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On passage from Kas to Simi via Rhodes by David Gerrard

Captains Log Star Date 16 April 2011
36.16N 29.08E

First an apology to all those awaiting our first log. I am sorry that we are a little late but with the Captain having both index fingers with plasters on (one as a result of a obstinate jubilee clip and the other having a foreign object lodged under the nail) and the cat having done a dance on our keyboard (managing to dislodge a number of keys) we have been somewhat of a disadvantage.

Now with the fingers on the mend, the cat banned from within 2 meters of the computer we will try and catch up.

Doesn’t the time come around all too soon? It didn’t seem any time that we were hauling Mashona for the winter and settling into ashore life with all the luxuries of TV, a choice of supermarkets and golf three times a week. Then suddenly the month of April was only a few weeks away and the best laid plans of mice and men had gone somewhere by the wayside.

Antifouling, varnishing, gel coat repairs, changing seacocks, checking rigging and the winter’s major job of changing the water tanks and a hundred and one other things now became a priority. Though you know what they say; a boat that has all the jobs completed will never go to sea.

We were late leaving Kibris this year mainly looking for a suitable weather window but our goodbye BBQ somewhat laid me low for another couple of days, obviously something I ate.

We decided this year that we had enough of starting the season with a night passage so we slipped at 6.30am on a calm and sunny day with a light South Westerly promising; it looked good. We were not disappointed; a wonderful sail with calm seas saw us anchoring by 19.30 in the little harbour of Gazi Pasha; four hours passage the next morning and we were in Alanya.

Hasan Kacmaz and the marina staff were on the quayside to welcome us. The port formalities have been streamlined somewhat now and our transit log, visas and custom clearance are ably assisted by the marina staff, despite the customs insisting on coming to make sure the boat is really there, and were quickly and easily completed.

It was good to be back in Alanya, we have known this marina since it was little else than a concrete strip and rocks, now it is a fully serviced, efficient and modern marina, complete with swimming pool restaurants, gym and tennis courts. Most of this has been down to the hard work and dedication of Hasan, Octay ,Savas, Sibel and the marina staff, and of course the support from the investors. How I wish for a new marina in Kyrenia similar to this.

For those readers who  are unaware, Kath and I, along with Hasan, make up the sailing part of the East Mediterranean Yacht Rally committee.

We were soon chained to the computer in Hasan’s office amending the rally manual, deciding the programme,  talking to our representatives in the different ports and marinas, finding the latest prices for tours, diesel and port formalities charges. Two days later we were allowed to emerge and have a chance to see our friends who had wintered here.

Seriously though, there is a lot of work behind the scenes that the rally participants aren’t aware of that is both time-consuming and at times somewhat frustrating.

This year it is particularly time consuming because we have to take into account the uncertainty in the middle east and in particular Syria. What we decided to do is make an ‘if-what’ scenario but we have decided that it is too early to make a final decision on whether to visit there till much nearer the time as things can change very quickly. But we have a cunning plan as they say.

The weather was not very kind to us in Alanya and only too quickly the days were passing by and we had around 500nm to cover to meet the rally in Ayvlick. A good day was promised, everything ready, just thought we would top the water up when  a large bang under the galley sole and a mini tsunami erupted around Kath’s feet; the water tank I had changed had split.

The next morning saw me in the sanyai (industrial area) in Alanya having it welded up again; Turkey is a wonderful place to get things done quickly – mind you a little Turkish helps and a big smile.

This of course put us back another day. The next morning the weather said would be fine with 10knts from the South West; perfect ha, ha, ha! I obviously hadn’t poured enough wine on the sea for Poseidon and he came back to bite us big style.

To say the sea was uncomfortable would be an understatement; it hit us all the way on the side. The wind wasn’t that strong, about 15 to 20, and of course engine was off and sailing was good even though a little wet at times and of course our cat was not happy. Tilly is not a sailor, certainly on days like this, she tolerates it is the best that can be said. On warm calm days she loves to tuck in under the spray hood and snooze the day through, but on days like this she mews and sulks.

We had a fast trip though and were berthing in Finke a little before 1800, an average of 6.5knts, excellent for Mashona: being more of a gentlemen’s cruising yacht than a plastic fantastic race boat.

I love Finike, it’s a real Turkish working town, an agricultural centre for the surrounding area. There is always something going on, hustle and bustle and probably one of the largest markets on the Turkish coast.  Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to stop and the next morning saw us slip heading for Kas and to meet our old friend Tuncay who is the marina manager of the new Kas marina. Although we had seen photographs and a model of the proposed layout, and had actually seen it being constructed last year, this was the first time we had approached it by sea.  I have known this area well for the last 8 years and up to recently had afforded free mooring or anchoring in a picturesque setting; then of course it was just a concrete quay. What a change, the marina spans a frontage of one and half kilometres and will have an hotel, bars, shops, lift out facilities, and even golf trolleys to transport the clients around. Tuncay tells me he is working long days and most of the nights to have it ready when the rally visits and plans to have the official opening at the same time. They kindly opened the cordon which protects the marina at the moment so maybe Mashona was the first yacht officially in Kas!!! We wish him and his staff all the best and we were certainly impressed both by the scale of works and the quality.

A short passage that day meant that we had some free time to wander around the town. Unknown to us this was tourism week, to mark the start of the season.  In the main square there was a band, folk dancing and of course the local dignitaries making speeches. Just as we were approaching they played the Turkish national anthem. Everybody stopped, faced the flag and as I glanced around I noticed everybody including the children stood straight with arms firmly by their side. Turkey has lots of national pride, something I fear has been lost in the UK.

We watched the dancers for a time while Kim sought refuge in a local bar; he was chatting with the owner when a policeman joined him asking questions about where he came from etc. Kim told him we were on our way to Ayvalick to join the EMYR. Ah, said the policeman, not quite understanding, “the rally doesn’t come for another 4 weeks. What are you doing here now?” Kim thinking he might be mistaken for an illegal tried to again explain. ‘Wait,’ said the policeman, talking into his phone to the Chief of Police, ‘Ok, Ok’, and smiles all round. I have now barred Kim from going out unsupervised.

We got back to the boat just in time to meet Tuncay weighted down with Pide (Turkish pizza’s) of various flavours. We sat in the cockpit eating and chatting till it was time to hit the bunk.

It blew somewhat in the night and I mean blew so much as our planned start at 3am was postponed and so another hour or two in bed until first light. Checking again with the weather it gave Beaufort 2 to 4 from the Northeast; perfect. Up to now and we are 35 miles from Rhodes, we have little wind but from SW, surprise, surprise; on the nose!

Where we will end up tonight we are not sure. We have to be in Ayvalick by the 27th which gives us 11 days but that doesn’t take into account any nasties that come our way. We know that today and tomorrow are ok but then strong from North and North West for a few days. Gone are the days when it was get the wet gear on and we will just go for it. I am a little selective these days about which weather I chose to go out in and I also have to take into account the availability of suitable shopping opportunities for the owner, as Kath likes to be known as. We also have Greek Easter coming up and it would be nice to be on a Greek island at that time.

On the other side there is still rally work to do and I need to have access to the internet so we will have to be in Turkey some of the time. I am now the proud owner of a Turkcell 3G dongle, guaranteed internet access fast and when you want it. Ok, but not everywhere has 3G so I am back to GPRS for some of the time, but these are a great asset to cruisers along the Turkish coast.

OK, I will finish now as my fingers are sore and something in the galley smells good.


We decided, as we passed Rhodes that we might as well spend the night there as flog on down to Simi which we wouldn’t reach till around midnight. It has been some time since I was last in Mandarki and I wondered if we might get a place as it tends to be overburdened with charter yachts that jealously guard their places to the point that they stretch lines across unattended berths. It was Ok though, there were sufficient places and we were soon tied up and an anchor down and drink in hand.

They seemed to have cleaned the place up with lazy lines now for most spots, although I didn’t notice them and dropped the anchor. There is electric and water available at most spots too. I wandered off to book in with the port police; good idea to get at least one stamp in your Greek cruising log every year, ours is now 9 years old having got it in Kefalonia on our entry to Greece.

The police were not really interested.  I said we were stopping only the night, they smiled and said book in at your next port. Well I suppose at 7pm on a Saturday night I couldn’t be bothered either so with a smile, and andaxi, I left them.  Even the guy who takes your berthing charge couldn’t be bothered and said ‘pay next time.’

We spent some time in the local shop 5ltr boxes of wine for 9 Euros; can’t be bad so with croissants for breakfast, fresh strawberries and a good supply of wine, we left.

I mentioned the ancho; Mandarki harbour is littered with chain lines and debris of all sorts and so I was dreading lifting the anchor this morning. Sure enough we lifted half of the harbour with us.  I have a cunning little device that you attach to the snagged line whilst you free your anchor then pull a trip and you are Ok. Worth its weight in gold it was this morning.

We are now motoring down towards Simi with only a small amount of wind and guess where it is; You are correct ‘on the nose again!’

Dave, Kath, Kim and of course Tilly the cat

S/Y Mashona

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