[Kensblog] Sometimes, I win

Greetings all!

I have said this before, but will repeat it for those who might have joined us recently….

I consider the blog as kind of a tug-a-war between myself and the readers, in which only one of us gets to win. When the seasare rough, the boat is broken, the winds are high, and danger is in the air, the blog is lots of fun to read. You, the readerswin at our game. And when the seas are calm, the hot tub is warm, the seawater is warm and clear, the barbecue is hot, the wine is cool,and nothing is broken on theboat, it is my turn to win. You may get a boring blog, but you can bet that I will be smiling.

This time it is my turn.

When last we spoke, Sans Souci was working her way northwest to Marmaris

Our goal was to find a quiet bay that we could have all to ourselves. We were headed towards the “big city” of Marmaris, but wanteda night or two at anchor first, for some swimming and barbecuing.

Our first stop was a bay named Kadirga, only a few miles from Marmaris. On the chart the bay looked to have a tricky entry (rockspartially blocking the entrance) and was only a thousand feet in length. As we approached the bay, we could see dozens of boatsalready lining it. I entered anyhow, but immediately had to spin in place and back the boat out of the bay.It was WAY too crowded.


A little closer to Marmaris, we saw another bay – called Turunc — that looked like a cute little waterfront tourist town. There wasn’t much space foranchoring due to underground cables and swimming areas lining the bay. However, there was one corner at the southern end whereI thought we could squeeze in.


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Turunc – Looking out at Sans Souci sitting alone in the bay

I could never quite relax in Turunc, because our location was closer to a rocky point than I really wanted to be.Before going to bed I said to Roberta that if the winds topped 20 knots, I’d have to stand anchor watch (sit in the pilothouse ready to move the boat should we break anchor). At 3am the wind hit 20 knots, and was blowing us straight into the rocks.I sat in the pilothouse until nearly 5am, butour anchor held, no problem, and I went back to bed.


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Although Turunc looks calm in these pictures, overfilled tourist boats regularly arrive and depart from here. At times we felt as thoughwe were caught in the middle of a “boat freeway.”

My suspicion is that the tourist boats weren’t completely happy I was sitting in the middle of their route. Many were passing within 10 feet of Sans Souci, to send a message.

John and I raising the tender, to prepare to enter port in Marmaris. We’ve been leaving each day at 6am, and had nothing but smooth rides. Here you see that the davit can “extend” to make itself longer. This allows me to drop either tender on either side of the boat, or even drop the tenders directly off the front of the boat, if I am wedged between two other boats.

Marmaris is the hub of boating and tourism in southwestern Turkey. I figured our guests should see the town,and reserved for three nights at the marina closest into town (Netsel). The marina asked me to prepay the moorage (670 euros,around $900). To my surprise, our guests weren’t particularly excited about visiting Marmaris, but we decided togo in anyway, because I had already paid for the moorage.

The Netsel marina is adjacent to the “old town” district in Marmaris.

You can’t tell it in this picture, but the wind was steadily rising as I was approaching the marina.

A shaky welcome to Marmaris

Usually, Roberta is the calm one in tense situations. However, and I’m not sure why, even though the wind was rising,I was confident I’d have no trouble entering the marina. Part of the reason was that I was driving outside the boat, partially sheltered by a corner of the pilot house, and didn’trealize how high the wind was. It had been less than 10 knots minutes before, but was suddenly over 25 knots! Roberta questionedif I was sure I could enter the marina and I stopped the boat and tried the thrusters. The boat felt fine, andI had good control, so I went for it.

A tender came out of the marina and motioned for me to follow him. Once inside the marina entrance, I started reallyfeeling the wind, and the guy on the tender suddenly made a VERY steep turn to the right (starboard). He wanted me tofollow him, but they had parked a 110′ boat next to the entrance, which was partially blocking me, making a tight turn even tighter. I wasn’t sure I could make it given the higher winds.I immediately spun the boat around and asked Roberta to call the marina and say we were bailing. Roberta lookedrelieved, and when I asked her later what the marina said, she said they didn’t seem surprised at all.

As it turned out, the bay in front of Marmaris is a perfect depth for anchoring (50 to 80 feet), wide open, and stretches for miles.I dropped the anchor in front of the “old town” of Marmaris, and no sooner was the anchor on the bottom than the wind dropped –as I knew it would.

I asked the team if they wanted to make a new try at entering the marina, and everyone said, “Why?” I agreed.We had a perfect location at anchor, an easy tender ride into town, and far more privacy than we’d have in the marina.Later, I tendered into the marina and spoke to the harbormaster, knowing I wouldn’t get a refund. They easily agreed I couldhave a future credit should I return. I would think that if I come back to Marmaris I’ll anchor out, but, who knows? It seemedmore than fair on their part.

Marmaris was as predicted. Crowded. Hot. Touristy. To my great surprise though, we had a wonderfuldinner at a rooftop restaurant (named Jan De Witt). Our waiter that night told us that it had been 46 degrees Celsius that day, which translates to 114 degrees Fahrenheit – and it felt every bit that hot!

Walking along seaside at Marmaris. Thousands and thousands of people – of all European nationalities.

Looking down the beach from where we were anchored. There is a nearly 2.5 mile walking path along the waterfront, with an endless stream of hotels, restaurants, bars, and beach. One of my motivations for coming to Marmaris was to walk the beach. I walked it last year in May and had a great time. However, May is a lot cooler than July — with it over 110 degrees, my desire to walk ended after the first 50 feet or so.

Our fascination with Marmaris lasted exactly one night, and we were ready to move on. For our next stop, we selectedan anchorage in a bay named “Buzukkale.”

When we arrived there were only a couple of other boats in the anchorage. Within a few hours we were surrounded on all sides. We were disappointed to see all of the other boats, but had plenty of fun swimming and scuba diving, anyway.


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Within hours of our arrival we were surrounded by boats on all sides. One large gulet passed within a couple of feet of us,And seemingly dropped his anchor on top of ours [Note: I’m not sure how, but our anchor was not snagged, and came up fine the next day]

To our surprise, the bay, although small, with no one living around it, had three restaurants!

We had dinner at a restaurant called “Sailor House” which was actually quite good, particularly given the remote location.

You may recall that last year I asked a local how I could find a bay in which to anchor with a restaurant. His response, “All of them!”

This is basically true. Virtually every bay has a restaurant with a small dock, usually for 10-20 boats. Moorage,as I understand it is usually free, with the vague understanding that you will dine at their restaurant. The restaurantsare strictly seasonal, open only from May 15th to the end of October. Most have no electricity, but will have anantique generator, that powers a few lightbulbs during dinner (and produces an annoying sound). The restaurants aregenerally small budget affairs, very inexpensive, with food cooked on an open grill. The restaurant staff is usually a family – including the young children, learning the ‘biz’ –who lives at the restaurant during the season. Calling most of them “casual” would be an exaggeration. It’s a long story,but I was caught one day without a shirt, and wasn’t sure if it would be appropriate to lunch without one. My concern turned out tobe wasted energy. I would have been the only person in the restaurant wearing a shirt!

Menus tend to be minimal with very little selection. I’m a fussy eater, and have been orderingchicken schnitzel – a lot! I don’t even like it, but I’m not a fish eater… or a “mezze” eater, and that leaves only”chicken schnitzel.” The wine list is usually limited to color (red or white). The restaurantstaff are always fun to talk to, happy to see you, and will do anything in their power to please you. I’m not complaining.The outlying, “bay” and “cove” restaurants are one of themany simple pleasures of cruising in Turkey, and a real highlight.

One personal challenge for us has been the many the dogs and cats. Virtually every town and, often, restaurant, has dogs and cats. At this particular restaurant, our guests had four cats lined up on the wall behind them throughout the meal.

In this picture, Roberta and I are each scolding our dogs, who are screaming, because of the big dog that is trying to make friends. Our little dogs are deathly afraid of other dogs, cats, and, seemingly, their own shadows. We should leave them on the boat… but, they are hopelessly spoiled.

A side story about our guests…

Our guests, John and Gloria, are serious world-class boaters. They’ve owned both power and sailboats, large and small. They’vecrossed the Pacific twice, and John has raced sailboats worldwide.

Although John and I share a love of boating, we are very different people, and the differences can be amusing at times.Whereas I am “mellow” and sometimes need kicked a little to leave my computer screen, John is a bundle of energy. Both ofus are captains, but we are very different captains. This morning was a typical example. I plotted a course that ranseveral miles offshore, and was effectively “the long way around.” John doesn’t like to waste fuel moving from point A to point Band will cut every corner. If I see a pack of boats, I’ll swing wide around them. John will maneuver through them. If there’sa way to move slower, I usually find it. If there’s a way to go faster, John will complain that it isn’t fast enough.We play little games with each other while running the boat. When I’m not looking, he steers us closer to the coast, and roundscorners. When he isn’t looking I steer the boat towards deeper water. I’m not going to argue that my way is better or hisway is better, but they are certainly different, and that’s fine with me. There’s a place in the world for alltypes of people, and the one thing John and I have in common is that we are very focused on safety.

Anyway…a personal goal for me is to “turn John onto the cruising lifestyle.”When he looks at my boat, he sees a boatthat could go faster if I would just offload a lot of the “stuff” and make it 100 tons lighter, and put in bigger motors.However, I see it as a portable, waterfront home that takes us anywhere we want to go in comfort and safety. John likes the movement, thetrip. I like the “being there.”

It took John a few days to get into the slower rhythm. A few days ago, when we were discussing where to go next, John just naturallyassumed we’d pull anchor and move out early the next morning, whereas I thought we were in a pretty cool place, and should dig infor a few days. Lacking tact, as always, I said to John that I had a newidea, “John, why don’t we try this strategy. I’ll swing in close to the next bay we come to. You get up on the bow, and startthe anchor dropping. I’ll alert you as soon as it is half-way down, and you can start bringing it back up while I dash tothe next bay.” I was just kidding, but as it turned out, I didn’t need to encourage John at all. Because, our nextanchorage turned out to be so perfect, that no one would ever leave it quickly.

Perfection. Bozburun

Our next stop was an area known as Bozburun. I had a recommendation from a local that his favorite anchorage was the eastside of an island called “Kisel.”

When we arrived, we could immediately see why the place was so highly rated. It was beautiful! However,it was also a poorly kept secret. The anchorage resembled a parking lot!

A popular anchorage. Pick your spot, rub some butter, or any other slippery substance, down both sides of your boat, and squeeze on in.

Before committing ourselves to a spot, we all agreed we should look around and see if there was somewhere more private.

Sans Souci tied up in our own private bay, a short tender ride from Bozburun. We had our own beach, and called the area behind the boat our “personal” swimming pool.

We noticed a beach in a bay with no one around, just south of Bozburun.My first reaction was, “If no one else thinks it is safe to be here, whydo we want to be there?” There can be meltemi winds of 30+ knots that last fordays. Perhaps this was not a safe location. We checked the chart,checked the depths, and decided, “This is too good to pass up.” We dropped theanchor in about 120′ of water, backed up as close to shore as we could get
and put out a couple of stern lines. Where we finally settled was in 50 feet of crystal clearwater. Can you imagine being able to see the sandy bottom clearly, 50 feet down?

This was the start of three full days of fun and relaxation. Lots of swimming.

We had fun scuba diving offthe back of the boat. We even discovered a wreck, or at least lots of wreckage and debris, aroundthe corner from where the boatwas anchored. We also discovered several abandoned fishing nets on the bottom. In one of my spookier diving moments,I suddenly realized there was a fishing net beneath me, and the corners were being held vertical for 10 feet or so,by floats that were still attached. In seconds I should have realized that the net had been on the bottom probably for years,but it was more the feeling than the visual that was creeping me out.

Each town has had a different personality. For whatever reason, all of us would say that Bozburun was our favorite so far.It is a fishing village, and not nearly as touristy as other towns we’ve been in. The bay around Bozburun seemed to havelot of small, boutique-style, upscale hotels. We had dinner TWICE at one of them, the Karia Bel.

A few photos from Bozburun

Roberta loves her latte in the morning. In downtown Bozburun we found a barista capable of making a latte that met with Roberta’s not-easily-earned approval.

The restaurants seem to love our dogs! I’m not sure why, but Toundra and Keeley seem to be a hit wherever they go. They have been a great ice-breaker with the locals, and seem to lift us above being “generic” tourists.

We stopped by the Bozburun Yacht Club for a drink, and met the sailing instructor. He is very proud of this catamaran, featured in the movie “The Thomas Crown Affair.” I tried to keep up with him on the tender as he gave a lesson, lifting one pontoon well out of the water (which I wasn’t fast enough with the camera to catch.)

A small, but very nice hotel/restaurant, the Karia Bel. Recommended.

John and I were lucky enough to be able to tour a shipyard in Bozburun, where they are building some of the huge wooden gulets so popular here for tourism. We watched as they cut the logs by hand, and assembled the boats. It was like a trip backwards in time!

Someday, I should summarize all of the different techniques I have seen for hauling boats in and out of the water. This was a new one for me. A giant platform/trailer/sled, pulled by a hydraulically driven cable to bring the boat out of the water.

And, in closing

Yesterday, my friend John started lobbying me that Roberta and I should end our plans to continue cruising the rest of Europeand just stay here in Turkey year after year. Like us, he is enamored with the cruising here – but also with the immense history of the country. This really isas good of cruising as I’ve ever seen. The people, the weather, easy visa requirements,the clear water, the diving, the restaurants, everything. That said, nowhere is ever completely perfect, and thereare a few negatives. For instance, the wind at times can present a challenge, the summer days can be extremely hot (110 degrees and warmer!),and language can be an issue. But, overall, I’ve cruised a lot of the world, and this is incredible by all standards.

So…will we be staying year after year? The answer, unfortunately, is no. We’ll enjoy this cruising season,but, we’ll move on next year. It’s in our natureto always want to go new places and see new things. But, it will be very difficult to leave this beautiful country of Turkey.

Thank you!
Ken Williams

PS I do have some reader mail from my last blog report that is worth sharing. As usual, this blog entry is longer than I intended.If you’ve read this far, you’ve already spent too much time reading. I’ll save the mail for another time.

And lastly….

As a reference for future cruisers, here’s a map to the locations in this blog:

View Sans Souci Blog July 13 2012 in a larger map

3 Responses

  1. I was about to say my favorite photo was the one of you two scolding your dogs but then I saw the one of Roberta wearing my favorite tank top I have from Anthropologie! The brown one with embroidered flowers, while you were eating at the Karia Bel restaurant. Roberta has very good taste!! 🙂

    Always love reading your blogs regardless of how long or short.

    A long time Sierra fan,

  2. When you lose … we win. When you win … we win!

    I love the blog. Often, when there’s little to talk about, you get into the silly little details, with comic whimsy and fun. I love it! Keep ’em comin’!

    Where you off to, next?

  3. John & Roberta,
    I search your blog for what I can learn about your experiences with the boat and not with the places you go to, but thats just my bent. Firstly I’m interested why you lose sleep on anchor watch and not rely on your Furuno anchor guard. I have a child crying intercom alongside my pillow turned up loud from the wheelhouse and one foot always on the floor.
    Secondly don’t take any notice of the detractors of your big Rocna as it is the best in my view. The biggest problem I have is weighing it as it buries itself so deep some of the mud, sand, surely comes from China.
    Rule 1: if anchor drags, go straight to a mirror and have a good gaze in it for the answer to the dilemma. When my 110 kg Rocna is on the bottom and only in the correct bottom for holding, I reverse the boat and try and break it out going up to 1500 rpm. If I cant, I can sleep, but need to plan for how I’m going to get that sucker back to the boat. Even though I have a 4000 Maxwell windlass, my Rocna beats it completely sometimes, so on goes my enormous chain lock, and I then have to drive over it to get it unstuck. The other day it came up with so much mud the windlass was punching way above its weight.
    Rule 2: If it still won’t set, get the hell out of there. When I see boats bailing, I immediately have respect for the skipper.
    Enjoy, and keep the boat stuff coming.
    Peter Sheppard
    N55 SKIE (30,000 nm in 5 years all around the Pacific)

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