Kurukulla at Anegada, BVI

Monday, 27 August 2012

Eastward ever eastward.

With Melvin, Nick and Keith safely embarked we finally departed Celebi marina late on the Sunday afternoon, having filled the boat to bursting point with victuals, done battle with the bureaucracy to update the cruising permit and overcome the unplanned closure of the marina fuelling jetty by hiring a taxi and carting three 25Ltr jerry cans of diesel from the local petrol station.
It being too late to head for the next safe port of call along the coast we settled for anchoring and swimming in the shelter of a small island just south of the marina. Interestingly it was also the preferred anchorage for one of the night disco boats who arrived at 2200, making a close pass down our stbd side, and then continued to serenade us until 0200 when it left again, this time with a little more clearance!

We departed at 0900 the next morning in a slight southerly breeze.
Waterfront at Side

Our first stop was in the very small and ancient harbour at Side; site of the ancient city of Selimiye. A real tourist town in the most part but bursting with antiquity. The ruins, amphitheatre and museum were all worthy of a visit and hence we stayed a full 24 hours departing late the next afternoon. The town seems to exist for German and Russian tourists but that did not stop every restaurateur propositioning us as we walked through the town; they all own the best restaurant in town with the freshest fish!
Riverbank restaurant at Manavgat
From Side we motored the five miles along the coast to the river at Manavgat where a river enters via a small canalled section and is navigable for about 4 miles upstream. We turned at the low bridge, which was blocking our way at this point, and decided to moor up at the only restaurant on the river bank, where we were berthed outboard of a French boat; onboard were a very sociable family and our whisky stocks took another hammering! The only problem was the occasional grockle boat passing too close and too fast, good fenders were essential! Next morning the French were leaving at 0600 so we had to haul off to let them out; in the process reducing the overhang on the trees as I backed Kurukulla's mast gently into the branches, not having seen them! I don't function that well at that time in the morning and besides they were behind the bimini, out of sight! At a slightly more sociable hour we too departed exiting the river and heading east again, sailing on the wind, for Alanya.
The majority of the coastline between Antalya and Alanya is heavily commercialised with more than it's fair share of massive hotel blocks; mostly built in the modern, tasteless, fashion. Alanya is no exception but it does have wonderful fortifications and the most complete arsenal where ancient ships were hauled for repair, all very impressive.
Castle at Alanya

Alanya from the castle
At Alanya we were able to berth on the public pier, at no cost, assisted by some very welcoming fishermen. The berth was well protected and directly alongside the Coastguard berth so security should be fair, not that crime is a worry in most parts of Turkey. That evening was spent wandering the town and familiarising ourselves; this was followed, the next morning, by a tour of the castle. “Discretion being the better part of valour” we declined the opportunity to climb the ramparts, in 40 deg C, and took a taxi to the top and back. On completion we breakfasted in a local restaurant and then set off for Yakacik, an anchorage some distance down the coast.
From Alanya eastwards the coastline changed from unending hotels to unending banana plantations; this coast must provide the entire banana crop for Turkey! Yakacik is a relatively open anchorage but by following the recommendation in Heikell and anchoring in a small bay near a “wooden”, now concrete, hut on a rock, we were able to have a very pleasant and quiet night including a midnight swim in the most amazing phosphorescence.
Kurukulla anchored off Anemerium

Aquaduct at Anemerium


Next morning it was off again eastwards to the anchorage under the ancient city of Anemurium, one of the most complete ruins I have seen so far. A massively impressive city with many parts complete up to the second storey including the ancient baths, odeon (theatre like meeting hall), and gymnasium and all with remnants of the original mosaic floors. All this surrounded by the ancient dwellings and the usual mass of sarcophagi! The anchorage here is open to the east and by mid afternoon it was time to leave with the onshore wind setting up nan uncomfortable sea, but a place not to be missed nonetheless.

Our next overnight port was only an hour to the north east, Bozyazi. Here the government constructed a ferry port to serve Northern Cyprus but like so many things on this coast it now lies virtually unused save by the Coastguard and a few local fishermen. We berthed stern to on the main jetty alongside the only other two boats there. A Dutch couple and an ex Army WO and his wife who live in Cyprus and spend their summers cruising in their motorboat. Bozyazi had very little to offer other than secure berthing and a welcoming population. Melvin and Nick were due to leave from here and after a few nervous moments next morning their taxi duly arrived only 25 minutes late! Fortunately they had allowed plenty of time. Later in the morning Keith and I set off to find a supermarket but after a walk of 45minutes we had found only a small local store. We decided this would have to do as the temperatures were already 35 deg and it was only 1000! A taxi back to the boat was essential.

Bozyazi harbour

Soguksu Limani at sunset

From here we cruised further along the coast to the anchorage at Soguksu Limani, which literally translates as Cold-water Bay. The river that runs into the northern part of the bay brings meltwater from the mountains, hence it's temperature. We sailed in, dropped anchor in 5m in the northerly, smaller, bay and enjoyed a cool refreshing swim; still surrounded by greenhouses and banana plantations! The bay is also the Turkish end of the water supply pipeline that feeds Northern Cyprus hence a significant part of the water that used to flow into the bay now finds its way to Cyprus! 

The water embarkation platform and buoys in the entrance to the bay referred to by Heikell have now been removed, stand-fast one buoy, since the completion of the pipeline.

Next morning we sailed relatively early to try to catch the last of the offshore breeze and set course for the anchorage at Ovacik, surrounded by the ruins of the city of Afrodisias. This was a surprise! Described as a relatively deserted bay, ruins and a restaurant that opened occasionally in summer we arrived to find a thriving holiday resort, designed in good taste if that is possible, built around a wonderful sheltered anchorage. Not spoilt but also not tranquil!
"Peaceful bay" at Ovacik

The best preserved of the castles at Kizkalesi
The following day we sailed on again to the next anchorage on our list, Akyar Burun. This is a collection of three bays, some more protected than others, but we had arrived during the Bayram holiday, a three day festival marking the end of Ramadan, and the whole world was afloat in their boats or dining in the restaurants/camp-sites that lined the edges of the inlets! The consequence was we opted for the least protected but also least crowded bay and had a night of rocking and rolling! Not so bad as to prevent sleep though! Given the motion the next morning was perforce an early start! By staying close to the coast for the first two miles we got a good look at the twin castles at Kizkalesi, both of which are very well preserved but the southerly one particularly so. Unfortunately the anchorage was untenable for the breakfast stop we had intended. Hence we carried on.
Kum Kuyu marina

Diner at the Pelican restaurant
The next port of call was to be Kum Kuyu, a brand new, never commissioned marina, which had the semblance of a ghost town. It has been built by the government in preparation for privatisation and never sold. We were greeted by an enthusiastic security guard who informed us in broken English that we could not stay … unless we had an electrical problem we had to fix. Needless to say we immediately discovered an problem that was going to take us 24 hours to fix! We were one of only four boats in the marina and one of those was on the hard standing! Nearby was a camping ground overflowing with families still celebrating the end of Ramadan. It was very enjoyable just taking a stroll through the area and meeting so many happy people, enjoying some freshly made local food and partaking in a drink or two. All part of a great experience. Dinner was at the adjacent Pelican Restaurant and then next day we set off for Mersin at 1100, not a long distance but done in a flat calm; a boring motor.
Mersin marina on departure at 0600
Whilst at Ovacik we had been warned off the small harbour in the “Old town” of Mersin and recommended to go to the new marina. This was good advice, a later visit on foot to the old port showed it to be crowded, and the water was filthy. We arrived in Mersin at 1630 and were greeted by a highly efficient team in a modern, well equipped marina; the only problem was that it was virtually empty! Not quite as bad as Kum Kuyu, but almost. It obviously survives on the commercial revenue from the extensive array of shops, bars and restaurants inside the confines of the marina. That evening we dined ashore in an ethnic local “restaurant” and ate very well. Much to the amusement of the staff with whom we had one minor phrase of any language in common, “tessekur ederim” = “thank you”. Next day Keith departed for UK and I set about the task of organising myself for departure west. Organising the boat is easy, getting stores, water etc onboard. Battling with bureaucracy not so. My first attempt to register the change to my crew list was met with an assurance from the authorities that I did not need to do so; obviously I knew the rules better than they did! The instructions with the Transit Log make it very plain that all changes must be registered! A second attempt, including a second call to the harbour-masters office in the commercial port, produced the same result. Not to be defeated Tuna, the director of the marina, and I set off to call on the harbourmaster's team. On arrival the problem was obvious, a useless functionary, seated in his air conditioned office and determined to be as unhelpful as he could. After an hour of watching him idly fiddling with his computer, accessing Kurukulla's records, Tuna lost his patience and even though Tuna had also accessed the necessary elements of the record via another computer the functionary still refused to authorise the changes. We departed frustrated and angry, Tuna in particular as he saw this as reflecting very badly on Turkey, his country. The final result was that no change was made and I will have to do battle with the team in Alanya on the return leg! We will see what happens.
On the final night I returned to the same restaurant as the night before and was greeted like a long lost friend. A meal for 15YTL, equivalent of £5.50 and mineral water and endless “cay”, i.e. tea, thrown in.
This morning it was a 0600 departure to try to catch the offshore breeze, no luck. As I write this we are motoring along in a flat calm, heading south-west.
More from Alanya in a few days ….............

Monday, 20 August 2012

Eastwards towards Antalya.

Anchorage at Baba Adasi
Entering the channel south of Domuz Adasi
Departure from Marmaris was delayed slightly by a repair to a leaking gas spring in the boom vang. Eventually TMS made a temporary repair sufficient to tide me over until the end of the season and have promised to source the correct spring for my return in October. In the event I set sail from Yacht Marine at mid day on the 2nd of August, heading for the anchorage inside the island at Baba Adasi some 21 miles away. In so doing I missed out several of the recommended calling spots along this stretch of coast but as I have to return in the autumn and potentially have next year as well (if I stay based at Marmaris) this did not seem too high a price to pay for catching up some lost time. The anchorage on the back of the island of Baba Adasi is an easy one and did not necessitate swimming lines ashore, there was plenty of room for all. The mainland shore is half a mile north, consisting of a large, shallow bay where there is a large holiday water-sports complex; it was never going to be tranquil but a pleasant spot all the same.
Tomb Bay
The following day we (Kurukulla and I for anyone confused by the “we”, I was single handed) sailed off the anchor and headed east again, across the bay towards Skopea Limani, A beautiful cruising ground on the doorstep of both Gocek and Fethiye. With light winds all day I spent much time ghosting along at 3-4 knots, at times better and other times frustratingly even slower. The final challenge was tacking through the narrow channel south of Domuz Adasi to enter the enclosed sea of Skopea Limani. This was going to be a broad reach through if the wind had held, but no; this is the Mediterranean, hence it was a series of short tacks in light winds much to the amusement of some of the power boats who kindly waited for me to clear the channel. There was not much room to pass in a channel 60m wide and a 12m yacht tacking through single handed! Once through I headed for Tomb Bay, which seemed to offer the best possibility of an easy anchorage, it being less crowded. As the sun was setting we dropped the anchor near the shore and I then swam the line in and tied Kurukulla back to the rocks, amidst several offers of help from adjacent boats but fortunately none was needed.
Boynuz Buku

Next day after a lazy start and a leisurely swim we set off for Yassica Adalari, a small group of islands only 3 miles away. Being lazy, and it being flat calm I motored! I headed into the northern bay preceded by another slightly larger yacht who headed for the best anchorage spot available, a small bay on the western side of the anchorage. To my good fortune he decided to change his mind and head back out again and into the more southerly part of the anchorage leaving me a clear run in. Some minutes later I was standing on the shore, tying Kurukulla back to a tree, when I realised to my slight embarrassment that they had returned, they seemed un-phased by the sight of a naked man swimming back to his boat however. In fact they anchored close under my bow and immediately invited me onboard for a beer; my type of people! It turned out they were an Israeli family who kept their boat in Fethiye, husband, wife, daughter, wife's sister and her friend. We spent the rest of the afternoon talking and all went for a walk to the summit of the island. After which they very kindly invited me to join them for supper onboard, only one slight snag they were going to Boynuz Buku for the night and not staying put. After a microseconds deliberation I agreed to join them and we set off on the two mile passage across. The bay was somewhat more crowded than expected but we still managed to get decent anchorages for the two boats and spaghetti al tonno was served almost immediately followed by a trip ashore to the local restaurant for coffee and chasers. And I had been all set for a quiet night! At the end of it all they kindly dropped me back to Kurukulla, stopped for a swift whisky and then we parted company. I set off early next morning for Kalkan.
Yoruk restaurant, Polemos Buku
The next day dawned with a gentle breeze, just enough to convince me to put al the sails up, half an hour later it faded away and that was it. From there on we motored on, in a still calm, all the way to Kalcan; some 42 miles of boredom. At Kalcan I anchored in Yesilkoy Koyu, an open bay to the west of the town and dived in for a cooling and desperately needed swim! The temperature during the day had reached mid 40's! My neighbour was the most ostentatious looking, gold coloured, motor yacht I have ever seen. A most amazing example of bad taste but somebody must like it to have spent that much on it!
Turtles at Polemos Buku
Sarcophagi at Aperlai
View of Polemos Buku from behind the Restaurants
From Kalkan it was another reasonably early start, in dying onshore breeze again, followed by another windless day of motoring. By now I was wishing I was back in the Cyclades with the Meltemi! Nonetheless by 1800 we were motoring into Kekova Roads and I chose Polemos Buku for the first night anchorage, intending to stay two days in the area. This proved to be the best choice of the trip so far. A large, secure anchorage, on mud, in 4m of water and with two turtles and one other yacht for company! I quickly jumped in for a swim (having first checked the turtles were not too close, they bite!) then settled down for supper and an early night. Next day I inflated the dinghy for the first time this season, just a bit too far to swim to the landing stage, and set off ashore, rowing! Notwithstanding a full overhaul by TMS the outboard steadfastly refused to start! I landed at the Yoruk restaurant landing stage, very rickety, and stopped for a small beer, chatting to the owner's nephew, before heading across the isthmus to the ancient, semi submerged city of Aperlai. Aperlai is amazing, not many buildings still standing; however, I have never seen so many sarcophagi in one place, ever. Some broken, others submerged but a significant number intact but for where an access hole has been made by grave robbers. On my return to the restaurant I stopped again for a chat and was invited to join them for a fish supper that night. I promised to supply the whisky! In the course of the evening I discovered that the owner's wife had died in the recent past and his nephew had come to assist in the running of the place. He himself had a small market garden business, a wife and a seriously epileptic son who his wife spent most of her day looking after. Life was certainly hard for them, even more so because the bottom had dropped out of the vegetable export market into the EU. Notwithstanding I was not allowed to pay for the generous helping of fish served, only for the wine I had consumed.
Cinivex Limani at sunset
The following morning it was an early start and a motor up through Kekova Roads, passing another submerged city on the shores of Kekova Island opposite Kale Koy harbour, one to visit next time. Shortly before arriving here we had a close shave with a tourist gullet, who decided to turn to port, across my bows (giving him no rights whatsoever) at yards range. We missed, but only by feet! I can only assume he had just not seen me, he certainly heard me, so did his passengers! That night we anchored in Cineviz Limani, A bay 40 miles south of Antalya. Here there were two other boats but plenty of room near the beach. A late evening swim and early bed after a boring day, mostly motoring.
Arriving at Antalya old port.
Kurukulla in Celebi Marina
Next day was also a long day of motoring passing close offshore of the ancient cities of Olympus and Phaselis so at least there was something to look at and enjoy. By 1700 I was entering the old port at Antalya, only to be greeted with the news that there was no room in the port for me! No amount of negotiation was going to change the harbour-masters point of view and so it was a tactical withdrawal and a four mile slog over to Antalya, Celebi Marina. Very much less picturesque and very much more expensive I suspect. For Kurukulla it was €60 per night! Here I was to stay for the next two days awaiting the arrival of the next group of friends, arriving Saturday night around 2200.
More when we leave......

Antalya old town
Antalya old harbour from above