Gladlee of Guernsey
October 1995 - December 1995
8th – 15th October
We made our way cautiously through the channel to the north of Kizil Adasi and headed round into Hisarönü Körfezi, islands and rugged hills forming the attractively wild landscape. We managed to sail for a couple of hours on the way up to the end of the gulf, and we got most of the way into Keçi Bükü before having to turn on the engine. A flotilla of Sunsail boats passed us as we made our way into the creek, and the place was virtually deserted by the time we arrived and anchored, ignoring the lads waiting with lazy lines on the jetties of the three restaurants on shore. We weren’t wildly impressed with this well-known haven at first, perhaps because of what was presumably a fairly new road round the edge of it carrying dolmus and jeep traffic to and from Marmaris: worse, none of the projected three hotels in the area had got beyond the unsightly concrete skeleton stage. Still, it was pleasant enough, and over the next day we had a chance to relax and tackle various odd jobs. By the following evening the quay at Kadir’s restaurant had filled up, though curiously nobody had opted for the “Iskele” next door. We went ashore for a beer and to check out the facilities, and had a chat to a friendly bunch of Irishmen chartering a Westerly 48. Next morning we moved on to the “Iskele”’s jetty after cleaning up a holding tank pipe leak (Julie’s second go at it in three days), filled up with water, cleaned the boat and started on a mass of laundry. The “Iskele” attracted a few more boats (mainly German charters) during the day, and by evening there were quite a few people sitting down to what proved an excellent and inexpensive dinner – all the more so since we were getting our mooring, including water and electricity, for free.
The following day we biked up the side valley, expecting to find a shop or two amid the small holdings and scattered houses that appeared to make up the village of Orhaniye. We did pass a mosque, but otherwise drew a blank until we found ourselves back on the shore again. Here there was a small store, where we were able to buy a couple of diminutive chickens, potatoes and a few other basics. Nigel failed to track down a carpenter round the corner whom we’d hoped might make us a new dinghy floorboard. At midday we left Keçi Bükü for Bençik Liman across the gulf, and with only a few miles to go we were determined to get in some serious sail-trimming practise. We had a very gentle beat into a NW F2/3 until we reached the entrance to Bençik, overlooked by another massive (but at least completed) hotel. The creek was unexpectedly attractive, with a surprising variety of trees round the water’s edge, and a selection of deepish anchorages in coves along the western shore. A government research station occupies most of the east side, but there were no signs of life from there, and the place was otherwise virtually deserted. A fisherman came by later to offer us his catch (unfortunately at an outrageous price), and an eccentric dog swam out to us but fortunately didn’t try to come onboard! Northerly gale warnings were still out for the Central Aegean, but we saw no sign of serious wind locally, so at first light next morning we headed down the gulf, tacking into a light WSW breeze. We thought about going into Dirsek, the last anchorage on the S side of the gulf, but with the wind dropping we elected to motor on round through the Simi Strait and head for Bozuk Bükü. It was a hazy and calm as we turned south, and there were quite a few other boats about, mostly heading towards Marmaris or Rhodes, soon in sight ten miles or so away. The wind picked up again in the Simi Strait, and we had a good reach in SW F3 down to Karaburun, and a short run eastwards to Bozuk Bükü on the other side. Here there was quite a crowd, so we had to venture further in towards the barren shore at the far end, where we picked up a buoy on the edge of a small fleet moored off the restaurants. To Julie’s understandable disgust the securing nut on the holding tank pump came adrift yet again.
The morning Athens weather forecast gave us an almost perfect F4-5, so we left shortly before 06.00, picking up an encouraging NNW F3 at sunrise just up the coast. This lasted 40 minutes, and we got nothing that we could sail for the rest of the day – by the time we were approaching Kurtoğlu Burnu there was a light southerly blowing, and this lasted all the way into Skopea Liman (Gulf of Fethiye). We passed a cluster of moored yachts (including several friends from Setur) on the way round to Sarsala Iskelesi, where we anchored off the beach, with only a gület and a Singapore-registered yacht for company (both left later). A very pleasant spot, with tree-covered slopes dropping to the rocky shore, though wasps threatened to pose a problem. There were lots of birds about – Julie logged kingfishers, lesser whitethroats, blackcaps, coal tits, blue tits, robins, willow warblers, blackbirds and jays during our evening stroll ashore, and there were plenty to see again in the morning. Lovely hot weather with even the wasps feeling the heat, as they clambered on top of each other in a seething mass to get at a small leak in our spare jerry-can of water. By lunchtime a couple of small gülets had turned up to disturb our peace, and we also saw “Court Jester” come in and apparently have some difficulty anchoring across the bay. After lunch we went over to see Robert and Joyce, they still weren’t holding well and we suggested they take our place. Sailing gently on the genoa up Skopea Liman we suddenly realised we’d lost the dinghy (oh, not again….!!), but fortunately spotted it soon afterwards on tow off the back of a small Turkish yacht – fervent thanks to its rescuers. Arrived at Goçek we spotted “Magic Carpet Ride” anchored not far away; a welcome surprise after hearing only second-hand news of Dietmar since leaving Setur. Nigel pottered over in the dinghy and discovered that his artist friend Sigrid was also on board. A call to Julie on the VHF established that she wasn’t too set on eating up the remains of the Keçi Bükü chickens, so the four of us had an excellent meal at Pelin later on. Sigrid, predictably, became an immediate friend. On the Sunday we at last got to the weekly Goçek market – not much of it, but some excellent and cheap fruit and veg – and bumped into Helmuth, Helga and grandson in the town square before a döner lunch and a quiet afternoon on board.
16th – 22nd October
After an early shopping trip we motored out past Goçek Adasi and picked up a light WSW out in the gulf, making Iblis Burnu with a couple of tacks before motoring the last stretch into the anchorage at Karacaöen. A Sunsail flotilla was in the process of parking near the restaurant, so we anchored on the seaward side of the cove with a line ashore. Julie dived and removed the rope stripper, which had been getting uncomfortably noisy, and found one bearing badly worn. The anchorage gradually filled up, to the accompaniment of some rather pushy salesmanship for the restaurant ( we remembered its excellent food two years earlier, but also the fairly steep prices!). Nigel had a chat with some friendly ladies on a small local boat next door – a beautiful calm evening. It was flat calm again, and quite misty, when we left again early next morning. We sighted dolphins in the distance on the way down to Kötü Burnu, and by midday, off the Seven Capes, we picked up a gentle W breeze and got the genoa out. The wind had reached the bottom end of F4 by the time we gybed round into Kalkan Bay, meanwhile keeping amused eyes on antics of a large catamaran behind us, whose crew didn’t seem to have any idea how to set its sails. As usual it took three goes to get the anchor to set in Yesilköy (we chose the cove on the W side again), but we were settled in by 16.30. Later the wind picked up to the top end of F4, and shortly after midnight we rowed a second line ashore. It had calmed down again by the time we were ready to leave in the morning, but once across the bay we were able to sail in a W F3/4, and this held up all through the day. We set the ‘chute for a couple of hours, by which time we were off Kas, then negotiated the islands east of Kastellorizon under genoa before getting the ‘chute up again. It was quite hard work holding the following wind, but we got to within 4 miles of the entrance to Kekova Roads before we had to gybe to make good our course and settled for the genoa again. We turned the engine on for safety’s sake as we negotiated the channel into the roads, but we actually sailed on to within a few hundred metres of the entrance to Üçagiz Liman – very satisfying! By 17.30 we were anchored in our usual spot below the castle, having covered 30 miles in 7 hours and run the engine for only an hour all day.
We had a quiet day and a half at anchor, cleaning up the deck whitework and woodwork (and spotting the resident turtle from time to time) before moving down to the village to ring the Slosses and lunch at Ibrahim’s. We bought some fish from a local boat, then moved along to Gökkaya and barbecued it on a lovely clear evening – fabulous stars later. We had frustratingly light wind conditions down to Finike the following day but managed to sail some of the way – the wind picked up as usual on the east side of Bunda Burnu, and was blowing a nice F4 by the time we got into harbour in the early afternoon and moored on the quay near an Israeli boat flying the Tel Aviv Yacht Club burgee. Nigel said hello to the girl (with baby) on board, mentioning our meeting with Gideon Tur of TAYC in Levkas two years previously – did she know him? Certainly, she replied, “and this is his baby”! The boat was indeed “Ayala”, though in fact a larger successor to the one we’d seen in Levkas, and Gideon himself turned up soon afterwards to join his wife and son. Unfortunately they were preoccupied with getting themselves out of Turkey, having managed to lose their passports somewhere in Fethiye, so we didn’t see much more of them. We walked along to a rather disappointing weekly market after arranging for a taxi to Antalya to meet George Sloss the next day, most of which we spent shopping and finishing off the cleaning of the boat. In mid-afternoon we left for Antalya, calling at Setur to pick up mail and a fax from Phil on the way to the airport – one puncture on the ring road, but otherwise no problems, particularly since George’s flight was an hour later than we’d been told (James of “Glory Be of Orwell” was also at the airport to meet his wife). George eventually arrived in good order, but it took some time to sort out the puncture repair (one stop in Antalya and another on the Kemer road), and we didn’t get back to the boat until nearly midnight – very good value, nevertheless, from the Finike taxi people, who charged less than half what we’d have had to pay in Antalya.
23rd – 31st October
Nigel went into town early with George to get bread and a chicken, we refuelled, and by 10.30 we had rounded Bunda Burnu and were sailing back towards Kekova in a gentle ESE – there was some thundery cloud over the mountains, but conditions were very pleasant. The wind ran out at the end of Kekova Adasi, and we motored up past Kale (George identifying where he’d stayed the previous summer with the help of binoculars) and fetched up at anchor off Ramazan’s place in Pölemos Bükü . To our surprise Ramazan had himself rowed out to us by his wife, and the two of them came on board for the first time. We were slightly embarrassed when Ramazan picked up the “Sunday Times” Magazine featuring a report (copiously illustrated) on teenage sex, but no comment was made, and the two of them were obviously fascinated to see our living quarters (Ramazan even opened the fridge to inspect the contents!). Later we took George on our customary walk across the isthmus to Aperlai before going ashore again for an excellent fish supper – we had, after all, promised to take him to the best restaurant in Kekova Roads!
There was quite a brisk (up to 20 knots) from the E over the isthmus during the might, and the morning was overcast and showery as we made our way back west again and into Üçagiz Liman, spotting a school of dolphins on the way down, and the resident turtle again after we’d anchored. We dinghied ashore and walked up through the fields, round the castle hill and down into kale village, where we soon found the Slosses’ pension, the associated waterfront restaurant, and Natalie’s admirer Yassin. We stayed for beers and eventually lunch (on the house), as George and Yassin exchanged news – as well as a letter from Natalie and a bracelet Yassin had had made for her. The weather still looked unsettled as we headed back in the dinghy, upped anchor and headed down to Üçagiz village, where we stopped briefly for Julie to ring Phil before motoring round to Gökkaya. The light E wind was enough to be pushing swell into the outer part of the anchorage, but we tucked in to the far end, and the weather just held off for a good chicken and pirzola barbecue (with lots of wine to wash it down).
We got off at 07.15, with some mixed cloud about, little wind but excellent visibility. Two hours later everything had changed, with drizzle, a moderate sea, and a fitful NW wind up to F4. A further hour, we were about ten miles short of Taslik Burnu, the wind settled down to 12-14 knots from the NNW, and we were having a great sail. Unfortunately it was raining quite hard by now, and we could hardly see where we were going! George enjoyed keeping an eye on things from the shelter of the spray-hood for a while, but otherwise it was o job for “George” the Autohelm and a full set of oilies for Nigel on watch. Just before midday we rounded Taslik Burnu, getting northerly wind between 10 and 20 knots before running into a brief spell of flat calm. Then we got the northerly from the other side of the cape: though the rain stopped and the sky brightened up a bit we found it quite hard going against F4/5. Off Küçük Çavus Burnu the wind eased off a little and we close reached for 20 minutes or so with George taking the helm, giving him the exhilarating experience of what he later described as “beating into a F5 gale”! Cineviz Liman looked a non-starter in these conditions, though, so we turned into Çavus Liman and anchored in the southern corner soon after 14.30, not far from “Marie-Louise of Temple”. The wind came round further to NW, and we put a stern anchor out to keep us head on to the swell – all to no avail, though, as the wind steadily backed to S and the whole pull came on the lightweight Fortress, which inevitably pulled out.
We had a bumpy but not too uncomfortable night, George having failed meanwhile to catch a fish by the method he claimed to have found infallible at Kale. He and Julie retired early, skipping supper, after the exertions of the day (and perhaps of the previous evening….) Julie was still a bit under the weather when we left next morning in relatively calm conditions, so she stayed below while Nigel and George took the boat out of Çavus in what was still a substantial swell: it was still overcast, but there were bright patches and the prospect of an improvement in the weather. At Cineviz we found one yacht (“Mûggerl”) at anchor and distinctly brighter conditions: the afternoon was pleasant, and George pottered about in the dinghy and got some tips from the fisherman anchored nearby. “Aphaian Aura” came in later wearing a Red Ensign, anchored in an awkward spot (too deep and too close to the cliffs), and was obviously dragging, so Nigel rowed over to warn them and suggest they come further in to the cove. The owners turned out to be Barry, whom we’d met briefly in Limassol and Larnaca, and his Dutch girlfriend/wife – they re-anchored later after offering Nigel a beer.
Next morning was classic Cineviz – lovely hot sunshine for George to take the dinghy out again and even have a swim. A couple of gülets came in later, with much ogling of Barry’s shapely mate, who was showering topless on “Aphaian Aura”’s bathing platform. We left in the late morning, with the second alternator playing up again, and motored into a light NNE up to Phaselis for lunch and a wander round the ruins. By the time we left, at 15.45 the wind had increased to N F3/4, and we had a fairly tedious drive round Av Burnu into the east bay at Kemer, where we rolled about all night 50 metres away from “Maid of Chips”. There was no point in hanging around there, so we left early. Got no usable wind (as usual) on the way up to Antalya, and were moored up on the familiar C pontoon at Setur Marina by 10.30. There were plenty of familiar faces around, but we went into town straight away for a wander through the harbour area, lunch at our usual döner place and a shop in the market: school-children were parading though the streets rehearsing for the Republic Day parade. Later we had a farewell dinner for George at the “Ship Inn”, and the next morning we saw him off on his flight home – definitely a satisfied customer and also the easiest of guests, always interested and observant, never bored, and thoroughly self-sufficient. We spent the rest of the day cleaning up, sorting out the new TWC/alternator/battery problem, and generally getting ready for Phil’s arrival in the evening. Before we left for the airport again Nigel rang the Slosses – Clare reported that George had retired to bed early, with a few tears of regret for not having a longer time with us! Phil arrived on time, and we called for a beer at the “Ship” before turning in.
Monday was lovely – we went into town on the late morning bus, strolled round the harbour, had a beer on the terrace above, lunch at our usual place, shopping at the market and Tespo. Back at the marina Nigel settled the account, finding DM 6,000-odd of “Glory Be of Orwell”’s technical services’ bill charged to us! Later we met Helmuth and Helga at the “Ship” for a farewell drink before a good dinner in the restaurant. Another fine calm morning saw us motoring down to Phaselis, where we anchored on the far side of the bay as usual and had another nice wander around the ruins. Phil was very contrite as a result of getting one of the dinghy oars wedged in a rock and snapping the blade! After a swim and picnic lunch on deck (Melton Mowbray pies!) we drove down to Cineviz, where a British-registered Sadler 32 beat us into the anchorage by a short head. Nobody else was there, though, except for a few nomads apparently building a shelter for themselves and/or their goats just up the hill from the beach.
1st – 5th November
A sunny day again: the other yacht left early, leaving the anchorage to us and a single small fishing boat. Nigel spent some time trying (unsuccessfully) to tweak the outboard’s carburettor so that the thing didn’t stall at idling speed. Phil improvised an ingenious if clumsy-looking repair for the broken dinghy oar blade. We had delicious roast lamb for dinner before setting off at 07.00 for Kekova. It was another calm day, though with quite a bit of cloud about, and the wind didn’t get above 5 knots the whole way. By the time we’d anchored in the familiar spot behind Kale it was looking grey and showery, but we went ashore anyway after lunch, finding Kale village pretty well closed down for the winter. We stopped for a beer, hoping to dodge the showers on the way back, but in the event we were caught in a downpour as we boarded the dinghy and arrived back at the boat soaked through. Next day was dull and showery as well, so we moved down and anchored off Üçagiz village, going ashore for beers and lunch at Ibrahim’s, in the course of which Ramazan crept up behind Nigel and put his hands over his eyes – such an improbable occurrence that Nigel failed to guess who it was! We walked up to the ruins to the east of the village, returned for more beers, and just beat the rain back to the boat.
Ibrahim had quoted us some extortionate taxi fate for getting Phil back to Antalya, so we were quite keen to get him back to the more reasonable rates at Finike. The 06.30 Athens forecast had S F6/7 for Kastellorizon, it was overcast, and from where we were sitting it did indeed look like a moderate to fresh southerly. We decided to give it a go, and as we passed the end of Kekova Adasi at about 08.00 we found quite a heavy southerly swell (we could see breakers at Kum Burnu ahead of us) but very little wind. We put two reefs in the main for safety and motored cautiously on. We turned off the engine passing Kum Burnu, but soon found that with the swell and the relatively light wind we weren’t making very good forward speed – with a bit of assistance from the engine we did much better. Meanwhile Nigel had produced breakfast, which had the unfortunate consequence of making him queasy and Phil decidedly seasick (for the first time in his life). Phil retreated to the loo, Nigel stuck it out on deck, while Julie sensibly kept a firm grip on the wheel! The wind picked up steadily but the sea was disproportionately high, particularly as we approached Bunda Burnu, where large rollers often killed our wind altogether and kept us rolling very uncomfortably. We began to get worried about getting into the entrance to Finike (in a possible cross-sea, with shallows beyond), but once into Finike Bay the sea eased considerably. However the wind, as usual, was quite a bit stronger round the corner: Julie was suggesting that we keep the sails up in case we hit problems going into Finike, but a 40 knot gust changed her mind! We managed to get the main down in good order and eventually had no problems at the entrance. Inside the harbour we found “Spirit of May”, who told us later how they’d watched us rolling on the way in – we assured them that the last stretch had been relatively calm……
Phil recovered and emerged from his retreat as we anchored, Nigel went ashore for bread, and later, Julie and Phil went for a wander and came back with a carpet. The wind had veered and moderated considerably by evening, and we had an excellent moussaka dinner before heading gratefully for bed. Early next morning Nigel rowed Phil, still looking a bit shaky, over to his taxi; we picked up water, fuel and food, and had a relatively uneventful drive back to Üçagiz: there was still quite a bit of swell about, and we had heavy showers later on.
6th – 12th November
More heavy showers on the morrow, and a gusty wind. Julie baked a cake, but it wasn’t quite ready in time for Mick and Anita of “Micani”, who dinghied over for tea and a chat. The SW wind was still giving us up to 35 knots the day after, but the weather was a bit brighter until the evening brought showers again. The Aerogen had packed up, so we took it off and got it working again, only to burn out the fuse-holder as the result of a dodgy connection. Nigel started on cleaning out the loo pipes, a straightforward operation until the last two – getting the end of the final one on to the seacock was a horrendous job, taking until late afternoon. Our third day at anchor saw less wind, it was bright and sunny in the middle of the day, but it was beginning to get very cold (down to 62°F by early evening) – showers in the early evening brought a magnificent rainbow. We plugged the final (?) leaks in the plumbing, Julie got on with some sewing, and Nigel wrote a piece for the CA. “Micani” left in the morning, while “Rûpel” turned up and anchored nearby later on. Next morning we did what should have been a routine filter change, but we spotted dirt in the bottom of the CAV296 primary filter, so we changed both filters and cleaned out the small one on top of the lift pump. The engine sounded a little happier as a result and we decided to head off, in spite of a F4/5 blowing from the W through the channel inside Kekova Adasi – we could tell winter was on the way from the snow on the mountains to the north. Emerging from Kekova on the genoa just before midday we were running the engine for battery charging when we heard an unfamiliar noise – Nigel investigated and found that the second alternator bracket had fractured. We shut down the engine and sailed the rest of the way to within a mile or so of Finike: we were getting up to 30 knots from WSW as we gybed the genoa S of Bunda Burnu, and there was quite a bit of SW swell, but it was relatively tame compared to our passage of five days before! We anchored off in Finike harbour, soon to be joined by the diminutive “Rûpel”, who’d found themselves uncomfortably crowded on the quay by a recently arrived Coastguard boat. Later we went ashore for shopping, calling at “Micani” on the quay for coffee and drinks on the way back.
We missed an early breeze which gave “Rûpel” a decent sail as far as Taslik Burnu. Leaving Finike at 08.00 we had to motor to Taslik in cold calm conditions, and once round the cape we hit a fresh headwind, reaching 25 knots by the time we came abreast of Küçük Çavus Burnu. “Spirit of May” came past heading south, followed by “Elizabethan” (curiously, neither was sailing): we raised “Spirit of May” on VHF and found that they’d had to abandon Cineviz Liman with 4 metre waves rolling in and a heap of wind (a fishing boat had dragged its anchor and ended up on the beach). There was no question of going to Cineviz, and even getting into Çavus Liman was heavy going, with quite a bit of water over the deck until we got into the lee of the north shore of the bay. We joined “Rûpel” and a British single-hander in the inner cove on the N side of Çavus, where conditions were quite pleasant in the evening sunshine. We watched as a couple of people clambered down from the ridge behind the anchorage to go out and fix the engine of a small boat attached to the anchored Brit. Nigel paddles over later to invite the Brit over for a drink (politely declined) and to find out what was going on: it transpired that the Brit had picked up the boat (out of Tekirova) drifting engineless off Çavus Burnu two days earlier. Heinz and Petra of “Rûpel” did come over for a drink, and we had a lively and interesting chat with two thoroughly charming people.
Getting up for the weather forecast the following morning we registered 7°C in the cabin at 06.30, and we reckoned it was time to head for the comforts of Setur! We did have a look into Cineviz on the way up, but there was too much swell rolling in there for comfort (the fishing boat was still on the beach) and we headed on to Antalya. Visibility was fantastic, with a clear view of the mountains to the NE of Antalya, 50-odd miles away. It was flat calm as we neared Antalya, but we got a call for help from a small fishing boat with a malfunctioning engine, took him in tow and dropped him off in the fishing harbour inside the port. This caused some puzzled speculation among the Setur-resident Yachties, most of whom were at a BBQ hosted by the Coastguard opposite the entrance and watched us coming in. Once we’d attached ourselves to the familiar C pontoon we went over to the “Ship Inn” for beers with Helmuth and Helga, Heinz and Petra, and various other friends, followed by a good dinner on board, featuring the remains of an excellent piece of beef from Finike market. And then it was Sunday – we slept late and spent the day looking up more acquaintances, catching up on news and getting back into the routine of marina life.
13th – 30th November
We were happily spared any commitment to the Porthole Club. Alex of “Kaal I” having taken it upon himself to run it for the winter. We did take on a bar night, though, Julie soon became a regular bridge player, Nigel joined aerobics sessions and we both played tennis. Much was familiar, but there was a different feel to the place from the previous winter, as described in Nigel’s newsletter to a few old Setur friends.
“Setur Marina without the Class ’93-’95 (or the best and brightest of it, anyway) was never going to be quite the same, but we had counted on getting some reasonably worthy replacements. As it is a lot of the new arrivals are distinctly elderly and pretty grey, and though most are amiable enough there isn’t an awful lot of spark about. We have just two Canadians this year apart from Talon (Lesley is wintering in Canada) and Jerry, Anna and Lo seem to be about the only Dutch left. Relatively few Germans are staying for the winter (they include Georg and Gisela of “Excellente”, Ludwig, and Dietmar of “Magic Carpet Ride” – two of the newcomers own a restaurant and took over “The Ship” for an evening to cook a superb dinner for over 80 people! We’ve since had a Thanksgiving lunch organised by the Americans (quite a few this year), and an excellent French dinner – the half dozen French couples we have this year are good news, but as usual few of them can speak foreign……. We had some nice Aussies for a while, but they’ve pushed off home – there are various Scandiwegians (we’re sandwiched between two Danes), but they seem a pretty quiet lot who keep themselves to themselves. As for the Brits, those who were here last year may remember the infamous Harry (who bought “You and Me” off Sue) – he’ actually turned out to be quite human! Grenville (he’s an ex-jockey) and Gloria are OK, Brian and Sheenagh are still here of course (we’re back on speaking terms), and Kathleen and Alex, and Archie and Doreen of “Okura”, and Wally and Enid….. of the others, frankly, the less said the better. There’s a sprinkling of quite agreeable Latin Americans: and we do have a couple of sailing celebrities in the shape of Hal and Margaret Roth – Hal apparently thought they were a bit behind schedule on their way here, so they did Gibraltar to Kusadasi in 16 days, non-stop!”
The Porthole’s got off to a reasonable start: it looks as if membership will be well down on last year, but there’s usually a quorum at the bar. There has been some (justifiable) muttering about the price both of membership and of drinks, both having been fixed at a cautiously high level by a Scots-dominated committee! The smoking issue has not reared its ugly head (yet). Dietmar’s delightful artist girl-friend Sigrid (now sadly returned to Germany) has decorated the wall behind the bar with caricatures of some of the members, but otherwise nothing much has changed. Somehow the atmosphere in the marina has, though: it’s become a more impersonal place than in previous years. There are more strange faces about, more new staff, more management, less day-to-day contact with the customers. Hasan is more than ever tied to his desk, though he still manages a Turkish class (Zafer takes a second one, and Julie and I do an English one for the French!) Sami has left to build a gület, though we still see him about quite often, and his place has been taken by Cağlar Altintaş from Ataköy Marina (probably an improvement). Most of the other familiar figures are still here these include P.D., of course………
What with the various dinner/lunch events at the “Ship”, functions at the Club and a couple of private dinners, November was remarkably sociable. Sigrid got herself an exhibition at the State Art gallery in town, a good crowd from the marina turned up for the opening, and we bought one of her pictures to hang in the saloon. We also made a serious start on planning our trip down the Red Sea to Africa, benefiting from the experiences of several people who’d come up that way during the season (notably Australians on “Evergreen” and Americans on “Outa Here”, from whom we bought 75 charts and several courtesy ensigns).
The first of the month saw Nigel, in Talon’s absence, reluctantly leading the aerobics part of the exercise class. The other part was conducted much more professionally by Venezuelan/German Gisela, who spent the rest of the morning taking on Julie at squash on the court at the Sheraton – this was to become a regular fixture. Thereafter we had various jobs to do on the boat (including the painstaking draining of the fuel tank and filtering out of gunge from the bottom), sorting out of new charts, seeking expert advice from neighbours on SSB radio, and finalising an order for a new design of “Porthole” T-shirts and caps. Christmas letters and cards started to take up quite a bit of time, and there were some rumblings about prices and membership fees at the club – our friendship with Dietmar got us associated with the “troublemakers”, and matters came to a head with a row between Julie and Alex at a late stage of a “fancy hat” party. The issues at stake didn’t engage most of a largely apathetic membership, some concessions were made, and relationships on C pontoon gradually returned to something approaching normal! The customary cough and ‘flu bugs swept the marina rather more severely than a year earlier, and we succumbed successively in the middle of the month. Nigel produced a bumper four-page issue of the “Porthole Siren”, we saw a mediocre film or two, and the weather got increasingly unsettled. Harry and Bev of “You and Me” ran a lively quiz night, which we managed to win quite comfortably. And as the marina community planned its Christmas and New Year festivities we prepared to fly back to UK on 24th.
We arranged to be met at Stansted with a hire car, which we used to good effect during the next few days. Christmas Day in Dulwich (with Robin, Alison and James as well) was followed by Boxing Day in Wellingborough; a return to Dulwich on 28th for a family gathering at Jo’s, then a short tour south and west of London, in cold and icy conditions, to spend a night with David and Rachael Woods, to call in on Daveys and Empringhams, and to finish up at the Slosses’ in Kingston for an excellent dinner. Jo had a bunch of neighbours in for drinks on New Year’s Eve, but otherwise we did nothing special (except split a bottle of champagne) to mark the arrival of 1996……..
……….in (1995) which we logged a mere 2522 miles, ran the engine for 450-odd hours (ugh!) and decided that we’d better expand our horizons a bit. We made a lot of new friends and found ourselves becoming quite well known in “Yachting World” and one longer article (on our Black Sea experiences) in the CA’s “Cruising”. We were certainly beginning to feel a little less like newcomers to the cruising life as we looked forward to the greater adventures planned for 1996.