Wind prediction websites are just that… Predictions. Nothing is set in stone or guaranteed and plenty of times they all get it completely wrong.
Although we enjoyed a very nice sail on our way to Kekova Roads with the arrival of the predicted 15 knots of wind, the forecast also showed that there'd be very little wind for the next 6 days. The forecast was wrong.
When we were upgrading A B Sea back in Spain we deliberately overspecced our anchor because our plan is to stay in anchorages as often as possible and if the wind blows hard we need to have trust that our anchor will hold us in place. Our first Kekova anchorage put our anchor to the test with 16 hours of 20 to 25 knot winds gusting to 35 knots. The Mantus anchor was dug in on a bottom of thick mud, we were in 8 metres (26.2 feet) of water and put out 50 metres (164 feet) of chain. We didn't budge at all. An easy test really as our Mantus is rated to hold a vessel of our size in 50 knot winds.
After the wind came the calm and we decided to go and see if we could meet up with our friend Jens on his yacht Dilly Dally. He was reported to be anchored in a small bay just slightly east of the ancient fort at Kaleköy.
We easily found him as the summer season had not yet begun and except for a few almost empty tourist gullets motoring around, Dilly Dally was the only other yacht visible apart from A B Sea.
We took advantage that Jens's anchor was firmly dug in and decided to put all our fenders on the port side and raft up alongside him. He introduced us to his friends that were visiting from Germany, beers were opened, Aannsha rustled up various nibbles and we spent a couple of hours just talking about nothing in particular.
As the sun began its slow descent towards the horizon we said our goodbyes, untied from Dilly Dally and motored slowly towards our second chosen anchoring spot just 1.5 nautical miles away.
We dropped anchor in 4.5 metres (14.7 feet), let out 20 metres (65.6 feet) of chain and settled down for the night. The air was still, the water was calm and a great night's sleep was enjoyed.
The following morning we lowered the dinghy and went to have a look around the small village of Kaleüçağız. Surprisingly for such a small place there are some very big gulets moored there at the council run jetty. We heard that it was 100 Turkish Lira (AU$23) per night if you wanted to stay on the jetty, with electricity and water being an extra charge.
Kaleüçağız is a very charming place and it really only took about 30 minutes to wander around most of it. Then we found ourselves on the waterfront where we were greeted by the locally well known restaurateur Hassan. His restaurant used to have a jetty you could tie up to for free as long as you dined in his restaurant. Several other restaurants had jetties too, but a few years back the council declared that all private jetties be removed so that they could be replaced with the council owned and run one.
Hassan is an expert at cooking fish and he didn't disappoint when he served up the fish we had chosen from his display of locally caught varieties. Served with crispy deep fried chips, salad and a yummy garlic sauce it all went down very well with a couple of Efes beers.
Before we left we asked Hassan how far into the bay we could go to safely anchor from the big winds that were due to arrive from the south west the following day. He brought out a chart and pinpointed a spot that would offer us the best protection. If you need any information about the general area or where to get things done Hassan is a wealth of knowledge and is always happy to help.
Back on board A B Sea we brought up the anchor and moved further into the bay to the spot suggested by Hassan. Again we dropped the anchor in just 4.5 metres (14.7 feet) of water and let out 40 metres (131.2 feet) of chain.
The next morning at daybreak there was the calm before the storm with super flat water and no breeze at all. Then as the wind prediction websites had finally got it right the wind began its steady climb from 9.00am and by midday it was blowing a steady 27 to 30 knots and gusting to 35 knots. The wind kept this up for 17 hours and again our Mantus anchor combined with the excellent holding in the bay kept us steady in one spot.
Back to Kaş
By Monday morning it was once again super calm at first light with wind predicted to pick up by 11.00am. This wind had the potential to let us sail back to Kaş so we decided to cut our shakedown cruise short by one day and head for home.
As is always the way you can never know for sure how favourable the wind will be until you actually get out there and point the bow in the direction you want to go. As is usually the case the wind was bang on the nose. We'd left reasonably early so we decided to tack our way back west and it was all going quite well until a decent sized rain storm washed over us and as it left it took all the wind with it.
We were only half way home and disappointedly started up the main engine of A B Sea and motored the rest of the way.
While motoring along at 5 knots we talked about the tacking and how very much longer it takes to gain any ground when you've got the wind dead against you. This gave us a completely different perspective on our planned sail up the Turkish coast to Istanbul and then west across to Thessaloniki in mainland Greece.
Aannsha and I agreed that it would be a long and difficult trip if we didn't have favourable winds and that was the moment that our big picture cruising plan was adjusted radically. We decided that we would only go up the Turkish coast as far as Kuşadası where we'd check out of Turkey before making the 4 hour hop across to the Greek island of Samos where we'd check into Greece.
As we didn't want to miss out on visiting Istanbul, the ancient Constantinople, we decided that once we got back to Kaş we'd book a 3 night trip and go there by plane.
The trip was enlightening in many ways and after a bumpy first day we settled into the big city rhythm. But more about that next time.