Early April is a lovely time in Gocek, with few people and pleasant (but rather unpredictable) weather. Sea Cloud is looking fabulous – so well looked after by Huseyin at HMS Yacht services, with gleaming stainless and a shiny hull. Launch date, as always, is rather stressful – seeing 22tons of your prized possession being towed through a very busy and crowded boat yard by a tractor while gently rocking to and fro on a rather small “trolley”.
Once in the water, Sea Cloud is very quickly turned into a workshop while Ian installs the Nemeth patented fuel polishing system. We are hoping that pristine tanks mean that the ‘green death’, our very fussy Volvo D3 engine will behave. With cleaned injectors, overhauled turbo and intercooler etc etc, it should be okay. Fingers crossed!
Apart from the large charter fleet and a few motor yachts, Marinturk is rather empty. Sea Cloud has a wonderful isolated spot on the end of the pontoon. This time of year, they are frantically building all over Gocek. The desolate, “mothballed” resort behind the marina is rapidly transforming into a 5 star hotel. Although the buildings are still shells, it is said that the hotel will be up and running by the 1st June. The speed with which the Turks work is incredible – go to the loo and come back and there is half a building completed!
So good to be out of the marina! We couldn’t go past a free mooring in our favourite spot in Deep Bay – a good place for a few days of gusty southerly winds.
We had planned to sail around the Aegean this season, visiting favourite places and a few new islands. After a chat with the skipper of the adjacent yacht in Deep Bay, our plans completely changed. By the next morning, we had signed up for the EMYR (Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally)! Although this seemed like a very hasty decision, we had been planning on joining this rally for a number of years, but after its cancellation last year due to troubles in the Middle East, we had forgotten about it. We will join the rally in mid May in Gocek, sail east along the Southern Turkish coast as far as Mersin, then cross to Northern Cyprus, and down to Israel where the rally ends mid June. (Egypt on the agenda but unlikely to happen given the political situation). http://www.emyr.org
We spent a few very enjoyable days in Netsel Marina Marmaris with Alex from Enki (aka Ottoman Tech Support). Unfortunately we missed catching up with Diana who was on mothering duties back in Sydney. Alex and Ian were like boys in a lolly shop searching the back streets of Marmaris for boat bits. On board Enki boom preventer systems were workshopped, later put in place by Ian on Sea Cloud.
We said goodbye to Alex we headed back to Kiseli Adasi one of our favourite spots in Turkey.
We always feel sorry for animals in small boats, suspect it means a visit to the butcher.
Dirsek was a fabulous sheltered retreat from the 20+knot winds blowing through Kiseli Adasi. Such beautiful blue water!
I almost stepped on a turtle on our walk to the top of the hill – didn’t realize they could hiss so loudly.
There were great views from the top, across to Simi in Greece and over the lovely bay below.Luckily we saw the pair of snakes lower down the trail before treading on them. Apparently Turkish snakes are pretty shy, unlike the browns at home.
The brisk southerly breeze was ideal for sailing across to Datca where we anchored in the bay.
There is more evidence of the new marina which is being built adjacent to the main harbor. I do hope it doesn’t change the character of this lovely town.
Checkout (via an agent) completed, we sailed the short hop across to Symi, Greece. The usual harbor antics were evident, – it took us two goes to anchor, then we watched another cruiser be uprooted by a charter boat. The charterers were settled and into the bar in minutes, the poor cruiser took the next hour or so to try and reanchor with a brisk wind on their beam. Symi is generally an easy place to check in to Greece. It took a little more time than usual this year as the police are very preoccupied with the large number of Syrians who arrive by boat. They are accommodated on the balcony of the police office in the main harbour before being transferred to Athens.
Symi is such a pleasant town to spend a few days. Great walks with spectacular views, good restaurants and of course a couple of excellent mojitos all eased the pain of turning 60 for Ian.
The best time is when the cruise ships and ferries have left for the day, and Symi returns to its calm, pre-season state.
Although Symi harbour was enjoyable, it is good to be back in a peaceful bay.
We are now settled in Panormitis on the south eastern corner of Symi, famous for its large monastery.
Big winds are expected tomorrow, so today we are making the most of walks ashore and meeting other cruisers.
Some times Sea Cloud seems a big boat, other times rather small. You can rent this ‘charter yacht’ for $62,000 per week! The tiny yacht at its stern is actually 40 feet long!
The crew were fully occupied for an hour or so manoeuvring the yacht to make room for the local ferry. A little close for comfort but fortunately they appeared very competent.