29th April 2009
Yesterday, we left Cyprus bound for Turkey and were hard on the wind with engine running most of the day. We managed some sailing and bashed our way to windward straining the sails and leaning over on our ear. Thankfully, the seas became less confused and the wind died overnight giving a flat calm that we motored gently over. This morning the wind picked up a bit from behind and we were eventually doing 7.5 knots towards the harbour town of Kas. The coastline looks very interesting and seems like a great place to explore if time was on our side. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that we no longer go sailing but simply bash away at passage making with only one aim - getting from A to B. We need another year just to touch small areas of the Mediterranean.
This morning, we have found out why the Northerly winds are cold. They are blowing off the snow-capped mountains here but we had a cracking sail over the last 20 miles of the passage.
We arrived at the small harbour here in Kas at lunchtime and prepared fenders and lines for our Med-style mooring attempt. The harbour is long and narrow and the wind was blowing straight into the entrance meaning that we would have to reverse to the dock with a cross-wind. There was not a lot of space to be found but, as I tried to slow our wind-blown progress towards the dead-end by reversing, the prop-kick started a turn exactly adjacent to a small slot between moored boats. We dropped the hook and kept reversing straight in and an English guy on the boat next door took our lines. Beginners luck we suspect.
Seconds after we got lines ashore, a local man zoomed up on a moped and told us that the Coastguard had ordered us to take down the courtesy flag that we were flying otherwise we would be charged Eu400. We think that the problem with our home made one was that the Crescent shape was not crescent shaped enough (a problem when taking a pattern drawn on paper, translating it to cloth and then trying to stitch the cloth to a red background). The guy threw us a new flag that we quickly hoisted - welcome to Turkey.
We paid the harbour fees for 3 nights (Eu55) and then went to check in. The harbourmaster was the first call and both John from Aldora and ourselves wandered up and searched for the hidden office. Once found (and a boat surveyor grabbed as an interpretor) we were on our way to becoming legally in the country. When asked where we had come from, we told them that we had come from Cyprus. "North or South" they asked. "South" we replied. "Then you cannot enter Turkey, it is forbidden" they responded. "You must sail to Meyisti and check in there and then come back to Turkey" they said. Meyisti (Kastellorizo) is a Greek island about 12 miles away.
So it appears that the Turkish and the Greek Cypriots are still at loggerheads and the Turks are trying hard not to enter the European Union by being childish over the matter. John intervened and said "Oh....WE have come straight from Egypt". I promptly took back my exit papers from Cyprus and flourished our Egyptian exit papers and told them that it had been a long sail, I was confused and that we had also come straight from Egypt. With the matter resolved, we had crossed hurdle number one and paid another Eu55 for the privilege - welcome to Turkey.
Next stop was Customs but they told us to go and see Health. So we went to the Health department who wanted photocopies of our quintuplicate form that we had already filled out at the harbourmaster and they then rubber stamped our paperwork. Then, to the police who wanted Eu30 for visas (rubber stamping galore) and onwards to Customs (and a few rubber stamps). After customs, we then had to return to the harbourmaster for more form filling and Eu5 payment for tonnage (plus a couple of rubber stamps) before being sent back to Customs for the final salvo of rubber stamps on our paperwork - after 3 hours we were officially landed - welcome to Turkey.
Oh yes. We are not allowed to flush toilet waste into the water for fear of fines but the facilities in the marina cost Eu0.50 for use of the toilet and Eu3 for a shower. Welcome to Turkey. A quiet anchorage is sounding very appealing.
30th April 2009
The weather blew up in the harbour today and poor old Nazza got too close to a large local Turkish Gulet and came off worst. It was blowing stink sideways-on and the large local boat kept creeping over towards Naz. Anyway they touched and Naz got her wooden rail caught underneath their boarding ladder, making a dent. First injury in 25 years. Pete spent all day being seriously worried about another collision. It did calm down later though.
So Turkey, it's stunning. The town is beautiful with lovely little cobbled back streets, café culture and shops selling everything that I wanted to buy, if only... The people are friendly and I love it, I really want to go back to Kas but as a tourist (by plane) and spend a week exploring it, family holiday next year???
1st May 2009
We got up at 7am and motored back to Kekova Roads (Approx 36 degrees 09' North, 29 degrees 49' East) with a swell behind us from the 35 knots of wind of yesterday. The morning was calm and peaceful and the anchorage between the rocky hummocks was beautiful. We had breakfast and launched the dinghy and went out across the bay to the sunken city (not fully sunken and most above water). These are ancient ruins and we do not know the history to them but believe them to be thousands of years old.
Back across the bay to the village of Kale Koy that is built from the waterline up the hill to the old Castle on the top. The castle dominates the surrounding area and the way in which the higgledy-piggledy stone buildings reach up towards it is very picturesque. We took a walk through the village along small stone pathways that constantly seemed to be someones backyard and were stopped by a grizzled old lady who was sitting cross-legged on a raised stone patio. She waved some bead bracelets at us said "One Lira" and, since I wanted the photo opportunity, we bought one. She then tried to unwrapped a bundle of cloth with one arthritic hand whilst squinting and making hard work of it. We helped a little and found cotton shawls inside and she held up 10 fingers and said "Lira". We ummed and ahhrd a bit when she pulled the sympathy trick by patting her legs and saying "Kaput" so we bought one and gave her a 20 lira note. She held onto it and we tried to explain, using sign language, that we needed ten lira change. It was then that she decided that she was blind and firmly gripped the note in from of her. We eventually recruited help from a teenage lad and explained to him our predicament. He carefully explained to her what was needed and a gentle tug of war started with the 20 Lira note. He eventually extricated it from her iron grasp and the deal was done with change that he produced.
We wandered up to the castle for views right across the bay and then we walked along the ridge of the hillside where ancient sarcophagi stood - massive tombs of hewn rock. From there we could see right down into the village where an old woman was dancing in the square waving a 10 Lira note.
After a beer in the local restaurant - courtesy only you must understand since we used their pontoon to tie the dinghy up against, we set off back to Naz. By this time, the wind was blowing hard again and we had a difficult job getting the dinghy around the small headland against the chop and got a serious dowsing in the process. It seems that, regardless of forecast, the wind picks up to 20-30 knots by mid-afternoon.
2nd May 2009
So, we picked up the hook at 6am this morning and it looked as though we would only make it as far as Kastellorizon before the wind wakes up. However, we kept on ploughing on and were surprised when we did not get any afternoon strong winds. The forecast for tomorrow is for favourable winds and so we hope to push West as far as we can get. As it turned out the winds stayed light so we decided to carry on to Datca, Turkey.
3rd May 2009
The timing was just right as we approached Datca during darkness and the horizon lightened just as we dropped the hook. After a couple of hours morning sleep we wandered around the town and had a couple of beers with a South African family who are here cruising.
4th May 2009
Today we decided to check out of Turkey and go to Simi (Greece). I went to the harbour master and he told me that we had to pay an agent to go to the bank and pay some money for our Gross Tonnage. We had already paid massive amounts to Turkey during our check in process so I thanked them and we pulled the hook up and buggered off the 12 miles to our Greek port of entry.
Having worried about not having exit papers from Turkey, we were surprised about the informal reception we had. So we are now checked into Europe and Turkey simultaneously and can go where we like.
Simi is a little jewel with steep hillsides and a small harbour with stone built houses rising vertically from the shoreline. All of them painted in different pastel colours – lovely.