39 50.1N 26 04.5E
This chapter of the blog will be long as we have been so busy trying to
get north towards Istanbul we haven't had time to write anything!
Suffice to say we are now finally in the Dardanelles motoring hard against
a 3 knot current!
Last time wrote we were heading for Marmaris and a lot has happened since
then. We met up with Islay Mist (hanse 411 from alanya) Alistair Linda and
the girls, we had our new sun-awning fitted onto the boom
and Robert had some dental work done to sort out pain he has had for over
a year so quite a lot packed into 5 days! We left the area after a most
enjoyable St. George's Night supper
at the Marina Restaurant in the company of several Brits, Kwis and Oz
sailors. We had spent a delightful pre-supper hour catching up with
several of our fellow EMYR
yachties who were in the bar for 'Happy Hour'. Our next destination was
Monastery Bay on the south tip of the Greek island of Simi where we had a
peaceful night at
anchor and I managed my first swim of the season. We also met here some
friends from our time in Leros last winter - Maggie and Steve on board
Rassy Lady, they came for drinks
and we were able to catch up on their news. The next day we planned to
sail to Palamut but changed to a delightful bay nearer the corner called
Buyuk Limani which is the site of
ancient Knidos a Greek trading town dating from the 4th century BC. It was
quite amazing to sail into this harbour past the old breakwater and to see
the amphitheatre sprawling
across the hillside. This time of year everything is so much greener and
there are wild flowers out all across the hills and around the ruined
buildings. We were able to go alongside
a pontoon which even had power and water (owned and maintained by the
small taverna owners) and the charge was just 25ytl (about £13). We had a
wander round ate a meze lunch and then
got set to with the navigation for the next part of our journey.
Our immediate aim (well mine really) was to get to Yalikavac marina before
the 29th of April so we could watch the Royal Wedding with our friend
Wendy (Future Options - EMYR last year) who owns
a villa there. We made it to Gumbet bay which is just west of Bodrum but
with a gale forecast we settled for a couple of days at anchor and hoped
that we would still make it to our destination in time.
Apart from hooking a huge anchor chain and rope which delayed our
departure on the 28th by over an hour while we tried to free ourselves we
managed to get to Yali marina and were all tied up by 1100.
Wendy was soon onboard to welcome us as she had been watching from a cafe
on the quay!
We had a splendid day at her villa and all thoroughly enjoyed the
spectacle of the wedding. She was so kind and hospitable we both even
managed to have a bath (not having one at home makes this a real
treat for us) and we did two loads of washing in her machine too!
The following day having taken fuel at the marina we left again heading
north with little wind so had to motor all the way to Kazikli Limani which
gave us a safe anchorage overnight once passed all the fish farms in the
entrance. From here the plan was to head for Pythagoria (on the SE corner
of Samos). This we duly did but were again denied the destination as the
wind increased to a near gale force 7 from the SE making a stop in this
port untenable as it is open to the SE. We duly altered course and passed
through the channel between mainland Turkey and Samos reaching speeds of 7
knots with the NE going current our new destination being Kusidasi.
The wind did it's usual fickle thing and dropped then went NW so we ended
up motoring the last few miles into the marina (we were last there in
early May 2010 with the EMYR).
Unfortunately we had been experiencing some issues with the engine (well
actually the gears) since last year and these seemed to be getting worse
and occurring more frequently so we decided enough was enough and it
sorting. Having done some research on the yachting forum and spoken to our
friend Steve on Piper and Graham our yanmar engineer in the UK) we
concluded that the clutch cones would need either re-lapping or replacing.
A Yanmar engineer was available in the marina so we had the job done - it
took 4 days for the part to arrive the engine to be taken apart(well
partially moved) and the work to be completed and the engine tested.
The engineer discovered the clutch cone had been inserted upside down in
our re-conditioned sail drive leg he was amazed that it hadn't failed
sooner. (The leg was supplied by Yanmar for free in 2006 as a result of
further electrolysis on the previous new leg which had replaced the
original in 2004.) But that is another long story!
We were pleased to be in Kusidasi where at least the technical support is
of an excellent caliber and the engineers who worked on the boat did a
great job - just not pleased to have to spend £1000 on getting the work
While there we met up with the early participants of this year's EMYR and
attended the cocktail party at the invitation of Carlar the marina manager
whom we had met last year. We finally left on the 9th of May and had a
good motor sail to
the Greek island of Chios. We moored here in an unfinished marina for free
for a couple of nights along with our friends Tony and Lynne from Lord
Anthony (last year's EMYR) who we had sailed past earlier in the day!
As the forecast was not good we decided to hire a car together and so on
the following day we explored this rather lovely island. We visited the
south first (with a stop at the local Lidl and Euro-Spar for essential
supplies i.e. bacon, pork rum and Greek wine!)The island is famous for
it's Mastic a resin extracted from trees and used for making chewing gum
among other things. The 'mastic' villages were fortified hill towns and
this is where we headed for. We stopped at Pyrgi first to admire the
unusual houses elaborately decorated with patterns cut into the
whitewashed walls to reveal a layer of dark volcanic sand underneath. Thus
creating a stunning geometric series of patterns depicting all sorts of
animals, vases, fish etc. Quite amazing when seen in such quantity along
all the tiny lanes and alleyways. Next we went to Mesta which has a very
large church in it's centre and consists of a series of dark lanes with
homes build facing inwards a real maze,
access in and out was only through the 6 'portals' so it was a bit like
being inside a castle. From here we drove up the western coast and stopped
for lunch in a bay with a tiny fishing harbour and several tavernas (one
had been recommended by a couple we had met in the marina - Dennis and
Gwen from Quintet - last seen in el Rompedo SW Spain in 2008!!). From
here we cut east through the hills and back to the marina - the roads were
small here with hairpin bends and I was glad to arrive back on the flat
near to the airport and Chios town. On passing the main harbour we spotted
our Dutch friends Rick and Cobi on their boat Chica (from Lagos in 2008
tho' we had seen them last year for my 60th birthday in Marmaris too). We
parked up and spent a hour chatting on board before taking our leave as an
early start was on the cards the following morning.
The following day we left the marina at 0600 and headed north with an
increasing wind on the nose the journey was pretty grim and we finally
decided to give in and turned back to find shelter when we were
experiencing 30 knots of wind!
We chose a bay which provided reasonable shelter and there we stayed for
two days. The first night was pretty disturbed as we had not proved the
anchorage so we did watches all night and neither of us had much sleep.
The following day the wind continued to howl ad gust on and off so we
stayed put and set off again on the 13th of May for Ayvalik marina. The
first two hours were hard work beating into a disturbed sea but once round
the main headland we were able to tack and made a quick passage achieving
speeds in excess of 7 knots with a reefed main and 3/4 jib - glorious! and
the sun was shining too.
We only stayed one night in Ayvalik - the marina was good but expensive -
I explored the town which was fascinating - definitely a proper town with
no tourist tac! I even managed to arrange for a Haman and massage at a
nearby hotel while Rob took his afternoon sleep. My back really needed the
massage after all the winching done over the previous few days sailing.
During our journey north we have been in constant touch with our friends
June and Steve on board Piper who had left Fetheye the day before we
arrived and managed to keep ahead of us despite our best efforts to catch
However by the time we left Ayvalik we were really close and it looks like
we will finally be re-united tonight in Lapseki a small harbour near the
northern end of the Dardanelles. Supper on board their boat was just the
incentive we needed to push on against this very strong current.
So we will finally get into the sea of Marmara tomorrow we hope and then
it's only 200 miles to Istanbul!