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  july 2009


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.01/07/09  Did nothing much, lazed around and watched the antics of the Daz white tourists, listened to the daily chants of the wailey wailey man in the local mosque and generally chilled out.  The wind is predominately from the North West or West and blows strongest around 3pm which makes mid afternoon a bit of a jumpy time when the anchor chain is stretched taut.

02/07/09  Roger, Jordan and Leah went to Kos for their visa run this morning.  Astrid came over to my boat at mid-day for coffee.......interrupted about 1pm by the sight of Storm Dodger dragging anchor!  We both dashed over there, started the engine, retrieved the anchor and motored around the bay to re-anchor.  Two hours later, my own boat dragged as the winds hit 25kts, I hauled in the anchor and repeated the earlier process of re-anchoring, this time reversing until the chain jumped from the windlass gypsy under the strain.  At the same time, several other boats experienced the same problem of anchors dragging through the thick weed seabed - even two Turkish boats which were buoyed on laid moorings.

04/07/09  Went ashore in the rub-a-dub for a few essentials, then weighed anchor and made out of the bay under genoa alone, around the headland and toward Bodrum Castle.  I went into the marina for fuel, leaving my dinghy with Storm Dodger and taking Roger's petrol tank with me.  An hour later, we had completed fuelling and continued west under genoa in seas which became progressively more boisterous.  Our arrival in Çökertme, and mooring to Captain Ibrahim's jetty was made interesting with a crosswind F6 blowing directly on the port side of the boats!

05/07/09  Seven years ago, a group of us chartered an Oceanis 36cc named Getaway out of Bodrum from Nautilus Yachting, and ever since I arrived in Turkey I've wondered if I would ever 'bump into' the boat again.   Well, today it turned up alongside me!  I think she was brand new when we chartered her, and today she still looks good and is still with Nautilus Yachting charter - the only difference being that the superfluous crew member (?) that I had in 2002 was, I am pleased to say, no longer defacing the foredeck.

07/07/08  F6's continue to blow but we are content to sit on our wooden jetty and watch the comings and goings.  Astrid and I took the dolmuş inland, through the very rural areas of Bozalan and Türkevleri, to Milas market and wandered around there for an hour (Tesco take note....a very large bag of cucumbers for about 20 pence!).  You can't help but compare the domuş ride to similar English countryside services......picture if you will, a mini-bus which has seen better days, the suspension springs are on the stops, the cushions of the seats have been flattened with years of farmers carting bullocks to market (that's what it seems like), and the road surface would give any council nightmares while the 'old Bill' would be having kittens because the driver spends more time on his mobile than concentrating on the potholes.  So off you go into the countryside, picking up the local peasant population from outside their farmhouses before hitting the main dirt track along the coast.  Passengers say something to the driver, he stops at an isolated corner shop and waits while they go inside and do some shopping.  In Milas on  the return journey, he is flagged down by a young woman...the door opens and a walking stick is thrown in - not placed in, but thrown in, then an old lady (about 140) crawls in on her hands and knees before starting a conversation with everyone onboard - she probably knows them all anyway - until grand-daughter hits her with the stick and tells her to sit down amongst the melons, potatoes and general market paraphernalia.  Then the dolmuş pulls into a filling station and fills up with diesel (engine running continually and the driver having a smoke) while other passengers board.  Back into the countryside and down what can only be described as dried up river beds - the tracks strewn with rocks, boulders and deceased dolmuşes - cattle, goats and the occasional sheep sharing the roadway with our transport.  Arrival back at Çökertme after what seems an eternity and I too feel like crawling off on my hands and knees because my bum has been left behind somewhere in the ploughed fields that I think we drove across.

08/08/09  Sailed around 9am and headed further east into the gulf, making for Degirmen Bükü, again under genoa alone.  On arrival there, we decided to go alongside the jetty at Kaptan Restaurant in Okluk Koyu, the small cove opposite English Harbour (so named after the SBS used the bay during the latter stages of the Second World War).  A couple of hours later 'Getaway' arrived alongside also - I will probably keep running into her now!   Should you visit this location...be wary of the shop prices, the staff are somewhat surly and do try to rip off visiting yotties.

09/07/09  Getaway departed, only to be replaced by the Turkish gulet Derin Deniz - which is the one that anchored much too close to me off Magic Life in Marmaris.  We all trooped off for a walk into the village, but after walking for miles uphill, we never succeeded in finding it and turned back to enjoy a very welcome cold beer (or two!)

10/07/09  Slipped the mooring at 0900 and with full sail in a mostly westerly F5, made up to 7 knots to Amazon Creek, where we anchored just after 1pm.  Sadly, the meltemi continued to blow straight into the anchorage and made everyone jumpy with the fears of dragging anchors.  In the evening when the winds had died, we took a walk through the pine forest to the campsite restaurant I visited with Angie two years ago, this time Astrid freaking out when we spotted a couple of scorpions on the steps from the rickety wooden jetty.

11/07/09  The top step of my boarding ladder broke today whilst Roger and Astrid were swimming from my boat - Astrid suffering a hard knock to her knee in what could have been a very nasty accident.  Don't buy Plastimo boarding ladders......non UV resistant French rubbish!!  I will have to see if I can get something made up in stainless steel when we get back into the Marmaris area.  We all went in the dinghy to 'explore' the creek as far up as the campsite, Leah becoming worried when she saw the sign about feeding the crocodiles!  Our plan to leave just after 4pm came unstuck when Roger was unable to lift his anchor due to a malfunction in his windlass motor.  I had already weighed anchor and circled Storm Dodger whilst he tried to rectify the problem, later re-anchoring and going over in the dinghy to discuss our next move.   (photos)

12/07/09  Rowed over to Storm Dodger at 6am and gave a hand to hoist the anchor by hand, then rowed back and lifted my own anchor.  We motored out of Amazon Creek as a pod of dolphins played and set course to the north side of Gokova Korfezi - back to Çökertme and Captain Ibrahim's friendly establishment.  Mechanics from Çetin Marine came over from Marmaris in the early evening and removed Roger's windlass for repair in their workshop.

13/07/09  Doug from Magic came over from the next restaurant jetty and suggested a lunch time beer.....joined later by Astrid, then Roger......then Zachariah arrived in the bay with Paul, Toni and Jordon......and the one beer turned into quite a party.  Someone made the mistake of using a hosepipe to wash down the tiled restaurant floor and the hose was seized upon by Astrid.  Both Roger and I know from past experience that Astrid is dangerous with a hose in her hand and we guessed what was coming............ everyone got a soaking, including the startled waiters!

15/07/09  Doug, Astrid and I decided to go into Bodrum for supplies.  Dolmuş service is a once a day Pony Express type affair and we caught the 12.30 which climbed high into the mountains through a series of hairpin bends.  It's a fairly torturous route tthrough Yenikoy and Mumcular before joining the coast road at Güvercinlik and dropping down into Bodrum but the roads were a good deal better than the ones to Milas - and our driver was practicing his qualifying speeds for the next Formula 1 race.  Bodrum itself has changed little, and is much the same as I remember it from 2002.  We lunched on calzone (a sort of pizza pastie) at a restaurant near the marina, had a couple of beers and wandered in the bazaar area before visiting the local Tansaş and catching the 6.30 Jensen Button special home again.  Descending the mountain road was interesting to say the least.  The driver obviously had an important call to make on his mobile, and not even the overpowering smell of burning brake pad material was going to distract him!  Our miraculous arrival back in Çökertme at 8pm called for another beer before dinner and an early night.

16/07/09  Çetin Marine returned with Roger's windlass and fitted it - all now working and we should be able to leave in the morning.  Spent the day relaxing, swimming and boat/people watching.

18/07/09  OK.....so we didn't go yesterday......or today!  A donation to the Efes Brewery last night left Roger suffering this morning, so we decided on another day of relaxation and swimming.   During the evening, whilst in the restaurant, a large gulet backed up to the end of the small pontoon (a good display of the Captain's control), an ambulance was called, and a passenger with head injuries was stretchered from the boat.  Seemingly, she had too much to drink and fell head first down a ladder.

20/07/09 - Paid our bar bill and said our farewells to Halil and his father Ibrahim, who gave both myself and Storm Dodger a jar of olives and another of honey as a parting gift (shame I don't like either!), before slipping the mooring lines at 0930.  Our intention was to sail around the Datca peninsular to Datcha itself....but best laid plans and all that!!  The sea was unexpectedly unkind to us and although I was making reasonable progress with a reefed main and the engine, Roger was having difficulties in maintaining speed against the oncoming waves.  We decided to look into Mersinçik (right) as a possible overnight anchorage - made more appealing when Uncle Albert (my autohelm) gave up the ghost at 1330 and refused to steer.  The last hour of passage into the bay wasn't pleasant as I had by now dropped the main and the wind was blowing F5 on the starboard beam, with 2 metre waves on the same side.  Dropped anchor in the bay (very nice place with clear water) at 1530 and set about stripping the autohelm, Roger coming over to assist.  Two hours later, we had replaced the snapped belt and re-assembled the unit.  Had a beer on Roger's boat, then something to eat on mine before resting a couple of hours.  Weighed anchor again at 2330hrs and sailed into the night.

21/07/09  Quite a swell between the Datca peninsular and Kos - hoisting a reefed genoa helped calm things down until I rounded the lighthouse at the point, then full genoa and 7+ knots eastward on a close/beam reaching F6.  At 0330, the wind just disappeared and it was time for the iron sail again until sunrise and the return of the wind.  Made good time toward Keci Buku and dropped anchor close to the restaurant pontoons in  Orhaniye at 1045.

22/07/09  Helped Roger move his boat from anchor to the pontoon at Iskele Restaurant, then did the same with mine, berthing alongside each other and having a late breakfast ashore.  All the restaurant jetties that we have used are free of charge and supply fresh water and electricity free too - provided that you use the restaurant on occasion.  So far, I haven't connected to either electricity or water at any of the jetties and use them purely as a convenient means of getting ashore!  However, I will probably use the facilities to fill my water tank tomorrow as there is quite a bit of surface weed floating around at the moment.  It will also give me an opportunity to clean all my water maker filters.

23/07/09  A re-union today with Rob, Karen, Ben and Amy (formerly of Slip Anchor) who, whilst on holiday in Rhodes, had phoned me a few days ago.  Roger and I went into Marmaris to meet up with them from the ferry terminal and bring them back to Orhaniye for a short visit.  Great to see them all again and catch up!

24/07/09  Finally put some 'shore water' into my tanks - the first since the beginning of June.  Spent most of the day in the restaurant pool being mobbed by Leah, Amy and Ben, in scenes reminiscent of our time together in Gouvia Marina, Corfu.  Temperatures over the last few days have been in the forties, so the pool was probably the best place to be!  (photo's)

25/07/09  Fitted a new deckhead light (LED) in the heads - my old one had broken at some point during the last two weeks - also stripped down the faulty lock from the aft cabin door, though it's unlikely that I will be able to find a suitable replacement barrel for it.   Then had breakfast and repeated yesterday's antics in the pool before Rob and family left on the 1330 dolmuş to catch their return ferry to Rhodes.

27/07/09  Non UV resistant stitching used on my mainsail cover zip in Gouvia failed during the last two weeks of sailing and I had made arrangements for Mehmet of MC Sails to collect it from me here in Orhaniye.  With Astrid's help, I took down the sun awning and removed the mainsail, folding it on the small car park, then took off the sail cover and replaced the sun awning.  Even though we did this before 9am, the sweat just poured off in the excessive heat. Temperatures over the last few days have been very high and we are hearing stories from other contacts of big forest fires around Marmaris and Bodrum.

28/07/09  A day in the life of........

OK, up at 5.30, coffee on, clean teeth, have a shower.  Drink coffee whilst reading Daily Mail and BBC News online, have a quick look at the YBW Forum to see if I can help anyone.  More coffee.  Flush water maker, have coffee.  Check stern gland for leaks, dip engine oil, check fresh water level of engine header tank.  Shut raw water intake stopcock and remove strainer, clean and replace.  Have a coffee.  Defrost fridge, chuck away food I'm no longer sure of, repack fridge and switch back on.  Have breakfast.  Go up mast and take apart the steaming light (failed on the last night passage), check voltage at deck connection and light fitting, decide new wiring is required.  Call it a day 'cos it's 11am now and too hot (45oC) to work.  Adjourn to the pool for the afternoon, frolics with Leah, lie on sunbed, drink a beer or two.  Joy arrives on scooter with friend Ali.  Move 10 metres to the beach and have drinks with Roger, Astrid, Jan, Joy and Ali.  Shower, change and into restaurant for dinner.  Return onboard 11.30pm, update log, have a coffee and go to bed.  This cruising malarkey is tiring work you know!

30/07/09  Into town early with Roger and Jan.  Bought the required cable to run inside the mast for my steaming light, some 10mm rope and a bit of shopping, returning on the noon dolmuş.  Then a new turn of events.  It's been apparent to us liveaboards for some time that the Turkish business mentality is somewhat lacking in logic - if the service, quality of work, food, goods or whatever is sub-standard, then the profits fall......that's obvious because the customers go elsewhere.  The Turkish answer is to keep the same crap but raise the price in an effort to claw back the losses - the result is even less custom, the failure of the business and eventual closure.  We've seen it happen to countless shops and restaurants over the last two years.  Another shortcoming is their refusal to accept competition from anyone - as seen in Marmaris Yacht Marine with the shop, bar, restaurant, workshops - even bus trips to town supermarkets.  Now, today.....Roger went into the shop next door to Iskele Restaurant and bought a couple of beers, sat at a table in the shade outside the shop and drank them.  The restaurant owner saw this and within minutes Roger was told to leave the restaurant pontoon.....not in the morning but right now!   It seems that he objected to Roger buying a beer for 2.75 lira in the shop instead of the same thing for 4.50 lira at his place......ignoring the fact that Roger ate and drank in the restaurant each evening.  So Storm Dodger left and went out to anchor with Rhumb Do following a half an hour later. So now the restaurant has lost two boats and two sources of income - and for what - 1.75 lira!!  With our custom, and that of our visiting friends, the restaurant's average daily income from us over the last eight days has been about 100 lira....... down to nothing in the blink of an eye.  Needless to say, the adjacent Kadir Restaurant with it's better service, better menu's, better food and friendlier staff, had the benefit of our lira this evening.

31/07/09  In the absence of Astrid, who is staying in town with Joy, I helped Roger take his boat from anchor to the pontoon at Kadir Restaurant.   Back on my own boat, I replaced the saloon light fitting with a new, brighter LED one and cut the plugs from the old steaming light cable.  After a swim over the side in late afternoon, I weighed anchor and made my way from 'Rabbit Island' to Kadir pontoon - mainly because I have removed the propeller from the outboard engine (a failed bearing) and need to go into town for a replacement.  Dinner with Roger and the crews of Full Flight, Divanty and Roam II.



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