Our first Christmas on Polly
Its Saturday and once again we are in weekend lockdown, spending the time pottering about cooking, crocheting, editing, putting my blogs online, sorting images and on Sunday we all watched a James Bond movie together.
On Monday Tim went to town in Fethiye and to the boat yard to get some video footage of the daily happenings here. We made some dumplings, our new favorite family meal and mulled wine and had Jaynee and David over, because they wanted to learn how to make both. Then David went back to Adventurous to get something we didn’t know yet – Salep. Its a custardy, milky drink here in Turkey which is made with the powder of an orchid root and gives it a special flavour. We drank it warm with a touch of black rum. It was so yummy and warming.
We had a video call with Freddie and Birgul, who are still in Izmir in Birguls home to discuss the Secret Santa proceedings. We also discussed the idea to all head over to St. Nicholas Island, where the original Santa was buried for Christmas – how would it get any better than that to spend Christmas on the water anchored up there. The weather looked good to do just that.
Paul and Lori decided that they wanted to quarantine for 2 weeks, since Birgul and Freddie and Jaynee and David had been out and about in Izmir to get their Immigration sorted, so they plan to go off to the wilderness park for next little while to isolate.
The kids are so excited about Christmas and that we will at least have friends around. Our initial plan was to go to Germany to visit my parents, but with all the countries locking down again with strict measures, that plan didn’t work out and they where disappointed. So the excitement about buying Secret Santa presents and planning food made them happy.
The next day I had a shopping day planned in town with Jaynee to get a few small Christmas presents. For our boat crews and secret santa partners. We spend almost the whole day in town, slowly browsing and searching. It was so nice to not have anybody in tow and have just some girls time. Tim took the kids to town to organise their secret santa presents. In the evening Jaynee and David came over for dinner again to share some soup and we packed a mulled wine present for Freddie and Birgul and Paul and Lori.
I spend some time for a few days to crochet a smaller afghan blanket for Birgul and Freddie for all their help with translating and negotiating Turkish formalities. Birgul has helped us so much as a local and we are so grateful, so I wanted to give her a personal gift to say thank you for all her help.
The next day we had a stock up at Migros in town for our time at St. Nicholas Island – there are no supermarkets nearby, so we always have to plan how long we are away approximately to stock up groceries accordingly. After the big shop was stowed away we went to the nearby Marina to have a warm shower.
Then we got a call from the Immigration office again, that the lady had forgotten to take a copy of Luca’s birth certificate, so I decided to head into town right away before Christmas to get it over and done with and was met by a long line of waiting people. People are only let into the office 1 by 1 because of Corona after having temperatures taken, hands sterilised, masks on etc. I waited in the cold for over 1 hour to have one copy taken, but alas, hopefully all the paperwork is now complete.
Thursday the 24th December was the day to head from Fethiye to Gemiler Island. Its a 15 nm journey and we arrived at 3 pm after first topping up our Diesel and Petrol and some more groceries at the Carrefour, which is right by the fuel dock, meaning we don’t have to carry groceries far.
In Germany we celebrate Christmas in the evening of the 24thDecember. So as a family we have always had the tradition to have our own small family Christmas and some presents on the 24th December. The kids had always been fortunate enough to get an abundance of gifts, so it always felt better for me to let them open a few gifts at the time, rather than all of them all at once. That way they could actually enjoy each item they had been given, rather than being overwhelmed with everything all at once.
So while we sailed to Gemiler Nina really, really wanted to open a present. So I got 2 things out for each of them. Their crochet blankets and vouchers I had hand made.
I had made them both special crochet blankets. They each took over 100 hours to complete and I am hoping that they can feel wrapped in love in the years to come, when I might not be around to comfort them. Nina had already seen hers, while I was making it, but I tucked it away for the next weeks until Christmas, rather than giving it to her straight away. Luca had seen his blanket being made too, only he didn’t know it was for him and he never asked who it was for either. They both where thrilled with them.
From another sailing mama I got the idea of giving them vouchers / tokens that they could use in the coming weeks / months. I made up some for “no school today”, “no helping required – compete relaxation day”, “1 more hour of screen time time today”, “1:1 time with a parent of your choice in the next town” etc. They absolutely loved them. I had bought some cardboard and choose different cardboards for each of them, so they couldn’t trade them in. Best idea ever and absolutely non commercial and meaningful. So grateful for that inspiration.
When we arrived at St. Nicholas island we decided to finally crack that bottle of Prosecco from Greece that had been in the fridge for quite some time. We took the dinghy to shore, a bag of chips, the kids had their special drink and just sat to watch the sun set over St. Nicholas Island and the coast in the distance. Moments like this make up so much for the moments that suck. Lucy had a swim in the sea – in Fethiye its too dirty for her to swim and nowhere really to walk her properly. So she was in doggy heaven, paddling and splashing, while Tim was in photography heaven, taking pictures of stunning scenery, the kids where in Christmas kids heaven, exploring the stones and rocks and playing with Lucy and I was in my little heaven, watching my little family in this idyllic location just being grateful that we can have those special experiences together.
Once we where back on the boat Adventurous arrived and Lostura with Birgul and Freddie where due later at night as they where still getting stocked up in Fethiye. The 25th of December was not only Christmas day, but also Freddie’s birthday. We originally planned to have a pick nick breakfast on the island to watch the sunset, but the weather was to blowy, so we decided to have it on Polly. Tim made pancakes, I made a fruit salad, we had coffee and sweet things with our friends and it was a lovely morning.
We planned to have a late lunch / early dinner. Starters where on Adventurous, Mains on Polly and dessert on Lostura. We did our secret santa on Adventurous, which was fun and the kids had more presents from us and Jaynee and David during the day. Once we finished mains everyone was feeling full and tired and we decided to have a rest for a little while.
We never made it to the dessert course, because unfortunately the day was overshadowed by Nina not feeling too well, she had a sore tummy and went back to bed in the morning for a few more hours of rest and sleep. When she perked up in the afternoon a bit, Tim started to feel off and came down with temperature in the evening for just 1 night. So we all had an early night.
All photos below are Jaynees.
The next day Tim felt better, but Nina’s sore tummy persisted. Luca, Tim and I went for a walk around the ruins and I collected some wild thyme, which was growing in abundance here and some Olive leaves. I use the wild thyme in cooking and in my herbal teas. Olive leaves are used here in tea and a local study has shown that employees who had a cup of Olive leaf tea twice a day weren’t as likely to get Corona Virus. I mix the local wild sage, thyme and Olives leaves and sometimes add fresh ginger and tumeric to my herbal teas. I always have a thermos standing on the kitchen bench with a herbal brew.
Later in the day we had dessert and birthday cake for afternoon tea with Lostura and Adventurous to make up for the missed dessert course last night.