As planned Chris, Stuart and Jan-Willem joined in the afternoon of Saturday and Steve joined late that evening. By chance Steve was the only passenger in his airport transfer and, as a consequence, arrived 90 minutes ahead of schedule to find an empty boat! We were all ashore having an evening meal in Ilyada, one of the waterfront restaurants; good food and 10% discount card available if you press them!
Our first destination was the bay on the east side of Kotu Burun, a relatively open bay and mostly too deep to anchor; however, there is a small shallow patch in the NNW corner where anchoring without a line ashore is possible, (beware of snagging your anchor cable on underwater rocks). We anchored here for lunch and a swim. Thereafter we set off for the anchorage at Gemiller Adasi where we planned to spend the night; we arrived at 1800, just before sunset. A long day but worthwhile as it allowed us to make a first passage with Stuart, our novice sailor onboard, in benign conditions. We had sailed about half of the 30 mile passage and motored the rest.
The anchorage in the NW corner of Gemiller Adasi is one of my favourites, listed by Rod Heikell as fair weather only but in fact good in all winds except those between SW and E. The holding is good and suitable tie backs are easy to find. The advantage of his qualified recommendation is that few people use it! We were able to get the prime spot and decided to stay two nights in this idyllic environment. The boat selling local produce duly came and we were able to top up with fresh fruit and “village bread”, at a price, but the bread is truly delicious.
|Steve's promotion celebration...|
He remembered Kurukulla from last year and seemed genuinely pleased to see us again (we must have paid too much!). It was also here that Steve heard that he had been promoted at work and so a celebration ensued, helped by the fact that he had arrived with two bottles of champagne in his bag (in preparation for this or a later event).
Two days later we set off again, sailing off the anchor and bound for Fethiye Korfezi and Skopea Limani. These are wonderful cruising grounds and full of beautiful anchorages. Our passage west was less than comfortable with contrary winds in excess of 20 kts but I need not have worried the entire crew weathered the passage without problem, despite the discomfort. We initially entered the southern arm of the anchorge at Kizilkuyruk Koyu where we were able to have lunch and a swim but it rapidly became evident that this was not going to be sheltered enough for the night, hence we motored the four miles round to Seagull Cove and started looking for a suitably protected anchorage in the boisterous conditions, by now winds gusting, mostly from the west, up to 35 kts (top F7).
|Anchorage at the entrance to Wall Bay|
After a fruitless tour of Seagull Bay and Fathom Cove we decided to opt for Wall Bay but on entering we noticed a small cove on the NE side of the entrance which was empty and looked ideal. We took it. Anchor down in 10m, we tied back and settled for the night. It was of course this night that the new anchor decided not to hold first time; fortunately it held well second time, an hour later, so not ideal holding but good once in. The only downside was that Steve had a rather cold swim, whilst holding the stern lines in place, whilst the rest of us motored out and reset the anchor. Just as well we had found a well protected anchorage and now had the anchor well dug in as there followed a major thunder storm that night with all the unpredictable wind strengths and directions associated with it!
We survived the lot but next morning the rain continued and so we spent the morning idling our time away. By afternoon the weather had improved to that of a good summers day and hence we decided to spend much of the rest of the day here; amazing how much fun you can have using the spinnaker halyard as a jumping/diving rope!
|Boynuz Buku at sunset|
Ultimately we left in time to get Jan-Willem to Boynuz Buku to have a final meal that evening and ready for his 0500 taxi departure next day. Dinner was plain but adequate food; made up for by it's convenience to Dalaman Airport (80YTL ~ £27 taxi ride).
Following J-W's departure (in fact some hours later) we sailed off the marina berth, much to the surprise of our neighbours (well it was downwind), and set off for one of the bays back at the southern end of Skopea Limani; in the event we spotted a superb, deserted, cove on the north side of the entrance to Sarsila Koyu where we were soon anchored in the centre of the cove and tied back to the bollards on shore.
|Cove on the north side of the entrance to Sarsila Koyu|
In this area the shoreline is littered with bollards to tie up to; it is illegal to tie boats back to trees on the shoreline thereby avoiding damage to their bark and ultimately killing them. It had been another glorious day!
By now we were in need of more victuals and so, early in the afternoon of the following day, we sailed north to the Skopea Marina at Gocek; €20 for four hours alongside saw us re-victualled and watered and heading south again for another night in Boynuz Buku, this time anchoring in the shallows on the north-eastern side of the head of the bay.
Next day we headed south again and entered Tomb Bay, mooring in the very northern tip of the bay, off the beach. Whilst here Steve heard that he had become an Uncle for the first time, his brother and sister in law, living in Melbourne, Australia, had produced! Another celebration, but we had already consumed all the champagne! Later in the day we decided to head north and go to Yassica Adalari. The weather gods were against us. By the time we arrived the wind had set in from the north making the normally tranquil anchorage untenable, hence we bailed out and headed for the peace of Boynuz Buku yet again, this time anchoring and tying back at the head of the bay, on the south side, opposite the restaurant moorings. A peaceful place to spend the night.
|View north across the lagoon at Yassica Adalari|
Sunday morning dawned windless and so we decided to give Kizilkuyruk Koyu another try, this time we were able to secure the small cove on the NE side of the bay for ourselves and spent a wonderful day swimming and sunning ourselves, at the end of which we set off for the anchorage at Yassica Adalari again, a fabulous ten mile passage, on a beam reach and this time the lagoon was deserted and tranquil. Another great anchorage for the night.
Monday dawned clear and bright as expected, hence we stayed in the lagoon for the forenoon and had a leisurely lunch before departing for a short but enjoyable sail across to Boynuz Buku, again. It was from here that Chris and Stuart were to depart early that evening.
|Chris and Stuart's pre departure meal at Boynuz Buku|
The sail was a close fetch in a steady wind and for them it was a fitting way to end a sailing holiday. We berthed stern to the pontoon and ordered a table for an early dinner, in order to eat before their departure. By 1830 they had headed to the airport leaving Steve and I to debate where next! A German group, in two boats, adjacent to us were also debating the same subject and we decided to join forces in Fethiye the next evening, in order to dine at the fish market (On which more later).
At 1000 we motored off the pontoon and headed slowly towards Fethiye, stopping for a morning swim and lunch in the anchorage on the west side of Yassica Adalari. Excellent moorings available in this anchorage. Shortly before our departure we noticed another yacht slowly negotiate the narrow passage through between Yassica Adalari and the very small island to the south of it. There are two islands to the south, the channel between the two is rock bound and impassable but that between the main island of Yassica and the eastern of the two small islands is passable, with care, in fair weather; minimum 3.5m recorded. All adds to the excitement!
|The central island at Fethiye fish market|
From here we sailed over to Fethiye Adasi where we anchored for a swim in the cool spring waters which rise to the surface in this bay. Finally we sailed off the anchor and headed into the large anchorage opposite the marina in Fethiye where we anchored and set up for the night. Two hours and a large G&T later we were heading ashore in the dinghy to buy some provisions in the marina supermarket and then to leave them in the dinghy and head for the fish market. The fish market is a great find and well worth visiting. The centre is filled with a large island formed of several fish mongers all selling fresh fish of all descriptions. You purchase what takes your fancy and then take it to any of the restaurants on the perimeter who will then cook and serve it for you for the princely sum of 6YTL (£2). We opted for a small (whole) tuna for a main course with some red snapper as a starter along with some fish mezze purchased from the restaurant. All that combined with a bottle of very drinkable wine came to 125YTL (£42) in total, split between two of us. A delightful way to eat fish al fresco!
After the fish market we returned onboard, via the dinghy, taking with us one of our new found German friends. He decided that the offer of a whisky onboard Kurukulla was too good to miss. The result was several whiskies in Kurukulla, some late night boating in the dinghy (to get him back to his boat) and sore heads all round next morning. The joys of sailing.....!
|Departing Kizilkuyruk Koyu|
After another trip ashore next morning, to get yet more victuals and some spare parts, we set off for a final visit to the anchorage at Kizilkuyruk Koyu which is the best placed anchorage for our departure west the next day. A slightly frustrating beat to windward in frequently shifting winds but fun all the same. We arrived just before sunset to find that this normally tranquil anchorage was crowded and although we were able to secure a good spot to anchor and tie back in, it was not the tranquil spot we were expecting. C'est la vie. It was only for one night and the majority left early next morning, unlike us who delayed to enjoy the anchorage. Our departure was even further delayed by a last minute request from an adjacent boat to charge his laptop onboard Kurukulla; his inverter (to provide 240v from the 12v ship's battery) had failed. One beer later, and with his laptop half charged; he and we finally departed at 1530, just in time to get to the next anchorage, at Baba Adasi, by sunset. Baba Adasi is an anchorage between the mainland and the island, very easy to enter and normally very tenable.
|Self at sunset, Baba Adasi|
We sailed in, dropped the anchor well clear of the others, and settled down to watch the manoeuvres of those who arrived later than us and insisted on pushing in amongst the crowd; one of the joys of sailing, watching others conducting unaccustomed berthing manoeuvres!
By the time we woke in the morning almost all the others had departed. We again waited for the afternoon breeze to set in, notwithstanding it was a contrary wind and therefore would require us to beat westwards, preferring this to motoring in a still calm. In the event the wind got up about 1400 and was at times more boisterous than we had anticipated. It still led to a good beat to windward to Ekincik where we decided to anchor in the large bay on the west side of Koycegiz Koyu just north of Kizil Burun. The bay is open to the east but provides a good anchorage in most conditions; that is if you can tolerate the large population of biting flies and wasps that seem to inhabit it.
|Arriving off Marmaris|
By mid day the next day we had been bitten enough; we decided to sail off the anchor and make the short beat into Ekincik itself where we could anchor for the next night and made a trip ashore for essentials the next morning. Next morning became the next afternoon and finally we decided to stay put for the night and sail for Marmaris early the next day. The wind was forecast to be northerly guaranteeing a fast and smooth passage. At 2000 we took the dinghy ashore and toured the “town” (a large, partly (10%) finished, hotel with two restaurants and a small general store – that was it!). We chose the easterly restaurant, had it entirely to ourselves (slightly worrying but then the others were empty as well!) and enjoyed a very good meal despite the lack of company.
Monday morning dawned clear and bright so we sailed off the anchor at 0815, just as the sun crept over the surrounding hills. Sailed out of the bay and made steady progress towards Marmaris.
|The view from the top|
By 1200 the wind had dropped to nothing and so we decided to drift for a bit and have a scrambled egg and smoked salmon brunch whilst we waited for the onshore breeze to start. Sure enough by 1330 it filled in and we sailed into the bay at Marmaris. First stop was Netsel Marina to refuel, (always best to leave the tank full for the winter, stops problems of condensation collecting in the tank) and then it was onwards under engine to Yacht Marine and into an afloat berth to await lifting out in 7 days time.
Taking advantage of Steve's presence I completed the end of season mast inspection before his departure,
|See you next year|
(much easier to have someone to wind you up the mast!). After that, all that is left for this year is cleaning and preserving! Steve's taxi arrived at the appointed 1720 to take him to Dalaman Airport and I set about putting Kurukulla to bed.
More in April next year when, all things being equal, she goes back in the water again........