Kurukulla at Anegada, BVI

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Kusadasi to Ayvalik, a not uneventful journey!

Following the trip back for my nephew's wedding in UK, with a bare 48 hours on the ground, it was time to set sail northwards again. With the hire car returned, the boat fully victualled and Christoph, the new crew, onboard we set sail at 1445 for the Kormen Adasi anchorage with its hot springs and reasonable shelter from westerly winds.
Korman Adasi with the hot spring on the right of the beach
The first two hours of the passage we enjoyed a gentle westerly breeze and made reasonably good speed towards our destination; however, by the half way point it was obvious that the wind was dying and, what there was, was heading us. Time to resort to the “iron foresail”; on went the engine! We finally arrived at 1900 to find a local fishing boat and a New Zealand registered yacht in the anchorage and so, having done a quick circuit to determine where would be the best place to anchor we chose a point slightly further in than the New Zealanders were, being careful not to invade their privacy by anchoring too close. We decided the hot springs would have to wait until the morning and so, after a brief swim to check the anchor and surroundings we settled down to a gin and tonic for “sundowners” and followed this by supper below. It was too cool to eat on deck. The following morning we were greeted by a glorious day, still, blue sky and crystal clear water. The New Zealanders had set off early to investigate the two hot springs and on their return, very kindly, offered us the use of their dinghy for us to do the same (ours was still in it's valise in the fore-peak!). In a brief conversation we discovered that they were slowly heading west with the intention of doing a transatlantic crossing in two years time. We declined their offer and a little while after set off swimming for the beach to enjoy the luxury of basking in the warm water emanating from the spring. Just as we returned onboard a tourist boat entered the bay and anchored in front of the other hot spring on the shore of the northern island forming the bay and so we decided not to visit this one but to get underway instead. As we prepared to sail off the anchor a second boatload of tourists arrived and took over the spring we had just vacated; definitely time to depart. As we sailed off the anchor and slowly made way towards the entrance of the bay we were awarded a round of applause from the tourists so not all bad.
Kirkdilim Limani
From Korman Adasi we set off across the bay for Kirkdilim Limni, 18 miles away; a deep inlet, not unlike a fjord, which has nothing in it other than a large mooring buoy, but who uses it remains a mystery. This beautiful and peaceful anchorage was totally unspoilt and we were able to anchor under sail in the head of the bay in 4m of water, 50m off the beach. The water allowed an inspection of the anchor as it was dropped, it was so clear. Just bliss! Another quiet evening here and still night such that we waited the following morning until midday before getting underway in order to allow a bit of thermal wind to build.
The dreaded rubbish on the beach at Kirkdilim Limani
Clear water in Kirkdilim Limani, 4m deep!
In the end we sailed off the anchor at 1200 and beat slowly out of the bay, in fickle winds, finally setting off westwards on a beam reach to do the 10 miles along the coast to Mersin Korfesi, a large bay with at least four suitable anchorages but which one to anchor in has to be determined by where the fish farms are this year. In the event the majority of the fish farms were in the approaches and not in the bay itself, and so we chose the quietest of the anchorages in the small bay in the far NE corner. The anchorage was superb but for the wind farm built all around it. Very few of them were generating, the remainder stood as stationary and stark reminders of the reasons why wind farms are a convenient clover leaf for politicians but do little to provide a continuous and reliable power generation capability. Very few people switch off their electrical appliances because the wind has stopped blowing, hence we still need to be able to meet the full demand from nuclear, coal, oil or gas powered power stations, or when available hydro and tidal power. Wind turbines simply intermittently duplicate existing capacity. You will have guessed I am not a supporter of littering some of the worlds best landscapes with wind turbines!
Mersin Korfesi, spoilt by 30+ wind turbines!
Next morning there was a gentle SE breeze and so we set off under engine to get out of the bay before the wind had a chance to die. 40 minutes later we were racing along, on a close reach, heading for the headland at Ak Burun and then heading north on a broad reach and run, past Cesme, to the almost deserted island of Karaada. A distance of 26 miles. At Karaada we decided to anchor in the western bay, this giving the best shelter from the SW winds that had set in. In the top of the bay, in the NW corner we sailed onto the anchor settling in 5m of water in idyllic surroundings; so idyllic in fact that we decided to stay two days here and do some maintenance.
Karaada, west bay
The following day we restricted ourselves to moving to the eastern bay simply for a change of scenery. This we shared with one other yacht but there is plenty of room for two. Late that evening our peace was disturbed by a large power boat entering at speed, at dusk, wanting to share the anchorage with us. Fortunately, after executing a handbrake turn they decided there was insufficient room for them and departed to go elsewhere leaving peace to descent once more in the anchorage.
Self at Karaada, west bay
The next day it was a gentle sail up to Egri Limani, only just over 6 miles away but being dead upwind it was nearer a 10 mile sail for us. On arrival we anchored in the bay on the western side of the inlet and settled down for a relaxing evening. The village, if it can be called that, consists of a small fishing community but little else. Not even a shop to be seen.
Plastic debris at Agri Liman
For that reason we declined the opportunity to go ashore and set off relatively early the next morning heading for Eskifoca, in the event
Agri Liman at daybreak
light winds led us to decide that we would break the passage and overnight in Yenifoca, on the north end of the Karaburun Peninsula. Yenifoca is a small fishing port and with very little deep water. One of the two possible berths shown on the plan in the Heikell Pilot is no longer deep enough to take a yacht, what was 2m+ is now just 0.5m. The only option is to go alongside the trawlers immediately on the right as you enter. We were very warmly welcomed by the fishermen and grateful for their advice re depths when we tried to back into the now too shallow berth recommended in the pilot. They warmly welcomed us alongside and could not have been more accommodating; notwithstanding the fact that they were leaving four hours after our arrival.
Kurukulla alongside a trawler at Yeni Liman
That night we had a fish supper ashore in the Akdag Restaurant, (recommended in Heikell) which was excellent. The fish was one I did not recognise and might not have chosen without the restaurateurs recommendation, it was an ugly beast, slightly overpriced but delicious all the same.
Dinner at Akdag Restaurant, Yeni Limani
Next morning the departed trawler returned at 0530 and we were up and about quickly, ready to haul off to allow him in alongside the second trawler where we were berthed. We were firmly told not to bother and he berthed across the stern of the other trawler to save us having to move. Amazing consideration considering it was his home and livelihood and we were just visiting! By 1200 that day we had had coffee ashore, purchased some victuals and were ready to set off. We motored out of the harbour and set sail to continue our passage to Eskifoca. The winds were variable between S and N and zero to 20kts, it made for an interesting and at times frustrating sail, but we arrived by 1600 and sailed onto the anchor in the North harbour, adjacent to Orak Adasi. From here we were able to spectate the dingy sailing and windsurfing going on from the Club Med resort on the mainland.
Panorama in Orak Adasi anchorage, Eskifoca
After another peaceful night in the anchorage and we set off relatively early for Akca Limani, 22 miles away, a shallow but interesting looking bay (on the chart at least) at the eastern end of Candarli Korfezi. The passage along the coast was interesting watching the coastline vary between open landscape, small towns and holiday villages and major ship building/breaking yards and oil refineries! Not much variation! On arrival at Akca Limani we sailed gently in, (it was charted at 3m by we recorded just slightly less 2.8m) and into a bay measuring 2.5 by 1.5 miles but all with a maximum depth of 6m; slightly unnerving sailing. That said we successfully anchored in 3m just off Tenasalik Burnu, the site of ancient Gryneum (of which nothing remains) under the sight of two seemingly brand new mosques.
Inside the bay at Akca Limani, two new mosques in one photo!
Having entered successfully through the south channel (there are two entrances to the bay with islands in between) we decided to leave via the north channel. The next morning, in a light NNW breeze we weighed anchor and beat gently up the bay until we could lay the north entrance easily. Set Kurukulla on stbd tack and headed out. The north channel is charted at 3m by Heikell and 3.7m by the Turkish Hydrographic Office. No problem there then. As we approached the entrance at 4kts we noted that as expected the echo sounder recorded 3.5m, 3m, 2.8m. 2.5m by which time we were concentrating hard but as we were in “the channel” there was no obvious place to go but onwards. As 2m came up on the echo sounder Kurukulla came to a gentle and silent halt. Oops! Not to be beaten we started the engine, dropped the sails and put a large, (No2 Genoa) full sailbag and the crew out on the boom to heel Kurukulla over, reduce her draft and get us off. She was having none of it! We were firmly stuck in soft sand and weed. Fortunately a local fishing boat came to see what these two mad sailors were doing and offered us a tow off. We passed them a line and then followed the discussion on where the deeper water might be. Initially they wanted to tow us out via the N entrance but this put us further into the shallows.
Entering Kizkulesi Adasi
Not to be beaten they then summoned a fellow fisherman plus his boat and with one towing from the bow, this time pulling us back the way we had come and the second pulling on the beam, using a line to the masthead to heel us over and reduce our draft, we came off, but not without an hour long struggle. They seemed as pleased as we were with the result and the 150YTL (£37.50) that we gave them for their trouble. So pleased were they in fact that one of them escorted us on our passage down to the southern entrance and through, just to make sure we did not need their services again! Really delightful guys and very helpful. They seemed genuinely surprised at our gift!
From the South Entrance we had a great beat out of Candarli Korfezi to the island of Kizkulesi Adasi, just on the north-western corner of the bay. NW F3 wind and flat seas.
Kizkulesi Adasi
Kurukulla was in her element doing 6kts plus, on the wind, in the flat water. By 1500 we were anchoring in the southerly of the two bays on the west coast of this island. We sailed in, onto the anchor, anchored in 6m and settled down for lunch. All was not going to be quite to plan as notwithstanding the forecast change of wind to the east the wind decided otherwise and went round to SSW giving us less shelter. For that reason, an hour after anchoring, we moved to the other bay only yards away where the shelter might be better. There we stayed the night and by midnight the forecast easterly wind had set in, moving northerly by the early morning thereby affording us a peaceful night. Next morning; however, we awoke to the sound of rain and that persisted, off and on, until 1400. Not what we wanted! Rather than brave the rain (cowardice I know) we decided to stay put and spend another night in the same anchorage. In contrast to the rain earlier in the day the evening was tranquil, dry and pleasant.
The Hamam, Bademli Limani
Next morning dawned cloudy but dry, There was a light NE breeze blowing but one which seemed destined not to last. In consequence we set sail early, sailed off the anchor, beat slowly out the bay and set course for Bademli Limani, notwithstanding the fact that we were only planning to do a 6 mile passage.
The Hamam, Bademli Limani
With the wind dying after the first hour this 6 miles was to take us nearly two hours and we motored the last two miles. Pleasant enough as the sun had now broken through.
On arrival we anchored in the bay adjacent to the natural hot spring which, many years ago, had been converted to an ad hoc Hamam by the addition of a stone building enclosing the hot pool.
Green water in the Hamam, Bademli Limani
Keen to relax in this natural spa, as soon as we were securely anchored, we swam ashore to investigate. When I visited in 2011 the water was slightly cloudy but not unpleasant, in 2015 it was livid emerald green. We decided that the health risks of such water far outweighed the potential benefits and thus we steered well clear; a great shame! Notwithstanding the lack of the Hamam, the bay was dotted with small submerged geysers releasing streams of warm water into the sea. These rising hot currents made swimming warm and pleasurable.
That night we were greeted by the first proper thunderstorm of the season.
Bademli Limani looking north.
Amazing flashes of lightning but fortunately not too close. The winds got up from the NE pushing us offshore and thus we were able to enjoy a comfortable nights rest, despite the conditions. Next morning we set off early heading for the northern entrance of Bademli Limani en route for Ayvalik marina, some 26 miles to windward.
With northerly winds eventually reaching 30 kts at times it was a wet and interesting sail, not least threading through the islands and the channel leading in towards Ayvalik Limani itself.
Sunset at Ayvalik
Notwithstanding the wind we managed to sail up the narrow channel leading into the inland sea at Ayvalik and finally dropped the sails at the marina entrance.
By 1500 we were berthed stern to in the marina and thinking about a late lunch; well deserved we felt!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Away at last, Marmaris to Kusadasi.

As a Marine Engineer I can vouch for the fact that there is little in this world that is more challenging than bringing a ship out of a long maintenance period; or so I thought until I came to try to extract Kurukulla from the grip of the yacht maintenance contractor I had employed in Marmaris. The work list had been with them for 6 months, albeit some items were subject to approval of the estimates. On my arrival, late at night, the first thing I discovered was that Kurukulla had been moved. She was not where I had left her and no one had deigned to warn me.
Chaos on deck, the day we were supposed to launch!
Now in a small boat yard this would not represent a problem but in Marmaris Yacht Marina, at close on midnight, it leaves you with 1500 yacht parking spaces to choose from! Fortunately she was only 60m from where I had left her but even that, on a dark night, in a boat park crowded with a myriad of boats all propped up or on stands, represented a challenge that took 20 minutes to overcome. When I found her the ladder was propped against the side, the cover tucked back to give access, all looked good so far; the only 'minor' problem, evident once I was onboard, was that half of the work had yet to be started and we were only five working days from launching!
By a combination of cajoling, berating and bribing (or at least paying inflated prices) we edged slowly towards completion, two days late and with a significantly lighter wallet than planned, but then who expects running a boat to be painless!
And I thought I had too much onboard Kurukulla!
The upside was that the weather was good, sun with light winds, and the restaurant inside the marina is excellent both in terms of quality and value.
The planned departure date was the 3rd of May however this was delayed until 5th May to allow the contractor to finish the majority of the tasks in hand, others we either cancelled, put off for another occasion, or added to my DIY work-list (by far the cheapest way of maintaining a boat), less stressful but far from restful. The problem now was to catch up with a programme that has me arriving in Kusadasi on the 12th of May, i.e. in time to fly back to UK for my nephew's wedding.
Ready to launch
Departure from Marmaris Yacht Marina at 0700 on Tuesday 5th of May was painless. All the paperwork had been done the previous day and all that remained was to disconnect and go, not forgetting to pass your departure document to the Marina Staff as you pass their pontoon at the entrance. The wind was light to non existent and so we (Kurukulla and I) motored until outside the entrance to Marmaris Limani before putting the mainsail up, more in hope than expectation! In the event the wind slowly built from the South West (where-else, we were heading in that direction) and so two hours later I unfurled the No 1 Genoa and set Kurukulla on the wind for the first beat to windward of the season. The plan was to get as far west as possible on day one and in the event this proved to be a small bay called Parmak Buku, on the Turkish Coast, just to the north west of the Greek Island of Symi. A delightful bay with pine trees all around and a closed but not deserted hotel on the beach; it had obviously not traded for a while. The bay was open to the south but calm nonetheless and here I anchored in the centre of the bay, in 7m of water, and settled down for the night.
The bay at Parmak Buku
Wednesday dawned sunny and still, it remained this way until 1500 and so I decided that the only way I was going to make it to Knidos today was under engine, and so it was. Knidos is only 12 miles along the coast and for the majority of those 12 miles the wind was non existent, for the last hour the wind built from ahead but at that stage I declined the offer of a beat to windward and continued under motor. In the event the wind peaked at W,16kts, but not for long. By 1700 I was anchored in Buyuk Limani, the harbour at Knidos, looking at the ruins of the ancient city; and again enjoying a flat calm!
The view to wake up to at Knidos
It is quite something to wake up in an anchorage which is in the midst of an ancient Dorian city and then, as your eyes focus, you look across the anchorage where the first thing you see is a 4th century BC amphitheatre. The night in Knidos had been uneventful. Before sunset I had taken a brief swim to check the anchor, which was well set dug in. During the night the wind had filled in from the north, un-forecast, but had not caused any problems, in fact I departed at 0830 on the last of this N wind. By 1000 it had gone round to NE and I was scudding across the gap between Knodos and the Greek island of Kos at a good pace; for the first half of the transit anyway! It was not to last, as I approached the eastern end of Kos the wind died and for half an hour there was verging on a flat calm, again! When it did return it was fickle, anything between N and W and varying between 4 and 15 kts; these things are sent to try us but it would be nice to be on the right side of at least one wind shift, in a day, when beating to windward! By 1515 I was anchored off the beach on the east coast of Catalada Adasi. This is a good anchorage which affords shelter from all westerly directions. As I anchored the last two tripper boats departed, thus my timing was ideal. From my last visit here I remember the fabulous sunsets visible through the low lying gap between what are almost two separate islands.
The sunset at Catalada Adasi, looking across the beach
Friday 8th of May dawned, as most of the previous days of this week had, with a very light breeze and a wisp of cloud. The only thing to mark it out as a day of special consequence was the BBC Radio 4 News broadcast (via the internet) announcing the latest results in the UK General Election. The Conservative party looked to be heading for an overall majority or close to it. By 1000 I had heard enough and decided to set off for Cukurcuk, approximately 21 miles north, perforce under engine. An hour later the wind filled in from the W and we had a splendid close reach for the rest of the passage there, topping 7 kts at times. On arrival we sailed into the NW arm of Cukurcuk bay; this inlet hosts a small fishing community but is no longer obstructed by a fish farm. For the first time this year we sailed onto the anchor and settled in 3.5m of water; all in time for a relaxing lunch! The afternoon was spent catching up on some winch maintenance and other chores, all things I had not managed to get done before departure from Marmaris.
The following morning it was a pleasure to wake to the sound of wind whistling through the rigging. A brisk 15 knots of wind was blowing from the N, promising a good beat to windward to the next anchorage, Port St Paul. Apparently during his travels St Paul took shelter here to give his oarsmen a rest, or so it is believed. Once out of the anchorage I set a single reefed main and No 1 Genoa with 4 rolls in, enough for heading to windward in 20 kts relative. As ever in this area it was not to last. The beat started on stbd tack, heading NW and ended on port tack heading ….. you've guessed it NW. In between was half an hour of frustration whilst the wind veered and backed at random and gusted from 5 to 25 kts! Another example of the joys of sailing in the Med! Having said that it was a relatively quick passage and the majority was at better than 6 kts. Wanting to tuck myself in as far into the bay as the shallows would allow I entered Port St Paul under engine and anchored in 4m in the centre of the inlet; the only boat there. Time for a slightly late lunch and a relaxing afternoon.
Being now only 20 miles from Kusadasi, the pick up point for my first guest of the year and the marina where I am due to leave Kurukulla for three days for a flying (literally) visit back to UK to attend the wedding of my nephew, the pressure is now off and so the plan is to stay here for a pair of days before heading into Kusadasi Marina.
Port St Paul, about as far in as you can anchor
In the three nights in Port St Paul I saw only one other boat. A yacht came in on the second night and spent the night at anchor 100m astern of me. Beyond that I did not see another soul. After the chaos of my time in Marmaris Marina it was bliss! Peace and solitude and a chance to get things straight. My timing was not bad either, a near gale, F7, blew through in the time that I was anchored there and, notwithstanding the warning in the Heikell Pilot, the holding was good. In fact it was quite an effort to get the anchor to break out on departure!
Kurukulla nestled in at Kusadasi Marina
On Tuesday morning I set off for Kusadasi Marina, the wind was very light and contrary and so notwithstanding the F7 of the days previous it was necessary to motor. Three and a half hours later I arrived, berthed where told and checked in at the marina office. Kusadasi is a very smart marina; much smaller and less busy than Marmaris! All of this was just in time, for the rest of the day was to be spoilt by a torrential downpour and intermittent thunder. I retired below to read my book!
More when we depart.