IV - Heading West.
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III - Our Season Continues.
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V - The Greek Islands.
Log Entry Tuesday 26th August - We begin to pack up and get ready to move onto Rhodes in the morning.
We have a real mix of weather today, a more of a cloudy start (thank goodness!) than usual, then a few hours of bright sunlight as normal? All the forecasts looking good for our intended final departure in the morning, 39 miles to Rhodes, winds (F2-4) light and usable?
The canoe, as usual, had been pulled out of storage and inflated, it had been on deck for a couple of days now, time to try it out before it is repacked for another few years? We have a short trip around the bay in it first, myself initially, just to see if I can get into the bloody thing? There is an art to using it, firstly getting in, balance etc, then steerage - the best thing was to just have Ann paddling continuously on one side and I, steered from behind? Ann did not trust me too much and kept a close eye on my input and effort. Getting out was easy, paddle along side Sailaway and capsize it!
The evening closed in heavier than normal, the mist loosing the islands earlier than usual, the weather forecast remains constant for tomorrow.
Log Entry Sunday 24th August - At last we visit Sarsala Köy!
I do not know why Sarsala is our truly our favourite bay, but one of the reasons is the fact that it is truly alive with Turkish life, from the fully clothed female bathers, to the beach bar? The bar serves good food and drinks all at Turkish prices, patrons can even use their facilities and still bring their own drinks, for a fee/kilo they will cook your food for you - any thing goes!
We leave the dinghy in the crowded little harbour that services a lot of the small islands with goods from this road, we have even seen the transportation of livestock by sea and boat from here.
We are amazed at how the area has developed the beach area much larger and busier than ever we have have seen before. I wander off to find somewhere to deposit our rubbish.
Once back with Ann I am then on a mission to find a seat and drink some cold beer, I wish she would keep up!
Once sat down, we order food and beer, even as darkness falls around 2030 hours there are lots of people still cooling in the water, some of the barbeques are just being lit?
We are glad we made it here, we sit and chat and "people watch" until it is just too dark to see anything. It is then back to our dinghy, the remaining families still on the beach with make-shift lighting. A good trip out, lots of good memories brought back too!
Log Entry Saturday 23rd August - We eventually reach Skopea Limani, but still no room in Sarsala?
We were lifting our anchor for the final time in Fethiye, this time without doubt, our mainsail was ready for use, it was all systems go. We had also managed to recover some of our lost sleep in the last twenty four hours. We had decided to lift our anchor a little after 0930 hours, it would also put us a little ahead of the prevailing winds and corresponding seas.
We were at least glad to be moving on, all was quiet this time of day but we did have the weekend traffic to account for later.
As we left the harbour we had one gullet ahead making the run down to the bays and the Rhodes Ferry to our port side.
Out in the distance a small fleet of six or more fishing boats, we were over taken by another gullet, the skipper very friendly, waving to us. Then he remembered he was trailing a fishing line as he cut in front of us, he ran to the stern to wind it in so it would miss us - he laughed?
After Kizil Adasi there was enough wind up for us to raise our canvas and switch off the engine, peace at last? We sailed into Skopea Limani and down to Sarsala Köy. It was amazing to see how many of the buoys had disappeared, especially down the north and south side. All buoys were taken and areas suitable for anchorage full it appeared? As we turned to make our way into Deep Bay we saw a free buoy on the north side, then as we approached we realised why, it had broken free and was lying amongst the rocks?
In Deep Bay there was one buoy free for us, we took it and settled down, the clear cooling water a blessing. As we looked north to the section of buoys we were looking for the other night, between here and Tomb Bay, at a guess 50% at least had gone also?
The bay was reasonably quiet especially as the day boats left, nice surrounds too.
It gave us time to snorkel, watch the wild life and just enjoy the environment. One of the good things we noticed to the two years previously was that there was some lovely patches of colourfully growing of marine life coming off the rocks? Hopefully regeneration from the pollution restrictions rightly enforced here.
Log Entry Thursday 21st August - Our failed attempt to leave Fethiye and move to Sarsala, but a few lessons learnt?
Our sail repairs were finished yesterday, one day behind schedule, quite a result we thought but an issue with our bank not providing enough cash to pay for them had caused delay in leaving Fethiye until today? Still, Celil had still given us our sail yesterday, in fact he had carried it to our dinghy in the Marina, excellant service provided. We sorted out our bank issued and returned with the cash balance this morning, it was some what late in the afternoon before we returned to Sailaway and lift our anchor and begin to leave the harbour - at last! It was now our intension to spend a couple of days down in the bays, south of Gocek before leaving for Greece. We left with our boom tent rolled and tied back, the main sail cover still on, still we thought a casual amble down to Sarsala, no problems anticipated?
As we exit the harbour the head wind began to build, the bays nearby almost deserted, too hot to sit on those beaches?
Once able we pulled out the headsail and began to tack, as we got further into open water and the wind, now constantly over twenty knots, the corresponding sea kept push us back, progress was slow.
It was clear that we needed the power from our mainsail to drive us through these seas, our problem was it was not safe enough in my opinion to haul down our boom tent and take off our mainsail cover in these conditions - never too old to learn, our lazy ways had let us down!
The best plan at this stage was to turn, put the wind and seas behind us and return to the harbour, we dropped anchor just inside, behind Fethiye Adasi. We settle down forth the couple of hours left of the prevailing winds, our revised plan was to head down to Sarsala after dinner, we knew the area well, the position of the buoys, an approach in the darkness should not be an issue for us? Well, as you read on you will see our second set of "lessons learnt" today!
We lifted our anchor around 1900 hours and began our way back down towards Sarsala, it was around 2230 hours when we arrived, there was no moon so it was pitch black darkness. Our first problem was that a lot of the buoys had indeed gone from where we had used them before, secondly our task of finding those that were left was further complicated as very few boats had any lights on at all. You had to get really close to see them, some were kind enough to switch them on as we approached? We could find nothing free in Sarsala, so we moved to Deep Bay, there used to be a line of buoys stretching between Deep and Tomb Bay, many gone from here too, those we could find occupied by mainly unlit vessels. This area was further hampered with gusts hitting us without warning from 0-25 knots, not perfect for picking up a buoy in the dark, if we ever found one?
After a short decision between Ann and I, it was decided that the best plan of attack was to return once again to Fethiye and return in the morning in better conditions. We did consider Gocek anchorage but if the small anchorage was as busy as these bays we would struggle to find an area with suitable depth for the 70 meters of chain we carry, so we turned for Fethiye and finally dropped anchor around 0300 Friday morning.
A long day and many lessons learnt, all brought to the surface from an over powering urge to leave Fethiye without the required considerations.
Log Entry Monday 18th August - A quiet evening out at Deniz Kafe
After an enlightening visit to Yacht Classic it was back to Sailaway, we spent an hour on top watching the kids performing "close quarter manoeuvres" to the instructors whistle? Not only was I wishing I was that talented but also that I could actual move that fast, my boom would have caught me every time!
We sat by the waters edge, John, Ian and Badger came and went, it was good to catch up on the gossip. We then sat down and grabbed a snack from their offerings and spent the rest of the evening chatting to ourselves and about our plans in Greece.
As usual there is always some thing going on around the waters edge, a small local sailboat towed a small gullet, guests and all back to its moorings. The vessel must have weighed four to six times it's own mass, but it all worked well as one would expect. Once tied back another guy turned up in an open boat and ferried the guests off to where ever?
As the evening darkened we talked a little longer and left, off to Sarsala, south of Gocek tomorrow, then on to Rhodes.
Log Entry Monday 18th August - A return visit to Yacht Classic after two years, all those "third hand stories" clarified!
We had heard many stories about the hotel, mostly second/third and probably even forth hand? The tales were centred around the fees charged, how unwelcome people where not using their pontoons, even restrictions in the anchorage now they had positioned their own "pick up buoys"? We had not been to the Hotel since the extension, we had left our dinghy up at Deniz Kafe, from town we had to pass Yacht Classic so we decided to call in and find out for ourselves what the prices and restrictions were for ourselves. We were recognised from our winters stay, two years ago by the gentleman at the desk, he kindly explained the now clearly documented pricing structure - very unusual to see in Turkey? As we spoke, Banu (one of the co-owners) said hi, the reason for our visit created a discussion that went on for some time, but "crystal clear clarity" was a result of the debate.
The extension to the whole area is quite, no very impressive, we sat at the pool bar for an hour or so looking around the premises.
They are clearly doing very well with the charter companies, but numerous private vessels there too, both on the pontoons, on their pickup buoys, no doubt in the anchorage too! I explained that we had left our dinghy else where because of the stories we had heard, even though there were dinghies tied to the pontoon. Banu clearly explained that the matter was now security, if the dinghy owners are know to them all is ok, as a matter of coarse it should be that the owners should be prepared use their facilities. There is even a small beach on the perimeter of the grounds.
All the facilities are quiet palatial, even the toilet and shower area.
We spent over an hour at the pool bar, watch what was going on around us, the staff were really friendly, although a little confused not being able to post our purchases to a room number or boat name, still, they worked a way around it.
As we walked past the buoys and anchorage they were clearly in use by boaters.
Log Entry Saturday 16th August - Our first trip into Fethiye for two years.
We lowered the genoa last night to avoid the morning heat, it was packed and ready to go to the sailmaker to have the sacrificial UV strip replaced. Awake early as normal, we sat up top and started the engine to recharge our batteries, a normal daily activity while at anchor. Unfortunately a source of heat generation too, so we would once the batteries were good, take the sail a shore.
We had noticed two "pirate galleons" in the boat yard, one we saw launched three years ago, it still was not complete but now at least it flew a flag? The smaller of the two began to move from the quay.
It came past us a great speed and made off towards the town quay, back to work for that one I guess?
We leave the dinghy in the marina, it's entrance opposite the sailmaker meaning we have less than fifty meters to cary the sail. Celil, the proprietor is due in soon so we grab a drink and breakfast in a nearby bakery.
We see Celil arrive in a sign written "UK Sailmaker" van, talking to Celil, now as part of the group all new sails are now made at the factory in Marmaris, the independent agents/shops receive a commission on new sales orders. They go about with the work on canvas, covers etc independently. I would assume UK Sailmakers must receive payment of kind to cover the van, shop signage, uniforms etc we did not go into that. The UV strip would be replaced in Celil's shop, not in the Marmaris factory which was a shame? I did check with the lady I had been dealing with in Marmaris and it was confirmed that all but new sails would be made in the local shops.
The sail is passed over, and Tuesday set as a date for completion - I believe it when I see it, but, you never know? We then head towards the town quay, the town traffic has been slightly redirected to allow the rebuild of the ancient amphitheatre, still, tourists will love that?
The quay has few tourists, saying that all but a few of the boats are out.
The older section just behind the waterfront is quiet too, it seems strange to be beckoned into every shop as potential customers, still, even with their full attention we are not tempted? We check out the fruit and salad in Migros and walk over to the waterfront to spend an hour before we pick up the shopping and return to Sailaway for the evening.
It was good to get out of the sun, but not much cooler in the shade, there are large fans every where but they only blow warm air around?
Once back on Sailaway we pack away our purchases and sit up top in the cooling breeze for dinner, most of the activity at this time of night is the small boats fishing, dragging lines.
Log Entry Friday 15th August - We leave Kas for Fethiye and the Sailmaker to replace our Genoa UV sacrificial strip.
As per our attempt yesterday our trip was to be over night to try and miss the traditional daytime winds against us, and of coarse the sea the wind creates? Today the winds had been a lot lighter and had dropped off sooner. As we sat contemplating we had no wind, other than an occasional light swirl across the water. Every thing was looking more promising than yesterday, it was now just a case of "what time do we leave?" We sat and sat, we even had a discussion with our friend Ian (Tamino) who gave us a visual picture of the state of the sea from his house - "no whites!"? As darkness began to fall we make ready, started the engine and left the bay in which we had anchored.
Even as we made the entrance of the great bay (Buçak Deniz) it was clear neither the wind, nor the sea state was as significant as yesterday. The wind when it appeared was mainly offshore, so it's direction and strength was relative to the terrain we were passing, it changed so frequently sails were almost impossible to manage so it was to be motor all the way. The sea state was more annoying rather than trouble some, a large pitched wave structure causing a lot of rolling, the main would have helped but when the wind did turn on the nose, probably over fifty percent of the time it caused a lot of banging and crashing, although thankfully it was never over 15 knots?
Not a lot happened over night, the engine behaved perfectly the rebuild/patching of the heat exchanger had worked great, it would hold on until November - no doubt of it. The first vessels we spotted were as we followed the coast, turning north west on the final leg to Fethiye, they were heading to from where we had come, still no usable wind, gone almost completely now.
As we arrived at Fethiye Körfezi, Ann was still resting from our over night trip, we had gained little sleep from the noise and the heat, from the engine, although the temperatures did fall over night as expected.
As the sun came up and strengthened we started to see the tourist traffic one would expect in this area, Ann was keeping an intense watch on the goings on around?
The passage into the harbour in the very north east corner was easy, we knew it well, the autopilot did the work, too hot to steer?
As we approached the entrance, we met all sorts of different types of traffic, including a family in what was recognised by us as the unit used to collect the garbage in the bays south of Gocek, and, of coarse the Rhodes ferry.
Once in the harbour, Fethiye was in front of us, three years since we were last here, seemed like only yesterday?
We passed the small beaches and bays around the peninsular, most of the beaches appeared empty, there seemed to us to be a lot more access to boats. We remembered these bays a "roped off" to protect swimmers, perhaps we are wrong?
It was now just a case of where we preferred to anchor? We had been informed that certain areas had access restrained, that was the usual second, third hand "bollocks". It was clear that there was no restraint what so ever, we chose the small bay in which a beach bar sits, opposite the Yacht Classic Hotel where we had wintered three years ago.
Log Entry Wednesday 13th August - We try to leave Kas again?
We have now been stuck in the marina for over two weeks, for one reason or another, that we find very hard psychologically. The heat too is a really issue very little cooling breeze gets through the congestion within the marina, so one is constantly over heating at mid-thirty's "C" plus? Tonight we plan to motor up to Fethiye, we have some serious work to be undertaken on our headsail, three to four days work for the sail maker. We have plans to meet up with a couple of friends we have in that area too while waiting the return of the sail. So, today is just a time "wasting day," watching what is going on around etc, engine is ready, all is packed ready to leave. We have a small turtle living in the marina around us, feeding off the plantation that grows around on the marina infrastructure. Normally when we see it we have no camera, or it disappears quickly before one can even get the phone out to take a picture - not today?
With only a very light breeze we leave the marina, fuel up and make our way out of the inlet in which the marina sits, the sun begins to set. The journey will take approximately 12 hours, over night to avoid the prevailing winds. All was fine until we begin the reach the seaward entrance of the Buçak, quite a large swell began to develop, as we turned west, the swell increased in size and a headwind came on us. A Turkish flagged vessel a mile or so ahead of us turned and came back past us in the darkness, as we carried on we realised why?
Little way could be made at all, Sailaway's bow was either two to three meters in the air, or, diving into the trough of the on coming wave with the sea rolling down our decks. Within thirty minutes or so , making only two knots or less at times we too decided to turn around and head back to try again tomorrow. We decided, as our Turkish friend had done, to anchor behind the marina, this should, in theory give us more of a breeze to keep us cooler? We were all settled, ready to retire around midnight, due to the heat generated by the engine, running hard for a good four hours and covering only ten miles in total it was impossible to sleep below, too hot, so we retired on deck.
A pleasant morning as usual, the Turkish flagged vessel had left in the early hours, we had not even heard him lift his anchor? A further benefit to being anchored out here is that we could also swim in the cooling water - perfect?
While having breakfast I did witness one of the strangest "tourist trips" seen to date, a local fisherman had two young ladies in his boat as he returned after his mornings work. They looked better dress for a night out in town as apposed to fishing, still I am sure they enjoyed it and he made a few lira - good luck to him?
Log Entry Thursday 7th August - We should be moving west but we are delayed?
Our journey has been delayed due to my (Kevin's) chest infection, the Pharmacist sold us lots of expensive medication so I must be very ill - I like that analogy?
The clouds close in on us today, the first seen in a long time, hopefully we will feel cooler?
The kids look on in wonder, the first cloud they have seen since arriving back with us.
Plant as you know, first joined us from the drive over leaving the UK in April 2013 as a youngster and continues to go from strength to strength on board Sailaway.
Since we returned in January 2014 for the first time (pictured top left) plant has continued to flourish, it is now time to re-pot her to allow her to grow further. Not such a decorative pot, the teacup will be stored for future generations, the plastic white tag has and does remain with her to give scale.