Thursday, 17 September 2009

Cokertme to Okluk Koyu English Harbour

Tuesday 8th September
Off to explore
We woke to the sounds of the gulets leaving the bay. When i stuck my head out to see what was going on, I got a bit of a sun and LOTS of cloud. It got worse when I checked Navtex and it stated " gale, force 8 S.W. Turkey".
Naturally, Marco thinks it will come to nothing. Hmm...we'll see!
After breakfast, we checked the pilot guide and decided to head to English Harbour today. First, though we needed some lunch provisions, so we jumped into Balina Junior and headed off across the bay to investigate the hamlet where we'd eaten last night.
We dragged the dinghy up the beach and walked along. Our boat-driver greeted us and we carried on, but got all to the end and saw no market except for a normal one that sells rugs, clothes etc. Heading back, our driver beckoned us over and took us through last night's restaurant to the fridges. These were huge walk-in ones and he spread his hand out, indicating that we could have what we wanted! As we were really only after salad stuff, we chose two huge tomatoes, 2 cucumbers and a courgette and paid 2TL. Back at the dinghy, we struggled to start the outboard and quickly discovered that again, we had a line wrapped round the prop. We got free and were quickly back on our boat. Having tidyed up and prepared ourselves as well as we could, we slipped the lines. That makes it sound easy - ha! What it entailed was Marco going out again in the dinghy and spending a large amount of time trying to untie the bowline that our boat man had tied last night which was now stiff with sea salt! All this whilst avoiding sea urchins and in a rocking dinghy! Eventually he managed to loosen the line enough to slip it over the rock and hurried back to Balina and, pulling up the anchor, we headed out.
It didn't take long for the wind to get up to 16kn and we were reefed with a smaller genoa to stop us heeling so much. We were able to go along at 5kn on a broad reach but we were heading in the wrong direction. With the wind directly behind us as we moved round, we pulled down the main and sailed on a full genoa and were impressed to do 5.5kn, flying along.
There were a lot more yachts out today, but clouds were heading across from the north and it looked pretty dire for later on. But we spotted the two islets outside Degirmen Buku quickly and sailed across, only putting the sails down when we were very close. We spotted the entrance to Okluk Bay. We needed to be here in order to get a meal tonight (it was too far to motor from the other side of the bay) so we rounded the head where there is a mermaid statue, erected by Sadun Boro, the first Turk to circumnavigate in a yacht.
Moody cloud cover
Even with the cloud, it was a lovely place and we scanned the bay looking for a suitable mooring spot. The restaurant pontoon was clear except for one yacht that we recognised as a Yildiz flotilla yacht, so we guessed (rightly as it happened) that the pontoon would be filled up later which we didn't fancy being part of, so in the end, I found a gap between a line of liveaboard boats opposite, all of which had 2 lines ashore. We prepared, dropped anchor and I ran to the back of the boat, leapt in with the line, and took the line around a tree, waiting while Marco took up the slack, then tied the second to a larger tree and we were in!!
It was still cloudy and also cold compared to our other days but we still managed to catch a small amount of sun at the bow of the boat, where we sat reading and drinking beer. We'd decided to have an early dinner so while Marco dozed (hard life being a skipper), I showered and while he showered, I prepared a G&T for us. What a team!
We left for the Yat Limani restaurant just before sundown, and managed to get a lovely table at the water's edge. We had meze (again) and for a change tried meatballs which were lovely. We polished that off with a slice of baklava. We drank beer tonight in an attempt to save some money as we are running a bit over-budget but I think we coped ok!
Back on Balina, we had a Baileys each and Marco thrashed me at Connect 4. Thunderstorms rumbled ominously in the background and flashes of lightning lit up the bay.....but no rain......yet!

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