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Dodecanese, South Aegean and Home

November 3, 2013

Finally we are back in Kas after our annual adventures. The town hasn’t changed much and we are enjoying what might in England be termed an Indian summer with wonderful sunsets every day and very little wind. The marina is now occupied by many more yachts and there are a few people who may stay over the winter. So much for it being “our” marina when we are the sole occupants!

Kas Harbour square - the tree on the right was broken last year but is sprouting again

Kas Harbour square – the tree on the right was broken last year but is sprouting again

So back to when we set off from Teos Marina. First we had to turn Petronella round to face out, making an easier departure for them. Much planning on behalf of John and Gill, lots of long ropes, but fortunately little wind. It all went well, with a bit of pushing and shoving.

Half way round - watch that rope!

Half way round – watch that rope!

Just about finished - PULL!

Just about finished – PULL!

We spent a lovely evening in Kirkdilim bay with a great meal cooked by the birthday girl, topped off by her “fridge cake” – very rich chocolate confection for which I must get the recipe!

The next day we fought our way north up to Karaada island against wind and waves, finding a nice calm anchorage on the south coast. Petronella managed to get a place in the main bay, but by the time we got there it was full, but the next bay was almost empty – Petronella joined us the next morning. It was still very windy so we were confined to quarters for a day, but managed to provide dinner for John and Gill the day after. By then it was 1st September and it was time to head south, with a great wind behind us so just the genoa out all the way. We stopped in Alacati bay again for the night then headed east to Mersin bay which was deserted apart from a van load of Turkish visitors on shore. We also went ashore and sunbathed for a short time, hiding from the wind among the low scrub on the seashore!

Alixora in Posidonia bay

Alixora in Posidonia bay

We had to head towards Pythagorio, Samos so parted company with Petronella as they needed to return to Teos for a day or two. We arranged to meet up in Posidonia – a bay on the east coast of Samos which we had never visited before. It was crowded, but we managed to get a space as a large yacht left. Our depth meter finally packed in (fortunately the chart was very detailed and we used our lead line to check the depth once anchored).

The next day Petronella arrived and we treated ourselves to huge fish dinner with them at the harbour restaurant before finally parting company. It is fun “buddy” sailing as they call it – nice to have someone to share experiences with.

The next day we headed for Pythagorio harbour, and found to our amazement that there were places available on the harbour wall. Our contingency plan had been to anchor outside and wait until someone left. I had been in contact with Richard and Barbara on Breakaway – they were already in the harbour waiting to start the Dodecanese rally that they had arranged through the Cruising Association. They were there to take our ropes and we headed to Breakaway for a very welcome cup of tea and an update on their exploits.

Sanna, Dragona and Poppy – the daytime crew

Sanna, Dragona and Poppy – the daytime crew

Gregory, Mihalis,  Konstadina and Andreas – the evening crew

Gregory, Mihalis,
Konstadina and Andreas – the evening crew

 

We were tied up in front of Gregory’s bar where I negotiated use of their toilet facilities in return for our morning frappé and evening drinks – we gave good custom there! By the end of the 12 days we stayed, our orders were almost on the table before we sat down, accompanied by plentiful supplies of nuts, crisps and popcorn!

Alixora parked in front of Gregory's bar

Alixora parked in front of Gregory’s bar

I had already phoned the man who does laundry, who sped down on his motorbike and picked up the huge pile that had amassed in the past weeks. Wonderful service – we do so like Pythagorio! Another task was to visit the chandler to see if he could get a replacement depth meter – unfortunately not. So we ordered one from a UK online chandlery and got it sent to him – it arrived a week or so later and works perfectly – hurray!

Brian’s sister Chris arrived early on Tuesday after an overnight flight, so we didn’t do much that day. After a day on the local beach we hired a car and visited Samos Town for a wander round the shops, then to Psilli Ammos for a very nice lunch, swim and sunbathe. The next day we headed inland to find somewhere to have a coffee and go for a walk.

Pythagorio town from the hills behind

Pythagorio town from the hills behind

However everything in the small villages was shut, so we ended up on the north shore for lunch and a short walk on the way back. Saturday we stocked up at the large supermarket, then drove to Posidonia for another good lunch, swim and sunbathe, Sunday we rested and went out to dinner at the posh Casa Roma for a very nice meal. On Monday Chris flew back to England – all too short a break but great to see her and catch up on all the news.

Lunch time

Lunch time

Our penchant for gyros (pork kebab and salad wraps) was satiated while in Pythagorio, and we had a few of those lovely icecreams too. Wonderful.

Soon it was time for us to move on – the next visitors were expected in Bodrum in late September! Back to Turkey so we stocked up with pork and bacon and headed for Agathonisi – a small island south of Samos. We had been there before, anchored in the same place and enjoyed a bit of peace and quiet after the noise of Pythagorio. Swims off the back of the boat and relaxation were the order of the evening.

Gumusluk

Gumusluk

The next day we headed to Gumusluk – a favourite anchorage for many cruisers but our first visit. Typically it was crowded, but again a large yacht left as we circled around and we pinched their space. We went ashore to remind ourselves that we were back in Turkey – change of language – Tessekuler instead of Efkalisto (thank you) Evet instead of Ne (yes) and so on. Efes beer instead of Mythos! And Turkish Lira instead of the poor old Euro.

We had decided to reconnoitre a couple of the places we would take Jessica and Mark before going into Bodrum, so sailed to Alakisla bay east of Bodrum from Gumusluk. And it was a great sail too – no engine all the way. We anchored and tied back to shore (a big effort but we were there for two nights) and watched a gulet sailing up and down the bay, being videoed by a crew member in a small dinghy in the middle! It isn’t often that the gulets put their sails up, but when they do it is very pretty.

Gulet sailing for its promotional video!

Gulet sailing for its promotional video!

We cleaned the dinghy of its accumulation of barnacles and seaweed, swam and read books – lovely. It was still windy, but sheltered on the rocky shore. The next destination was Cokertme, where three restaurants have jetties to tie to. We ended up at Orhan’s but spied one called Rose Mary – noted for the next visit! It looked fine for our first destination for our visitors – Jessica likes to be able to get ashore easily for the first few days!

So it was time to head for Bodrum where we had reserved a place in the

Small fish in the toilet!

Small fish in the toilet!

busy marina after fighting our way into the teeth of a 20knt westerly and having to extract a small fish from the toilet! They initially didn’t think we had reserved a place but it was all sorted out when we went to the office. More laundry had built up by then so that was a priority, we headed into town and found new pillows and a huge Migros (not that we needed food as we would be in restaurants a lot of the time) washed the boat inside and out, provisioned with the heavy stuff (juice, water and milk) from the nearby Carrefour Express and trudged off to meet the Bodrum Express from Kos.

Bodrum Castle

Bodrum Castle

Jessica and Mark had spent a day or two on Kos and loved it. Bodrum is very pretty too – with castles and ampitheatres on the hill etc. We went to sample the local speciality (beef strips on a fried grated potato bed and salad) which was excellent. We decided to leave the next day as the weather was fine and the mooring fees were eye watering so finished off the shopping and set off late morning, back to Cokertme and this time Rose Mary restaurant and jetty!

We had a lovely dinner there, and next day I bought two of their Tshirts badged with their name (and skull and crossbones)! Meanwhile Jessica engaged the manager of the small carpet weaving shop on the beach in conversation, finding out that they have revived traditional weaving/knotting techniques including the traditional dyes. They had managed to find an elderly lady who remembered the techniques for getting the different colours (e.g. acorns give an ochre colour, but mixed with mud wallows containing goat and sheep urine it goes black!). Amazing.

The carpet shop and carpet making, Cokertme

The carpet shop and carpet making, Cokertme

We needed to leave to get to the next restaurant facility to the south east – Inglis bay. The wind was in our favour, but had built up quite a swell, so we rolled and swayed our way across the bay – much to Mark’s discomfort I am afraid to say. It was a great sail though! On arriving (it was still blowing hard) we tied up at Deniz Kisi restaurant, and were still sorting out our ropes when a huge gulet powered in and hit us as it tried to squeeze in next to us. Fortunately there was no significant damage – a bend in the toerail – but it nearly caught stanchions and guardrail which would have been disastrous if they had not sprung back. We were most upset and tried to get the captain to speak to us but he hid! Brian took pictures, but by the time we were ready to have a go at him, they set off again!

We had been watching the weather – it was getting very cold as a massive system of low and high pressure was funnelling cold air straight down the coast from Siberia. It looked stormy too – not a nice time to be sailing. So we decided to abandon Gokova Korfesi (bay) after a night back in Alakisla bay and head for Knidos and places south. We were constrained by needing to be at a “port of entry” by 3rd October in order to renew our Turkish transit log – the document that is the official permit to sail in Turkey.

We didn't manage to take pictures that day, but here is one of Knidos from last year!

We didn’t manage to take pictures that day, but here is one of Knidos from last year!

The trip to Knidos was uneventful although the wind was picking up as we got closer – enough to reef the mainsail but mostly we were motoring. On arrival we managed to get a place alongside on the pontoon and Jessica and Mark set off to see the sights from the top of the hill. The plan was to stay there during the storm the next day (1st October) and explore the ancient city. However we got a garbled message that we could only stay the one night – but didn’t really understand what the man was saying. We treated ourselves to a huge fish dinner at the restaurant and made sure the boat was tied on well.

At 5am the next morning, someone banged on our hull – we emerged to see that a yacht was struggling as its mainsail had blown out of its bag – served them right for not zipping it up we thought – and went back to bed. At 8am we woke again to much shouting and we were told in no uncertain terms that we had to leave! Apparently this harbour is untenable in a strong SE wind – which was now blowing up to 20knts – even when tied up to the jetty. There was nothing about this in the pilot book but we had no choice. So we prepared the boat quickly – not bothering with sails – and were pushed off in short order, following a stream of other yachts who all disappeared in different directions.

It was horrid! We needed to head towards Datca for our transit log but were plowing into 2 metre waves and 25knt winds – the boat almost stood still some of the time. We tried going into a small cove with a jetty which looked more protected, but it was deserted and there was no welcoming committee. However that small diversion had taken us out of the head on waves, and progress was a bit easier after that. We just plowed on towards Datca – it was raining and cold and miserable but our crew were stalwart and managed to hang on! Turning the corner to head north towards Datca was a relief. However as we arrived (it took us 6.5 hours to travel 23 miles) the clouds got darker and the rain started to pour more heavily. The wind was such that trying to tie up to the harbour wall would be impossible, so we joined 3 other yachts at anchor in the small bay outside the harbour. As I let the anchor down, a massive flash of lightning hit close by, followed by the crash of thunder. Almost immediately the wind changed direction, turning to the west and gusted at over 50knts or more – we weren’t looking! All the yachts (us included) and a couple of fishing boats at anchor started dragging their anchors – fortunately out to sea although one of the yachts got tangled up with a fishing boat! We thought our anchor had held again, but another gust broke its tenuous grip. I fought my way to the bow against horizontal rain and wind and wound the anchor back in again as Brian steered our way into safety from the other drifting yachts!

DSCF2566

The crew with Captain Brian looking worried again

Finally it all calmed down and the sun came out (as it does) and we reanchored, stripped off our soaked clothing, and had cups of tea! After another hour or two we were able to tie up to the harbour wall and go out for dinner having put on the fan heater to dry out Jessica and Mark’s bedding – the anchor windlass control has to feed through the front cabin hatch!

Overnight it poured with rain again – finding its way through hatch and window seals to drip into the front cabin and saloon. So some of our winter tasks have been defined already. I got the transit log renewed with no problem, we shopped for some more provisions and motor sailed in no wind (of course) to Marti Marina. The forecast for the next few days looked very poor so we needed to be somewhere pleasant and safe. The marina, in Keci Buku, is in a lovely setting and we had never been there before. We arrived – it had become a bit windy by then of course – and tied up to the outer wall. Not the best place to be but close to the restaurant and shower block. We were unhappy with the bow mooring line – it was really heavy and too vertical – but were assured that it was fine.

As we relaxed in the restaurant with an Efes or two, who should we see coming towards us than Thor and Thorhild of Tayana – friends from Kas! They also had arrived today and were staying a while in order to get rigging fixed by a company based in Marmaris, which is only 10 miles away by land. We caught up with them and introduced them to Jessica and Mark (who had lived in Norway for 6 months so were pleased to practise their Norwegian!) and continued our conversations over dinner.

Marti Marina

Marti Marina

At 5am (again) the next morning both Brian and I woke up on feeling a strange bump at the stern. We crawled out of bed to find that yes, the mooring line wasn’t doing its job, so armed ourselves with a rope to attach and winch in the slack. Within 5 minutes a marina patrol came to ask what the problem was, and within another 5 minutes a marinero came and attached another mooring line to our bow, as well as heaving in more slack on the original. I hadn’t noticed, but he used one of our ropes to attach to the 2nd line – and never gave it back! Humph. But a very good response from them all the same.

So we stayed there for four nights – the sun shone but the wind blew and it was bitterly cold. I got out our duvet and gave Jessica and Mark an additional cover to keep warm! The shower block got poor marks – lovely to look at but pretty dreadful in practise! Both Brian and Mark got scars on their heads from the strange L shaped locker doors and you didn’t need to be bashful as the changing area was communal! Fortunately there was a special deal on mooring fees so it wasn’t too painful especially as Mark generously paid.

Keci Buku Bay

Keci Buku Bay

The area is beautiful and we had a nice walk up to Orhaniye. Jessica and Mark took the road to the village of Keci Buku the next day and our evenings were spent chatting to T&T and their friends. One day a flotilla of 40 yachts turned up – all crewed by Russians! That could have been noisy but in fact they were well behaved. Brian worked on the autohelm which had been making suspicious cracking noises, and fixed the toilet pump yet again. The latter was new last year, but poor components have caused it to wear badly.

Orhaniye

Orhaniye

Finally the storms abated and we set off for some belated sailing practise with our crew, one day managing to get the cruising chute up and quietly sailing into the head of the bay – lovely. Jessica displayed her expertise with the bowline knots as we untangled the ropes for the chute – she can do them with eyes shut! A night in Dirsek Buku (excellent food), then a night in Selimiye on Aurora restaurant jetty (even more excellent food) then back to Dirsek Buku. The last day we let Jessica and Mark have control of the boat and practise tacking along the bay in a decent breeze. Jessica got to grips with our charting software, there were a few moments of heated discussion between them, but they managed to get some real hands on experience without our intervention and did really well.

Bread being baked in Dirsek Buku

Bread being baked in Dirsek Buku

All too soon we had to sail back to Datca where they caught the ferry back to Bodrum for their flight the next day. We missed our crew almost immediately when we had to sort out fenders and ropes ourselves again! We spent the remainder of the day reprovisioning, getting laundry done and planning the next part of our passage, keeping an eye on strong winds predicted in the next few days.

Brian’s annual hospital checkup was due at the end of October, and we had amassed a long list of things to order in the UK for him to bring back. So we decided to head back to Kas so we had plenty of time to research online and get the items we wanted.

Our first stop was Serce Limani – a lovely spot in a hidden bay. It was very deep but we managed to anchor OK and enjoyed a quiet night. The next day we stopped in Turunc – just south of Marmaris. As we closed in to the bay we spotted red buoys, so adopted our tried and tested method of me going to the bow in the dinghy and grabbing the buoy as we edged up to it, threading the mooring line and tying on. We went ashore to get some oranges (though not really orange season in early October) and had a beer at a very English bar – watching the darts championship!

Serce Limani

Serce Limani

The next morning we managed to sail off the buoy (the engine was idling just in case) and had a fantastic sail all the way to Karacaoren without any motoring. Great. It was getting pretty windy as we ended the journey and had to reef the jib to keep control. After being shown to one mooring buoy we had to abandon it rather rapidly as a yacht with a long bowsprit came swinging round towards us, and the day trip boat with a long passarelle swung round the other way. We circled for a while then the day trip boat left, leaving us with a safer space to tie up. A pleasant dinner ashore in the restaurant, then back for an early night for an early start on our final leg.

Goose Winging!

Goose Winging!

The winds had died completely the next day – apart from gusts out of Oludeniz bay, so we motored in bright sunshine all the way to Kas, arriving just before 5pm. We were welcomed by Gill and John on the pontoon and headed up to Meymekan restaurant for happy hour. They too were pleased to see us! It was a great return.

The week after we returned was Bayram – the religious festival of Abraham’s near sacrifice of Isaac. Families that can afford it buy a sheep or goat, it is killed on the Tuesday and the meat handed out to poor families as well as being a part of the celebration meal for themselves. Gill and I went up to the market area and saw the animals awaiting purchase – poor things! Later I went into town and heard those that had been bought bleating in people’s back yards! It is the only week when shops close (but not supermarkets and food shops).

Goats and sheep on offer for Bayram

Goats and sheep on offer for Bayram

The rest of the time we have been working on the boat, cleaning, polishing (our new gantry has added an hour or so to the stainless polishing effort) , washing ropes, socialising, etc. We hope to get another few days sailing in around the local area before it gets too cold (yes I know we are soft now) and we settle in for the winter.

John (Blue Talisman – lots of Johns) celebrated his 70th birthday last week – a crowd of people turned up in Meymekan and lovely cakes were brought out! The day after that we chatted to Wyn and Nancy (Kas residents)– who we had met before but not spoken to at length. On enquiring about their provenance (good Yorkshire accents) it turns out that Wyn knew Brian’s uncle Derek and his family really well! Wyn was a long distance swimmer (cross channel etc) as was Derek and that is how they met. Later they both met on marathon running events too. I found out a lot more about Derek than I had known before!

John and his cakes, with Wyn (left) and Nancy behind

John and his cakes, with Wyn (left) and Nancy behind

We decided to do something about the cruising chute, which had only one rope (sheet) on the outer corner – so you had to swap the whole rope around the front of the boat if the wind blew from a different direction (or you wanted to turn in a different direction). So we bought a new rope, a shackle and some hooks and went out to play in very light winds. Our cunning plan seems to work by having both sheets out, one on the sail and one around the front of the boat and hooked on to the pulpit. Then when you want to turn, you just hook the loose rope on as the sail collapses, unhook the other and after a bit of flapping you can pull it out the other side! After a bit of practise, we sedately sailed back into the marina at 2 knots, only getting into a tangle once!

Melons galore

Melons galore

The selection of fruit and vegetables in the market and grocers shop is improving again – the melons are delicious and oranges are just coming back into season with sweet tangerines most prevalent. Most of all (although we don’t partake) are the mounds of pomegranates everywhere – the juice is very popular. They make a sour syrup too, which is excellent for adding to stews.

Pomegranites

Pomegranates

I have hired a car for 6 months at a very advantageous rate, so we are set for transport and inland adventure if we so wish. The list of jobs around the boat grows as usual so we won’t have that much time to explore, but Brian is bringing back some more books on the archeology of Southern Turkey which should help us determine a few more good sites to visit about which I will update you in the next episode.

Kas Marina Sunset

Kas Marina Sunset

And another sunset

And another sunset

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From → Greece, Turkey

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