Archer Adventures

Onboard "Jet-Lagged"

Relaxing in Turkey

You might recall an earlier blog where I described anchoring techniques of different nationalities.

Well, since then, “mine eyes have been opened!”. Here you see everything from the weird to the unbelievable.

First there is the gulet approach. A gulet is a traditional two or three masted wooden Turkish boat and they are extremely popular for tourist charters. They vary from 14 to 35 metres and some are very luxurious. And there are thousands of them! They typically have a professional crew and they seem to carry an extraordinary amount of anchor chain. When they enter a bay, look out! They will go to the middle of the bay, drop an anchor and then start reversing to the shore. Regardless of how many other boats are between them and the shore. They do not care how many other boats’ anchors they drive over. They drop hundreds of metres of chain and then tie up to the shore with stern lines. And if they dropped over your anchor, then you are stuck until they move. At which time there is a good chance they will pull up your anchor as they go!

Then there is the Eastern European approach. Okay, let’s call it what is - the bloody Russians. I guess Turkey is one of the few places they can still go on holiday, given their penchant for unprovoked invasion. And they are here in droves. The Russian approach is characterised by a complete lack of technique whatsoever. The anchor is a strange and mysterious object that should be dropped completely at random. And without any thought to the amount of chain that might be required, or what the composition of the seafloor might be. Recently we had a 54 foot ketch called “Muza” enter a bay near us. Rapidly earning the name “Muza-F***er” this guy simply could not get his boat to stay in one spot. Which is nerve wracking when it is blowing 30 knots and a 54 foot boat is sliding all over the place. He re-anchored 12 times over the next two days, never securing his boat to the seafloor. Every other boat in the bay just prayed he would stay away, as he blew through the fleet. Not only that, every time he anchored he would go below with his two Russian ladies and not re-emerge until nearby boats got his attention by blowing their foghorns to alert him that he was about the run ground on the rocks. 12 times! After time number 4, we offered to help him, to which he said “it’s ok, don’t worry”. Now we watch for him and avoid any bay he is in.

Turkey is busy with boats! The waters are lovely and the Turks are friendly but this place is crowded. The marinas are completely full and so much in demand that they are charging astounding prices. We are near Bodrum today and the marina here wants $500AUD to tie up for a night. I don’t want to buy the place mate, just stop for a night!

Oh, and you need a poo card. Every boat has to have a poo card that you use when you get your poo tanks pumped out. Which is compulsory as it is illegal to open your blackwater tanks, no matter how far offshore you may be. If you do not have proof of regular use of the poo card, you will be fined on the assumption that you opened your tanks somewhere in Turkish waters. So whilst I would very much like to open my poo tanks upwind of a gulet or Muza-F***er, we are dutifully sailing around in the company of our own poo until we get to a pump out station. Of which there are very few!! And many “are not working” when you turn up. A scheme based on good intentions but poor execution.

All that said, we are having a very nice and relaxing time! We are not in a hurry to get anywhere, so when we find a nice bay we just hang out for a few days. The waters are clean (poo-free!), the archaeological sites are amazing, and the costs are low. The diesel price is the lowest we have seen in our travels. And we just found a great Chinese restaurant in this bay which has satisfied my asian cravings!

We had a wonderful visit in June from Brett & Lorraine, our mates from Mindarie, and we are looking forward to Trevor and Chris arriving next week. I think Brett and Lorraine were surprised by how nice Turkey is, hopefully Trevor and Chris enjoy it too!

I must mention the incredible hospitality of some of the Turks we have met. Our friend Aydin, who we met last year in Les Sables-d’Olonne when his new Lagoon was tied up next to ours, gave us an introduction to Edhem, who owns the Bozburun Yacht Club. What a place! Edhem has been a fantastic host and we have visited twice now.

Then, when our water maker stopped working, by some magic Aydin arranged for two expert guys to visit the boat and get it working again, and they refused to give an invoice or take any money, as they said the fix was easy. Try getting that in Australia!