Gladlee of Guernsey
21st December 1993 – 14th April 1994
It was a long time to be away from the boat, by now very much our first home. But we had decided to sell Nigel’s house in Dulwich, to treat ourselves to an expedition in southern Africa in March and to be London for Nigel’s 50th birthday in April, so we thought we might just as well spend Christmas with family and take in the Boat Show as well. For Christmas and New Year we based ourselves at Wellingborough visiting various friends over the holidays in generally bright and fine weather. We had an unexpected invitation to spend New Year’s Eve with Nigel’s friends the Barnevelds in Leamington Spa – a very civilised dinner party – and drove up the next day to Wakefield for Robin and Alison’s “Not New Year’s Eve Party”. After that it was back to London where Julie got her old job back and Nigel started getting the house sorted out to put on the market. We took nephew Simon to the Boat Show and did a lot of useful business there ourselves. By early February we had buyers for the house meanwhile having quite a social time – several dinner parties, Phil and Alison to stay for a couple of days, and a happy evening’s reunion with Brian and Julie of “Fareal”. We bought a laptop computer, on to which various friends loaded lots of illicit and fascinating programs. James Hungarian girlfriend Barbie arrived in London and we spent another weekend in Wakefield. The last few days of February and early March were spent shifting furniture and other essentials out of Pickwick Road, organising repairs to be done while we went off to Africa, and disposing of various possessions through the small ads column of the local free newspaper.
On 4th March we left the mess behind and flew to Cape Town, embarking on an expedition by Bedford truck over 3000-plus miles through South Africa, Namibia and Botswana to Zimbabwe. Four weeks of driving and camping were about enough for Nigel, at least, but it was a fascinating and memorable experience for both of us. We wound up at Victoria Falls (like the Taj Mahal, they more than justify their reputation) and flew to Harare for a few days’ luxury living and good company care of Nigel’s former colleague David Woods and family. Back to London on 1st April to find the house in a mess, thanks to the damp-proofers, but at least work had been done and the place wasn’t too far off being ready to be handed over to Molly and Angus Ball. Rocky the Racoon arrived to join the crew. Nigel’s 50th birthday lunch on 3rd (Easter Sunday) assembled a selection of family and friends for a beautiful catered meal masterminded by Jo, and then we had a final rush to clear up the house and pack up all our Boat Show purchases before the completion date (and our departure for Antalya) on 15th April. We did scant justice to Jo’s farewell dinner between final visits to Pickwick Road, but we managed to lock the door behind us for the last time before midnight!
15th April – 1st May 1994
The journey back to Antalya was very straightforward. We managed to get all our luggage and VAT declarations sorted out at Heathrow with minimal difficulty, and nobody took any interest in us as we carted our load of tax-free imports out of Antalya airport (one of Nigel’s ex-pupils was on duty at Customs, but was fortunately looking the other way!) We found “Gladlee” much as we’d left her, except for a welcome bunch of flowers from “Fareal” and a less welcome lack of evidence that much work had been done on her in our absence. The day ended with drinks with Brian and Julie on “Faréal” across the way, and an invitation to supper the following evening.
Work started next day on sand-blasting the keels, and we got on with fitting various bits and pieces we’d bought back with us while preparations went on below us for re-epoxying the hull. We went out with Brian and Julie for sea trials on “Faréal”, waving a sad farewell to them when they left on 21st to head west towards the French canals and eventually the U.K. We continued cleaning, polishing and painting in unsettled weather, while the hull got its five coats of epoxy, and by 28th there remained only the final job of anti-fouling before we could re-launch the boat. At this point we took off for Ankara and the 500th run of the Ankara Hash, a weekend of much sociable drinking and a couple of longer runs than we were really fit for (Julie even less so after the Saturday night party at the Ambassador’s Residence!) There were fewer old friends there than we’d hoped, but fortunately two of them were Richard and Judith Nichols (AHHH founders). Richard, a computer consultant, kindly agreed to take our new laptop back to U.K. and try and get it fixed, Nigel having managed to disable the thing by putting 12 volts into the external keyboard socket. Ian and Simone Lancaster were as patient and generous hosts as ever, but unfortunately for us they would be gone before the end of the year.
2nd – 7th May
We returned to Antalya to start anti-fouling, get a transit log and wait for the large parcel we’d posted from England (still no Customs interest, fortunately). We made contact with Linda Chester, arrived in Antalya from Florida in the course of a group tour of Turkey. Another hard day’s work on the 4th, and after a frustrating few hours’ delay the following morning, “Gladlee” was finally launched, the engine (just) started, and we motored round to a pontoon berth to make final preparations for our planned departure at the weekend. Next day we bent the sails back on and went into town to meet Linda for lunch, and on Saturday we brought her out to the marina for a trial sail. The weather was grey and blustery, though, and after half an hour at sea we decided to call it a day, just as well, since the heavens opened a few moments after we got in, and it rained buckets and blew until well into the evening.
8th – 13th May
Sunday dawned bright and virtually windless, so we said our good-byes and left the Marina just after 10.15. With a SSW wind picking up towards midday we got an increasingly lumpy swell, and just past Kemer and Av Burnu we came across a largish speedboat drifting unattended. We passed up the opportunity of salvage and called up Kemer Marina (no reply), eventually making contact with a Turkish tanker who promised to pass our message on to the Coastguard. On towards Cineviz Liman, with the wind freshening but the sea getting calmer, and we dropped anchor off the beach at 15.45 with a few gűlets for company. Next morning we set off at first light for Kekova Roads on a relatively fine morning but with no wind at all, so that with a newly anti-fouled bottom we were round Taslik Burnu under power before 09.00 and entering the channel behind Kekova Adasi shortly after midday; an hour later we were anchored at the end of Pőlemos Bűkű. There was no sign of our fisherman friend Ramazan, but his wooden shack had been replaced by a rough brick construction with a table or two out front – evidently the restaurant development! We had a pleasant afternoon, though the wind picked up again, and by late afternoon there was quite a brisk breeze over the isthmus to the W.
With the faintest of E winds in the early morning we decided to push on towards Kalkan, taking with us the flags we’d brought to give to Ramazan (we’d be back in the Autumn). We got the main up, and approaching Kastellorizon we got enough of a breeze to unroll the genoa and goosewing it. As we ran past Kas the wind steadily freshened from ESE, and we gybed several times to hold our course, putting in a couple of reefs just before 13.00 and making Kalkan bay in F5/6 half an hour later. We found space near the end of Kalkan quay and anchored well in spite of the crosswind (a gűlet arriving soon afterwards made very heavy weather of it). Walked up the hill and had a good pide lunch, with the wind threatening to blow the tablecloth off as we sat watching later arrivals make their way into harbour.
The wind blew all next day, swinging round into the W, and we pottered about in the village and got on with the usual chores. The forecast suggested better conditions the next day, so we decided to get up early and push on to Rhodes, 60-odd miles away. We left at 06.00, finding a moderate breeze on the nose outside the bay and a slight swell, so we put the main up with a couple of reefs in and settled down to a long day’s motoring. By 08.30, though, the wind had freshened to F5, and the sea was getting quite rough, the NAVTEX forecast gave N to NW F5-6, which didn’t look to promising. With the wind still picking up we decided to turn up the coast and hole up at Karacaoren, but an hour or so later conditions seemed to be improving and we headed for Rhodes again. By 14.00 the wind was a full F6, but we were over half way across and it was too late for another change of plan! An hour later we were making 4 knots into 35+ knots apparent, shipping water over the bow at regular intervals and getting very salty round the exposed bits of the face (full oilies on by now). A very tedious few hours followed as we slogged our way across, the boat making good progress against the short steep sea and wind. Eventually we got a bit of lee a few miles off Rhodes itself, but there was still a brisk crosswind as we got the main down in Mandraki harbour just after 21.00. We then had to manoeuvre into too tight a space on the pontoon and managed to get across the anchor chain of a neighbouring yacht. Various people (not all of them sober) appeared to help us disentangle ourselves, and after a further half hour or so we were securely moored by the stern. Unfortunately we then discovered that the anchor hadn’t set (very little room to drop without fouling other moorings) so we had to get the dinghy out to relay the thing, by the time that operation was complete it was nearly midnight! After essential showers to get the salt off we managed to get ourselves an omelette before crashing, fairly exhausted, into bed.
Since our only reason for calling in to Rhodes was to do some shopping it was frustrating, to say the least, to discover the next (Friday) morning that the Visa system had crashed throughout Greece and that we couldn’t get cash on our usual card. Back to the boat to find the alternative MasterCard, only to find that the National Bank’s cash machine had run out – we just managed to get some money over the counter before the bank closed for the weekend. We got a bus out to a supermarket along the coast (recommended by Setur friends) which seemed to have no problem with Visa, but we ended up visiting the market and the more familiar supermarket close to the harbour as well. Rhodes didn’t appeal any more at second sight, but it was nice to get some pork chops and to spot “Alk” just over the way – the home of Hans van Rijn, author of the “North Africa” pilot we’d updated a year earlier. We made contact just before leaving the following morning and promised to look him up on our way back in the autumn, meanwhile leaving him copies of our notes.
14th – 20th May
A fairly uneventful crossing to Knidos, a less copious than usual flow of cooling water from the exhaust as we left was possibly explained by the sudden appearance in our wake of a tin and a plastic bag – at any rate things seemed to get back to normal about then! We got a bit of wind off the Turkish coast and actually sailed for ten minutes, but we were soon headed and eventually had to get the main down. We got to Knidos soon after 18.00, not a lot of room to swing with several boats already there, and the anchor refused to set. After several attempts on the W side of the harbour we moved over to the E shore and eventually got a firm holding – at the sixth attempt….. A marvellous spot, though, with steep Cape Kno and its lighthouse to seaward, ruins all around and a view towards Niseros, Kos and their neighbouring islands to the W. We got up early for a wander before the other yachts’ crews got there and set off for Bodrum just before midday. Flat calm much of the way, but we did get a couple of hours’ sailing after lunch as a moderate westerly got up off Kos; the wind died as we came into Bodrum Bay and took the sails down in front of St. Peter’s Castle, and by 17.00 we were moored in the half empty marina inside the harbour. We wandered into town later for an “Iskender”, having rung James and Setur Marina (to check for mail). Bodrum didn’t seem to have changed all that much, the usual rows of bars, restaurants and souvenir shops, but at least one wasn’t being addressed in German all the time.
After a slightly tedious morning (problems getting cash again) we profited from water on the pontoon to clean up the boat and do some laundry, then refuelled over the other side of the harbour and set off just before 14.00 to head W and then northwards for Çeşme overnight. We had a brief sail out of the bay before the wind died, being overtaken eventually by a larger British yacht (“Hanti”) on her way to Gűműslűk – we had a brief chat as we idled along in the dying breeze. We motored for an hour and a half to get round Huseyin Burnu, then picked up more wind in the late afternoon as we threaded our way between the islands W of Çatalada. It didn’t last long, though, and before we wound the genoa in again we lowered it to try and trace the source of a recent tendency to jam at the swivel – nothing obviously wrong. We had supper on deck as dusk fell, then a calm passage north with hardly a breath of wind. We passed through the narrows W of Samos soon after 03.00, and by late morning we were passing Beyaz Burnu and into the Khios channel: still a flat calm, and a warm sunny morning with slight haze. A SW breeze appeared too late to be useful as we entered the Gulf of Çeşme, and we finally got into the inner harbour and moored stern to the cross wall just before 13.00. The only other yachts to be seen were the Belgian Westerly Corsair we’d encountered previously in Italy and Rhodes, and the German catamaran “Diaethyl” (seen in the Algarve and the Peloponnese!). We made our number with both later on, after taking a look round the pleasant little town and doing some shopping.
Getting up early the following morning in the hope of catching some S wind proved to be a waste of effort – after a hazy calm for the first part of the morning a gentle breeze came up from NNE, so we motored all the way up to Bademli. We decided on the deserted bight at the S end of the channel behind Kalem Adasi, but Rod Heikell’s anchoring directions turned out to be a little misleading, and we had to pick a spot with considerable care to avoid going aground (we ended up tied to the rock featured in Heikell’s photo of his own boat at anchor there!) Between the steep wooded slopes and the island just across the narrow channel this was as pretty a place as one could wish for, complete with hot springs bubbling up through the rocks on the beach. Some Turks turned up in a yacht and anchored nearby for dinner, but otherwise we had the place more or less to ourselves. The 19th was the first day of the long Kurban Bayram holiday, but only a handful of people turned up to paddle in the springs; we went for a walk through the pines ashore in lovely sunshine, with excellent views down the coastline to the south. Back to the boat for brunch, and weighed anchor as a breeze picked up from the SW just after midday. Optimistic as ever we got the main up in the channel and unrolled the genoa as we cleared the island, but within half an hour we had a flat calm again. As we neared the Ayvalik archipelago the clouds came over and we actually got a few drops of rain, but the feeble squalls associated with the weather didn’t hold up long enough for us to sail. We made our way between the outer islands to the start of the buoyed channel leading in to the “lake” of Ayvalik – pleasant impression of low-lying, green but relatively bare islands, with a small range of wooded hills overlooking Ayvalik Liman on the S and E sides. After taking a look at the southernmost bay off the “lake” (built up and too near a main road) we went into Kumru Koyu on the W side, a large but sheltered expanse of water where we found a good spot to anchor, a couple of hundred yards off the beach and fifty or so away from a rocky islet on which Julie soon spotted terns and then a family of Shelducks. We spent a surprisingly quiet day and a half there – the tripper boats from Ayvalik didn’t seem to come that far – with a couple of walks onshore and plenty of entertainment provided by the shelducks (anxious moments, though, when the family fled their home to avoid an intrusive human visitor, and some of the chicks looked as though they might struggle to make it ashore again!
21st – 31st May
Julie went up the mast early on Saturday morning to try and sort out our sticking roller reefing, and traced the problem to the cap having come away from the top of the foil – we took the opportunity to get an unusual bird’s eye photo shot of the boat. We left our anchorage and made our way across the “lake” past the Ayvalik waterfront to the fuel jetty, where we were allowed to stay for an hour or so while we went along the road for supplies (not the most appetising conditions for food shopping, with sheep being sacrificed on every quarter). We managed a gentle sail (the ‘chute up for an hour or so) out through the islands towards the Muslim Kanali N of Lesvos, then had to motor again past the ruins of Assos and on to the wide bay of Sivrice, anchoring off the village on the W side of the bay in the late afternoon. Another virtual flat calm on the way up to Bozcaada, though we managed to sail for half an hour or so on the approach to the island, and we were anchored with lines to the quay by late lunchtime – not without a few false starts trying to line ourselves up in a light crosswind. Quite a picturesque little place, with the Genoese castle tucked on to the bluff overlooking the small harbour, and some quite pleasant cafés on a tidy quay. We had a quiet afternoon, Julie taking a look underneath to try and locate a slightly worrying rattle from the prop shaft area – later ashore for a stroll through the small town to buy a couple of bottles of the (pretty basic) local wine. A small Russian yacht turned up later and parked over amongst the fishing boats, so we didn’t get a closer look.