Kurukulla at Anegada, BVI

Friday, 26 August 2011

Heading south.

Sigri restaurant
Alongside at Mitilini
The visit to the first port in Lesbos went extremely well. We anchored in the bay at Sigri late in the evening with a beautiful sunset. The bay is shallow and good holding at the northern end. Next morning we moved alongside and I set off to visit the delightful young lady manning the Helenic Coastguard office. She duly stamped my forms, chatted very sweetly and informed me that I was berthed on a military jetty (which was virtually derelict but matters not) where I could not remain for more than a very brief visit. The only downside was that gas was not available in 3kg bottles in the village and so we were later destined to head for the capital of Lesbos, Mitilini, on the east coast, where gas was guaranteed to be available. After a very good lunch in a bistro overlooking the bay we sailed off the jetty and headed for the south coast of Lesbos to find a suitable bay for an anchorage. Around 1900 we chose a beach, headed in and anchored in 6m for the night, the wind was forecast to remain light and offshore and so it did.
Mitilini waterfront
Next morning we sailed the remaining distance to Mitilini and were greeted by a very polite, but equally firm, Port Police official who invited us to berth on the quarantine berth and undergo the entire re-entry procedure for entry into Greece, he was having nothing of my already existing stamps in my cruising log from Sigri, only two days earlier. Thus it was that I spent an hour and 25€ re entering Greece formally, only to have to go through the whole process at 0800 the next morning to exit Greece again. The only advantage was that the duty free shop in the quarantine area was open when we were forced to berth there again for our departure; thus we were able to restock the drinks cupboard. Our overnight berth had been on the town quay and we had found a delightful, characterful, taverna in the back-streets for supper.
Victualling at Ayvalik

Supper at Ayvalik

From Lesbos it was back to Turkey and into Ayvalik to meet up with Ale and Ray. They had both travelled up from Bodrum by bus after flying out from UK. Fortunately this time we did not get involved with bureaucracy! That night was spent in Ayvalik with supper ashore in a very local eating area reminiscent of the stalls in Singapore. Good food, ridiculously low prices.

Hot springs at Bademli Limani
From here it was on to Bademli Limani. This is a delightful anchorage sheltered by two off-lying islands and with hot springs along the mainland coast. We spent two nights here, the first anchored in the shelter of the northern end of the anchorage and then the next night, after the wind had abated, anchored off the hot springs where we spent a very pleasant afternoon and evening soaking ourselves in the naturally heated pools. Someone had even constructed a rough and ready 4m x 5m indoor pool to retain the hot water.
Dennis ashore at Kizkulesi Adasi, Mardalic.
From here it was southwards again to the small island of Mardalic where we anchored in the small bay on the NW side for lunch; an idyllic anchorage and then onwards to Eski Foca for the night and the departure of Dennis back to Holland. We spent the night berthed on the town quay, under the castle, and next morning despatched Dennis to Izmir airport in a local minibus, so packed with people it was bursting to capacity!
After Dennis's departure we sailed out across the Gulf of Izmir and down the west coast as far as Egri Limani, a deep fissure parallel to the coast where we intended to spend the night. On arrival we anchored in a small bay on the western side in the shelter of the headland and passed the afternoon sunning and swimming. At 1900 the wind changed direction and started blowing hard from the east. To give ourselves more room we re-anchored further up the inlet but even this was tight once we had deployed all 50 m of the anchor chain! Throughout the night we had to keep anchor-watches as the wind gusted up to 50 almost knots and swung between E and N.
The calm of the morning. Anchorage at Egri Limani
Next morning, the wind abated slightly, we all caught up on our lost sleep and then set off for the island of Karaada, only 7 miles south. Weighing anchor took some time as we found as we hauled the anchor in that we had also caught a large, discarded, fishing net which had been half buried in the mud on the bottom. This had probably helped to keep us in place the night before! As we exited the bay we also met up again with Camilla, with David and Filip aboard. They had just sailed round from Izmir. Both boats anchored in the eastern bay on the south coast of Karaada and conditions were so good that we were able to raft up for the night. Supper for all in Kurukulla followed by a midnight swim in the calm, phosphorescent, waters of the bay.
View from Karaada, eastern bay
Lunch the next day was in Camilla after which we set off to Dalyankoy, a port on the mainland, where the pilot recommends sampling the fish restaurants. Our intention was to remain overnight, the reality was that the marina staff waved us off, informing us that the marina was full for the night. Thus it was that we decided to return to Karaanda and spend another night in a slightly different anchorage. Paradise is hard to resist!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Back in the Mediterranean

Erdek viewed from the headland
WWI minelayer TCG NUSRET and Canakkale behind

From Erdek we sailed across to the fishing port of Karabiga where we went alongside the inner quay. Trevor, Hilary, Richard and Lauren set off ashore to photograph the medieval wall whilst Steve and I sorted out the boat a bit and prepared supper. Initially the berth was quite comfortable but as the evening drew on the swell started to work its way in and before retiring for the night we decided life would be more comfortable in we moved out and anchored in the bay. This we did and all had a good nights sleep. Next morning we set off for at 0700 Canakkale and enjoyed a spanking good sail down the Dardanelles, downwind, poled out, in a blow and touching 9 knots over the ground at times, (a following 2-3 knot current helped!).
Dennis at the helm
We berthed in Canakkale at 1630, three hours earlier than we had predicted. Next day the Croziers took their leave and Steve and I set about re victualling for the next leg of the cruise. 36 hours later, at 0200 Saturday, Dennis arrived after being delayed by an hour on the Ankara – Canakkale leg of his flight from Holland. Eight hours later we left Canakkale for the last time in 2011 and headed
SW out of the Dardanelles and southwards to the Turkish island of Bozcaada.
Here we sailed past Bozcaada town and headed for the quiet anchorages on the south coast. Steve and I had had enough of town life! After supper and a film onboard we all retired for a quiet night; so quiet that the first to wake was myself at 1000! Under-way by 1200 we set off for the Greek island of Lesbos, back in Greece for the first time in over a month, now to do battle with the Greek authorities when tomorrow
Shipping in the sunset
I try to get them to re-stamp my Greek cruising permit which is supposed to be stamped but the port police at least once a month! I'll let you know how it went in the next entry.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Au revoir Istanbul

Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque and Aya Sofia from seaward
Departing view of the Bosphorus
As planned, on the day after Melvin's departure, Steve Keley and I sailed Kurukulla out to the Princes Islands, spending the night anchored in Heybeliada again, From there we went onwards to Tuzla, where we spent the second night anchored in the bay and then back to the Princes Islands, Manastir Bay (where we spent a very rocky night) before returning to Anakoy Marina. Trevor and family had very kindly invited us to join them for dinner that night before they all repaired onboard the next day. The aim of the brief trip was to allow Steve to become conversant with Kurukulla before the Croziers' arrived onboard as none of them has ever sailed before. After flying the spinnaker, sailing on and off the anchor and several man overboard drills we considered the aim achieved.
As planned the Croziers' joined at 1130 and following morning; after stowing their gear and sorting out the domestics we set off for a victualling run to the local supermarket. Needless to say we returned loaded like beasts of burden but at least we now have enough onboard for at least a week, stand-fast fresh foods. Later that same afternoon we sailed for a very gentle reach to............. you have guessed it …......... the Princes Islands, Heybeliada, for a final visit and a tranquil first night at anchor for the new arrivals.
Swim on arrival at Topagac
Next morning we reached across the bay, in a brisk wind, to the entrance to the Bosphorus and did the tourist cruise for a second time but this time only as far as the first bridge. On completion we had a gentle-ish sail (Solent rig – Genoa only) 18 miles along the coast to Guzelce Marina for a second tranquil night.
Cosy with the derelict fishing boat
Topagac beach
Topagac waterfront
Thursday morning we set off relatively early, 1030, to sail south westwards across the shipping lanes to Marmara, A goose-winged, dead run, all the way; average speed 6.5 knots. Just as we drew level with the eastern end of the island of Marmara a pod of 6 – 8 dolphins joined us and played under the bow for ten or so minutes, creating great excitement onboard. At 1830 we arrived at Topagac where we anchored in the bay for an early evening swim before moving into the harbour for the night. Topagac breakwater is being extended and the only berth we could find was adjacent to the construction machines at the inner end of the breakwater. Lack of space required us to share it with a semi derelict fishing boat; the combination of dust and wind will provide a washing down challenge for later! It being Ramadan the town is almost deserted and very few of the shops etc. are open, that is those that look as though they have traded recently, many more look as though they have been deserted for several years. Topagac is a town which looks to be in its last throes of dying, the people however are really friendly and welcoming. Almost nobody passes you in the street without saying the one word of English they know “welcome”.

After a relatively quiet night, shortened for some by being serenaded by a drummer marching up and down the jetty at 0600 (Ramadan results in people being up and around before dawn to eat and pray; food is not permitted between dawn and dusk), fortunately some of us (i.e. me) did not hear his practising! A brief trip into town for bread, an hour or so on the beach and then another windy downwind sail, again under Solent rig, to Pasalimani. The dolphins again obliged by providing a 15 minute display of games around the boat before deserting us as we turned into the more tranquil waters of the Pasalimani anchorage. Some took the opportunity to stretch their legs ashore and I took the opportunity to renew my acquaintance with the restaurateur and book a table for that night. I need not have worried, as the afternoon went on the wind became stronger and stronger until we debated whether we would even be able to take up our booking, ultimately we donned life and foul weather jackets and braved the elements in the dinghy. We were greeted like family, had a good meal (not quite what we thought we had pre ordered but no one minded), were the only customers that night, and finally returned to the boat at 2230.
On Saturday morning the mullahs gave us our now customary morning call at 0500; every mosque, however small, has high power loudspeakers to summon the faithful to prayer (and we complain about church bells!). We then set off at the ungodly hour of 0600 to take advantage of the lighter (relatively speaking, it was still gusting 35+ knots) morning winds.
Ocaklar beach
We motored rather than sail in the gusty conditions for the seven miles to the beach anchorage at Ocaklar for a day of relaxation and then as the evening drew close moved into the harbour at Erdek for a second visit. As last time we were welcomed by the locals many of whom know only one word of English “welcome”.
Arriving at Erdek
From here it is three or four days to Canakkale and another crew change. More from there.