From the 8th April 2021
After our lovely day in Kayakoy a not so pleasant day for me followed. I had lost a bit of filling in one of my teeth after flossing and it felt quite sensitive, so I thought its better to get onto it straight away while still in Fethiye, a bigger town. I enquired on one of the Mediterranean Cruising Facebook groups for recommendations – a wealth of knowledge and generous help. There was a dentist right at the waterfront, obviously there for medical tourists called Holident. I called them and got an appointment same day. It was a really fancy clinic with all the latest and greatest equipment and dental hospital facilities. I think people come here to get bigger work done cheaper than in their own countries. The dentist wanted to take an x-ray of my teeth and soon tried to convince me of several procedures that needed doing. That sounded a bit dubious to me as I just had a thorough check up in New Zealand before we left, so I stuck to my one filling that needed fixing. I had to go back the next day to get it adjusted as my bite felt all out of kilter. I am not sure I would go back there again to be honest. Its one of those times where I miss my trusted health network at home.
The next few days were spent still in Fethiye waiting out stronger winds. Boat cleaning, maintenance, schooling, crochet our usual past times where keeping us occupied. We had a video call with a german lady, who is a possible crew member to cross the Atlantic Ocean later this year. She has lots of ocean and sailing experience and it would be such a great relief to me to have another capable sailor on board, other than Tim. We are hoping that she can visit us some time this year so see if we all get on and if she feels safe on our boat and with our family. Although planning is pretty much impossible at the moment we do all the things in our power to put in place for a possible crossing and just hope that we get to the starting line safely in the right amount of time to take our home back home and that travel is slowly becoming a more viable thing again.
We were planning to head back out into the Gorcek Nationalpark, so had a bigger stock up of groceries at the nearby supermarket. In the afternoon I met with a lady I had met on Facebook for a coffee in the Marina. She owns a sailboat in Fethiye and is from Holland and it was nice to have a bit of girls time out. One of the things I miss at times – catch ups with my girl friends.
Finally we got notified that Luca’s residency card had also arrived at the post office, so Tim headed out Monday morning to pick it up and I was keeping my fingers crossed, that mine was also there, although we didn’t get a notification for that one. Fortunately Tim returned with both cards, so our whole family, apart from Lucy are now short term Turkish residents. We are so grateful, happy and relieved. After our ordeal in Greece and the current situation with lockdowns and travel restrictions still in place in most countries in Europe we are just super grateful that Turkey is allowing us to stay here a bit longer to wait out the situation.
We lifted our anchor around lunchtime and went to the marina to fuel up with diesel, petrol and get a pump out. We sailed 3 hours / 13 nm into the Gorcek National Park to Boynuz Koyu. We BBQ’d some yummy salmon and watched All creatures great and small after dinner. The end of a happy day.
Tuesday was a sunny, beautiful day. I started it off by rolling my yoga mat out on the foredeck and it felt like bliss in this stunning place. We all went for a dinghy ride to a nearby jetty and restaurant, which was closed and went for a walk up a road to stretch our legs and give Lucy some exercise. Once we where back home we made some dumplings, I finished my crochet jumper and we watched our TV series All creatures great and small, which I would highly recommend. We loved the audiobooks of James Harriott’s life as a country vet, and this is the TV version of it.
Wednesday was a sunny, but colder day. I got through our usual procedure to dry out our mattresses on deck and shake out all the blankets and sheets while the kids did schooling and Tim made some scons. We had pot stickers (left over dumplings) for lunch and in the afternoon Pisces arrived in the same bay and they came over for coffee and scons.
The next day was declared washing day as it was sunny and warm and the washing basket full. After I had done all the washing I washed down the cockpit with the washing water. Tim cleaned all the long strings of green algae off our boat bottom and put his long wetsuit on for the first time to check out the rudder and bow thruster. When we were in the marina the bow thruster didn’t work, so Tim was checking if anything was constricting it. It was full of white wormy shells that set up home on the hull as well. Once our jobs were done Tim got our hammock out and hung it up on the bow – what a treat. I settled in for a book in the sun and got my first sunburn. It was just too nice to feel the sun on the skin again after those months of cold, wind and winter. In the evening Pisces invited us over for dinner. Its special to have friends around to spend time and share meals with.
Friday was office day. I created my newsletter and did some work on the websites. Tim baked some bread, Nina made pancakes and Jason from Pisces came over for a play. Saturday was pretty much a work day again. Tim and Martin tried to figure out the problem with the bow thruster and the cable jungle and battery arrangements. And Martin with fresh eyes figured out that somehow the battery charger to the bow thruster got switched off. We rarely use it at all, so didn’t really notice, but it all works fine again. Phew, once something breaks or doesn’t work anymore, both Tim and I always get worried that a big bill might be in the making, so its always a great relief, when something can be fixed at low or no cost. I cleaned and wiped all the floors, Luca tidied his room and Nina started on hers, I changed the sheets, Nina had another play with Jason and we had another argument about device time. It seems never ending to manage screen time and internet time with the kids and Tim and I still haven’t found a solution that is satisfactory to all parties.
The Pisces crew left the next day to sail to Marmaris and we moved on to Gorcek to get our life raft serviced and stock up on groceries. Monday is market day at the moment in Gorcek, so we went and got some vegies and found some green curry paste in one of the couple specialist gourmet shops in Gorcek. The town is cute and clearly set up for tourist trade. The boys got their hair tidied up at the barbers and we girls had a stroll and found a dress each for summer.
Tuesday Tim had the appointment with the man from the life raft service. Luca, our proficient dinghy captain took Tim to shore. I set to cleaning up the boat, which was once more covered in red Sahara sand from the shower we had a couple of days ago. I managed to clean the whole boat with less than a bucket of fresh water, which is always in short supply and polished all the stainless steel with a new cleaner that the crew from Sailing ABSea had gifted us a sample of. The whole deck looked white, shiny and sparkly again. I was just finished when Tim returned from the life raft service. It turned out that our life raft failed the test. It burst in a couple of places when inflating and the casing had leaked and caused damage. So it was pretty much a useless piece of safety gear, that luckily we didn’t have to find out in an emergency situation. We were reassured by the previous owner that everything was serviced on a regular basis, but he life raft had obviously not been part of that equation – an oversight on our part.
Tim was given a quote for a new life raft, which would have been over $3,000 NZD. Luckily the company we got our life raft checked, do over 2,000 life rafts every year and had a newly serviced second hand one for $1,300, which Tim bought. And he got the flares, water packs and first aid kit from the old life raft, which will get cut up into small pieces and recycled. Another hole in the budget for a piece of kit, we hope we never need to use but can’t be without. We are glad we now know we have got a functioning, serviced one and also that Tim got to see how it all functions and blows up – if it does that is.
On Wednesday we headed out of Gorcek to Kucuk Koyruk, a stunning bay, that we hadn’t been to. It was a 15 nm sail and we arrived in the afternoon. Once settled we enjoyed the last sunlight at the beach with coffee and Nina had her first spontaneous swim of the season. Lucy was paddling away already and Nina first went in to her knees, than took her pants off and then decided to go all in.
I found some beautiful Oyster and Morrel mushrooms as well as the more common button mushrooms at the local market and fried myself a big pan of that, while the rest of the family had lasagna. Unfortunately no one but myself likes mushrooms on Polly, so its a lone enjoyment. I had never seen or eaten Morrel mushrooms before and really like them. They are in season in spring in Turkey.
The next day, Tim once again dismantled our dinghy motor, which was playing up regularly again and found that 2 screws had broken and luckily he had 2 spare ones that just fitted in the hole and managed to repair it once again. So proud of him figuring all those things out.Nina and Luca had both swims again, while I spend my morning in the kitchen, making hummus from scratch, a tahini dressing, some guacamole and a chicken marinade. And then I helped Nina make some no bake cookies that she found on the internet.
We decided to move around the corner to Buyukaga Koyu, which according to the cruising guide had an hours walk to the ruins of a less important ancient town. I always love walks, because we can all stretch out legs and give Lucy exercise and discover new things. We had a quiet day in our new anchorage. I baked a cake and did some cleaning and had a sink wash (still amazed how little water can clean a big head of hair and a whole a body!) Tim had to take it a bit a slower – he hurt his back, lifting the dinghy motor the day before. There was a small fishing boat tied up nearby with 2 fishermen. I suggested to drop them some of our cake for a treat and the kids excitedly agreed to take it over. Luca driving the dinghy and Nina holding the cake. We both are so proud of them how confident they are now in approaching other people and living in a different culture. There was not a seconds hesitancy in either of them.
The next day we went for a walk to the ruins of ancient Lydae. In the cruising guide it said that there are a couple of mausoleums and other ruins from the ancient city that was of lesser importance on this coastline. Its was a pleasant and easy walk on a well established walk way.
We found the Mausoleums, which are almost like temples on top of the tombs. There are the burial holes just in the foundation of the building / ruin. We also found a couple of interesting looking and well preserved wells.On our way we met a couple of tortoises, which always give me a happy feeling in my tummy. Its so special to see these ancient, beautiful creatures all around the place.
We also found some really interesting looking plants with deep red huge flower heads.
Once we explored enough and everyone was tired we headed back to the boat. Not long into our walk back, a black goat came running towards us from the hills, almost calling to us looking curious. There are many herds of wild mountain goats roaming the hills all day long, all without a goat herd. I think they know their way around and are left to do their thing – eating and walking all day long. We hear their bells and bleaks in lots of the bays and had seen herds grazing and walking right past our boat. There are a few secluded farmhouses around the place and this goat must have gotten separated from the herd somehow.
Lucy’s first instinct is always to chase, but we told her off and she is very obedient. She had a careful sniff at the goat and then walked on with Tim. The kids were so excited to see a cute goat so close up. First the goat was a bit shy, but we walked on and she followed us. Nibbling away on plants and acorns along the path. She expertly choose her delicacies. A bit of this, a bit of that. She really loved picking off the tiny yellow flowers of a really prickly bush. They have such tiny, clever mouths to negotiate the vegetation. We had seen the goats behind our boat go up on their hind legs and reach up to the trees to chew on the leaves. When the goat choose an acorn, she chewed it for quite some time and then spat the hard shells out. The kids picked her a couple of leaves that she liked and helped her find a couple of acorns. She followed us right back to the beach and our dinghy.
Of course we couldn’t take her with us, although by now we had named her Lydia and we were good friends. We hoped that with the herds coming by so regularly she would find her friends again soon. She cried at the beach for about 20 minutes until a farmer came by with a tractor and took her along. He said is was his friends goat. We were glad Lydia was going to be reunited with her herd after all.
The day before a big gulet with just staff on it joined us in the bay and it looked like they prepared it for a professional photo / video shoot. Tim went over and asked if they needed help or wanted a drone shoot. One of the men came over to our boat to talk to Tim and it was decided that we all could have a look at the gulet and have a coffee or tea with them. The gulet was built in Fethiye and is a special boat type that is still very much hand crafted from wood in local towns. They are beautiful and solid boats. This one was stunning and so beautifully set out with many lounge areas, sun chairs, bean bags, a stunning inside and outside dining area. There was also a big commercial kitchen with a chef, the captain let us check out his area and the engine room and we even got to look at the beautifully kitted out cabins. Its pretty much like a small floating hotel.
They have 8-10 staff on board to look after around 30 guests usually. We were welcomed so warmly and offered coffee and tea and shown around everywhere and many of our questions answered. After being on this beautiful gulet our Polly seemed like a dinghy compared. We thanked them for their kindness and hospitality. Tim took some footage from our gulet tour and you can soon check it out on youtube. He also took a drone shot and dropped them a memory stick with what he had taken the next morning.
As usual it wouldn’t be a normal boat day if there wasn’t something breaking. The water maker was making weird noises and not making as much water as usual. Tim changed the filters, but still weird noises. Then he realised that the engine wasn’t getting much water either. My stomach contracted again. Ohhhh nooo, another big bill possibly….As usual when Tim gets stuck he took to the internet to find solutions. The cruising groups on facebook are gold. People are so willingly offering help and solutions and soon Tim figured out that we needed to check the sail drive next. He popped the go pro down to have a look at it (water is still rather cold) and yes it looked a bit overgrown. There are some holes in the sail drive and if they get blocked up the water cannot flow (if I understood that right). This time Luca saved the day. He is by far the best diver of all us. So into the long wetsuit he went, equipped with tools to clean the sail drive and cleaned it up enough for everything to work again. We all had a big sigh of relief and Luca was declared the Hero of the day.
With that problem fixed we could make water again and I could tackle the rather overflowing washing basket. I turned our boat into a laundry again with washing hanging everywhere. I did a clothes swap with some of the winter things going under our bed and the summer things coming out and they needed a wash as well as sheets, towels and clothes. With the generator, water maker and washing machine rumbling away I didn’t hear the gulets dinghy coming over. I only saw the nice young man smiling at me with a cake in his hand after he called out. How kind is that? The chef made us a huge cake, still warm and so delicious. Such a treat! Later on the other man brought Tim’s memory stick back and asked us if we needed anything else and thanked him for his footage. Moments like this make this journey special. Meeting and connecting with the locals, sharing and helping each other. These are all things we will treasure forever in our memories.
After all the washing was dealt to Tim and I took Lucy for a walk on the goat track in the other direction. I found lots of insects, spiders, grasshoppers, huge ants, beetles that were lounging and sunbathing in flower heads. The smell of the wild thyme and sage wafting everywhere mixed with the sea breeze and sun. I just love spring. I picked some more wild sage to dry and we found a pretty beach and bay on the other side.
Once back we had some coffee, cake and played a game of scrabble. Our gulet friends had packed up and where on their way out back to Fethiye. We waved them good bye and made some dinner and settled in for the night.
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