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Aannsha’s Blog #84 – Sailing Turkey: Karacaoren to Büyük Ağa Koyu

We left Küçük Kargı Koyu at 11am on the 30th of April 2019 in sunshine but with wind blowing at a gentle 5 knots. That’s not enough to power our heavy sails, although Jim in Acheron with his code zero sail was able to catch enough wind to sail for some of the time. We achieved 8 knots with our Gori folding prop as we had it in overdrive.

Touring Gocek Bay

On the way to Büyük Ağa Koyu we motored through the Gocek Bay area. This is renowned for its pretty anchorages and excellent sailing conditions, although this day saw the wind gods out playing golf instead. Given its popularity with sailors, Gocek has five marinas and we motored past them, happy to be choosing anchorages in this beautiful area of the world.

Along the way we looked out for the popular sailing supermarket, which is a 40 metre / 131 feet motor yacht housing the Turkish supermarket Migros with over 2,000 square metres of shopping space. It has an impressive range of over 500 items, stocking everything from meats to deli items, fruits and vegies to bread, along with other essential grocery items. You can pay by cash or credit card and they have an ATM on board too. It travels around Gocek (between 9am and 5pm) and Fethiye (between 7pm and 10pm) daily in the peak sailing season.

Floating Migros supermarket at Gocek and Fethiye

Taking a line ashore stern-to at Büyük Ağa Koyu

Wow, another stunning bay and this one has ruins that you can visit at the top of a very scenic hill climb. But were Baz and I thinking about any of that as we motored into Büyük Ağa Koyu? No. Why? Because we had to do our very first ‘taking a line ashore stern-to’ mooring. Yikes. What’s that? Well, it’s like Med mooring where you drop your anchor and reverse back to where you want to stop for the night, but instead of tying to a jetty or harbour quay, some lucky soul has to take a long line from the boat to dry land (either cleverly in a dinghy, or the good old fashioned wet way – swimming) and tie that said line off onto whatever you can find that will hold a 9.3 tonne boat in place come wind and high water.

In Büyük Ağa Koyu, the bay is lined with a multitude of strong rocks and in the peak of the season, the whole of the southern bay ‘wall’ is lined with yachts all tied back to the rocks.

Who took the line ashore?

Well it’s not going to take a genius to realise that there was only one person for that job, as only one person on A B Sea can (as at the time of writing this) competently moor stern to. That person is Baz. So the lucky winner of the wet swimsuit competition was me. Fortunately for moi, there wasn’t much wind (so I wouldn’t have to worry about being bashed by A B Sea swinging to one side) and the sea was pretty calm. I’m not a strong swimmer and I wasn’t sure how my torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder would hold up, but when Baz expertly got us in position, and I’d deployed the anchor, I, wearing my bathers and diving boots (think sharp rocks and sea urchins), jumped (well climbed down the swim ladder) into the 22 degrees C (71.5F) water (I reckon it was colder myself) with the line slung over my right shoulder. I had a bowline at one end and looped the line through it, so all I’d have to do was loop it around a decent sized rock.

Jim had already tied off and Alex (his swim man) was in the water ready to assist me if I needed help. But I wanted to do this for myself. I needed to learn that I could do it myself as we’ll be on our own next time. All went well. Even when the non-floating line we were using (it was the longest one we had on board) got caught around a submerged rock. I managed to half dive, half drag the line free and Baz managed to pull it tight around the starboard winch, which is the direction the wind was coming from. I got back on board and squelched up to the anchor locker to tighten the anchor chain.

Mission successful. We hi-fived and thanked Alex for standing (swimming) guard.

We put the boat to bed at 3pm and Jim ferried us with Alex to shore so we could explore the ruins at the top of the hill.

Discovering Byzantine and Roman ruins

What a magnificent climb, with views all around the mountain path. At the top there were a few large ruins left standing stoically despite centuries of weather and occasional earthquakes. Below us was a valley that had more ruins dotted amongst the farming land including two round, domed ancient wells. The farm had crops, sheep, goats, cattle and honey bees and looked to be carving a sustainable existence in this place. We even came across a tortoise!

Jim took some great drone shots of our two yachts and it was an absolute picture to look down from the stony mountain path at our beautiful white boats gracefully floating on the turquoise blue water. Perfect.

Tied back to a rock in Büyük Ağa Koyu

Büyük Ağa Koyu to Marmaris

The following day was sunny with a light breeze and after we’d untied (thanks to Alex) from the rock and upped the anchor, we motored most of the six hours towards Marmaris. Towards the end of the passage we had 10 knots on the beam, so we managed to motor sail, achieving a speed of 6 knots.

We entered the large Marmaris bay and anchored in the northern end not far from the Setur Marina – but far enough away that we wouldn’t be in the path of the ferries that docked on the wall by the marina.

After we’d put A B Sea to bed, we headed on over in our dinghy to see Jim who’d taken advantage of his contract with Setur Marina (he gets 30 days in every Setur Marina on top of his annual home of Kaş). We had a quick walk around Marmaris and got a few grocery items from the marina Migros, then returned to A B Sea for the night.

The following day we were going to find Nail (pronounced Nile), the recommended tech guy who we hoped would be able to fix our second hand Raymarine ST6002 autopilot control head, which had died after only 3 hours of use on our trip to Kekova. If we couldn’t get it fixed in Marmaris, we’d have to buy a new one so we were on tenterhooks. Would Nail be able to fix it?

I’ll let you know next week!


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