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Barry's Blog #84 - The fickle nature of wind

Having no wind is frustrating to me for two reasons. Firstly we're adding hours of use to A B Sea's engine and secondly we're burning costly diesel fuel.

Having fickle wind is twice as frustrating. We see or feel the wind pick up so we bring out the sails, which we have to do manually as there are no electric winches on board. Sails out, engine off and the wind decides to drop. It may or may not pick up again. So we wait for a while to see what it will do. Meanwhile the sails are flogging and we're lucky if we manage 1 to 2 knots of speed.

Engine goes back on, both sails put away and 15 minutes later the wind comes back. Out come the sails, off goes the engine and yes, you guessed it, the wind dies away again.

This was a pattern that repeated itself several times after we'd brought up the anchor at Kucuk Kargi Koyu on our 4 hour hop to Buyuk Aga Koyu via the Gocek bay islands. I hope you're taking notes on these place names because there will be a test later.

The Gocek bay islands area provides an almost perfect sailing location. It's well protected from big swells. The wind is generally good. There is a cluster of five marinas to chose from or if your prefer to anchor there are many gorgeous little bays to spend some time.

Genius idea

Migros floating supermarket

To top it all, in the peak summer months there is a supermarket ship from the Turkish retailer Migros. The 40 metre (131 feet) yacht offers a retail space of over 2,000 square metres and stocks over 500 items, including fresh produce, meats, bakery and deli goods, as well as a range of non-food products all priced the same as Migros supermarkets on land. There's even an ATM on board.

It operates in the coastal areas of Fethiye and Göcek between 09:00 and 17:00 and in the Fethiye harbour between 19:00 and 22:00.

Personally I think that's a genius idea because stocking up on fresh food when you're a full time liveaboard can be difficult at times. Not to mention that there's a physical limit to how much stuff you can carry. I hope that other supermarket chains around the world take notice and consider doing something similar in popular sailing grounds.

There's a first time for everything

After we'd done our sightseeing tour of the Gocek area we pointed A B Sea's bow south west and made our way to our overnight anchorage at Buyuk Aga Koyu. This was where we were going to do our first anchoring stern-to and taking a line ashore manoeuvre.

Basically what happens is this. You come into the bay, suss out where you want to put the stern of your yacht and get into position. Let out your anchor until it reaches the bottom and begin reversing back. Then when you're as far back as you want to be or can be (depth dependent) someone takes a long line ashore either by dinghy or swimming and secures it around a rock, a tree or if you're doing this in a crowded harbour there may be a mooring ring or bollard to attach to.

It sounds straightforward and in ideal conditions it generally is. But if the wind is against you it can all go pear shaped very quickly. Luckily we had no wind and apart from two day tripper gullets at the head of the bay we had the whole southern wall of the bay to choose a spot.

We watched Jim in our buddy boat Acheron go in first. He made it look easy and Alex his crew was the one who swam the line ashore. Then it was our turn, Aannsha was already in her swimming gear and she had her dive boots on just in case she needed to climb out of the water over sharp rocks or stand in shallow water where there may be sea urchins lurking.

I did the manoeuvring, Aannsha let out the anchor chain until I said stop, then she came aft, grabbed the shore line and jumped into the water. There was a small shriek as the water temperature was a relatively cool 22C degrees (71.5F) and she swam ashore to choose a rock to throw the line over. Then she climbed back on board, went forward and took up the slack of the anchor chain while I took up the slack of the shore line and hey presto we were done.

Time to stretch our legs

Jim called us up on the ship to ship channel and asked if we'd like to join him and Alex on a short walk up the hill to see some ruins. Five minutes later we piled into Jim's dinghy and motored through the crystal clear water to the small pebble strewn beach.

On the north shore of the bay a fairly wide track wound upwards and as we climbed we had great views down into the bay where we could see A B Sea and Acheron sitting motionless in the calm water.

The walk up took around 25 minutes and was not at all strenuous. At the top of the hill overlooking an expansive valley to the west stood the remains of Byzantine and Roman buildings. Time, weather and no doubt the occasional earthquake had taken their toll but the building that looked like it might've been a temple was still displaying some very impressive architecture and engineering techniques.

The livestock farm in the valley seemed to be quite prosperous. We saw sheep, cows, goats, donkeys and numerous beehives. It did look a bit on the dry side, but Jim pointed out two quite large domed structures and explained that they were fresh water wells. It all looked quite idyllic. We also spotted a tortoise just going about its daily business.

Back on board we made dinner, checked our social media and replied to comments and questions before having an early night.

Executive decision

The next morning we were going to take another short hop to another beautiful bay but a check online of the weather forecast showed that there would be potentially strong winds coming on Thursday and lasting all through Friday. As today was Wednesday and we were only 6 hours from Marmaris we made an executive decision to head straight to the safety of Marmaris bay.

No wind

Again there was no wind so we motored all the way and decided to drop our anchor in the northern part of the bay. The anchorage was not too busy and our Mantus dug into the muddy bottom straight away. A B Sea was put to bed and we lowered our dinghy to go and visit Jim on Acheron who was making the most of his Setur Marina contract which allows annual contract holders the opportunity to spend up to 30 days each year in any of their 10 marinas.

The main reason for coming to Marmaris was to see if we could get our pre-loved Raymarine ST6002 autopilot control head repaired. Marmaris is known throughout Turkey as a Mecca for getting any and all boat work done. But I'll tell you all about that mission in next week's blog.

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