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.
You will have noticed my blog didn’t get updated for a long time.
I’ve been busy sailing around the Greek islands and Turkey and at the same time dealing with a lot of personal stuff, so my blog hasn’t been updated. Sorry! So before this year ends I will endeavour to share some of the most interesting places I’ve been on my 2019 odyssey.
The sailing was fantastic and I discovered many beautiful anchorages and met some lovely people on the way. Just to wet your appetite here is a photo of one of my favourite anchorages in Greece – Prasonisi on Nisos Kimolos.
Taken with my new SwellPro Splash 3 waterproof drone! Having lost my DJI Phantom 3 overboard I invested in the SwellPro which can actually take off and land on water. In fact the best way to launch it from your yacht is to throw it overboard, which to say you least is bit counter intuitive!
So watch this space as over the next few weeks I will be making regular posts to get my blog up to date.
From the 7-10th of October I made a quick solo trip from Kas to Finnike and return with a few other boats from Kas. We stopped in Kekova in Sicak Koyu on the way down and Gokkaya on the way back. We had an excellent night out a one of the small restaurants at Sicak Koyu meeting up with Paul and Margo from Perseverance.
It was a pleasant trip with not a lot of wind and I got in plenty of practice coaxing the boat along at 2-3 knots.
After the success of last year’s photoshoot with Anne Duffy she decided to return to Kas for a few days so we could get in some sailing and photography.
We started off with an early morning photoshoot at the amphitheatre in Kas and Anne produced a credible ancient Greek costume to pose on top of the amphitheatre with Kastellorizo in the background.
Aftyer that we made a trip down to Kekova and took photos in Aperlai and found an amazing gnarled tree and ruined house. We also took some images around the tombs down by the shore. Anchoring in Sicak Koyu I managed to reverse over the dinghy line and got it wrapped around the prop. I tried a couple of dives to free it but didn’t feel too confident to stay under the hull for long enough to get it entangled. Fortunately friends were on hand on Dilly Dally to finish the job!
The next day we sailed to Karaloz Koyu and took some photos in the large hole in the rock as you enter the inlet, and a few more mermaid shots around the water’s edge.
A couple of days later we took a day sail to a local bay just to relax along with our friend Jens on his boat Dilly Dally.
After Matt left the boat in Marmaris I took her back to Kas on my own. I made three stops: Ecincik, Karacaoeren and Yesilkoy and got in some good sailing in what was a fairly uneventful trip. While anchored in Yesilkoy I woke up after an afternoon nap to discover that a small motorboat had tied onto my anchor buoy. Four Turks were sitting onboard drinking beer! I shouted to them ‘hey you are tied onto my anchor buoy’. They smiled and waved back ‘good afternoon captain’! Obviously not understanding me. I tried a bit more shouting to no avail. Eventually they left and a quick snorkel revealed that they had unset my anchor, so I had to haul it up, motor around and reset it. This time tying back to the shore, which was a bit of a tricky exercise single handed!
Coming back into Kas about 1 mile out the engine temperature alarm went off. A quick check down below revealed that the fan belt was competently shredded. So I had to stop the engine, roll out the foresail and sail her back to the marina. I sailed her in till I was about level with C pontoon then turned on the motor to get me onto the fuel berth where I needed to pump out. Then I had to wait till the engine had cooled down again and motored back to my berth on B pontoon, getting her in just before the temperature alarm came on again.
My son Matt visited from the 12-25th of August and we did a short three day trip to Kekova and then sailed up to Marmaris. We added 187 miles to the log, got in some good sailing including a cracking downwind sail in Kekova and an upwind sail from Ecincik to Kumlubuek near Marmaris. Best of all we had plenty of time to relax, swim, laze around and have the sort of chats that you can only have when you have a good few days together
Matt has become quite a competent sailor and enjoyed being on the helm.
From Datca I headed to Marmaris stopping for a couple of days in Bozukkale. From Ios to Marmaris I had sailed 200 miles solo and had really enjoyed the experience and the challenge. I spent a few days in Marmaris taking advantage of a free berth at Netsel marina, which is part of the Setur group of marinas. While I was there I had a new set of domestic gel cell batteries fitted replacing the lead acid ones which didn’t have enough capacity for my needs. Also a new crew member arrived, Christine, who had been taking part in a long distance swimming competition in Istanbul.
We set of for Ecincik on the 23rd of July and spent the night anchored in the bay. The next day when we left for Gocek it was apparent that the alternator was over charging the batteries. So we returned to Ecincik and I called the company in Marmaris who had fitted the new gel cell batteries and modified the alternator. They came out to Ecincik and we picked them up in the dinghy. They fitted a new regulator and pronounced the problem solved. In fact it wasn’t and we had to get them out the next day for another fix. In the end the problem wasn’t fully fixed until I got the boat back to Kas and they came out and fitted a new uprated battery isolator.
From Ecincik we sailed on the Kukukaga Koyu, Sarsila Koyu and Kapi Koyu in the Gocek area. From there we headed to Fethiye where the water in the bay was lime green coloured due to an algie bloom. Then on to Karacaoeren, Kalkan where Christine left the boat and then solo back to Kas. I got back to Kas on the 3rd of August, having set off on the 26th of April and sailed 1200 miles across the Aegean and back and visited some 27 islands. So it was a good trip with lots of brilliant sailing and no real mishaps. Best of all there was still 3 months sailing left before the end of the summer season!
Next were two longish legs. Levitha to Kalymnnos, 28 NM and then Kalymnos to Datca, 52 NM. I don’t seem to have much in the way of photographs. I think I was too busy sailing! I anchored just outside the main harbour in Kalymnos, this being easier than tying back on the town quay when I was sailing solo. I checked out of Greece using an agent which costs 50 euros but saves a lot of hassle. Just one night there and was up early the next morning for the 52 mile leg to Datca.
It was a long day and and I got in some quite good sailing on the way, but due to the distance didn’t hesitate to put the motor on when the wind dropped. At Datca I anchored in the east bay and it took a couple of attempts to find a place where the anchor held and I wasn’t too close to other boats. The advantage of checking in to Turkey at Datca is that you do not have to tie up at the town quay for customs and immigration. You can anchor off and they charge a bit extra to cover the cost of them coming out to you. In practice they don’t bother. You just hand all your paper to the transit log agent and he gets everything stamped for you while you have a cup of tea!
I had loved every minute of being in Greece, but it was nice to be back in Turkey on familiar ground.