[Kensblog] Tomb Bay

Greetings all!

Most of the smaller towns we have visited do not have marinas. Instead, they each have a U-shaped central port. Boats drop anchor in the center, and Med Moor (back to the quay). Generally, the boats are a combination of gulets (for taking tourists sightseeing) and local fishing boats. I’m not sure what would happen if we tried to enter one of the these ports with Sans Souci, or who we would ask for moorage. My sense is that we would be welcomed, and it is just a matter of finding the right person to talk to, but I haven’t tried.

We generally like to anchor out, and visit town using the tender. This is partially because we prefer it, and partially because it is easier. Bringing Sans Souci into a strange port, with just Roberta and I, can be difficult. Med mooring is easiest with three people: one to work the bow lines, one to work the stern lines, and one to drive the boat. We can do it with two people, but when given the choice of anchoring outversus figuring out how to Med moor with two people in small, busy harbors, it becomes an easy decision. And, besides, anchoring out is easy and free. No paperwork, no hassle, no money, just drop the hook.

These guys provided tender service to us several times while we were at anchor atKas

Our last few anchorages have been a fairly long tender ride into town; over a mile. During the day, this isn’t a problem, but going into town for dinnerat night, or over choppy water, can be a challenge. We are cruising late in the season, and the weather is a bit unpredictable. The seas can turn nasty quickly,even in relatively sheltered bays. In Kekova Roads we got caught away from SansSouci when, while lunching in Kalekoy — the tender safely tied at a nearby dock– strong winds suddenly appeared. There was no way to get back to Sans Soucisafely with the huge chop that quickly built up. We called ‘our guy’ Turgay, whocame riding to the rescue in his gulet and towed us back. So, lately, we’ve taken to venturing into townon the tender during the day, when the weather is calm, and working out a deal with a local gulet driver to provide transportif such would be needed. This has worked out amazingly well, and allows us tosafely have dinner and wine and then return to the boat in the dark. However,getting on or off the transport gulet, via our tender tied to the swimstep ofSans Souci, has been a bit ‘wild and crazy.’ We’ve worked out a system where I,Roberta and the dogs get into our tender (which is tied behind Sans Souci), the 45’ guletthen backs to our tender, and then we climb onto the gulet. Once we figured outthis procedure, it wasn’t so bad!

Walking to dinner in Kas

We’ve seen these blue ‘eyes’ embedded in the sidewalks everywhere, as well as hanging as good-luckcharms in shops, boats and trees. This symbol is used to ward off the ‘evil eye.’

Wandering the streets of Kas

There is one interesting thing in Kas, of which perhaps one of the readers of my blog can enlighten me. At dinner one night,an adjacent table of three couples was clearly deaf. The couples were signing tocommunicate with each other, and they wanted to ask what we were having for dinner, so that they could order it. I don’t know sign language, so pointingat the menu was the best I could do. When the waiter came to their table, and realized they were deaf, he got the bartender, who was not deaf, but knew sign language, and took their order. We didn’t think anything of it, until the next morning, when at a completely different restaurant, I tried to ask the waiter for the internet password, and realized he was deaf. I showed him the password page on my iphone, and he signed to a waitress, who brought me the password. She was also deafand they began signing to each other. Maybe there is a school for the deaf inKas? Or just a coincidence? It doesn’t matter, though — we were just wondering.

One more thing to mention about Kas. It’s a dive-centric town. The port wasn’t very large, yet I counted over 20 LARGE diving boats. While we were at anchor there were always dive boats around us. I’m not sure what there was to see, but it must have been good.(Roberta thinks that she heard about some old shipwreck under the water…)

One funny story about anchoring at Kas….

One of the reasons we upgraded to a larger Nordhavn, in 2007, was that we wantedspace for a hot tub. Most peoplethought we were crazy, and it would never get used. They couldn’t have been morewrong. I’m not sure which has more hours, Sans Souci’s main engines, orthe hot tub. We’ve taken to using the hot tub just about every night we’reat anchor. However, onour last night in Kas, we noticed a coast guard vessel drop anchor beside us.Were we in trouble? Would we be boarded? We wanted to go out to the hot tub, butfigured someone would be knocking on the door any minute. After 30 minutes ofnothing happening, and us sitting in the dark, waiting to be asked for ourpapers, we saw the lights go out on the coast guard vessel. I said, “Let’s go tobed,” and Roberta said, “No way. It’s hot tub time!” How many peoplecan say they’vebeen hot tubbing alongside a coast guard vessel at anchor in Turkey?

We would liked to have stayed longer at Kas, but could see another stormcoming, and wanted to move to a location better protected from the northwest andnorth. So, we moved the boat to Kalkan, about a two-hour run northwest of Kas.

Our anchorage at Kalkan was amongst the prettiest I’ve seen, but with mediocre holding. Roberta and I have done a lot of anchoring, and are accustomed to dropping the anchor one time and having it hold. However, the anchorage at Kalkan is mostly mud and seaweed with occasional sand. We dropped the anchor, and when we tested, the anchor was not set. When I retrieved the anchor, it was packed in a huge ball of mud and seaweed. I couldn’t even see the anchor! We dropped again, in deeper water, and had better luck on the second try.

The correct thing to do apparently, here in Turkey, is to run a stern line to shore. With professional crew it’seasy (or with a couple in a small sailboat) but with just Roberta and I, on SansSouci, it’s a little trickier. Plus, with a stormcoming, we felt safer out in the middle, able to swing with the wind. Robertaand I debated whether we would be safer in the middle, or against shore.

These gulets appeared out of nowhere

This gulet dropped his anchor right at my stern

The bay at Kalkan (Yesilkoy Koyu) was small; perhaps a couple hundred yards across. When we dropped our anchor, around noon, the entire bayconsisted of ourselves and one other sailboat. Suddenly, at 2:30pm, we saw what appeared to be a flotilla of gulets coming our way. Within about 20 minutes at least 20 other boats, loaded with swim-suited tourists, dropped anchorall around us. The tourists jumped in the water for a swim, and our idyllicanchorage turned into the hub of a massive beach party. As suddenly as they hadarrived, two hours later, everyone disappeared, and we were alone again for thenight, except for two other sailboats and one small gulet that stayed.

Taking the tender into Kalkan, Turkey. Coco doesn’t have her seatbelt fastened,but Roberta is sitting on her leash.

The U-shaped port of Kalkan

A mosque on the hill overlooking Kalkan. There is a “call to prayers” five timesa day, but at least in the tourist areas of town, I’ve never seen anyone pay attentionto it.

At first, I thought this was a hang-glider, but it’s a parachute. It flew overhead, andis apparently something brave tourists can sign up for. I will not be signingup.

Street scene in Kalkan

Lots to do do in Kalkan!

Wandering the streets in Kalkan

Restaurants as far as the eye can see

Street in Kalkan

Kalkan is unbelievably dog friendly. This restaurant set up a special seat forour puppies

This is just one page of many on the menu. Prices are good by European standards.To convert to US dollars, you approximately divide the price by two

Captain Ken driving the tender back to Sans Souci. We had an early dinner, so we could tender back before dark

Kalkan is a large town compared to the others we have visited, and one resident told me thatthe inhabitants are about 95% British expats.

Kalkan prides itself on its great restaurants. When Roberta and I asked some locals which were the good restaurants, we were told, “All of them are excellent.” We only had time to eat at a couple, but so far, we agree. It’s a’foodie’ town.

I had an interesting chat with a restaurant owner in Kalkan about taxes. He mentioned that gas was over $12 a gallon! I asked if this meant there was no income tax, and heshook his head, “No, there is also an income tax.” Turkey has a 30% income taxand can be aggressive at collecting it. For instance, he said, the taxcollectors would randomly visit his restaurant, and even if he had every tablefilled, they would immediately ask to see the tickets for every each and everytable. They would check to verify that all revenueswere being recorded correctly, and that the books were right. If there are any errors, he can immediately be subject to a large fine.

This boating season is short for us, and we’re just trying to get the ‘lay of the land’here in Turkey; we don’t have a lot of time to spare before heading home toSeattle. So after a couple of days in Kalkan, we could see that another storm was coming and decided to move the boatback toward Gocek (our home port) while we had a good weather window for travel.

Yesterday, Roberta and I moved the boat about 50 miles northwest to a prettylittle bay near Gocek, called ‘Tomb Bay.’

After anchoring we looked up and noticed Lycian tombs embedded in the hillside.Hence, the name ‘Tomb Bay.’

We weren’t sure why it was called Tomb Bay, and were genuinely caught by surpriseafter we dropped anchor, and looked at the hillside, to see the tombs above us.Cool!

We selected an anchorage where the boat could swing. The chart says 65 feet,but it was wrong; I had to drop in 120 feet of water

We’ve hit restaurants in anchorages everywhere, but this was the first onethat also offered a “Leg Shave”

How many places can you drop anchor and have tombs, swimming, hiking, a restaurant, and your legs shaved?

Unfortunately, on our second night at Tomb Bay we received some wind. Standard practice on Sans Souci is that if the wind will be above 10 knots, and we aren’t 100% certain that weare set correctly, we stand anchor watch. At 4:30am this morning, the wind climbed to 15 knots, and it meant I had to get up and standwatch in the cockpit.

If you do not see a video above this comment, CLICK HERE to see it. It’s not a very exciting video, and too dark to really see, but I thought people might enjoy seeinghow I set things up for my anchor watch. The highest wind we saw was 23 knots, and Sans Souci’s chain never draggedan inch (as far as I know).

And, on a completely different topic…

Normally, when approaching a marina or port, there is a nautical standard thatsays ‘red-right-returning,’ which means, as you approach (or ‘return to’) port, the entrance will usually be marked by a red and green light, and that the red light should be kept on your starboard (or, right) side.

Imagine arriving at this marina at night, and seeing these lights. If youtried to go between them, you’d have a bad day

I took the picture above as I approached the Kalkan port. Here, because it is daylight, you can see that the lights could easily mislead youif you were accustomed to ‘red-right-returning.’

In turkey it’s ‘green-right-returning.’

Here you can see that the red light is on the left. This is backwards, but how they do it here in Turkey.In May, when Sans Souci first arrived here by freighter from Hong Kong, my first approach to Gocek was at night, and the lights to the marina are reversed, as these are. It made arrival at Gocek,’interesting.’When first approaching, I couldn’t believe the lights were really reversed, andinsisted that a tender come out to guide me in.

Many restaurants in bays have docks for moorage.

Just about every anchorage we visited had one or more waterfront restaurants, and many havetemporary moorage. The docks are oftenrickety, and I haven’t seen one yet that I’d tie Sans Souci to, but for smallerboats, and sailboats, they are perfect.

And speaking of which, I’d encourage anyone interested in cruising Turkey toconsider chartering a sailboat and cruising here. Most of the sailboats we seeare chartered by the week. Double-check me on this, but most sailboat chartercompanies do not require any form of license, whereas  it is virtuallyimpossible to charter a powerboat in Europe without a license. I spoke to onecharter company whosaid that most renters never put the sails up, and just treat the sailboat likea powerboat. For instance, a few years ago I chartered a sailboat in Mexicoand know nothing about sailing, yet had a great time.

And, a technical tidbit…

One of my projects the past week has been to get my SKYMATEworking. Skymate is a low-cost, low-bandwidth, satellite communications system,that is always available virtually everywhere in the world. I use it toautomatically send a daily email to myself, when not on the boat, with information about what is happening on the boat. 

For instance, hereis the report from yesterday.

Received Tuesday October 18 2011 at 12:17 PM GMT.
Battery voltage = 26.302 volts.
Shore power is connected.
Bilge level is OK.

I have several forms of internet on the boat, but internet is not reliable forthis purpose, fora variety of reasons. For instance, the 3G card seems to randomly ask forsomeone to insert a PIN code. With no one around to enter the code, the internetstops working. I also have VSAT satellite internet. This has shown to bereliable, although it would mean leaving the positioning unit active for thenext six months. The antenna positioning unit has a lot of moving parts (motors and belts) thatcan wear out. I really don’t want to leave it active for the next six months ifI don’t have to. The nice thing about Skymate is that it seems to chug along, nomatter what happens.

Far more interesting than the daily stats update is its ability to immediatelyalert me when the power goes out.  Interestingly, I’m not as concernedabout when the power goes out, as when it comes back on. No shore power is everperfect. There will always be power failures. But, if the power goes out, anddoesn’t come back within a few hours, then it can be a problem. If I receivenotification that the power is out, and I don’t get another notification that itis back on within 12 hours, I will know to call the marina and have them get thepower going. Over the next six months, while we’re away from the boat, it willbe winter, and the air conditioning won’t be running, so losing electricity really isn’t a big issue.The boat won’t be using much power. We have a few items left in therefrigerator/freezer, and that’s about it. If the electricity goes away though, anddoesn’t come back, the batteries will ultimately die, which would be expensive.

Many of you may have already seenTHIS as it was linked onNordhavn Dreamersbut it is an accident report about a sailing ship that sank in Brazil. It’s fascinating reading, and has a great discussionon stability.

My last blog entry generated a lot of email, particularly the article about the octopus…

Everyone agrees that the octopus was being tenderized, but I like this idea for octopus hunting (you didn’t hear it here):

From Pete, in Florida…
“…Having born and spent the first 18 years of my life in Greece, near the water, I found your blog memos very interesting. However, I couldn’t stop laughing about the guy who was slamming the octopus. I’m sure you know by now all about the “Greek” tenderizing method for octopus, but I still had to explain to my friends – who read your blog – that the fisherman on your picture was not exposed to the hot Greek sun for too long, but instead he was working fast and hard.

Actually, I’ve done this myself hundreds of times as a young boy. You see, my favored fishing activity in the 60’s was snorkeling and hunting for octopus using a very unique method. In about 10-15 ft of water, I would spot an octopus residence which had the uncollected garbage (sea shells, crab leftovers etc.) in the front porch. I would dive and place a small piece of acetylene rock in front of the opening and then wait on the surface for the octopus to come out. They must come out because acetylene takes the oxygen out of the water. My spear would finish the hunting and the octopus “slamming” on the near by rock would finish the job.

I wish you, Roberta and the 2 “little” ones a safe return home….”

Here’s an email that succinctly summarizes why Turkey is a great place to cruise:

Donald H wrote to say…
“…Hi Ken —

My wife and I spent a month in Turkey recently (including Gocek, Kekova and Kas). We also found the Turkish people extraordinarily warm and helpful. We have since learned that there is a Turkish saying that “Guests are a gift from God.” Guess that explains it! ….”

And lastly…

Roberta and I are at our last anchorage before returning to port at Gocek and ending this cruising season. I’ll probably do at least one more blog entry, but essentially, it’s over for this year.Most of the next week will be spent cleaning the boat, interior and exterior,and making lists of things to repair and items to bring back with us for nextseason’s cruising.

If it seems like it was a short cruising season this year — only 5 weeks — that’sbecause it was. We had some personal/family issues that kept us off the boatthis year, but we hope to be back next year with a full three or four monthcruising season as normal!

Also, as some of you may recall, Roberta and I split off from the other twoboats in our GSSR fleet. Seabird and Grey Pearl are currently en route toThailand.

We have been nervous that our friends would ‘fall in love’ with Thailand, and not join us here in Turkey. And, although that is still possible, we have had several communications lately which are sounding more and more like the team will reunite for next season’s cruising.

For the first time, Roberta and I have allowed ourselves to think seriously about where we’ll cruise next year. It will be a group decision, and we have many options.Roberta just sent to the group a five-year plan with ideas for where we mightgo. Working with them to work out a plan will be fun! Although, as they say,cruising plans are best written in the sand, at low tide. It’s best to keepthese things loose. We do know that over the next few years we will want to visitTurkey, Greece, Croatia, Corsica, Sicily, Italy, France, Spain, and more – but, there’s no hurry. We’ll get there.

That’s it for today!

Ken Williams

10 Responses

  1. Hello, We are having a HELL of a time with Yacht Path – five weeks of lying re pick up dates, and on, and on , and on………. Are you able to say which lawyer you used to resolve your problems, or give us any ideas what happened?

    ———-Response by Ken Williams — Nov 22 2011


    My case just settled with Yachtpath paying me a ton of money. Unforunately, my legal bills added up to a ton and a half, but I would have thought that Yachtpath learned an expensive lesson. Their legal bills had to be at least as much as mine.

    Everyone loses in litigation. There were five different law firms involved, although you could probably go straight to the law firm in england that did the vast majority of the work, and be way ahead of the money I spent. If you do decide to have a lawyer get involved, write me offline (ken at kensblog.com (http://kensblog.com) ) and I’ll give you the referral.

    I’ve very sorry to hear you are having problems with them. My problem with them wasn’t that they didn’t ship my boat when they said they would — my primary objection was that they told me things that weren’t true, and I couldn’t get a straight answer to questions. They needed someone to ‘keep them honest’ and I thought I had done so.

    Best wishes!

    -Ken W

  2. Just heard about the earthquake. Looking at a map, it doesn’t look like you guys were directly effected. Hopefully you guys are safe and still enjoying your trip.

  3. Ken;
    Did the earthquake affect you, Roberta, the dogs, or the boat?
    Is there danger of a tsunami?
    I hope you’re all safe.
    Enjoy your adventures.

  4. Wanted to make sure that all is well after the quake. Prayers are going out to the country.

    – – – Jeff 02114

    RESPONSE BY KEN 2011-10-23 ——-

    Jeff, thank you for thinking of the people of Turkey, and of us.

    I’m just reading the reports, and it appears to have been a horrible earthquake, with many deaths, but it was nowhere near us. Turkey is a huge country, and this quake was centered many hundreds of miles east of us.

    Roberta asked an interesting question, “Would we have felt it here in the marina?” Personally, I don’t know how these things work. My guess is that an earthquake could trigger a Tsunami of some sort, and wreck our day, but generally, I suspect we would fare better than most.

    Anyway, we’re fine, and didn’t feel it at all.

    -Ken W

  5. Hi Ken, Roberta (and “fur children”)

    In your Tombs Bay blog post you mention having to get up and sit on the bridge on anchor watch so you could keep an eye on whether or not your anchor was dragging. A friend of mine has the Deep Blue anchor alert system on his 58 Selene. You can check it out at http://www.deepbluemarineusa.com (http://www.deepbluemarineusa.com) . He prefers this system over GPS based anchor monitoring because it’s sonar based and is independent from other systems on the boat, ie; satellite systems which can go down and so forth.
    I think one can also adjust the sensitivity of the unit as well so you can allow for a little drag if you choose to. Who knows it might help you sleep better ;o) Thanks for sharing your travels with us.

    Best regards,

    Brian Denny

  6. I did not know that you could set a little Russian dog to keep you awake on watch! So, the second dog is a backup alarm? I assume that you feed them in lieu of winding them up. Sans Souci continues to amaze! {;*))


  7. Hi Ken and Roberta. Sounds like you’re having too much fun again. Upon reading the N. Dreamers site’s comments I had to laugh about the dog bites and various other secret personal stories. I’ll take the 5th Amendment on a few. I see you have begun using Skymate. I have those systems on both fishing vessels and find they are quite slow at receiving and sending mail, sometimes a day or more behind. I think its a latitude problem. Do you have instantaneous service at your latitude?

    ——-Response by Ken – 2011-10-21 —–

    Greetings Bill! Always great to hear from you. My Skymate seems to be extra fast here in Turkey. It seems to consistently send messages within 30 mins, and usually within 10 to 15 mins. It’s not instantaneous, but good enough for my purposes.

    No matter how far I cruise, we’ll never top the trip we made with you on board across the Aleutians!

    I’ve seen to commercial fishing in this part of Turkey. I’m not sure why. As much as I love, and appreciate, the commercial fishing industry, it’s kind of nice not having to dodge fishing gear.

    Hope to meet up with you again someday.

    -Ken W

  8. Your blog has become even more amazing to me as You entered the Med: first the smashing of the octopus (that’s the old way to get it tender), now the red-right-returning which is green-right-returning. For the socond: just get used to it, for also here in the northern seas it is standard that green is the starboard side entering a port or a river from sea!
    I will try to remember the red-right-returning, when I’ll cruise Your waters…
    Greeting from Germany.

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