September cruising - 1
We returned to Turkey on 28th August, bringing with us a new cooker along with lots of other bits and pieces for the boat. We were lucky because being the day after the bank holiday the flight was far from full and Thomas Cook didn't charge us for any excess baggage. The customs man at Antalya airport wanted to know what was in the big box but let us through without charge. They probably get quite a few yachties bringing spares in that way. We then treated ourselves to a taxi for the two hour trip to the marina at Finike. We didn't think the dolmus (mini-bus) driver would have room for all our bags!
Unsurprisingly, the weather is still hot here, reaching the mid 30s during the day but it's beginning to cool down at night. Our first priority was to get the cooker installed and it wasn't until Thursday that we had our first cuppa on board. We were missing a vital fitting and couldn't find anyone to supply it locally so we got one delivered to Gavin for him to bring out. In the meantime we made a temporary fixing. The new cooker is all shiny and rust-free. Let's hope it stays that way.
We are now more or less ready for the start of the Vasco da Gama rally at the end of the month. We met Lo, the organiser, a few days ago and he gave us our burgee and dodger with our rally number (40) on it. Before the start we have visits from Gavin and Lynda, plus Bob is coming out to do an insurance survey so expect the time to fly .
Gavin arrived on Saturday evening. We hired a car and drove to Antalya to meet him, taking the scenic mountain route on the way. Antalya has a big shopping centre which we stopped at to check out for later. We will do a big shopping trip later in the month before the start of the rally. The boat is already stocked up with what we could find in Greece and we'll be filling up with as much as possible in Turkey as well because it will get harder to find things once we get into the Red Sea.
We eventually left Finike on Monday, heading west. The prevailing winds between Finike and Kekova are westerly or south-westerly sea breezes and we had a pleasant beat to windward in Force 4-5. Approaching the eastern end of the Kekova Roads we were hailed by a small boat whose outboard had stopped working and, after taking down our sails, gave them a tow into an anchorage called Gokkaya. Once they were safely reunited with friends onshore, we anchored in one of the bays, surrounded by beautiful scenery and lots of other boats of all sizes and descriptions. The whole area around Kekova is very popular with lots of tripper boats and gulets charging around, plus cruising yachts from all over the world.
It was calm in the anchorage and we decided to blow up the dinghy, get the outboard going, and motor along the coast to find somewhere for supper. As we entered the Kekova Roads the wind picked up and after a while we had to give up and go back to the shelter. The next day we motored just a short distance around the coast past the pretty village of Kalekoy and into the inland sea at Ucagiz. The anchorages around Kekova are all very good for shelter and holding so we had no problem finding a spot not far from the village. Ucagiz has grown from just a few houses to a big village catering for the tourist trade but is still fairly low-key. We had a really good (pricey by Finike standards) supper in one of the restaurants. After supper Gavin and Paul were given massages by the resident masseur. Both were very impressed and risk becoming as keen on massage as Rachel is.
Yesterday we set sail west again for Kastellorizon. As we left the Kekova Roads the wind was strengthening so we had a lively beat to windward in F5-6. By the time we reached Kastellorizon the wind was gusting F7 but the seas were generally not too bad so we made good progress under well-reefed sails. When we got to Kastellorizon, the easternmost island of Greece, we anchored in a small bay east of the main harbour (to avoid any officialdom). We were lucky to get a good bite on the weedy bottom and the shelter was pretty good. In the evening we went ashore and walked to the main harbour. We had a good supper in one of the harbour-side restaurants and managed to buy some bacon (rarely available in Turkey) from the small supermarket on the island. Everything has to be shipped from Rhodes so there's not much available but the people are very friendly and the harbour-side village is very pretty.
The strong winds died down overnight but picked up again today so we decided to head
for Kas, just a few miles NE of Kastellorizon on the Turkish coast. We motored across in winds gusting 30 knots and soon found a slot in the harbour with a helpful harbourmaster welcoming us. Tomorrow is market day so we plan to stay here and, depending on the wind, move on again on Saturday.