2009 Turkey to Oman – Part 1

October 2009 to January 2010
A photo journal of a sailing voyage
Turkey to Oman

001 Jenzminc VI

 

A photographic record of a sailing trip under Captain Andy Brennan of “SV Jenzminc VI”
from Finike in Turkey to Salalah in Oman via the Red Sea and visiting Egypt and Yemen
between November 2009 and 17 January 2010

PART 1

Prologue

My wife Delma had been down visiting her sister Diane while attending a cousin’s reunion in Brisbane. Diane told Delma she’d recently been talking to a friend of hers named Pat Mars. Pat and her husband Roger had been on a sailing trip last year with their friends Andy and Jennie Brennan on their yacht Jenzminc VI in the Mediterranean. The boat had been left at a place called Finike in Turkey, and Andy was about to return to take the boat to Phuket in Thailand. Apparently Andy was now looking for a third crew member.

Diane said she knew just the bloke. Delma got on the phone and told me about it. Being on long service leave with nothing special to do, and not needing to go back to work until early May next year it was an ideal opportunity for me. Delma said she’d get my details passed onto Pat.

Pat’s husband Roger sent some information about the Vasco da Gama yacht rally which Jenzminc VI would be joining when they went through the Suez Canal and Red Sea. He subsequently phoned and gave me some more details. Eventually Andy called me as well and I was very happy to accept a berth for the trip.

This story is a photographic record of the subsequent trip compiled from a journal maintained by crew member Russ Swan, supported by captioned photographs and with contributions by Skipper Andy Brennan and crew member Roger Mars.

DARWIN, NT
Australia

10 Oct 09 to 28 Oct 09. Start this log. Go to the travel doctor to find out what inoculations I need for this trip. Get 6 jabs and an up to date first aid kit including some extra stuff suggested by the nurse which all up cost $500.00. Delma scores a good set of wet weather jacket and pants on eBay for $120 each. In my spare time start backing up over 200 of my DVD collection into a smaller file size AVI format onto a 500 Gb USB portable hard drive, which isn’t much bigger than a flat cigarette case. Also back up my music collection of nearly 800 MP3 songs, plus various documents, software and photos.Buy a new laptop computer which has an inbuilt web camera which cost $1100. Also buy new MS Office 2007 Pro software and Adobe Acrobat 9, with which I can create Adobe pdf files integrating photos and captions with text. Also have several gift cards from my 60th birthday so use them to buy up several paperback novels to take as well.Book a flight to Singapore on Jetstar Airline for 29th October 2009, and arrange through the Flight Travel Centre to book from Singapore to Antalya. All up there will be 4 hours flying to Singapore, 4 hours waiting, 12 hours flight to Istanbul on Turkish Airways, 1 hour waiting and then 1 hour flying on Turkish Airways to Antalya in southern Turkey. From there it will be a bus trip south east down the coast to the small township of Finike where the marina is located. Arrangements include meeting up with Roger at Singapore and travelling on the same flight with him from there.Set up the Skype VOIP internet communicating system on both Delma’s and my own laptops so that we can communicate, hopefully using video whilst I’m away. I’ll need to find free Wi-Fi hotspots at least in Turkey and hopefully in Egypt where we can get access to the internet. Apparently in Sudan, Eritrea and Yemen they only have dial-up internet access so we’ll just have to wait and see what we can or can’t do regarding communications using our own laptops instead of the local internet cafes.

Andy posts Roger and I a letter which officially identifies us as members of Jenzminc’s crew. This is in case we get problems from immigration because we cannot provide a “proper” residential address or a return date.

Visit my Doctor for a physical check up since I haven’t had one for years. Seems my cholesterol is “significant” and I need to lose weight. I don’t think that will be a problem. I usually lose weight on sailing trips anyway.

In a careless moment manage to drop my good camera, a Nikon D50 digital SLR onto the floor. It smashes the flashlight mounting and a holding lug on the 18 to 55mm lens. It takes three weeks to get the flashlight mounting fixed but only a glue repair can be done on the lens because a necessary part doesn’t arrive. No real problem though because I still have another 18 to 200mm lens to use.

Weds 28 Oct 09

Last day. Daughter Karen and Delma help me pack. Go into the city to pick up the camera. Have lunch. Return home and finish packing bags. Out to airport. Have a coffee while waiting for the international departure area to open.

1610hrs. Hot day. Cloudless tropical sky. Lift off. Uneventful flight.

002 departure boardLeft: Departure Notice Board at Singapore
Airport Terminal 1.

Approx 2100 hrs. Arrive Terminal 1 and collect baggage. Pass through customs and into the departure book-in area. Problem arises with bag weight. I had thought I was allowed 32kg/bag as per Turkish Airways website, but the booking attendant reckons I‘m only allowed 20 kgs. Unpleasant visions of throwing things out of the bag or paying an exorbitant excess baggage fee. She goes and speaks to her Supervisor. Eventually she allows it to go through without any extra fee after admonishing me that it should only be 20kgs. Am booked through to Antalya in Turkey but she says I’ll probably have to collect my bags at Istanbul before going onto their domestic flights. Manage to get a seat allocation with Roger for both flights.

Meet Roger at the booking counter who’d just arrived from a later flight. His baggage is also over-weight. He goes to a different booking clerk and it’s put through without any problems.

2340 hrs. Lift off from Singapore for Istanbul. Uneventful, if long flight. Manage to get a little bit of sleep despite getting some cramps in my left leg and “restless” right leg. Roger seems to doze on and off. He’s taller than I am and has less space to move about because of his long legs.

TURKEY

Thurs 29 Oct 09

0510hrs. Time difference here is 7 and a half hours after Darwin time. Arrive Istanbul and wait for our baggage at the carousal but it doesn’t arrive. Check with the local airport staff but they simply keep indicating to go through the doors for the flight to Antalya.

0800 hrs. Board the domestic flight to Antalya with some misgivings about our baggage. Get a quick breakfast on the 50 minute flight. The aircrew certainly don’t muck about getting it served and cleaned up.

0915 hrs. Arrive at Antalya. Get straight onto a bus right at the aircraft to take us to the terminal. Wait at the carousal but our bags don’t arrive. Eventually one of the local staff checks with us and indicates we need to go to the International Terminal. She arranges a bus to take us and several other passengers over there. On arrival we’re relieved to find our bags waiting. One of the customs people finds something curious about my bag and after checking and poking around in there finally zips it back up with a bemused expression, and indicates I should go.

Andy’s waiting patiently outside. After negotiation we hire a taxi driver to take us straight down to Finike on the south coast of Turkey for 90 Euros. We reckon it’s probably cheaper than taking a taxi into the city, then catching a bus for the 2 or 3 hour trip anyway.

Right: Andy helping with the baggage
at Antalya International Airport.003 Andy and baggage

Approx 1000hrs. Leave Antalya by taxi for Finike. Mountainous countryside. Flat areas used for agriculture mostly in greenhouses because it can get very cold apparently in winter. Finike (ancient Phoenicus) was established around 500AD and serves the agricultural region around it. Lots of plastic covered greenhouses. Looking down on Finike from the road above coming from Antalya they appear from a distance like an inland sea. Mostly tomatoes, green peppers and aubergines, then citrus orchards with mostly oranges in any space left over.

004 building flag 005 accommodation blocks
National Turkish flags seemed to be draped everywhere Typical accommodation blocks with hot water systems and satellite dishes on roof tops.
006 ned the neddy 007 mountains
Ned the Neddy on his way to the glue factory Mountains appear in the distance as we start heading south

Finike

About Finiki

Formerly known in ancient times as Phoenicus was a trading port for the city of Limra, the capital city of Lycia. It’s believed to have been founded by the Phoenicians in 5th century BC, although the area has been inhabited much longer than that since 3000 BC. Known history dates back to 1250 BC when the Lycians were allied to the Hittites. The Romans took over about 190 BC and there are many Lycian and Roman ruins still remaining all throughout the region.

Much of this coastline through antiquity was riddled with pirates and this area – known as the Lycian Coast was no exception. One of the most notable efforts to rid the Mediterranean of pirates was by Pompey of Rome in 69 BC.

Today the local economy depends upon agriculture, particularly oranges and citrus fruits, and tourists during the summer time – although it’s not a particularly strong tourist region despite it’s historical attractions. It’s much more laid back and you’re more likely to see people still wearing traditional clothing in some areas.

Approx 1130hrs. Arrive Finike Marina to find the boat is not in the water as previously arranged. Apparently today is a national holiday and the boat won’t be shifted until tomorrow. Go down to the boat and put most of our gear onboard. Curious to see how they’ve mounted the boats on the hardstand using timber poles. Watching them over subsequent days shows they have quite a lot of expertise in the method. Arguably a better system than using steel cradles such as we do in Australia as they tap the hull to find the bulkheads and place the poles directly underneath. The result would almost certainly support the hull better.

008 marina sign 009 finiki marina
City plan of the small township of Finiki Finiki Marina. Hardstand at left. Finger berths at right.
010 jenzminc on poles 011 loading baggage
Jenzminc VI support on timber poles on the hardstand Andy and Roger loading bags aboard

Approx 1500 hrs. We all go across the road to the Arikandos Hotel and get a room for the night at 20 Euros per head. Very clean and tidy. Polite staff although I’m starting to find it is sometimes a little difficult dealing with the Turks as their knowledge of English is usually limited. However they are generally very friendly and it’s not overly hard to communicate.

We have a couple of drinks outside on the terrace facing the road. An old beggar woman comes up. Persistent as a fly but eventually leaves us alone. I find it gets pretty hard to turn them away but as much as you want to help people, there’s always another one with a hand out around the corner. Take a power nap for a couple of hours. Wake up at 1830hrs and it’s dark.

1830 hrs. Go uptown to a pizza shop where Andy remembers they’d had pizza’s last time here. We order four small pizzas with different toppings and they soon arrive, together with a bowl of tasty bread and salad. After the meal a series of sirens start going off up the street. Looking up we see police cars with lights flashing leading a parade of soldiers carrying flaming torches. They march in similar fashion to that which we used to march into school – lifting knees up to waist height. As they march they sing or chant some sort of patriotic songs. People rush up to stand around clapping vigorously as the soldiers march by, but the long line of civilians marching behind, some of whom are also carrying torches are totally ignored. On questioning one of the local shop owners we’re told it’s some sort of memorial day.

After the meal we take a walk around the streets. National flags hanging everywhere, on the sides of buildings, on overhead lines, poles, masts. There’s even a flag painted on the side of the mountain looming above the township. Looks to be a pretty place but hard to get a real idea at night. Lots of stone work everywhere. Very neat and tidy. Orange trees line some of the streets alongside other varieties of trees. Hardly any litter. The small creek that runs through is clean and clear. Youths seem well groomed and disciplined. No loutish behaviour seen other than the odd “doop-doop” cars with amplified sound systems and the occasional tyre scream. Have to be careful walking around and crossing roads to remember they travel on the right hand side, and they don’t waste time either. Also notice that around the main roads at least the signs are usually both in English and in Turkish. You also don’t see many scooter riders wearing helmets.

Approx 2100 hrs. Return to hotel. Go to bed. Out like a light.

Fri 30 Oct 09

0415 hrs. Wide awake. Doze to 0600hrs then get up. Read for a while then go downstairs to meet Andy and Roger in foyer.

0730hrs. Have breakfast at the hotel. No cereal or milk served. Plain bread. No toast. Strong tea or coffee. Selection of cheeses, chilli, cucumber, tomato, jams and honey.

0830hrs. Over to the boat. Start to arrange ourselves into our various cabins. Andy goes to see about getting the marina staff to put the boat into the water. Workers haven’t arrived yet. By the time they appear there are two boats to be lifted out of the water. Their hulls still have to be cleaned by water-blasting and then they’ve got to be blocked up on the hardstand. Only then will it be our turn.

012 classic boatLeft: A classic old timber boat in need of TLC.

1130hrs. Spend most of the morning standing and otherwise fiddling around waiting for the marina workers. Finally the huge travel lift arrives. It’s capable of lifting up to 80 tons and has massive big wheels but the bloke operating it seems to be able to move it around quite well. It only takes about half an hour for them to remove the stilts, lift and carry the boat to the water and get it floated clear for us to get aboard and motor around to our berth.

013 travel lift 014 slung for transport
This travel lift is capable of lifting 80 tons Slings underneath – preparing to lift
015 removing poles 016 last touch up
A worker starts removing supporting poles A painter applies the last touches of antifouling paint to previously unreachable places
017 lifted 018 walk to water
Jenzminc VI lifted clear and ready to move to the water Final checks before putting her back in the sea
020 climb aboard
Time for crew to climb aboard

In another 15 minutes or so the boat is all tied up and secure. Interesting system. They have an underwater chain running along the length of the relevant marina finger in front of the boats. The bow of the boats are connected to this chain and the stern is tied to cemented rings port and starboard on the finger. No problem with the tides. It only rises and falls around 15 cm or so. Most people have a gangplank system. Wash down the boat with detergent.

021 packed in 022 marina finger
Yachts are packed in fairly tightly Photo taken at 80mm focal length to give a scaled human eye view of the marina finger.

Right: A line fisherman motors past inside the marina023 fisherman

Afternoon. Went to lunch. Get set up at a table and plastic chairs on a grassed area outside a shop next to the marina. Between us we order calamari, lambs liver, salad and 2 bowls of fries. This is served with fresh bread, as usual without butter. Tea is normally served black in small daiquiri like glasses only bigger. Coffee is served black unless you specifically ask for milk – sut, in which case they’ll charge extra.

024 gardenLeft: A small garden park inside the marina

As we sit there a rain shower comes through. It falls quite heavily but the store owner brings over a large umbrella which keeps us fairly dry. Roger remembers some of the hatches are still open on the boat and takes off to close them. When he comes back he tells us the boat owner next door had closed the hatches. For his efforts he’d gotten wet and had to change his shirt.

Right: Typical gulet used for tourist cruises025 gulet

Spend the rest of the day generally getting the boat all set up ready for sailing, including installing the dodger and checking into cupboards to see what’s in there. Andy has had ongoing problems with the local chandler in getting his previously ordered liferaft delivered. And it seems a set of keys belonging to the boat are missing and the marina owner is apparently away on holidays. Later in the afternoon the liferaft arrives and Andy is able to bring his new liferaft down to the boat and get it onboard.

Aprox 1600hrs. Sun drops below the mountains just behind the town lending a false impression of time being later than it really is. Starts spitting rain occasionally. Amplified speakers break out with the usual call to prayers. This happens about 5 times a day. We also have a large Coastguard boat berthed here in the marina that has its loudspeakers set to full volume. At set times of the day a call resembling something you’d use to call someone on the other side of a mountain valley goes out, sometimes followed by a few whistle blasts.

026 cockpit view 027 coast guard boat
Late afternoon view from the cockpit. Mountains to the north of the marina covered in pre-winter snow Coast Guard vessel at Finiki.
Photo by Andy Brennan

Approx 1800hrs. Having sundowners in the cockpit. All of us are tired, probably still feeling a bit jet-lagged. Nobody is bothered with having dinner. We pull out our laptops. Andy has set up an internet account with the marina so we we’re now able to get some emails sent, do some online banking and so on. It’s too late to try and establish a Skype call back home so we go to bed fairly early.

Map 1 - Overview Map 2 Turkey
Map 1: Overview of voyage area Map 2: Turkey – showing relative locations of Istanbul, Antalya and Finiki

 

Sat 31 Oct 09

0700: Everyone out of bed. Roger has already been up at 0330 and gone for a walk. It’s still dark as I now wake up. Have an urgent need to pee but too lazy to get out of bed so doze until daybreak. Have a cuppa tea. Everyone opens their computers to do various bits and pieces including looking up the Vasco da Gama rally website for anything new. There’s been a change in the timetable. We now have an extra three days before we have to be at Port Said in Egypt to join the yacht rally, so we need to decide what we are going to do.

0830hrs: Start up town with our packs to do some shopping. Go first to the Saturday markets. Street after street lined with stalls and canvas overhead cover. Stalls filled with beautiful vegetables, nuts, sweets and fruits of all kinds. See grapes that are probably the biggest I’ve ever seen. There are also shoes and clothing stalls and various other stuff including rat traps, cooking implements, knives and so on.

030 markets 031 stalls
Above and Top Right:Finiki Saturday markets and covered stalls. The products and produce is so diverse that you can buy/haggle for just about anything you want or need here.Right:
fruit stall seller. Huge grapes in foreground. The fruit and veges in this market is fresh and amongst the best quality I’ve seen anywhere.
032 stall seller

Next is a butcher shop for some meat where we get some mince before going to the local small supermarket. Buy groceries including cleaning gear, food items and the like. The shopkeeper arranges to drive us back to the marina.

Afternoon. On return to the boat we learn that the guy Andy wants to see apparently won’t be back until Monday. Pack all the food and groceries away. Spend the afternoon doing journal work while Andy and Roger work on the bimini cover to drop its height by about 75mm. It involves cutting the ends off the stainless steel tubing frames. Rain comes over again, just enough the wet everything. Continues to spit for the rest of the day eventually turning into a heavy shower.

Evening: Go to a local restaurant for dinner. Order mixed grills and some sort of spiced mince dish. Hard to know what you are ordering at times, just a basic idea that it would be mince, beef, lamb, chicken and so on. It’s nice though.

Back onboard Andy has a chat with his wife Jennie on Skype. For the rest of the evening we sit around chatting while I work on Roger’s computer. It’s loaded with unwanted programs and adware using around 258 Mb of RAM whilst sitting at idle. Terribly slow. With Roger beside me I clean out excess programs and obvious adware, clean the registry and defragment the hard drive. It’s now using around 125 Mb of RAM at idle and running significantly faster. Still need to do more work on the laptop at a later date. Go to bed fairly late.

Sun 1 Nov 09

0700 hrs: All rise. Cuppas. Leisurely breakfast of bread, butter, jams, vegemite etc.

Approx 0900hrs: A Kiwi lady from Orca Joss comes on board. She and her husband have recently been through the Red Sea and Suez Canal. They provide valuable information about dealings with officials and what is available at various places.

Approx 1000hrs: Roger and I go back uptown to buy some more meat while Andy stays behind to fix the outboard motor which has seized. We buy steak, plus steak chunks for stews and stir-frys, chicken breasts and a couple of salami and beef luncheon meats. Look for a hardware shop to try and get some super-glue to fix my sleep apnoea mask and some Penetrene (penetrating oil) for the outboard motor. About half the shops are shut including the hardware stores. We hadn’t thought Muslim countries observed Sundays as a day off but apparently they do. Andy mounts the furling headsail and other essential jobs around the boat while we’re away.

033 shops and park 034 finiki main street
a local shopping centre with flagstone walkways, good benches and statues Finiki CBD on a quiet Sunday
035 mixed goods 036 shop owner
an electrical store also sells plumbing friendly shopkeeper

Pass by a small rug and jewellery trinket shop called Pension Villa Harmonie in one of the back streets. Owner introduces himself as Muammer. He’s of about early forties age and approaches us speaking quite good English, which is pretty unusual in itself. Invites us in for tea – chi, sits us down and places a bowl of berries on the table which Roger later said reminded him of chicken-shit after Muammer related how he collecting them off the ground under trees. “They are very expensive to buy”, he says and indicates that they are very beneficial for … pancreas? appendix? grabbing the fatty part of the stomach just above his hip.

Right: Our congenial host sits us down for tea037 congenial host

The tea is presented and he sits down to tell us he has relatives in Sydney and Melbourne who’d gone out there many years ago. Seems their adult children have grown up as Australians though he’s never talked to them. He’s a great host but eventually of course, the talk turns to buying some of his special goods. His jewellery, he says, is made from special stones called hermatite (?) which he alleges is good for the bones. I gather he’s referring to arthritis by his gestures. I end up offering to buy a bracelet. Bad mistake.

Now I learn that bargaining is very much an accepted, even expected practice in this part of Turkey at least. Get him down to just over half the first price. Poor Roger. Muammer’s full attention turns to him. Roger makes the mistake of expressing an interest in a different bracelet but has no cash on him. No problem. Take the bracelet and come in later to pay me, I trust you. Can your friend here pay for it and you pay him? Time to leave.

Step outside. Raining lightly now and the tiled footpaths are slippery and to walk on the streets is dangerous, given the speed the locals drive around the narrow lanes behind the main street.

Approx 1200 hrs: Return to boat. Andy hasn’t had any success in getting the outboard motor working and he now sets about vacuum packing the meat into dinner sized packs using a special vacuum pump and bag sealing machine.

Afternoon: The rain has set in alternating between light spitting and showers. There isn’t much any of us can do. Quite chilly with the rain so we potter around and chat idly in the boat throughout the rest of the day. Notice that yachts are coming and going all the time into the marina.

Evening: Just after dark we sit around the table and talk about photography. Show Andy and Roger a slide show collection of some of my travelling photos on my computer. During a gap in the rain we go uptown and return to the same pizza shop we had visited before and place orders for a different set of pizzas. Once again they are very nice. Different staff on tonight. Very friendly young lass serves us but not too good on the English so some of our interaction has to be by pantomime.

Not much to report for the rest of the evening.

Mon 2 Nov 09

0700hrs: All rise. Cuppas. Weather looking a little better with patches of blue sky, but no bets on how long it will last. Quite cool. Jumpers out. Winter is obviously coming quickly to Finike and it seems we’re getting out just in time.

0830hrs: All of us have been on our computers doing one thing or another.

Morning: Roger and I do some measurements of the hull from gunnel, around underneat the hull to the opposite gunnel. We take measurements just in front of the keel, mid keel and just behind the keel. While we do the measuring Andy is liaising with the local officials. He returns later with a new Bruce anchor and a courtesy flag for Sudan. He then sets about fitting the new anchor. Roger and I go back up town for a final shopping trip. Go to various chemists looking for a new sleep apnoea mask because mine has now broken and can’t be fixed. The chemist owner is puzzled about it but extremely obliging and makes several telephone calls trying to locate one for me. He eventually tracks one down but it’s at a depot and will take three hours before it can be delivered. We can’t wait that long.

We spend considerable time looking from hardware shops to motorbike repair shops for some penetrating oil with which to fix the outboard motor. Once again much pantomiming. Finally find the exact can of penetrating oil spray we want. Get some more milk, bread and water and a hot chicken for lunch then return to boat.

040 bridge 039 canal
quaint bridge spans over a stream running through the township beautifully lined with stones and paved walkways and the water is clean
038 stone tomb 041 back street
a stone sarcophagus tomb commonly seen through the region in the back streets looking for a motor mechanics shop

Lunch: Make a lunch of hot chicken and salad with bread.

Approx 1300hrs: Andy calls us down to the Passport Office where we spend the next hour or so sitting on plastic chairs whilst they process our papers. Finally we’re free to go. Return to the boat and finish cleaning up and doing little jobs. Too late now to leave for Egypt. Collect two filled gas bottles from Ozturk, the local marina chandler. We’ll be heading out tomorrow. Rain seems to be clearing a little reluctantly now. Quite cool. Jumpers on.

During the afternoon it begins raining in earnest then spitting fitfully. Dark thunder clouds scud across the sky but it does seem to be clearing reluctantly.

Approx 1700hrs: Release lines and motor across to the fuelling dock. Takes about an hour or so including waiting for the tanker to arrive. Diesel fuel is expensive at 2.79 Turkish lira per litre. Australian exchange rate is 95 cents per lira. Return to our marina berth and tie up again.

Evening: Have about 60 lira in the kitty left so go uptown back to our pizza place for dinner. Take a walk through the back streets of town by night. Dark and quiet back there. Only a few people moving about. Starts spitting rain again. Back at the boat Andy sets about trying to get some weather information. Seems he can’t get the grib files off the SailMail frequency on the HF radio this close to the Turkish coast at least in this area. He can only access them offshore.

042 marina by night 043 jenzminc saloon
entrance to Finiki marina at night
with fuel dock at left
the saloon downstairs inside Jenzminc

The Vasco da Gama website reports Force 6-7 winds (pretty high) and 8-10 metre seas in the Mediterranean. The rally is currently in Cyprus. They’ll be making a decision to make the jump across to Egypt on Thurs 5 Nov 09.

Approx: 2200hrs: Go to bed.

Kekova Roads

Tues 3 Nov 09

Map 3 - Finiki to Ucagiz
Map 3: Finiki to Ucagiz

Andy is up and about a little earlier this morning. Rain has cleared. Clear sky overhead but some lumpy clouds gathered around the horizon. Roger reports hearing some rustling noises inside the boat during the night. We’d been visited by cats and he’d managed to whack one with a pillow. Rubbish bin had been knocked over.

Approx 0730 hrs: Gather the lines in. Secure the dinghy to the stern by lashing it sideways. Fenders in. Take some cushions out to the cockpit. Motor out of Finike Marina.

044 leaving finikiLeft: Leaving Finiki behind. Masts inside marina can be seen just to centre left of photo.

0800hrs: Heading westerly along coast at 7 kts at 2500 rpm. Depth 51m just a few hundred yards offshore. White rock on shore line and coastal areas very common, almost like chalk but isn’t. Sky still fairly clear – some clouding. Cool but not enough to need a jumper.

0830hrs: Trucks and cars moving along the highway that’s been cut into the side of the mountain along the coast. Would be a lovely drive. Barometer 1014 so that’s promising. Heading 240 deg. Breeze 7 kts off starboard bow. Motoring.

1000hrs: Distance covered 14.7 miles. Enter Kekova Roads which is about 4 miles long between the coast and the rugged rocky island of Adasi. Depth around 70m. Blue water. Very rocky all along the foreshore as well. Tidal range only about 15 cm or so no real current to speak of.

045 old fort 046 kekova roads
lonely ruins of an old fort still guards this coast Kekova Roads with ruins of an old crusader castle called Kale Koy in the istance just off to the right

 

Map 4  Kekova Roads
Map 4: Kekova Roads and Ucagiz

Approx 1030 hrs: Pass the ancient ruins of Kale Koy castle guarding the rocky entrance to a small town called Ucagiz Limani. Small rocky islets to the south of the castle mark the site of sunken ruins of an ancient city which may have been called Simena. On the NE side of the rocks, stairs have been cut to lead down to into the water. Pass through the narrow entrance into the bay beyond and along the front of Ucagiz.

047 kale koy 048 stone tombs
A holiday resort with “pensions” accommodation lay at the foot of the old Kale Koy castle (top right). The sunken city of Simena is located in this area near the rocks. It sank due to an earthquake in the second century AD. A necropolis of stone tombs along the coastline. The ancient Lycians preferred to bury their dead among the living rather than in cemeteries outside of town. The just built their houses around them.

Several gulets – Turkish tourist cruising and tourist vessels of various sizes are anchored nearby. Amongst the rocks on the foreshore to the east of the town are several ancient stone tombs cut out of the bare rock. After doing a circuit of the area head back out into Kekova Roads and start heading westerly. Wind has sprung up again to around 13 kts as we motor directly into it.

049 ucagiz 050 gulets
The little township of Ucagiz. Tourist gulets anchored up outside the town.

 Polemos Buku

1115hrs: Anchor at the western end of a 1.5 mile inlet at a place called Polemos Buku. Nothing much here. The boys aren’t saying much about why we’ve come here to this desolate looking place. There’s a ramshackle restaurant at the end of a rough timber jetty lined with old rubber tyres painted white. Doesn’t appear to be any roads so the only access must be by boat. Mud bottom with good holding. Slopes on the foreshores covered in maquis and wild olive trees.

Right: the landing at Aperlai with a jetty for dinghies
and a restaurant for tourists.051 aperlai at polemos buku

On arrival a U.S. registered yacht Alchemy from Larchmont NY is lifting it’s anchor to start heading out. No greetings exchanged.

1215 hrs: Three fishermen arrive in a small diesel powered timber boat and begin line fishing around us. Cheery types. Give us a wave.

1230hrs: Lunch of salami, bread and salad.

053 fishermenLeft: fishermen passing by in a wooden dinghy.

Approx 1330hrs: Go ashore in the dinghy. Start walking inland with the guys across a rocky track and stony country. Lots of evidence of wild pigs which have caused quite a bit of damage with their foraging at night. Wild olive trees everywhere. Walk over black olives strewn across the paths fallen from wild olive trees. Evidence of an ancient civilisation everywhere with old rock fences and raised flat areas. Red volcanic soil similar to that found around Toowoomba and the Darling Downs. It’s easy to see why they would have settled here. Access to the sea for trade, a fair bit of flat land with good rich soil for crops, plenty of rocks and timber to work with. See several old wells and according to the chart there are several mineral springs here.

Eventually arrive at a trekker’s resort called The Purple House. A man in his early thirties named Rizacuce (risercoosh) and his pregnant young wife Pida (peeda) greet us. Andy and Roger had met this chap before on a previous trip. Speaks very good English but Pida doesn’t not speak any. Definitely no roads lead into here. Access only by sea but he apparently gets a couple thousand visitors per year to visit nearby ruins.

Map 5 Aperlai
Map 5 – The area of Aperlai and ancient ruins

Start out following the marked paths. Apparently there had been a civilisation here 2000-3000 years BC called Aperlai. The ruins of a stone fort sits higher up on a ridge overlooking the whole area. Can see where paths had been laid using rocks although over the millennia, rain and erosion has washed off the topsoil leaving rocky paths.

054 cottage 055 well
tourist cottage old well
056 tombs 057 old ruins
more stone tombs and old fort top right ruins of old city
058 ancient incription 059 old ruins
ancient writing on an old sarcophagus view from the old fort looking down over the old settlement

Back at the Purple House, Rizacuce serves us strong Turkish coffee in small dainty cups with small decorated metal saucers. Being a prefect host offers us something to eat and takes the time to sit with us even through there is work underway nearby making a rainwater dam. He warns us the forecast is bad weather for the next three days and that we shouldn’t leave for Egypt.

Right: Moonrise over Kale Koy ruins in the distance065 moonrise

1600hrs: Back on board. Chicken stir-fry for dinner. Beautiful full orange moon rising over Kale Koy ruins in the distance leaving an orange trail on the water leading to the boat. Starts clouding over as the night progresses.

Weds 4 Nov 09

Wake to strong winds gusting up to 38 kts through the anchorage. Water very chopped up. Boat swinging wildly to her anchor. Have a sore throat, hope I’m not getting a bug. Quite chilly. Put on jeans but only to split the bum on them. Good rip too. Change to shorts. Andy thinks we might go to Ucagiz later. Breakfast of toast. Spend the morning chatting.

0945hrs: Andy alerts us the dinghy has come adrift and is now belting down Kekova Roads. Quick dashing about to get underway goes smoothly. We’re all experienced sailors and can see what needs to be done. Take off after the absconding dinghy and catch it several hundred metres away just before it reaches Kekova Roads proper and before it hits any of the many rocks around us. Surprised at how warm the water is. Tie the dinghy to the stern and keep on going to Ucagiz.

 Ucagiz

060 ucagiz jettyLeft: Ucagiz jetty and mosque greets visitors from the sea

Ucagiz is dominated by a mosque and from writing carved into the many stone sarcophagi tombs, it came into existence around 4th century BC. It seems to depend on tourism from the ruins of Kale Koy with its amphitheatre, the sunken city, the many stone tombs and tourism charter vessels. The women in the town generally still wear the traditional pantaloon trousers, shirts, shawls and scarves.

1130hrs: Anchor up and settle out the front of Ucagiz. Probably slightly less sheltered here. Sit down for a coffee with some bikkies. Notice the yacht Alchemy is has also anchored here.

1230hrs: Still chatting when the anchor springer snaps with a loud bang. A springer is a rope which holds the anchor chain to the bow to soften shocks from the boat pulling directly on the anchor chain. Wind still gusting at around 30 kts. Quite bumpy in the bay. Whitehorses everywhere. Overcast and spitting rain.

Approx 1530hrs: Wind has gone and skies seem to be clearing. Some rain cloud still about but sun trying to peep through gaps in cloud.

Power nap. Later we jump into the dinghy and go ashore. We’re met at a rough timber jetty lined again with white painted rubber tyres, by a man who introduces himself at Ibrahim from Ibrahim’s Restaurant located at the end of the jetty. He gives us the password to access the local Wi-Fi internet network so we’re able to get some emails out and a weather forecast. Ibrahim takes our orders for Nescafe coffees all round but later tells us it’s on the house … and perhaps we’d be coming back for dinner?

Takes a walk around the little village. Local ladies are indeed wearing traditional clothes, even a young lass about 13yr old or so. Quaint little houses made from shaped rocks, stones and raw timber poles. Starts raining again so beat a hasty retreat back to boat. Get slightly wet. Easy afternoon on board while it continues to rain.

061 ucagiz 1 062 ucagiz 2
street scene street scene
063 ucagiz 3 064 ucagiz 4
women still wear traditional pantaloon trousers and scarves street scene

1830hrs: Full moon rising over the low mountains close by lighting up the bay. Clear sky – cloudless – stars are out. Chilly bit in the breeze. Andy cooking tea.

Quiet evening. Early to bed. Tomorrow we leave for Egypt.

 

MEDITERRANEAN SEA

 

Map 6 Med Sea
Map 6 – Crossing the Mediterranean Sea

Thurs 5 Nov 09

0700hrs: Beautiful day. Cloudless blue sky. Slight breeze. Temperature 17 deg. Barometer 1013mb. Today we set off. Motor started. Dinghy lifted onto foredeck and lashed down. Generally make ready for sea tidying down below and stowing stuff that might rattle around.

0800hrs. Anchor up and underway.

Right: Approaching the narrow gaps past Adalari Island.66 through the gap

0815hrs. Clear of Karagol Adalari Island, a series of rocks guarding the western approaches to Kekova Roads. Course initially 192 deg Mag southerly. Slightly bumpy just outside with some small swell.

0830hrs: Change course to 156 deg Mag. Waypoint on the fairway buoy off Port Said 318 miles away.

67 into the medLeft: Through the gap and out into the Mediterranean Sea.

0915hrs: Motoring up to 7 kts. Mainsail put up. Dark cobalt sea. No depth on sounder, too deep for it now. Seas have smoothed somewhat as we get away from the coast. Large snow-caps on the mountains behind the coastal ranges behind Ucagiz. Spinnaker pole breaks free from its clips. Normally stores vertically against the mast. Roger manages to hold it until the rest of us can get up there. Secure the foot of the pole to the mast and drop the head of it onto the bow. It’ll be ready there if we need it.

Right: Snow becomes visible on the inland mountains of Turkey as we get further out to sea. We’re leaving just in time to avoid the winter here.68 turkey behind

1045hrs. Raise the headsail though winds are fickle and mostly on the nose. Heading SSE. Some whitecaps but not many. Some big swells come through. Feeling a little unsettled in stomach with a bit of reflux. Ongoing problem for me usually controllable with prescription tablets. Motor sailing.

1500hrs: Motor sailing. Have tried to sail at one point but wind still too fickle by changing direction and speed. Land drops out of sight.

1700hrs: 60 miles travelled. Have been watching small sparrow like birds with a yellow breast all day flitting around and hovering over the surface of the sea. They don’t really look like sea birds and wonder why they are out this far to sea. One makes its way inside the boat and lands on Roger’s startled head as he’s preparing dinner. It soon finds its way back out again but hangs around the gunnels resting for a while.

Sea is much calmer. Outside temperature about 23 deg. Motor sailing. Andy rolls the headsail up. Winds still light and fickle from the south. Heading SSE close hauled to the wind.

1800hrs: Seas calming even more. Rippled surface though still some good sized swells coming through. Roger feeling a little nauseous while preparing dinner downstairs.

2100hrs. Seas calm. Smooth surface. Slight swells only. Moon casting soft blue light on boat and the sea. Hardly any boat traffic. Sky almost clear. Starry. Jumpers on but not overly cool. Motor sailing with mainsail up, headsail down.

Fri 6 Nov 09

0600hrs: Beautiful day dawns. 151 miles travelled. Cyprus 87 miles behind us to the NE. Lots of high cirrus cloud commonly called “mares tails” indicate strong wind activity high up. Seas rippled, almost flat. Andy reckons they’d be calm enough to water ski on. Had another of those small birds visit during the night. Andy says he sat under the seat behind the helm and refused to move. Sun rising broad off our port bow, moon setting abeam off starboard.

0800hrs: JASDIP – Just another shitty day in paradise. 160 miles in the 24 hrs. Motoring with full headsail and mainsail and getting around 6.8 kts. Smooth sailing. Another flock of those little birds fly past heading south. About 7 or so in this group. Wonder if they are migrating for the winter.

0900hrs: Wind turning to ESE and coming onto the port beam. Cut the motor and start sailing. Speed drops down to around 5 kts but soon builds up with the strengthening wind.

1200hrs: Speed over ground around 6 kts. Wind variable but mostly around 10-12 kts. Cloud has come over a bit. 140 miles to go.

69 quiet momentLeft: A quiet moment.

1715hrs: Sun sinks below a small band of clouds. Sailing has been excellent all day reaching up to 7.6 kts. Wind holding steady broad off the port bow at around 12 – 15 kts but dying a little now. Turn the motor on with headsail and mainsail up. Hitting up to 8 kts. 98 miles to go.

Sat 7 Nov 09

Overnight: Very good sailing. As good as any I’d done before. Winds gusting to around 20 kts abeam to port. Seas got lumpier but Jenzminc glided along beautifully with barely a jolt even from the biggest waves. Moonlit seas.

0600hrs: Clear sky. A hazy horizon obscures the sun. Shipping appearing out of the haze.

0645hrs: 4 miles from coast. Can’t see it yet. Sea is a dirty green colour. Passing one anchored ship. Dolphin dives under the boat. Several more charging towards us, leaping and jumping all around. These are a smallish black dolphin. First marine life we’ve seen since leaving Turkey. Find a dead silver and black flying fish on the deck near the midships chainplate and gunnel. Must have come onboard during the night.

0730hrs: Reach our fairway buoy waypoint off Port Said. It’s taken one hour under 2 days to cover the 318 miles. This is really a good boat. Still can’t see anything but anchored ships, about a dozen or so. Several fishing boats moving around. Sun slowly seems to be burning off the haze.

Right: First look at Port Said, Egypt through the smog. A pilot boat speeds out to drop off the pilot.70 pilot boat

0800hrs: Follow the sea lane into Port Said which looms indistinctly through the haze off the starboard bow. A Pilot from the local Port and Suez Canal Authority comes out and stops alongside so that an official can climb on board. We tell them we don’t need a pilot but they insist it’s required even for a small “ship” like ours.

It soon became evident why it was so necessary. It’s obviously a chance to make a little baksheesh. The pilots name is Asimari or similar and he isn’t backwards in asking for drinks and a small payment. As we enter the port he points out the Suez Canal Authority building, an impressive big green and white place. He guides us to where the other rally boats will be tying up.

71 fishing boat 72 foreshore view
A colourful fishing boat Closer look at a smoggy looking Port Said

0900hrs: All tied up securely to the dock. We’re the first one in from the rally and have to wait for the rally agent to turn up. It’s becoming clear that the haze is more likely smog. It smells smoggy though some of it might be from the extensive shipyards right next to where we are docked. Beautiful day. Temperature 25 deg but humid. All of us are sweating. Cloudless sky. Very glarey and developing a slight headache. Pilot gets off the boat with completed paperwork. Give him a coke and 10 Euro’s.

73 port and canal authority 74 jenzminc alone
The Suez Canal Authority building Jenzminc berthed at Port Said.

The Vasco de Gama rally’s agent Felix later drops by to return our passports, appropriately stamped with the required visa.

We’re now free to go ashore..

END PART 1 

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