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september 2007

01/09/07  Topped up with fresh water and slipped at 1015, motoring out into a calm sea with no wind and headed further east into the gulf.  Angie wanted to swim in the deep blue water, so at 1200 we stopped the boat and allowed it to drift whilst we swam for 40 minutes, then resumed course for Amazon Creek, anchoring there just after 4pm.  The creek was almost deserted, just one other boat (flying an American flag), Angie again going swimming whilst I unsuccessfully tried to sort out the problematic outboard engine, which now won't even start!  With no light pollution from the land,  the night sky glittered with stars as we sat in the cockpit having our evening meal.

02/09/07  Remained at anchor in Amazon Creek, swimming and relaxing.   Suspecting contaminated petrol in the outboard, I drained the tank and replaced the fuel with new - success, engine running again!  Walked through the woods to Amazon campsite for dinner and not being able to choose which starter to have, we took advice from the owners and had a bit of them all - then couldn't eat a main course!  The walk back through the woods to the dinghy was in absolute blackness, a small LED torch we had taken with us our only means of lighting the way.

03/09/07  After a swim and breakfast we weighed anchor at 1015 and set sail across the gulf to Cokertme, arriving there about 1515, and I was pleased that dolphins were at the entrance to the bay when we arrived.....at least Angie got to see some, and they are also the first I've seen since sailing from Italy to Corfu.  We tied up to Captain Ibrahim's wooden jetty (a new one since my last visit some years ago), and ate in the restaurant that evening.

04/09/07   Sailed after lunch and made our way westward into a force six bang on the nose, arriving in the bay at Bitez after sunset at 2030 and anchoring close to the beach.  We took the rub-a-dub ashore to have a walk round and a meal, then watched a film onboard - well,..... half a film, because I fell asleep!

05/09/07   After early morning swim, we again went ashore for a wander around the town, Angie deciding to swim back to the boat - a greater distance than she thought, and her comments on reaching the boat are unprintable!!  Weighed anchor after lunch and made the short passage across to Kos, arriving in the marina 1630.  My hair has grown quickly since Roger cut it in Preveza, in exchange for going up his mast, so Angie gave me a trim which will last another six weeks or so.

06/09/07  Following a meal ashore last night, we both struggled to keep our eyes open until Angie's taxi to the airport picked her up from the boat at 0230.  It's been a great week, with sails in both flat calm and more boisterous seas and I thank Angie for her wonderful company and the laughs we've had.   I'm glad she enjoyed all the new experiences and new foods.   Angie's verdict on the past week?......"the best holiday I've ever had!"   Come again soon Angie!!  I took all the bedding to the laundry and spent some time repairing a broken fridge door, cat-napping throughout the day, it seems very strange not having anyone to talk to again.....and I've hardly seen a soul in the marina, all the charter boats are lying idle awaiting the new holiday crews.   Angie phoned around lunchtime to let me know she had arrived home safely and had not had to pay excess baggage on the three hundredweight of Turkish Delight she had taken home with her! 

07/09/07  Make ready for sea again!  Filled the water tanks, bought the necessaries from the supermarket, stored loose gear, topped up with diesel and slipped at 1000 heading back to Turkey and the anchorage at Bitez (I'm beginning to think the boat is on a piece of elastic) where my 'shore support' team of one (Ann) will be arriving at an unearthly hour on the 11th. for her holiday with me.  Dropped the anchor in the same spot as before but had to reset it four times before it 'bit' properly.  The bay is open to the south and today the wind is from that direction so the night was a little uncomfortable with the incoming swell.  There has also been a significant and to me, a very noticeable change in the weather and temperature, there are now far more clouds and it is much, much cooler than of late.

10/09/07  The meltemi has been blowing day and night since anchoring here and although I could have gone ashore, it would have been a very wet and bumpy ride across the bay in the dinghy.  I was also reluctant to leave the boat unattended for fear of anchor drag - a problem of sailing single-handed (the 'crew' having absconded in Kos a few days ago!!).  However, today seems much calmer and after an early morning swim, I finally got ashore to collect e-mails and update this log.  Ann should be arriving here around 2am tomorrow morning for her holiday with me and we will be making our way along Datca Yarimadasi (the Dorian peninsular) to Rhodes, although looking at the next five day grib files, we are in for a bit of a blow on the 13th with Force 7 forecast.

News update on 'the gang'..... Moody Time is in Marmaris, Impulse and Storm Dodger have transited the Corinth Canal and are in Poros, Rob and Slip Anchor made it safely back to Barcelona and he, Karen, Ben and Amy are now home in the UK.

12/09/07  Ann arrived on time yesterday morning and we spent the day catching up on news, swimming and relaxing, then had a bit of a laugh ashore during the evening with an impromtu 'birthday' celebration!  Weighed anchor at 1000 this morning and headed out towards the tip of Kos and on toward the Datca peninsular, my 'yo-yo' courtesy flags getting dizzy from the last few days.  Having both been to Knidos before, we decided to by-pass the anchorage and make straight for Datca in the westerley force 5 which would push us in roughly the right direction.  Arrived in Datca at 1800 with the wind now a 6 from the NNW and had to anchor in the south bay as the town quay was, as expected, full.

13/09/07  Only half sleeping throughout the night because of the increasing winds, I finally gave up  around 4.30am and sat in the cockpit on 'anchor watch'.  Just after seven, a wind shift pushed the stern around toward shore and the rudder touched bottom, so we moved into another spot, the dinghy capsizing in the process and the two bags of rubbish stored in it disappeared off into the distance!  Two other boats then dragged anchor and confusion reigned as we all tried to re-anchor in the ever increasing wind.  I eventually went close inshore again and dropped both the main anchor and a secondary anchor at about sixty degrees to the first, which held us throughout the day.  During the early evening, whilst having a meal in a spot overlooking the boat, we watched a charter yacht come in to the crowded anchorage under sail....now, I don't know if his engine had failed or whether he was trying to impress, but he certainly didn't achieve the latter when the sails filled as he turned to starboard and he rammed an anchored boat amidships!  He then dropped anchor and the mainsail, drifted back on the non-setting anchor and .hit two other boats which were directly astern.  At this point, he hoisted sail again and accelerated across the bay into yet another boat, and with all sail up managed to push the other boat off it's anchor!  The irate owner of the first boat rammed was now chasing him in his dinghy, the last boat was trying to re-anchor and the culprit went racing off out of the bay making terrific progress in the force 7 which was still blowing.

14/09/07  Retrieved both anchors and set sail just before 9am, eating breakfast as we went along in the gentle west wind, sailing eastward into Hisaronu Korfezi, which means Gulf of Fortresses and  has to be one of the most beautiful parts of Turkey in which to sail.  The entrance to the gulf seemed to close behind us and we were surrounded by land which changed from the normal burnt mountainsides, to lush pine forests stretching down to the water's edge.  At the head of the gulf lies Keci Buku - our destination for today.  Keci Buku is a gem, the slopes are covered in pine and the small village of Orhaniye is shut in by bookends of steep rocky slopes.  A stream keeps the enclosed valley well watered.  Situated on the left of the bay as you enter is Marti Marina and we decided to have a night here rather than on one of the restaurant jetties further into the bay.  Friendly staff welcomed us, there is a swimming pool, small chandlers, supermarket and a beach from which to swim.  The water is absolutely crystal clear in the marina, and as a bonus......I was moored starboard side to, rather than bows to!   One year ago today.....I was leaving Gillingham Marina......what a change of scenery - and 4,447 miles of  'oggin has passed under the keel!!

18/09/07   A relaxed few days in this lovely part of Turkey and a decision to stay until tomorrow.  We took the dolmus to Marmaris one evening and had a look around the town, neither of us were too impressed with the place but  I have been reassured that it is much better in winter when all the holiday-makers have departed.   Last night we were chatting to a single-handed Turkish sailor from Istanbul who turned out to be a documentary film maker and radio producer.  He was keen to have me on his radio show to talk of my experiences in the Arctic Circle - a dream destination of his own - and was most put out when I said we were sailing on Wednesday and would have to decline his invitation.

19/09/07   Slipped after a lazy breakfast and headed west for Nisos Simi under full sail into a northwest breeze of around 15 knots and arrived in this picturesque port just after 3pm.  Rod Heikell says of Simi..."discovering Simi is like discovering an exotic plant in the desert" and he could well be right.  The houses are of Neo Classical design, coloured with muted yellows, blues and reds and stacked one on top of the other up the steep sides of the harbour.  Simi was once the world centre for sponge divers, an honour now claimed by Kalimnos, but there are many shops selling sponges and pumice stone along the harbour side.

20/09/07   Several hours of  cruel spectator sport this morning as I watched the harbour come alive with the comings and goings of yachts.....practically every one of them having fouled other anchors..... and the thought 'there but for the grace of God'....  One small British yacht had picked up the anchor of a larger American motor cruiser and was unable to hoist it clear of the water, the motor cruiser eventually slipping  and going out to the centre of the harbour, where both boats drifted inexorably, with chains entwined, toward some moored fishing boats - only alerted to the fact by the shouts of panic from the fishermen when impact was just a few feet away. (photo)

21/09/07  We slipped our mooring and retrieved the kedge anchor (without incident) just before 9am, and with some regret left this lovely harbour and headed for Rhodes (Nisos Rhodos), where Ann was to fly home from.   Arriving at Mandraki in Rhodes was a bit of a shock and I took an instant dislike to the place.   On approach, to the right of the harbour entrance, is a beach with regimented rows of sun umbrellas, sun-beds and the usual speedboats towing parachutes, bananas and the like, but the entrance itself was a floating mess of discarded plastic bottles, plastic bags, polystyrene cups, lengths of timber and all other forms of human rubbish, all mixed with a huge black oil slick.  On entering the harbour, the staff were disinterested and  made no effort to find us a berth, the available ones were roped off for charter yachts which were absent and the whole place had a feeling of 'go away, we don't want you here'.   We, and two other boats turned around and left the harbour in disgust.   I motored round past the cruise ship terminal and toward the 'new' Rhodes Marina, only to find that it hasn't even been started yet and is still a derelict industrial site with no facilities whatever.  So the decision was made to leave the Greek Isles and head for Marmaris in Turkey, on what would probably be the last leg of my travels for this year.   I wish I had something more positive to say about Rhodes but the only good thing I can think of is - you can catch a ferry to other places from here!

I sat up on the bow during the 20 mile crossing to Turkey, enjoying the late afternoon sun and the clear blue of the sea, with the flying fish skittering across  from the bow wave, thinking of the experiences so far and wondering what the next voyages will bring, which ports will be visited and in which direction will I go?  I have all winter to do the jobs which have been put off whilst sailing, and to decide my plans for 2008.

Arrived in Marmaris Yacht Marina as darkness fell and we were helped into our berth by two very competent marineros.  The marina is a big one, with all facilities for hauling out, woodwork, stainless steel and sail repairs, and situated about a half hour bus ride away from Marmaris town.  We had a brief look around the marina, but all the checking in and finding the amenities could all wait until the morning.   I did notice Moody Time on the opposite pontoon, (Colin & Trish are home in the UK) and also Wayne & Angie's Hitrapia further along the same pontoon as myself.

22/09/07   Today is the anniversary of my first leaving home and going off to join the Royal Navy in Plymouth - it seems like yesterday!   Checked into the marina and completed all the formalities, then went on my expedition of discovery to find the bar, restaurant, gym, sauna, library, snooker room, swimming pool, showers - but not necessarily in that order - whilst Ann collected her things and packed for the trip home to UK.   Also stopped by Hitrapia for a chat with Wayne, who told me that two other Warriors (Blackfoot Warrior and Grey Glider) had been in the marina a few days before.   Ann and I then caught a dolmus into Marmaris and made our way to the ferry terminal where she caught the 4.30pm ferry back to Rhodes, and her night flight to Gatwick.  On my own again, and the bottom fell off my sandal.....great, out of town, no shoes!  Angie, when she was here made the comment that the soles of my feet must be like leather because of being barefoot on the hot deck for so long - well it's a good job they are now that I'm walking around ashore like that!!   Made my way back to the marina after having a cold coke in a pavement cafe, browsed the chandlery for contact adhesive to repair my sandal, had a pint in the bar and went back to the boat for my evening meal.   Thanks for the company over the last two weeks Ann, hope you enjoyed the rest from work!!

30/09/07   Happy Birthday Angie!!    29 years old today, and you don't look a day over 40!   Over the last week I've been finding my way around and collecting information from other boat owners.  Wayne & Angie departed on Hitrapia, heading for Kemer, Ian & Heather on Blackfoot Warrior came back in and Colin & Trish returned from the UK, bringing with them some engine parts I had asked for (which caused  a bit of a fuss at airport security when they thought my air filter was a bomb!).   Impulse and Storm Dodger having been trapped again in Nisos Paros by strong winds, are now in Rhodes and should be here in Marmaris tomorrow afternoon.  On Friday (28th) there was a 'Goodbye to Summer' party here in the marina, with Turkish dancers and fireworks which kept us occupied into the early hours!   I am updating some of the web pages and adding a couple more (with access buttons on the left) but these will take a little while to be up and running.  I am also trying to arrange a flight back to the UK to see family and friends in the near future, however, the internet connection here in the marina is not the best and apart from some web pages being unavailable, I find I'm unable to use my Outlook Express for sending e-mails - seemingly this is a common fault according to other 'yotties' here - so searching for reasonably priced flights is a time consuming affair.

Turkey Photographs

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