It was a perfect Bodrum morning. The sky was blue, the birds were singing and everyone was smiling. We had agreed to put Esper in the water after lunchtime, around 2ish, bearing in mind that in Turkey “around 2 o’clock” is a very elastic concept…
Chris and Duygu (my brother and his Turkish wife) came along to watch the momentous occasion. They were joined by my Mum who had decided it was about time she found out for herself why her children were setting off from Bodrum on their individual adventurous paths abroad. Everyone was happy and eagerly anticipating the launch. Before anything happened, though, we had a spot of lunch at the local workers caff. The food was generally pronounced excellent and Jamie and I felt a little pang at leaving these wonderful local places behind for the bright lights of Bodrum Marina.
After lunch there was a brief moment of excitement when my visa card was rejected. I had visions of us being stuck on the hard for days and days whilst I talked my bank into believing that I was who I said I was and that yes, all that money from my savings account was to be paid to this mysterious boat yard in Southern Turkey. Banks! Don’t get me start… The day was saved by another card and we were off and ready.
Here’s the official naming ceremony.
And if you can’t see the Youtube clip then here’s a google-hosted one.
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When we got back to the boat it was to discover that the crane holding her had just broken down. Apparently they had put Esper on the slings and were trying to back her up a small, but sharp, incline. No chance – something went bang and that was that. So we all stood around for a bit and my brother lurked with the Turkish workers trying to see if he could help figure out the problem (he is one of those people who are born with a spanner in their hands, by the way). After a while it was decided that a new part was required much to our horror, but then we were reminded that in Turkey when you need a spare part you just make it. Problem yok! We were told that it would be ready in an hour. At that stage Mark turned up so we all went back to the caff for a beer.
True to their word, just a short while later Esper was put into the water by Yat Lift and a bunch of excited people jumped aboard (with the exception of my Mother, who was sort of gently man-handled aboard). Jamie was uncharacteristically quiet as we moved off, but as skipper of his own yacht for the first time this was not unexpected. His main concern for the past few days was how he was going to be able to park Esper in a very crowded marina without causing havoc. There was no time for sailing, so we motored across with ease.
As it turned out we were put on the end of a pontoon, had a dinghy directing us and about 3 men on the jetty catching and throwing warps. It couldn’t have been easier to moor up. Phew! This photograph shows Esper just poking her nose out at the end of the pontoon.
Back in the UK I had made a decision that in order to counteract the forces of the great god UnLuck a re-naming ceremony of Esper should be undertaken as soon as possible. I wanted something special to happen to mark her new name and had dreamt up all kinds of speeches and words and bottles of swinging champagne in my head.
Naturally any kind of gathering of this kind should involve the downing of as much alcohol as possible. As we sat and toasted the lotus-eating life ahead of us Jamie rang and texted everyone he had ever come into conTaçt with since his arrival in Bodrum… The invitation went out for everyone to come to the boat at around 1ish (interpreted by most people to mean 2ish and in some cases 4ish).
Sunday was a hot, sunny day, just perfect for lying about the place eating olives and drinking wine. After a few hours of doing exactly this we decided it was time for the ceremony proper. From my idle dreams it had morphed into the following: my Mum wearing an old floppy straw hat, with a flowery scarf tied round it, standing on the bow proclaiming Queen-like “I name this ship Esper. May God protect her and all who sail in her”. A bottle of local hooch was ceremoniously poured over her (Esper, that is, not my Mum) and everyone applauded. Marvellous stuff.
The rest of the day continued much like the beginning with more eating and drinking although I’m a little hazy on the details now. Thus our first weekend afloat on Esper ended. So far, so good.
We couldn’t find a picture of Liz’s mum (Dorothy) in the floppy hat, so instead we have a picture of Dorothy and a picture of Chris wearing the floppy hat.