Papalagi1 was a Jeanneau Sun Oddysey 34, she looked pretty comfortable and we started to unpack straight away. We had intended to have boarded Papalagi yesterday, 2nd June, after arriving in Bodrum the previous day but often the best laid plans go amiss. In February, Singapore Airlines had advised us that the flight (our flight) on Friday to Istanbul from Singapore was being deleted from their schedule from the 1st June and would we like to be re-booked on the next available flight, the Sunday one. With our arms twisted up our backs we had agreed. So the staff from the yacht charter company, knowing that we had lost one charter day, were keen to the complete the paper work and the yacht briefing so that we were delayed no longer than necessary before we could begin another sailing adventure, this time Turkey.
With the unpacking and stowing of our gear aboard Papalagi and the seeming procession of nice people eager to to their job and be as helpful as they could, and we by now being totally whacked we weren't in any condition to go anywhere in a hurry. Accompanied by the shopping list we had made during one of the transit stops en route to Bodrum, one of our more lucid periods, we headed for the nearest supermarket to fill a couple of baskets with the bare essentials. Fruit and veges were easy to pick out, groceries had good colour pictures on the wrapping that was helpful, drinks were instantly recognisable but the price tags were eye watering. Armed with our purchases we returned to Papalagi and enjoyed the great sailing ritual of sundowners, notwithstanding the sun by now had long receded below the horizon. Showered and following the recommendations we found the good but popular restaurant. I kept sipping on a beer trying to keep awake until the pizza arrived, ate half then collected the doggy bag and retired back to Papalagi to sleep the sleep of the dead.
Monday 4th June, slowly pottered this morning getting Papalagi shipshape, returning to the supermarket for extra supplies and finding the local teleco, Turkcell, to organise an internet connection. It seems that local regulations prevent a Turkish SIM card being used in a foreign USB dongle, they might work for 7-10 days before the network shuts it down. So we were offered the best deal of the day, a Turkish USB dongle complete with a SIM card and 4 GB on PAYG for 1 month, 99 TL. After queueing for an operator who actually made the deal, doing the deal, making sure that the dongle worked in the netbook then making sure I knew which prompts (in Turkish) were the important ones I opened up our internet email and confirmed the deal. That all took over an hour so at this stage Monday was well into the afternoon. Over lunch Yvonne and I decided we were still a bit fragile and, as we were unlikely to get a chance to look about Bodrum on our return that we should spend the rest of the afternoon doing the tourist bit and think about starting our journey tomorrow. The end of day rituals were carried out at a more respectable time and pace than yesterday, we had finished our on board dinner when a bright orange moon rose over the marina.
Tuesday 5th June, Windfinder suggested we could expect a nice westerly breeze today so we decided to pickup our draft itinerary at day 7, when we were to originally begin our route south after spending 5 days north of Bodrum. We dashed around to the supermarket for a few extra supplies, but then had to wait until someone from our yacht charter company to checkout a leak that had appeared at the base of the galley tap, some hand tightening of a nut, a glob of silicone and half an hour later we radioed the Marina office for a pilot to help us out of the tightly packed marina.
It was now midday and our plan was for a 30 mile sail. Motoring out of the marina we headed south into a light southerly breeze. I thought the southerly may have been an effect of the hills and the local islands and when we had cleared the headlands surrounding the large bay Bodrum was situated the wind might switch to the west as expected. It didn't. We pulled on sail once clear of a couple of local navigation hazards and made the best we could on a SSE heading getting a feel of Papalagi under sail. For one short moment the wind did back to the west, eased then settled in from the Southwest building to a force 4, later to F5. At first we carried a full a main and 3 rolls in the headsail, Papalagi struggled with this setup and all the tuning I tried didn't seem to help much until we reduced the main to about one reef (a few rolls in the in mast furling system) and took in 2 more rolls in the headsail. Papalagi liked this much better, the boat speed lifted to 6 knots but throughout the afternoon we had been loosing heading. We had now crossed the Gokova Gulf but were 6 miles east of the head of the Datça peninsular. We cranked up the motor and motor sailed into the breeze for an hour before rounding Cape Deveboynu and tucking up into the sheltered bay of Knidos. A 20 mile journey but for a first day with a late start, not too bad.
Knidos is an ancient site, one of the Dorian hexapolis, the remains of harbour walls and an amphitheatre are still visible. Knidos was renown for two things: is statue of Aphrodite and the scientist Eudoxos. Today there is a restaurant, a quay, 2 old buildings, sheep scrambling over the lateral rocky hillsides that funnel wind over the low adjoining isthmus, and provides reasonable shelter for cruising yachts. We anchored at Knidos, enjoying the usual coffee/tea and biscuits while maintaining anchor watch. The southerly breeze slowly died during the evening and we slowly relaxed anchor watch. Afternoon tea drifted into drinks and nibbles later followed by dinner and all the while we were kept entertained by arriving yachts some well after we had turned on our anchor light.
Wednesday 6th June, after a very calm night Papalagi started gently rocking as a breeze gusted through the narrow bay. By 9:00 it had calmed down, we had Papalagi ready to go so motored out of Knidos into a light breeze from the west. In half an hour we were clear of the headland to the south and were able to set sail on 118° to the west of the Greek Island of Symi. We started in great style with Papalagi enjoying the breeze and making 5+ knots, later the breeze softened and we spent most of the morning creeping along at 2-3 knots, we even had the headsail reefed to stop it collapsing in the soft conditions. By one o'clock we had covered 14 of the 34 miles we were hoping for today and it was looking as though we might have to catch up some time with the motor when a wind shift brought with it a F4-5 breeze. We took in another 2 rolls in the headsail and a 1+ reef in the main, Papalagi stood up well and we were bowling along at 5-6 knots. In 2 hours we had covered 10 miles to reach the south west corner on Symi where we turned east and with a now following breeze ran the 8 miles across the channel between Symi and mainland Turkey to the shelter of Bozuk Bükü. We didn't really have a plan B as the shortest route from Knidos was away from Turkey and west around Symi and we had no intention of or facilities for landing in Greece.
Bozuk Bükü is quite a large bay with several anchorages. We chose the 2nd on the left where an enterprising Turk had built a restaurant and a jetty complete with lazy lines and a team of strong lads who firstly went through great antics to attract our attention as we motored in, then moored us, offered showers, provided us with entertainment as they moored a 14 yacht flotilla, then donned aprons and waited upon the captured clientele in the restaurant.
Running before the breeze south of Symi
Thursday 7th June, Papalagi rocked all night. At first to the slight swell that had rolled into the bay kicked up by yesterdays breeze, later to a breeze that sprang up during the night and continued to blow in the morning. Windfinder indicated a F4 west -northwesterly for the early morning through the Marmaris Strait between mainland Turkey and Rhodes (Greece) to the south where we were at present, rising to F5-6 by mid afternoon. However we hope to be further east heading to Ekincik by mid afternoon where, at that time Windfinder indicates a softer breeze.
After paying our 'tab' to the entrepreneur for the marina and last nights dinner and organising a hand to extricate Papalagi from our berth were motored out from Bozuk Buku shortly after 9:00am. We came onto a nice F4 breeze from the west and pulled on a reefed mainsail began sailing east towards a narrow channel separating two small outlying islands. We kept the motor running to provide at least 35 minutes of battery charging and to be on standby as we traversed the channel with 2 other yachts approaching from the east. Throught the channel we cut the motor, pulled on a reduced headsail and enjoyed a great broad reach in the F4-5 breeze. The gusts had Papalagi up to 7.5 knots, revelling in the conditions. The excitement was all too brief. By 10 o'clock the odometer read 6.7 miles we passed outside another small outlying island and away from the influence of the hills on the mainland when the breeze, for us, died completely. We wallowed around at sub half knot speeds and actually went backwards in the west flowing current. It was time for the motor and the bimini, having a much greater UV protection factor than sunscreen. For an hour and a half we ran the motor but did pull on the headsail during that time as the wind indicators had started to point forwards suggesting the breeze from astern was faster than the 6 knots Papalagi was travelling at. The F3-4 breeze carried us for the next 3 hours on mainsail alone, the headsail kept flogging so we rolled it away. There was little excitement, a couple of yachts crossed our path, 3 Turkish frigates played games but the odometer did tick over the miles and eventually Cape Kizil was on our port beam guarding the entrance to the large bay, the head of which was the smaller and sheltered bay of Ekincik. We turned into the bay which brought the breeze onto our port quarter. Pulling on a reduced headsail Papalagi picked up 6+ knots. As we sail deeper into the bay, strong gusts coming off surrounding hills pressed Papalagi upto 7+ knots and in several of the gusts Papalagi got onto the plane and were doing 8.5 knots. Brilliant.
There were several anchorages around Ekincik but we elected to go into the marina where we could get a few supplies and that we should also get electricity and water. Power is not too much of a problem by we could have done with topping up the water tank. However power and water come a extras to the marina fee, which was fairly high, and I objected to paying a flat fee for water when we might have only taken 50 litres and a 50 footer taken 500 litres. There was no transparency in any of the fees, and no receipts either.
So far Turkey is vastly different to Greece. Greece has a huge number of small coastal towns and villages where ordinary people live and work, the small ports often cluttered with fishing boats. Some of the places have trappings catering to the tourist trade, many are unpretentious. But this has been the jewel for Greece as both land and sea travellers enjoy the hospitality of the towns and villages, their people, shops and services. Not so Turkey (so far), the sanctuary at the end of the day has not been a town or village but private jetties or marinas that provide a haven and a restaurant but no local culture and limited or no supplies. Granted, on the beautiful but barren coastline these facilities suffice in the absence of local communities.
Friday 8th June, awoke to cloudless sky with sun streaming through the windows. There was a bustle on the quay as early risers were readying to depart. Our usual routine has been for me to spend an hour checking out the internet and writing up the diary before Yvonne rises. Windfinder didn't indicate there was to be a lot if any wind today where we where or were heading. We loafed about over breakfast then took a walk along the access road to the marina back towards the head of the bay where there was a holiday park, a block of holiday apartments, a beach but no quay. The road took us through a pine forest, skirted an open gully dotted with olive trees and overlooked the magnificent bay, the green waters lapping the shore line blended into deep blue as the depths increased further out in the bay. Ruffled water out towards the head of the bay signalled a light breeze of which yachts that had already departed were taking advantage.
We enjoyed the walk and by 11 o'clock we too were on our way soon to pick up the light breeze that added a couple of knots to our motoring speed. We needed to keep the house batteries charging as we had reduced the holding charge below 12 volts this morning charging the computer. The little netbook I brought has been really power efficient and had run on battery for the last 4 days. We cut the motor after 50 minutes then began an intense tacking game, playing cat and mouse with a light shifting breeze. It took 2 hours and we almost made it around the eastern headland 8 miles distant from Ekicik before having to resort to motor.
We continued to motor Papalagi for the rest of the journey into the Gulf of Fethiye and to the small truncated bay of Kizilkuyruk. The arms of the bay are narrow and the mooring technique is to anchor near the shore and take a line ashore to hold your yacht steady. We had done this a few times before but haven't really worked out a good strategy. We prepared every thing by tying 2 long lines together and laying them out on deck, freeing the dingy and retrieving the oars for the depths of the locker before finding a place to moor. There were already 4 yachts in the bay so we opted to moor 20-30 meters away from the last yacht. We dropped anchor, knowing that the cross breeze would take us down wind, launched the dingy and rowed ashore then commenced to tighten up the long line and swing the stern of Papalagi back towards the shore. In doing so we swung close to the neighbouring yacht who informed us that we had crossed their anchor chain. I thought we had the problem because when Papalagi swung downwind our anchor chain probably swung with the yacht but should swing back as we straightened up. Not so we were informed, so then had to extricate our anchor from their chain, drop our long line in the water, luckily it was polypropylene and floated, and proceed to re-anchor and retrieve the long line. Our neighbour then informed us, again, that we had crossed his anchor chain and indicated the line of his chain which ran at an oblique Angle to the shoreline. Any boat anchoring within 50 meters would have crossed that chain, I was knackered that I had felt we had been in the wrong.
This was a gorgeous bay, perhaps 200 metres across, pines and olive trees scattered over the rocky hillsides. We settled down with a well earned cup of tea/coffee and biscuits, showered, then drinks and nibbles followed by dinner and a glass of Turkish wine which has been quite palatable.
Saturday 9th June, 6:30am and we were rudely awakened to the ominous sound of anchor chains grouching together, our neighbour was in the process of leaving. Their yacht was held up by our chain, they were 30 meters off our bow and 15 meters to the right of us such was the extent of their obstruction when they thoughtlessly laid their anchor yesterday. This time it was up to them to fix the problem, we stood watch until it was done then went back to bed.
A lazy morning, someone snorkeled someone read, we climbed into the dinghy and rowed ashore for a walk. There was a path leading up the hill from the head of the bay. It was well formed, wide and the stones well polished from much use. The views of Papalagi and other yachts in the bay were glorious. Climbing in the hot sun was slow but the tree covered slope afforded many shaded spots where we paused and were cooled by a light breeze. The pilot recorded that the ruins ancient Lydae were about an hours walk from the anchorage, we hadn't intended walking quite that far but after half an hour we came to the ridge line and before us were the ruins of the remaining Roman and Byzantine buildings. Quite an impressive site. We picked about the ruins and surrounding rubble then retraced our steps to the bay on the path that may have been the ancient access from the sea, parts of which had old well laid stone banks supporting the path around rocky corners. Back on Papalagi we ate a light lunch and thought about staying for another night. It was near one o'clock and the afternoon sea breeze was kicking in. Although the anchor appeared to be holding I was unhappy after this mornings incident where it had been lifted, freed and dropped so thought that we should at least re-anchor. But the breeze felt great and the batteries did need an hour of the motors time so we decided to leave but not to go too far today.
There is a large bay on western side of Fethiye Gulf which is partitioned from the rest of the gulf by a north east running headland and series of islands leading to Göcek at the head of the bay. We motor sailed out of Kizilkuyruk into the gulf proper then through a narrow channel between two islands and around to Kapi Creek, a renown secluded bay surrounded by tree covered hills at the head of which is another local enterprise, a restaurant and mooring pontoons. However, the bay has deep water up to the rocky shoreline so we opted to anchor and take a line ashore as we intended to eat on board again this evening so didn't need the jetty. Our mooring technique was much improved, we dropped anchor and reversed Papalagi to within 10 meters of the shore, I dived off dragging the stern line and had Papalgi tied to a rock before the afternoon breeze even thought about messing with our plans. We spent the rest of the afternoon in pure relax mode, someone slept someone read and as the afternoon turned into early evening we supped our drinks watching a procession of large yachts and motor cruisers filing into the bay impressed with the skills of the local pilot mooring these craft mostly to the jetty but for the very large motor cruisers they were hitched to the shore with stern lines and held at the bow with lazylines.
1) The Papalagi (Der Papalagi) is a book by Erich Scheurmann published in Germany in 1920, which contains descriptions of European life, supposedly as seen through the eyes of a Samoan chief named Tuiavii. It is now regarded as fictional; see Gunter Senft's Weird Papalagi and a fake Samoan chief — A footnote to the Noble Savage Myth. Source Wikipedia.
When clear of Göcek Island the westerly breeze allowed us to sail. First a mile on starboard tack before the shifting breeze at the head of the gulf and the rocky lee shore soon had us on port tack heading southwest. Our objective was to reach one of the anchorages near Gemiler Adasi at the eastern headland to the Fethiye Gulf, some 17 miles in a straight line from Göcek. We gained another mile on port tack before getting headed by the shifting breeze then tacked back onto starboard and remained there for the next 2 hours. The breeze slowly built during the afternoon so we took in a bit of sail and maintained a comfortable 5 knots throughout the beat. A yacht about a mile or so ahead of us was a good sighter and we followed her as she lifted while the breeze backed. Near the southeastern coast of the gulf our marker yacht had sailed into a slight bay close to the shore and seemed to run out of wind, we tacked back on to port, gained two and a half miles until we could lay Cape Dokukbasi, the southeast headland of the Fethiye Gulf. Had the breeze held we would have cleared the cape on sail but it died and we finished the last 2 miles on motor.
Gemiler Adasi has a numerous anchorages so we started at the first, Karacaoren Bay. Skirting the reef lying to the east off the southern arm of the bay and through the narrow channel between the reef and a small island covered with an assortment of medieval ruins we decided it was pleasant enough, there was enough room so we went no further. There were many buoys to which we could have moored at the head of the bay but these were reserved for the restaurant patrons. However, the local pilot directed us to a spot of good sand where we could free anchor, and we did. Although we rocked all night to the slight swell that rolled into the bay it was a safe and ok anchorage.
Tuesday 12th June, it had been our original intention to sail south as far as Korcova Roads, the most southern point in Turkey. To have done so would have taken 3 days at least, two of which would have been long sailing days. So several days ago we had pretty well decided that Gemiler Adasi would be our turning point and from here we would return north and concentrate on the Gokova and Hisaronu Gulfs south of Bodrum.
By nine o'clock we were motoring Papalagi out of Karacaoren Bay through the channel in the reef and into a sloppy sea. There was little wind and a half to one metre swell. A light breeze developed when we were part way across the mouth of the Gulf of Fethiye and we tried to sail. This lasted 20 minutes, the swell knocking all the wind from the sails. We continued to motor on, slightly south of the straight line back to Ekincik hoping that if the wind did strengthen we would have a better sailing angle. About 11:30 a reasonable breeze arrived, we had crossed the mouth of the gulf and the swell was less confused so we managed to sail for an hour and a half. The swell coming in from the west swept us back towards the coast where the wind was lighter. We motored for 15 minutes to gain more sea room then picked up a good breeze that lasted for an hour. Papalagi managed 4-6 knots during this time but in the end the confused 1+ metre swell defeated back us and we resorted to motoring the last 2 hours to Ekincik. As we neared the marina, heading for an anchorage at the head of the bay we thought 'what the hell' they have showers and it'll be a comfortable night so we headed in. The whole 40 miles had been quite a long and frustrating day.
Wednesday 13th June, the longer days on the water should now be over and we could take a more relaxed pace over the next two and half weeks working our way back to Bodrum. Windfinder indicated a day similar to yesterday, light head winds. Although a good breeze was blowing into Ekincik when we left just before eleven o'clock, out in the open water we knew it was different so we motored Papalagi for 2 miles before trying to sail. The light, shifting wind and the swell made sailing impossible. We motored on for an hour and a half then tried sailing again, only just managing to make 2-3 knots until Papalagi could no longer push into the sea and we back again to motoring. By mid afternoon we again managed a short sail until reaching Cape Hayiriz then turning in towards Ciftlik and motoring the last 2 miles.
Ciftlik is a small deep bay on the coast south west of Marmaris surrounded by steep rugged hills and sheltered from the sea by an island. It was very attractive place, popular with day tripper boats and sporting a holiday resort. There were two restaurants each with its own jetty, the cheer leaders from both were out frantically waving to attract our custom. We had intended to anchor for the night but, after quizzing one cheerleader who we thought was doing best and found the only cost would be a visit to the restaurant so we tied up. Two other yachts were moored alongside us, a Swedish couple who we had briefly met 6 days ago and an English couple who had been living aboard their yacht for the last 15 years. In their travels the English couple had spent 4 years in New Zealand, they were quite outgoing and initiated a social hour, which later progressed with the 3 couples dining at the restaurant.
Three yachts in Ciftlik, Papalagi on the right
Thursday 14th June, Windfinder couldn't find much wind for us today but was indicating that quite strong wind could be developing through the Greek islands on Friday and Saturday, some were calling it a meltemi. We had thought about sailing 14-15 miles west today along the coast to a secluded bay. Knowing that we would probably have motor all the way then perhaps to get stuck on this coast line with the possibility of strong winds the following day we decided to carry on around Cape Karaburun into the Yesilova Gulf and head for an anchorage at Sogut Limani. We motored all the way. The sea was quite flat, the day was hot and apart from encountering a host of yachts all heading in the opposite direction the journey was not inspiring.
A flotilla fleet were circling in the bay waiting for their mooring call to the jetty; the anchoring area noted in the pilot was full of buoys which precluded free anchoring. We headed east around to a small deserted cove with water depths of 13 meters and dropped anchor in the middle of the cove laying back on 45 meters of chain. Papalagi shuddered as the chain tightened and the anchor set then bobbled on the small wavelets and gently nosed around pointing into the light breeze blowing into the bay. Later, after tea and biscuits I snorkel led out over where the anchor might be, the depth was too great for me to see the anchor but the sea bed was a 50/50 mix of weed and clear sand so I was sure it was well grounded.
Trees grew down to the narrow beach, one old building stood near the shoreline and the remains of another building on a small knob near the shore were being engulfed by the trees and bushes that covered the hillsides around this delightful little bay. The next few hours passed quite slowly interspersed with drinks and nibbles, dinner then just watching the night arrive.
Friday 15th June, the sea was like a mill pond, not a ripple on the surface just a huge mirror reflecting the sun and sky. Someone slept someone did a few chores, we ate a late breakfast. Slowly a breeze filtered into the bay. Papalagi nosed into the breeze and swung on the chain, drifting around as the breeze shifted. By mid morning we were ready to leave, after retrieving our anchor together with a large clod of weed and mud Papalagi motored for 2 miles out of Sogut bay through the necklace of small islands and into a F3 breeze in the Gulf. We put on all sail and set off towards the eastern side of the gulf on starboard tack. Yvonne soon had Papalagi chuckling away at 4-5 knots. We held this course gaining two and half miles before tacking onto port near the eastern shoreline. Our objective was to round Cape Atabol and head north into the Hisaronu Gulf and to the town of Selimiye. We held port tack for 3 miles during which time the breeze slowly notched up to F4. Papalagi, with a bone in its teeth was ravelling in the conditions and at six and a half knots was starting to let Yvonne know all about sailing. We tacked again short of laying the Cape as we had been making quite a lot of leeway. I pulled a couple of rolls into the headsail as we went through the tack which settled Papalagi down for a bit. About half a mile off the Cape was a large rock lying below water level, the charts indicate this was marked with a light but the pilot mentions the light often is damaged and may not always be there. I had searched the area through binoculars but couldn't see the mark. So our next move needed a bit of accurate navigation. At our last tack I calculated we needed to run 2 miles before tacking again onto a beat that would take us directly to the rock, but by allowing for leeway we should be able to slide between the rock and the Cape to get out of jail free! The breeze was still building and backing, I reigned in Papalagi with a couple of rolls in the mainsail. We tacked at 2 miles and headed for a point where I thought the rock should be, we had a little over 2 miles to run to the Cape and at 5+ knots that would take about 22 minutes. A few minutes into the tack we spotted the mark, a smudge in the distance that we confirmed with the binoculars. We had heaps of sea room so eased the sheets slightly to bear away towards the Cape. Not so, the wind also decided to relax and Papalagi was suddenly struggling to make 3 knots, we unfurled all sail and only came abreast with the Cape, the usual sounds of slapping sails and the purr of the motor followed.
For the next hour we motored along the beautiful channel between the mainland on our right and a chain of 4 small islands to our left, all along there were coves and bays where yachts were at anchor. We continued on to reach a deep inlet, off which there were several bays and anchorages, and the bay and small township of Selimiye at its head. Since the pilot was published there has been a huge growth in mooring jetties and pontoons. The growth of restaurants and hotels now spreading around the shoreline with their private sun bathing pontoons clutter the areas marked in the pilot as suitable moorings with along line ashore. We free anchored in 11 meters of water not too far off one of the sun bathing pontoons to which I thought we might tie dinghy without objectors.
Waiting until after five o'clock for the day to cool a little, which it doesn't really do so until 7 or 8, we rowed over to the pontoon to reconnoitre the town. Threading our way along a path that hugged the shoreline took us along short quays and private jetties, through restaurants bulging onto the pathway, across the fronts of hotels and the bottoms of gardens of the many private homes to reach the 'commercial' centre. We located 4 mini-markets and checked out the stock in each, figuring also that the prices, when we could find any, weren't too bad then retraced our steps back to the dinghy and Papalagi out on anchor. It was a refreshing walk, Selimiye has been the first small maritime town that was here before the tourists arrived and still has some real people, much like Greece. Sundowners today were really that, we finished as the sun dipped below the ridge line and the conditions became more comfortable to eat dinner.
Saturday 16th June and a very lazy start to the day. We had breakfast about 9:30. I had a swim so it was nearer eleven o'clock when we dinghied across to the pontoon and walked around to the mini-market for a few supplies. Back on Papalagi we had a short conference on where we should go today. There was no sense of urgency as the Hisaronu Gulf is very picturesque and we had thought that we would spend at least another night on anchor in the head of this gulf before heading west and north into the Gokova Gulf. Windfinder indicated that we might get 10 knots of breeze during the afternoon, certainly nothing like the meltemi now blowing in the western Cyclades. However, running both the anchor light and the refrigerator all night soon depletes the batteries so we needed to recharge these. The nearest anchorages were about an hours motoring away so sailing was not really a priority, we motored the 7 miles to Kuyulu Bay.
As we approached the bay there was a breeze from ahead, two large yachts were free anchored in the middle of the western arm of the bay and one other tucked into the northern corner also on free anchor. We nosed around and found a spot close in under a cliff where it was calmer. Setting up for an line ashore we dropped anchor in about 8 meters of water and laid back on 40 meters of chain to rest in less than 4 meters deep. A short swim dragging the long line and we were soon fast to a rock on the shore.
The surroundings were beautiful, pine trees grew down to the several beaches in the bay, in font of us stunted bushes and gnarled pines clung to the rocky faces of the cliff. The day got hotter and the breeze felt great. The afternoon passed slowly, we had lunch, I had a long snorkel, someone slept someone read and played patience, we washed Papalagi, we both swam, soon it was time to salute the sun as it dipped down below the ridge line, ate dinner, watched a lightning display over in the east, played crib someone lost someone won, went to bed.
Sunday 17th June, the refrigerator on Papalagi started playing up. The motor kept running but the box got warmer, eventually the power drag on the batteries was too much and the frig motor gave up. We decided to head for Bozburun, our water should be low by now as it has been a week since the last fill and connecting to shore power might change the fate of the refrigerator. We also needed more supplies.
Windfinder indicated up to 10 knots of wind for midday and the afternoon, a spin off from the meltemi still blowing in the western Aegean Sea. We motored for a hour or so then ran across a line in the gulf where the mirror of a sea gave up to a ruffled one with small wavelets and a light breeze from the west. At first Papalagi made 2+ knots under sail but as the breeze built we were soon up to a respectable 3-4 knots. Tacking on a wind shift we settled into a steady 5 knots for about an hour until we reached Cape Atabol again, heading east back into the Yesilova Gulf this time. A short motor assisted passage around the cape then had us into a very light breeze making 1+ knots through the water and two and half knots by GPS. We motored the 2 miles up the bay to the township of Bozburun.
Mooring at the east quay in the harbour we connected to power and soon the refrigerator motor was running again, it took a good 15 minutes to fill the water tank so we must have been on empty. Bozburun was a typical eastern Mediterranean village, houses spread out around the shoreline and many dotting the hillsides. Restaurants, supermarkets, hardware and marine service shops, ATMs, craft and knick knack shops lined the quay and flowed back to the town square near the Mosque. A shop owner complained that it was too hot, yesterday it had been 45°, we didn't disagree. Back on Papalagi the frig motor was cheerfully turning over but the box was warm, we sent a text to our yacht charter company and arranged to have someone look at the problem when we arrived in Datça tomorrow. It was a pleasant 30+° at 10pm when we were sitting at a table on the quayside having dinner.
Monday 18th June, We didn't sleep in but neither did we rush. Called to the supermarket for bread and were pulling away from the quay by 10:00am, motoring Papalagi into a good breeze for the two miles out beyond the entrance to the bay and into the gulf. The breeze came in at 265°, we settled first for a starboard tack gaining 3 miles then tacked on to port making another 2 miles before tacking again in light wind trying to stay away from the influences of the land. Papalagi crept along for another mile or so until we seemed to be in a wind shadow off the Greek Island of Symi, about 5 miles away. On went the motor for an hour to carry us beyond the Symi wind shadow and hopefully into a clear sailing breeze out in the Hisaronu Gulf. Rather than heading directly towards Datça on 290° we pointed Papalagi towards the northern tip of Nimos island just off Symi so that if the breeze was sailable we would have a better angle to reach Datça. Off the tip of Nimos the breeze felt great, setting all sail Yvonne had Papalagi hard on the wind bubbling away at 4-5 knots. As we moved out across the gulf the wind backed and increased a little pushing Papalagi along at six and a half knots and starting to gripe. Datça now lay below our sailing line so with eased sheets Papalagi settled down and we spent a great hour hour on a fine lead averaging 6 knots of boat speed.
Mooring Papalagi in Datça at 3:00pm we were met by an engineer engaged by our yacht charter company. In an flash hour he sorted the refrigeration problem as 'out of gas', jumping on his scooter took off back to his office returning with a tank of refrigerant gas and proceeded to recharge the refrigerator. All terribly efficient. We could now create a 4 day shopping list knowing that frig can be relied on to store perishables and that the beer and the gins will be cold tonight.
Having planned a shortish day we lunched on board Papalagi before casting off and motoring 20 minutes out of the bay and into a good breeze. There was no need to worry about battery charging today as we had been on land power last night; we hoisted sail and soon had Papalagi hard on the wind doing 5+ knots. Beating down the coastline to the headland 5 miles distant the wind backed through 40° increasing as we went and pushing Papalagi up to 6-7 knots. Time for a few rolls in the main and headsail. We tacked on to port after 8 miles but found the sea conditions knocked 2 knots of boat speed off Papalagi, we were in about 13-15 knots of wind and not making progress at all so tacked back on to starboard and gained another 3 miles to the south. Well south of the headland and by now 7 miles out to sea we tacked again taking a lower angle on the wind so we could get better drive to counter the sea. This seemed to work and we managed to hold course heading for the small harbour of Ova Bűkű, about 3 miles east of Palamut where we had hoped to be.
Ova Bűkű was a tight little harbour with a short T jetty in the western arm and little space to free anchor. We moored stern to the jetty in one of 4 spaces remaining, the late comers only just managed to squeeze into the anchoring area.
Wednesday 20th June, it was a rocky night with a slight swell creeping into the harbour then, in the early hours of the morning, a strong breeze came in from the south. We got up and checked Papalagi, as were others doing the same for their yachts, took in our washing and noted we had acquired a towel from some other yacht. The southerly lasted a couple of hours then the harbour settled down and it was quite still when I got up about seven o'clock. I took a walk around the small harbour up onto a headland to photograph the bay. On the narrow beach stood two rows of sun umbrellas, some made of thatched cane and others with bundles of grass, beneath each was a sun lounge. A few early risers were already swimming. Along the beach front was a fringe of restaurants and pensions, quite a growth from the one restaurant noted in the 2009 pilot written.
Yvonne and I took walk after breakfast, bought a loaf of bread at the mini-market and by 11:30 we were amongst the last to leave this delightful little harbour. With 13 miles back to Knidos we were in no hurry. The breeze was blowing dead ahead as we motored Papalagi passed Palamut and around Cape Divan, about 5 miles. Once around the Cape we pulled on sail and headed southwest on starboard tack. It was a good breeze at first, Papalagi romped along at 6 knots then without warning stopped in a windless hole. All around us other yachts were sailing, it was quite frustrating. A little motoring for about a quarter of a mile brought us back onto the wind where we kept on heading south west, eventually tacking onto port and started out on a fine lead heading directly towards Knidos some 7 mile distant. As we closed on the headland south east of Knidos the wind moved ahead, we tightened the sheets until we came hard on the wind but it was not enough and after falling below the layline to Knidos tacked onto starboard again for half a mile. We then flew into Knidos at six and half knots, great sailing.
During the afternoon we saw many yachts heading west, some may have by-passed Knidos but most it seemed were heading for the same place as we were. There were still a couple of places left on the jetty when we arrived but most vessels were intent on anchoring in the harbour. By nightfall there 3 motorcruisers, 4 gulets and 16 yachts on anchor. It was pretty tight and several yachts had to re-anchored during the late afternoon. However, it was quite peaceful and after several hours watching our position we retired reasonably happy that we were sound.
Thursday 21st June. In the night the wind turned to the south and we spent an hour watching the changing circumstances as every yacht and cruiser had now turned 180° and the spacial arrangements had materially altered, we were now very close to the bow of the yacht that had anchored ahead of us during the afternoon. The owner of this yacht was also up, he dropped back a few meters and we took up a few meters on our respective anchors which gave us better separation. The southerly died down after about 2 hours so we managed to get back to bed.
Cape Deveboynu, Gulets a daily occurrence
Windfinder indicated a similar wind pattern today as it had for the past 3 days, north-northwest breezes about 12-14 knots in the afternoon, a spin off from the meltemi still blowing through the Greek islands. We set off mid morning hoping the breeze would hold as we rounded Cape Deveboynu, but it didn't. For a short period we tried to sail but gave up and, motoring east, enjoyed the sun and the stunning coast line of the Gökova Gulf. First stop was the small north west cove in the bay of Mersincik. Two gulets were moored at the head of the bay and, knowing the length of anchor chain these guys drop we had to be careful not to cross chains, which somewhat limited the length of chain we were able to use. We dropped anchor in 13 meters of water and reversed to within a boat length of the rocky shore so it was a short swim dragging the anchor line ashore. The difficulty was clambering onto the rocks, under water there was no where to stand as it was still 3 meters deep up against the rocks. The rocks appeared to be jagged but they little grip, our first line ashore slipped off the rock so that needed another swim, again the reset line slipped so I took a third swim before we were fast to the rock. Later, my fourth swim was more leisurely with a mask and snorkel. I checked the anchor and saw that it was buried in sand but almost no scope at all, i.e. not very long, then watched the many fish that seem to be so plentiful in Turkish waters, quite different to Greece where I saw so few fish when snorkeling.
Quite strong gust were blowing down into this delightful bay and with such a short anchor line we decided to make this only a lunch stop. My fifth swim of the day was retrieving our line ashore. A good breeze from behind allowed us to pull out the headsail and running east we continued along the coast to the small port of Kormen. Kormen has no other justification than as a commercial port so that ferries out of Bodrum can connect with the Datça, 15 minutes drive across the Dorian Peninsular. On an exposed shore the harbour has been created using stone breakwaters. The now F5 westerly breeze had pushed up a 1 metre sea that kicked us about as we went broadside to the waves on entering the harbour. Two ferries were berthed at the quay as were 3 other yachts and a hand full of fishing boats. There looked to be about 3 spaces left as we headed towards the quay, the harbour-master waved us in to the space beside one of the yachts and a ferry. We were snug but rocked a bit as the swell rolled into the harbour. We were stirred even more when the ferry left and Papalagi bucked like a bronco in the propeller wash.
Kormen was virtually nothing except the harbour. A run down building near the shore claimed to be a restaurant and could provide a limited fare; fish, chicken wings, meatballs and one other unmentionable dish. Had we been desperate to eat out we could have taken a taksi to Datça for 45 lire eachway. We ate in. The 2 vacant spaces on the quay were taken up by two late arriving catamarans, the one that squeezed in between us and the ferry happened to have a New Zealander on board so that started a conversation.
Friday 22nd June, Windfinder indicated a quiet morning but from midday onwards the wind should pick up and by mid-afternoon the gulf should be experiencing winds up to F4. We made a lazy start pulling away from the quay about eleven o'clock and motoring towards the headland of Ìnce Burun. After thirty minutes we were in a nice F3 breeze with all sails up, we diced with this for three quarters of and hour as it slowly died; convincing ourselves that all the cats paws around us signalled the arrival of the westerly breeze due to arrive at midday. We gave up and motored northwards across the Gökova Gulf to arrive at the small hamlet of Cokertme by mid-afternoon, just as the F4 arrived.
There looked to be only a couple of yachts and 2 motorcruisers in total moored at two of the four restaurant the jetties; the touts were out waving vigorously from their motorboats stationed near their mooring buoys. We chose, for no other reason, the one in the yellow motor boat and motored Papalagi towards him where he handed us a mooring line about 70 meters from the quay and told us to reverse back to the quay. As usual, yachts never just go backwards when put into reverse they often have a tendency to go sideways for a short while. The tout in his motorboat with fender fixed to the bow very adeptly shoved Papalagis stern in the direction we were supposed to go then leapt aboard and took the mooring line from Yvonne, playing it out until I had brought Papalagi to the jetty of the Rose Mary restaurant where two other lads were waiting to take the stern lines. A very smart job, obviously well practised. Rose Mary, the restaurant with the pirate flag, captured one other yacht after us, the other restaurants between them attracted the other 5 yachts to arrive in the bay. Not a good catch for the jetty and restaurant capacity of the hamlet but it was Friday night and most charter yachts would have been back at their bases for change over. Cokertme is only about twenty miles from Bodrum and the charter bases, so is a popular stop on first nights out on charter which may be Saturdays or Sundays.
We were shown the table next to the beach and just as our plates were served the wasps arrived. Seeing our dilemma the restaurant crew came to the rescue with tennis bats while the waiter prepared a smoking pile of a brown granular substance producing an acrid smoke that seemed to be an effective deterrent. Later the the waiter explained the pile of stuff was coffee.
Saturday 23rd June, neither of us stirred before 7:30am then one of us got up. It was a morning in slow motion as we hung around until eleven thirty before leaving. Our last job was to pop back over to Rose Mary collecting a few supplies from their mini-market and letting them know we will would be back next Thursday. Whereupon we were presented with a large black Rose Mary pirate flag and inducted into their clan of bandits. After raising the Jolly Roger Papalagi was released from the jetty and we were free to motor out into a light breeze. Fifteen minutes later we switched off the motor as Papalagi was trucking along at 3 knots under full sail heading across the Gulf towards a small bay called Amazon Creek, 17 miles away.
The breeze settled at F3-4 from the southwest, we kept easing the sheets as it backed during the day through a fine lead to a beam reach and finally to a broad reach which kept Papalagi moving at 4-5 knots for 3 hours. Closing in on the Cape Mersincik, the northern headland of the large Börbübet Bay the breeze dropped so we needed the motor to clear the hazards around the headland and into a picturesque tree fringed anchorage in the narrow indented bay of Amazon Creek. We were the only yacht in the bay so we had the pick of the moorings; dropping anchor we laid back to the shore just off the 'dog leg' in the bay and took a long line to a small old pine tree.
Several day trippers were swimming off the beach just beyond us and kayakers, from the holiday camp were paddling about having fun. The day trippers soon left, we had dinner and the wasps arrived and we finished the evening to the sound of Bob Marley drifting out from the holiday camp, out of sight but not out of sound.
Sunday 24th June; Papalagi rocked slightly to ripples on the water from the light breeze coming into Amazon Creek from the west. Windfinder indicated a wind pattern similar to yesterday so our plan was to re-cross the gulf to Akbük Limani, a bay with jetties and restaurants on the northern coastline. I took my swim shortly after eleven o'clock releasing the line ashore then, motoring away from our mooring, we retraced the route from yesterday out passed the light on the Cape Mersincik and pulled on all sail. The breeze was enough to sail on and we headed towards Cape Göllübük keeping our eyes peeled for the north cardinal buoy marking a submerged rock half a mile of the cape. We spied the buoy in only enough time to harden the sheets and squeeze passed, the depth sounder showing 10 meters of water. Back in clear water we eased sheets for a slow reach to Cape Koyun and another cardinal buoy marking a submerged rock. We spotted the buoy from a couple of miles away but even so it was a bit of a squeeze rounding it as an on-coming yacht created a port and starboard incident. We were the give way vessel so turned to starboard as soon as we were clear of the buoy, Papalagi shaved the rounding a bit tighter than we would have liked. The wind, now a nice F3-4, had backed to the south west and we ran under mainsail at a more respectable 4 knots across the gulf to Akbük Limani.
The small hamlet was tucked in behind a low tree covered peninsula and backed by hills rising steeply from water level to 900 meters high. A thunder storm was brewing over the high hills as we motored into the bay but it didn't seem to deter the crowds of people swimming and enjoying the water in the bay. Spotting the waving form we headed over to the first jetty, threading our way carefully between the swimmers from an adjacent camping ground, and moored up. We struck up a conversation with an english couple on the neighbouring yacht and later joined them for dinner at the restaurant.
We got Papalagi under way well after eleven o'clock motoring out into a light breeze from the south west. The breeze was enough to set sail on and as we had been on power all last night the batteries were full. It wasn't long before Papalagi was nodding away in tune with the wavelets; the gentle wash of water along the lee chine told us we were doing 3+ knots. In a little over an hour we had traversed the head of the gulf, now only 5 miles wide, and were closing in Şehir Adalari, two small islands just off the south coast. We intended only to sail by and not to stay there, they are reputedly enchanting and mysterious with many ruins dating from early Carian to the last Byzantine occupation and a beach Cleopatra created for Antony from sand shipped from North Africa. Coasting south from Şehir Adalari we gave the shallows off Cape Karaca a wide berth and continued down the channel inside the island of Karaca and the mainland to Söğüt. The bay was consistent with the description in the pilot except there was no longer any area to anchor in the western side of the bay, the village jetty was taken up by Gulets and long stay yachts. Yachts were now free anchoring in the east of the bay; we chose to moor at the Marti Marina pier in the south of the bay where we were secure, had power, water and toilet facilities ashore.
It was after five o'clock before we ventured out for a walk, to reconnoitre the two markets, one mini one super, and to explore. Way beyond the Marina facilities lay a residential development, now with mature trees and established gardens. We followed the brick paved road. Many of the paved roads we have struck in Turkey have been made from laid interlocking concrete 'H' blocks, they seem to be very well laid as they are level, smooth and without any sign of wheel indentations from the vehicle traffic. The houses were neat, well looked after, some had small plots of lawns, all had flowers, many of the roses were faintly perfumed. There were oak trees, copper beeches, pomegranate and plum trees laden with fruit, all providing wonderful shade and drawing a light cooling breeze. Continuing on beyond the holiday residences the paved road gave way to bitumen, the houses gave way to small plots of citrus trees: lemons, oranges and limes, interspersed with low shade houses full of strawberries or beans or tomatoes. In cultivated fields grew rows of lettuces and other vegetables, the uncultivated road sides were a tangle of wild raspberries, weeds and the occasional fig tree.
On returning to Papalagi we made use of the marina showers, enjoyed a drink and nibbles as the sun dipped below the ridge line, then ate dinner on board when the temperature was cooler and there was still light in the sky.
Tuesday 26th June, the south west coastline of the upper reaches of the Gökova Gulf is indented with secluded bays and anchorages. The area has a great feel about it, pine trees growing down to the waters edge, good shelter, small pockets of habitation where in the few houses tucked away amongst the trees the inhabitants live self sustaining lifestyles, and the restaurants accessible only by sea. We wanted to spend the next two days in this area before starting to head our way back to Bodrum. Today's objective was the small hamlet of Okluk Koyu, a collection of a few houses and several restaurants in a secluded arm of the larger bay of Değirmen, just three miles south of Söğüt. As we motored Papalagi out of Söğüt we came onto a nice F3 breeze. We had hoped the conditions of the past 3 days might have prevailed and we could have spent a couple of hours of pleasant sailing across the gulf and back, arriving at Değirmen by mid-afternoon. In the F3 breeze Yvonne soon had Papalagi close hauled heading across the gulf at 4-5 knots, soon to be romping along at 6+ knots as the breeze lifted to F4. We took 3 rolls in on the headsail and the main, Papalagi didn't fight so much but stayed on 6 knots. A mile off the northern coast we tacked and headed back across the gulf to Değirmen with sprung sheets on a fine lead. Papalagi loved the conditions and sat on close to 7 knots. Our couple of hours sailing was all over in an hour and a half, we ran under mainsail down the bay to just off English Harbour where we took in the main and motored 10 minutes to one of the restaurant jetties in Okluk Koyu.
The afternoon past slowly, someone read someone did a few code crackers, swam and slept. In the late afternoon we took a short stroll along the tree lined dusty road behind the restaurant to the next restaurant, on to a flash house, then passed a not so flash house surrounded by vegetable gardens, down a sneaky path to a jetty protruding out into the bay, returning to our mooring passed a man cleaning a large fish and a woman milking the restaurant cow. From Papalagi to the restaurant table took about 2 dozen steps, we had a nice dinner and a relaxed evening.
Wednesday 27th June, Windfinder indicated the usual pattern of winds, light in the morning building to 12-14 knots by mid afternoon. Having decided to stay in the north western reaches of the Gulf for another day our choices for anchorages were many. We sorted out 3 possibilities, one fairly close, one not so far away away and the third a reasonable sail around to Yediadalar, an area of several anchorages tucked in behind a string of small islands. We chose Yediadalar setting off by 10:30, motoring for 40 minutes out of the bay and into a sailing breeze. We lay a tack across the head of the Gulf almost to Akbuk, close hauled and making 5-6 Knots. At one point we pulled in a reef in both sails but soon shook out the reef in the main as the wind seemed to soften. We made 3 more tacks, eventually laying the cardinal mark on the rock off Cape Koyun. The breeze by now was a good F5 the seas 1.5 – 2 meters and breaking slowing Papalagi's progress down to 2 knots at times. It was starting to look a bit messy so taking in the head sail and most of the main started motoring getting some drive and balance off the small main sail. Yediadalar looked as though it would be quite uncomfortable as the wind, now in the 20 - 25 knot (est) range, would be blowing straight into the area. We settled for an alternative haven, Büyük Çati on the southern coastline of Bördübet Bay where we though there would be more shelter. We switched the motor off at ten minutes to five, anchored in calm water with 2 lines ashore. It had been quite a day, during the 2 hours of motoring we were crossing 2 – 3 meters seas and it was quite a handful keeping Papalagi from slewing around in those conditions.
Once settled at anchor and after cleaning up we were able to relax. The toilet was awash with a green slime which turned out to be the whole bottle of shampoo that had hit the floor and burst open. We tidied up the ropes and returned Papalagi to ship shape then I took another swim, snorkeling over the anchor well buried in deep sand and mud, and Yvonne enjoyed a 'cool' off in the warm waters of this quite beautiful tree lined secluded bay. We passed the time until dinner in the usual manner which we then had to share with a horde of pesky wasps.
Thursday 28th June, we were in a safe anchorage and the water was calm but the wind blew all night and out in the bay we could see white caps. Conditions were similar to yesterday. Papalagi was ready to leave by ten to eight. With engine running I took the early swim across to the long lines, while Yvonne retrieved the first one I walked around and released the second one, back on board it was up anchor and Yvonne nosed Papalagi out passed the reef and small sheltering island into a F5 breeze and 2+ meter waves. I managed to coil one long line but stuffed the second one into the locker for later on, it was too unstable trying to coil a 40 meter heavy rope on a heaving yacht. We headed Papalagi towards Cokertme at 310°, set the engine at 2000 rpm and slowly worked our way across the 17 miles of the Gulf. The conditions eased as we neared the northern coastline, few white caps now and the seas were only abut a meter; we moored Papalagi at the Rose Mary jetty in Cokertme just before eleven thirty. A strong wind blew from on-shore, it was hot and clothes we had washed were bone dry in an hour. We passed the afternoon slowly, did the odd mental arranging of gear we would have to start packing at some stage, eventually established our Saturday morning pick-up time to the airport from the a2btransfer web site as 6:30am. Later, after showers and the usual preliminaries we had an extravagant but delicious dinner at Rose Mary restaurant.
Friday 29th June, a light wind rocked Papalagi most of the night, in the morning it was calm and the sea in the bay quite smooth. We had thought about spending some time here in Cokertme packing, before leaving for Bodrum later in the morning but there looked to be ruffled water out in the Gulf so we motored Papalagi away from the jetty just on ten o'clock. There was a light breeze outside the bay but the half to one meter swell ruined any chance of trying to sail. We motored for a little over an hour gaining nearly seven miles before a breeze filled in and we could sail. Yvonne soon had Papalagi close hauled heading out into the Gulf at 4 knots. After barely gaining a mile the breeze had increased and white caps started to appear; three rolls in each of the headsail and mainsail took some of the sting out of Papalagi. Continuing out into the gulf on starboard tack for an hour gained us 4 miles and we could lay the eastern end of Karaada (Black Island). Perhaps, we had thought, after an hour on the return tack we would have had some good sailing and would be happy to then motor the last five miles into Bodrum. The breeze backed as we neared Karaada, we eased sheets a little to settle Papalagi down again, our speed jumped to 6-7 knots, we were rollicking along. Our course took us directly into the narrow channel between Karaada and the mainland. The breeze held and we sailed another mile before reaching flat water in the lee of the Island where we were happy to roll the sails away, start the motor, tidy up the ropes and prepare Papalagi for a visit to the fuel berth.
Close hauled across the Gokova gulf
Since we last fuelled up in Göcek had run the motor 45 hours..based on a 1.7 litres an hour fuel consumption rate I calculated, with a slight allowance, that we should have used 75 Litres of diesel. We took on 71 litres of fuel so felt pleased that our system had worked better than even a functioning fuel gauge. Our yacht charter company met us after mooring up on pontoon C, we debriefed, packed in earnest, took a walk to an outlying supermarket to restock our now depleted drinks and nibbles, and later enjoyed a nice meal at one of the many quay side restaurants in the marina area.
Saturday 30th June a 5:20am start. First call was a cup of tea/coffee, then final packing, tidied up Papalagi then disembarked, walking a couple of hundred meters to meet the shuttle at 6:30 am to take us to the airport.
Story by Neil & Yvonne Armitage from New Zealand