After weeks of having to stay in the small town of Kas, we were suddenly allowed to go sailing for a few days. We had to stay in the province of Antalya but that gave us a few beautiful anchorages to go and visit and shake out the cobwebs that had been gathering on the boat. We left with another boat Acheron skippered by Jim and headed down Kekova. Kekova is actually an island but has lots of anchorages around it – all of them spotlessly clean and of course completely empty.
We went to the tiny town of Kalekoy where we had visited on the motorbike a few weeks earlier. Of course everything was shut but we wandered round the small harbour and enjoyed stretching our legs. We were on lockdown every weekend where we had to stay on our boat, so we took advantage of the weekday freedom.
Once the weekend was over we went round to a sunken town about 6 miles away. This underwater town was only a mile or so walk from another idyllic anchorage but the coastguard kept following us which was a bit worrying, as they were fining people €500 for breaking any rules like swimming, being off your boat during lockdown, not adhering to social distancing…. etc. Ian was swimming over this sunken town trying to find some landmarks that he could decipher when we saw the Coastguard racing towards the bay. We are starting to feel like schoolkids playing truant and it’s literally become a game of cat and mouse… Ian jumped out of the water and we sat innocently on the beach while they spied on us with binoculars hoping to catch us out. They didn’t this time.
We had a lovely day finding lots of tombs, run down houses and getting some well earned exercise. That night the small restaurant in the bay opened up for us and we had our first meal out for 2 months, barracuda, chips and salad washed down with a very nice bottle of white wine. Luxury.
The next day we went and visited a castle right on top of a cliff. We had to scramble up the side of the hill as there was no path but the view was spectacular and worth the effort. Dinner aboard Indian Summer that night and in the morning we left Jim and sailed round to an isolated bay on the south side of Kekova. Again we were shadowed by the coastguard but they didn’t stop us this time. We spent a quiet evening in this stunning bay enjoying being out on anchor again. This is what cruising is all about…
I celebrated my birthday in style – twice actually. The first time on Indian Summer when I had a small dinner party the night before with Mike and Proud and Valery, a Ukrainian friend who gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers which gave off a gorgeous scent for nearly 6 days… and then the next day, a long⁶ lazy, boozy day on Proud Cat in the marina with Mike and Proud, Bernie and Volcan. It was a fun day with plenty of food, alcohol and laughter. Proud Cat took off the next day for Marmaris to get some parts, we will catch up with them in a couple of weeks
As we had to vacate our place in the harbour, the four of us all decided to go over to the bay of Liminasi and stay on the dock there which is owned and managed by a tourist resort. It was a good option for us as we were able to get off the boat, swim without the coastguard seeing us and hike up the hill to get some exercise. There was a small put put that ran between Liminasi and Kas harbour for our grocery shopping and the local lads were happy to have some company. We spent our days having drinks off the boat on the quayside every evening, swimming, socialising and counting the days until we could leave.
We always had a beady eye out for the orange coastguard boat which would race over trying to catch us swimming a couple of times a day. Sometimes they would just sit in the bay watching us! They did catch 4 of our friends in a dinghy together and fined them €500 (A$850) each for breaking the social distancing rule!
We spent a lovely couple of weeks here, relaxing and preparing for sailing off to explore more of Turkey. We had lunch with friends Azar and Sami out on the Peninsula. They too have been stranded here, after a holiday from Canada. They are renting an apartment on the Peninsula, a lovely spot overlooking Kas and the island’s.
With one last lockdown for 4 days due to the end of Ramadan, we thought we would enjoy our last few days, eat well, socialise a bit, do a few boat chores and relax. The first evening we had our sundowners, it was a perfectly calm evening with a gentle warm summer breeze. The boys got hamburgers and Jennifer and I went into our boats to organise some dinner when we felt the boats start to move. Jan then took one last swig from his beer but a wasp had got into his can, which then stung him in the mouth. Darryl gave him some ice but it was starting to swell. Our first bad omen for the evening….. About 9pm the wind started picking up but we weren’t too worried as both Windy and Predictwind had not really forecast anything serious. Then it seems all hell broke loose…. we were number 3 in a row of 4 boats – which were all being pushed into each other. We felt Indian Summer being pushed into the dock, so first thing we did was pull up on the anchor which was about 40m out in the bay supposedly holding us off. It just kept coming in, not a good sign at all as it meant that the anchor wasn’t holding. We were just being smashed against the dock. Jan on Makamae to our starboard side was trying to keep the fenders between our boats but with the 1-2 metre rise, our boats obviously never rose together at the same time which meant he couldn’t keep our boats from hitting each other. Meanwhile the sugar scoops (ends of our boat) were slowly being pushed under the jetty. By now we were recording winds of 54knts and there was a very real danger of serious damage. We had the engines on at 2,500 revs and were only just staying off the dock. The local boys were brilliant, jumping on board to help, pushing us off manually and holding up our outboard engine which was literally bouncing on the dock. Jan was still trying to fend off and we watched in horror as out fenders repeatedly got completely flattened – how they never popped I’ll never know. Ian was unable to get off because the boat was jumping around so much and the boys put more lines in for us. First the starboard cleat broke and then the port cleat just flew off onto the jetty. The line disappeared under the boat and got wrapped around the prop which disabled the engine and the anchor was still dragging!!! When moments like this happens, everything somehow seems to go into slow motion- we couldn’t understand why the anchor was dragging after 2 weeks but it was.
The tourists had started gathering to watch – they were laughing which I thought was pretty insensitive but to them it was just a bit of entertainment. They pretty soon got bored and wandered away but the local guys stayed the whole time and we will be forever in their debt.
Ian put the starboard engine into reverse and miraculously the line freed itself from the prop. Engine back on and we were able to get off the dock again. Back up to the anchor to try and get it in and it suddenly grabbed – thank goodness. 4 lines and 2 cleats snapped due to the pressure but we had got it under control. Not so for poor Darryl on Medea who was number one in the line of boats. He was copping the full brunt of the side-on wind and the force pushed his boat so violently into the dock that it broke the brackets holding the tyres in place, put there to prevent damage to boats. This meant there was no buffer for him and he had to jump off, grab a big fender and try and keep it between his boat and the dock. By now it was midnight and we were all exhausted but Darryl didn’t give up. He stayed there fending off wondering why his boat was still smashing into the dock when his engine was running at 2,700 revs in forward. Corrie and Jennifer on Wilson Street were a bit luckier but still were hitting the dock. Their fenders protected their transom but they still lost a light and a flagpole and had a bit of damage. It was a really unpleasant experience but eventually the wind dropped to about 14knts and we all decided at about 2am we could get some kip. We all slept fully clothed ready to jump again, which we had to due to another line snapping around 4am.
Daybreak brought the reality of the damage. Darryl came off the worst with this transom seriously damaged but fixable. On diving his boat, we found out the reason the high revs were not helping keep the boat away from the dock. One of his snapped lines had shredded around his prop and his engine is now unusable. It’s an insurance job, probably to be fixed on the hard including a tow back to the marina. We felt so sorry for him, by sheer bad luck he was the first in line and copped the heaviest wind.
Sitting on the dock that morning, surveying our damage and debriefing I discovered that Ian thought there was a chance we could lose our boat. The wrapped prop had dislodged something and we were getting water in our engine bay. Had we not been able to dislodge the line we could not have started the engine and pulled forward. The sugar scoops would have disappeared under the jetty, engines would be lost etc. We felt lady luck was shining on us but to what extent we had no idea at that time… Jennifer recorded 61.5 knots and by sheer luck, the cleats on the jetty held. If they had gone we would have all just piled up top of each other. Corrie also felt there was a chance we could lose the boats – I’m glad I didn’t know that because I innocently thought Ian can get us out of this – he always does!
So why did our anchor not hold? Jan went swimming to find out and came back to tell us that we were the luckiest people ever, because the anchor had just snagged the chain which was why it had stopped. We only had about 15 metres out – the grasses were wrapped up in the anchor. Corrie and Jennifer and also Darryl were on a chain attached to a concrete boulder out in the bay so they thought they would be safe, a set up similar to a mooring, but the concrete boulder had moved about 5m which is why they didn’t hold. Jan was on anchor only and was the only boat that didn’t get smashed into the dock. He didn’t escape being scared though – his wasp sting started swelling in his throat during all this drama and he though he was going to die!
Now where are the coastguard !
We also found out the next morning that the Peninsula had caught fire. Luckily no houses were lost but the flames spread up the hill engulfing the whole upper part of the Peninsula. When we saw the footage we could not believe how our little town could have so much happen in one night.
We are going to put on a party for the boys – they were up all night and worked all day today – our heroes. Our damage is minimal, just cosmetic and a few replacements so we will delay our departure for a while.
The following night we all had our traditional sundowner on the dock, tired but happy we all still had our boats….