26 September 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!