[Kensblog] Good times!

Greetings all!

Roberta and I have just completed a wonderful week sitting at anchor. Actually, we weren’t just ‘sitting.’We swam, barbecued, took rides on the tender, partially emptied the wine cooler, hung out in the hot tub, andspent hours goofing off at our computers. Does life get much better?

We did get off to a bad start…

Our only goal for our first trip of the season had been to test the boat, and see if everything was working. Next week, we will cruiseto Greece, and want to make sure everything is working before we head offshore. Our plan was to find a quiet cove, drop theanchor, and then try out as many things on the boat as possible. After a few days, then, we would return to port, and get any surprisesfixed. Once we leave Gocek, we don’t want to return to port for a couple of months. If something is broken, we’d rather know it now.

Map of the area about 10 miles from Gocek where we wanted to anchor. Some of you may notice that this screen is from the newer version of Nobeltec (called Odyssey). Thus far, I don’t love it, or hate it. It is fast, I’ll give it that. Scrolling around the map is fun. But, I’ve been using the old Nobeltec for over a decade, and knew where everything is. It’s like getting new shoes. The new ones are never quite as comfortable — for a while.

We didn’t want to go very far, so I focused on the area close to Gocek, and chose a point about 10 miles away.

As I mentioned last year, anchoring in southern Turkey is different than what I am accustomed to. Instead of just dropping theanchor in the middle of the bay, you drop the anchor about 300 feet off of shore, and then back the boat to shore, tie a line (or two) toa tree, and wind up perpendicular to shore. In some bays, there are a series of little orange posts (bollards) that you can tie to.

This type of anchoring is mandated for two reasons:
  1. The water is very deep here; usually several hundred feet in most bays, and it stays deep almost to shore
  2. In the summer, the good anchorages are packed with boats. It is unbelievable how many boats are cruising in southern Turkey in July and August.
There are so many boats here, that the shorelines in some bays remind me of the parking lot at Costco, back inSeattle, with all the boats lined up side by side.

Although that is the norm, Roberta and I don’t like it, and wanted to find a location where we could anchor the standard(at least to us) way. Looking at the chart, and doing some measuring, I found one spot where I thought we could put the anchor, andhave room to swing in a circle around it. We have a few reasons for our preference, including that I think it is safer. SansSouci has a lot of “windage.” When tied to shore the boat cannot rotate to face into the wind. We always have to take thefull force of the wind on our side. If a line to shore were to come loose, or the anchor drag, there would be notime to correct the problem. Also, Roberta hurt her shoulder, and is having trouble working the lines. The process oftying to shore, on a boat our size, is usually done by several people.

Anyway… we did find our spot, and dropped the anchor. I gave it a tug, and there was no resistance (it didn’t set). For an anchor tohold the boat properly, it must dig itself into the sand. Weight counts, but is overrated. The real holding for the boatcomes from the anchor burying itself in the sand, and the boat trying to drag the anchor through the sand. If the anchor doesn’tdig in, it will slide along the bottom.

I upgraded a few years ago to a 150kg (about 350 pounds) Rocna anchor. It has always set on the first try, so thiswas a bit of a surprise. Roberta and I tried again, then even one more time, with the same non-result. Thus, we decided to give up, and justtie to shore, like everyone else.

The fun begins…

When I retrieved the anchor, I noticed that it came out of the water backwards. It refused to raise up onto the bow like it wassupposed to. I used a boat hook, and tried to turn it, but…no luck. My aluminum boat hook was no match for 350 pounds ofsteel.

My anchor is attached by an anchor swivel, which is supposed to help the anchor rotate into a proper position for retrieval. Instead, mine had frozen into a position that may have interfered with anchoring, and certainly was interfering with anchor retrieval.

Here’s an interesting email I received regarding my “swivel” problem:

You might want to consider upgrading to an Ultra Anchor from Rocna. Many cruisers visiting the Med start with Rocna’s and end up upgrading to an Ultra when they run into trouble with weeds and unstable soils that keep a Rocna from penetrating deeply into the bottom. Have them talk to David Bock, another Nordhavn owner that has his N55 in Turkey and has an Ultra Anchor.

Randy Boelsems, Quickline – Home of the Ultra Anchor

Is he right? Ask me again a month from now. I have had great success with my Rocna, and am not interested in changing it. That said, I’ve been wrong too many times to say that I know everything, so…we’ll see.

Now, I had two reasons to drop a tender. If I was going to run a line to shore, I’d need a way to get there. Also,perhaps from in the water I could spin the anchor, and get it back onto the bow pulpit.

Sans Souci has two tenders. Whereas some cruisers give their tenders cute names, we’re not particularly original. Ours are called,”The Big One” (15 feet long) and “The Little One” (11 feet long). We have the little tender, as a backup to the big tender, buthave never used it. I had both tenders serviced this winter, and have been feeling sorry for the small one, so we decidedto give it a try. We stopped in the middle of the bay and dropped the little tender.

I’m rushing this part of the story a bit, because this was far more miserable than I can make it sound, andI don’t really want it to be obvious that my keyboard is weak on adjectives. Let’s just say it was very hot and sweaty,and dropping the tender meant getting sweaty, and sunburned.

And, as one would expect at this part of the story, the little tender wouldn’tstart. Not only would it not start, it wouldn’t start on the second try, the third try, or the twentieth try. Our big tenderhas a button to start the motor. But, not the little tender. It’s an old-style, lawn-motor-type, pull-cord, and pulling thecord over and over again wasn’t getting me anywhere.

A local bread-merchant in a panga happened to pass by as I was struggling with this, and took pity on me. He offeredto pull the cord for a while. We opened up the cover to the outboard engine, I used my best foul language in English, andhe assisted (I think)with some choice words in Turkish. But, nothing worked, including various choke settings, no throttle, full throttle,and most settings in-between. I tipped him 10 lira (about five bucks) which totally confused him.He refused to take the tip, although relented when I pushed, but I could tell he thought I was crazy to be giving himmoney for no reason.

This meant putting the little tender back on deck, and dropping the big tender (which I should have done in the firstplace). The tender gods were in a better mood, and it started right up. In minutes, I had turned the anchoraround and raised it into proper position on the bow, lashed the tender tothe side of the boat, and we were back underway to find a suitable place to anchor.

Turning into the next bay, we saw a floating mooring ball. Given that my anchor was now in the “dubious” category, I had asked thebread merchant what he knew about the mooring balls dotting the bay. My question was,”Would my boat be too big or heavy to tie to a mooring ball?” Without knowing what the mooring ball was tied to, and how strongthe chain holding it was, how could I possibly tie to it? My boat weighs 120 tons. If a big wind came, would the mooring ballhold the boat? The bread merchant said my boat would be fine, and that I shouldn’t worry about it.

My options appeared to be, “trust the bread merchant in the panga.” Or, “go back to port.” Be it right or wrong, we decided togo for the mooring ball. Generally the mooring balls are the domain of sailboats. I did see one fairly large powerboat tied to one, but I’d guess its weight at under half that of ours.

Tying to the mooring ball was fairly easy with the tender down. While Roberta held Sans Souci steady, I went around to the front and put the linethrough the loop at the top of the ball.

The next question was, “Did we need to tie to shore?” I noticed that the sailboats around me had not tied to shore; they were just floating freely around their mooring balls. Therewere bollards (little orange posts) on shore, but none of the boats near me were using them. As I mentioned earlier,if there were a way NOT to tie to shore, that’s what we wanted. My thinking was that the wind could come up at any point, andthat I wanted to be as safe as possible.

Next to us was a young French couple on a sailboat. I asked the man whether or not he was planning totie to shore. He asked, “Why?” I pointed at the bollards and said, “Do we need to tie up?” To no great surprise,the Frenchman had a strong opinion. He gave me a look intended to remind me thatI was an idiot, and said, “Why would we do that? These are mooring buoys! We do not tie to shore.”

So, based on the word of a Turkish bread-seller, and a French sailor, I relaxed, and started to have fun.

The real reason to own a boat

Sans Souci. Happy on the mooring ball. The orange mooring posts are barely visible on shore in the background at Sans Souci’s stern.

Within minutes of tying up, the tension started to dissipate. For the next four days, life was as perfect as it can be.

It’s sad that my blog has dozens of paragraphs about the things that break, and that there isn’t much to say about thegood times. But, if those four days were a computer program, it would look like this:

  • Step 1 – Wake up after a wonderful night’s sleep
  • Step 2 – Make coffee
  • Step 3 – Look outside at the other boats, and the view
  • Step 4 – Play with computer til Roberta wakes up
  • Step 5 – Roberta makes coffee and checks email
  • Step 6 – Swim
  • Step 7 – Hang out in hot tub
  • Step 8 – Play with computer, occasionally looking out the window to see if the other boats are doing anything interesting
  • Step 9 – Open wine
  • Step 10 – Barbecue
  • Step 11 – Watch tv
  • Step 12 – Hang out in hot tub, finish wine. Observe fish that collect at the lights at the back of the boat
  • Step 13 – Sleep
  • Step 14 – Go to Step 1
Does this sound monotonous? Not to me it isn’t.. that’s a perfect Ken-day.

Check out this picture, from the hot tub, looking out at the world:

Click on the picture above to see my first attempt at taking a “3-D” picture. I was just experimenting, and with 20/20 hindsight shouldhave taken the project more seriously, and taken more time with the picture.

[Note, if you don’t see the picture above, try this link:

On day five, things did get a bit more interesting…

There seem to be three things that tourists do in Turkey.
  1. Visit all of the historic sites
  2. Charter sailboats
  3. Charter gulets
Sitting at anchor you see LOTS of charter sailboats and catamarans. These are often fun to watch, because the skippersare not very skilled. I watched one sailing catamaran try to drop anchor for an hour, with no wind, and then tie his stern to thebollards on shore. He couldn’t seem to get the anchor to set, and somehow, even with no wind, the catamaran kept floatingits way to the beach. I’m not picking on him, because I’ve “been there, done that” a time or two myself!

Separate from the sailboats are the gulets, big wooden, cool-looking sail/power boats, that bring passengers out fora day of swimming, or even weeks of cruising.

As we were floating on the mooring ball, we’d watch the gulets constantly coming and going around us. We were next to a goodswimming beach, so the gulets were constantly dropping anchor near us, tying to rocks or bollards on shore, and droppingtheir passengers in the water for a swim. Most of the time they’d be gone in a few hours, but occasionally they wouldstay overnight.

The fourth afternoon, as I was sitting in the pilot house working on my computer, I suddenly heard loud shouting from just outside. I jumped up tosee a gulet next to me practically touching Sans Souci, and the gulet’s crew standing on deck shouting and pointing at the water. I had been so engrossed in my work that I had not noticed them pulling up right next to us.

This picture was taken after I had used my engines to create some distance from the gulet.

When I looked down at the water I realized that Sans Souci was slowly rotating into the gulet. We were about to collide!It would be a slow-motion collision, but we were definitely about to bounce off each other. I immediately grabbedsome huge fenders and put them in the water, as did the crew of the gulet. The fenders did their job, but we were pinned together.

I went back to the pilot house, and started the engines to rotate away from the gulet.

It wasn’t helping that the gulet had a dozen passengers now diving into the water and swimming around the two boats,finding great entertainment in all the action.

I was angry, and asked the gulet captain to move his boat. He had anchored well INSIDE of my swing circle. I had been there for four days,and all of a sudden he had anchored too close to me. The rest of the beach was wide open. Had he anchored 50 feet farther away,all would have been fine. The gulet captain refused to move. He demanded that we tie our stern to shore, so that he wouldn’t have to move. I pointedout that he had a full crew, and we were only two.

He offered to resolve the standoff by sending over some crew to help me tie to shore. I did appreciate the overture,but this wouldn’t solve my issue of wanting to rotate on the mooring ball in the event of any strong winds. I pointed out thatthe whole beach was empty and that it made no sense that he had anchored so close to me. He pointed out thatI was big to be on a mooring ball in the first place, and I should go anchor somewhere else. After 30 minutes of spiriteddebate, I conceded. I’m a guest in his country, and we were on track for someone to get hurt. His passengers were swimming allaround both boats, and I didn’t like swimmers that close with my engines running.

As a sign of compromise the captain personally helped me with the lines, we shook hands, and the daybrightened. Of course, I wasn’t happy about being tied to shore, given the potential for wind, but ..it was the only move to do given the unfortunate circumstance.

Dinners ashore

I’m an “early guy.” Usually, I’m at my computer by 6:15am, and by eleven at night, I’m conked out. We normally try to havedinner by 6pm. So… deciding we wanted to have dinner ashore one night we took the tender to a nearby waterfront restaurant.

The restaurant looked great, but was empty. We asked if they were open, and were told, “Come back at 8. Too many bees now.”We didn’t see any bees, and wanted to get back to the boat before dark, so we said, “We’re ok. Let’s eat.”

Here’s a short video showing the fun we had wrestling with bees at dinner. The restaurant was right. The food was great,and I recommend the restaurant, but … eat after dusk!

Note: If you don’t see a video above, you aren’t really missing that much — but, you can see it by clicking this link:

Keeley and Toundra have been dining with us at most restaurants. They haven’t been refused yet!

A happy Roberta! Keeley, less so. That’s our “big tender” at the end of the dock in the background.

Roberta. She’s wearing the jacket, not because it is cold, but because sunburn can sneak up on you. She likes to keep covered when the sun is around. It was over 100 degrees yesterday!

We also tendered to another restaurant. I took this picture on the dock: (my second attempt at a 3-d picture,better than the first, but still some learning to do)

[Note, if you don’t see the picture above, try this link:

Around the docks, the water was about 20 feet deep, and so transparent that when I first walked past this lady, I did a double-take. It appeared she was walking in air! (the picture doesn’t do the clarity of the water justice). She noticed my reaction and said, “It is so amazing here. I don’t need a mask to go snorkling!”

I noticed these tombs sitting next to the docks. You don’t have to hunt too hard to find history.

This restaurant photo is from when we were in Dalyan, but struck me as funny, so I threw it in here. It advertises itself as a Chinese/Indian restaurant, but as you can see from the sign is also pushing English breakfast, complete with pork sausage (something one wouldn’t necessarily expect in Turkey.) In general I’d rate most of the restaurants as a 10 on service, and a 10 on selection, but a 5 or 6 on food quality. There is a lot of competition and the restaurants bend over backwards to attract customers. The menus tend to have astonishing assortments of food of all nationalities. My guess is that anytime a restaurant sees someone walk away because something wasn’t on the menu, it is there by the next day, and the chef is told “Deal with it.” Thus, you get Indian restaurants that have no idea what chutney is, Greek restaurants, where they had no idea what pita bread is, and Mexican restaurants that are puzzled by the concept of tortillas.

The return to port

Our last three days at anchor were a repeat of the first four. Awesome! We’re back at port now and have been doing some fixes,but overall, there isn’t much to fix.

Gocek has a West Marine! We were so happy to see it, we helped them achieve their revenue goal for the year. We bought so much, it required a wheelbarrow to get it back to the boat. And, of course, West Marine was happy to sell us one!

We have friends arriving next week and will be heading to Greece. Our plan is to not come back to our home port (Gocek) for acouple months. We’re not sure where we’ll go, but … that’s how we like it!

And, lastly, a few selections from my mailbag…

My favorite email of the week comes from a friend, currently cruising in Spain. I love his depiction of Med Mooring, and hiscolorful usage of the english language.

… Part 1 …

It’s around 7:30pm here and we are out on the aft deck enjoying the cool breeze with a cocktail. A girly boat, a Sunseeker 60-65 footer backs in next to us almost sideways. An older lady on board had a boat hook out and was going to use it to fend us off when I told her not to touch our boat with the damn thing. She laid it down and went inside while we used fenders to hold them off.

Shortly afterwards, another girly boat, a Fariline 65 backs in 2 slots down, between the girly boat next to us and a big, beautiful 130′ sailboat. The Captain has 2 ball fenders on his swim platform that also carries the dingy. Never a good sign when you see fenders on the stern. He pulls the boat right up to the wall, fenders touching. There is still a 1-2′ surge where we are docked. Why get it so close? They get the two stern lines on the cleats, wench them good and tight when suddenly, the boat quickly surges away from the wall under power and the 2 stern lines go beyond their stretch limit before he finally gets it back in neutral. The dock attendant runs in the other direction, people on board are screaming and the guests on the girly boat next to me run inside. By this time it is 4m away from the wall, the stern lines recoil and the boat slams into the wall, bounces back and slams 2 more times before stopping. The sound of crunching fiberglass was heart wrenching. Of course, the people on board as well as everyone on the dock were shocked. It appears the Captain was maneuvering the boat with a remote control and it malfunctioned. Nothing like a 65′ boat out of control while connected to the dock. This confirms why I don’t use my remote!

You can only imagine the reaction of the crew and guests aboard the sailboat. They seemed much more relaxed when he shut down the engines!

Ya never know who’s going to pull in next to you!

… Part 2 …

Well, I thought yesterday was exciting.

Today, everyone left except us and crazy guy that hit the wall 2 berths down. There was a small sail boat down at the end, maybe 5 berths down.

The wind was on our bow, pushing us into the quay. He does everything right. Removes both the bow and stern leeward lines. Then is when the fun starts. He tells a guy on the stern to release the windward stern line, it’s still looking pretty good. He then tells the person on the bow to release the bow line. The wind is now pushing the boat to port, away from us and toward the sailboat. The boat continues to go to port, it’s almost parallel with the quay by now. Everyone on the aft deck is screaming, “he has no controls”. The Captain realizes he has no controls on the fly bridge and scrambles down into the pilot house but the sunscreen is on the windshield. At the last minute, he turns and misses the sailboat. He then returns to the fly bridge to try to get control of the boat as he drifts down on boats anchored in the bay. Finally, he leaves…………….

I tell the dock attendant, please, no more neighbors!

Here’s a question from Doug K, in Illinois:
Hey Ken,

Do your dogs get any sort of “jet lag” or its canine equivalent when you travel? Do you change when and what you feed them when you’re on the boat?

Doug, my perception is that dogs get jet lag, just like us humans. When we first arrived in Europe, all of us were half-asleepfor days. We were out of sync. As to food, Roberta is picky about dog food. She likes the brands she likes, and travelswith a huge bag of food. We thought about shipping over the dog food, but decided it would never make it through customs. InIstanbul we hired a car for the day to help us find a high-end vet that might have the right dog food, and drove an houreach way to a vet that had what Roberta wanted. We stocked up!

And, lastly… I’m happy to report that…

Our traveling companions from the GSSR, Braun and Tina Jones, whose boat, the Grey Pearl, burnt in a fire in Phuket Thailand, have just acquired a new boat! They now have a Nordhavn 64, which is very similar to our own Nordhavn 68.

A fun bit of trivia is that this particular boat was originally ordered by Roberta and I. However, we briefly toyed with the idea of ordering a non-Nordhavn, and gave up our place in the production line. We later came back into the Nordhavn fold ordering our current boat.

Congratulations to Braun and Tina, on the purchase of their new boat, The Ocean Pearl!

That’s it for now. Next stop, Greece!

Thank you,
Ken Williams

PS As an aid to future cruisers, who read my blog, here is a google map showing the locations from this blog entry:


2 Responses

  1. Hello Ken,

    I was suprised to read at teh end of the Blog that you were considering a Non-Nordhavn? Out of curiosity which brand was it?

    ———————-Response by Ken —– 2012-07-01


    We came very close to buying two different boats, prior to signing up for our Nordhavn 68.

    As mentioned in my blog entry, we placed an order for a Nordhavn 64, but then decided we really liked the aft pilothouse look. Whether or not a boat is “forward pilothouse” or “aft pilothouse” doesn’t matter (much) as far as the running of the boat, but it mattered to us as to the look of the boat. We always liked our Nordhavn 62, and wanted something that looked the same, but was slightly bigger.

    Nordhavn, at that time had only the Nordhavn 76 as an alternative, and we thought it would be too large for us to run as a couple.

    So… we looked at alternatives. We reached the contract stage with two companies:

    1) Northern Marine. They hit financial problems while we were in the contract negotiation process. I discovered their problems while doing my due diligence on the company, and bailed. They later went bankrupt (although, I think they are back in business now)

    2) A custom aluminum boat. We spoke with a superyacht manufacturer who specialized in high-end custom aluminum aft-pilothouse expedition-style boats. They were awaiting a huge super-yacht build, and were willing to build us exactly the boat we wanted, in the size we wanted. It would have been very expensive, but would have been a very cool boat.

    As we were working out contract details on the custom aluminum boat, Nordhavn’s president called and asked how he could “keep us in the family.” We said that we wanted an aft-pilothouse boat, and that Nordhavn only offered them as “too small” or “too big” — and, that was the birth of the Nordhavn 68! We discussed Nordhavn adding a new model that was the size we were seeking, and when they agreed to build it, we happily agreed to buy it.

    -Ken W

  2. Ken, just a thought. I don’t use an anchor swivel, one more thing to go wrong and I don’t trust their strength given that they have to swivel. I use two shackles instead. When my Lewmar Delta plough style anchor gets tangled up and doesn’t want to come up into the pulpit properly, I take the chain off the gypsy and turn the chain 1/4 or 1/2 turns, put it back on the gypsy and then pull it up. Granted your Rocna is heavier than my 44 pound Delta but if you can find some way to support it while you turn the chain, you might solve your problem. Good luck.

    ——————————-Response by Ken — 2012-07-01


    Yes. I should probably toss this swivel in the water and forget it. I was running fine before I made the decision to install it. The manufacturer replaced my swivel with a new one, that allegedly is more reliable. We shall see … if it fails again, I will not be replacing it.

    -Ken W

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