Marmaris to Ayvalik 2012
At 0930 on 16th June 2012, after a 4 week pre-season prep while waiting for Mady to finish her work assignment in Auckland, we set sail from Marmaris Yacht Marina. The work while on the hard and once back afloat had gone well and Delightful Lady was looking bright and shiney and no doubt as eager to start the season as we were.
We had signed on a new shipmate, Basil, who we had bought at the Marmaris market. He promised to bring a certain flavour to our trip, at least we hoped to some of our meals! Unfortunately we discovered, after a couple of hours that our other crew member 'Dino' (our autopilot) was AWOL so we diverted to Bozburun, to see if we could get him back to work. It wasn't until Datca, a day later, that I found the fuse that had blown and we had a full crew compliment again.
Our plan this year was to work our way north up the Turkish Coast to Ayvalik, Exit there and enter Greece in Mytilini on the island of Lesvos. We had been as far as Bodrum before so our first night in new territory saw us in the pretty bay of Gumasluk. The bay was full of boats from nearby marinas but we found a spot opposite Mimoza Taverna a pretty place that unfortunately proved later that night to be very inconsiderate as they played loud music right through the night until dawn. Mady used our new drybag for the first time, when she swam ashore for fresh bread.
The next day we started our northerly journey with Paradise Bay in Kazili Limani our night's anchorage. The bay is delightful but caution is needed as you thread your way through the numerous fish farms, setnets and long lines to get to it. After a quiet night we made for Altinkum and D. Marina as we wanted to visit Ephesus and a couple of other ancient sites. We wanted the yacht to be safe while we were away. The marina is modern and very nice with helpful staff and excellent facilities. We explored the town which has grown from a small village to a sprawling holiday city in a few short years. The ever efficient Turks have quickly built mostly horrible square boxy buildings with a characterless town as a result.
The next day we hired a car and drove to Ephesus via Kusadasi. The ancient site, considered the best in Turkey is magnificent. You can really get a feel for what life was like in Roman times. We also saw a lovely restored house/chapel supposedly occupied by Mary at the end of her life after she escaped Jeruselum after the death of Jesus. An Italian nun had a "vision" of the place and pointed religion authorities to the spot where the ruin of a house was discovered in the bush covered hills above Ephesus. It has become a place of pilgrimage of course even if the whole story seems a little dubious. Later in the afternoon on the way back to the boat we stopped at Priene and Miletos, 2 other sites containing temples and theatres of note. The day was long, hot, tiring and very rewarding. The next day we did nearly 60 miles, saw dophins and had a great 3 hour sail. We zig zagged through the narrow passage between Samos and the Turkish coast (less then a mile wide) and then sailed most of the way across Kusadasi Korfezi to Kormen Adasi. The following morning saw us doing a quick hop up to Sarpdere Limani where we spent the afternoon relaxing and swimming in the clear water of this nice bay. Saw our first turtle today. Fish farms are numerous again. Some spoiling nice anchorages!
We passed through the passage between Khios and the mainland and by-passed Cesme for a night anchorage on the small Island of Kara Ada. Day trip boats were numerous but left us to a peaceful night in good shelter. We had not spent many hours sailing (less than 10%) but had expected this as making your way north against the prevailing Meltimi is not easy in the summer.
On our 10th day of the cruise, we started before 6.00am and motored 48 miles to Bademli Limani. We anchored in the lagoon like area between 2 islands in beautiful clear water and were soon snorkling. The forecast said strong Meltimi for that night and the next day so ideal as it was, we decided to carry on another 3 hours to Ayvalik Limani. This large sheltered harbour is called the 'Lake' which sounded good to us as a place to shelter. We anchored off Alibey finally after an 11 hour day. We saw 2 lots of dophins, the second lot of 8 came and played with us for several minutes. The anchor down in mud and weed was a blessing as the wind rose in the evening. After a quick trip ashore the next day, we decided to seek better shelter so moved across to Camlik Koyu where we found more shelter and more nice mud to anchor in. We also found another kiwi boat and an Aussi boat as well. Peter and Cathy the Kiwis from Wave Runner asked us over for drinks and we ended up staying for dinner. Di and Bernie the Aussie's from First Light III who were friends of Peter and Cathy, joined us and we had a great night. I shall think of it as ANZAC Cove. The next day we knew was market day in Ayvalik Town so we went ashore and caught the Dolmus around to town. The bus was stopped at a police road block and all the locals ID's checked. We had heard that the Turks were trying to clamp down on the overstayer problem they have and this was obviously part of it.
Ayvalik Market occupies many streets of the old town and is centred around a large square where the fruit and vege market is situated. We had great fun there, bought some great food and returned to D.L. Around 2.00pm. Some of the gusts in our anchorage were around 30 knots but we were very secure and slept well.
The next morning with the Meltimi abating but still quite breezy, we moved to Mosko Bay which offered clear water for a swim in a nice setting. Forecast still wasn't good so after an hour or so we decided to go back around to Ayvalik, clear out from Turkey and make the crossing to Lesvos. We anchored off the town while I went and did the check out formalities. When I returned a catamaran was moored just astern of us and Mady was chatting to the people. I then saw that, like us, a Kiwi flag flew from the spreaders! Gavin and Lisa are from Tairua and Mady had met them briefly in Auckland during the Volvo Ocean Race stop-over. They were checking out and going to Lesvos like us. Now what are the odds of that!
We motorsailed across to Lesvos with plans to meet the others later for drinks. Dolphins escorted us some of the way. We were signaled to pull into the the Customs quay as we entered Mytilini harbour and I went off to do the check-in formalities. An hour and a half later, and having had my fill of formalities for one day, we were safely tied up stern-to the town quay. The place was busy and noisy but we were in Greece and had the island to explore over the following days. It was the 29th June, 13 days and 61 engine hours after leaving Marmaris. The Eastern Sporades and Dodocanese Greek Islands and the downwind sail back to base await us.
Last Days 2011
05/12/2011, Kekova Roads
Friday 23rd September saw us back out into Gocek Bay. We were excited to get a call from Greg on MOJO to say that they were less than an hour away. Once we had met up we took them to Wall Bay and went stern-to not far from Square rock. It was great to see Julia and Greg again. Mady was especially excited as she hadn't seen them since the previous year. We had them over for dinner and spent a wonderful night catching up and planning the next couple of weeks cruising together.
We left Wall Bay at 10am the next day and headed for Olu Deniz. The cruising guide spoke of a pretty lagoon, spoilt by tourist development which is pretty much what we found. The anchorage outside the lagoon is small and is popular with day tripper boats who spend the night there but we found a couple of spots. The water is deep but we got a good set on the anchors and pulled back towards the rocks with shore lines. Once we were sure the yachts were OK Greg ferried us in to the beach. The lagoon is now out of bounds for boats and we found even dinghies were prohibited. Once ashore we crossed the narrow isthmis and reached the lagoon shore. We could see trashy beach bars across from us and with trepidation made our way around to them. They were very dissappointing as was the whole area. We walked out to the tip of the isthmis and had a quick swim to cool down before heading back to the yachts. The coast here has high mountains close to the sea and we watched dozens of para-gliders emerge from the cloud covered mountain tops, several thousand feet above us, circle lazily and gradually decend over about 30min to land on the beach across from our anchorage. A stunning sight with 30 or so gliders hovering like dragons above us. Overall though I think we all thought that Olu Deniz was really underwhelming and in the end not worth the visit! The dinner on Mojo that night was worth it, as always!
Our departure was delayed slightly in the morning while Greg and Julia extracted themselves from their neighbour who had some how managed to anchor over them. We headed off for Kalkan where we were to meet up with Karen and Michael, Julia's sister and husband. They had spent a few days in a holiday apartment there waiting for MOJO to arrive. We docked in Kalkan town harbour at 1300 and met up with K & M. They kindly invited us up to the apartment to shower, use the washing machine and have a swim in the pool. That night we dined out in the quaint little old town. Kalkan was destroyed by an earthquake and the town was rebuilt further up the hill but then a few years ago an entrepenerial type from Istanbul purchased the old town area and began rebuilding the villas and commercial buildings. He sold them to friends in Istanbul and soon the old town was beginning to come back to life. Now it is a busy town surrounded by high hills covered in white tourist apartment complexes and I imagine the man from Istanbul is very wealthy!
Karen and Michael checked out of their apartment and moved aboard MOJO the next morning and we made our way out of the harbour and across to a large bay where we were to spend the night. We swam and relaxed the afternoon away and then dined on MOJO that evening.
The next day MOJO headed for the Greek Island of Kastelorizo which is a couple of miles off the Turkish coast opporsite Kas. We managed about a 30min sail before the wind died and the motor came on once again. As Delightful Lady had already exited Greece for the season we made for a bay outside Kas. It was well sheltered and we found a nice spot. We could have just run up the blue and white courtesy flag and gone with MOJO but decided not to risk it as we had heard that both the Turks and Greek authorities in the area tended to be a bit more vigilant than their collegues further up the coast.
The next day MOJO joined us at our anchorage. They reported that the small main town on the island had been nice and that a trip by local boat around to the "Blue Grotto" had been worthwhile.
We BBQ'd on MOJO and planned our itinery for the next morning.
The next day we headed for Kekova but stopped on the way in a bay which has the ruins of the ancient city of Aperlae to explore, lots of sarcophagi tombs and sunken buildings. The oldest part of the ruins date from the 3rd or 4th century BC. After a snorkle and walk around the ruins we continued on in a rising swell and entered the small northern entrance into the sheltered waters once more. The 4 mile long island creates a sheltered stretch of water between it and the mainland and this feature is know in England as a road. The british naval captain Beaufort charted these waters and named the area Kekova Roads. He is of course also know for inventing a method of descibing wind strengths (Force 1 etc) and descriptions of sea states that we all still use today known as the Beaufort Scale. We anchored in Woodhouse Bay for the night. Many bays here have cold freshwater springs in them and this makes for lively bathing as you glide from warm to icey patches! MOJO's crew joined us for dinner.
The next day started early as we retraced our steps and headed back to Kas. We had seen that it was a small harbour and that it was busy so we planned an arrival around late morning when the yachts from the previous night would have left but most yachts moving from Kalkan or Kekova would still be enroute!
The plan worked a treat and we docked in the harbour, stern-to. We walked the town and made for the market which Kas is well known for. Greg, Michael and I left the girls haggling for T-shirts and veges and walked down to the new Kas Marina. This has only just opened and we wanted to check it out to see if they had any deals going for the winter. We found the marina very nice and new and mainly empty which gave it a strange feeling. The "deals" offered were not better than what we pay in Yat Marin so both Greg and I crossed it off our lists of potential winter homes. We found the girls, hired a large truck and took them and their purchases back to the boats!! Later that afternoon the gullets began to arrive and we longed for the peaceful, hassel-free anchorage of the previous 2 nights! That night the winds rose to above 25 knots right on the bow. We were getting gusts of 35 knots coming straight down off the mountains into the harbour. Our anchor dragged and although we were able to get it to grip again and it seemed OK we both knew we were in for a sleepless night. The Gullet next to us, about 80' of it, was also having trouble and seemed likely to crush us at any moment. I was relieved when they rowed a long line over to the opposite side of the harbour but it still seemed at times that this monster was using DL for a leaning post in the bigger gusts. The next day we learnt that MOJO who was a few boats away and clear of the gullets also had neighbours in trouble and anchors dragged on several yachts causing some mayhem to all concerned. Because the harbour is so narrow it doesn't allow you to put out much chain hence the problem when the wind blows like it did that night. The harbour floor is littered with old moorings, lines, chain and other debris so I wasn't looking forward to leaving with a chance we would get hooked up and have to dive to free the anchor. The port has a problem with stray cats getting aboard boats and we saw evidence of this too. Karen and Michael left to return to England that night and we planned to make for Kekova Roads the next morning...if we could escape that is!
The time came and we carefully eased DL out of her berth retrieving chain as we went. Once she was positioned over the spot Mady had dropped at the previous day I slowly began to pull up the anchor. I could see it all clearly in the 4m deep water as it came up towards the surface with a large rope hooked on it. Just as I feared the worst the rope fell off the anchor and we were free. I noted the cabin top of a small runabout on the seabed that we had also somehow managed to avoid. Today the anchor God was kind to us! The large rope was attached to an enormous chain in the middle of the harbour but luckily had been cut. It was the remains of the lazyline system that the harbour authorities had quite sensibly installed sometime in the recent past. The whole system had been cut, probably by local fishermen and trip boat crew, and was now a serious hazard to every boat the came in and docked there. For this berth we were charged 50 Euro for the night! If you wanted to use the showers or toilets you paid extra for each use! We had found that the new marina charged about the same so if we ever go back to Kas (which I doubt) we will avoid the town harbour at all costs! As always the Turks we met on the dock and in the town shops and tavernas were great. Friendly and helpful but unworried about the state of their harbour.
Back to Kekova we went. We intended to spend a few more days exploring this historic area. The famous Lycian Way runs close to the coast here and there are famous castles and sunken cities litter the sea floor. We arrived back at about 1400 and made for Polemos Bay at the western end of the Roads. We woke and saw a turtle swimming around the boats in the early morning glassy water. We motored into the inner harbour and Ucagiz village. We were surprised to see a new marina extension that looked busy. The guide had warned of shallow water at the towns quay but this has now been overcome. We decided to anchor off the town as neither of us needed power or water and the harbour is so sheltered. We did go ashore and had a wander around the village. We wanted to explore inland further south and asked a local shop keeper about hire cars. He offered us his own car for the next day for a good rate so having agreed to pick the car up at 9am we had a beer in the waterside taverna and then returned to the yachts.
The next day we set off in the car. We drove inland through the hills. Any flat land was covered in plastic houses and intensive horticulture. Our first stop was at Kale. This is an old town of Demre and was an important ancient city. The town is home to the church of St Nicolas. A wealthy young man, Nicolas lived in the 3rd century AD. He was a generous man who amongst other things began giving gifts to the towns children to mark the birth of Christ each year. The story goes that a church collapsed burying him during an earthquake but he emerged unscathed! His reputation grew and there are many stories of his generosity and the miracles he performed that included bringing dead people back to life! After his death his bones were housed in a new church built for the purpose until an Italian stole them and took them to Rome. Over the years the story of St Nicolas and in particular his dealings with children led to ...yes you guessed it...Santa Claus. How he got from the hot sandy rocks of southern Turkey to scandinavia and the reindeer is anyones guess but that's what happened. The remains of his church is now a museum and the church is quite something. The huge souvineer shop selling Santa statues, snow globes, plates and everything else Xmas is just plain weird and a sight to see.
Just out of town is the ancient city of Myra. This is an amazing place with stunning Lycian rock tombs and a magnificent roman theatre. We spent a couple of hours exploring the site, marvelling at the architechure and building prowess of peoples who lived 2500 years ago. It also reminded us of what amazing treasures Turkey has to offer. Getting off the boat and exploring inland is a must. Turkey is a very large country with a population of around 75 million. It has spectacular scenery and a wealth of historic sites to explore. We continued on down the coast to Finike. This town has a marina that we had heard many people talk about and is popular as a winter-over base due to it's proximity to Antalya which is a large centre with good airport connections and it's mild winter climate. We explored the town and visited the marina where we had lunch. We found the town dissappointingly bland but maybe we walked the wrong streets. There is an old town running up the hill and no doubt if you spent time there you would discover that Finike has more to it than what we saw.
Back on the boat Mady cooked a chilli con carne and Julia and Greg joined us for a nice evening reflecting on our day off the yachts. Our next stop was to be over the other sde of the bay at Kalekoy. We were going to tie up to a taverna wharf, explore the famous castle above the village and eat ashore. The weather forecast the next morning warned of an approaching storm and we decided to shorten our stay in Kekova and make a run north back to Gocek/Fethiye with an overnight stop at Kalkan on the way. Greg and Julia had a week less time to spend than we did and didn't want to get caught down in Kekova for a few days. The run back to Marmaris from Gocek Bay is only a day. The castle at Kalekoy will have to wait until another year!
The wind for the run was truly a "calm before the storm" and so once again we motored most of the way. We anchored in the bay outside Kalkan that we had used the first night with Karen and Michael. We decided to just swing at anchor as it was going to be a quiet night. At around 5pm the gulets started to arrive. There isn't much choice of shelter in this area and so this bay is well used. Gulets seem to all have their schedules and favourite spots in each bay that they use. We often saw heavy rope attachments both above and below the water left there by gulet crews so that they had an easy tie on point. If you happen to have unwittingly gone stern-to in or near "their spot" some of them will still try to use the spot even though this positions them unreasonably close to your boat.
When this happens you can do one of 3 things. Accept the situation and the noisey genset that inevitably will mean that you won't get a decent sleep. Play AC DC or another favourite heavy metal band at full blast all night and try to make the gulet passengers make the crew move somewhere else or move yourself.
That evening a gulet arrived and dropped anchor in the middle of the bay and proceeded to run back to the shore to tie up. They reversed back passed MOJO at about 10 knots and then angled in behind them (remember MOJO was swinging at anchor) and proceeded to tie up. Had the wind come up overnight and swung around to come into the bay MOJO would swing around to exactly where this gulet was now moored.
Julia politely pointed this out to the crew and asked them to move. They refused...big mistake!
After yelling a few more requests that were ignored Greg and Julia hopped in the dinghy and rowed over. What occurred over the next few minutes is a highlight of our 2011 cruise. We filmed the whole thing but at Julia's request have not released the footage to the social media sites! I can only tell you that the outcome was that the gulet moved away to a safe position and that Turkish male pride took a dent. We on Delightful Lady and the people on several other boats both foreign flagged and local cheered this outcome with great gusto! Oh by the way the wind did come up and swing round overnight.
The lack of courteousy and basic seamanship on a small percentage of the gulets is astounding.
The next day we left at 7am and motorsailed to Fethiye. For Mady and I it was like completing a circle as Fethiye was the first place we went to at the beginning of this adventure when searching for a yacht to buy back in early 2010. Friends in Marmaris had recommended a place called Yacht Classic to berth at and so we made for it. IT is a small private marina next to the large ECE marina and is run by Yacht Classic Hotel. The deal is that you pay a small fee (20TL) per night incl power and water as long as you eat at the hotel restaurant. You can use the swimming pool and luxury showers and toilets, wi-fi and the restaurant has good food at reasonable prices. We arrived and tied up. The Yacht Classic is a new 4star hotel and turned out to be all that we had been told. It is a great deal and a superb base for this area.
Well this life we lead is certainly what you call "fluid"! Today our plans have changed again. Mady has had an opportunity come up back in NZ to manage the SLAM sailing clothing store in Auckland. "If you are interested," the email read, "would you be able to go to Italy for a week for training before you head home?". "Hell yes!" was her reply. 48Hrs later I had booked flights for both of us Athens-Genoa-Athens, brought forward all our previously booked ferry tickets, talked to Marmaris marina and brought forward our winter booking there and we were planning a run back to Marmaris for the next day. We arrived back at the marina to find it still very full. Got a berth and settled in. The next morning we watched the Aussi vs SA game and the the All Blacks game in the marina bar. The next few days were spent putting Delightful Lady to bed for the winter. We have decided to leave her in the water for 4 months and then bring her out for 2. Our friend Aleo has agreed to be on hand in Feb 2012 for the haulout. This saves us about 300 Euro.
We are now back in Auckland! Since the end of the first week of October our feet have rarely touch the ground. We went to Genoa via Rhodes then Athens. Rhodes was great. We stayed in a nice B & B right in the old castle area but there was a strike on and we couldn't get in to see any of the museums or historic buildings which was a bummer! We watched the semi final of the RWC in a roadside bar/restaurant. Later that day we were on an overnight ferry to Athens, a bus across rubbish-strewn Athens and then a flight to Genoa. After a hectic few days training at SLAM head office where we were really well looked after by Andrea, Dario and the team we spent a couple of lovely days in Rapallo, just south of Genoa. The neighbouring bays of S. Margherita and Portofino are very pretty and the whole area is very special. We watched the All Blacks battle France the final of the RWC in Rapallo. Agonisingly close but in the end the All Blacks are the best team in the world and deserved WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!
Finally on 25th we boarded our Emirates flight to Auckland via Dubai and Sydney. Four days later we were back at work. We have found a small flat in Remuera and moved in a few days later. The car and motorbike were brought out, dusted off and we were back into "normality" before we knew it.
There is something very nice though, about having a yacht waiting for you back in the Med. No matter what sort of bad day your having all we need to do is think of Delightful Lady and the new adventures that await us in just a few short months! Ahhhhhhh!
26/09/2011, Skopea Limani
After a couple of busy days in Yatmarin marina it was good to get back out into the bays. We cast off and motored out of the harbour then Mady noticed water gushing out of the bilge pump outlet on the stern. We quickly ascertained that it was fresh water not salt, put our hearts back in place and discovered the problem. A hose on the water pump had come lose and all 240 L of water in our aft tank was now sloshing around in the bilge! We returned to the marina, fixed the hose, pumped out the bilge, refilled the water tank and set off again.
After a quiet night in a bay outside of Marmaris we set off for Skopea Limani the large gulf in which Gocek is located. The gulf is protected by a string of islands and high hills on the mainland. Many fellow cruisers have said it is one place not to miss. After a 40 mile motorsail we entered the gulf through a deep, narrow channel between Domuz Island and the mainland. The first bay is Kapi Creek, a small cove with a restaurant at its head. The authorities of this National Park area have placed metal bollards around the shore of most bays in the area to preserve the trees that boats used to damage as they tied their shore lines to them. We found a free one of these and anchored stern to it. The gulf is very deep with 15 to 25 m in most bays right up to close to the rocky shores. Some bays are so deep that the authorities have provided mooring buoys a suitable distance off the shore for boats to use. These are free to use. The gulf is about 10 miles long and a couple wide and is very busy with private yachts, charter fleets, large motoryachts and of course Gullets.
The next morning we moved around to the next bay, Seagull Bay, so called because there is a huge seagull made of painted stones laid out on the side of a hill. We couldn't find a good spot so moved to 22 Fathom Cove and found a nice spot to tuck into. There are ruins around these bays, scattered amongst the pines and the setting is beautiful. Mady swam the lines ashore and we pulled in close to the shore. Doing this is wonderful as you are close to shore and the overhanging trees but still in 4 or 5 meters and of course no tide to worry about. It is like being in a lake and the water is just as clear but much warmer! Just around G & T time a gullet pulls in next to us (about 30m away). It has a dozen drunk, loud, Turkish teenagers on board! Half of them have jumped off the boat while the skipper is still anchoring and manouvering astern! We left! Half a mile further on we spied a free mooring and quickly made our way over to it and tied on. The sign said 10T, 35m so we felt quite secure. The buoy was in a small, deep cove with high tree-covered hills and a small beach with what looked like an abandoned stone house and outbuildings. You come across lots of these and you find yourself imagining who had built there, what their life was like and what had caused them to abandon all their hard work.
We woke the next morning to gunshots! Having established that we were not the target we spent a peaceful day there. You are visited by the bread boat with fresh warm village bread in the morning then various icecream boats pester you all day until you finally buy an overpriced Magnum, just to make them go away, you understand. Then to our surprise the supermarket boat arrives with a fair selection of just about anything you might need. What service! The gunfire continued throughout the day, loudly ringing off the hills above us. A notice dropped in to us from the local floating restaurant included "Wild Boar casserole" on the menu so that explained why WWIII was happening ashore. We spied one of the shooters high on a ridge at one stage. At about 3pm four hunters emerged onto the beach, loaded their rifles and gear into a dinghy and quietly left the bay. They were not carrying any game and so we assumed that the casserole in the restaurant that night would probably be chicken!
We stayed 2 nights here then moved to Deep Bay (50m in the middle). On the way we spent an hour checking out other bays and anchorages before picking up a buoy and going for a snorkle. The fish are more plentiful here in the reserve which is a good sign and the water is beautifully warm and clear. The next morning we headed for Gocek where we filled our diesel, emptied our black-water tank at the pumpout station and berthed at Skopea Marina for the night. We plugged into power then went to stroll the small town. Gocek is the base for large charter fleets as well as being a popular superyacht haven and so there are several supermarkets, chandleries, hardware stores etc. Provisioning a superyacht takes several people, various delivery vans and trolleys and, no doubt, a platinum credit card. Provisioning Delightful Lady isn't quite so bad! Mindful that our time here in the Med is soon to end we spend a while shopping for some gifts. A 50m superyacht called SKY is berthed next to us and the pier is alive with rumours about who owns it. We quiz the Aussi crew and are told if we wait 10 minutes we will see who owns it. Mady is away shopping when they arrive. I recognise the guy as a sportsman but can't think who it is! He is with 1 guest, another man. They take a seat on the main stern deck (Sky is 4 stories high!) after greeting the dozen staff who have lined up in their dress uniforms to greet them. "Good morning Sir, nice to see you again Sir" we hear them say as they bow and curtsy...bloody hell I really am going to have to get my crew some etiquette lessons I say to myself...and one or two of those pretty young blond ladies wouldn't go amiss either!!! I still don't know who it was by the way! Oh and it wasn't a Murdoch.
Back out in the gulf the following day we first tried Tomb Bay which has Lycian Tombs all around the hillside above the anchorage but couldn't find a spot so carried on to a spot we had seen on our scouting trip a couple of days ago. We were in luck and found a nice spot. We dropped anchor in 20m and pulled back to be in 5m about 20m from the shore. 2 sternlines kept us secure. The gulf is so well protected that there isn't any swell and the nights are very still. Afternoon breezes make for great sailing on flat water. There are more than a dozen tavernas spread around the gulf all with complimentary jetties for visiting yachts to use and this together with the bollards and buoys and with the beautiful natural settings make this such a popular cruising ground.
Two days later we return to Gocek for more provisions. Greg and Julia on Mojo are due tomorrow and then we will set off with them for a 3 week cruise down to Kekova Roads and back to Marmaris. We are really looking forward to sailing with Mojo and crew again. Mady has even bought party lights for both boats so we might even give the Gullets a run for there money! We are watching the match reports of the Allblacks (37-17 v France) and the amazing Warriors run to the Grand Final. We are trying to be in places that may have sports bars showing the games on the weekends but doubt we will see the NRL Grand Final live here. We wish the boys well and fly our silver fern flag proudly. Yesterday a cat we were passing under motor saw the flag and quickly hosted a large South African flag then yelled across to us that his flag was bigger than ours. A pleasant 5 mins of banter and rugby chat ensued as we went along. In the end we both agreed that no one could make sense out of what the S A coach ever said and that the Allblacks look like a good bet for the championhip! Oh yes!
Kos to Marmaris
Marmaris Yacht Marine 15/09/2011
We left Kos harbour and headed up the Gokova Korfezi, the long, much indented Gulf of Kos. The Pilot book promises lots of great anchorages, wonderful scenery and ancient ruins everywhere. Our first stop was a peaceful bay on the north coast by Cokertme called Kargil Limani. This was really just an overnight stop on our way up to the head of the Gulf. The next day we completed the trip and moored on a private jetty in Sogut run by Gokova Yacht Marine. The jetty leads onto a lovely cove which has the Global Sailing School base run by one of Turkey's most celebrated sailing families, a small hotel, restaurant, shop and ablution block. The facilities were great and the water clear and inviting (the whole area is now a nature reserve) except for the hundreds of large yellow/brown jellyfish! No we didn't swim!! We ate aboard and enjoyed a peaceful night. Next day we motored a short distance to Castle and Snake Islands. These two small Islands are covered in ruins dating from as early as 1000 BC. There are the site of ancient Kedreai and then later occupied by the Romans in 129 BC. There is a small beach on the west coast known as Cleopatra's Beach. She is believed to have taken up residence on the island and one of her many extravagances was to have galleys of sand shipped from the North of Africa to create the beach for her lover, Antony to sunbathe on! Experts argue but many say the sand is not local and is indeed typical of African sand.
After exploring the island we left for Degirmen Buku, a bay of many coves with pine covered slopes right to the waters edge. We checked out English Cove, so named because the Special Boat Service used it as a base during the second world war. We then went around to Okluk, a narrow cove with 3 tavernas on one side. We picked the busiest looking one and picked up a lazyline and went stern to the jetty. The tavena has a nice waterside shaded eating area, a small shop and clean ablutions block. Water and power are there to use on the jetty. The jellyfish were even thicker here! We berthed next to Rick on Tangerine, a Kiwi we had met in Marmaris Yat Marin last year. 2 along from him was a Turkish flagged launch and we got chatting to them during the day. Emne and Bagum are from Istanbul and we ended up having a nice dinner and evening with them. Bagum is expecting their first child in January. They have kindly invited us to visit them in Istanbul when we next pass through there.
We left Okluk richer for the experience and sailed around to Seven Islands. We tucked in to a lovely bay and the first mate swam a line ashore to tie us stern into the beach. A large crab resting in the shallows seemed destined for the dinner table until it fought back when Mady prodded it with a stick.
The water (and weather) here in Turkey is noticably warmer than out in the Greek islands and we seemed to have escaped the jellyfish so we spent the afternoon snorkling and lazing in these idyllic surroudings. We were dissappointed to see the amount of rubbish ashore. It is a sad inditement on our fellow boaties. Charterers are to blame for most of it we believe.
We had an early start the next day as we had a long sail planned. We emerged from the cove narrowly missing running the yacht into a cliff face which seemed to have jumped out in front of us while the skipper wasn't paying attention! Reverse gear was applied rather forcefully and we pulled up short of the cliff by a good couple of meters!!! That was lucky said the skipper, grinning. The first mate couldn't see the light side of the incident and just glared. A chastened and now completely alert skipper swung us around to our correct course. Luck was not with us for long however as the wind was up early too and was right on the nose for the first 4 hours. As we rounded the end of the peninsula we flung up the sails in anticipation of a little payback for the hard beat only to have the wind die completely before we were sheeted in! We furled the sails back up grumpily and motored on. Such is sailing in Turkey.
In the end we did get in a couple of hours sail and arrived in Ova Buku in better spirits. The skipper had stopped here on his way to pick Mike and Gordon up from Bodrum and liked it. We went stern to the jetty and paid the 25 TL fee ($26) incl power and water. The jetty is not run by a taverna, hence the fee, but you are not obliged to eat ashore. Next day we sailed to Bozburun where we have been several times. We tied up in the small town basin as we had some formalities to take care of ashore. We ate aboard and had a peaceful night. We are stopping a jetties often as you can see and this is because we haven't replaced our stolen dinghy and outboard opting to delay this until the beginning of next season. The next morning we motored out through the pretty channel outside Bozburun, passing 'Goat' Bay that both Mike & Gordon and Leanne and Gerri will remember as one of our favourites. We were headed for home (our Turkish home in Marmaris Marina) and instead of doing it in 2 jumps we did the whole 35 to 40 miles and pulled into the marina in the late afternoon.
We had some wind from behind and broad reached and gull-winged our way down most of the coast. We took on a couple of Beneteau 43 charter yachts and trounced them (amateurs!).
Well that was 2 days ago. We have enjoyed being back in the marina with all its facilities and went to dinner last night to celebrate the skipper's birthday (actually today). Steak with bluecheese sauce, yum! We ran into Elio from Crapun who we last saw in Naxos and invited him to join us for dinner. As I write we are making ready to leave again and head south to Gocek, Fethiye and beyond. We will cruise with our mates Greg and Julia on Mojo who join us in a weeks time and will try to get down to Kekova Rds and Kas before heading back here for the final time on about 20th October.
Its mid September but the water and weather are still beautiful but the Meltemi is down and we are looking forward to our last month in the Med this year.
Go the AllBlacks!!!
11/09/2011, Kos Town habour
We had had enough. The Meltimi had won and we turned tail and ran. The forecast said a small 36 hour window of light west to south west winds was due so we hightailed it east. We let go the lines and weighed anchor ........ nearly. It was caught on a huge chain and concrete block, the remains of an abandoned lazy line system, 25m out from the dock. Luckily a nice young Greek lad who I had chatted to the previous day in a neighbouring yacht offered to try to dive the 4 to 5 metre depth to see if he could trip the anchor. After several attempts we managed to free our anchor and were on our way. The young man refused all offers of a reward and wished us a pleasant trip.
We motor sailed across to Ios and grabbed the last berth on the town pier. We kept the boat well off the dock as we had heard of the ferry wakes that caused problems there. Next day we started at about 9.30 am and made a 10 hour trip to Levitha. We arrived at 7.45pm as the sun set and anchored thankfully just as darkness fell. On the way we had seen dolphins, had detoured into an anchorage in Amorgos to check it out for future years and passed close to the eastern end of that Island to see it's 2,000 foot high cliffs dropping spectacularly into the sea. (see photo)
The next morning we set off at 6.30am for Lipsi but two thirds of the way across the winds sprang up to 25 knotts and we began battling quickly rising seas. I put the motor on to keep us on course whilst we shortened sail and suddenly the engine died. I explained to Mady that the fuel line might have picked up some dirt as we were heeled well over and rocking around a lot. I was annoyed with myself as I should not have put the engine on in those conditions. We decided to head for Lakki on Leros as we knew the bay was big and roomy and that there were two marinas and trades people there to fix the engine should we need them. We sailed into Lakki and tacked up the harbour then circled outside the marina whilst we tried to get them to send a boat out to help us get in. They refused. They did however, point us to an outside concrete pier where we could tie up. So we put all the fenders on one side and sailed onto the dock with half a mainsail. We docked without a problem. I decided to get a mechanic to check the fuel lines and bleed the system. I had not done this before and so I watched carefully as he found the blockage in the primary tank pick-up tube, cleared it and then bled the system. Next time I will be able to do it. The tank obviously has some dirt in it and will need cleaning out at some stage. A fuel additive may help to dissolve any dirt and we will try this as well. We tested the engine and moved into the marina for the night. This marina is quite new and reasonable and we have met a few people who winter over here but it is still dearer than Marmaris.
The next day we were back on track and headed the short distance to Lipsi. We berthed after three attempts as the anchor slid over the weed coated bottom. Yanni the dock manager was there to greet us as before and we were glad to be back. We stayed two nights and we watched the forecast with growing frustration as the Meltimi kept blowing. We had a nice meal out with a Turkish couple we were docked next to, Lutfi and Serop, from Istanbul and their golden retriver Lucy. Both Mady and I had way too much ouzo and suffered the next morning. We decided to forget our plan of heading for Samos and turned south running before 2 metre swells and 18 knot winds. We scurried all the way down to Kos. As we approached the Kos Strait we were greeted by three dolphins who briefly paused to play with us. This is the first time dolphins have interacted with us. We went inside the Town basin but all the marina berths were taken. We found space on the other side where there was no electrical posts but water was available and there was no charge. We suffered the Gullet wakes in the morning and evening but all and all a good spot. We spent three nights here as Mady had a bad muscle strain in her back. We dosed her with Voltarin and waited for it to work. We ate out at a cheap Gyro Restaurant for two nights and loaded the boat with booze for the remaining weeks as it is so much cheaper here than in Turkey. ie 5L of reasonable wine for 7 Euro. We were berthed next to a nice couple on a 43 foot catamaran, Ian and Sentina, and had drinks with them on the last night in Kos. They spend time in Auckland each year as they have a house there so we will catch up with them this summer.
Today is our last day in Greece for this year. Leanne is across the bay in her cruise ship in Bodrum! So close but destined not to meet up this year. It is twelve months since we had the girls on Delightful Lady - time does fly.
Tomorrow we head for Turkey.
20.8.2011 After seeing off our guests we remained trapped in Naxos for a further 6 days!. We had good company in the form of Alio and girlfriend on board Crapun. Alio is Brazillian, Italian and a nice guy. We were invited to go with them to a special event where Pierre Cousteau, son of Jacque who was giving a presentation, showing one of his father's films and talking about trying to preserve the marine life in the Med. Too late we cried! We also met Peter, an Australian on a Bavaria 44. We helped him fix a major battery problem he was having and ran into him again a week later on Milos. This all helped keep our mind off the 35 kn gusts screaming through the rigging! On our last night in Naxos we had pizza with Alio. We hope to meet up with him again back in Turkey. We once again braved the crossing to Naousa, Paros. Mady felt quite sick which shows you how bad it was! We anchored in Agi Ionnis again, this time swinging at anchor with the gusts. We were going to leave the next day but had toilet blockage problem which took me most of the day to fix. The next day we sailed to Paroika, the main town on Paros however after a 2 hr stop alongside the quay so I could fill water and top up my internet account ans as there was no room inside the marina quay so we carried on to Sifnos . We had a blast sailing on a beam reach with 25 kns in up to 3.5m swells. We tried to anchor stern-to in Faros but I was not happy with the security so we carried on to Ormos Vathi on the east coast. This bay is very well protected but has huge gusts coming off the high hills and we had a pretty sleepless night. The next day we had a great 3hr sail and arrived in Adamas, the main port of Milos. Milos, like Santorini is an extinct volcano and the harbour was created by a huge eruption. The town quay provides good shelter except for the odd ferry wake. We spent 6 nights in Milos. The highlight was the day we hired a beach buggy and toured the island. The buggy was fun but had no parking brakes to speak of so we used large rocks which we carried around in the luggage rack at the back. Highlights of the day were the catacombs, (early christian burial caves) in Tripiti and Sarakiniko where the soft white volcanic rock has been sculptured by the wind and sea to create a moon-like scene. There are small inlets where you can swim and explore the caves and look for the abundant fossils. We had lunch at Pollonia on the NE tip before returning to the boat. The day trip boats seemed to go out most days even though the Meltemi continued to blow up to 35 kns outside. When they returned to dock each night all on board cheered and clapped once the gang-plank was resting on the quay! We could not tell whether it came from relief or was praise for skipper and crew for a fun day out! We had planned to explore more islands down in this area but we both felt that we had had enough of the Cyclades winds for one year and so with a day or two of light winds forecast we decided to head back towards Turkey and the relative shelter of the coast.