Thursday, 9 June 2011

St. Nicholas, Turkey

06 May
After 4 days ashore, Robert and Murray are scheduled to return to Awatea today. We set off at noon to pick them up at Gocek town, and after a bite to eat ashore we were all back onboard by 2pm ready to set sail and explore more of the Turkish east coast. The online weather forecast was not the best and Skipper John had also received some verbal advice that the north east wind would gust up to 40 knots that night, so we started to head back to Ortism bay which was fairly sheltered. We spotted ‘Cuttyhunk’ and ‘Belle Helene’ anchored at the east side of the bay not far from the town, so called them up and they suggested we join them as there were large buoys we could tie up to.

We took their advice however picking up the floating buoy seemed easy but proved just the opposite, as it was too heavy to lift out of the water to attach our line. We launched the dinghy and Muzza and Woei Haw were able to secure us to the buoy.

Shortly after Chris and Justin came across and joined us for a few cold beers and it was good to catch up on their latest ventures. While enjoying our drinks we saw a ‘Mega Yacht’ motoring slowly towards Gocek town – absolutely huge and none of us have seen such a big single hull with a 6 spreader mast!!! Being such a monster she would have had trouble anchoring too close into the shore and remained quite a way out in the bay, looking like a flamingo standing among chicks, with her anchor lights shining up into the night sky.

Fortunately the night remained unexpectedly calm and the 40 knots wind did not arrive, enabling us to get a good night’s rest before our next destination - St Nicholas island.

07 May
In the morning we set off early into town to stock up on a few supplies before heading further East. Our trip took us past the ‘big girl’ we saw arrive last night.

She was a true giant and even bigger than we had imagined, resplendent with the hull in lustrous black and everything looking so modern and new, making us wonder how old she was. The crew members appeared relatively small on the huge deck. The companionway was made of black glass, and visually the boat was just stunning. As we came closer, we noticed the crew had opened a huge hydraulic hatch cover and were busy lifting out the huge tender with a serious crane.

On our way out, we spotted her name – ‘AGLAIA’. Coincidentally, the owner and his family were on deck, and as they walked slowly along the huge flat cockpit waved to us. Obviously they were impressed with the fine lines of Awatea!!! We later found her details online; launched earlier in March this year, this super sloop has a length 66 meters with a mast 80 meters high!! Incredible! However the owner details were not shown.  
One interesting point about this sailing yacht is her massive mast. As she is a sloop she needs one very tall and technologically advanced mast which stands over 80 meters above her deck, and even further above the water line. Superyacht AGLAIA also features one of the largest composite rudders created to date.
Robert had brought back a box of fishing tackle, so we set out immediately to get a lucky catch for dinner. However, no fish were caught at the end of day and everyone was pretty disappointed.

It took awhile to arrive at St.Nicholas Island (Gemiler Adasi), which blended into the mainland and was hard to locate visually without help of the GPS. The entrance to the bay was picturesque, with a few medieval ruins sited on the left side, and also home to a restaurant with a few boats anchored along the front. 

St Nicholas Island was situated half a kilometer away from the mainland that formed a channel between, and we decided to anchor at the western end of the channel alongside some Gulets, hoping they would be gone at night and give us some peace and quiet. We were welcomed by the local ‘Ice Cream” boat, who assisted with our anchoring and took the stern line ashore (all for the cost of a few ice creams).

In the afternoon, Murray and Derek decided to go swimming while John, Woei Haw and Robert decided to take the dinghy out to motor around the island. 


The extensive ruins stretched across the whole of the island, and John spotted an old wooden door at the West side, very high up the hill. It took nearly an hour to motor around the island with our Tohatsu 5HP outboard engine.

Our treat for dinner was a BBQ with beautiful lamb, once again sponsored by Robert and prepared by Derek and Muzza. It was indeed another unforgettable night with beautiful food, fine wines and great company, all served at this incredible location.

08 May
We decided to walk up and explore the island in the early morning before the day trippers arrived on the Gulets. It proved to be too early for the caretaker as there was no one there to collect the TL8.00 entrance fee, but even better was that we were the only people on the island. We started our exploration as would pay when we came back to get our dinghy.

As you can see from the photo of the information board at the front entrance, many believe this is the place where ST. Nicholas (known as Santa Claus) visited and/or resided for sometime.

Lots of poppy flowers were growing along the path-way, and there were ruins all around the island, which mainly consists of 4 churches, a long escape tunnel, decorated palace, and many peasant houses, but hardly recognizable today. 


Skipper John mentioned lots of these were destroyed, not just by war, but also as result of earthquakes.  Some online articles also point out that some of the structures sank into the water after the natural disaster. (From the picture of Derek and Murry standing on the ruins, the structure seems to extend further down into the water).
 Walking up to the top was quite pleasant, where different types of ruined construction were spotted one after the other, quite close to each other.

The caretaker had not arrived before we left, and it was time to raise the anchor and head for our next destination - Olüdeniz, or The Blue Lagoon. We motored out through the East channel and were farewelled by a herd of mountain goats bleating their goodbyes.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, just wanted to say how much i enjoyed reading the adventures of Captain John and fellow sailers . The pic's of those turquoise color water looks so amazing .