Thursday, 17 September 2009

Palamut to Cokertme (with life jackets!!)

Monday 7th September

Before the lifejackets - Gulf of Kekova

Anyone who has sailed all their life, or been living aboard for a while would consider sailing across a gulf in Turkey to be childs-play. For us however, it became our most exciting sail to date (all 2 years worth).
The day began with Marco banging his head on the companionway hatch and swearing, which then turned into a debate about where to have our morning coffee - me wanting to go back to last night's restaurant for a change.
After we'd had coffee in the cockpit,  we then went off to last night's restaurant where we had another! We also got to see a lot of kittens gamboling in the sunshine and have a bite to eat too!
Back on board there was the obligatory impatience from Marco, who was keen to fill the water tanks, slip the lines and get going. I hope he's not in this much of a hurry when we are living on board otherwise we'll be like Jules Verne and have seen the world in 80 days! I was keen to get the chap from last night to help us untie, but no, we have to learn (!) so we had to do it all ourselves. I suppose he had a point. While Marco was doing boat jobs, I busied myself tidying the saloon and took some photos of Palamut, then returned to Balina, where he was spending time working out which lines were useless and could be recycled to make slips that would hold us in place while we untied the rather tight bowlines that had been rather too expertly done last night.
Once we were ready we started the engine and - oh! A large fishing vessel had parked dead ahead of us during the night..more than likely over our anchor. But we carried on regardless. All was working well until the chain started pulling to starboard and we locked. We then knew that the anchor was caught under the fishing boat. We were dragged right over to it, where fortunately there was a crew on board who held us off while Marco reversed back up towards the jetty, allowing the anchor to come up straight in the roller. We could see that we should have really just drifted very slowly forward so that the anchor could drag out from under the fishing boat, but with the ballast on one side and berthed yachts on the other, it would probably not have worked either. In the end, no harm was done and we were on our way again, Marco muttering loudly that the whole episode made us look like amateurs (but we ARE amateurs!). Personally I'd defy most people to successfully get out of the corner we were hemmed into.
Once out, we had a mixture of nothing and large gusts, so we waited until we were well out of the bay of Palamut, then put up our sails. We did ok, managing 4kn in around 15kn of wind. Occasionally we got 'scary' gusts of up to 26kn but they didn't last and it was relatively easy for us to get round to Knidos and Cape Krio beyond, although we had to sail out and come in again to ensure that we weren't going straight into the wind.
As we rounded the Cape, we put the motor on and, just as Rod Heikell describes in the pilot, the wind was patchy so we knew we had done the right thing.
Our plan was to head round into the Gokova Korfezi and head for Cokertme on one tack. Sempra from the restaurant in Palamut had done her best to put us off. "It's far too windy", but Marco of course, wanted to give it a try. I found to my surprise that I am becoming quite trusting of his judgement around the sailing so was ok with his decision. After all, we could always head back to Bodrum if the conditions weren't right. 

The lighthouse on Cape Krio

As we passed the lighthouse on Cape Krio, the wind went from 6kn to a steady 17kn. We started to heel uncomfortably and Marco gave me the helm so that he could reef. Unfortunately, as I turned in to the wind, there was a huge gust and the bow was taken round 180 deg. Lots of shouting and swearing ensued, followed by the engine going on so that we could right ourselves again.  Once that little drama was over, Marco set a course that should get us near as dammit to Cokertme.
Once we got ourselves into the Gulf of Gokova, things really took off. The wind was steady at 22kn, gusting 26kn and the waves were building. Spray was coming into the cockpit and covering us both. It was great fun, but nervewracking at the same time, especially as we headed more central with land a long way off in both directions. I started to feel sick - it was getting rougher and I suggested that life jackets might be a wise idea. Marco didn't object so i went down the companionway steps to retrieve two jackets from the locker. I swore continuously to myself as I struggled, both to put on the life jacket, and with the feelings of nausea that were starting to overwhelm me. I needed to get back in the cockpit.
With lifejackets on, we continued happily on a single tack across the gulf doing on average 6kn, occasionally 7kn. As we got to the north side of the gulf, we could make out a yacht, heading in the same direction as us, and it was then that we realised this was the ONLY yacht we had seen all afternoon. We'd been almost alone in the gulf. Did this make us brave, stupid, or simply normal (compared to perhaps other charterers)??
Nearing our destination - just in time
I went to check the chartplotter downstairs, only to find that it still showed us just outside Palamut. With nothing electrical to guide us, I reached for the charts and hoped i could still remember enough of my dayskipper theory to check our position. Hmmm....GPS also buggered! Nothing for it but to rely on pilotage! I checked the charts for any potential hazards to our approach and there were none, so all that we had to do was look for some steel masts that indicated the entrance to Cokertme. We motored for a while, getting as close to the shoreline as we dare and just as the sun was touching the horizon, we saw the masts. Down came the sails and we motored in.
We did a little reccy of the place, and a little boat from the Ibrahim restaurant pottered around but didn't come to us. The boat from the Rose Mary did however! He tried to get us to come to his pontoon (which was full), and then indicated that we should come inside the jetty. I would advise anyone else that is in this situation to refuse. We made a polite attempt, but clipped the bottom and Marco immediately put the boat hard astern and we reversed quickly back out. Despite the boat owner's protests that this was fine, Marco (wisely i think), refused and we motored over to the other side of the bay. Luckily for us, the Rose Mary boat came with us and helped to take the lines ashore, tying us on nicely which was just as well really as the anchor chain got stuck. He asked us what time we would like to be collected for dinner and, as we were quite a way from the restaurants now, we gladly agreed that he could come and collect us at 8:30.
Well, after all that excitement, it was a wonder we had any strength left to open the beers, but heroically, we found some somewhere and gratefully guzzled one back, then showered and changed.
Right on the dot, we heard the whirr of the outboard and our boat friend was by our side to take us to dinner.
We ate right on the sea-front,  and had kebabs, fish, meze and a bottle of wine. It was another idyllic location and afterwards we were chauffered back to Balina. Full of wine and food, we crashed out - fast asleep by 10:30 again!

1 comment:

followtheboat said...

Hi Lorraine! This reminds me of a similar crossing in roughly the same area. It was my first ever proper solo sail when Liz was home for the summer and I got bored hanging out in Orhanye. I went for a jaunt across the Dodecanese islands when the winds were on the strong side! We do miss that part of the world you know.

Unfortunately we can only make the boat show on the Monday as time is tight and we're not staying in that part of the world. Will you be there then?