Jounieh, Lebanon ATCL Marina by David Gerrard

Captain’s Log
Star Date 28th May 2011
33.59N 35.37E

Jounieh, Lebanon ATCL Marina

It is time I updated you all on our adventures since Gocek. We enjoyed our time with Akbulut and his staff but morning came around all too soon. Our next port of call was the new marina in Kas. We were to be the first boats to officially go there and although the official opening had been delayed they promised us an excellent reception.

Again we had to be the first boat in to organize the entry so hence our early departure. There was little wind and we motored virtually all the way, again the weather gods were not kind, at least it was flat, warm and pleasant.

Tuncay, Umut and the staff were on the quay to welcome us, what a change a few weeks had made to the appearance of the marina. Last time we were here they were still working, we were a little apprehensive if it would really be finished. They must have worked night and day because now it really looked wonderful.

We have developed a system on docking boats over the past few years; they are all given a number and a time slot to arrive and as long as no one tries to push in it works very well. It took us a relatively small space of time to berth all the boats  and how it transformed the appearance of the marina, no longer was it a soulless concrete complex but instead a vibrant working marina. What is also good is that the anchorage at the head of the gulf has been retained and is free for all vessels.

The next day, the majority of the group took a tour to Patara and they had a really good time as usual. Kath and I took a stroll into the nearby town, again a shopping opportunity cannot be overlooked.

Tuncay’s party was a great success: BBQ, dancing and lots of beer wine and raki made the night really swing. Not a big distance to Finike so we could have a relatively late start at 5 o’clock!!  We managed to get a sail even until the wind dropped again and the iron sail was engaged. I love Finike and never tire of walking around the town, especially the excellent vegetable market. Finike marina also has an excellent laundry, how much dirty washing can you generate in two weeks? I can tell you, three big bags.

The weather decided that it had been settled long enough and soon a deluge descended on us Serhat but the marina manager had the forethought to move our annual party into a nearby hotel which was a great idea, especially as the heavens opened and the thunder crashed. Although the weather looked settled for the next day, I was aware that a remainder sea was a possibility, I remember only too well a trip across the bay and the passage through the gap between the mainland and the island. Last year we had a three meter sea at this point and even higher as we approached, it was the only time I have ever heard Kath scream as she was confronted with one wave half-mast height.

This year it was benign and we were soon heading along the coast bound for Kemer. The gap we had just gone through we know as ‘Walt’s Gap,’ named by us after a Brooklyn boy who now lives in Connecticut and has a particular way about him. I’ve already published the story before and Walt is back in the states now still sailing Nefatari on the East coast. I do miss our days and evenings together on the coast off Turkey. Evelyn’s immortal word ‘come aboard the gin is cold and have a cushy for your tushie’ will always be fondly remembered on Mashona.

Kemer came and went, a fantastic BBQ and of course the Kemer marina welcome, as special as ever. Again it was good to reacquaint ourselves with our old friends there and collect another batch of EMYR participants. We made use of the nearby Harbour Master’s office to correct many mistakes in boats’ transit logs and the marina staff worked tirelessly to help us achieve this, a very big thank you to all.

Alanya Bay loomed; the passage across here is to say unpredictable. The forecast can say one thing but the bay has seemingly its own mind. We had been joined in Kemer by our oldest friends Ian and Katherine from Fort William, Scotland. It is not their first time aboard as they have sailed with us on and off for the past ten years. They came well-armed with two bottles of very good malt and Orkney black and white pudding. We slipped early again and under a full moon we tackled the bay, the forecast was for no or next to no wind, oh surprise, surprise it blew, but for once in the right direction. Engine off, 7knts across the ground, full moon good company; what else do you want?

We just lay back in the cockpit enjoying the night. The ladies took their turn below whilst Ian and I chewed the fat most of the night. Kim appeared from time to time to add support but Ian and I’s frequent rendition of Scottish folk songs made him seek seclusion in the side cabin. Dawn came around quickly, the wind dropped and we motored into Alanya marina around midday.

Our circle is nearly complete as Alanya was our first landfall from Kibris. The majority of the EMYR sailors were off for a two day tour to Cappadocia. Hasan had Kath and I imprisoned yet again in the office sorting out last minute details, but in fairness it didn’t take that long. A very old friend of mine from the UK had recently come to the marina, we had seen each other for nearly fifteen years and, as is customary in these cases, we both complemented each other on how little we had changed in the years. Dave was by himself so we had plenty of time to catch up on how our lives had changed. He is now sailing around with old friends and new and having a ball of a time, his words are ‘I should have done it years ago’.

Our rally dinner was held in the marina restaurant accompanied by live music. Another night on the tiles: ‘the liver is evil and must be punished’ should be our motto.

Kibris was calling the first overnight passage for the EMYR. For us all the passages seem to have been at night because we leave so early to get there before the others. The moon was nearly full, although it didn’t rise till well after midnight. We had some wind to start with but that dropped and we motored in a flat sea. One of the anachronisms for Kibris is the scented isle and it is true you can smell the pine and herbs for miles out, the cat was very much aware and was sniffing the air from the early hours. I wonder if she can smell home?

We were split into two groups; the larger boats in the commercial harbour and the smaller in Delta marina. Kath handled the marina whilst I the other. The mooring did not go without incident, some running out of chain and others getting their anchors somewhat mixed up. As in all cases, the names are withheld to protect the innocent. That was of course till the local paper recognized one well known face, the price of fame! I believe you may read all about it in the coming months in a well-known yachting journal.

The official reception in the castle was a great success; dancing and an endless supply of happy juice started this Kibris visit off to a flying start. Tours and pirate parties was the programme, mixed with stocking up with those essential of things you will not be able to get elsewhere. The local Lemar soon sold out of bacon and sausage whilst one well-known local wine merchant gave the rally boats a good discount; thanks Mark, you are helping a good cause!!!

Because of the unrest in the Middle East, this year we have modified the itinerary somewhat including our next visit to the new marina at Karpas Gate. This marina has been under construction for 5 years now and at last it is ready. This is fantastic news for the yachting industry in Kibris. We had been staying at home whilst we were in Kyrenia, and I must admit it was a little bit of a wrench to get me away from the soft options of life on land. We did manage one BBQ, a real Sunday dinner and the Heineken cup final on the TV, but missed out on a foray to the local.

Our entry to Karpas gate was, to say the least, amazing! As we entered the marina between two fire hoses and a sounding of horns, we felt very special. Mashona was the very first boat into the marina; we were given a plaque later at the reception to mark the event. A little anecdote here: Mashona under the previous ownership from us was also the first boat into Delta marina many years ago; what a coincidence.

Four local boats from Delta marina joined the rally fleet for this leg and they joined us for the reception. Dilik Talay presented to the rally group leaders and committee, plaques on behalf of the sailing and rowing federation of North Cyprus. We hope in future years we may encourage local sailors to broaden their horizons and to join the rally for the whole journey.

We were hoping to be able to clear out of Kibris at Karpas Gate and sail direct to Lebanon but the marina still has to get its final clearance before it can be an official port of entry. This will follow shortly I was informed. We modified our plans and went instead to Famagusta. I have been in Famagusta before and although there is a small sailing harbor, the main quay is for ferries and cargo. The Harbour Master, Kptn Fatin, and his staff had worked wonders. Not only had he moved all the commercial traffic, he had swept and washed the surrounding area. We had 400 meters of quay for our use and an extra night in the old time. Maybe we will make this a permanent stop in future years ;who knows?

It was 110 nautical miles to the marina of Jounieh, which is just to the east of Beirut situated in the most affluent part of the country. This was the best sail we have had on the rally so far. A promised 2 to 3 knots actually turned out to be more 15 knots and from the south east we managed to sail nearly 17 hrs out of 20.

We arrived in Lebanon at roughly 8.30 in the morning, escorted by a large pod of Dolphins. The approach to Beirut is always quite special, the city and its environs is located on quite a narrow belt, with the mountains called the Chouf as its background. After the disastrous war of ’74, and subsequent squabbles with its neighbors, Beirut is undergoing a tremendous rejuvenation. Downtown Beirut at night is somewhere not to be missed.

Dave, Kath & Tilly

S/Y Mashona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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