Our time here was spent, once again, taking some snaps and reading. Just how we like it. In the evening we texted Christer of Lady Jessie only to find that he was in the next bay along, 500m round the corner! We arranged to hook up next morning.
n the morning we stowed and made a slow down-wind hop around the corner, which saw us in Keci Buku, a great little bay divided in half by a spit. We made our way down to the end, out of the way of idiots on jet skis and tourists limping along the sand bar. As we surveyed our potential anchorage we were angrily waved off by a German who was insistent we didn’t drop our anchor anywhere near his precious boat (it was a hand-painted, rusty heap of shite).
The next day we decided to go check out Selimye proper so, like mad dogs and Englishmen we donned our walking boots and strolled the 20 minute walk to the sea front in the blazing midday heat. We hit the first restaurant we came across just to rehydrate on iced tea before continuing along the sea front that is Selimye.
We spied across the bay a lonely old Turk, in his dinghy waving at us. He was right next to what looked like a very pretty sandy bay. No-one else was there.. “Beware of Turks bearing gifts” thought we, but nevertheless decided to give it a go. We anchored and went stern to.
As we neared our destination Jamie noticed another disturbance in the sea (I was still chomping through the admittedly rather poor lunch offering) and at first we thought it was a turtle. On closer inspection we could see a fin appearing now and then, but it was too small for a dolphin. It turned out to be a magnificent ray right on the surface of the water.
It was rather nerve racking having him watching us as tavla is a game in the blood of every Turkish man. They play it from birth and they play it at a million miles an hour. He gave me a few tips, nods and winks as Jamie and I played. I won! We then suggested that he play Jamie. Like the last man standing Jamie bravely battled on, but all in vain as Ali trounced him in the first game.
I tied the painter and walked to the foredeck to shower myself down (we have a hose poked through one of the hatches to wash ourselves down with fresh water after a dip). Liz, thinking she was doing me a favour, decided to turn the deck floodlights on whilst I was buck-naked, sponge and shower gel in hand! Don’t forget the boat was moored up next to the jetty where six boats were tied to, so this performance of me prancing around the deck naked, lights as bright as football floodlights,
We motored half a mile back up the coast to Ciftlik, an anchorage that suffers from severe gusts off the mountains and whose beauty is spoiled somewhat by the monstrous holiday resort. That said it’s a great anchorage in terms of holding on the pick and actually, despite the holiday resort it’s still a pretty bay.
On the very first tack I had Benn sheeting the jib and after getting the sheet round the winch something went ‘crack’, flew down the deck and had Benn mincing around the cockpit looking very pale. Turns out the traveller for the jib sheet had just sheared off and this lump of metal hit him square in the shin, creating a very deep cut that wouldn’t stop bleeding
We passed the the Hospital of the Knights, the ancient Temple of Aphrodite and numerous other treasures in our search for the perfect bar. We found a very nice one and sat at a table facing a girl in a yellow mini dress wearing white knickers (so I was told later). This had the boys enthralled. So began the rest of the trip.
A UK flagged boat called MaryLou had lost its steering and it turned out we were only 200m away from it. I attempted to call them on Ch16 but they didn’t reply as the couple were too busy running around the deck panicking. The poor guy was so distressed he couldn’t remember the phoenetic alphabet for his boat name so we motored over to give them some assistance.
ventually we set sail and made the most of the strong winds blowing from behind and set some more records on Esper, this time over 7 knots with just a reefed jib and no other sail. Still, with true wind speeds of up to 30 knots this is hardly surprising! Unfortunately the winds meant that we struggled to anchor in two locations, Gerbekse and Ciftlik, so we continued on round the corner towards Marmaris and found a great little spot called Kadirga Limani.
We stumbled round the rocky path and into an open plain, decorated with scrub, fig trees, old engines and goats, until we were presented with an oasis of vegetables within the confines of an ancient wall. In this compound stood a tiny brick shack and to get to it one had to walk across a wooden plank that spanned a huge, deep well. We were introduced to a grandmother and her daughter, both of whom lived in the shack and maintained the garden, and the daughters and son of the local goat herder.
Since the wind was up our bum I thought I’d expose mine and stripped off. I’d heard a lot of good things about naked sailing and I was keen to give it a go. It was all fine for about 2 minutes until I realised that the tanker behind us was not the one that had passed us 10 minutes ago going the other way, but another one following us behind pretty fast!
The anchor is well dug in and my transit line still hasn’t changed, but now it’s dark I can’t see it and the anchor chain is making funny noises every now and then. The wind is blowing hard enough that the boat is tipping over and I have to lean over the laptop to readjust myself to an upright position. I can hear the water slopping all around poor Esper. I’m not sure how well I’m going to sleep tonight and I’m exhausted after the six hours of sailing we’ve done today.
We anchored in the lee of the hill and tied to a rock, cracked open a beer and had a snack. All very innocent and quite pleasant. Notice how I make all that sound easy? This was Liz’s first line ashore and she executed this task perfectly. For those not aware, in Turkey it is quite common to take a line ashore and tie to a rock or tree to stop the boat swinging around on its anchor.
Right now we are anchored in over 20 knots of wind and Esper is yawing about the bay and I really don’t know what the next entry will be – we’ll either have successfully hooned it down towards the Greek island of Simi, or we’ll report back on how we had to get Esper dragged off the reef, which is about 20m from us as I type!
Within the first month of launching Esper we’ve managed to clock up 350nm, just cruising around the Bodrum peninsular. We’ve had a lot of good sailing lately. There are some uncharacteristic southerlies in the area, but consistent and strong, so Liz and I have been putting Esper through her paces, which she enjoys very much. More importantly, however, is that Liz is growing in confidence every sail we do.
I don’t remember anything! I do know we stayed up to watch the sun rise six nights in a row, and there was a dawn dip involved somewhere along the line. Also we were joined by Tac and her friend Idil, and they added to the merryment.