Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Marmaris, Bodrum, Didim, Kusadasi

Farewell to Mike, we headed out to the Gocek Gulf for a couple days cruising. We were heading East towards Marmaris but the journey had to be delayed because of the strong westerly winds. But thanks to the weather, we found this breath-taking bay that was pretty packed with yacht due to the winds. The depth of the bay was so consistent; in fact it was like a basin! The water was crystal clear at the depth of 30 feet. Just magic.

In the following day, to avoid afternoon Meltemi, we headed out early and arrived in Marmaris town in the afternoon.  Our fridge wasn’t working properly and the pantry had to be restocked, as well as that we needed to top up with expensive fuel etc. The fridge problem was more serious than John thought. It was a battery problem and John ended up have to replace the house batteries. Bummer. 

It was rather nice just at anchor off the town. Ichifeet, Stormvogel, Indigo joined us there as well, so it was quite a social time. At night, the whole bay was colored with neon lighting and lots of people; it was just so enjoyable to be on Awatea to oversee the activities from a couple of meters away. We all regret we should have moored here long time ago. It was just picturesque.

Awatea spent a week off the town and headed out towards Kusadasi on Monday the 8th Aug. Derek did not come along as he had to baby-sit Lucy (friend's dog) for a week. We started off with light winds but once outside the harbor we were bashing into 30 knots. A hard sail for Woei Haw and John. We arrived at Bozukbuku rather tired and wet. Coming into berth at Viker's restaurant we found that the bow thruster wasn’t working, which was rather dangerous but luckily we had heaps of helpful hands. Awatea’s neighbors were several French charter boats.

Decision had to be made whether we returned to Marmaris or head towards destination without the bow thruster. In the following day, John decided to continue the journey so we headed out after having breakfast with Vicker.

The weather was favorable to motorboats. There was no wind most of the day. Then later in the afternoon “that’’ 30 knot Westerly hit us again. We motored hard into the wind, once we passed Knidos and Cape Krio we hoisted the sails and took off at 9 knots towards Bodrum. It was a perfect twilight with superb sunset over Kos (Greek Island) and a beautiful sailing ship Star Clipper (a passenger ship) passing to leeward with full sails. We made it to Bodrum in the dark at about 2300 hrs. A long day!

Bodrum is magic. A very beautiful tourist town perched around the Castle of St Peter. Built by the Crusaders (Not the ones from Christchurch!) All the buildings in the town are white.

We were able to get along side at the town quay for a couple of days and able to get the bow thruster looked at. Luckily not a major job! We had a pleasant couple of days there while waiting for the Meltimi wind to drop. And we also caught up with Ian & crew from Stormvogal again. Derek arrived back before we headed further North.

It was time to leave this great town. The weather forecast was good & as usual for Turkey, either no wind or too much! So we motored all day in calm seas to Yalikauak.

Next morning we found ourselves beating into a 25 knot wind yet again, to stay away from the rough sea, we decided to head toward Didim and ended up in a small bay for 3 days while the wind abated. Nice Rest and recreation. Lots of food, swimming and reading!

We finally took off and headed north again in 20 knots, but the wind soon died, yet again increased to 30 knots as we approached Samos Straits......Then nothing again. We made it to Kusadasi that afternoon.

We were anchored next to another Kiwi yacht from Christchurch. Kusidasi is where we will winter this year. It’s a large tourist town and during the day we have up to 5 liners in port. They all come to visit Ephesus, about 15 miles away. The marina is good and reasonably sheltered. Derek flew back to Australia early September & Woei Haw took off to Singapore.

*****John was having his first shave in Kusadasi****

A week before Woei Haw went home, we took the yacht up to Sigacit. This is a very old Turkish fishing village, with heaps of fishing and farming activities in every corner. We anchored in a large deep fiord with a number of large floating fish farms. It was a nightmare in the morning as we struggled to pull up the anchor, which was tangled with abandoned fishing nets and big anchor ropes. Thank God, we survived okay!

A quick passage took us into Siğacit town. The town is completely walled in and the harbour now has a 1st class marina. It is also very close to the ancient city of Teos.  A beautiful setting. We spent a night in the marina and headed back Kusadasi the following morning. Woei Haw headed home for 2 weeks.

Mark arrived with the new genneker sail. We decided to sail the yacht to Cesme and pick up our friend Melissa who was coming from Adelaide. It took us a couple of days to sail to Cesme. We were mostly on the nose but good sailing conditions, and an excellent sail was had. We arrived at the new Cesme Marina mid day and Melly arrived a few hours later from a 40 hour flight!!! Poor girl.

This town is delightful!!! Full of restaurants, bars, shopping, people and boats. We found a shop that sold great fruit and vegetables. Melly made some great exotic salads, one was tomato and pomegranate with fetta cheese, parsley and caramelised walnuts. The other was rocket, fig, and blue cheese. Now we know her secret for her zero size figure! We had a tasting comparing white figs and black figs the white ones where voted the best.

After a couple of days there, it was time to say good-bye and we headed back to Kusadasi. We took off in 25 knot Northerly and Awatea was flying! Fabulous sail! A quiet night was spent in a small bay miles from anywhere.

We took off in little breeze and decided to hoist the new sail. She is 184 sq metres! Quite a size. In fact bigger than John’s new apartment in Brisbane! As the hours ticked by so did the wind speed. We found ourselves in 20 knots with this huge sail up. All was good and the yacht loved it. Dousing the sail proved to be difficult with a few dramas. However, we had a great sail.

Woei Haw was back from Singapore, waiting on the dock, with lots of goodies including BBQ pork and Peking duck! A real Chinese feast was had.

Couple of lazy days on board, while Woei Haw commuted daily to work in Izmir.

On Wednesday we visited Ephesus. It is amazing how, 2-3000 years ago these people built cities for 200,000 people with baths, paved streets, sewer systems, flowing fresh water. The marble toilet was amazing and we were let to believe lots of business took place here among the businessmen while they were doing their business. There were lot of Roman period statues, like Hercules, Nike and so many more. The mega amphitheater is as tall as a full size crane! The marble road that was lined by Hercules statues was once the walkway to the harbor, but 3000 years later the sea is four kilometers away as the harbor filled up with silt. It was a very hot day and no food and water was available once we entered the site. Ephesus is one of the best-preserved cities of the old ancient world.

The Business ROOM!

Sadly it was time to say good-bye to Melly and Mark. We hired a car and drove them to Izmir.