Israel, S/V PEACE AND ALOHA, Update, June 19, 2005
Shalom and Happy Father's Day, Family and Friends,
We arrived at Herzliya Marina on May 11, their Independence/Memorial Day holiday, after an overnight passage from Port Said, Egypt. Herzliya Marina (32 10N 34 48E), centrally located on the Mediterranean Sea, allowed day travel via rental car (Traffic Rent Car for $40/day)to tour almost the entire country. The Marina/Yacht Club is located in an upscale resort and mall complex with two excellent supermarkets, stocked full of delicious dark bread, hummus, fruits and veggies, and a medical center within easy walking distance. There are nice showers, a washer/dryer and a restaurant at the Yacht Club. A beautiful beach is within steps of the marina with much activity, especially Friday afternoon and Saturday, their Sabbath, when you must be vigilante when walking along the beach through hundreds of people, chairs and umbrellas, paddle ball players, frisbee throwers, kite boarders, children digging holes in the sand. The guys aboard walk around with smiles on their faces: Israeli girls are absolutely beautiful and they are everywhere, even in uniform! David has decreed that Israel has the most voluptuous girls anywhere on the planet with the highest density per square meter!
During our night passage from Egypt we were constantly on the VHF with the Israeli Navy before we were given permission to enter their territorial waters. When we arrived we were thoroughly searched physically and chemically, as is often used on back packs in airports. The security is very high with metal detectors and searches of purses, packs, and bags when entering the marina/mall complex, all stores, medical centers, museums etc. We continued to be in awe of the young army, both men and women, walking on the streets, in the hospitals and malls, with AK47s on their backs. Israelis are required to serve their country before attending university, men for 3 years and women for 2.5 years, with the exception of Orthodox Jews. When we visited the Israel Museum, we noticed a bus load of 5-6 year olds with six men, not in uniform, with AK47's traveling with them.
Liora and Nava in the marina office (<email@example.com>), as well as the entire marina staff, were very helpful with touring, maps and directions. We found even less English on labels, etc. than in Thailand. Their street signs and maps are difficult, since the English is derived phonetically from Hebrew, which makes different spellings for each place name. We rented a car for either three days or two days at a time for a total of nine days touring. We spent two days in Jerusalem, the first day we visited historical archeological sites, museums and the four different quarters of the Old City and the second day we visited religious-oriented sites: Mount of Olives, Garden Tomb, Temple Mount: Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Via Dolorosa. We visited Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. We drove further south where we swam in the Dead Sea, but we were careful not to swallow any water, which can be fatal, we understand, or to get any water into our eyes. The smallest cut hurts and burns. Unfortunately, we did not have time to travel further south, so we missed Masada (we must leave a few places, so that we may return!). We visited Tiberias, Capernaum, Tabghe, and the Mount of Beautitudes around the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus lived and preached his ministry and Yardenit, where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist on the Jordan River. We also toured Megiddo (Armageddon), Zippori (Sepphoris), Beit She'arim and Caesarea, all ruins dating back 4-10,000 years. It is amazing to see 24 different layers of civilization uncovered in one site. We visited Haifa and toured the Baha'i Shrine of the Bab and the Gardens; however, the Terraces were closed on Wednesday. We enjoyed a guided tour of the Old Port City of Jaffa, which is now part of Tel Aviv, their capital city. Our last day of touring was spent at the Israel Museum with the Shrine of the Book for the Dead Sea Scrolls in Jerusalem, where we could have spent a week! We were able to see the priceless pieces saved in the museum from all the archeological sites we have already visited and were able to see an incredible connection between Yemen, Oman, Egypt, Israel (places we have visited), and with Rome, Greece, Turkey, places we have yet to see! We were very impressed, especially compared to the Cairo Museum!
We completed medical tests with doctors at the Herzliya Medical Center and later with a surgeon at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, where we experienced excellent medical care, possibly the best in the Med; however, it took us a while to find the right doctors, with the expenses being comparable to US. Herzliya Medical Center seems to be in the high profit market, especially for international patients. We are having trouble adjusting to the high prices, which we will be experiencing from now on through the Med and across the Atlantic to Florida. We have been spoiled for the past four years!
We left Herzliya Marina in Israel at 0830 June 15 after checking out of the country with a stamp in our old expired passports, not wanting to risk being denied entry into an Arab country, simply because of an Israeli stamp in our current passports. We paid our marina bill (about $20/day for our size boat which is measured in square meters, water and electricity are extra) plus 80 NIS each (4.35 New Israel Shekels = US$1)departure fee for Customs/Immigration service at the marina. We sailed directly to Finike, Turkey on a two night passage, which seemed tediously slow, possibly because of our dirty bottom, and lumpy-bumpy, while we motor sailed, using up our 20US cents/liter Egyptian diesel which will need to be replaced with Turkish diesel at $7US/gal. Sailing is the slowest means of traveling, especially compared with the fast pace of Israeli freeway drivers, who love to play bumper cars! We did not stop on Cyprus because of time constraints and were anchored outside the marina in Finike, Turkey (36 18N 30 09E) at 1900 hours June 17, 2005 after traveling 340 miles in 2 days and 11 hours.
Our daughter Julie, husband Chris and grandbaby, Paul will arrive for a short visit July 6-15 in Dalaman, near Gocek and Marmaris, Turkey. After their visit, we will haul the boat out to paint the bottom and to replace our cutlass bearing. Since we will be late, we will proceed across the Med, stopping in Greece, Italy, Spain, Gibraltar, then cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean and back to Florida early spring 2006, where S/V PEACE AND ALOHA will be for sale; unless of course, we change our mind and go around again! If you know anyone in the market for a beautiful cruising yacht, please contact us as soon as possible.
Please be patient while we answer many of your personal emails, mail out
many updates from places visited many months ago, and update our website.
Even though we were in Israel for a month, we were so busy with medical problems,
touring, boat projects, washing, cleaning inside and out (STILL removing the
dust, dirt and red sand from Egypt), shopping and walking, that we are now
even further behind. Rod, Becky, and Jamee on "Madhi" and Richard
and Carole on "Evie" arrived in Herzliya, so we have talked with
them personally about the pirate attack, which was obviously a terrifying
experience for them. We will write our thoughts for those traveling behind
with regard to the piracy issue soon. Rod is working VERY hard to obtain information
for you and possibly an escort. We will keep you posted.
Please write us your news (PLEASE do NOT hit your reply button and send our email back to us with your reply). If you no longer wish to receive our periodic updates, please write and we will immediately remove you from our mailing list. Thank you.
We hope that you are all enjoying summer and/or beautiful sailing where ever you may be. Be safe. Take care. Keep in touch. God Bless.
with Love, Peace and Aloha,
Ellen, David, Jason and Eric
S/V PEACE AND ALOHA
June 19, 2005
Finike Marina, Turkey