Back visiting the UK for the first time in 2 years. Took a walk from my apartment across Magdalen Green down to the river Tay and along to the Discovery (the ship that took the ill fated captain Scott to the Antarctic in 1911) and the V&A museum.
On my way back to the UK, stopping over in Istanbul. Took a walk around and the winter light was perfect for a few snaps. Taken on my cheapo Samsung S31 and edited in Snapseed. #istanbul #fineartphotography
Having coffee with friends Attila and Hakan in Kas. Sunny, 21 degrees C. Not bad for January 😎
Sailing into the sunset on Christmas Eve after a day of celebrations at the Liminasi. #sailing #sailinglife #mediterranean #retirement #livingthedream #jeanneau #thesea #yachting #yachtlife #boating #liveaboard #turkey
Out for a walk this afternoon and passed these two fellows sitting by the side of the road drinking wine and enjoying the view of Meis (Kastellorizo). They waved me over and invited me to have a drink with them. Turned out they were primary school teachers from Antalya. We had a nice chat and I carried on my walk. Turkish people still surprise me with their friendliness! #sailing #sailinglife #mediterranean #retirement #livingthedream #jeanneau #thesea #yachting #yachtlife #boating #liveaboard #turkey #kaşantalya
Earlier in the summer a friend of a friend, Liya, from Kazakhstan, came onboard for some sailng and volunteered to model for me. We sailed from Kas to Fethiye and then on to Ekincik, then back to Karacaoeren and home to Kaş. Also onboard for a few days was Jessa, a model visiting from the USA.
So we anchored jn the bay at Kucukbuk, on the north side of the Bodrum peninsular. I had anchored there a couple of years before. Good holding and well sheltered. Big winds were coming from the south but I wasn’t worried. We were in 8 metres of water with 50 metres of chain out. Initially the wind was from the north and we swung towards the Lee shore and were sitting in 4 metres of water.
When the storm came the wind swung to the south and got up to 40 knots. We swung out to sea and found ourselves in 19 metres of water, then the anchor dragged. We got the engine on and attempted to reset the anchor closer inshore. No luck. It was getting dark. I thought about sailing to the marina in Didim but my crew member didn’t want to sail af night. From 19:00 through to about 03:00 we had many attempts to reset the anchor. During this time a big wave flipped the dinghy over, which we were towing. There was no way we could right it. Eventually at 03:00 rescue came in the form of a small fishing boat. He puttered over to us and threw us a line. Then he dropped his anchor where he knew if would hold. Then he came aboard and directed us to a spot to drop our anchor. A charming, friendly Turkish fisherman, as drunk as a Lord! But he saved our bacon and I’ll be forever grateful to him!
I didn’t sleep at all that night, and again first light we got the anchor up and sailed to Didim. We spent 4 days there recovering and I claimed a new outboard on the insurance as it had spent 12 hours upside down in the water and was deemed unrepairable.
So hopefully this is the last day of curfew in Turkey. Over the past few weeks we have had weekend curfews and a couple of four day curfews design ed to stop people congregating over weekends and on holidays. All on all we have been pretty lucky. We have never been stopped sailing although our cruising range was restricted to the local area. Now we can cruise anywhere between Kusadasi and Antalya which gives us plenty of scope.
I have spent the last few days at Karacaoeren, one of my favourite spots and was lucky to miss a storm that battered Kas and damaged boats that were tied up at the Liminasi. It’s fair to say that I have found being on my own on the boat with no prospect of visitors from abroad, and no possibility to jump on a plane and go home to see friends and family quite trying at times. However the alternative of being stuck in my flat in Dundee doesn’t bear thinking about!
Last week I decided to buy a small portable generator for the boat. We had a few days when it was 36 degrees plus and I really needed to run my small air conditioner unit to cool the aft cabin enough to be able to sleep at night. Although it will run off my inverter it draws 900 watts which is simply too much drain on the batteries for more than a few minutes so the only way to run it is to run the engine. This somewhat defeats the purpose as the engine is next to the aft cabin and the noise makes it impossible to sleep. So last Friday John, the owner of the Karacaoeren Restaurant took me to Fethiye, where there was a generator shop. This involved a boat trip to the nearest point on land with a road, then in his pickup truck to town.
On the way back we stopped off for lunch at his father’s farm and I was treated to delicious soup, meat and vegetables all grown on the farm. We made a detour on the way back to check a solar installation on his father’s cabin up on the mountainside, and then back to the beach for the boat trip back to Karacaoeren.
I am pretty pleased with my new generator. It is an AKSA 2KVA unit, made in Turkey. At 21 Kg I can lift it quite easily out of the cockpit locker where it is stored onto the deck, where it plugs into my shore power lead. It burns about 1.3 litres of petrol an hour and isn’t too noisy. I ran it on full load (had the boat’s immersion heater switched on) and the noise is tolerable. To check how noisy it would be for neighbours anchored near by I made a trip around the boat in my dinghy while it was running. Up wind or on the beam at 50 metres distant there was little noise. Downwind the noise carried for 100/150 metres.
The generator, fits neatly into the cockpit locker when not in use. My portable A/C is stored under the chart table when not in use.
You may be wondering why I am banging on about this? Well when I bought the boat to have it built with air conditioning and a generator factory fitted would have added £30,000 GBP to the purchase price! I decided against adding this huge cost on the basis that in the Med A/C is really only needed a few days in the year. Last summer I spent July and August in Turkey, the hottest months and did suffer with the heat a bit at night. So I considered getting air conditioning and a generator retro fitted by Top Leisure, the Jeanneau agent in Marmaris. This would have set me back 17,000 euros! A massive saving on the cost from the factory but still a lot of money. I was seriously thinking of getting the job done and then I met up with an English couple one day anchored in Kekova who had a factory fitted generator on their Jeanneau 41DS. It was very noisy and as it is fitted in the stern directly next to the aft cabin sleep with the generator running would be impossible. So I would have spent a lot of money for little benefit. The combined cost of my portable A/C unit and generator was under 1,000 euros. The A/C unit tucks away under my chart table when not in use. With the generator positioned on the fore deck it can hardly be heard in the aft cabin when running. It is of course a bit of hassle to get the thing out and start it and wheel out my A/C unit. I would say it takes me about 5 mins to set it all up. But then it’s only for a few days a year so I think that is a reasonable compromise for ease of use versus cost.
It’s been a funny few weeks since my last post. Since Acheron went back in the water the world has gone a bit crazy and all of us are trying to understand and come to terms with the reality of coronavirus.
Back in February I had a fantastic day sail around Kasterlerizo on a lovely sunny day with 22 knots of wind and a flat sea. It was the first outing since Acheron went back in the water and she showed her appreciation of having a clean bottom by making 8.4 knots with 20 knots of wind at 60 degrees!
A few days later I set off for Kekova for a few days but as soon as I rounded the peninsula I discovered the mainsail was jammed in the mast. I could see the the shackle which held the clew of the sail to the bottom of the foil had detached and was jamming inside the mast. So I had to motor back to Kas. The techs from the marina rocked up within 15 minutes of my return and took the mainsail off (it had a small tear in the beading at the bottom) and took it away for repair. They brought it back 3 days later repaired and washed and re-fitted it. Last Sunday I set of for Kekova again and anchored in the bay near Ucagiz. It was a lovely downwind sail to get there and I intended to spend a few days there self isolating.
By now we were starting to see a few restrictions in Kas. Bars and restaurants had been closed and over 65’s were told to stay indoors. At 64 I was not subject to this but felt that I just needed to get away. Everyone is starting to get a bit nervous, reading scary headlines from home (UK, Australia, Germany). However my sojourn was cut short as I discovered when I ran the engine for some hot water it was not charging the batteries. So back to Kas again! The next morning the techs arrived and quickly discovered the problem: a loose connection on a relay in the engine compartment. As soon as that was sorted I decided to head off to the Liminasi (an anchorage on the east side of Kas). I started the engine, cast off the lines, and when I eased the throttle forward the boat reversed onto the pontoon! Another visit from the marina techs! Turned out the cable from the throttle to the gearbox was broken. So that had to be replaced and I finally got away early afternoon to the Liminasi.
Acheron was launched in April 2018 and had not been lifted out since, so it was time to get her into the boatyard to have the hull cleaned and anti fouled, anodes replaced and all the other jobs that are easier done out of the water.
Once in the boatyard I could take a good look at the hull and check the condition of the antifouling, propeller and anodes.
After the hull had been power washed it was apparent that the anti fouling had completely come off in places exposing primer and in a few spot white gel coat. So we had the hull lightly sanded and a coat of primer applied.
Other jobs that were done:New AGM engine start battery fitted. Strip light fitted over cooker. New Victron solar regulator fitted. Full engine service.Gel coat chips repaired on the stern. Sail drive oil replaced. Sail drive shaft machined and re sleeved to remove scored patch that was causing sea water to leak into the sail drive
So she’s back in the water now and looking good! Jobs left to be done in the next month:
Service water maker. Fit 2 new 190 watt solar panels on the arch. Repair gel coat chips on the deck caused by the dinghy when it was stowed on the fore deck
So this is the reality of boat life. The months spent cruising in the sun are wonderful but boats need regular maintenance to keep them tip top. Also if you are living aboard and cruising thousands of miles each season there is more wear and tear on the hull and equipment than if you are a weekend sailor, and you have to keep on top of this or your dream will start to look ragged around the edges!
After a few days in the marina, even in winter marina-itis starts to set in. The symptoms are a general feeling of unease, boredom, and a sense that world is not quite as it should be.
The cure is simple. Get out and sail! Remind yourself that your boat is not a floating apartment but is meant to sail. It needs to be set free from the pontoon, like a horse from a stable and taken out for a good gallop!
So I set off to sail around Kastellorizo with friends Corrie and Karsten crewing. There was no wind in the morning but by mid day when we set off it was starting to rise and by the time we got out to the end of the peninsular we had 15-18 knots on the nose. We kept to the north side of the rock between the peninsular and the mainland and were able to make good time on the starboard tack all the way down the west coast of Kastellorizo. Following us was buddy boat Eternity, with Brigitte and Mal. They caught us up as we rounded the southern end of the island and then overtook us.
After we gybed to head north back to Kas we had a pleasant downwind sail along the east coast of the island and then picked up some good wind heading through the channel between Kas and the island, hitting 7.5 knots at one point. The day finished with a bit of a race between us, Eternity and Makamae who joined us from the town harbour for the last leg. We came in last abut it was fun watching the other two boats heeled over and going flat out.
It was a perfect day out and we managed to sail the whole way with only a single gybe at the south end of the island. Thanks to Corrie and Karsten for crewing and for the excellent donner duruns (lamb and chicken wraps) for lunch!
I’m back in Kas now for the winter. The weather has definitely turned colder with the temperature in the range of 16-22 degrees during the day and the water temperature has dropped to 22 degrees. Still when the sun is out it’s still glorious and a 100% improvement on bonnie Scotland!
From Kas, Kekova is the go to place for a short cruise of 2-3 days. It’s about 20 NM so you can motor there in just over three hours, or if there is some wind, sail there in 4-5 hours. There are loads of superb anchorages with stunning views over still blue water, of islets and mountains, some snow capped, and just east of Ucagiz an impressive hill top fort from the byzantine era.
I left just before mid day, following my friend Jens on his boat, Dilly Dally. There was no wind to start but by half way there was enough to sail at 3 knots and it was so warm I was actually sweating! The wind was coming off the land, on the port quarter and it gradually increased till I was making 4.5 knots. With a flat calm sea, blue sky and green mountains it makes for relaxed sailing and good soul therapy.
Dilly Dally got to the anchorage before me. The holding in the bay next Ucagiz is mud and a good as you can get, so I rafted up to Dilly Dally and we enjoyed a convivial evening starting with G&T’s on Acheron and spaghetti bolognese on Dilly Dally.
Thank you Jens for your wonderful cooking! Jens had a couple of visitors onboard from the UK, Chris and Kirsty who run a campsite in Gairloch. We had a lovely evening swapping stories. One of the greatest pleasures of sailing is the people you meet.
The next morning there was no wind at all so we motored back to Kas.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been down to Kekova and back. No doubt I will do it a few more times before I leave Kas for good. Sailing is all about the freedom to see new places, but its always nice to drop in on an old friend.