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Türkiye, we made it!

6th October 2022 - Marina Symi (Pedi) - Datça North, Türkiye (18.3 nautical miles)

So, today was the day. We needed to check out of Greece and head to Türkiye. We had used the power of the Facebook Med Sailing forum and got the name and number of an agent to handle our check in. Can’t do it without one apparently. I think this was the first time we corresponded with our friend Louise. She and her husband Ray (and their dog Dill) would be wintering in Kas so we would get to meet them later on.

Everything these days is done on WhatsApp which makes dealing with a non-English speaking person a doddle. They can google translate what you write and details are all written down.

In order to arrive during office hours we needed to check out and get over to Datça before 5pm when the Seher Tours office would shut. We had gone over to Symi harbour from Pedi the day before to confirm when the port police office and customs offices would open so we would be ready at 9am to get it all done. It was only 18nm between ports so there was plenty of time.

A few last photos of Symi and Pedi.

As 9am approached we hovered outside the port police portacabin. 9am came and went and the little window remained shut. We walked over to the near by police station to ask when it might open. There was an officer stood on the balcony of the building who yelled down to us, maybe 10? He was guarding what looked like about 20-30 people camped out on the balcony. We surmised they might be refugees which was the first visible sign that we had come across of people taking desperate risks to cross the Med for a better life. Unfortunately this would not be the last.

We walked back towards a cafe to have a coffee and wait for the office to open. At 10 we wandered back over to wait and before long another crew complement appeared who were wanting to check out. At around 10:30am we were starting to get nervous about making our deadline but eventually we could see someone in a uniform appear and make moves to open the window. As Carl and I walked forward, a car pulled up and a guy got out with 10 passports in his hand and went straight to the window. He clearly was an agent and jumped the queue. It was pointless getting arsey about it so we waited as patiently as was feasible in the 30 degree heat for him to finish his business and do one. Eventually it was our turn. They stamped our passports and told us to go to the customs office to hand back our transit log. It was almost directly opposite to us across the bay so we set off at a brisk pace to get it done. Once complete we headed back to the bus stop. By the time we got back to the boat and got ready to slip the lines it was 12pm. It would be tight but I think we were going to make it. We raised the main sail and full jib and set out for the north anchorage of Datça bay. It wasn’t particularly a quick sail across and as we approached 4pm we got a message from our agent asking whether we would make it in time. We confidently said yes and dropped the hook in 7m of water in a 15kn breeze at 4:25pm. Usually we back down on the anchor and sit on the boat for a few hours but there was no time for that. The dinghy was lowered and we were off.

We met a sweet guy (still don’t actually know his name, it all happened so fast and he was keen to get home) but he filled out some stuff, walked us round the port police and sorted out a transit log for us. He then said he needed to go do something and that we should come back in 30mins. He hopped on a scooter with our passports in hand and disappeared. So, with time to kill we headed back to the promenade along the harbour and found a bar to have our first taste of the Turkish beer Efes. We were back in a Muslim country and were slightly surprised to see bars along the harbour and seating outside for alcoholic drinks.

By half 5 we wondered back over to the Seher Tours office to complete the paperwork. The agent handed us the transit log and a piece of paper with a QR code on it which was our pump out certificate. In Türkiye you have to pump out your holding tanks every 14 days. It’s all online so the authorities can see how many times you have done it. I hate to say it is a bit of a money-making scheme as not all pump out stations work, some just scan your QR code, you hand over money and you are on your way. One also never sees the tourist gullets pumping out so it does have the feel of a foreigner tax but anyhoo, thems’ the rules.

With our dealings complete we wandered off back to the dinghy to go check on the boat, get showered and changed in order to come back out for dinner later. As we were loading ourselves into the dinghy the agent came haring round the corner on his scooter. At first we were alarmed that we had done something wrong but then we saw him waving something in his hands. It was our passports! I have no idea how he knew where to find us as we had met him at his office but we were thankful that he did.

That night we had our first proper Adana kebab at a table on the beach with our toes in the sand. We awoke the next morning to the call to prayer and it all came back to us. We remembered how much we loved hearing it when we lived in the UAE, albeit here there was certainly more of a flourish to the song. Definitely hitting a few more notes in the higher octave than in Abu Dhabi. First impressions of Türkiye? Fantastic!

7th October 2022 - Datça North - Kuruca Buku (11.7 nautical miles)

Not much sleep was had that night as the wind picked up a fair bit. It wasn’t forecasted but the anchor held well enough. At 9:40am we weighed anchor and decided to head along the Datça peninsula in search of a sheltered bay. We sailed the 11nm across, halfway along the peninsula and had the option of two bays, either side of a lump of rock sticking out, connected to the coastline with an hourglass shaped land spit. There wasn’t a great deal of wind forecast for the next few days so we opted for the eastern bay, Kuruca Buku. We circled round a bit in search of the sandy patches that weren’t too close to some barely submerged rocks, eventually settling on a spot in 10m with 47m of chain out. There wasn’t too much in the bay, just a long sandy beach so we had a bbq on board and watched a beautiful sunset.

8th October 2022 - Kuruca Buku - Bençik (8.95 nautical miles)

The next morning it was a short hop to our next destination. We were going to give long lines ashore a go again. This is a common thing here in Türkiye as with Greece but they tend to be much narrower and deeper anchorages hence the need to tie back. Bençik was a good example of this in a narrow inlet stretching inland from the Gulf of Doris. Dodging the large gullet boats on the way in we made our approach. There was space in the gulf for a few boats to free swing on anchor but other Navily users had warned us of gullets coming in and laying 250m of chain out right across the bay as they tied to the shore. We thought it would be safer to tie to shore ourselves too. As we motored along the bay we scanned the shore for good points to tie to. Apparently in Türkiye it is illegal to tie to trees and people had been fined in this bay so we were looking for solid lumpy rocks. There were a few boats already tied up and one gullet, all tied to trees.

After getting the dinghy down to take the lines ashore last time in Menorca we decided that was a silly idea. It was way too much of a faff. The paddle board however, easy! I readied the anchor and Carl started to lower it in 14m of water as he slowly started to back towards the shore. In the meantime I untied a paddle-board from the stanchions and flung it overboard. I had already unreeled what I thought was enough tape from the reels to reach the shore on each side of the boat. Luckily it was pretty calm so once we were about 30m out from the shore, Carl held her there and I jumped on the paddle board and paddled to shore with the end of the line in my hand. When I reached the stony shore the hunt for a solid lumpy rock began. My previous contenders turned out to be flaky. The first one I got seemed embedded enough into the side of the hill so I attached the tape round the rock and clipped the carabiner on the end back onto the tape. Once one is on its all good. Carl then pulled in the excess chain and I nervously watched my rock choice to make sure he didn’t pull it out of the dirt. I then went in search of another at the right angle to the port side of the boat so that we’d be pinned. There was nothing. Absolutely no rock that was solid. In the end I saw a dead tree stump which was about three foot tall and opted for that. Surely they couldn’t penalise me for tying to a dead tree stump. There’d be others in the bay to penalise first, besides.

After a bit of back and to with the anchor and the lines we were settled in our spot. It was idyllic. So peaceful. Trees all around us. We sat at the front of the boat on our chairs with a G&T watching the coming and going of the gullets and boats. A short while later a little fishing boat came into the bay and made a beeline for us. On closer inspection he was selling fruit, veg and bread. We waved him on on the first night but the following morning we bought onions, potatoes, chillies and tomatoes from him. He threw in a massive round flat loaf of bread for us and with a toothy grin he was off again. This all come to 200TL, about £9 at the time. For the convenience, we thought it was ace. After dinner on the first night we sat out front again with a glass of wine soaking up the peace of the bay when this giant orb started to grow from the side of the mountain across the way. We were treated to two nights of a Hunters moon. No photos will do it justice but it was incredible. I took out our binoculars and could see so much detail on the lunar surface.

10th October 2022 - Bençik - Dirsek (6.79 nautical miles)

After two days it was time to move on. Another short hop across the Gulf of Doris to Dirsek bay, there was no wind to speak of so we just motored across. We thought we’d try a restaurant on the shore that evening so we headed into the bay to again tie to shore. We found a spot and again, deployed the paddle board. It was a large bay but really deep. In fact we had to anchor in 20m of water and take lines ashore. The water was still warm enough to swim but the shore was lined with pretty sharp rocks so it seemed easier to step off the board onto to rock that try and climb up out of the water. I always head over with my water shoes on but still, easier to step off the board. This time it wasn’t too difficult to find some rocks to tie to, which was good because we had boats either side of us. I needed to get a line on quickly to help Carl keep the boat steady. As it turned out there was enough room for another one or two boats to come in-between us but luckily they had sufficient numbers onboard for two to dive off the back of the boat and tie up pretty quickly.

The water was crystal clear with thousands of little fish swimming round the back of the boat. It looked awfully crowded in there!

During our anchor beer on the front we spotted our first Migros boat! This is a floating supermarket that comes into the bay, toots a horn and waits for the dinghies to come to it to stock up. Very handy. Had we not stocked up with the local veg guy we’d have been over there, just for the novelty of it.

That evening we took the dinghy to the restaurant to have a meal out. Our first experience of how a captive market yields extortionate prices. The restaurant was in a lovely setting but a simple place. No frills but we got a table looking out over the bay. There was as glass cabinet with an array of entrees on the top shelves and then fresh fish and shrimp to pick from for dinner. There was no menu per se and definitely no prices but we were keen to try some local food and just went with it. We picked a few starters, hummus, a spicy tomato dip and some calamari with some bread thrown in. We then picked a fish to share and asked for a bottle of wine. Not realising the size of the portions was our first mistake (we ordered way too many starters), our second was to not ask the price of the meal beforehand, and our third was ordering a bottle of wine. Alcohol, whilst readily available in Türkiye, is quite a bit more expensive than in Europe. The meal came to 1880TL with the bottle of wine costing 800TL. That was £36 for the bottle of wine and £50 for the meal. In fairness that would not be unheard of in tourist spots but this was a small shack on a beach. The added concern was that we still didn’t know how far our cash would take us and we had used half of it to pay the agent. After this meal we had about 500TL left. Our plans of hitting another quite bay and a quaint little restaurant before a town would have to wait. We needed a cash point. We found out that ‘cash is king’ in Türkiye!

11th October 2022 - Dirsek - Bozburun (8.35 nautical miles)

It was again only a short hop to Bozburun, a town where we would be able to stock up on cash again. It was such a lovely morning and we felt no real need to head out early. Whilst we were having coffee we watched the cat that had come in next to us, with the two guys that jumped off the back start up their engines. There was little wind at the time so we weren’t too concerned about them swinging in to us. We watched as a guy dove off the back and swam to shore. He let off one line and then the other. The skipper then decided to lift up his chain before the guy was back on the boat. He was now quite a way from the shore and the guy started to swim to the boat. Once the anchor was up he then did the stupidest thing we have seen in a while. He reversed back towards the swimmer. He was still moving backwards with his props turning as the guy reached the swim ladder, his legs drifting back under the boat. The prop was not that far from where his legs were and we looked on in horror. We were very relieved to see that the guy managed to haul himself back onto the ladder and out of the water before chopped body parts floated by. Idiot.

At 11am I took the paddle board to shore, untied the lines and we raised the anchor and made our way out of the bay. There are two approaches to Bozburun, one through a little cut through between the mainland and and island called Kizil Ada and the other going all the way round the island. The cut through drops to about 2m in depth so sufficient room for us to go through but a bit nervy. Mind you, what’s the point of having a catamaran with a shallow draft if you don’t take advantage of it?

Both engines were on for added manoeuvrability and I sat at the bow with a headset on. Not sure what good it did as I appear to be crap and judging how deep the water is from just looking at it. It all looked bloody shallow to me so it really was me saying ‘Gees that looks shallow, what’s the depth sounder saying?' With Carl giving me a number. I suppose I could have pointed out random rocks but probably not quick enough for him to move the boat around it. Anyway, sat up front with the headset on we ventured forth. Just as we made a move to enter the cut we saw a huge gullet come through the other way. We decided to let them come on through and saw the line they took. If they can fit so can we. After the slight pause we came through without incident.

We headed for the anchorage outside the little harbour and dropped the hook in 10m. We settled about 200m from a line of gullets all stern-to moored against the breakwater of the harbour. There was a gap for one or two more directly opposite where we had settled. I went a bit quiet. Carl knows I’m not happy when I go a bit quiet. He went about dropping the dinghy into the water to get ready for us to head to shore hoping I’d snap out of it. Unfortunately I didn’t. If another gullet came in he could easily drop his big fisherman’s anchor over our chain as he backed into the spot. We could also have been already hooked on one of their anchors. They tend to take no prisoners when they leave so would have no qualms about nudging us out the way.

After our previous experiences we tend to agree that if one of us is not happy then we move. As is always the case when you change your routine a little bit, things go awry. As we were going to just move a bit further out we opted to leave the dinghy in the water and just tow it. Our mistake was the fact that we did not have a floating line attached to the dinghy. We have a short painter attached to the front, one that if it fell in the water as we were going along in the dinghy it wasn’t long enough to get wrapped round the outboard prop. That turned out to be annoying when we attached it to the mothership. It was too short and the dinghy kept getting stuck between the two hulls with the outboard casing banging against the hull. So we’d bought a shiny new yellow line which was longer. As we raised the anchor and Carl brought the boat round to find another spot to anchor I came to the back of the boat only to see the dinghy drifting away from us. The rope cutters on our starboard prop had done their thing and made the yellow line a bit shorter. The water was a bit murky and I wasn’t keen to get in but as Carl yelled ‘Off you go then!’ I remembered to take off my headset just before I jumped in drag it back. Eewww.

While we were faffing about dragging the dinghy to a midship cleat and making sure the line was short enough not to interact with the props we saw a boat leave a lovely little bay across the way. Bulgaz Koyu in the Badalena Bay was just shy of a half a nautical mile from the harbour and had no gullets in sight. We made a beeline there and dropped the anchor in 8m right in the centre of a sweet little bay, all to ourselves apart from a small fishing boat, close to shore. It was perfect. Just a short dinghy ride across to Bozburun. We were both happy again and the prop that cut the line seemed to be fine too.

All settled by 1pm we made sure the anchor was set then went into town for a wander. We took the dinghy into the harbour and managed to find a quiet corner to tie her up to. First we found a cash point so we were back in the green. As is our custom we stopped off for a beer at a little cafe with seats next to the water. The dockside was lined with gullets so we had our first chance to see what they looked like. Some were quite luxurious. We found a fruit and veg shop to collect a few things and sussed our where we would go for dinner. Apart from Datça, Bozburun was our first Turkish town. There were loads of cats and dogs about, just wandering the streets. Clearly stray but seemed to be well fed. We walked past a sign that said that the animals we saw were part of the Bozburun community and should be treated with respect. Loved that. A fair few shops and restaurants had bowls of cat or dog food and water outside. After a lovely seafood dinner (with several feline onlookers) we made our way back to the boat.

12th October 2022 - Bozburun - Ali Baba’s Restaurant, Bozukkale (14 nautical miles)

The next morning at 10:30am after breakfast we set off for Bozukkale. We had cash now so we were back in business to sample the small bays with restaurants, armed with the knowledge of last time, to order just a plate of food and a GLASS of wine.

After popping back through the cut we raised the sails and glided down and round the peninsula. Bozukkale was another inlet with three restaurant pontoons positioned around the bay. Once you picked one you could dock for free with the proviso that you ate at the restaurant. We had already set our sights on Ali Baba’s restaurant on the western side of the bay. The wind was a steady 15-17kn on the beam which had been great sailing but obviously we want it to shut off when we are about to dock. Thankfully as we approached the wooden rickety dock with a cliff face behind it the wind was blocked. Some Navily research had shown us a pontoon protruding out from the restaurant with boats docked stern-to, pointing out in to the bay. Some images had shown a catamaran docked side-to around the back of the pontoon, which had about 15m between it and the rocks of the shore.

Guess where they wanted us to go…

Carl brought her round like a pro and I flung out the lines to the two guys from the restaurant who had come to help us. They dragged us forward all the while keeping us close to the dock . I stood on the bow staring at the rocks underneath and worriedly asked ‘Is there enough depth here?!’ They nodded. I guess they’d done it before. It looked bloody shallow though. The water was crystal clear which was lovely but didn’t help. We tied up with 0.7m below the keels. Once tied up and confident we were still floating we took a chance to really enjoy the spot we found ourselves in. One of the sweetest little spots we have taken Rockhopper to and the best photo of her ever. It also summed up some of the great places you can tie up to in Türkiye. We’d worry about getting her out of there tomorrow!

The restaurant was nestled into the hill and up above, the ruins of a castle with a large Turkish flag flying high in the wind. After the nerves of getting her tied up we decided to walk up to the castle in the morning. This afternoon was reserved for sitting on the front, G&T in hand and observing our surroundings. We were causing a bit of a stir amongst the charter boats docked on the other side of the pontoon. We looked huge there!

After a lovely meal, less of a surprise now we were prepared, we headed back to the boat for the night.

13th October 2022 - Ali Baba’s Restaurant, Bozukkale - Deniz Restaurant, Çiflik (17.7 nautical miles)

They offered us fresh bread the following morning so after collecting that we headed up the hill to walk along the castle walls, which was all that really remained, and look out over the bay. We also took the opportunity to take some drone shots of Rockhopper in her little spot. Making our way back down the hill the nerves started to appear for how we were going to extricate ourselves from the spot. There was about 10kn blowing us off the dock. The pontoon had been full the previous night but thankfully, by the time we were set to go, most of the other boats had already left. So at 10:40am the two guys from the restaurant came out again to help us and used our mooring lines as tag lines to ensure that we didn’t drift too far away from the dock and towards the rocks. They kept the line as Carl backed us round the corner and then when we were clear they threw them back to me. No dramas!

We had a week to go before we were due at our winter home in Kas. In between now and then we would have some friends come and join us on the boat. Derek and Fay had been in Türkiye visiting family so wanted to catch up with us for a few days, and Ian and Liz were flying out especially. They were going to spend a few days in Istanbul then fly down to Dalaman and we were going to meet them close by. We had a couple of days to kill before they arrived so we hoisted the sails and set off for Çiftlik. It was 17nm to Çiftlik Koyu which had several restaurant pontoons all lined up next to one another. They each had different coloured flags, so depending on what restaurant you wanted to go to you knew which pontoon to approach. By the way, all of our knowledge of these particular anchorages came from the YouTube channel Sailing ABSea. A lovely Aussie couple who had been sailing Türkiye for several years and highlighted some great spots. They are the reason we signed up for Kas marina in the first place. Unfortunately Covid and rising prices forced them to sell up and move back home a few months before we got there but it would have been lovely to meet them and tell them that the reason we were so keen to come to Türkiye was because of them.

Coming in to the wide bay we set our sights on Azmak’s restaurant. Several other guys on other pontoons were waving crazily at us to come to theirs but we were set on Azmak. Unfortunately, Azmak was not set on us. As we approached a guy held up crossed arms indicating we weren’t allowed to dock. I guess others had booked his pontoon in advance. The restaurant next door was Deniz’s and they were very keen for us to come in. The bay was quite shallow so the pontoons came out a fair way from the shore before another section ran parallel to it. All of the monohulls were tied stern-to against the dock that ran parallel to shore. We positioned ourselves for that. Once we had signalled to the guys on Deniz’s pontoon that we had switched allegiance they motioned for us not to dock on the parallel pontoon but to come alongside the pontoon running towards the shore. I frantically moved some fenders across and lowered them to try and tie up with the rickety wooden dock with metal struts running along it. The 10kn breeze was pushing us into the dock and, since we knew we were going to be blown onto the dock, Carl positioned us to drift onto it where the guys were standing to grab our lines. Unfortunately, the took the lines then proceeded to drag us down the dock towards the shore. Obviously they wanted to fit another boat behind us. We were first in. As they dragged us the fenders started to roll out from between the boat and the dock. After several attempts to ask them to slow down I eventually had to yell at them to stop until we could push the boat back, against the wind, and get the fenders back between the boat and the rusted metal supports for the dock. Once back in they kept dragging us forward, again, I could see very little depth in front but they assured me it was fine and they did it all the time. We settled at 0.4m below where the depth gauge measured. Slightly irritated but at least we were in. A minor scratch on the gel coat but not too bad.

The dock had promised water and electricity which we could see was abundant on the pontoon where all the monohulls were. We were unfortunately about 25m away from the nearest one. A guy came out to welcome us and point on the restaurant and we asked whether we could hook up to shore power. He nodded in the affirmative and went off to find an extension lead. He brought back what was essentially a 13A domestic plug extension lead. When we explained that we had nothing to connect that sort of plug into our boat he disappeared off and came back with a 13A plug to 16A boat plug adaptor. Brilliant, apart from the fact that the wire sheath was damaged and wires were sticking out of it. Just at the point where we were going to give up on having electricity Carl managed to dig out a piece of electric cable, a 13A plug and a 16A boat plug which we had spare. He made his own one so we used the extension cable. Just in time as another big catamaran was dragged in behind us.

With power on, albeit slightly unnerving as an open extension lead was perched on steps of the starboard hull as rain clouds were starting to appear, I sat inside and felt the boat stop and creak in an unfamiliar way. We were aground. Carl jumped into the water and swam under the boat to see that there was a pesky rock right under the keel. As the small tide had gone out we had settled on the rock. We explained to the restaurant guys that we needed to move back about a metre. Instead of moving the cat behind us they just dragged us back closer to them. Our stern was now about a metre from their bow. In the process I had to dive across to grab the extension lead to stop it going in the water. Not quite the same experience as the day before but there is little one could do about it. Especially now that there was a big cat behind us and several attached to the pontoon of the neighbouring restaurant (the one that didn’t want us). We were boxed in until at least a few left in the morning.

14th October 2022 - Deniz Restaurant, Çiflik - Blue Grotto (21.3 nautical miles)

We had 20 odd miles to go the following day so at 9am we were ready to get moving. Unfortunately no one else was. By 10am we explained to the restaurant staff that we really wanted to get moving. There had been no discussion about putting us here, otherwise we would have asked to be further out. We needed their help in getting others to start to move. Carl walked up to a boat that was blocking everyone from leaving and asked when they intended to leave. They said 1pm ish. He politely said that they were stopping about 5 boats from leaving and, as if they had just noticed, they agreed to get moving. As for us, we couldn’t move forward as it was too shallow and the cat behind us was less than a metre away. He needed to move back a bit. The restaurant spoke to the Russian skipper, who explained that his crew had gone somewhere and he was on his own. He couldn’t possibly move. They agreed to get onboard and help him and instead of just moving back they took him out into the bay. We were then able to extricate ourselves from the mess at 11:15am and he moved back in after we’d left. A tad stressful, the meal wasn’t that good to warrant the hassle. Beans on toast in an anchorage would have been vastly preferable.

Anyway, on we pushed. We had one more night before picking up Ian and Liz. We’d sailed quite a bit with Ian and Liz over the years - on their monohull based down in Southampton as well as sailing holidays in Greece and the British Virgin Islands. I had also completed my dayskipper course with Liz on their boat too. We were thrilled to be able to finally host them on our own boat.

After a few hours of motoring we were able to sail the remaining miles with full main and jib. Coming into the bay we could see a small floating pontoon with a restaurant on the beach. We’d read that you could tie up to it and sure enough a guy on a rib came out to see if we wanted to stay but we weren’t too keen to tie our big girl up to a floating plastic pontoon. We instead dropped the hook in 12m with 50m of chain out. These anchorages were reasonably deep in Türkiye. It was quite nice though, big cliffs behind us and an little island on the other side with a flag flying on it. We were happy to tie the dinghy up to that dock though so went for a sundowner in the little bar on the beach.

15th October 2022 - Blue Grotto - Kücük Sarsala (21.7 nautical miles)

The next morning we could already see the clouds forming. It had not rained in what felt like months but obviously as guests arrived the heavens would open. It was like there was a critical mass of British people gathering so rain was due. We weighed anchor at 7am to get ourselves round to and into the Gulf of Fethiye. We had thought of heading up towards Goçek as we tend to like to be in marinas when guests arrive, but it was quite a detour. We opted to anchor at Sarsala Bay where there was a pier and a road to the beach so access from the airport wouldn’t be a problem. After dropping the hook in the bay it absolutely chucked it down. Complete with lightning and thunder. We had a couple of hours before they arrived so I busied myself with a bit of tidying and setting up their cabin. When they were 5 minutes out Carl got into the dinghy to go and collect them. Luckily there was a brief pause in the rain allowing him to get to the dock. As their taxi pulled up another huge downpour started and I watched Carl get into the taxi with them! Err, you guys are coming back right??

Once it had subsided they all climbed out and loaded their bags into the dinghy. After hugs and a quick beer we told them we were going to go on a nearby restaurant dock for the evening. We had sent a WhatsApp message to someone who we hoped was the restaurant and got a reply so figured it was ok. In fact we weren’t sure what the name of the restaurant was exactly, it was just marked as a spot on Navily. It was still raining but as we approached a dinghy came out and we told them who we were. The guy looked well confused so maybe we hadn’t messaged the right number but anyway, he pointed us to a spot and we prepared ourselves to dock. I had already laid out stern lines and positioned the fenders. Carl reversed us into the spot with plenty of space between us and the boats either side. I threw the guys on the dock our stern lines and went to run the lazy line that he handed me to front to tie us off on the bow cleats. Not entirely sure what happened next but one of the guys on the dock proceeded to drag us across towards a monohull on our starboard side. He clearly wanted to make more space on our port side to fit more customers in. As we came fender to fender with the boat next door the skipper on the boat started yelling. His outboard was tied on the side of his boat and he was clearly concerned it would get damaged. He even got off the boat and shoved the guy who was handling our lines. As I was tying off on one side I asked Liz to grab a ball fender and stick it in-between our boats. The skipper’s anger seemed to be directed at the restaurant guy but it was a complete overreaction. Carl came over to have a word with him and he skulked off grumbling. Once it had all calmed down the restaurant guy said to us ‘Anyway, welcome’. With a roll of his eyes. We didn’t feel the need to invite our neighbour over for G&Ts and some nibbles. It was still raining throughout all this by the way. Luckily our headsets survived. I had to actually put a jacket on with a hood!

Aside from that bit of angst it was actually a lovely restaurant and a beautiful setting. We had a lovely catch up with Ian and Liz and discussed our plans for the next few days. We thought we would book into the Yacht Classic Hotel marina in Fethiye for two nights. We could have a wander around Fethiye and then be ready to pick up Derek and Fay who were on a bit of a tour and had two large bags with them so being on the dock would be helpful.

16th October 2022 - Kücük Sarsala - Yacht Classic Hotel, Fethiye (13.6 nautical miles)

It was a reasonably short hop across the gulf to the marina in Fethiye. So at 10:30am the next morning we slipped the lines and left the dock. Once through the little gap created by the islands which enclose the Goçek area we hoisted the sails and used the 14kn of breeze from the west to float across towards Fethiye. Rounding the promontory that protects the bay and the town from all but the north west winds we were met by at least 10 boats charging towards us through the gap. It was Sunday and clearly a changeover day for the charter fleets. Trying to decide which direction any of them would go as they got our of the bay was near impossible. We were still sailing at this point and they were all motoring but relying on the col regs to save the day on the first day of a charter holiday pick up was folly. We were close to the marina anyway and decided to start an engine and furl the jib for greater visibility. We weaved our way through the traffic and pointed the bows towards the Yacht Classic Hotel marina. As the name suggests it is a hotel with rooms and such but just so happens to have a little marina attached to it. We’d seen it on one of the YouTube channels and thought it looked lovely. Once clear of the boats, and in the bay, we dropped the main sail. As is typical the 12-14kn that we had experienced during the day turned to 20 just as we were approaching the marina. I busied myself with getting the lines ready and fenders set whilst Carl contacted the marina on the radio. We were told to wait, so whilst we hovered around we were pleased to see that the wind was dropping a bit. Finally a marinero in a rib approached us and waved for us to follow. No dramas tying to the dock with the help of Ian on one of the lines and Liz with a roving fender, just in case. The hotel had a pool and a great cocktail bar right there as you exited the pontoon. It would have been rude not to. Unfortunately it was still rainy and the pool didn’t seem particularly appealing. Although Ian and Liz did give it a go the following morning.

There was also a great, if a bit pricey, restaurant at the hotel. If you went to eat there they would halve the price of the marina berth fee so we opted to have dinner there that evening. It was indeed very good but I’m pretty sure we didn’t save any money. Might have been cheaper to go into town. Anyway, Derek and Fay were driving down the following afternoon so we would do just that the following evening.

The next morning we ventured into town. This was our first experience of a Turkish town with a bazaar selling all manner of things. You could quite easily pick up some Ray Bin sunglasses or a Canada Goose jacket with all the right branding but probably filled with polystyrene balls. And a fraction of the cost. The spice bazaars were the best though. Large pots of every kind of spice imaginable in vibrant colours. What also surprised us was the lack of pestering as you walked by. The shop owners would say hello and say if you’d like to see my stuff please come in. That was it, no following, no hassling, it was great.

In the cliffs surrounding the town of Fethiye are several Lycian rock tombs. Intricately carved into the rock with the tomb of King Amyntas holding prime position. It was a short 15 mins walk uphill to get there and a small fee. This would be the first of many such rock tombs that we would see in our time in Türkiye. We then walked up towards the castle to have a look but it was barriered off, presumably a tad unsafe to wander round. However, since it was up the hill it did afford a fantastic view over the town and the bay below.

We’d got a message from Fay to say that they were on their way so we walked back down the hill towards the marina. They spotted us walking back as they drove by and pulled over for a quick chat. Seeing the bags that they had we carried on up the road to help them bring their luggage back to the boat. That evening we ventured back into town for a drink by the promenade and to find a restaurant for dinner. By pure chance we came across the Duck Pond restaurant that featured in Sailing ABSea’s YouTube channel. As the name suggests it is a restaurant in the centre of town with a random duck pond in the middle. There were groups of ducks on platforms around the pond with one loner duck on his own. I spent the meal occasionally looking over at the loner duck wondering why he was in the dog house.

18th October 2022 - Yacht Classic Hotel, Fethiye - Karacaoren (14.2 nautical miles)

Before we set off we needed to do our first pump out. Unfortunately the Yacht Classic hotel’s pump out facility was broken (a common theme we would later discover) so we had to go to the nearby ECE marina. The pump out facility was right next to the fuel dock and they had positioned it between two pontoons, right at the back. Since there was a Carrefour supermarket right there we decided to kill two birds with one stone. Whilst Carl and I were handling the pump out, our lovely guests would bolt into the supermarket and provision for the next few days. We slipped the lines at 11:30am and radioed ECE marina to ask if the coast was clear to come in. Once given the all clear we ventured into the marina. It was all the way at the back and down a long line of boats either side with the lazy lines sticking out. We’d have to go side to the concrete wall at the back. This was made worse by the fact that there was another boat already tied up at one end so our slot was pretty small. These things are nerve-wracking when there is just the two of us onboard but when you have guests, especially ones that have never been on a sailing holiday before, the pressure to look competent is very real. Carl brought here in slow and, somewhat Austin Powers-esque, did a eight point turn to get us sideways without catching a lazy line round our prop or crashing into boats either side. The man on the dock was getting a bit impatient but we eventually got close enough for me to throw him a line. As he dragged us closer I was trying to make sure that the fenders were in the right position to cushion us from the rough concrete wall and he uttered the immortal phrase which all women love ‘Just relax lady, you go inside, I will tie up.’ Yes mate, jog on!

Anyway, once tied we got about the poo business and the guys sorted the shopping out. In no time at all we were done and supplies were onboard. Springing off the dock we picked our way out of the marina and we were on our way. Derek set about getting the fishing tackle in order. Carl had been given a wonderful gift from the Emirati guys that worked for him in Abu Dhabi: a full bag of fishing lines, lures, weights, etc. Derek knew his stuff so after a few helpful hints to us he was delving into the bag to get two hand lines out the back and the fishing rod loaded up with a lure. We positioned Fay up front on a seat to make sure she was seeing the horizon in case sea sickness reared its ugly head. Ian and Liz were old hats at sailing so were sunbathing on the top loungers. It was only a short hop to our destination for the night. Another Sailing ABSea find, a restaurant called Karacaoren, a bit closer to Ölüdeniz. You could anchor there but if you ate in the restaurant you could pick up a mooring ball. On approach the restaurant owner came out in boat to show us which ball we should take. He then helped us to tie on and all was good. It was only 2:20pm so there was time to get the paddle boards out and give everyone a go. Derek carried on fishing an unfortunately caught a little puffer fish by its butthole. Maybe it wasn’t a puffer fish, it just puffed up at the intrusion. It was soon back in the water, somewhat disgruntled no doubt. As the afternoon wore on a few more boats arrived. A charter monohull with four guys on it were led to the mooring ball next to ours. They were really quite close together and as we swung around we could quite easily have passed the mustard. A short while later they opted to drop that ball and move a bit further away.

The evening we all piled into the dinghy and went to the restaurant dock. We got a lovely table looking out over the bay and the food was delicious. Both sets of couples were still living in Abu Dhabi at the time so it was a great chance to catch up and reminisce in a beautiful setting.

19th October 2022 - Karacaoren - Yesikoey, Kalkan (28.7 nautical miles)

The next morning we had a bit further to go so we slipped the lines from the ball at 8:40am and headed out. We would be eating onboard tonight as Fay had picked up the ingredients for a dhal and a lamb curry. She was a pro on the InstantPot so I was keen to pick up some tips. Coming round the corner into Yesikoey bay, the bay next to Kalkan, we could see a few gullets on the left hand side. We opted to stick to the right hand side and find a sandy spot to drop the hook. The first attempt didn’t dig in too well but on the second go, we stuck, in 7m of water. We had arrived just before 3pm so there was plenty of room to free swing. A few boats came later on and had to take lines ashore. That evening over a fantastic meal, we discussed where we were going to stay the following night. We could easily get to Kas marina from here but we weren’t due until the 21st and thought we’d give our guests one more night in a different spot. We had originally eyed up the island just opposite Kas, Meis. As I started to read the comments on Navily there was an awful lot of mentions about Greek salads and saganaki. It finally dawned on me that it was a Greek island rather than part of Türkiye so that would not do. Meis (the Turkish name for the island) is actually Kastellorizo, a Greek island. It is so close to the Turkish mainland that it was an easy mistake to make. So we opted for Bilals Beach instead. Just round the corner from Kas marina but somewhere different nonetheless.

20th October 2022 - Yesikoey, Kalkan - Bilal’s Beach (20.7 nautical miles)

We weighed anchor at 9:40am the next morning and set sail. For the first time we had decent wind and had to tack all the way up the coast. As we were flapping back and forth Derek had all lines out the back. He finally saw the float on the hand line dip and reeled in a really decent sized Bonito!

The guys set about gutting and filleting the fish and Fay came up with a lunch time recipe to use it. The wind was pretty strong, coming from the NE, whipping up the waves but thankfully as we passed the Kas peninsula and carried on round we ducked in behind a promontory that provided some shelter. It was still windy but the sea state was pretty calm. This area had an underwater sculpture garden so we had to make sure we were clear of it. To try and tuck in as close to the land mass as possible and avoid the stronger gusts we opted to anchor and tie long lines ashore. Ian and I jumped in the water and tied us off on a couple of sharp rocks spaced apart. As it turned out, they were too sharp! After an hour or so the wind was not quitting and every once and a while the white tapes flapped up and down, eventually cutting through one of the lines. Carl jumped up and fired up the engines just in case we needed to move away from the rocks. Luckily the other line held but we needed to reinforce and reposition our broken line. Ian and I jumped back in the water with a sacrificial line to tie round the rock and to the tape. After a fair amount of wrangling we got her sorted. With the wind blowing it was getting pretty chilly out there so not so fun a task. Thankfully the wind died down that evening and we thought we’d take the dinghy round to one of the restaurants across the bay to see if it was open. It all looked a bit deserted but we tied up anyway and eventually found a nice spot to sit and have some dinner. That evening we reflected on our season in the Mediterranean that had started in Gibraltar in March all those months ago and was about to end in our winter home of Kas. Whenever we had thought about what we needed to achieve, it was quite overwhelming. We had done over 3500nm to get ourselves here and we were astonished that we were turning up again, very close to the date we said we would. We’d left Gibraltar with friends onboard, we would be arriving in Kas with friends onboard too.

21st October 2022 - Bilal’s Beach - Kas Marina (6.29 nautical miles)

The next morning we could only go to the marina after 12pm so we had the morning to go and explore the underwater sculptures. It was fairly deep and we could just about make out some pots and a horse and chariot but we gave it a go nonetheless. Spending an hour in the water reminded us that it was October and it was starting to get a bit cold. At 1:30pm, after removing the lines from the shore we weighed anchor and motored round the peninsular towards Kas marina. It’s a pretty impressive setting, steep cliffs either side with the marina at the end of this natural bowl. The marina has one breakwater with all the pontoons tucked in on one side behind it. There is an anchorage opposite the pontoons but it is fairly deep, 20m typically.

I busiest myself getting the fenders and lines ready whilst Carl radioed the marina. They informed us that unfortunately our permanent berth was not ready so we would be going into a temporary one until a boat left. A tad disappointing as we had given them notice of when we would arrive but at least there was space. Two marineros came out in their dinghy whilst we hovered outside the pontoons. They told us that they would manage the lazy line at the front, we just needed to position the boat and hand the stern lines to the marinero on the dock. This was new. So as Carl guided her into the slot, a guy jumped onboard and tied off the bow line. He then informed us that it was a deep marina and the lazy lines were tied to chains on the bottom. We had to give it full revs on both engines forward to ensure the lazy line was fully tight, and then full revs reverse to ensure the stern lines were tight. Once it settled we were pinned, front and back. The stern lines were bar tight, you could play a tune on them. We were in! We had done it. We had made it to Türkiye and to Kas. It was time for bubbly!



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