Friday, May 18, 2012

Sailing the Turkish Coast

Bodrum Castle in Bodrum, Turkey

The Temple of Athena ruins near Soke, Turkey

Columns from the Temple of Athena near Soke, Turkey

This is a typical dock in Turkey where we tie up stern-to.  Maria is looking at the nice planks the boats have.  On Aspen we just jump to the dock since we don't have a plank!

The Great Theater, Turkey

Kapi Creek dock.  Aspen is the cream colored boat in the middle with the shortest mast.  The other boats are all charter boats and they tend to be much larger to carry all of the beer for the sailors.

Sailing near Knidos, Turkey.  Captain Steve is a little worried because we are about to round the famous Cape that trapped St. Paul.  Aspen didn't have any problems with it though.

Maria next to the famous Lion at the Temple of Zeus in Turkey.

Another famous face - no, not the Admirals face but that of Medusa!

Olives, olives, olives everywhere at the Fethiye, Market

Where is the warm weather in the Mediterranean???

Ah yes, a seat fit for a king at the Theater.  Or did it belong to a gladiator who didn't win his battle?

Nice name for a boat (stolen from our grandson, Timothy we are certain)!

The transmission has gone missing.  This is all that is left after it was taken away.

The repaired transmission is back in place.  But the black streaks are oil that leaked from it once it was put back in.  They just forgot to tighten the bolts it seems...!

A typical restaurant in Turgutreis, Turkey

Aspen's current marina at Turgutreis is in the background behind us.

Sailing off the coast of Turkey

Now that is a big column at the Temple of Zeus!

Hydrofoil heading from Fethiye, Turkey to Rhodes, Greece.  They will be there in 50 minutes.  It would take us 12 hours to get there!

The transmission is fixed!  That only took 8 days to repair it in Fethiye but at least we were at a marina so waiting was not painful at all.  In fact there was something new happening every day.  We were berthed where all of the charter boats come in to stay for the night and watching their antics was very entertaining.

The best people to watch are the Russians.  The Russians have discovered that they can now travel outside of their country so they are coming to Turkey and some of them charter boats for their holidays.  There must not be a lot of sailing in Russia because they have a hard time with the concept of forward and reverse and even getting tied to a dock.  One group on a nice charter boat decided to leave the dock under full power but just forgot to untie one last dock line.  The boat came to a screeching halt, nearly throwing the 3 people into the water when the line stretched tight.  Of course this was just after lunch where the crew consumed mass quantities of vodka.  And to think that they just threw the line off the boat and continued on their way in the condition there were.  It is scary out at sea!

There is a weekly market in Fethiye too.  It seems that people come from miles around to sell their wares, fruits and vegetables.  Their wares consist of counterfeit clothes, jewelry, name brand women’s bags, shoes, DVD’s etc.  Everything you can think of is sold at this market and at very cheap prices, if you bargain hard for what you want.  Bargaining is required in Turkey!

Maria got an exact copy of a Longchamps handbag for next to nothing.  Then she got several new wardrobes of blouses and pants for the same low prices.  Captain Steve does the bargaining because women don’t usually bargain in Turkey – it is still very much a man’s world here.  Arrrrrrr says Admiral Maria!

We also bought some very new DVD’s including the new Avengers movie, Sherlock Holmes, Ghost Rider, Iron Lady, etc. for next to nothing.  Of course these are all filmed with illegal cameras in movie theaters so we get the subtitles and audience reactions on the DVD’s as well!

Aspen finally left the marina with our repaired transmission and sailed northward exploring the 12 Island Bay including Kapi Creek and the nice bays in that area.  This area is fairly small but with a lot of places you can tie up to a dock for the night.

Things tend to be very civilized in Turkey when you want to stop for the night.  A lot of bays have docks where you stay.  The procedure for docking is much different than in the USA.  Here in Turkey you are shown a line by the dock owner that is attached (hopefully) to a chain on the sea bottom close to the dock.  This is Admiral Maria’s job – fish the line out of the water with a boat hook and quickly secures this line to Aspen’s bow.  Maria has to calculate exactly how much length of line needs to be out so that Aspen can back up to the dock but doesn’t actually crash into the dock.  Captain Steve then expertly (?) backs Aspen up, stern to the dock.  If everything is done correctly Aspen’s stern is positioned about 1 foot away from the dock so that everyone can easily walk off to get to terra firma.

There are a few problems with this procedure as you might guess.  First, the line that Maria pulls up is usually either too heavy for her or encrusted with barnacles that are not safe to touch.  Secondly, the amount of line to be secured to Aspen is always a guess because Maria can’t easily see where Aspen’s stern is relative to the dock.  Thirdly, and Captain Steve thinks most importantly, Aspen doesn’t like to go in a straight line when she is going backward.  Aspen does what she wants to do and when in reverse: figure 8’s, curves, spins or just about any direction except straight is where she wants to go.

Eventually we figure it all out and we are secured for the night at the dock.  Of course at the head of every dock is a restaurant where you can buy a nice expensive meal to pay for your dockage fee for the night.  Isn’t that just civilized!

The meals are usually pretty good and the price of admission allows us to be secure and we are able to explore the ruins and trails in the immediate area.

For the past 2 weeks we have explored the 12 Island Bay, the Ali Baba bay and the fascinating ancient seaport ruins of Knidos, our favorite place.  Knidos is right at the cape before entering a huge bay near Bodrum.  Sailing ships from ancient times used Knidos Bay to wait for favorable weather in order to round this nasty cape.  Even when the Romans were bringing Paul (yes, The Paul) to Rome for trial they had to stay here and wait for weather.

Once past Knidos we sailed to a marina at Turgutreis that is ultra modern.  There are 500 boats in this new marina and the facilities are better than anywhere we have seen.  The Turks build the best marinas.  We were able to get a berth in the marina where we are now and enjoy the little town of Turgutreis where guess what?  They have a McDonalds!  We are easy to please.

6 miles across the channel to the west of us is Greece, our destination for the middle of next week.  We have to get out of Turkey because our visa expires here and the closest place to sail to is Greece.  So Greece it is!

Sail on, sail on and sail safe Aspen…

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