The sun was just coming over the horizon and the misty morning was very still. The water looked like it was made of mercury and A B Sea created a silky wake as she motored slowly out of the bay at Fethiye enroute to Kaş.
Once we had the autopilot set, Aannsha went below to make bacon and egg sandwiches for breakfast, the smell of cooking bacon made my mouth water as it wafted up and out of the companionway. This was going to be the best bacon sandwich ever because it was the last of our bacon. It's not that you can't buy bacon in Turkey, it's just very expensive if you buy the packet bacon in a supermarket. At least five times the price. There is a specialist pork butcher in Fethiye where you can get bacon and pork chops but it was a long walk from where we were anchored so we didn't get the opportunity to look at the prices. Oh well it's just another one of those things that we'll have to adjust to.
As predicted by the forecasting websites the wind slowly picked up as we got closer to mid morning and soon we had enough wind to unfurl the head sail and switch off the engine. For the most part it was a steady 20 knots on the beam and we made good speed averaging 6.5 knots. About 40 minutes from our destination the wind picked up to 27 knots and swung around to come from behind. Memories of the difficulty of putting away the head sail in 30 knots of wind as we approached the Greek island of Ios surfaced and not wanting to go through the same again we decided to reef in the head sail. It was a good decision because by the time we were on the final approach into the bay the wind was a steady 30 knots. The engine was started and the last of the head sail was furled away.
Entering a new harbour, marina or anchorage is always a very tense and stressful time for me and this time was no different, in fact it may have been one of my most stomach knotting approaches so far. A B Sea is our only home and all of our worldly possessions are onboard, so I get quite stressed imagining that if I don't get it right we could potentially lose everything. I remember Aannsha trying to make small talk by asking what the bottom would be like for holding the anchor once we got inside. In my mind all I could think was "Who fucking cares, we've got to get in there first without ending up on the rocks." What I actually said was "I can't talk right now" and continued to micro manage the autopilot as best I could with the wind and waves causing the bow of A B Sea to point every which way but loose.
The wind kept blowing, the entrance narrowed down to 0.27 of a kilometre (0.17 mile), and I knew that eventually I'd have to disengage the autopilot and manually steer in through the last little bit of the channel. It's a good job I did because the chart plotter shows an entrance buoy in the middle of the channel with water on either side of it. What my eyes saw was the entrance buoy standing tall upon a large concrete jetty with water only on the south side. I steered with what my eyes told me and as we passed through the narrowest point of the channel the land began to protect us from the wind and the water calmed down somewhat. Within a couple of minutes we were inside the protection of the bay and my stomach unknotted and I began to breathe deeply again to release my tension.
Slowing A B Sea down to 4 knots, which is the speed she does in slow ahead in calm water, I headed straight to the fuel jetty and brought her alongside quite easily. We topped off the fuel tank with 99 litres of diesel and pumped out our black water holding tank. After that it was just a simple task of finding a spot in the far east part of the bay to drop our Mantus anchor and put the boat to bed.
Our big journey had finally come to an end and it was a bitter sweet moment for me. Sweet because we'd made it across the Mediterranean from west to east. Bitter because as much as the sailing can sometimes be very stressful, I knew that it would be quite a few weeks before we would be getting out there again and certainly a good few months before we began our zig zag journey back across the Med.
We're not allowed to do it!
Scuba diving is my passion, I simply cannot get enough of it and it's one of the many reasons why we made the decision to buy a yacht and equip it with our own compressor to refill scuba tanks. But today I learned some depressing information about scuba diving in Turkish territorial waters. We're not allowed to do it!