In case our yotting friends haven’t heard the shocking news, we received an email this evening forwarded on by Gaby and Paul, who are based in Yacht Marina, Marmaris, Turkey. Yacht Marina is where Liz and I wintered in 2007-08. The email reads thus:
Fethiye is very definitely a ‘working’ town, despite its attraction for both tourists and yotties alike. There is an abundance of restaurants and cafes if you’re just wanting to relax or dine out. If you’re working on your boat or your house then you are spoiled for choice when it comes to shops, suppliers and repairs.
I’ve tried to capture this sense of work with a little photography project I’ve titled ‘Fethiye At Work’.
I only see him move once, and this was to pass us the bill. He limps his huge mass towards us and smiles through toad-like eyes. I imagine he is probably very good friend with James Bond, he seems to know everybody and things seemed to work around him to his satisfaction – whether this is down to wealth, culture or bloody hard work, I do not know, what I do know is it looks like a good life.
We bought Esper at the end of 2004 and now it’s February 2009. In that time all we’ve done is sailed from Bodrum to Fethiye. Big deal. Weren’t we supposed to be going round the world? Anyone else out there get similar remarks from armchair sailors and landlubbers? I heard that a lot on my last visit home to the UK and I bet Jamie’s hearing it right now. Funny how it’s only people without a boat who make these remarks… What non boat dwellers don’t understand is how long everything takes. Well, for those people who wonder what we ‘do all day’ and why we haven’t got very far, here are a few things to think about:
Nice spot, this one (see pic, above). At last we were out of the Fethiye bay and could once again go for a dip in the water without swallowing clumps of grass, mud or poo. The water was crystal and we even put the basket out for Millie, who seems to think that we magically turn stale bread into fish just by placing the basket in the water. Sometimes it really is that easy.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention International Rescue. Probably because it’s mildy embarrassing, but as long as Gina from ‘Impulse’ is around, armed with her bacon and mint sauce, you know you are in good hands.
Banu and Batu’s progress has not been without its problems, however. Despite running their family business now for over 20 years they have had some run-ins with the local marina next door, who have only been here for five years. When Banu told me of the bribes Ece Marina have been offering her in order to close her down, I was disgusted.
When I think of the organisation this would take back at home (babysitters, traffic, setting Sky+ to record missed programmes etc) this was an impressive effort by all involved. For us there were some new friends made, some familiar faces we’d never spoken to, familiar boat names we’d never actually met, and some old friends too.
One of the things you may have read about Fethiye is the fish market, where a centrally placed building allows you to choose your own fish, either fresh or imported. Get them to gut it and then take it to one of the surrounding restaurants. It offers a novel and cheap way of eating fresh fish but I have to say I was disappointed in the way in which the fish is cooked.
As we get to know Turkey a bit better so we are able to make some judgements on places we have visited as yotties. One thing that really sticks out when comparing this area to anywhere north of here is just how busy it can get. It’s one thing I’m not really able to get my head around as we’re used to anchorages with one or two other boats as neighbours, not entire flotillas of gullets and party boats!
I am still cock-a-hoop about having the whole boat to myself and the total attention of both of my parents all of the time. It’s great. They can be a bit over-protective sometimes though and seem to think that I’ll fall overboard at any second… pur-lease, I am a salty-sea-cat these days and I know what’s what.
Fethiye, named after a WW1 pilot who had the misfortune to crash into the local mountain range, was pretty much destroyed in the same earthquake that flattened Marmaris in 1958. Unlike Marmaris, however, this new-looking town isn’t ruined by the loud bars, gulet-full of lobster Brits-abroad puking up at every street corner, or aggressive stall-holders.
We prevented the main, pushed out the mizzen and unfurled the yankee to have us plodding along at a few knots in the light airs. As we did so I was aware of a charter boat motor sailing behind us, catching us up. When they did they then turned off their engine and got out their sails as if throwing down the gauntlet for a race!
Regular readers of FTB will be familiar with the term ‘The Black Hole of Marmaris’, a term invented to describe the fate of the majority of boats who enter the bay and never leave, for one reason or another. Well, we’ve finally done it: Esper has left the building!