Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Turkey - second week

Sunday 20th May - Orhaniye

Hallelujah! When we all awoke in the morning the wind had all but gone and the normal tranquillity of the Dirsek returned. Chas and I had breakfast in the restaurant while the girls ate on-board.

We received a phone call from the Sunsail guys to say that we should all stay put as they were coming over - they arrived in Dirsek at around 11am.

It was decided to sail around to Orhaniye to the Sunsail base there - one of the German guys had fallen down the steps onboard ‘Miss Lead’ and had badly hurt his back and needed to see a Doctor. Also Pierre on ‘Dolomite’ was very concerned about a battery problem and the Sunsail guys had organised for an Engineer to look at this as well as examine a problem we had on ‘Opus’ with lack of power when manoeuvring.

We had a nice sail around to Orhaniye with both the Genoa and mainsail up - and arrived at around 3pm; I managed to successfully reverse and moor up stern-to for the 3rd time!

The Turkish Sunsail engineer came onboard and tried out the engine - he suggested there might be something wrong with the propeller and said he would try to fix this before we left the next day.

Monday 21st May – Paradise Bay

We enjoyed a quiet and casual breakfast on-board this morning as we didn’t fancy the restaurant – the meal last night was definitely very ‘average’!!

The engineer arrived around 9.30am with another guy fully kitted out with wetsuit and scuba gear who dived under the boat to change the propeller with only a few deep breaths and a snorkel!

We left Orhaniye at around 1030am and headed around into Selimiye - a lovely big bay with a nice quiet town nestling in the far corner; we moored up at a convenient jetty and had a few beers before lunching on board.

We left around 3.30pm and headed towards Paradise Bay, near to Dirsek, for a rendezvous with the others, arriving at 6pm. We had to motor most of the way as the wind was on our nose (yet AGAIN!) and the ‘new’ propeller didn’t really seem to make any difference!

Paradise Bay is a nice quiet inlet with a small family run restaurant and nothing else! It’s just a short walk across the headland to Dirsek where we weathered out the storm a few days ago.

We enjoyed probably one of the best meals since we arrived in Turkey – it’s a family-run business and they were most hospitable and the food was excellent and very well presented!

Afterwards, the Sunsail crew put on a fun evening, firstly a 'Kill-the-Engineer' competition where we were all invited to prepare a 'special' drink laced with whatever nasty liquids we could find – mostly these contained Raki, an awful Turkish anise-flavored aperitif drink similar to French Pastis and Greek Oozo which goes a milky colour when water is added, and to me at least tastes absolutely ghastly! Points were awarded for presentation, alcohol content, originality of name and drink-ability! Needless to say Steve had to throw-up afterwards – thankfully in the relative privacy of the loo! If he has to do this every 2 weeks, goodness knows what he’ll be like after the end of the sailing ‘season’ in October!

Then the crew then put on a short play of a typical day in the life of a Sunsail skipper - with lots of props, water, alcohol, shaving foam and all! It was great fun and everyone agreed it was the best Sunsail show they’d ever seen!! Well done the team!

Tuesday 22nd May - Datca

We woke to a very tranquil and peaceful (and very aptly named) Paradise Bay and enjoyed a super omelette and strong Turkish coffee along with freshly baked bread in the restaurant - the taste of bread fresh from the open oven was simply indescribable! At around 10.30am we headed off – our next destination was Datca, just across the Hisaronu Korfesi and westwards.

At first the wind was light and the sea state completely flat - we motored around trying to find some wind and then thankfully it picked up.

After heading northwest we tacked southwest and towards the Greek Island of Simi, eventually reaching a midway point around 2 miles from Simi which we decided was about close enough as sailing a Turkish flag, we couldn’t sail in Greek waters and wanted to avoid any International incident!.

We tacked northwest again and found more wind as we sailed close hauled towards the town of Datca arriving there on the Town Quayside at around 4pm.

Chas and I headed off into the town to find a barbers shop as we both fancied a Turkish Shave – you have to believe this! It is THE most wonderful experience for a guy! Something you do every day which takes you around a minute at most suddenly becomes a most relaxing and enjoyable thing, taking perhaps 20 minutes and including a massage too! And it only cost 5 Turkish Lire!

We decided to eat-in for a change and Shirley cooked a nice pasta dish which was a welcome relief from the Turkish food we'd been eating for the last week or so! Afterwards we crossed the quayside (all of 8 steps!) to the Bolero bar where we stayed drinking and chatting until after midnight!

Wednesday 23rd May – Hayit Buku or Ova Buku

Up at 8am and headed for the Bolero Bar again - this time for breakfast! I remarked to the barman that he seemed to work long hours having only closed the bar at 3am!! He nodded and smiled as only Turkish barman do!

I enjoyed a nice hot and powerful shower at the Harbour facilities - which cost an exorbitant 10 Turkish Lire but it was worth it! The girls did dome last minute grocery shopping and we headed off out of the Harbour around 1030am, aiming for a nice lunch stop at a bay just west of Datca which Pete and Nikki had recommended.

The bay turned out to be absolutely wonderful - a couple of Gulets had anchored off the beach and there were maybe four other yachts at anchor too. After a couple of goes we managed to drop the anchor safely and Shirley and I swam before having lunch - Pete and Nikki arrived too and managed to anchor up nearby so we invited them on-board for some food and a drink.

At around 2.30pm we winched up the anchor and headed out of the bay, turning westwards again - the wind was ok so we hoisted the sails and rounded a corner of the peninsula before heading due west again. The wind was quite strong gusting to around 15 knots so we managed to sail quite fast reaching almost 7 knots which was the fastest we'd sailed! We even managed to out-sail Pete and Nikki who tried their hardest to catch us - but failed!

The entrance to the pretty inlet of Hayit Buku (Ova Buku) was hard to see from seaward but closer in there were two very high cliffs and a watch-tower guarding the entrance to a nice small bay with a wooden jetty by Ogun's Restaurant which has a very good reputation so we were looking forward to it!

Wow, what a super and original menu of food! Ogun himself is a character too but he sure has created a super place to eat and rest up! I had Wild Boar for main course! We even watched the final of the Champions League between AC Milan and Liverpool which sadly for us Brits in general (and ‘Scouser Hostie’ Emily in particular!), AC Milan won 1-0!

Thursday 24th May - Knidos

Um, we think we maybe ran aground overnight - the place we'd moored up by the jetty was shallow and somehow the bay had lost some water overnight! At least that’s what we’re telling everyone!

As we attempted to cast off we skewed sideways and it took some nifty handling by 10 people to move us - we even lightened the boat leaving just Chas on board at the helm and eventually with help from ‘Barcel√≥’ who we were lashed to, we floated free! Yippee!

We left Hayit Buku at 1045 - Chas invited me to take over as Skipper for the day, making decisions about route passage and sailing direction etc. Great fun! AND we are still here living to tell the tale!

There was no real wind to speak of so I decided we'd motor out 3 miles and then take a course westwards roughly parallel along the Datca Peninsula towards our next destination, ancient Knidos, lying at the far western end of the peninsula in a dramatic and isolated position; there is a lonely restaurant, a T shaped jetty and nothing else apart from the mostly unexcavated ruins of an ancient City!

Just as we entered the harbour we spotted a Dolphin off our stern - the first we'd seen in Turkey! The harbour entrance was tricky with a submerged old jetty to avoid on our starboard side so we couldn't concentrate on Dolphins too much at this point!

We arrived safely at the entrance to the harbour to the southeast of Knidos carefully avoiding the sunken breakwater and moored up alongside the jetty.

After lunch on board we just chilled out and Chas, Pam and Shirley headed off to take a look at the ancient ruins while I had a nice siesta (or whatever the Turks call it!)

Amazingly, this place was once home to a community of around 70,000 people - the ruins are virtually unexcavated. The town was once famous as a centre of trade and learning - among the ruins are temples, two theatres and a sundial and a pedestal on which once stood the famed 4th Century BC statue of Aphrodite; apparently it captivated all who saw her!

Dinner at Aphrodite Restaurant was great - an idyllic setting overlooking the tranquil bay at sunset! Chas and I enjoyed grilled Snapper washed down with two bottles of red wine - of course!

Friday 25th May - Turgutreis

Up early this morning - 7am! We met for a final day briefing, had breakfast, bought some fresh Turkish bread and set sail around 9am - but not before a slight drama as we hit the bottom again leaving the jetty! Yet another poor set of instructions from a so-called Harbour Master with our keel being deeper than the water! Anyway we managed to reverse off with no damage - we think!

We rounded the end of the peninsula with the Greek Island of Kos on our port side as we headed due north – sadly, even though the setting was beautiful and serene, there was little or no wind so no sailing!

We set a course change, keeping 2 miles distant from Kos and any Greek gunboats! The sea was dead flat and windless as we motored on and between Kos and the Turkish mainland on our starboard beam.

We arrived off the Marina at Turgutreis - avoiding the submerged rock and isolated danger mark to the south east. Turgutreis is a small town with a large Marina to the west of the main town of Bodrum. As it was early and we still had no wind we decided to motor out to the small island of Catalada about a mile or so offshore where we anchored with a few other yachts.

We stayed until around 4pm when we headed in to the Marina fuel berth to top up before proceeding to the Sunsail berths at the northern end of the Marina.

Oh bliss! A HOT and very POWERFUL shower at the Marina!! I'd quite forgotten how much a REAL shower can do to spice up how you feel after 2 weeks afloat - it's indescribable!

We finished off some of the remaining bottles of wine, nuts, olives etc - assisted by Pete and Nikki who were berthed alongside.

The final evening ‘group’ meal took place in the Yacht Club following which there was the traditional ‘prize-giving’ – an excuse for the Sunsail crew to highlight any unusual things they’d seen us do during the fortnight; like for us ‘mislaying’ the dinghy and Chas inadvertently once saying the dreaded words ‘Over and Out’ at the end of a VHF call. For anyone used to sailing etiquette, this is absolutely a no-no and everyone hoots with laughter when someone says it!! It’s worse than most ‘mistakes’ you make because everyone has their VHF radios on too so everyone hears it!! But Chas got his own back by mentioning occasions when the Lead crew had messed up mooring – and they thought no-one had noticed!!

Saturday 26th May - Turgutreis

Our last day – we packed up and cleaned the boat, leaving some odd provisions we’d not consumed for the Sunsail crew. Boring stuff like milk, shampoo and tins of stuff but also more interesting things like Brandy and wine!

We left and said farewell to Opus, which had been our ‘home’ for the past couple of weeks at around 9am and walked up to the Yacht Club to dump our bags and have a leisurely breakfast. We had most of the day to kill so Chas and Pam bussed into Bodrum for some sightseeing and shopping while Shirley and I chilled out by the pool at the Club.

After they’d returned Chas and Pam joined us for lunch at a nice caf√© just outside the Marina where we stayed until around 4pm – the bus for the airport at Bodrum arrived at 5pm and we were on our way!

We’ve enjoyed another great sailing holiday and new experiences too! We’ll be back!