On passage from Kuşadasi to Didim by David Gerrard

Captains Log
Star date 4th May 2011}
37.28N 27.05E

It’s an overcast day, visibility is only a few miles and it promises rain. The only wind we have is light and is as normal on the nose again.

The last log ended when we were still in Didim so I suppose I better start from there. We spent three days tied to the quay waiting for a suitable window to get further North and despite one false start that looked promising, till we rounded Tecagag Burnu and were we met another strong Northerly and a 2.5m sea, there isn’t a lot else to talk about.

A favourable or a least not a horrific forecast saw us heading for the Greek island of Samos. Kim has just called me to report Dolphins off the starboard bow, this is only the second sign we have had this year of any sea life, the first being a solitary pilot whale off Kalcan.

We had planned to spend a night in Samos anyway, as David and Michele were there on their boat; Parro veterans of two rallies. We had been chasing them from Finike but just missed them till here. They are on their way to Athens where Paroo will be shipped back to Australia. We planned to stay on the town quay in Pythagorean while they were in the marina just twenty minutes’ walk away. We have been here many times before and it is a good stopping off point on any journey north. This time of the year the harbour is very quiet despite the close proximity to the many bars and restaurants. Again the weather played its part with heavy rain and thunderstorms. At least it meant we were spared the job of washing the boat down, that was until we saw the sand that came with it. Having said our goodbyes we set off up the Samos straights for Kuşadasi. We had now resigned ourselves to not being able to make Ayvalik. A pity because it is a wonderful town and Umut is now the marina manager there and a good friend.

I may have mentioned that we bought a new computer in Didim, it has of course a Turkish keyboard and although I reset it to English I can still not find some of the function keys, the main one was of course the @ sign. The first morning saw me at the local Techno shop asking them where it was and after an hour at last they found it; I need now to find the others.

Kuşadasi is a one of the Setur group of marinas and has always been a great supporter of the EMYR. Chaglar Altuntas is the marina director and has the deserved reputation of being one of the friendliest people any yachtsmen would want to meet. He has increased the occupancy in the marina since his arrival two years ago and is 120% full!!! The latest addition is a new pontoon just finished, or nearly finished, and when we arrived we were given the honour of christening it. The promise of a plaque to mark the event never appeared though. Chaglar and his front office manager Zanap could not do enough to make our visit comfortable.

The first few boats to join the rally where at Cesme marina and we hired a car to go and visit them, pick up some rally material and of course join the cocktail party. (Have you ever known the Captain of Mashona to miss one?)

We called in to the new marina at Taos on the way to see Burak, who has recently been appointed manager there, and also to have a look around. The marina is in Sagacik close to the ancient city of Taos were it gets its name. We were very impressed with the quality, especially the Haman and the fitness centre. The marina already has a good occupancy and is increasing very quickly; close to the city of Izmir and not that far from Istanbul it has attracted a lot of Turkish yachts and motor cruisers but also a good proportion of foreign yachts. We left there after an excellent lunch and headed for Cesme. A proportion of the route used the motorway; which is of course a toll road. Here our problems started. Drawing up at the entrance booth it was unmanned. I tried to push a button to obtain a ticket, as it said, similar to the system in Europe. No ticket, the cars behind me were blowing their horns so off I set. Coming to the end of the motorway, two exits had barriers and one didn’t and so having no ticket to put in the machine I headed for the one without, thinking that it was free I went through followed by a loud ringing. It seems that you need a prepaid card to use them or an automatic recording device on the car so somewhere a charge will find me/or not. These things should have been explained by the hire company so as far as I am concerned it is their fault and they can go and whistle.

Last year when we were in Cesme the marina hadn’t been finished, what a surprise, lots of boats, all the cafe’s and shops opened and all very very busy. It was the weekend of course but speaking to Kemal the manager later it seems it’s like that all the time.

We met the crews of the boats that had started in Istanbul and Ayvalik and joined them for the cocktail party. Driving back afterwards, now knowing the system, I tried to find the place to buy a card. What a surprise it was shut so we repeated the outward misdeed again.

The next day in Kuşadasi we were joined by those boats and the ones that were joining there. We are now 10 boats, one having failed to turn up, but I am sure they will find us somewhere.

Kuşadasi is the place to visit the ancient city of Ephesus and the next day saw the majority of the rally crews off to look at the old stones. We having seen them more than once spent the day in the marina helping Chaglar to organise the party for the evening. Kuşadasi parties are always good and Chaglar, a master of surprises, organised another very successful evening. He arranged flowers for all the ladies and a basket containing olives, figs, olive oil and organic wine for each boat.

The traditional speeches were made including one from the Governor and of course Chaglar who wished us fair winds and a good rally. Today he is sailing with the rally fleet as a guest on Solvag V; I just hope they have enough biscuits on board.

Well that’s about all we have, just under 3 nm to go. Kim has just finished cleaning the galley after I made brunch. My visits to the galley leaves it like the aftermath of a nuclear explosion, so they complain. As I tell them, great chefs don’t do washing up.

The beast,Tilly, has had a good passage; most of it on Kath’s lap.

So until next time, keep smiling and for all the rally participants who read this remember the rally motto: sleep is not compulsory.

Dave, Kath, Kim and of course Tilly


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