Thursday, 17 September 2009

Okluk Koyu to Kargilibuk (Longoz)

You can lead a dinghy to water...
9th September 2009
We woke up to amazing scenery - lush greenery, flat calm water, clear blue skies. The only sounds were those of the cicadas and the occasional ripple of tiny fish splashing near the surface of the water.
We had coffee and the silence was interrupted by the sounds of the gulets 'waking up' (natter natter loud people). So we escaped by motoring over in the dinghy to shore for supplies. There was a well-stocked mini market compared to most we have been to and we picked up bread, yoghurt, salami and other snacks. Back on board we just relaxed for a few hours - some sort of miracle for us as we always have to be on the move, making the most of our two week holiday and seeing as much as we can! I fancied investigating the north shore of the bay so we jumped in the dinghy again and were off. Half way across, Marco remarked that the outboard didn't feel very powerful....this comment was quickly followed by a splutter and the death rattle of said outboard as it stopped completely. We paddled by hand across to a yacht with a long line ashore and fed our way along it to get to the small jetty and land. Once there, the yacht owner, who had been giving us suspicous looks from the jetty, jumped into his own dinghy and rode back to his boat looking very grumpy.
We walked along the shore towards the restaurant and back, then attempted to go the other way but there was an ominous buzzing and quite a few bees were in the area nearby so we thought better of it. We decided that the best thing now would be to swim back to our own boat, Marco dragging the dinghy behind him. As we got in the water, the German owner of the boat with the line appeared in his cockpit and told us we could not touch his line again because of 'the storm'??!! Not quite sure why 'touching his line' made a difference at this stage with blue skies above us but anyway, we weren't bothered and Marco waded out, towing me inside the dinghy.
As we reached the gulet jetty, one of the staff came out and asked if we would like help. Fantastic!! He jumped in his own (large) dinghy, fired up his (powerful) outboard and towed us back to Balina within seconds.  What a nice chap and just goes to show how friendly the Turks generally are....
After filling the outboard with petrol and making sure it started (it did), we prepared to leave and I swam over to untie the long lines. Everything went smoothly and we motored out of our new favourite place. Marco was rather too keen to sail between the dodgy rock islands near the entrance to the bays, but i vetoed that idea and we left the sailing until we were well past any potential dangers.
We headed off to Cleopatra's beach (Snake/Castle Island) and managed a great sail on the beam, doing 5kn in just 10kn of wind. It only took just over an hour to get to our destination - and once we had picked our spot, we anchored quick and easy then sat at the bow of the boat with a beer, reading our books. We'd been told to expect the place to be teeming with tripper boats but apart from one gulet and a couple of other yachts, the place was pretty quiet. We made lunch and sat eating it whilst watching the wind whip the sea into foamy white horses....we were getting 11knots blowing into the bay from the west....the direction we would shortly be heading. Joy!

We left, and headed around the east of Castle Island and were straight into the wind. As we came around, we were able to sail towards Sogut on a beam reach at over 6knots in part. It was fabulous, but the wind died as soon as we were behind the headland so we motored into Sogut Bay. We had considered stopping here overnight but although it looked nice, it also looked kind of formal, with yachts lined up perfectly on a pontoon by a 'sailing club'. We checked the chart and decided to carry on towards Kargilibuk (also known as Longoz Koyu). The sailing was rubbish. We were head to wind the whole way and it was impossible and uncomfortable to sail in the direction we wanted so we took everything in and made our way by motor to our chosen bay. It was easy to spot and getting in there was a real relief. As we pulled around the shoulder of the bay we spotted a Sunsail was moored near the entrance and was bobbing madly against the swell coming in from the open gulf. It seemed an odd place to be, as it was so calm just around the corner. We edged in, being careful to go slowly as we knew there was a large sand bar further into the bay and we couldn't see the bottom. There was a man waving to us on the jetty further down to the left but we ignored him and started to reverse back , picking our spot and preparing to drop the anchor. The same man who had waved, jumped in his dinghy and motored across, asking if we needed help. We didn't really, but we let him assist us anyway and of course, this made it necessary to accept an invitation to eat at his restaurant on the shore that evening.

There was no sun on our side of the bay so, having taken a second line ashore, we relaxed for a while down in the saloon before getting ready and making our way across to 'Ali's' restaurant. Managed to ground our dinghy on the sand bar on the way over which just goes to show how shallow it was, and how you can lose your concentration after a beer and a glass of gin.

The pit containing dinner. Wonderful!
 The 'restaurant' was a few tables in a clearing with coloured fairy lights strewn throughout the trees. The oven was a round pit in the ground hanging over which was a large griddle-type thing with several large lumps of chicken along with potatoes in foil. The 'kitchen' was a wooden shed at one side of the clearing and in there, Ali's partner, an English lady called Eleanor was busy preparing our side dishes.  After a long wait, our dinner arrived and what a feast!! Apart from the barbecued chicken, there were two kinds of salad, chips, jacket potato, baked onions, aubergine dip and more! Luckily sailing builds up a hefty apetite but even so, we were eating for ages and when we were long past full, the plates hardly looked touched! While we ate we chatted to Ali and Eleanor about how they came to have this place in the trees, and after finishing, we played with their dogs while listening to piped music from Phantom of the Opera to Simply Red! It was a simply magical evening made even more so because we went with no expectation and were the only people there......normally this puts us off but this place was special and if it is still there we would recommend it to anyone sailing in the area.

Eleanor prepared us a doggy bag of leftovers to take with us for lunch the next day and as we left, they shone a torch to the end of the pontoon so that we could find our dinghy. We made it back to Balina with promises to call back in the morning for tea. A lovely couple, a great setting and an amazing meal, cooked as close to nature as possible.......we will remember this for a long time.

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