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It's Shakedown Time!

1st April 2023 - The Shakedown cruise - Kas Marina - Gokkaya Limani (30.8 nautical miles)

A shakedown sail is a shortish sail out to test all the things that might have changed or to confirm that the boat still works has it should after a period of time stuck in a marina. We had wanted to do this trip out to Kekova before heading west so, whilst we still had time on the marina contract, this was a perfect opportunity to get Rockhopper out again, make sure all was good, and still have the option to head back to the marina to fix anything should we need to.

Jon and Sharon on SV Aquarela, and Louise and Ray (with little pooch Dill) on SV Greylag of Hoyle, had already left the marina. Aquarela had gone round the corner from Kas to Kekova so we thought we’d join them there. Greylag would be also be joining us in a few days.

The promontory on the mainland as well as Kekova Island provided a set of anchorages that were very well protected. Some people had even spent the winter months in these bays. It would be an opportunity to make sure the sails were all connected properly and get our sailing mojo back after such a long time in the marina. It would also be the furthest east that Rockhopper would go. It was a big year for us - we had to make our way back across the whole of the Med…AND…get down to Gran Canaria in time to join the ARC rally and cross the Atlantic! It all seemed a bit overwhelming at this stage but first things first - a steady, quiet, sensible few days in Kekova.

The weather was still a bit iffy at times but we had found a window that wasn’t too bad. After doing a bit of provisioning we nervously called the marinero at 12pm to come take our lines off the bows and detach them from the lazy lines. Interestingly he tied them to the boats either side of us rather than drop our lines onto the sea bed which was kind of him. We’d be leaving them attached as we were only going away for a week. It felt great to be back out on the water. We had seen that the wind might get up to around 20kn so we thought we’d go easy and put up the mainsail with one reef in. Considering the whole thing had been off and in bits we were pretty happy that it all went up ok. Well done Carl! Within about 20 minutes of us leaving the marina the black clouds seemed to hover and it all looked a bit menacing. The wind did indeed pick up and we flew out around the corner. Our nice new shiny bottom paint on the hulls and the props were giving us at least an extra 1.5kn boat speed. We did notice that our chart plotter compass was pretty off. Looking at our heading versus the analog compass on the helm, we were off by about 30 degrees. We’d do some investigating when we stopped.

The swell wasn’t too bad, maybe 0.5m but it was certainly gusting up to 24kn and we saw 9kn SOG. A bit spicy for our first trip out but she handled it well. We did too. I did nervously text Jon to ask how sheltered it was in the anchorage. He responded with ‘gusting to 8kn and flat as a pancake’ so I was nicely reassured. Gokkaya Limani is an anchorage protected by Asirli Island, the next one along from Kekova and a few little blobs of rock. We dropped the sails at the north eastern end of Asirli and motored in to the bay. The wind did indeed die away and coming round the corner we spotted Aquarela, a single boat in this gorgeous bay surrounded by steep green cliffs. Giving them plenty of room we ventured a little further into the bay and, after testing that there was sufficient depth in all directions, we dropped the hook in 2.4m of water, 28m chain in what looked like a muddy bottom. I recalled our first anchorage after spending the winter in Gib, it was bliss. This was just the same.

The little island of Asirli once had a restaurant on it, long since abandoned to the goats. So we picked up Jon and Sharon and went for a wander. We obviously took a beer for the road. Only the concrete foundations remained and quite a lot of goats. The little ones we found cute, the bigger ones we steered clear of.

2nd April 2023 - Gokkaya Limani

The next morning we woke up to a peaceful anchorage. We’d slept like babies. Carl took the opportunity to fly the drone and get some aerial shots of us and Aquarela in this beautiful setting. We got a message from Jon suggesting that we venture out in the dinghy to go see a local cave and to check out a little bar around the corner. So after lunch we picked them up and explored the area. Unfortunately the bar was closed as it was still very early in the season. Looked cool though.  That afternoon Ray and Louise on their boat Greylag of Hoyle arrived in the anchorage. After their requisite anchor beer they came over for a few drinks.

3rd April 2023 Gokkaya Limani - Kekova - Kaleköy (4.9 nautical miles)

The following morning at 9am it was time to head around into the Kekova Roads area and our next anchorage. It wasn’t far to go but there was a castle to explore, great views of the area and supposedly an underwater city. We weighed anchor at the same time as Aquarela and headed out of the bay. There was sufficient wind to sail the short section around the corner and in to the natural bay either side of the town of Kaleüçagiz. There was a little marina there but we decided to head to the eastern anchorage. There was plenty of space and it wasn’t very deep. We anchored in 3.8m of mud but because we had space and we were expecting some big gusts we put out 47m of chain. Way more than required but there were so few boats and we wanted to make sure the boat didn’t go anywhere. A short while later Aquarela followed us in and anchored nearby.

After the requisite anchor beer we had lunch and thought about going to see the castle. Sharon was going to stay on the boat but Jon was up for the walk so we picked him up and dinghied out and round the corner to Simena. There were a few docks belonging to restaurants there. They were big enough to dock some of the larger tourist boats but again, since it was out of season, we saw a lady come out and wave us in to tie to her dock. We obviously felt compelled to have a beer before heading up to see Simena Kalesi, the castle on the hill. The lady who ran the restaurant pointed us in the right direction and we began the climb up to the top. It really was a great vantage point to see the Kekova Roads, the enclosed bay protected by Kekova Island. Once we had taken a few pictures we walked back down to the restaurant and just past it was a lovely little beach with a partially submerged sarcophagus in the shallow water. We assumed that this was the sunken city however, whilst there were some foundations that could be seen underwater, the Lycian city of Dolichiste was actually across the bay off the island of Kekova. We had googled it over another cold beverage to justify a bit more time on the restaurant dock, of course. We contemplated taking the dinghy over there but the water was quite choppy so I doubt we would have seen anything much.

Whilst we were up the hill at the castle we saw that Greylag had arrived and anchored nearby.  We took a lovely picture of the three boats in the anchorage. Whilst the sea temperature really wasn’t conducive to swimming, there is definitely something to be said for early Springtime sailing. Such peace and quiet. That night we all headed into Kaleuçagiz for dinner together.

4th April 2023 - Kekova - Kaleköy - Uçagiz West (1.43 nautical miles)

Since the forecast had predicted some strong winds coming from the WSW, we decided that we all should move across to the western side of the bay for a bit more protection from the surrounding hills. Greylag and Aquarela had left first but we weren’t in too much of a hurry so at 1pm we weighed anchor and motored across the bay. There were a few more boats on this side. The further into the bay you go the shallower it gets but then there is better protection so we passed by Aquarela and Greylag and ventured into shallower water. Having a shallower draft does have its benefits. Again it was a muddy bottom and, due to the expected strong winds, (and potentially a bit of nervousness on our part) we put out a colossal 52m of chain out…in 2.5m of water. As we’d gone quite a bit further in than where Aquarela and Greylag had anchored we got a text message from Jon shortly after. ‘A bit anti-social?’ Haha.

That afternoon Carl and I took the dinghy into town again in search of a supermarket. We also decided to stop off for dinner. Carl made a friend again (see photo).

5th April 2023 - Uçagiz West

Having thought we were tucked in nicely it turns out that 52m of chain still wasn’t enough when your anchor is not dug in. The forecasted WSW winds arrived and the boat was fish-tailing quite a bit in the gusts. Everyone stayed onboard throughout the day. At some point in the afternoon we noticed that we were getting closer and closer to the rocks behind us. We had bought a golf range finder over Christmas so we were confident we were definitely on the move. We’d spent the night at that spot quite peacefully and naively assumed that if you’d been set for 24hrs then you were set. We must have been caught on a rock or something and, with the movement of the boat and the change in wind direction it must have dislodged. Luckily it was day time and we were on the boat so no harm done. What was annoying was that we had put down 52m of chain in the muddiest mud possible. I had to wash down the chain in 1m sections as it was completely clogged. It took bloody ages. This time when we moved a bit, dropped the anchor and lay out the chain again we were not so keen to dump the lot. We had dinner onboard that night with the anchor alarm on.

6th April 2023 - Uçagiz West - Gokkaya Limani (5.5 nautical miles)

The following morning we all decided to head back round to Gokkaya Limani. It was a great spot and, since we had all been buffeted around in this anchorage, we thought it might provide better protection than where we were. Aquarela weighed anchor first. Shortly afterwards we got a message from Lou saying that they might have a problem. They typically tow their dinghy and, in the 22kn gusts that we were all trying to leave in, they had run over the dinghy painter with the boat and got the line wrapped around the prop. Ray had been in to try and cut it away but couldn’t get down to the prop for long enough to cut it free. Carl came to the rescue and got his dive gear out. I did feel for him as the water was pretty chilly and the wind was howling. He donned his wetsuit and we loaded the gear into the dinghy. I stayed in the dinghy whilst Carl dove under Greylag to cut the line free. After about 5 mins the prop was free. Getting out of scrapes was one of the main reasons we got the diving gear onboard. As I hauled the dive gear back on the dinghy and Carl hauled himself back onto the boat unfortunately the diving knife popped out of its holder and sank to the bottom. What made matters worse was that it was MY diving knife.

Anyhoo, once Greylag was safely on her way we got back to Rockhopper, raised the dinghy and started the muddy process of raising and washing the chain, one metre at a time. It took 30mins to get the anchor back onboard. Coming out of the bay we were hit with 25kn from the SW. It was only a short 5nm sail so we put the head sail out with 1 reef in it and managed to achieve 6kn SOG. Lazy, but effective. By 12:30pm we were back in that beautiful bay and back in almost the same spot were were in before. Only Greylag and Aquarela were there with us. Such a peaceful spot - at least it was for the moment.

After anchor beers were sunk we arranged to meet later on at a little terraced area on the mainland. We packed a few beers and at around 5pm we gathered on shore. Sure enough it started to rain pretty soon afterwards and we had to take shelter under two trees. It became known as the Double Tree Hilton. We spent the afternoon talking of our plans for the season and wondering why we hadn’t all spent more time together when we were in Kas. The last few days had been really good fun. When the beers were drunk we offered to reconvene on Rockhopper for a drink or two. Both couples said ‘sure, but we’ll go back for dinner on ours later’. Well…. That didn’t happen.

The disco ball came out. As we were the only three boats in the anchorage with no one else around, the music was turned up and we danced the night away. It had started to rain again so we zipped up the enclosures and as the wind and rain howled outside, we partied on. There are only a handful of occasions where we forget that we are on a boat and we need to be ready to handle anything. We were not in a state to handle anything that night. Luckily for us, nothing needed to be handled. It was a great night!

7th April 2023 - Gökkaya Limani - Siçak Koyu (Meatball Bay) (6.99 nautical miles)

The following morning with pretty sore heads, we thought about picking up the hook and heading elsewhere. Lou and Ray were going to stay put for a few more days but the crew of Aquarela and Rockhopper would stick out one more night in the Kekova Roads. Jon had told us about a bay with a good restaurant that did good meatballs. So, at 10:35am, before the wind picked up too much, we weighed anchor in search of Meatball Bay. It was only a short hop round so by 11:50am we were approaching the anchorage of Siçak Koyu. There appeared to be two boats anchored in the corner with lines ashore and only one other small catamaran in the middle of the bay. Plenty of room. There wasn’t much wind at that time and what there was seemed to be coming from the N. We knew stronger gusts were due to come more from the W later on so we decided to lay our chain out with this in mind. That way the anchor would set nicely in the direction we would be facing for the stronger wind. We had settled with a decent gap between us and the baby cat. A short time later Aquarela came round the corner and anchored a bit further out in deeper water. Whilst we were having a cup of tea at the back, the wind slowly started to come round. I happen to glance up and the baby cat was only about 15m away from us. We had been at least 50m when we settled. Looking closer it appeared that he didn’t have anchor chain, only rode (rope) so must have put out a phenomenal amount of it. As is the custom it’s the last one in whose responsibility it is to move if you get too close. Although having to assume your neighbour has 100m of rode out is a little unfair. We stared at it for quite a while, determining whether we should move, and in that time the wind shifted to the W as expected and we drifted back away from him.

We opted for a lunchtime stop at the meatball place with Jon and Sharon. He was right, they were amazing. We shared a plate of meatballs and a huge platter of chips together with the spiciest salad we’d had in Türkiye. Carl loved it! The price was a little eye watering for the meal so we stuck with the local beer instead of wine which would have cleaned us out of cash. We had been warned though so it was what it was.

8th April 2023 - Siçak Koyu - Kas Marina (20.1 nautical miles)

After a peaceful night and a beautiful sunrise it was time to head back to Kas marina. As Jon and Sharon had already completed their marina contract with Kas they would follow us on in a few days and anchor just outside the marina. There wasn’t a great deal of wind so we motored back the 20nm. All of our journeys had been pretty short in and around the Kekova Roads area so we had completely forgotten about the 30 degree compass offset on the chart plotter. It was pretty apparent on the way back and we vowed to do some research and sort it out when we got back into the marina. We knew the wind would pick up again in the afternoon as usual so we wanted to get into our berth before the dreaded 20kn crosswind appeared. Hence we left at 6:25am and were radioing the marinero at 9:35am to help us back into our berth on F pontoon. It had been a wonderful start to the new sailing season and given us a real confidence boost and excitement to get out there again after 7 months of land living. We had also had a fantastic time with Jon, Sharon, Ray and Lou and knew we would be meeting up with them again, at least until we left Türkiye so good times to look forward to.

We had a few things to do first before our time in the marina was up on the 19th April. The Turkish residency still was not sorted. Our interview date was on the 10th April. Our friends Bill and Laurie had told us that when they left Finike for Greece, they had just paid the fine for overstaying the tourist visa limitation of 90 days. They had paid €220 for both of them for overstaying by 23 days. We seriously considered blowing off the interview and just paying the fine when we came to leave. It would have been 31 days for us and staying longer than 30 had its own extra fine associated with it but I wasn’t sure how much that would have been. Surely not the amount we had already paid plus the amount that we would have to pay on the day. To summarise the residency saga, we had to pay for the following things:

  • Agents fee

  • Notary fee

  • One year medical Insurance premium

  • Marriage certificate translation fee

  • Professional photos

  • Application fee if successful

  • Car hire (twice)

  • And…a trip to the Meis.

After our previous failed attempt at residency in February, we’d be going to the interview on the 10th April to ask for residency to be granted until the 19th April when our marina contract ended. 9 days. We had no idea whether they might simply refuse to bother processing it since it was such a short time. Also, if it was granted, we would have to leave the country on our residency permit, prior to it running out, and then re-enter on a passport tourist visa, to allow us to stay for another month in Türkiye, until the 90 days ran out. If you’re lost already reading this then don’t worry, you’re not alone. It took us a while to get our heads around it.

Anyway, basically, our options were as follows:

  1. Gain residency for 9 days, and leave the country on the 19th April when the marina contract was up and our residency expired (no trip to Meis required)

  2. Gain residency for 9 days, take the €70 trip to Meis (Greek island) for the day prior to the 19th and come back on the remainder of our 90 day tourist visa allowing us to stay until well into May

  3. Go to the appointment, not gain residency and get fined on the spot for overstaying our 90 day tourist visa…and have to leave the country immediately.

  4. Not bother with the appointment and just get fined when we left.   

Option 2 was our preferred choice although at this point option 4 was very appealing. Option 3 was the nightmare scenario which also made option 4 appealing. However, I’m a goody two shoes and we had already invested a fair amount of money in Option 2 so we set about organising a hire car for the 10th. I was fully aware that if it all went tits up Carl would be giving me the ‘I told you Option 4 was better’ look.

I also thought there might be a chance that if we get the residency we could still get the full medical check in Fethiye for the discounted price. And hey, Meis (or Kastellorizo as the Greek’s call it) was supposed to be lovely.

10th April 2023 - Interview Part Deux - Kemer

The day of the interview had arrived and we’d organised a car for the day. This time we would be going there and back in the day. We’d already see the delights that Kemer had to offer. The night before I had had some more bad news. I’d contacted the medical centre and they had told me that they would have to see the residency card for us to be granted the discount price. Even if our residency was granted it would take a month for the card to come through. That put an end to that. So at 9am we nervously got in the car and drove out to Kemer.

You never know, others who had gone for the interview had been given a month or two over their marina contract end date. That would have saved us the Meis trip cost. But, as luck would have it, it was the same bloody guy we had had before in February and he was clearly a stickler for the rules. For one brief moment we though he had given us two months residency from today but no, he had literally granted us two months total, from when we applied on the 17th February. So, option 2 it was. We were given the temporary residency documentation which would have to suffice as we would be well gone from Kas marina by the time the cards would be posted out to us. It stated on the form that it could be used to travel with so, whilst not elated, it had at least gone as expected.

Back in Kas we walked down to the dock to book our tickets to Meis. The ferry didn’t go every day so the first day we could go was Friday the 14th. With tickets in hand we went for a beer in town. Things were looking up. Yes we had spent a lot of money on the process but it was now sunk and we were legal. We had the residency and the trip to Meis would be interesting. We’d get the chance to have some lovely Greek food and maybe even buy some BACON!

14th -17th April 2023 - To Meis or not to Meis??

The morning of the ferry trip arrived. We packed our things and headed down to the dock. The guys at the ticket office were all smiles and told us to head to the immigration queue about 45mins before the departure time. Armed with our passports and temporary residency documents we stood in the queue. When we eventually got to the front the guy curiously looked at our documentation and started to frown. He then scanned our passports and told us we were over the 90 days tourist visa. We said we had residency and pointed at the form to say it clearly stated we could travel with it. It is then that he pointed out that the ‘Foreign ID number’ column on both of our forms was blank. He had no reference to find our applications on the system. The ticket office guy was actually very helpful and even made some phone calls for us but ultimately if he couldn’t tie our passports to the residency application then the whole exercise was pointless. We bailed on the trip and dejectedly walked back to the office. They very kindly offered us a refund for our tickets. With Carl getting more and more despondent I was straight onto our agent to get him to help us. He was the only one that could log into system to check whether a number had been assigned to us. That was all that we needed. But it was a Friday. He offered to check again on Monday. That would be the 17th. We were cutting it fine but once again we were waiting on some bureaucracy and there was no telling how long that would take. We started looking at the weather for the week ahead for when we would have to leave the marina and it was looking pretty grim too. Sigh. This whole thing had been such a roller coaster. Just when you thought you had it figured out another disappointment hit you. I know, first world problems, but it was frustrating and worrying nonetheless.

Regardless of what was going on it was our last weekend in Kas so we chose to go out for dinner and a few drinks. It had been such a lovely spot to hang out. We certainly counted ourselves lucky to have wintered here. The shops and restaurants were starting to open up again after the winter so it was all coming back to life again.

By Monday morning I was thinking that we needed to come up with a different plan since the Meis thing was not going to work before we’d have to leave the marina. The anchorages near the marina were all deep and, with the wind forecast, we certainly did not feel comfortable leaving Rockhopper on anchor whilst we disappeared on the ferry for the day. It left at 9am and did not get back to 5pm. Whilst I was looking at maybe Rhodes or somewhere further up the coast where we might be able to try (even though our residency would have been over by then…another problem) I got a message from our agent showing that our application had been approved and we had the numbers! It was 11:26am. So today’s ferry was out of the question but we could try tomorrows! We flung on some shoes and practically ran down to the ticket office in town to book for the 18th.

No ferries run on Tuesdays. AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! F*X@$

We traipsed back to the marina thinking that there was some divine force against us. A ferry did run on Wednesday but that was the 19th, the day we were due to leave the marina, and the day our residency ended. After much discussion we decided to book onto the ferry on the 19th. We’d checked with the marina and we were allowed to stay until 6pm on the day of departure. We could go to Meis, get back and, practically in the dark, move the boat round to the nearest anchorage, in 20kn winds. Not ideal but doable. We really weren’t left with much choice. We’d already heard from friends that a night in the marina was at least €220 so, on top of everything else, we just weren’t keen on paying that. We were due out for dinner with Mark at the pizza place across the road that we had waited for 6 months to open so, whilst I was getting ready, I asked Carl to just go and double check exactly how much it would be to stay one more night at the marina. I’d meet him at the Oxygen Bar.

As I walked up the slope to the bar I could see him sitting there with a smile on his face. He said that the marina would only charge €60 for the night as we had just spent 6 months with them. For this marina to give us any kind of discount was very surprising so, for peace of mind, we snatched up the opportunity. Unfortunately for poor Jon and Sharon they weren’t so kind. Aquarela had come round to the anchorage just opposite the marina. On attempting to lift their anchor the gearbox on the windlass died. They eventually had to come back to the marina in order to get it fixed but they were charged full price. Luckily not a catamaran though as that would have been 1.5 times more.

18th April 2023 - Kastellorizo

9am we were back in the queue for immigration. I had printed out the new temporary residency forms, now with foreign ID numbers. The immigration guy took them off me, did an awful lot of checking on his computer, then said to me ‘Your residency runs out today?’ I said in return, ‘Um, yes…’ He then typed some more on his computer and handed back the passports and the forms to me. We were through!

I think you might be able to see the relief on our faces from the photo we took on the ferry that day. It was indeed blowing a hoolie out there so again, the relief that we would not have to leave that night was palpable.

We could simply just enjoy the day. And that we did! Saganaki, fresh fish, a Greek salad and a carafe of red wine that was only €7. Bliss! We didn’t even bother about getting the bacon. We were too happy to go food shopping! We did, however, walk up to the monastery at almost the highest point of the island but, in true Greenwood style, it was closed on Wednesdays. Even this didn’t dampen the mood…much.

Coming back into Kas, we just handed over our passports and they stamped them as if the residency thing had never happened. The scheme had worked! We were back on the tourist visa with a month of float.

That evening we went back to the pizza place (it was that good) with Ben and Lynnae, our fellow Lagoon 42 owners and neighbours in Kas. They had been back in Türkiye for a while now and we wanted one last dinner with them. They’d brought back couscous, dates and maple syrup for us and been wonderful friends during our time in Kas. They had opted for another season in Türkiye so it was highly likely that we would not be seeing them for a long while. It is always sad to meet such people and then say goodbye. We’d be doing the same with Jon, Sharon, Lou and Ray but that was for later. That night we shared stories and talked of our plans for the next season. They were equally as excited for us and we were for their journey up towards Istanbul and back.

20th April 2023 - Farewell Kas

At 8am we called the marinero for the final time. He handed us back our lines and when we said we were going to the pump out dock to start the 15 day clock he came round to help tie us up. After a bit of waiting for the office to open and for us to get the receipt it was time to leave Kas. We cast off the lines and as we motored past A pontoon we saw Jon and Sharon at the end of the dock giving us a big wave goodbye. They even filmed our last moments in Kas. Shortly after we passed F pontoon and there was Ben and Lynnae waving us on. It was fairly emotional, I have to say. Goodbye Kas, what an amazing home you have been to us!



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