Quiet an­chor­ages and an­cient ru­ins in Tur­key

Yachting Monthly - - CRUISING LOG -

Clear wa­ter, hot sun­shine and an­cient civil­i­sa­tions make a mem­o­rable week for Wil­liam Mills.

I had no idea there were so many mari­nas. I thought I could jusr ask the taxi driver to take me to ‘Göcek ma­rina’ and I would find my boat. It turns out there are many mari­nas in the Turk­ish town, so my driver and I de­cided to try one af­ter an­other. Amaz­ingly, as we pulled into the first one, my friend Chris Higham loomed out of the dark­ness, ready to wel­come me aboard his Mor­gan 44 Moon­raker.

The evening’s heat was pleas­antly op­pres­sive as I emerged from the air­con­di­tioned car, though it was still only May. I was soon aboard with a cold beer in hand, un­load­ing sup­plies, in­clud­ing boxes of teabags.

‘Noth­ing beats an English cuppa,’ smiled Chris.

Göcek is at the western end of a bay with the larger town of Fethiye about 15 miles to the east. The open sea is some ten miles dis­tant to the south with nu­mer­ous creeks, is­lands and head­lands to ex­plore. With fresh pro­vi­sions on board, we set off. The only slight is­sue was Moon­raker’s lack of a hold­ing tank. Rather than risk a €3,000 fine, we would have to use toi­lets in lo­cal restau­rants.

It was a while since I was last afloat and it took time to ad­just to the move­ment of the boat. It was just a short sail to our first an­chor­age off some small is­lands for lunch in about eight me­tres of wa­ter, though we couldn’t quite see the bot­tom. The wa­ter was pleas­antly warm for a swim, even if I did miss throw­ing my mask and snorkel into the dinghy – they sank quickly into the gloom. Chris of­fered to scuba-dive down for them, but I didn’t think it was worth the risk. I could re­place them in the next town.

In the light af­ter­noon airs we sailed across the bay to an­other an­chor­age for the night. Along the shore, trees grew right down to the wa­ter’s edge, rem­i­nis­cent of the English Lake District. Un­der the branches were boul­ders with moor­ing posts, and we se­lected a likely-look­ing bol­lard. I low­ered the an­chor as Chris drove in astern. It was then my job to pad­dle ashore in the dinghy with a stern warp and tie off.

‘Quick now!’ called Chris. ‘Mind scratch­ing the dinghy on the rocks!’

It left me a lit­tle breath­less although by the end of the week I was get­ting rather good at it. With that, we set­tled in for the evening and Chris lit the deck bar­beque – the smoke a sign of con­tent­ment rather than dis­tress. Gin and tonic in hand, ‘sun­down­ers’ is one of the best tra­di­tions, and is a good time for re­laxed con­ver­sa­tion and card games. As I lay in my bunk that night, lis­ten­ing to the yacht rock­ing gen­tly at an­chor, I couldn’t be­lieve how lucky I was to be afloat again at long last.

In May there was still snow on the moun­tains

Chris en­joy­ing a de­cent sail­ing breeze

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