Where’s our boat?


Having survived our budget flights and arrived in one piece in Southern Turkey, we soon settled into the relaxed pace of Gocek. We met up with Agatha & Julien in the afternoon & night one had us chowing down on local specialties under a balmy starry night at the seaside "Kebab Hospital". Washing down the tasty fresh food with cold Efes (the local beer) and Raki.

The girls took a few notes off the menu and it was decided that we would stock the boat with Turkish produce. It’s fairly simple, firstly Yoghurt and plenty of it (will a 3 kg tub do us?), then Tomatoes, possibly the best tomatoes in the world, closely followed by cucumbers, olives, all manners of feta cheese, bread, ahmm Turkish of course, fresh figs, egg plant, olive oil and a few other delights. We fell asleep in the pension, listening to the sweet hum of our air conditioners that were shielding us from the sweaty 40 degrees outside and dreaming of sailing on the high seas… or in Luciana’s case of shopping tomorrow…yeeebah!!!

oh yeah… the boat, we spent a good couple of hours trying to find the company that we had paid our deposit to and no one seemed to have heard of it… we weren’t exactly panicked, but the occasional concern crossed my mind in between sips of cold Efes. What ensued was an indicative sign of how well we would all work together. Almost in unison 2 iphones, one iPod touch, a black berry and a palm sized netbook appeared on the table with a unified "why don’t we email them?… my {inert techno gadget} has reception!"

So it turned out we were looking in the wrong marina, and all was OK in fact it was better than OK, the boat was ready a day early and the company was happy to extend our rental by 3 days as the boat wasn’t booked for the following week!

And so we had the supplies, the boat was ready and  Agatha started teaching Luciana the finer points of a Gorazdowski inspired packing technique evolved over hundreds of family camping trips that should have been done in a 12 person people mover but were masterfully executed by our dad in a compact Mazda Hatch back. Luciana repaid the favour  graciously by ensuring Agatha would never be too far away from a freshly made Watermelon and mint Vodka Caipirinha.

Spirit IV, our Bavaria 36 was ready to set sail, Julien was in charge of fishing and water sports, whilst yours truly played the role of Captain and did my best to avoid any responsibility, pretending that I had to plan a voyage or answer important emails.

By Day 3 we were a well oiled crew, sailing offshore for 40 Nautical Miles in search of Turtles, Ancient ruins and more cold Efes. The sailing was a dream. A steady 12 knots on a shy reach powering us along at 5-6 knots. We trawled a lure, cooked up a vegie pasta for lunch and made it into port in time to catch a great sunset on deck.


Ekinicik was probably our favourite place to anchor, the setting was a mix of something you would expect in Switzerland, steep, pine covered hills and thousand year old coble stone buildings mixed with a Turkish style wooden marina with a couple of old wooden boats, a handful of cruisers like ourselves and a super yacht or two thrown in for good measure.


We were getting pretty good at anchoring by this stage and rolled into our anchorage confidently, Agatha & Luciana alternating at dropping the hook and Julien swimming a line ashore to tie up to some rocks… we rested for 2 days, ate swam, read books and explored the local village. The backgammon challenges were getting fierce!

IMG_5775 As much as were loving life here, the allure of far away lands with fish to catch, bays to explore and professional Russian, German, English, French and other tourists to avoid were calling so we woke at 6:00 am, replenished our water tanks and set off on our 50 NM upwind voyage. The first part was great, but then the famous Meltemi wind mixed with the infamous short seas of the Mediterranean really taught us a lesson in Turkish sailing. We had a good couple of hours in the late afternoon of banging, creaking & crunching upwind into an evil current, at times managing less than 2 knots forward momentum in 25 knots of breeze.

We eventually resorted to the Iron Spinnaker which gave us a combined speed of 4 knots and within 45 minutes we had rounded the headland and were on our way sailing downwind in flat water at 7 Knots towards Bozburun.

IMG_5584-1 As if the Turkish gods had decided to reward us for our efforts, within 5 minutes of dropping anchor in an idyllic bay, protected from swell and wind alike, a local fisherman and his wife motored up to us and sold us a freshly caught 1.5 Kg  Turkish equivalent of a coral trout – we baked the fresh, meaty fish, marinated with some local spices that we had bought in Gocek from a spice merchant and ate the feast washed down with some local Rose. Yum!

The next day, having performed our ritual of swim, coffee, swim, breakfast, swim, read…. we were ready to go and explore the local town! With Lonely plant in hand, Agatha found out about the best place to have a sunset drink, whilst one of the locals proudly recommended a traditional Turkish restaurant. We decided to pay $20 and stay in the Marina for a change and also because it seemed like the easiest thing to do… It turned out to be the right decision and we had a great time, enjoying sunset cocktails at Ad Astra, followed by dinner with a local family.


On our way back to the boat we stumbled upon a bottle shop, and a bottle of Rum fell into our lap… a few quiet refreshment and a fierce ‘pairs’ game of Backgammon was played before we retired for the evening!

Our final couple of days were spent venturing back towards Gocek, with some 80-90 NM to cover almost all downwind. We (humans) recorded a top speed of 9.5 Knots whilst the autopilot put us to shame with an impressive 11.3 Knots, surfing dead downwind with a 30 knots gust up our butt, and full sails "goose winged" without a pole…. exciting!!

Heading to Istanbul early tomorrow morning, before flying out to Berlin on Friday afternoon.

Chartering a yacht from Gocek, Turkey.

We hired our Bavaria 36, in Gocek via a third party called Pinkuin Yacht charters. The costs were very competitive, they were easy to deal with and the yacht was in very good condition with everything as per the advertised specifications. The local Gocek Yacht charter company was MTM Yachting.

We avoided marinas, and spent 8 out of 9 nights anchored in beautiful, sheltered bays, cooking our own food & topping up our supplies by buying fresh bread and vegetables from local villagers that would paddle up to us once or twice per day.

In Gocek we really enjoyed eating at "Can Restaurant" – Best restaurant in Gocek. For a cool experience, I would recommend getting a Turkish shave – old school at the barbers. We stayed at the Basak Pensyion.