The Rally begins!

Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Tue 9 Oct 2007 09:45
After 2 more days of final preparation, Paul's birthday celebrations and various
farewell gatherings, we left Finike again and made our way to the start of the
rally at Kekova on 29th September. Although late in the season, the anchorage
was quite busy but we were soon able to identify some of the other rally
participants. All the yachts are wearing 'dodgers' showing their rally number
(ours is 40). In all there were 18 yachts gathered at the start: 8 Dutch, 6
British, 2 French, 1 Swiss and 1 Canadian. 5 more yachts are expected to join
us in Cyprus or Egypt.

The next day we sailed back to Finike! We were treated to a barbeque by the
marina management and some crews went for a sight-seeing trip. By the end of
our two days there with the rally we were beginning to remember some of the
names of the other participants and get to know them a little. Learning to speak
a little dutch is a priority as dutch-speakers are in the majority.

On Tuesday (2nd October) we all set off on our first long passage, 140 miles
east across the bay of Antalya to a large and convenient harbour called Bozyazi.
We set off early, being one of the slower yachts in the rally, and arrived on
Wednesday afternoon. The skies were quite stormy, we narrowly missed
getting wet on the way and only had enough wind to sail for about 9 out of the
34 hour trip. It was strange getting used to being in the company of so many
other yachts, and some of the faster ones call up those they pass on the
VHF radio (perhaps because they are bored?).

We spent a day at Bozyazi and made a trip to explore some of the local ruins,
including the city of Anamurium, which were lovely. The scenery here is
wooded and mountainous, and is littered with crusader castles perched on
hills along the coast. In the evening we had our first thunderstorm and rain of
the season, clearing the air a bit. The temperature is still reaching 30
degrees during the day and at times the air can be very humid in this area.

From Bozyazi we are all "free sailing" as far as the city of Mersin, about 110
miles to the east, where we are due to arrive on 12th October. We left on
Friday (5th October) and sailed east again. The winds were light and the
harbour we were heading for, called Aydincik, was small so we motored in the
hope of getting there before it filled up with other yachts. In fact we arrived
first and were welcomed by the local fishermen, who are renowned for being
friendly. Few yachts visit this part of Turkey so no doubt they were surprised
to see a couple more arrive soon after us but they happily moved their boats
along the quay to accommodate them. Later on more yachts arrived and by this
time most of the village children were on the quay to see the spectacle. We all
stayed a second night and by Saturday we had about 14 yachts in the little
harbour. The harbourmaster was delighted to see us all and was happy to take
people in his car to the nearest town to get diesel. etc. In the evening we had
a communal barbeque on the quay, another spectacle which the local people seemed
to enjoy.

On Sunday a number of the yachts moved on but we stayed to finish some work on
our decks. We seem to have a constant problem with the caulking going sticky, a
problem we share with a number of the other rally yachts it appears. Anyway we
took the opportunity to take out a section of the sticky strips and replace them. We
are now using a different product which we hope will last longer than a few years and
not go sticky.

Yesterday we left Aydincik. The harbourmaster said he was sorry to see us go
and didn't expect to see any more yachts for some time. The winds were light
again so we motored along the coast a bit and then stopped in a more or less
deserted anchorage called Akkuyu for a lunchtime swim. To one side a large
breakwater was being built for what purpose we don't know, but it would have
provided good shelter had we wanted to stay the night. Instead we motored just
a bit further into the next bay to a large harbour at Ovacik. Mandarina,
another rally yacht was anchored in the harbour and there was plenty of room so
we joined her rather than tying up to the quay. In the evening a line of
trucks arrived on the shore and later a large fishing boat arrived. At first
we thought the trucks were collecting the fish but then a freighter arrived and
the trucks began off-loading a cargo which was conveyed to the freighter. What
it was we don't know but we were glad we hadn't tied up to the quay because the
noise carried on well into the night.

We will be heading gently east for the next few days on our way to Mersin.