Kurukulla at Anegada, BVI

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Back to Marmaris

Departing Alanya
We departed Alanya at 1100 on Sunday morning and motored round to the marina, 3 miles west, to refuel. Whilst there, I also enquired about winter berthing and discovered that it was about the same price as Yacht Marine at Marmaris but that Alanya were offering an additional 10% discount to RNSA members, amongst other organisations. This could be quite attractive for winter 2013-14. After a quick drink at the marina pub, just to check the quality, we headed for Side the next small port on the coast, 25 miles west. In fact we had slightly misjudged it and arrived in Side just after nightfall and so had a slightly more testing entry than we had planned. Notwithstanding this within 10 minutes of arriving we were Med moored in the western end of the harbour and enjoying our first trip ashore. We decided fish was the order of the day for dinner and set about finding a good restaurant on the waterfront. We headed out of the centre, along the waters, edge and soon found a good restaurant with a waterfront table available. After negotiating the price of the wine down from 60TL to 45TL we settled in for a good meal served by a very jovial Somali waiter. After, it was back on board to catch up on some of the lost sleep from the night before, and that was despite the noise from the adjacent Lighthouse Disco!
Steve's birthday dinner at Manavgat
Departing Manavgat at 0600
Next morning was Steve's birthday and hence we decided to do a brief tour of Side's historic ruins, followed by a light lunch ashore, and then to simply do a short trip along the coast into the river at Manavgat and dine there that evening, for the celebration. At 1500 we motored out of the harbour, turned left avoiding a fleet of Hobie cats, and headed for the river entrance. After a short stop for a swim near the entrance, we entered via the canalled section and headed inland. By 1730 we were moored up at the restaurant and enjoying a glass of bubbly in the cockpit. This was followed by dinner at 2100 and by 2300 were back onboard for a late night film. Because of the distance to cover the next day, nearly 60 miles, we decided to do a first light departure and thus it was at 0545 we slipped the restaurant's pontoon and headed down river in the eerie light of early dawn. Once out of the river the offshore breeze got us off to a fine start and for the first five hours we averaged 7 knots. It was not to last however. First we were intercepted by a Turkish warship and requested to circumnavigate the submarine exercise area and not cross it as we had intended. Shortly after the wind died away and we were forced to resort to the motor again, fortunately with only 16 miles to go. Not long after the reason for our being requested to clear the area became apparent, six frigates and their helicopters appeared in view, there was obviously some major exercise going on.
Kurukulla at Finike Marina
At 1530 we arrived in the anchorage at Cineviz Limani, a quiet anchorage where we planned to spend the night; we gently sailed on to the anchor and set ourselves up for the night. Cineviz has almost no artificial light and so the view of the stars is amazing. It is also a great place for a midnight dip, when there is no moon, as the phosphorescence is also fantastic.
The next day we decided to take advantage of what breeze there was and sailed off the anchor at 1100 heading for Finike marina. It was to be a frustrating start to the day and we arrived at 1700 after a day of intermittent sailing and motoring; however, the final leg across Finike Korfezi (bay) was fantastic; a really good beam reach to finish the day. We had chosen to moor in Finike Marina, as much because I wanted to check out their prices for winter storage as anything else but in the event it was a waste of time. Although they were offering 18 months for the price of 12 or 8 for the price of 6, these were deals afloat and if you added the hard-standing surcharge and their very high lift out and launch costs then, for what I required, they were more expensive than Marmaris. Nothing ventured nothing gained though.....
We had decided to eat ashore and after researching the rather uninspiring town of Finike we settled on a convenient but unpromising restaurant named “Pergole” near the marina, in fact it proved to be a very good choice, the service and food was good and the wine reasonable in price. Next morning we visited the local supermarket for a few essentials and the local open market where we purchased fresh meat and vegetables for the next few days.
From Finike it was off to Gekkoya Limani, an anchorage at the eastern end of Kekova Roads, the inland sea between Kekova Adasi and the mainland. The beat westwards was pleasing and considerably shortened by a favourable wind-shit half way through. The first time this year, that I can remember, where the wind has done us such a big favour! After transiting the anchorage, looking for a quiet spot, we settled on the entrance to the SW creek, anchored in 5m and set about preparing supper which was followed by a film night, on deck.
Gekkoya Limani with "Surgical Spirit" in the distance
Next morning I awoke late, 0930, stuck my head out of the hatch to assess the day and was immediately aware that our nearest neighbour, a boat 100m further up the creek, was on the rocks! After a rapid shake of Steve we weighed anchor in haste and set off to tow them off. The boat was named “Surgical Spirit” (owned, we were told, by an eminent back surgeon who was not onboard). They had managed to flatten all of their batteries and had then attempted to sail off the anchor, going on the rocks in the process. Twenty minutes later we had towed them off, re-anchored ourselves and brought them alongside. A quick inspection of their batteries showed that the connections and charging system were in pretty poor shape. The batteries were too large to drop one in Kurukulla's battery stowage and give it a charge (this was only discovered after we had transferred one to Kurukulla, millimetres matter!). In the end we decided that it would be easier to tow them into the centre of Kekova Roads and from there they would sail back to their home port of Kas.
Cracking along on a beat in Kekova Roads
The BBQ fish supper
An hour later, and a generous gift of a bottle of gin to the good, we slipped the tow and left them to follow in our wake, north-westwards, up the roads. We sailed on ahead until they exited the roads and we continued to the far end anchoring at Polemos Buku, intending to take supper at the Yoruk Ramazan restaurant again. On our arrival we were greeted by another nephew of the owner who was also a keen sailor, his boat was alongside their rather rickety jetty; he was waxing lyrical about the yacht that had tacked all the way up the roads and anchored under sail; we explained to him that that was us! After that we were given VIP treatment and dined on fresh bream cooked on the BBQ, with accompanying salad and chips that Steve described as the best he had tasted since he left home (and his mothers cooking!).
Steve doing some underwater Archaeolog
Next morning we took the dinghy into the jetty again and headed off to investigate the ancient city of Aperlae, this time I took flippers and a snorkel! We spent the middle of the day wandering the ruins and swimming over the sunken parts. An amazing sight, the remains of all the walls clearly distinguishable showing the layout of the lost parts.
The walls of Aperlae
After that it was back the the restaurant for a swift beer before sailing off the anchor and heading downwind to the exit to the roads from where we were on the wind again heading to Kas. Notwithstanding a reasonable amount of wind we had slightly misjudged our arrival and given the gathering gloom we decided to anchor in Bayindir Limani, a bay south of Kas harbour, rather than enter in the near dark.
Passing Kastelloritzon en route Kas
It mattered not, the anchorage was easy and delightful. We found an area shallow enough to anchor and without other boats nearby, hence we were able to swing to the anchor without the need for a line ashore. Roast chicken supper onboard, another film and bed; after what seemed a long day!
Next morning we had a leisurely swim and the sailed off the anchor heading for Kalkan, 15 miles to the west but again up-wind. It was a pleasant enough beat with just enough wind to make it interesting and we had the good fortune to just lay the eastern approach without the need to tack through. Our intention had been to go to the anchorage initially, for a late lunch and a swim, before heading into the harbour. The wind thought otherwise! At 400m short of the bay the wind died completely and hence we just drifted for an hour having lunch and swimming before ghosting to the harbour mouth, dropping the sails and motoring in. By 1700 we were secure, inside the harbour, and watching the world go by. Kalkan is a small harbour with a town that thrives on tourism, and unusually for this coast, majority middle aged, British tourists. That evening we set off on a shopping trip only to get way-layed on our return leg by a guy selling paragliding trips, needless to say we fell for it. Ten minutes later we had booked ourselves the first two flights of the next day and retired to a local restaurant for dinner. The Agora restaurant can be highly recommended. The food and service were the best I have experienced in Turkey; the wines were reasonable, even decanted and served with style!
Steve coming in to land on the road!
Next morning we were on the jetty at 0910 having received an early phone call from the pilot to tell us the wind conditions were excellent. By 0930 we were bumping up the mountain in their Landrover and by 1015 Steve was airborne; I followed at 1130 having made another descent and ascent of the mountain by road/track.
In flight
The flights were 30 minutes duration and fantastic.
Kurukulla viewed from the sky
The views were astounding and the experience breathtaking! We both landed on the road adjacent to Kurukulla giving the whole experience an even more special feel.
Departing Kalkan with the launch spot above the cloud!
10 minutes after my landing we were slipping our lines and heading out, making our way to Gemiler Adasi, 30 miles NW, where we anchored in the NW corner of the bay. The day was a combination of sailing and motor sailing in order to make the anchorage in daylight; a good day all the same! The anchorages, there are several, at Gemiler Adasi were crowded but by avoiding the ones recommended in the pilot we found a reasonably quiet spot and much to our surprise we found ourselves moored 50m from a large catamaran onboard which was another mutual friend, Jonathan Sewell, working as a paid hand! It is a small world. He came onboard for a few drinks before returning to his duties. After his departure we enjoyed a Thai chicken curry and a relatively early night.
Next day was to be a shorter leg to the inland sea at Skopea Limani where we sailed through the larger of the two access channels ans headed for the anchorage in Tomb Bay, for the second time this year, but this time we anchored in a small cove on the south side which was idyllic. By good fortune we had arrived in the cove as the only other occupant, a large catamaran, was leaving and so had the place almost to ourselves. After a late afternoon swim we had supper on deck followed by another film night; fortunately Steve had arrived with a host of new DVDs' !
At 1000 next day we set sail again, but the time for the 35 mile transit to Marmaris where I needed to pay a quick visit to sort out temporary residence in Turkey before my allowable stay on my present visa expires. The beat to Marmaris was at times frustrating and at other times very enjoyable depending on which trick the wind was to play next. We arrived at 2000 into the anchorage just to the east of the Yacht Marine marina entrance and ghosted onto the anchor inshore of the other anchored boats. Next morning we were to see that we had anchored, purely by chance and in the dark, in the best spot of the anchorage and close to the catamaran, Panthera, whose owners, John and Robyn Combridge were sadly not to be seen; they had very kindly hosted me to drinks onboard in Astypalaia some months previously. Mid morning we motored into the marina and berthed on India pontoon and set about resolving the tasks to be done but not before we had bumped into the owners of "Windsong" who had been the other guests onboard "Panthera" in Astypalaia; a small world again!
More when we leave.....

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Onwards westwards.

Kurukulla alongside in Bozyazi

Rather unexpectedly the wedding party came to an abrupt halt at 2300 as did my prospects of a peaceful night. The north wind returned disrupting the celebrations and causing me some angst as to whether Kurukulla's anchor would drag. Aydincik is a relatively small harbour and although shallow, 4m maximum, there is not a lot of room for error. I had put out 20m of cable which allowed me to swing to within 10m of the harbour wall whilst keeping me clear of other boats and moorings. With the wind gusting 30 kts there was not a lot of clearance! I need not have worried. By the following morning the wind had not abated but neither had Kurukulla moved. At 0600, convinced I was unlikely to get any more sleep that morning, I decided to follow my original plan and sail. There was rather more wind than I would have chosen but at least it was offshore and creating no sea to speak of. Hence I weighed anchor, discovering in the process why we had not dragged, thick heavy mud, and set off for Bozyazi. With my ribs still not right I decided today would be a motoring day and we arrived at 1100 at the entrance to Bozyazi harbour. Once inside I chose an anchorage clear of all others, enjoyed an early lunch and retired to my bunk for a few hours to catch up on lost sleep. That evening I received a personal call from the coastguard who came out in their inflatable to tell me that, despite the harbour being almost completely empty, other than their patrol craft, I was not allowed to anchor in the harbour and would have to go alongside. Since my arrival a French catamaran had also arrived and anchored but they were ashore and so, when there was no response to the hail, they were ignored! I duly complied and moved alongside the empty quay but for what purpose I do not know, the Coastguard then ignored me, no check on my papers etc; the only result was that I got free electricity and water. Nobody came to collect any dues for two days and when they did they only charged me 25YTL (£9) for the one day!
The castle at Anamur Kalesi
I spent the time in Bozyazi recuperating and sorting out the boat, cleaning fenders and washing down the boat in general. On the final day a couple, whom I had met during the previous visit, arrived in their motorboat and invited me for drinks onboard that evening. He was an ex Army WO and they now live in Northern Cyprus, spending their summers afloat on the Turkish Coast.

Next morning I ghosted out of Bozyazi and headed around the southern tip of Turkey, at Anemurium, then heading NW to Yakacik Koyu, a bay offering some shelter from the westerly swell; this was to be my next overnight anchorage. After four hours sailing and motoring, alternately, in very light winds we arrived and anchored at 1115, time for a swim..... After lunch I decided to take a nap and awoke at 1600 to find another yacht, Turkish registered, anchored 30m ahead of me. I was somewhat surprised to be hailed in an Australian accent asking where I came from. She had mistaken my blue ensign for an Australian one! Notwithstanding we got into conversation and I discovered that they were a live-aboard couple, he was Turkish, she from Melbourne. Very kindly they offered me some of the proceeds of their days fishing, hence it was fresh mackerel for supper. In return I invited them over for a drink and they duly turned up at 2000, including Suzie, their live aboard terrier. It turned out that he was a merchant navy Captain and that they had been cruising together for two years and were now debating buying a larger boat, their present one was much the same size as Kurukulla. They departed at 2230 and I set to to prepare a late supper. The mackerel was enormous and delicious. Before departing I offered them the chance to browse the bookshelf and take with them a few of the embarked books, in return they dropped off a selection the next morning before they sailed for Cyprus. A fair swap....
Approaching Gazipasa
Half an hour after they departed the anchorage I too set off but in the opposite direction, towards Gazipasa. This was some 18 miles away but took four hours to achieve in light winds; a fun sail all the same.
Some of the fishing fleet at Gazipasa
Gazipasa is busily being developed, not only have they built a new airport serving international as well as national flights, the port is also being totally reconstructed. The only problem is the mess whilst they are doing it! The place is covered in red dust and the water is the colour of the Mississippi, mud coloured, not at all pleasant. Fortunately I was planning to stay only one night. It is also the home to numerous large fishing vessels, many of which were berthed at various points around the harbour perimeter, and all of which decided to depart at 1900, just as the sun was setting. It was almost like some mechanised ballet, watching them all manoeuvring, simultaneously, avoiding each other and jostling for position in the queue to depart. No movements coordinating authority, such as a Queen's Harbour Master, here then! In the midst of all this the mobile ready-mix convoy arrived to cast the next stretch of the quayside, the shuttering for which had been put in place this afternoon..... They don't hang about here.....
Alanya again
The following day we covered the last 25 miles to Alanya, partly motoring but mostly, slowly, under sail. On arrival I berthed Kurukulla in exactly the same spot as last time and renewed the acquaintanceship with the same fishermen who kindly assisted, taking my lines and offering the use of their electronic water key to allow me to top up Kurukulla's water tanks. From here it was a day of cleaning the boat and stocking up from the local supermarket in preparation for the next arrival, Steve, the following night. Steve's flight was due in at 2245 so it was always going to be a late night but when the transfer company bringing him from Antalya tried to drop him off at the marina and not the Old Port, a late night turned into an early morning, especially after we had gone ashore for a bite to eat following his arrival! Alanya does not close until 0400, I can testify to that from personal experience!
More when we sail.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The rough with the smooth

Company en route south
From Mersin we headed south to Agalimani and the village of Bagsak; onboard was also Tansu, a local keen fisherman who came on the promise of catching supper for tonight! As any close friends will know I am not a fisherman, it makes too much mess! Good to his word however, by the time we rounded the south cardinal mark that now identifies the southern extremity of the three mile long sand-spit at Incekum Burnu he had hauled in two large mackerel and a very much larger fish that I did not recognise. That evening we took them all ashore to a restaurant in Bagsak, owned by a friend of his, and dined very well on them. (Having a fisherman onboard does have it's compensations!).
View from the restaurant at Bagsak
During that same transit we also saw two pods of dolphins so it was definitely going to be a good day! From the restaurant I returned onboard and Tansu returned to Mersin.
Next day, after a quiet night in the anchorage, I set off for the anchorage at Ovacik again; stopping en route to anchor, for lunch and a swim, in the anchorage off the island of Dana Adasi. The water was crystal clear and turquoise blue, almost tempting enough for me to stay there for the night but I had promised to ring my father that afternoon whilst he was visiting my mother and there was no signal in the anhorage; and so, at 1600, I pressed on to Ovacik. On arrival I telephoned as promised only to find that my father was in hospital instead, life is full of surprises!
Departing Ovaci
Ovacik is a lovely anchorage and I therefore decided to stay two days, there is no time pressure on this leg. On the second day an Italian yacht came in to join me, enquired if the holding was good (answer “yes”) and promptly anchored a boats length away! The bay is only a mile wide! Fortunately I was leaving early next morning and the weather was calm.
Next day I ghosted off the anchor and tacked silently out of the anchorage, heading south to round the headland at Bolukada Burnu and then north again to Yesilovacik. The weather was settled and very light wind so it was a very pleasant sail. On arrival I put Kurukulla into an alongside berth in the southern corner of the harbour, next to a sunken grockle boat which the locals assured me had been there, sitting on the bottom, for five years! Later that evening I set off ashore to find a local restaurant recommended by another skipper we had met in Bozyazi, The food was good, the ambience fun and it was obviously well frequented by locals. A two course meal plus a beer 15YTL i.e. £5.50, not to be argued with!
The berth at Yesilovacik
On return I telephoned my brother to get the latest update on my father only to have to break off after 10 minutes due to a sudden and very strong gust of wind and the unplanned arrival alongside of a small fishing boat that was trying, with considerable difficulty, to depart from its berth alongside the boat behind me. In broken English they shouted “Get out”; they obviously knew what was coming. Single handed and pinned onto the berth by the wind I had no choice, getting out was impossible! That gust marked the start of a 36 hour nightmare. The wind took less than five minutes to reach 30 knots and half an hour later was gusting 50. I had every fender onboard deployed plus three car tyres scavenged from nearby and spent the night trying to stop Kurukulla landing on the jetty. In the width of the harbour the waves were reaching between 2.5 and 3 feet high! To make things worse I managed to trip when climbing out of the main hatchway and landed on the cockpit seats, sideways, damaging my right side, I am still not sure whether I have cracked a rib or two but three days later, as I write this, the pain is subsiding; slowly! By the end of the 36 hours I had had no sleep, replaced six parted berthing lines and Kurukulla had sustained a fractured forward fairlead, (part of the bow casting), and a severely distorted stern fairlead but apart from black tyre marks and a few superficial scratches no significant hull damage, thank goodness. This was thanks also to the assistance of some of the locals who, when not struggling with their own vessels, helped to keep her safe. It was a close run thing!
Dining with the Akkus's
Being exhausted and in some pain I decided to stay a further night in Yesilovacik, which by now was an oasis of tranquillity! I returned to the same restaurant after making a short tour of the town (it doesn't take long!) to get some victuals. I ordered an iced coffee and whilst sitting there I got into conversation with Emre, a Turkish guy who was in Yesilovacik holidaying with his family. His father, Tugrul, had joined me at my table and although we did not have too many words in common I found myself being challenged to a game of Backgammon. At three all (Tugrul was being very charitable!) we called it a day, shook hands, said our goodbyes and I departed back to Kurukulla.
Dining with the Akkus's
That evening there was a knock on the coach roof and it was Emre who had come to collect me to go to supper with him and his family. They had taken pity on me dining alone and, without my prior knowledge, had decided to invite me. It was an absolutely captivating occasion: four generations of the family from Grandmother at 84 to great nephew at 10 including Aunts, Uncles and Cousins, all holidaying together in the family holiday house in Yesilovacik. Their main homes were all in Ankara. Real generosity of spirit and genuine friendship. They were all on the beach next day to wave me goodbye as I set off for Aydincik. Perhaps next year I will have the chance to meet with them again.
Aydincik by night
From Yasilovacik it was a three hour motor to Aydincik, not because there was no wind, there was, but to avoid pulling on ropes etc. as my ribs were still giving me grief. I arrived in Aydincik at 1700 and anchored in the inner reach of the harbour, not that it is very large but anchoring seemed less effort than backing in stern to the jetty and getting lines ashore. Again I decided to stay two days togive myself more time to recover. This evening, day two, I rowed ashore for a look at the town, purchased some victuals, and decided to dine ashore. Advised by a local where to go I found myself sitting on the waterfront, sipping a beer and enjoying a delightful meal, all for 16YTL again. If you know where to go you really can eat well in Turkey for very little.
Tomorrow it is an 0600 departure to catch the offshore breeze before the SW wind sets in around late morning. At present I am being serenaded by a wedding party on the jetty so goodness knows what time I may get to sleep; it is good to watch though!