Log #28e Off at last!

April 12, 2003 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 28 Winter in Turkey, The Logs

Marmaris, Turkey
April 12, 2003

Hi Folks,

We are not in Marmaris yet, but will be when I send this later today. We are checking out of Turkey from Marmaris rather than going to Bodrum as planned. Then we will enter Greek waters at Symi, and gunkhole through a few Greek islands to be in Kos by April 20th where we will pick up David Mulholland  who sailed with us last year for part of the EMYR.

Thanks to those who gave me feedback on the last log sent by floppy disc from the internetcafe. I may be able to send this via my laptop as we will be anchored off the Pupa Yacht Hotel where I think I was able to hook up to a land line last year. If not, I will send this by a floppy, but will attempt to save it on notepad so the formatting will not be fouled up.

Weather is clear and sunny, cool at nights, and no rain for the past week. Hopefully we are into the spring weather with winter storms behind us. However, that also means early morning departures to make distance before the Meltemi blows strong from the west in the late morning. We will be going against the predominant weather patterns all the way up to Istanbul. However, once into the Black Sea, we will be going counterclockwise which we believe is with the main wind and current patterns.

Enjoy this Log #28e Off at Last!

All the best,

PS – We are in Simi Greece as wed try to send this.


Log #28e Off at last!

Yesilkoy Limani,
Kalcan, Turkey
36ْْ 15.6´ N, 029ْ 27.1´ E
April 10, 2003

We had to wait three more days after the abortive attempt to leave Kemer the evening of April 5th. We had a good forecast for the 9th, including some north winds for the first time in a long time, so off we went at 0550, before sunrise, as the winds were predicted to shift in the afternoon. No bleating of airhorns this time, no marina staff to help us off or wave goodbye, but an early and efficient departure through the morning nautical twilight with our navigation lights shining, quietly floating out of the marina into Kemer Bay.

Another Horrendous Start

However, once into the bay, the quiet light north wind was blowing force 5 (20 knots) right into the bay with 2 metre seas. Nothing is ever simple or easy, is it? Wallowing into the heavy seas we started to hoist the mainsail. After it was unlashed and flogging from the boom ready for hoisting, I turned Veleda into the wind (The main cannot be hoisted unless there is no wind or heading into the wind.), when a crash was heard behind me. Of course Veleda was pounding at slow speed directly into the two metre waves, and poor Sprite hanging on the arms of our dinghy tow was having a riotous ride. The force of the tossing of the waves had broken a dinghy tow shackle on the starboard block, releasing Sprite to dangle on only one arm in that tumultuous seaway. The other arm and shackle held. While I was holding the loose block and tackle, Judy went below to get another shackle which she rapidly attached, securing Sprite properly. While trying to secure the dinghy, I headed down wind to reduce the thrashing of the boat, but we had no sea room, and were coming close to a rock face on a lee shore, and so had to bear off up into the wind and waves. Then back to the flogging main on deck, heading back directly into the heavy seas, and after a few more agonizing minutes to tie in a double reef, we painstakingly hauled the main up. To do so one person hauls at the mast, and the other winches in from the cockpit. The person (Judy this time) standing at the mast was going through 12 foot arcs as Veleda crashed up and down through the white-capped maelstrom.  Once the main was up, we headed down wind on our southerly course, unfurled the full genoa and had a glorious sail for two whole hours.

We called back to Kemer Marina on the VHF to let the other boats that were also leaving that morning know of the conditions immediately outside of the marina, as inside it was well-sheltered and only a light northerly breeze was blowing. Two other boats ventured out, Cinnabar and Gladlee of Guernsey.

Our course was southerly then veering southwesterly, the exact directions from which the wind then blew, causing us to motorsail into it all the way to Kekova Roads. The wind strength dropped to light force 2 or 3, until we were in Finike Korfezi (Finike Bay), when it veered westerly, straight ahead and rose back to force 5 and 6 (25 to 35 knots), causing us to motorsail off at an angle towards shore. It was a very heavy crossing of that 25 mile wide bay.

Veleda buried her bow several times on the crossing, causing waves of water to wash down the side decks. This is a characteristic she has not shown before. Veleda is a very dry boat as her bow rises above the waves rather than crashing through them. However, when we installed the new electric windlass, we bought 60 metres of new 10mm chain, and stowed the 60 metres of heavier 3/8” chain in a bow locker forward of our vee-berth. I thought it would help counterbalance the weight of the dinghy on the dinghy tow back aft, as we were bow light. Perhaps I should reconsider its relocation? I’ll see how Veleda reacts in other storm and heavy wave conditions, and then decide if we need to shift ballast.

Lovely Scenery and Tranquil Anchorages

By late afternoon we were motoring into the silver bright sun as we entered Kekova Roads, a favourite cruising ground with several good anchorages. We had been in the area several times last year, and are still impressed by the rugged islands, rocky coves, scrub brush, and the silent stone walls and foundations of warehouses, docks, fortresses, houses and Byzantine churches from the bygone civilizations from 500 to 2500 years ago scattered around the undergrowth and some still standing proud on hilltops, defying the ravages of time. We passed the hilltop fortress near the eastern entrance, then the larger Byzantine/Crusader/Ottoman fortress overlooking the sleepy fishing hamlet of Kale Koy before turning to starboard to enter the well-sheltered bay of Ucagiz Limani. We anchored off the necropolis, with the ancient stone sarcophagi still protruding above the scrub brush from the hill crest to the water level. We anchored in the same location two or three times last year, scenic, well protected, good holding, and tranquil. It was great to be at anchor again! It was a hectic 11 hour trip covering 58 miles, maybe like the masochist who enjoys bashing his head against a brick wall, because it is so nice when it stops. We had Ron and Julie from Gladlee come over for a drink after they got anchored. Cinnabar just wanted to unwind and get a good night’s sleep for an early departure.

I enjoy the solitude of anchoring. I walked the deck several times at night before going to bed, just luxuriating in the peace and quiet, looking at the stars, the distant lights of the town at the far end of the bay, the few anchor lights of the other boats, the blinking of a lighthouse on Kekova Adasi, the occasional crowing of roosters, and I could hear the call to worship from the small mosque in Ucagiz. As much as we like Kemer, it was great to get away. The song Tari on Vision made up for our Kemer Khorale which I printed in an earlier log kept wafting through my mind: “Fair winds we gotta go sailing

It’s a long, long time since we’ve set sail, and we’ve got to be moving along.”

Next morning (today, April 10th) we hoisted our main first before weighing anchor at 0625, and wended our way out of the bay, across the roadstead, out past Kekova Adasi and westward into a light west wind, motor sailing for about an hour, then giving up and furling our genoa to motor straight towards our destination. We have sailed these waters three times, and have had similar conditions each time, i.e. wind against us regardless of the direction. However, it was wonderful to be on the water under Mediterranean clear blue skies, coasting along the mountainous uninhabited shoreline of Turkey to starboard and with Greek islands to port as we motored past Kas and Kastellorizon and up towards Kalkan where we anchored in Yesilkoy Limani. As we came in a gulet was just leaving, giving us this picturesque mountain-enclosed bay to ourselves. There is a set of ruined foundations ashore that I have not bothered to explore, even though this is our second time in this bay. We are quite content to just luxuriate in the grandiose surroundings and bask in the sun as we do a few small tasks on board. I thought of going in for a swim, but the air is still cool, so I am content to putter around on board and to get this log ready to send from Fethiye, our next stop tomorrow. A flight of six pristine white egrets just glided in and landed on some rocks 100 meters off our port quarter. No other boats, no goats even. We’re looking forward to another tranquil night on this, our 23rd anniversary.

April 12, 2003
Enroute from Fethiye to Marmaris

It is a windless quiet morning (0755) as I start this last section of this log while motoring towards Marmaris. We spent a relatively quiet night at anchor off Kalkan the night before last until a bit of wind came up about 0300. One of the tasks we completed while in Kemer was to mount the new blades on our wind generator. The old ones were damaged two years ago on a concrete wall in Fraserburgh, Scotland, and to balance them up, we shortened them by about two inches. The new ones work much better, and in only 10 knots of wind produce about 3 amps. However they hum a bit, thus increasing the impression of the speed of the wind. We were going to leave at 0530, but thought there was too much westerly wind, and so slept in. By 0730 the wind had died, and so we set off. The new electric anchor windlass works well. There was no wind or contrary wind, so we motored the 40 nautical miles to our favourite anchorage across from Fethiye (36 37.8 N, 029 05.6 E), where we met Cinnebar, from Kemer, and two other small boats whom we had met there last fall and who wintered on the hook in this sheltered anchorage.

The sky was overcast, and a grey haze hung over the mountains. There is much more snow on the mountains this spring than there was last spring at this time. We motored past the long sandy beaches south east of the Seven Capes, preserved as a national park. We hope it can stay that way without new hotels and tourist attractions crowding the lovely beach.

This stretch is at the end of a fertile valley with a couple of small rivers emptying into the open waters of the Med. Four ancient Lycian cities, Pinara, Exanthos, Patara, and Letoon inhabited this area for almost 2000 years (from 800 BC to 1200 AD), leaving many archeological remains from the Lycian and Delian Confederacy , predating and during the Greek era, the Roman and Byzantine periods, and subsequent Persian and Arab domination. The ports of Xanthos and Patara declined between the 7th and 10th Centuries AD under successive Arab attacks, and fell into disuse  after the rivers silted up and the shoreline receded. Xanthos is now 8 km from the coast up the valley, an interesting archeological site with Lycian, Greek, Roman and Byzantine remains; of an obelisk (Lycian),   agora (Greek), a theatre (Roman), triumphal arch (Roman, from Vespasian), and three funerary monuments   from the Roman period (1st C, BC), Lycian (4th C, BC) and one from the earlier Persian period of a Persian Satrap called the Pillar of the Harpies (475 BC). This latter sarcophagi is now in the Lycian Room of the British Museum as are several other remains from this area. As we motor up this coast, my mind wanders back to these earlier civilizations which developed, thrived and declined in this part of the world.

In Fethiye  we anchored in our usual spot off the park across from town. After dropping over to say “Helloe” to Cinnebar, we went into the large Gima store for some groceries. The town is torn up with new paving projects, not unlike those that plagued Kemer this winter.

There is a large concrete pontoon breakwater extending from just west of the gulet pier, 100 metres or more out into the bay, and west down to the area off Hotel Likya. The hotel has additional floating concrete pontoons for a separate marina off the hotel as well. Although the pontoon breakwater is in place, there are no laid moorings, finger docks or even ramps going from the pontoons to shore. The pontoons are substantial, the decking is in place, and they will have full service power and water facilities. There will probably be a competition between the town marina and the hotel marina for business. The EMYR will be at the hotel pontoons the end of May. There is enough dock space on them that the vessels will probably be able to go alongside as opposed to the traditional Mediterranean mooring, and hopefully by then there will be ramps permitting access to shore. It is an enterprising development that I hope will prove worthwhile; but considering the economic outlook,  the downturn in tourism, and the turmoil in this part of the world, it may be many years before it becomes successful. It is a good facility, in a good cruising area, but … I wish it well.

I had initially wanted to see if there were any dolmus trips scheduled for next day, but upon hearing the wind might be favourable (a bit of north in it?), Judy preferred to not stay more than one night and take off early next morning, which we did at 0545. However, now that we are under way, there is no wind, and so we are motoring the 50 miles to Marmaris where we will pick up our whisker pole at last, and check out of Turkey with the customs people there before heading to Symi in Greece.