Well yes….and no. This is what sailing seems to be about: pleasure punctuated by moments of sheer terror and stuff breaking.
Yes, I am kind of joking.
As mentioned last blog we headed out to the beautiful bay of Eçinkic after a fantastic sail where we put up the sails and decided that indeed she was a lovely boat and not a slouch either. She moved along at quite a pace as we got used to dealing with new iterations of instruments, radar and chart plotter. Rick mucked around setting up a boom preventer so we could sail wing on wing (or main sail out one side of the boat and genoa out the other side).
It was glorious. The sun was shining and the wind blowing 15-20 knots with the seas behind us. It seemed to be over in a matter of minutes rather than hours.
When we arrived in Eçinkic the wind was blowing directly up into what we thought would be a protected bay where we could anchor . That is not ideal as if your anchor drags you are liable to end up on either the beach or rocks…neither are advisable! So we made the decision to check out the lovely ‘My Marina’ where there was a pier to tie up to. Everything is new and I went straight from feeling a bit anxious about anchoring to rather worried about our first time stern to mooring (that old reverse parking thing) but it was over in minutes and we were safely tucked into the most wonderful little bay just before sunset in the company of just 5 other boas. We did our naming ceremony and settled in with the first swim of the season in that crystal clear turquoise water you find in this part of the Med. There was a restaurant tucked up the hill in amongst the trees and on the recommendation of our neighbours we went just to have a look or maybe a drink… It was such an amazing place. A drink or two later we relented, consulted the menu and treated ourselves to an amazing 5 star dinner in what felt like the middle of nowhere. White tablecloths and waiters with some strange bib thing made to look like a naval shirt. The smiley guy who helped us into port turned up to wait on tables in the evening and was later the next day seen to be driving the tractor around. Multi talented and super hard working! It was so lovely there that we stayed 2 nights although dinner was on board the next evening!
“OK Cath, we have to do our first stern to anchoring sooner or later…let’s just go and try there” said Rick pointing a newly vacated spot about 50 metres of the pier to which we were tied up. Right! Gotta just do this stuff so it loses its fear factor. Rick instructed me where to drop the anchor and after a whole lot of chain had run out we reversed back to set it in place then I dove off the stern to swim a line (rope) into shore and tie off on a rock. Like the catamaran close to shore in the picture below. Success!
Next day it was time to leave everyone else behind and head off to find a quiet bay all on our own. Another anchoring and a longer swim to shore to tie up – this time to a tree. Again, all good. One or two day tripper boats joined us during the day for a lunch stop and a swim then a catamaran came an anchored not 20 metres from us but fortunately they left before dark. At dusk a lone fisherman in a small boat crept in and tied up to the rocks, keeping us company until he quietly left for the open sea at 4am.
The next morning we were headed for the amazing Fethiye Gulf which is a large inlet filled with steep sided hills covered in pine trees to the shoreline, mountains behind with snow on them and a dazzling array of islands and bays to tie up in. We had agreed to meet our lovely new Aussie friends, Julia and Ian aboard “No Fixed Address” there.
We set off about 9 am only to be approached at high speed by a large Coast Guard boat…Eeeekkkkk !! Quick where are the boat’s transit log and papers? No need though as they had just come to tell us there were naval exercises going on just off the coast. Destroyers, helicopters and a submarine. They told us proceeding on our current course was dangerous but that we could continue east by staying close to the coast. No worries there!
We arrived in a place called Wall Bay about 3 pm. Another stern to mooring in a tiny horseshoe shaped bay. This time the anchor hadn’t set so well. I tied a line to shore but we were just moving around on our anchor a lot. I was worried but Rick was pretty calm. Then a bunch of people on a charter boat came and anchored pretty much on top of our boat and kinda ran into us. Rick fended them off. This happens in tight situations and mostly people are pretty calm and friendly about it. They weren’t despite them bringing the trouble with them. At the same time some strong cross winds also arrived and both Rick and I could see that our situation wasn’t ideal. A boat too close, lines stretching under tension, us moving a lot and I, personally wasn’t sure we had dug in well enough to be safe. Rick called it and turned on the engine as we got closer and closer to the shore. With less than 1 metre under our keel and getting so close we were just about able to pluck leaves off the pine trees we picked up our anchor and decided what to do next. I had a full adrenaline rush by then as Rick had just explained that our house battery was really low. If it gets too low you have no power for the anchor windlass. That means no way to pick up the anchor (at least quickly) which could lead to a very tricky outcome. He had been head down in the battery bank and engine earlier with a multi-meter and consulting our new best friend Mr YouTube for information. But honestly, it was windy, getting late and we needed to get to a Marina for the night for some peace and to source some help. It was also a few days out from Eid which is the major public holiday of the year in Turkey so we needed to act immediately and not wait and see. So we headed into the town of Gocek and after a few phone /radio calls managed to find a marina with a berth available. Then there was another tight berth to get into but with the help of the excellent marineros and a capable husband we finally breathed out at about 6pm with Intention safely tucked up in a berth with the shore power connected and propping up her weakened house battery. Phew !! I had to get off the boat and walk off my adrenal overload. Then, again as we do every time something less than ideal occurs, we talked it through and decided what we had done well and what we hadn’t. It’s a steep learning curve!
Next morning dawned glassy still and warm and with help checking several possible causes, narrowed it down to being a problem with the alternator. It isn’t doing its job properly getting the charge into our house batteries so every time the engine is on nothing is being charged…quite a problem. That said we do have a great generator on board and if we run that it will top up the batteries over time. So we have decided to enjoy the Fethiye gulf until the Eid break finishes and then head back to Marmaris to get it looked at – or maybe we will get in fixed in nearby Gocek. Anyway a few days on anchor and then a day on shore power is working well so far and we are able to enjoy this amazing coastline.