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Loitering on the Carian Coast

July 19, 2017

We finally managed to get away from Marmaris!  It had been quite windy when they fitted our new mainsail.  When the wind died a few days later, we tried to raise it ourselves. We found that the new “gate” that covers a gap in the track that lets you release the sliders that hold the sail to the mast was too fat to allow the bottom sliders past it.  They had fitted the new gate after putting the sail on and lowering it – so hadn’t checked it themselves!  The sliders are new with little wheels on – very posh but obviously a bit too fancy!

Approaching Gocek Bay

A call to Bariş and a guy came to check it out.  He took the gate away to be filed down, but it still didn’t work.  A second effort similarly resulted in failure.  Bariş then came himself, and ultimately we agreed on a not ideal solution – to refit the old sliders where they need to go over the gate.  This was done – but all of the toing and froing took another week. Additionally they rejigged the lazy bag lines removing the old supports that had plastic covers that had become brown and sticky.   By this time it was as cheap to stay in the marina for the month so that is what we did. Brian fixed a lot of bits and pieces and I pottered around.  We spent a lot of time giving the decks and stainless steel a really good clean, removing all the small bits of iron swarf that get stuck into the plastic and make brown stains.  The swarf happens when anyone is angle grinding mild steel or iron near the boat – invisible at the time but slowly makes an appearance!

Bay at sunset

Around this time I was in frequent communication with our letting agent to deal with the arrears the tenants in Butte Farm (our house in Glossop) were building up.  This had been going on since January.  The house has needed a lot of repairs doing as well – which we suspect are partly the result of lack of care.  As we had decided that we would like to make Rhodes our year-round base, we agreed that we would give the tenants notice and put the house on the market. I booked a flight from Kos to Manchester for 1st August, the tenants moving out on 2nd – so we will see what needs to be done.  Alixora is booked into Kos Marina (with a bit of pleading as they initially said they were full) for a month from 27th July or thereabouts.

Since we left Marmaris we have just been pottering around the coast with the aim of signing out of Turkey at Datça around 26th July.  I have not kept my hand-written diary up to date so I have to rely on our boat log to remind myself where we have been.

After making a list of vital things to buy in Turkey (like Porçoz – which is now called something else but is essentially dilute nitric acid for cleaning kettles and other things) and raiding the shops in Marmaris, we set sail again on 22nd June.

As Kos is not very far to go, we headed east first.  Ekinçik was the first stop – anchoring in a small bay surrounded by woodland and tying the back of the boat to shore.  Hmm – first time in a while actually anchoring and first time taking lines to shore in ages!  But we managed and settled in for a comfortable and very quiet night.

More boats and mountains

From there we headed to Goçek bay where we hoped to find a buoy to tie to.  But we had forgotten that it was the end of Ramadan, and that everyone was celebrating Eid!  Oh no.  The bays were full of yachts and motor cruisers of all sizes.  Also where all the small bays used to have plenty of buoys to tie to, many seem to have disappeared and boats were anchored in the very deep water.  We didn’t want to do that. After cruising around a couple of bays, we headed for one of the restaurants with jetties that we had been to before.  Wall Bay was close so we went there and were directed in alongside the wooden pontoon – so far in that we raised a bit of mud as we backed up to the end.

New Wall Bay restaurant

Then we found that Wall Bay was no longer the slightly ramshackle collection of shaded tables with dodgy toilets and a shower in a hut.  Total transformation into a 5 star resort!  Very fancy pergolas, smart table settings, a bar with Haitian straw draped around it and a huge open air lounging area with cushions covering it.  Then further up the hill, a lounge in an amazing glass and stone building, and toilets and showers with gold taps and drench shower heads – all in marble and teak – with proper terry towels set out to dry hands.  Extraordinary! With smartly uniformed staff to go with it all. Oh, and piped music along the pathways, the speakers hidden in artificial rocks!

Posh food at Wall Bay

Another British boat was there and a brief conversation revealed that all this work had been carried out over the previous winter – everyone was astonished.  And all the materials had been carried in by boat – no road access, which is one of the attractions of the small restaurants around here.

Of course the prices of food and beer were indicative of the new ambiance…

We had been managing to sail, trying out the new mainsail.  We found it really hard to get it tight and have been working on solutions since then – it must go higher than the previous one and so the channel at the top of the mast is probably a bit rough and dirty.  It has been getting better, but still a lot of huffing and puffing at the end of the travel.  Brian has now adjusted the knot on the shackle that pulls the sail up, which we have yet to try out.

Lots of boats – Gocek Bay

After a couple of days enjoying the luxury of Wall Bay we headed out to sea for a short sail, then back in towards Goçek Town. As we approached we spotted a buoy on one of the islands close by and managed to pick it up, tying back to shore.  The long lines that we use are now nice and clean thanks to being dunked in the water a few times!  They had been really dirty and gritty as the locker they reside in collects all the muck from the deck when we wash it.

Gocek Bay

Needing to stock up on provisions, we stopped next in D-Marin marina, a rather posh place but very pleasant and spent a few days there, washing salt off the boat, shopping etc and eating out at shady restaurants.  It was here that I gave myself a good talking to, and got out my Greek text book once more!  I dropped an email to my teacher, Areti (Αρετή) who promptly answered, asking me to send her a weekly report of what we had been doing (yes, I am just starting past tense) in Greek of course! I explained that to write text in Word, I needed a 240V power supply for the computer, so it would be a bit hit and miss.  Good excuse anyway! It is also helpful to have a shady and breezy restaurant to work in – the boat is just too hot.  I can do emails in Greek, but proper documents are hard to do on my phone.  I daren’t use Brian’s tablet – he would get most confused!

D-Marin waterside village

We have managed a couple of exchanges – it was really hard to start with as 2 months not studying at all meant I had forgotten much of what I had already learnt.  I am trying not to let it slip again.

D-Marin, Gocek

From Goçek Town we headed down again to Tersane island, where a small restaurant is tucked into a sheltered bay with jetty of course.  Here I had the second (and subsequent) swims of the year – the water was a lot warmer and beautifully clear.  By this time (early July) the weather was set in for the summer heat.  All of a sudden our clothing is reduced to minimal and cooking on the boat is not a comfortable experience.  Many of the Mediterranean countries have experienced a heatwave, including Turkey, for the past two weeks – only breaking this week.

Tersane Island restaurant

At Tersane we were re-introduced to “crumpet bread” – huge flat round loaves with the density and consistency of crumpets.  They are hand made at the small restaurants and cooked in wood fired ovens every morning.  They are so big that one would last us 4 days – but we usually get fresh every couple of days.

Hmm, can we eat all this?

From Tersane we returned to Ekinçik and from there onwards to Çiftlik.  This is the other side of Marmaris bay.

In retrospect we should have delayed this passage – the wind picked up (on the nose of course) and it was quite uncomfortable towards the end with 2 metre waves at one stage, coming from all directions.  We took turns steering – the autohelm struggled in those conditions.  The dinghy flipped over, then back again as we rounded the corner. However tucked in the bay behind the protective island it was lovely and calm.

We circled for a short rest, I was steering, – then Brian was about to settle down but I suggested that ropes and fenders were perhaps needed before we could tie up!  He grumpily left me to steer and the restaurant we had picked out indicated they wanted us to tie up alongside! What a treat.  After sorting out the requisite bits, Brian left me in charge while he stood ready with ropes, and I actually parked the boat myself! Wow!  I know I have the ability, but our work division usually means that I am the ropes and fenders person.

Çiftlik is a popular stop for yachts and boasts four restaurants with jetties.  It is also accessed by road so the beach (with sunbeds and umbrellas) is always busy.  But as it is mainland and road accessible, it has mains power too, so we plugged the boat in and I took the computer on land and did my Greek homework at a comfortable table in the shade.  Mini-markets at each restaurant were handy to stock up with fruit and milk as well as the ubiquitous crumpet bread.

Having been parked in Marmaris for a month, the dinghy had accumulated a lot of coral worm and slime on its bottom.  We took it over to a quiet part of the beach, removed the cover that had rucked up after its rotation out in the waves, and gave it a good scrub, watched curiously by a small girl who asked a lot of questions – in Turkish!

I don’t know why we decided to move on three days later – we had the most horrid trip again with 20 to 30 knots on the nose but the waves weren’t quite so bad.  Should have waited another day!

Bozzukale pontoon

But we made it to Bozzukale and again breathed a sigh of relief as we got into calm water in the bay. We tied up at Ali Baba restaurant as we have in previous years, and remembered that the toilet is a good hike half way up the hill!  On top of the hill are the ancient Loryma fortifications – it is a prime position opposite Rhodes so commanded the strait.  Having climbed the hill before, in cooler months, we were not desperate to do so again in 40° heat.  Conversely a dunk in the sea was wonderfully cooling.

A couple of days later we headed round the corner to Sogut – we had never been to that particular bay before but a particular restaurant was recommended on our Cruising association website.  We found the jetty for Captain’s Table eventually.  I had called the day before to secretly organise a cake for Brian’s birthday!  I wasn’t sure if they had understood, but when we tied up and Brian was out of the way, a bit of sign language and nose touching indicated that it was all arranged!

Ex birthday cake

We enjoyed a beer on their terrace, followed by dinner and then the lights went out and the cake arrived complete with candles and sparklers and a taped “happy birthday” song!  Stupid me – I didn’t take a picture of the procedure until the cake had been eaten! Brian was urged by the restaurant staff to blow out the candles, and we all had huge slices of very good chocolate cake.  We shared a slice with an English chap called Adam.  He revealed he runs a design studio in Chichester and was returning there the next day.  He has a house in Sogut, high on the hill overlooking the bay.

The next day we saw him again, in the company of an elderly American gent who went out in Adam’s small motor boat for a spin.  He and his wife also live in Sogut and we had a short friendly chat.

While we were idling away another hour or two, Brian noticed one of the small fishing boats coming in with a herd of goats on board!  This time I did snatch up the camera, but wasn’t able to zoom in on it before it disappeared behind a neighbouring yacht. We were sorting out the boat for departure so didn’t see how they got the goats off the boat!

Goats afloat!

Next stop was Bozburun, where we had hoped to tie up in the small harbour.  However on arrival it looked full, so we anchored in the rather deep bay outside and prepared the dinghy with the outboard, heading in to check the place out.  It was a lot more lively than our previous visit some years ago! A couple of other British boats also anchored near us and we chatted to Sally who swam over to see us. Their boat is a dual mast “junk rigged” Scottish yacht called Ron Glas (little seal).  She told us the history – it is a kind of teak plywood construction covered in tough plastic and was built for the first cross Atlantic races in the early 20th century.  The man who built it designed the first windvane steering systems along with a group of sailing friends who all ganged together after the 1st world war to work at what they enjoyed.


We had seen them sailing in – the junk rig with red sails was very pretty! However we have noticed that there are very few foreign flagged “owner occupied” boats around.  Mostly we see Turkish people on the boats – either chartered or owned. Bozburun was the exception, with a French boat and a German one as well.

We re-provisioned in Bozburun and stayed three nights, enjoying the ambiance.  We managed to eat cheaply too, selecting small pide (like an oblong pizza but with meat and veg toppings) restaurants.

The restaurants with jetties make their money with the dinners they serve, so they tend to be a bit more elaborate with mezes and main courses of various types.  It was nice to have a simple change.

I realised that our favourite bay restaurant was just around the corner at Dirsek Buku!  So we left Bozburun and headed all of 9 or 10 miles to their jetty.  The bay was full of boats at anchor and tied to the shore, but there was just space for us on their quayside.

Dirsek Buku

The water there is so clear it is fantastic.  Warm too – so plenty of opportunity to drop in the sea to cool off.  The food was excellent as usual.

Baby goat – not for dinner!

However we only stayed one day (collecting our crumpet bread in the morning of course) and headed another very short hop to Selimiye.  We had a good sail too even though it wasn’t far – we did a bit of a detour out into the gulf and back.  The public quay was packed, but we knew we had been to a restaurant jetty previously although couldn’t remember the name and couldn’t see any familiar names on the map.  We ended up at the Sardunya, where we had to drop the anchor and tie up – normally they have laid lines to tie to the front of the boat.

Cat snoozing on a log in the shade

It turned out to be a rather posh place and the food was pretty poor.  But before eating we had walked along the quayside (lined with small restaurants, ice cream parlours and cafés) and found the Aurora restaurant and quay – the one we had forgotten!

So next day we went out for a play in the bay and returned to the Aurora restaurant run by a Swedish/Turkish lady Suzan and her husband.  It has a lovely tree shaded seating area, excellent food and electricity and water on the jetty as well as outlets in the seating area.  Perfect.  I lugged computer and Greek books on land and spent most of one day working on another homework exercise and reminding myself of what I had forgotten.

Aurora shaded bar

I asked Suzan what she was experiencing commercially.  She told me that a huge number of yacht charter companies (that cater for foreigners) have taken their boats to Greece, Croatia, and other places and that many private boat owners are also avoiding Turkey. She normally does good business with return customers and charter companies in May and June – but this year she had no customers in May at all! It goes without saying that she is not happy with the current political situation and patriarchal resurgence.

We had meanwhile been keeping an eye on the weather and saw high winds forecast for a few days.  So we high tailed it here to Marti Marina and have been placed alongside an outer pontoon – as far from the showers and toilets as it is possible to be!  It is a very posh (and eye wateringly expensive) marina – but I notice that they are not maintaining it as well as it should be – another victim of the drop in tourism perhaps although the marina is full of boats.

Quiet pool outside toilet and shower block, Marti Marina

Over the next few days we will slowly meander down to Datça, sign out there and sail to Kos ready for our flight to the UK.  So it may be a while before the next episode and a different set of topics.  Worse – do we have enough warm clothing for Glossop in August!



From → Turkey

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