Thursday, 17 September 2009

Knidos to Dirsek

2nd September 2009

The ampitheatre at Knidos

            Knidos is a beautiful area to be in but my God the wind roars into the bay when it's in the mood! And it was certainly in the mood last night!! Thank heaven then to wake up to the views of an ancient city that's over 2000 years old. So after a bit of a fitful sleep, we were both up by 7.30 and, after our coffee, took a stroll up past the restaurant and were directed by a tourist official towards the ancient city. 
Having paid our TYL8 to get in, we were surprised to have our own personal guide: Knidos the dog had decided to join us on our self-guided tour.
Knidos is one hell of an amazing place. It gets very little press as far as we know and, as it's stuck out on a peninsula with just a small road in and out of the area, it also gets very little by way of tourists......and believe me it's all the better for it. The area of Knidos roughly dates from around 400BC and seems to have enjoyed many  prosperouis incarnations between then and around 700AD when it was invaded by Arabs and the fun all stopped.  Subsequent earthquakes caused the city to be abandoned. It has been under excavation for over a century and there is so much to explore, including mosaics, still-standing pillars and the highlight of the trip, a fantastic ampitheatre which must have been an awesome place to watch your entertainment in those days.

Marco and I, along with Knidos the dog, wandered alone around the site for well over an hour. It was inspiring and is, at least for me, one of the kind of things i'd like to see more of when we do our 'for real' world trip. I would have loved to walk to the top of the hill and been able to over look Knidos on one side and the Gulf of Gekova on the other. Alas, on a two week sailing holiday every day involves a new adventure and a new harbour so we needed to move on to our next port of call. We will return to Knidos one day though and stay a bit longer.

Whilst we were exploring, Knidos the dog followed us everywhere, occasionally stopping to wait for us as we photographed a pillar or view. He was exceptionally friendly and we began to dream of one day owning a boat-dog. If we could have smuggled Knidos onto the boat (and onto the plane home) we might have done although i'm not sure what our three cats would have to say. However, once the tour was at an end, Knidos flopped down on the restaurant floor, happy to be home and never gave us a second glance!!

Back on Balina, we had yoghurt and honey for breakfast and prepared to leave this beautiful place. We slipped the lines at 10:30, feeling as though we'd already done more in Turkey than in two weeks in the Ionian. Out of the harbour and into the sea, it was lovely and windy so we quickly unfurled the genoa and had a great sail downwind to the next peninsula where we started to have a bit of our famous sail-trouble. If only we never had to change direction this sailing would be a piece of cake really. But oh dear, land was inconveniently in the way and so we had to gybe. Doing this (wrong probably), meant we lost what wind we had and the boat started bobbing around going 'La la la' and not going anywhere. Marco was determined not to put the motor on though.

We put the motor on...Then we passed by Palamut thumbing our noses at it and saying we didn't want to go there last night anyway....then we put the autohelm on and had lunch with a beer. It was all too easy this motoring.

As we entrered Datca Bay, the wind returned with a vengeance.....the wind vane got a bit confused and spun round like the wheel of fortune eventually ending up pointing out a south west wind, which then dropped to nothing. We motor-sailed across the bay and saw the Greek island of Symi on our starboard side, with the pine-clad hills of Turkey to port. We started to notice wavelets ahead and all of a sudden the wind got up to 20kn gusting 27. We had a terrific sail for a couple of hours, all the way to Dirsek and, as we passed Symi, we could see the town of Pethi and the dimly lit houses littering the slopes around it.
Dirsek proved a little difficult to spot until you were quite close to the entrance and we nearly ended up in the wrong cove, but eventually we got there and motored in. There were already plenty of yachts and the jetty was full with only 4 boats! Most other yachts had anchored with a line ashore so we circled around trying to pick a spot well away from another boat. We decided to go to the south-east corner of the bay, taking a line back to the rocks.
What a giggle that turned out to be as we were hopelessly under-prepared...The anchor set out well first time but the yacht drifted forward a bit, away from the shore. The rope we wanted to use for the line ashore was knotted up and it took Marco a few moments to untangle. Once he'd done that, he jumped in the dinghy and headed off to find a suitable rock to tie on to. Meanwhile, I had to get back to the helm to put the yacht in reverse so that it went back to it's original spot. The line wasn't long enough so i had to reverse back a little more. Finally the rope was secured and the boat was steady. Then the outboard on the dinghy failed. Marco, tired and a little fraught, yanked at the starter.....ruh-duh-duh..(yank) ruh-duh-duh (yank)....nothing! From where I was standing i could see that the ropes that we normally tied the dinghy to the boat with were in the water. Once Marco checked it became obvious that a rope had fouled the outboard prop. Oh joy! Marco pulled his way back to the yacht along the line ashore and (rather than be patient and unpick the rope from the prop), cut it off with scissors. Now we were left with a very short line with which to attach the dinghy in future. Number 140 of 'things' not to do when it's OUR boat".....!!!

After all that excitement, we just wanted to have dinner. Hmmm...we were moored just about the furthest distance from the restaurant. So off we went in the dinghy....half way across the bay, the motor cut out again. Damn (or something like that)....fortunately it started again and we made it to the restaurant where we had beautiful home-made meze, swordfish steak and kebabs. Oh, and a few beers! By the time we went back to Balina in the dinghy we were merrily merry and the calm waters meant we sped back with relative ease.

It must be said that getting from our  yacht to point B and back by dinghy is a tale of two sides. On the one side is calm waters, quiet bays and a moonlit sky to keep you company while you get around. On the other is choppy waters, dark, moody skies and a good soaking en route. Tonight was the former and, as it was such a trek across the bay we were really glad. Back on board we had a Baileys to congratulate ourselves on a successful day and both fell asleep in the cockpit I left Marco there when I got cold!

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