Monday, 26 November 2012

Back to Turkey, Andre's birthday and Melly & Nick Visit

Back To Turkey 
The time has come to say goodbye to Israel and depart on our journey back to Turkey. Doug and Sara were welcomed onto ‘Awatea’ as crew to replace Robert for this long leg of our trip. John’s intention was to sail to Crete, but headwinds made this impossible. So the course was set and it was off to Monastery Bay in Northern Cyprus.

Whilst in Haifa a new AIS system was installed, and in Herzliya a new lazy jack system was fitted and the engine serviced in preparation for the trip back.  All that was left was to provision the yacht and it was all systems go.  We checked out of Herzliya at 1315 hours on the 1st July – a long time since beginning the EMYR in Istanbul back on 23rd April.  The winds were favorable and we were sailing at 8 knots for most of the afternoon. However that evening the wind came around to the North and we started to motor. The AIS system that was installed in Israel is working well. 
We arrived off Monastery Bay at 0500 hours on the 3rd July. Weather conditions were not good as the wind was blowing into the bay, causing a considerable swell.  It was not suitable to anchor so it was decided to carry on to Karpas Gate Marina – very disappointing as we were all looking forward to having a couple of days at anchor and enjoying the opportunity to swim and relax. We sailed around the North Eastern point of Cyprus and as we headed down the coast towards the marina, the wind started to get stronger and a swell started to build up.  All in all not the most pleasant conditions, and by the time we arrived at the marina at 0930 hours the wind was around 35 knots and the sea was crazy.  It was good to be in the shelter of a safe marina.
Next day was a short hop to Girne. Not a breath of wind so we stopped in a bay and had a swim before arriving at Delta Marina mid afternoon. We spent a few days in this lovely city and also caught up with Kath & Dave who have made this delightful town their home. One of the evenings we went to their place to have dinner.  Dave had caught a large tuna on the trip back from Israel, and we had delicious tuna steaks cooked to perfection on the BBQ, with lovely salads and potatoes.

Woei Haw had flown across from Turkey to join the yacht for a few days. John, Derek & WH decided to hire a car and visit the South of the island. Dave organized a car for us as not all hire companies let their cars go across to the south, and on Friday we had to do a trip across the border into Nicosia to arrange the insurance and tax required by the Greek Cypriot authorities. Kath came with us and we took the opportunity to stock up on a few items not readily obtainable in the Turkish north. On Saturday we drove around the coast to cross over into the south at a small check point, rather than going back through Nicosia.  Unfortunately this was a lot easier said than done as we were held up at the boarder for 1.5 hrs. Apparently we required our passports to be stamped and they were not able to do so, as were not an immigration check point. Finally after much toing and froing, numerous phone calls and faxes and finally approval from someone, they let us through. We spent a nice few days exploring the southern side of the island. It’s rather sad, as technically the North and the South are still at war and there is still a lot of bitterness! But nice to be able to enjoy some pork!!!

We checked out of Northern Cyprus at 1125 hours on the 11th July heading for Turkey which we could see in the far distance. There was no wind and the sea like a mill pond, so we motored until a lovely breeze set in around 1800 hours. Sara made some beautiful garlic prawns for dinner, and we sailed all through the night to reach Alanya at 0700 hours.

We stayed several days here as we applied for resident permits. This proved to be frustrating as the bureaucracy in Turkey is unbelievable. However, within a couple of days we had all the necessary paper work completed, and ready to be lodged. We sailed to Side for the weekend with our friends Sarah & Neville from ‘Taralee’. It is a beautiful coastal resort area approximately 15kms east of Antalya, and was an ancient Greek City with many historical sites including colossal ruins of an amphitheatre, the agora and Roman baths.  Dinner on the Friday night was a BBQ on ‘Taralee’ and Saturday night a fantastic seafood feast at one of the many restaurants ashore.  We had an enjoyable time – lots of laughs and drinking, including an impromptu “swim up bar” at the back of their catamaran. The weather was very hot and humid - 35deg at 0600 hours in the cabin!


We sailed back to Alanya for a few days and we lodged the paperwork for the resident permits. It was then time to leave and make our way further west. We arrived in Cineviz Lamini after dark. This is a fantastic sheltered bay with high cliffs on all sides. We spent several days here enjoying the surroundings. The weather was hot, so lots of swims and a nice relaxing time. We had dinner at a very basic little restaurant at the end of the bay the first night and the menu was fish or fish, which as it happened was very nice fish.  It was cooked in front of us on an open fire and accompanied by salad and freshly cooked chips done in a big cauldron on the fire.  The next night Doug cooked us the All American Hamburger. They were very nice however we all got hit by a really nasty bout of food poisoning during the night and were all sick for 48 hours! Not that we are blaming Doug’s burgers – but have no idea what brought it on.

After we had mostly recovered we set sail for Finike, where Sara was meeting up with her uncle on a Nicolson 42 which he is planning to sail back to Australia this year. Once again there was no wind so we had to motor. After a day here it was onto Kekova Roads, which was only 26 miles away. This place is so special.  We spent several days in and around the area catching up with other yachties, and a Kiwi couple Joe & Annabelle from Tauranga. The weather was just great, hot and sunny with water temp of 28 deg. Talk about paradise!!!!
Kas was our next port of call. We stayed here for two weeks as the marina which is stunning, was having a special. It was also the start of the Olympics in London, so watching that was a must. Several days and nights were spent at one or another of the local bars glued to the television.  We also had to hire a car and drive back to Alyana to collect our residents permits. Thankfully they were ready and waiting for us, and we are all allowed to stay in Turkey for 12 months. We drove back to Antalya and stayed the night in the old quarter at a superb little boutique hotel called Alp Pasa, an Ottoman-style mansion dating from the middle 18th century. 

In the morning we drove out to the ancient site of Aspendos, about 44 km from Antalya and known for the best preserved Roman age theatre of the Mediterranean World.  It is one of the most magnificent structures of it’s period, and could accommodate 7000 – 8000 people.

Woei Haw had to leave Turkey as his permit had expired. He had applied for a work permit but this didn’t come through. So he went to Cyprus to run his business.
Kas is a great town with the best marina in the Mediterranean - fantastic swimming pool, great shops and restaurants etc. We did a couple of day sails out with friends which was very enjoyable, and John is thinking of wintering the yacht here as the price is right!

It was time to depart this delightful town and we sailed to Kastelorizo, the easternmost island of Greece, and about 2kms from Kas.  


We were joined by Andre and Tyna and their daughter from Tyna Two’ and had a delightful lunch at a lovely restaurant on the quayside.  After lunch we took a small boat to see Kastelorizo’s own "Blue Grotto", a seacave with electric shades of blue when the sun outside shines into openings below sea level and hits the water just right.  

The entrance is a small gap at sea level and we had to get right down in the boat to pass through.  Once inside it is like a huge Cathedral, just amazing!  We took the opportunity to dive in and float around looking up at the ceiling of the cave, which was surreal. 

It was back on the westerly course again and we anchored off St Nickolas Island for several days. Our friends from ‘Taralee’ were also there so a few fun nights were had.
Our destination was Fethiye, which was to be ‘Awatea’s’ home for the next three weeks. Doug and Sara left the yacht and John’s friends Mellissa and Nick joined the crew for the next two weeks. They are most welcome guests as they brought an icemaker for the yacht! John is wondering what they will bring next year!!


After a perfect week sailing around the Gocek Bay area, and anchoring in some absolutely beautiful bays, we experienced a major problem with the anchor winch, so returned to Fethiye to have it repaired.  John, Mel & Nick had another week cruising the bay area, and no sooner had they left and the next guests were arriving.  Derek had decided to leave ‘Awatea’ and spent time catching up with friends before meeting up again in Fethyie for Andre from ‘Tyna Two’s’ 60th birthday. 


It was a great function at the Yacht Classic restaurant with quite a lot of the EMYR crowd meeting up for the occasion.  A couple of days after the party we sailed ‘Awatea’ to her new winter home in Kas.   

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