Rob and Jacky Black
Tue 17 May 2011 08:53
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 needed
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 our having
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 done!
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 them up!
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!