Turkey IX - Returning West, back to Gocek and Fethiye
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Turkey VIII - Returning West, Finike to Kekova Roads.
To view our next log entries in 2012, please use the following link:
Turkey I (2012) - Istanbul.
Log Entry Saturday 29th October - We arrive at Fethiye and our winter berth, our cruising season concludes for this year. (190)
We rise early to move to the Yacht Classic Hotel pontoon in Fethiye, our winter berth for the coming months. The wind is light, from the northeast, some what useable for us? We lift our anchor about 0730 hours, that is early for us and every one else it seems, no one to be seen in the anchorage?
The coarse is easy, out through the islands to the north of Skopea Limani, then, east along the northern coast of Fethiye Körfezi (Fethiye Bay) to Fethiye it's self. The morning fresh, to us any way, with temperatures in the lower twenties.
Once clear of the islands the wind becomes steady, our headsail alone giving us a good three knots on this beautiful morning allowing us to sail into Fethiye Harbour. We drop anchor off the hotel pontoon and go ashore to find out the arrangements with regards to our berth. I was a little surprised as to how many visitors are on the pontoons, still vacationing? We then returned to Sailaway, unfortunately on the way back we hit some thing solid in the water shearing the drive pin on our out board engine propeller - some pour turtle we suspected as we were in ten meters of water? There must have been no serious damage to it as it did not even re-surface? Due to the number of visitors we could not secure our preferred, final resting berth until tomorrow? We want a berth facing into the prevailing winds as we berth "bow too".
This season finally comes to a conclusion, we began traveling in early February, from the Northern Ionian and come to rest at the end of October. This year we have been able to maintain a nine month cruising season, our longest yet, not without issues I hasten to add but all very enjoyable just the same. With just over 1000 sea miles covered, it will be difficult to remain stationary until the spring although a couple of months in the UK will help, as will the "winter jobs"?
Log Entry Friday 28th October - We leave Skopea and move to north Gocek, errands to do!
We sit in the cockpit and have our last breakfast in our "little heaven", it is now only three day before we return to the UK. It is time to head north to Gocek, we have some items to source/purchase before we leave. We know exactly where we can get them in Gocek, back in Fethiye we would have to search them out.
We leave the small cove in which we had spent the last couple of days, under motor unfortunately, not a breath of wind to be had, or forecast!
Our coarse is quite straight forward, north as far as we can go and drop our anchor before we hit the beach!
The trip is quite a short one, no more than ten miles, a couple of hours at the most, as we move further north there is definitely more "boat traffic" as I appear to have began to call it.
As we enter the harbour we are a little taken by surprise as to the volume of vessels at anchor, a lot of commercial traffic but six or more private vessels, the "cute" ferry catches our eye.
Once our anchor is set we always give it an hour or so to ensure that it is holding well before leaving Sailaway, we then head into town. Gocek is some what deserted, the seasonal blooms adding colour to the deserted main street.
With our errands complete we return to Sailaway and watch the sunset on deck, the colours and light cloud formation very eye catching.
Log Entry Tuesday 25th October - Our last few days here are to be spent in Skopea Limani and it's clean blue waters.
We lift our anchor about 1100 hours, there is to be no wind forecast for the next few days so there is little point in waiting for the local winds to develop as we will be motoring? Ann takes her normal position, up front with a bucket. We had seen others pull up much mud with their anchor and chain, so she is ready with her bucket in advance - I think she is a little disappointed the chain wash removes almost all of it, she loves hard work!
As we make our way out of the large natural harbour, with the exception of a small boat or two we have the waters to our selves. We pass the grand hotels at the harbour entrance, all but deserted with the exception of one or two families enjoying the beaches.
We pass through the entrance of the harbour, still with the waters to our selves, best best time to be on the water we comment, certainly with regards to the temperatures, no burning sun to hide from?
The mountains, islands and resorts to the north are hidden by cloud and mist every thing appears a dull blue in colour. The clouds hint at rain but none is forecast?
Once in clear water we head due west, we plan to enter Skopea Limani from the north and search out a place to stay for the next two or three nights.
Once in the Limani, with the town of Gocek to the north we head south, again only seeing the odd vessel on the water, we find it a little erie perhaps?
We pick a ravine to the south of "Tomb Bay", we had seen it many times but it was always occupied by trip boats, we now have it all to our selves.
The ravine has a small beach with steep mountainous sides climbing high above us, it's waters edge lined with grand olive trees as opposed to the typical bushes. We are total secluded with no one else in sight, "skinny dipping" in the clear blue water is very tempting. Ann manages to catch me in an embarrassing pose with the camera, however she forgets that I edit?
When one looks up from the deck of Sailaway, or from below even we are dwarfed by the hillside high above, it's cliff faces, vegetation and occupants all looking down at us - "must be an age thing?"
And, of coarse, to top it all, we hear goats and catch a glimpse of a jet black ram high above us?
Log Entry Monday 24th October - We stock up with supplies in Fethiye, seven days until we fly back no time to waste!
Sailaway is now looking her smart self again, and ready to knock up a few sea miles before we tie up until next year's journey begins in the spring. There is another driver, we are only 31 sea miles from accruing "1000 nautical miles" as a total for this year - cannot stop now!
We await the sun warming up the air, burning the mist away then take our dinghy over to Fethiye to pick up some supplies, the usual, fruit, salad etc, etc. It is a very different town to that of our last trip, in the small harbour most of the trip boats and gullets are in, some being prepared for the winter, plenty of painting, sanding and varnishing going on.
The town is more "locals" now, a few tourists can be seen but by far the minority, most of the cafes are full of the local guys playing cards, board games etc. While have a cold drink at a water side cafe we are approached by a gent selling perfume from a sports bag "you clearly live here, so no silly tourist prices for you!" We stop him there and make it clear we want nothing, a little disappointing to have confirmed once again, the two tier price system? We finish our drinks and take our shopping back to the dinghy we have left in the marina, and back to Sailaway we head, we leave in the morning.
Log Entry Sunday 23rd October - A strange day?
We woke to a pleasant morning, lots of dampness, the decks were soaking, they had to dry off before we could start work on the paintwork. The sun rising through the mist covering Fethiye coaxed us to have breakfast on deck, fleeces were needed of coarse.
As we sat on deck we at first, noticed a wasp or two, before long there we dozens of them settling on any thing they could even us? In a short period of time we realised they were in fact resting, the unlucky ones were in the water all around Sailaway. At first instinctively Ann swatted them, they loved my yellow fleece at one time I had about five or more on me? Very quickly we realised there were too many, probably a swarm for some reason, crossing the water from the Fethiye area making for the nearby shore line behind us, some making it, a lot not. We now let them settle, rest and leave us, one could not put a hand or foot down without checking for wasps first! In time they left and we began work, unfortunately Ann later stumbled on one, standing on it, in defence it stung, the sting was removed and the foot treated.
That evening we went ashore for a couple of hours, we had last visited some months ago when Lee, Trish and the kids arrived.
It was good to see the beach and park area still in use, we are to go into town tomorrow, a barbeque looks in order for us?
Log Entry Thursday 20th October - We move north to Fethiye, work to do on Sailaway.
With the northerly blow we had experienced for the last couple of days now over we were to move north, up to Fethiye. There, in the harbour, off the boat yards, we were to attack some of the minor rust problems one always has with a steel boat. Down here, in the Limani where water quality is protected, it seemed wrong to grind and chip away at paint and possibly run the risk of fines? Up in the harbour we had seen many jobs under taken on boats at anchor without problems, we had only two or three days work then we would return or visit Gocek before we leave for the UK. With the weather clearing the traffic started early, a sailboats arriving already, we planned to sit for a while and wait for the local winds to develop, however, they were forecast to be extremely light.
As we sat we also awaited the "bread lady", we were unsure as to the next time we would be shopping so we needed bread. Apart from that it is cooked in open ovens, it carries an "oak type" aroma from the olive wood used to bake it, and of coarse we love it! Ann happens to have the camera out on deck when she arrives and takes a photograph of me buying the bread, the girls laughs. She then insists on having her picture taken alone and takes up what seems a very familiar pose? I am some what confused, then the penny drops "she is clearly married", what attractive lady wouldn't want her picture taken with me?
With the bread down below it's time to move, Ann drops our line from the buoy and off we go, out of the bay and east across Skopea Limani, the winds are clearly very light, if at all so we take the most direct route in to Fethiye Körfezi where if there is wind, that's where we will find it.
It's still quite early so we seem to have the water to our selves, at the moment any way?
As we make our way out through the channel to the south of Domuz Adasi into Fethiye Körfezi, the traffic begins to build, there is already a queue of vessels following us through the narrow channel behind.
Out into the clear water the wind is still non existent, the engine stays on as we motor almost due east onto Fethiye. With Sailaway on "autopilot" we enjoy the warming sun as it gains strength. The snow on top of the far off mountain cap can still be seen but only now right on the top, upper limits.
Within the hour a very light breeze develops, up goes our canvas and off goes the engine, we are doing only a knot or so but we are in no hurry, what better way to enjoy our lunch? We are passed by vessels motoring in both directions, they wave as is the norm, but they look at us a little strange sitting almost stationary in the water.
In time we have Tavsan Adasi, Delikliadalar and Kizil Adasi clear to our port (left) giving us the opening into the large natural harbour of Fethiye in front of us.
On the way through it's gates we are met by a large, working, ocean tug, on it's way to help "some thing"?
The large harbour is some what deserted in comparison to previous visits, clearly due to the time of year. At this point one was usually fully occupied dodging gullets or sailboats, one of our most relaxing entrances to Fethiye harbour?
We make our way around to the most south west tip of the harbour, an anchorage we had always found deserted, well until today, four other vessels lay nearby. This anchorage in the past had always offered seclusion with the added bonus of a beach bar should one get bored?
Log Entry Wednesday 19th October - A walk ashore, plenty to see.
As we sit on board Sailaway having our breakfast on deck, we are distracted by the noise of goats - one of Ann's favour animals, admittedly, the sound of their bells on the hillside is soothing to both of us. We watch as a guy leads about fifty or so goats along a shore side path behind us, taking up the rear of the heard, watching for stragglers is what appears to be his wife, certainly a woman. Their journey must not be a short one as both man and woman are laden with heavy backpacks? We watch them pass and disappear, we were unaware of the existence of the path, and certainly it's destination? We wondered more about the path, with little to do today we decided to walk it, curiosity more than any thing else. We packed a small rucksack with water and bits and pieces, and of coarse the camera, since we missed photographing the shark at Üçagiz we never go any where without it now.
The path began some where over by the beach so we took our dinghy over, leaving it beside the small jetty. The path was rugged and steep at times, more often rock than not? We made our way along the waterside, occasionally disappearing into the woodland behind, we were given a different perspective of the anchorage from the land, Sailaway being the only private vessel there accompanied by three gullets. As we walked the pathway we became more and more aware of wild life as many noises could be heard in the scrubs and movement could be seen as "some thing" ran for cover time and time again?
The walk was interesting, the odour from the pines very powerful at times, the cones now littering the walkway under our feet.
We climbed higher from the shore then began to descend into an olive grove, the old terraces chocked up with fallen walks made from local stone. It looked some what deserted, then we noticed the small number of olives lying on the ground, the trees at this time of year empty - it looked very much like some one had harvested the crop?
As we made our way through the grove Ann caught sight of a wild tortoise enjoying the sun, as we approached it there was no sign of fear, it appeared to be watching us? When we looked closely at its shell it looked as if it had been the unsuccessful target of some thing, heavy score marks, deep it's shell? Not once did it retract into it's shell even as we paid it more attention, Ann even stroked it and it still continues to watch us. Then, as if bored, it turned and scurried off into the thick grass - we had not realised they could move so fast!
We continued on along the water front, the goats had disappeared up the hillside, we planned to not go much further as time was getting on. The terrain became more rugged, numerous lizards darted around in front of us as we disturbed their sun bathing.
As we walked on the path became so over grown it became harder and harder to follow, we broke cover and came in full view of the water once again. What we witnessed there was quite disturbing and took some time to recover from - we had missed the ice-cream man! With disappointment in our hearts, and an ever more disappearing pathway ahead we decided to turn around and make our way back.
As we returned to the beach we came out behind the ancient, derelict church we had passed many times in the dinghy, then looking over to the beach bar we saw people at a table, if we hurried we could catch a cold beer!
Driven by our thirst we made it with time to spare - as long as you are there, they are open, that's good customer service. We sat for some time, then ordered one of their "double salads" we love so much, to take back to Sailaway.
Log Entry Tuesday 18th October - Winter is approaching!
The strong wind gusts from the north disturbed our sleep last night, as did the cold in the early hours of the morning, nightwear was essential to be comfortable.
We awoke this morning feeling a little chilly, but the sun was back and most of the cloud has gone. We sat up on deck with our first morning cupper as usual, the difference being today we wore fleeces. The mountains to the north were a lot clearer this morning, to the north east some thing caught our eye - was that snow on the mountain caps? The bitter wind had increased so we moved across the bay for better shelter from it, our quilt cover definitely goes on our bed this evening. The temperatures are to climb no higher than 18C today a little higher for the next week but only four or five degrees, the strong winds/gales out at sea will die off through tomorrow?
Log Entry Monday 17th October - Watching the world go by!
Today, Sunday, is a day of rest, we are planning to move to Fethiye in the morning to complete some cosmetic work to Sailaway before we leave her, that is if the rain does not appear? The local forecast is telling us not, but the heavy thick cloud developing some how tells us other wise? Still, today we take it easy, a few small jobs to complete but mainly read and drink tea or coffee - that is apple tea in Ann's hand, nothing stronger. Ann needs to have a clear head as she has to supervise me under taking my jobs!
Sarsala, although small is the only road link for a lot of the restaurants in the nearby coves so the local boat traffic shifting supplies, and people/staff is still in existence just to a lesser degree as the season closes.
The fishing activity has definitely increased in the bay, I am unsure whether is is due to the reduction in pleasure boat traffic, or in fact seasonal? There is now a permanent "weighted" net drawn across part of the entrance to the bay, that was definitely not here before?
Also, the rod fishing has increased, we watch the open boats lay out nets time and time again, the more I write, the more I convince my self it must be seasonal - ever talk to yourself, if so it's our secret? Looking out into the Limani there is still quite a bit of sailing activity, I watch as three gullets sail towards Gocek, a magnificant sight.
We were just saying to ourselves how pleasant it was being one of only two vessels in the bay, then the gullets began piling in, all coming in from the seaward entrance of the Limani, it was a shame to see their guests dressed is fleeces and sweaters. It would have been chilly out at sea today, there are strong westerlies due to blow for a while, we are glad we moved when we did.
The bay had now changed significantly, within a couple of hours there was nine gullets joining the two sailboats, no sooner tying up then lighting there barbeques, normal procedure we have seen many times.
One thing that has not changed here nor in fact any where yet is the presence of the insects, this one over 50mm (2") long joined us for some time, found the conversation dull and left?
As I write this on Monday morning we blessed with torrential rain - looks set in for the day, another restful day, perhaps we move tomorrow?
Log Entry Saturday 15th October - We have caught up our lost sleep, time to visit our favourite beach bar in this Limani.
Yesterday had been a very lazy day, the most energetic act of the day was to swim, I had dived and looked at out sea water intake, all was clear, what ever had caused the problem had been cleared fully. The boating activity on the water is quite high, then we realised of coarse it was the week end, there must be some local traffic, not many gullets? Our main task was to book Mums flight up to Newcastle for Christmas, over the internet, it sounds like a simple task to any one at home with broadband, out here it took three hours, and we were able to dodge levies applied by some UK companies because you are booking from abroad? On completion we rang Mum to tell here all was done and dropped our dinghy into the water to go ashore.
Although only eight weeks since we had last been here, it seemed a lot longer, perhaps due to our past, busy schedule, some people think we have nothing to do? We sat with cold beers, once enjoyed in the heat but now we noted the chill in the air, perhaps we should have ordered coffee? The beach is a lot quieter now, a large English family on holiday sat nearby, their children playing in the water, locals occupied other tables wearing sweaters, there was a question between us as to whether we should have brought ours?
The nearby pontoon was still quite busy, fisherman, local boats and snorkelers but with wet suits on, clearly locals?
Then eventually we weakened, ordering the "Double salad" we enjoy so much and a portion of chips - eat your heart out Lee and Trish! We sat until about 1630 hours then made our way back to Sailaway, one could feel the damp settling in for the evening, it darkens earlier now too!
Log Entry Thursday 13th October - We leave Üçagiz, Kekova Roads and head for Fethiye/Skopea limani.
To day we plan to leave, the weather has settled, at least until Saturday evening when gales are due again but by then, we should be safely "tucked up" some where else. As the October days pass, fewer and fewer trip boats leave their berths daily, many being stripped down for the winter, their work complete for the year. The anchorage where we sit is still quite busy, plenty of both people on vacation and through traffic as the weather settles. There are fewer charter vessels out now, those that are, are usually traveling alone, the flotillas finished for the year.
There are also a couple of gullets at anchor, those too being stripped down for the winter, mostly moved to else where for lift out and winter storage ashore - all a little sad really as the summer closes, at least we have a few weeks left?
We sit on board and watch John and Gill (Petronella) make ready, lift their anchor and leave for Gökkaya to spend a few day there before eventually seeking their winter berth in nearby Kas. We wave them farewell, we will meet them again in Fethiye, they fly a similar time to us, so we will have company at the airport.
We wait and wait, the winds do not pick up at all as forecast so we decide to lift our anchor and check out the weather outside, if no good we can come back in and wait until this evening? Our anchor is well dug in, it had held well in the reported 40 knot squalls we had experienced earlier, we broke the anchor out of the mud, the bow dipping a good 300mm (12") as it did so, we had never experienced that before. We our anchor gear secured clean, we left Üçagiz Limani, and headed across the Roads to the western exit, passing between Kekova Adasi and Karagol Adalari we were now in open water following the mainland coast west.
It was a different waters today to that we had traveled west in, very little traffic now, we saw the odd vessel, quite a lonely feeling as such. There was no wind at all only the occasional gust from the west, nothing usable to us so we motored. We worked our way along the coastline past the island "Ak ar Bögazi", it was just behind here where the shark we had seen earlier was caught.
If wind has been available to use we had planned to head out to the south of the Greek island of Kastellórizon, but there was still none so the shortest route was through the adjacent islands to the south of Kas and Kalkan, unfortunately under motor. As we approached the islands there was enough of a head wind to allow us to raise our mainsail and"motor sail", a little saving on fuel and still quickening our pace?
Darkness was now falling which made the navigation through the many small islets and rock outcrops more interesting, in time we could see the town of Kas to the north of us and, to the south, the Greek town of Kastellórizon, both well lit up in the darkness. It was a bright night, just as well as we had to make our way through much debris in this section of water, bushes, wood, more worrying two large wooden platforms, like enormous doors passed to the side of us? It was fortunate that they were white, made it easier to see what we almost hit? The patch of debris must have been the result of the previous storms, it was making it's way through the islands. It was shortly after we noticed our engine was beginning to over heat, I thought it best to make our way into a relatively clear stretch of water, just to the west of Kastellórizon to check the engine out? Twice we tried to set sails and sail into safer water but the wind appeared to be rolling through, no coarse could be set, the engine was now too hot so we switched it off. I went below to see what I could find while Ann kept watch on our position. I let the engine cool enough to be able to remove the heat exchanger coolant cap to check fluid levels, a little low but nothing significant, I boiled water to top up the coolant so as the new water matched the engine temperature? In time we had to start the engine, we were drifting too close to one of the rocky islets just to the northeast of "Ay Yeoryois", the engine started fine but it was still running hotter than normal, rather than running to Kas we decided to move further east, into safer water to try and resolve the problem, that's what we did, once clear we switched the engine off again. When I went below again, this time I checked the sea water cooling intake filter, the filter that stops debris entering the engine coolant system, the filter was fine but the water in the basin some what discoloured? I opened up the sea cock, this should have allowed a jet of seawater to pour into Sailaway's bildge's - I was surprised to see little water at all, this was almost certainly the problem. I could find nothing long enough to reach through the intake pipe to the blockage, I then remembered that I had a number of one meter lengths of "threaded studding", I dug them out and set to work. The 5mm studding was not rigid enough, as I applied force it buckled under the strain, I tried the 8mm, much better but I was still unable to clear the blockage? I had to literally "hammer" the studding out, it cleared and the water gushed in as one would have expected, I rebuilt the filter assembly and broke the good news to Ann. I re-started the engine and began motoring towards clear water, the engine ran much better but still a few degrees warmer than it should, I now suspected that the seawater coolant pump impeller may have been damaged, effectively running dry and over heating? That was no problem, we have spares so we would motor cautiously into clear waters, there I would change it. As we motored, I constantly watched the temperature gauge which remained steady, a little warm, but steady. I thought to myself, should I have an external strainer fitted to the hull, there are good arguments for and against it? I came to the conclusion that if for example the blockage was caused by a plastic bag of which we had passed through many then the strainer would have stopped it entering the intake pipe, but, I would not have been able to unblock the strainer unless I went into the water and dived below - I concluded that an external strainer would in fact have had a negative? When we arrived at Skopea Limani I would dive down to make sure all was cleared. As we began to approach "Catal Ada", south of Kalkan, about five miles off the wind picked up, it came from the south west, perfect, out went our head sail and off went our engine. We were now able to maintain 6/7 knots under sail, I went down below and replaced the coolant pump impeller, it had become very rigid and deformed. We sailed well for about four hours, leaving Kalkan behind as we made our way along the long Patra beach, then as we rounded "Kötü Br." and turned almost true north towards Fethiye, as quickly as the wind had came, it disappeared and on went the engine again, but this time the engine temperature was as it should be.
We motored on for the last ten miles or so until we came to the entrance of Fethiye Körfezi, as we did so the sun began to rise. As we entered Ann awoke me to discuss a large vessel ahead of us, probably a ferry? It had came up our port side and was now appearing to cut across us, upon checking it appeared almost stationary, it then move forward for some distance and appeared to halt once again - we were certainly confused? As we were unable to determine it's intension's we turned hard to port and made our intension's clear to make our way around it's stern - he then shot off at speed, perhaps both parties were confused?
We made our way on in welcome daylight through the passage to the south of "Domuz Adasi" into Skopea Limani, we were heading for Sarsala Köyu, our favourite cove here. Our plan was to spend a few days here then move up to Fethiye to complete some of the patches to the paint work, Ann would be happy to see her paint brushes again? Once we were in the Limani we were surprised to see how many vessels were in the coves, naively, we had expected to be almost alone at this time of year, after all the night time temperatures were almost in single figures - we were using a cover at night, a quilt would be next?
It was now about 0700 hours, our trip nearly over, the events extending the journey and robbing us of sleep, vessels were already moving around, some passing us on the way out to open water. We find a buoy at Sarsala and tie up, a good breakfast of "fried egg sandwiches" was in order, cooked in olive oil of coarse!