This was it. This was the moment of departure from Kaş harbour in Turkey after 5 months of waiting for winter to turn into spring.
We'd got a lot done. We'd prepped, cleaned, serviced, provisioned and ticked a vast majority of things off our huge 'to do' list. A B Sea was as ready as she could be for her 7 day shakedown cruise to Kekova, just a short 4 hour hop to the east.
The wind arrived as forecast, blowing at 15 knots and for once going in the direction we wanted to go. Praise be to the wind gods. Shortly after exiting the harbour we unfurled both sails, pointed her nose in the right direction and set the pre-loved Raymarine ST6002 autopilot to steer us there.
Things were going great and with the perfect wind we were making good time. Then just an hour away from our first overnight anchorage there was a never before heard beep. It came from the autopilot. Looking at the LCD screen revealed that it had restarted itself and gone back to standby mode. I re-engaged auto mode and everything seemed fine. Ten minutes later another beep, a glance at the screen showed the autopilot doing the same thing. Once it was back on line I re-engaged auto again and as I did so I was reminded of the definition of insanity. "Doing the exact same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome." Something was wrong!
A short 5 minutes later and another beep, I looked at the autopilot screen waiting for it to come back on line. It didn't. The screen remained stubbornly blank. As I was pondering what had gone wrong the incessant and well known continuous warning beep screeched out from the chart plotter.
Glancing over at that screen gave me cause for concern. Our vessel position was not showing up on the chart and that meant only one thing. We'd lost our GPS system and without it we had no way of knowing our exact location.
Time for a quick rethink
We decided not to go into our first planned anchorage, because with a lot of our navigation systems down and having never been there before there were just too many unknowns. So plan B was hatched.
We had navigated to the inside of Kekova island before so we were confident in finding our way through the gap, then it was a simple case of turning west into the wind, furling away our sails and finding a nice spot to drop anchor for the evening ready to begin troubleshooting the following morning.
There's good news and bad news
The bad news is that it looks like the new (pre-loved) autopilot is cactus. My first job of the morning had been to empty the starboard cockpit locker so that I could get access to the underside of the helm instruments. The first thing I checked was that both Seatalk cables were firmly connected to the autopilot. To say I was disappointed that they were and the fix was not going to be that easy was an understatement.
The Raymarine ST6002 has no on/off button, that model just goes on and in to standby mode when powered up. We know that the circuit breaker is working and providing power because the log speed indicator is on the same circuit breaker and it works fine, so the next step was to disconnect both Seatalk cables from the autopilot and power up all of our navigation instruments.
Here comes the good news. With the autopilot out of the loop our GPS began functioning again, so we have boat position on the plotter and GPS boat speed. We can live without an autopilot for the near future.
Further bad news is that we don't appear to be broadcasting an AIS signal. A boat name and MMSI search shows our last reported position doing 5.8 knots in the Aegean Sea leaving the island of Ios 195 days ago. We are receiving AIS because we got proximity warnings while in Kas harbour.
It looks like our time in Marmaris dealing with technicians may be longer than we expect.
Time to explore
Day three we decided to lower our dinghy and head to shore to do some exploring. Just 200 metres (650 feet) away at the western end of the bay two restaurant jetties thrust out into the water. One was completely deserted and at the other there were continuous sounds of work getting done in preparation for the fast approaching summer season.
We motored our dinghy over and tied up at the deserted jetty. We'd been told that an easy 30 minute walk further west would bring us to some ancient ruins. We love exploring ruins. Following our noses we soon came upon the well marked path of the Lycian Way which is approximately 540 km (335 miles) long and stretches from Ölüdeniz, near Fethiye, to Geyikbayırı, about 20 km (12 miles) from Antalya.
The walk through the rugged Turkish countryside was beautiful. The sun shone, the wind was just a cooling breeze and the sounds of many seen and unseen birds filled our ears. About halfway there the path led us straight through a herd of crazing cows. We know inside that cows are highly unlikely to attack humans, but when you're walking through a mixed herd of heifers, bulls and calves and they're just staring at you from 10 metres (30 feet) away it is slightly unnerving.
Arriving at the ruins we could see that they extended back up the hillside from the edge of the secluded bay. Of course with the best views from the top that's where we were headed. The climb up was fairly straightforward but once at the top the expected view eluded us, being blocked by either bushes and trees or fairly tall remains of building walls. Time to put on our Indiana Jones hats.
I love scrambling through ruins. In my opinion some of the best places are off the beaten path, but it's definitely not something Aannsha would do by choice. Once we'd found a way of penetrating the external walls of the structure there was certainly a lot of scrambling involved. It seems that the external walls had been built almost twice as thick as the internal walls which meant that when earthquakes had struck throughout time it was mostly the internal walls that had collapsed sending building blocks of various sizes tumbling haphazardly down the hillside.
The scramble was worth it as we eventually found the vantage point we'd been searching for which gave us a bird's eye view down to the clear blue bay where several turtles could be seen lazily going about their day.
Aannsha figured I'd be happy now that I'd got the view and the video footage and that we'd be heading back to the Lycian Way. Nope. I had another plan, which involved scrambling all the way through the tumble of ruins down to the water's edge. There was some muttering from the Admiral but she bravely followed along.
After a half hour or so we emerged around the corner of a still standing building wall and there we were right at the water's edge. My heart sank and a sadness washed over me. Before my eyes was humanity's footprint.
On our travels we see a lot of plastic debris in the sea. It's everywhere, in every country and eventually some of it washes up on the shore where it sits for decades or even hundreds of years. It's a blight to the senses.
I'm going to get on my soapbox here. We see the Facebook memes about how we can all make a difference by refusing to buy plastic wrapped grocery items and by picking up 3 pieces of plastic each time we visit a beach or picnic area.
Let's put that into perspective. Researchers found 38 million pieces of plastic waste on one uninhabited island in the South Pacific. That’s just one island, do you think that picking up 3 pieces of plastic is making a dent in that? You'd need 12.6 million people picking up 3 pieces of plastic just to clear that one island.
In my opinion from the scale of what I have personally witnessed in the very small geographical area we have travelled, those options above are not a tenable solution.
The simple solution is to stop producing plastic. There are biodegradable options out there. Agricultural hemp can be used to make a plastic water bottle that breaks down to nothing in 80 days. You can read about it here.
The cynic in me says that a change won't be coming anytime soon because a lot of plastic is produced from crude oil and if countries like the USA are happy to spend an average of US$4.8 million PER DAY on wars to secure oil production… Well you know how it goes.