meltemi

March 01, 2008
Home Sweet Home

February 15, 2008
A Little Working, A Little Cruising

February 01, 2008
Working Our Way Around The World

January 15, 2008
Welcome Aboard Feel Free

January 01, 2008
Liz Tosonis and Tom Morkins Feel Free

January 01, 2008
About Tom Morkin and Liz Tosoni

January 01, 2008
About Feel Free

January 01, 2008
Voyage Itinerary

April 01, 2008
Return to Marmaris, And The Budget

By Liz Tosoni and Tom Morkin

Keci Bucu, Turkey, and Simi Island, Greece
36 49.05N, 28 18.32E

FROM LIZ: Such a sweet spot, Simi. This Greek isle, deeply indented with numerous anchorages, looking like a jigsaw puzzle piece on the chart, is a mere dozen miles away from mainland Turkey and too enticing not to visit. From seaward, it appears grey, rocky, precipitous, barren. As you get closer though, patches of green pine forest, colorful houses seemingly clinging to the steep hillsides, goats and isolated white hermitages nestled in caves high above sea level begin to make their appearances. It was once famous for its sponge diving, the divers being known as the best in the Aegean. Shipbuilding was also a major industry of the past, and the well-crafted, well-cared-for caiques attest that the traditions have been passed on.
Simi, just off Turkey’s mainland, is a fusion of the Greek and the Turkish

Rod Heikell in his excellent cruising guide, Greek Waters Pilot, writes: "Discovering Simi is like discovering an exotic plant in the desert." How true that is. Tom and I have thoroughly enjoyed our two visits here, meeting up with old cruising friends, hiking up and down the ridge from Pethi Harbor to get to the main town site, visiting museums and monasteries, talking to the friendly but reserved locals, sampling the food, attending the Independence Day parade, and stocking up on wine and fuel -- less expensive than in Turkey.

Stopping in three of the many bays gave us a chance to see the island from different angles. Panormittis is an almost landlocked bay on the southwest corner and, not surprisingly, was used by ships in the old days to weather out storms. It was a delight to hear the gentle ringing of the monastery clock tower bell upon our arrival there.

We enjoyed the Independence Day parade

At the head of small Thessalona on the eastern side, a magnificent rock face rises high above the water, embracing the bay. What a peaceful locale for the pure white hermitage to be found on shore. Pethi, just southeast of the main harbor, is a busy, picturesque, deep inlet with a few restaurants and tavernas lining the waterfront. Muted rusts, ochres, teals, jades, and creams are the colors people choose to paint their homes, perched as they are, one on top of the next, up the steep sides of the bay.

Lovely as it is though, we have to make a move. More severe weather is approaching, we've already weathered the first storm, and each day the temperatures, both air and water, get a little chillier; skies are grey. I guess that's the price you pay for cruising outside the summer months in the Med. You get the pleasanter temperatures but also, unpredictable weather and winds. We agree to an early start and head out of Panormittis at 0800 with mainsail up.

Panormittis Bay with its dramatic monastery

"I don't want to sound like a total whinger …” -- Aussie expression for whiner and complainer – “but... okay, maybe it's just a funnel effect," says Tom about half an hour out. We were hoping for nice southwesterlies or westerlies to help us along, winds characteristic for this time of year, winds we've experienced for the last month or so. NOT. Guess what we have -- an easterly, right on the nose! "Let's just tuck into Serce again,” I suggest. “We'll be there in an hour, rather than motoring all the way to Marmaris," which was another 30 or so miles away.

"Good idea," pipes Tom.

On the way, we pass by a pretty little bay, Bozuk Buku. With binoculars trained on shore, we view something quite intriguing. Blending into the rocky headland at the entrance, a massive, ancient Hellenistic stone citadel, preserved virtually intact. We talk about anchoring in the bay to explore the ruins but decide against it when we see the many moorings, little room for anchoring, and restaurant owners waving at us to give them business.

Serce Limani is large, sparse, and fjord-like, just 1 1/2 miles north of Bozuk Buku. We once spent a night there, so we know the approach. After dropping the hook, Hassan, from Captain Nemo's restaurant, rows by for a friendly chat. "Hello mister. Hello lady. I remember you, your boat, Canada flag. I can help to tie the rope to rock." We decline the offer of help as we want to wait till later to decide whether it’s necessary.
Charming Hassan hopes for a wife

We chat with Hassan for an hour though, learning all about him and his wish to find a lady to marry. "I have good heart, I am strong, I have big muscles, I am clever, I want to be a father, but, I am not rich. Ladies always ask 'how much money do you have?' so I can't find a wife." All is said with such a good sense of humor. Anyone interested in a match with a Turkish restaurateur, let us know!

Winds pick up from the south later in the day to 25 knots and honk all night long. We’re up and down like yoyos checking to make sure we aren't dragging or swinging into the other boats nearby that are tied to moorings with stern lines to shore. Morning dawns grey and uninviting with winds still strong. Yawning and tired after a restless night, we decide to spend the day, reading, writing, hiking, even though it might be smarter to take advantage of the southerlies to carry us to Marmaris. Soon enough…
Traditional caiques are still the boats of choice for local Simi fishermen

FROM TOM, A FEW DAYS LATER: We're back in Yacht Marina in Maramaris, after our one-month tour, and as is our custom, we ask ourselves how much money we've spent over the month and year to date. It’s an easy matter to know how much we've spent as all our ATM transactions, cash advances, and so on, are paid through one account in Canada that can be accessed on line. Regardless of how many currencies we've been using, at the end of the month we know how much that month cost us in Canadian dollars.
Friends from the Yacht Marina in Marmaris help us guide Feel Free into her winter slip

In a previous log, we wrote about how happy we were to be back aboard Feel Free after our three-month motorcycle tour in North America. Now that feeling is reinforced as we discover that our expenses for one month on the boat are one-third less than the average monthly expenses while back home in North America. This includes stocking up on enough fuel and wine to carry us through the winter. There’s no doubt about it, for us living afloat is less expensive than “dirt dwelling.”

During our past two summers in Canada we were utterly amazed by how much money our land-based friends and families spend. We’re not alone in this opinion. Almost all our cruising friends say the same thing after returning from their trips home, be it France, England, Australia, New Zealand, or North America. Liz and I ask ourselves, "Did we spend money like that when we were doing the old 9-to-5 back in the 80s?" We think the answer is Yes. And then when we decided to go cruising in 1982, our spending habits changed dramatically. We had a goal and began saving like we never had before.

Liz displays Chinese money, and hastens to remind us that it’s not really as much as it looks

I think it’s safe to say cruising long-term changes, among other things, your spending behavior. Firstly, most of us quit our jobs along with associated regular paychecks. Many of the work-related expenses disappear when you sail away: car, wardrobe, education, entertainment. Few cruisers need to spend money on children and related expenses. Other household expenses -- rent, mortgage, property tax, home insurance, cable, phone, furniture, appliances, home renovations -- become a thing of the past.

In return for relinquishing all or most of the above expenses, cruisers take on a whole different set of expenses: boat and boat gear, boat insurance for some (but not us), marinas (sometimes), haulouts, and so on. Clearly, these cruiser-related expenses are significant. However, I wouldn't want to trade our monthly expenses with those of our land-based counterparts.

Simi is an architectural gem, with beautiful houses, tavernas, and shops lining the protected harbor

Financial planners will tell you that you should have a retirement income that equals 75% to 85% of your working income to maintain your standard of living. In that case, if Jane and John Doe made $100,000 a year, they'd need $75,000 a year in income to retire on, according to the conventional wisdom. Unless they went cruising, in which case they'd probably spend a third to half of that amount if they lived on the budget that we and many of our friends do. In fact, in our case, it would be at the lower end of that range.

Liz has written two articles on budgeting while cruising, one being published in 1990, the other in 2002 (both in Australia’s Cruising Helmsman magazine). The first tracked our first five years from 1985 to 1990. During that time we averaged about $10,000 a year. Remarkably, that amount didn't fluctuate that much from year to year. During that period, we sailed from Vancouver to Fukuoka Japan via the south Pacific and Australia. There were no expenses for trips home during that period, and we didn't have boat insurance.

A sponge shop in Simi

In the second article in 2002, she tracked the numbers from 1996 to 2002. Not surprisingly, our spending increased for a number of reasons: we got a bigger boat, we had more money so we spent more and of course, the cost of living increased. The average annual expenditure was up to $17,000 US or about $1,400 per month. During that period, we sailed from Vancouver to Mexico, Hawaii, Marshall Islands, and Australia.

IWe've gotten a little slack in our bean counting of late, but a rough estimate for the eight-month period during which we sailed from Malaysia to Turkey would be about $17,000, or $2,125/month. That bill reflects a $5,000 bill to overhaul our 37-year-old engine, and a haulout. Now that we’re in the Med, barring any unforeseen boat expenses, we’re cautiously optimistic that we can comfortably manage on $2,000 a month. We'll keep you posted on that.

Feel Free is dwarfed and protected by the cliffs at Thessalona