Gulkoy 28 June, 2017 - N37:07.298 E027:32.344

Charles & Maggie Bevis
Thu 29 Jun 2017 08:16
So - on Tuesday 20 June, (day 55 of this years’ cruise) we crossed from Rhodes (Rodos) to the Turkish Coast.  The previous day it blew hard and we glumly watched the swell building off the north of the island, and it was cold.   As it was our last day on the island we went out to dinner and spend the evening wearing fleeces to keep warm!

Tuesday was a new day with light(er) NW winds and bright sunshine, more importantly the swell had moderated and we m/sailed the 12 miles across to the shelter of the the Turkish coast.

So while the UK basks and the Brits misbehave in a summer heat wave and the country as a whole wallows in a sea of political farce and ineptitude, we have arrived, checked in to Turkey at Bozburun and indeed have now moved on up the coast.
Electronic visas had to be completed in advance of our arrival in Turkey and are available on-line using a very efficient Tgovt. web site - paid for in US$ no less - you do need a printer to produce the final document so it is not a paperless exercise.

When we actually sailed into Bozburun, with our little yellow flag flying bravely beneath our shiny new Turkish flag, the check-in process couldn’t have been simpler - just hand over more dosh to the nice man!  

  • With 100 Euros we engaged the services of a one legged agent on a scooter who secured the necessary papers for the boat and then guided us through the immigration process.  
  • We then walked around the little port basin to the harbour master’s office.  The latter was manned by two pretty and smartly turned-out assistants and one particularly grubby and un-washed gent in shorts, singlet and flip-flops who tuned out to be their boss, the harbour master.  under his guidance we coughed up a further 160 Turkish Lira (TL) for harbour dues (@60TL  and our Blue card (@40TL) and perhaps for something else that we didn’t understand, probably his beer fund, but we’re not exactly sure!  The blue card is a means of keeping track of our waste water discharges; the effectiveness of the latter system remains to be seen while the 60TL provided us with a parking place for the boat together with a supply of water and electricity.

We obtained our TL's from an ATM cash machine on the quayside at rate of 44TL/£ (thanks to our political masters, the Brexit effect and now compounded by a failed G.election which factors have together has seen the pound spiral downward to previously hidden depths).  We read that in Europe we are known as the laughing stock of Europe.
Having paid our dues, we were then free to go and roam the coast and our little yellow flag was taken down (after only it’s second outing in 5 years).

We were both very surprised by the number of yachts and particularly the number and the opulence of the motor yachts to be seen here on the coast.  There are also 100’s of gullets laid up in the area without customers - we hear that income may be down by 75% or more with the absence of foreign tourists.  As we approached the sheltered waters adjacent to the port we saw gullets lining the quays both inside and outside the port.  We entered port basin to find a mix of craft, motor yachts, smaller gullets and a handful of sailing yachts, in that order of both size and numbers. 

One of the local waterfront bars at Bozburun is operated by the local representative of the UK's Cruising Association and, to take advantage of their wifi connectivity, we made our way there and spent the afternoon chilling, chatting, and drinking wine while at the same time e-mailing all and sundry. The bar also offers free showers as part of their service. 

After taking stock of our logistics and our timetable for the month, we decided to push on northward the next day to the Bodrun peninsular where our friends (David & Hilary) have their summer home.  We also have an appointment early in July to meet up with a couple from the UK at Bodrun port who are coming to see the boat.  So, we decided to forego our planned visits to Marmaris and to cut short our intended cruise around the local area in favour of an immediate passage northward.

We left Bozburun early on Thursday morning, creeping out through the crystal clear shallows of an inshore short-cut threading the off-lying islands and back into the Aegean as we headed first westward and then north.  As the evening approached the wind increased and we ended up motor sailing to windward to find overnight shelter in a bay just west of Bodrum town.  With Kos close by to seaward we were able to re-establish e-mail communications via the Greek internet system.

The wind dropped about midnight and we spent a peaceful night far enough away from the noise and bustle of the shoreside hotels.  However, we were awakened in the early hours by the weird  call to Payers wailing from the nearby Mosque.  The guy singing seemed to be in some pain and much more vocally enthusiastic than his oppo in Bozburun.  With his wails ringing in our ears we made yet another early start along the coast - the wind now having abated.

The coastline here is heavily built-up.  We were stunned by the scenery as we made our way northward and Eastward along the north coast of the peninsular to Gulluk where David and Hilary have their holiday ev (house).  

The coastline to the west of them is lined with huge and unattractive estates comprising little white 3-story boxes lining the hillsides down to the sea shore - all very neat but hardly picturesque.  However at least here, unlike in Greece and Italy, the estates are finished and landscaped  The bay at Gulkoy is much nicer with a traditional village on the sea shore and the houses weathered and landscaped or at least hidden.   We were under instructions to sail boldly into ‘their’ bay which we duely did, but they missed our grand entry as they were watering their garden at the time!

We spoke with a very friendly local yachtsman (Eberhard) and he directed us to a nearby vacant  mooring - actually, we had initially picked up his mooring until he asked us to move!  We don’t normally use vacant moorings but on this occasion we made an exception.  But first Charlie swam down to check out the arrangement and found a substantial concrete block and chain riser with a substantial rope tail.  We passed our own lines down and left the boat there.  Charlie spent one further night on board before accepting that the boat was indeed safe.

It is a revelation to see how ‘wealthy’ this area is after getting used to the comparative privations of the Greek scene.  There is obvious wealth present both ashore and afloat with large numbers of expensive 4x4 cars, mega expensive hotels and clubs and a huge number of large motor yachts.  There is a huge marina at Yalikavak on the west end of the peninsular - we went there by car! - there are rows and rows of large plastic toys of the super rich and famous all lined up so they can mutually admire one another.  A few of them do actually leave the marina and go out too, but not too often!  Smaller yachts (like us) are few and far between.  

Prices of goods and services ashore are generally reasonable.  The shore side bars and beaches are loaded with pretty girls wearing not much and with not a burkah in sight.  Alcohol is readily consumed in public but is not sold by all supermarkets.  The wine is better than we remembered from our last visit and about 20-30TL/bottle.  The fresh bread is wonderful.

This weekend is the festival of Bayran - a three day feast (and holiday) celebrating the end of Ramadan.  The beaches and sea-front restaurants are heaving and the bays to the East and west of us are full to overflowing with boats of all sizes.  

On Saturday 24/7 D & H joined us for a sail out to two off-lying islands and then along the coast to explore some nearby bays. Although the waters were clear the area is blighted by a very large commercial fish farm operation.  We were able to tuck up close to the coast off the jetty of an embryonic exclusive hotel that has yet to open fully and there we had lunch a a swim in the clean clear waters.    

On Sunday (25/7) we had a quiet shore based day with brunch at Turkbuku in a water front cafe with friends’s for brunch.

followed an evening of Jazz and contemporary music with a good meal thrown in, at Yalikavak (the village with the mega marina).  All a pleasant change from our usual activities.  The music was fantastic - a really good band of 6/7 musicians who played all night from 21:00 to 01:00. A full evening’s entertainment all for about £35/head including wine.

Monday (26/7) began with a slow start shopping and then preparing for our first real introduction to a game called Mexican Train.  I can’t readily explain the intricacies of the game but it is an entertaining and absorbing experience, best lubricated with wine, and lasts a considerable time if played to it’s natural conclusion.  Needless to say after playing for almost 5 hours Maggie and succeeded in finishing in last place!  David and Hilary were joined by an international group of friends and it was a merry evening.

Tuesday 27 and we have been here a whole week!  It is to be a quiet day as we are now preparing to leave our hosts and sail back around to Bodrum.  

After we have shown the boat to the couple from UK we will make our way up the Ionian coast as far as we can in the time available before Karen and Phil come out to join us in August on day.