27th December 2020
On the way to Gemiler Island is Karacaoren Island. When we came past it on the way to Gemiler we could see it had some significant ruins on it and we wanted to have an explore. So we all decided to go for a long dinghy ride to the little island.
It was a long ride and I started thinking that we should really have life jackets on. And then Tim wanted to fly the drone from the dinghy, which always freaks me out, because it has to be launched and landed via handholding. I always get visions of one of us being chopped up by the props or the thing landing in the sea, but it all went well as usual. The landing on the island proofed difficult too. I didn’t like it at all. There was a significant swell coming up and the whole island was surrounded by sharp, huge rocks. There was no real safe landing place from my point of view. I felt uneasy about it. But Tim unloaded us in one spot and went to dinghy around the island to find somewhere to tie up the dinghy safely, so it wouldn’t grind along the rocks in the swell. The others arrived in their dinghy and and joined me and the kids. They tied their dinghy up right there.
We climbed up to the top of the island through ruins and along several tombs, some of which where still well intact with sliding doors made of rock still in place. At some stage we caught up with Tim, who had parked our dinghy at the other side of the island somewhere. I was cross with him for dismissing my worries in a rather unflattering way – I had no idea where he had gone and he was all by himself with no lifejacket on. I swallowed my frustration down though, the island was too pretty not to enjoy and obviously totally off the trotten path, given the lack of accessibility.
There where some beautiful old church ruins at the top of the island, where the different rooms and archways and carvings and marble slabs where still well visible, along with the usual water collection constructions and more tombs with the most beautiful sea views. I saw a few bones in one of the tombs, but pretty sure they weren’t original ones. Each time we are in one of those ancient places I wish I could be an invisible time traveller, going back to see how people lived here and what their daily routines where. All of the ruins seem to have gone through different stages, from the original build to invaders coming in and adding other touches to the churches. Its so hard to find information on the history of those places we come across. I guess there are just so many of them…
After a good explore around the place we decided it was time to go back. Jaynee was tired and sore and their dinghy was now at he other end of the island, which was a significant climb away, while we where near ours. So we got into our dinghy and went around to get theirs and bring it to them. They had clambered along already and after a scary and slightly pear shaped attempt to get their dingy to them right in the swell by the sharp rocks everyone was reunited with their vessels and on the way back. I was so glad when we landed back safely by our boat. The others ran out of petrol close by and filled it up and then the motor wasn’t starting so they where rowing. So Tim went back to tow them after unloading us but by the time he arrived their motor had started again. Dinghy motors – you could write a book about them and all the inconvenient times they decide to stop all by itself.
Once back we made our new favorite family meal – Chinese dumplings. Its so fun, as we all sit together in the kitchen making them and eat each batch together. Everybody loves them and nobody is moaning about any of the ingredients. We usually have leftovers which we can use the next day to make pot stickers.
With another bigger lockdown close by from the 31st December until 4th January, which is the Turkish Christmas and the wind being not all that great for the anchorage the men decided it was time to move on back towards the National park by Fethiye. So the next morning on the 28th December we left Gemiler Island. This was also Tim’s and my 13thwedding anniversary. The wind had already picked up and I didn’t like the energy of the weather. Although I am easily scared, so that’s not usually a thing to go by. But as soon as we got around the island we could see big dark clouds and lightning. A thunderstorm was approaching. Tim wasn’t really worried, as no bad weather was forecast and kept saying it would blow over quickly and that there was nothing to worry about.
Well before we knew it we where in the middle of a horrible thunderstorm. Wind, lightning, pouring rain. Tim was at the helm with his raingear while Luca and I where snuggled by the spray dodger trying to concentrate on the view of the horizon as we know we get sea sick in this weather. Because nothing sinister was forecast we didn’t take any meds. Nina was downstairs reading or playing a game. Before long I had to get a bucket out and started emptying the contents of my stomach. Not long after Nina came and sat on the stairs also feeling unwell and joined me in filling the bucket, while Luca just kept looking green. We where all soaked and cold and Tim told us to get down and close up shop. I was worried about him being at the help all by himself, but as it where we where completely useless to him, we where cold and soaking wet and sick already, so no looking at he horizon would make things better. So we snuggled up downstairs with buckets resigning to the fact there was nothing we could do but ride it out and hope for the best.
I think I will never get used to being out at sea in weather like this. While Polly is a solid boat and performs well even in weather like this it just simply feels scary to me. It feels like we are walnut shell or bath toy being tossed around by wind and waves in the large ocean. Luckily Tim is capable in situations like this and sticks it out without even a sliver of seasickness and after about 2 hours of storm things calmed down and sun peaked out and once we arrived at the national park everything was sunny and calm. We anchored in the same bay as Imagine and I was so grateful we arrived safely. I felt like Zombie for the rest of the day though, so there where no anniversary celebrations.
On a more relaxing note I finished Nina’s poncho, which was supposed to be mine, but it turned out too small and fitted her perfectly. So I started a new one for me with a bigger hook and the same yarn.
We received a message from Immigration after we arrived at this bay, that Tim’s Turkish residence card had arrived in Fethiye though, so we planned to go back to Fethiye the next day to pick it up. We arrived in the afternoon in Fethiye and went to the marina for showers and to do a couple of loads of washing. Tim picked up a dehumidifier he had ordered to manage the condensation in the boat with 4 people living, breathing and cooking in the closed up boat in the colder months.
The next morning Tim went for a big, long walk to a place where he had to pick up his residency card while I went to Migros to do a big grocery stock up. We met back at the Migros and transported all our treasures back to the boat. It was such a relief for Tim to have his card, which means we won’t have any time pressure to leave Turkey in the next few months, while lots of boarders are still closed and countries are in lockdowns again. We have all fingers crossed that the kids and mine arrive in January.
Once our groceries where stored away we mostly motored back to the National Park as there was little wind and also our boat looked like a laundry with the washing from the previous day still trying to get dry. Motoring helped to generate the wind to get it flapping. We arrived at a beautiful anchorage at 4 pm in the afternoon. We where here in summer, but couldn’t come in as the bay was so full with boats. To have it all to ourselves now felt really special. The water is the most beautiful turquoise. Unfortunately when we arrived there was a petrol or oil film all over the water. We freaked out for a moment, thinking we where leaking something, but realised that it had already been there and was all over the bay, which meant no water making or swimming for Lucy.
I couldn’t believe that we had already arrived at the last day of the year, the end of the first calendar year of us living on our boat. David and Jaynee joined us on a walk to 22 Fathom bay, where we had parked in summer and walked in the other direction to see Cleopatra’s bath and went to wall bay. This time we where keen to see if the bread man was still active and making his delicious bread and we take every opportunity to get off the boat and walk. The boat is so tiny and in winter its not always possible for me to do yoga on the deck. It feels so good to get off and stretch our legs. The bush here in this area is so nice as well and its a really pleasant walk. Its so nice too to experience the areas that where so busy in summer now completely empty and serene. I love the fact that we are still able to travel and sail in winter, despite the more unsettled weather.
Unfortunately the we didn’t find the bread man or bread, but made friends with a lovely little dog, which followed us all the way back to our bay and with the cutest donkey who ate all Nina’s daisies she collected on her way.
The rest of the evening was uneventful. Tim went to bed early, the kids watched a movie and I tried to write my thoughts down as a summary of the year just passed. You can read the blog down in the feed or on our blog – its called “Notes from a reluctant sailor”. Our friends from Imagine where still self isolating and the crews from Lostura and Adventurous where together to drink and celebrate. Tim and I didn’t really feel like it so we slid quietly into the new year.