We awoke before dawn on Monday the 29th of March. Blurry eyed, although surprisingly alert, I didn’t even have my usual ‘get up and go’ cup of coffee. I’d enjoy that once we were underway. The reason for our early start? We had a long trip ahead of us. We were leaving gorgeous Gemiler Bay, surrounded by the impressive distant mountains with a view of the small nearby Gemiler Island crammed with Byzantine monastery ruins.
As we were getting the boat ready to leave, I looked at the island, wishing we could stay and explore, but knowing we had to get to Marmaris before the big blow that was predicted. Baz and I promised ourselves that we’d return on our way back to Kaş. We’d anchor and tie back to the island itself with a line ashore and that way we’d be able to step onto the rocks and spend a good few hours checking out the 4th and 6th century ruins. One of them is reported to be where St. Nicholas spent time doing his work. We’ve already visited his birth site at nearby Patara, and the Turkish tomb where he was buried in Myra. We can’t miss the opportunity to discover Gemiler Island. But that will have to be later in the season.
How we estimate our TOA
Today, we were headed for Marmaris and it was a fifty nautical mile trip. We always work out our travel time on A B Sea by dividing the nautical miles by five, which is our slowest estimated speed. That way we cautiously guesstimate our time of arrival and are usually pleasantly surprised when we shave an hour or two off the actual time it takes to get there. So, using those calculations, we expected that, if we left Gemiler at 07:00 hrs, we’d arrive at Marmaris by 17:00 hrs, or sooner.
The nearly-full moon was just setting behind the still dark hills and everywhere was quiet except for a slight lap of water against A B Sea’s hull. There was no wind, the water was flat in the bay and lifting the anchor was a breeze. As we headed into open water we kept the engine on as we still had no wind, the water was lovely and calm with a slight long slow swell. We were getting 6 knots speed over ground (SOG) so we were optimistic that we’d get to Marmaris earlier than estimated.
After tidying up the anchor locker, I headed down below to make a coffee for myself and breakfast for the two of us.
A chilly passage
By 09:22 hrs we were passing Göcek Bay area and turned towards Marmaris. The wind was only giving us a concessionary 3 knots (True wind), so we kept motoring at 2000 revs and our SOG picked up to 6.5 knots. Nice.
It was an uneventful but pleasant journey, passing a few other yachts and catamarans on their way to unknown destinations. Having said that, as the sun was either behind us or shielded by the bimini, it got quite cold on deck and we both donned another layer of clothing.
At just past 15:00 hrs we entered the large Marmaris bay area which in summer is hugely busy with yachts, motor cruisers, gulets and gimmicky tourist boats playing loud music. Today it was relatively empty. But in Europe and here, March is still early in the season, pandemics notwithstanding, so we didn’t expect to see many vessels. Give it a couple of months though, and sailing space would be at a premium.
We prepped the stern slip lines and as we approached Netsel (Setur) marina, Baz hailed the office on VHF 72. He mentioned that we were from Setur in Kaş and that we’d booked a week there and that we were requesting assistance from the marineros. One of the reasons we like the Setur marina group is that with a 12 month contract at one marina, we also get 30 days for free at each of the other marinas in the group.
A lukewarm welcome
We were directed to the entrance next to the lighthouse and two marineros approached in a rib. I was up at the bow ready to take the slime line when we docked, and said “Merhaba (Hello)”. They looked at me as if I had two heads. I repeated what I’d said in case they hadn’t heard me. They ignored me and continued on to Baz, the Captain. Maybe it’s a custom in this particular marina that they only talk to the Captain. Whatever the reason, I let it go (only slightly rolling my eyes).
I heard one ask Baz if we were staying for one night. Baz replied that no, we had booked seven nights. It seemed there had been a lack of communication from the office. It took a while for them to decide where to place us. They decided on Pontoon C.
They directed us down the very narrow fairway which Baz reversed into for ease of manoeuvring. He said afterwards that he’d been very concerned about the keel snagging any of the moored boat’s slime lines as they jutted out quite a distance into the fairway.
We made it that far without incident though.
One marinero jumped off to take the stern lines. The other one stayed on the rib to attach the slime line to the forward cleat. Once I knew he was onto the case and putting the line through the fairlead, I hurried back to throw the port stern line. Baz handled the starboard line. There was a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with the marinero saying “forward – back – back – over – over” to Baz.
As I waited to throw my line the marinero in the rib pulled up next to A B Sea on my side. He was drinking a glass of tea! “Iyi çay,” I said in a pathetic attempt to get a smile out of him. “Çay iyi” he replied, I think correcting my Turkish, rather than bonding.
It occurred to me later that with Marmaris being a major hub of sailing and boat repairs on this part of the Turkish coast, the marineros here would quite likely be jaded by the high turnover of vessels that they assist into the busy marina. They probably don’t have the time nor the inclination to make friends with casual patrons. I observed the same with the majority of workers there.
Okay, having had my personal “I’m an offended narcissistic Leo gripe”, I want to add a couple of caveats. The gentleman who we saw at the marina office was extremely friendly, polite and helpful. He went out of his way to show us how the transponder fob worked to put credit onto our electrical outlet. Also, to be fair to the marineros who assisted us, before they left, they ensured that we knew how to find the marina office.
Docking comparison Kaş vs Marmaris
We hadn’t realised at the outset, but the mooring procedure at Marmaris is different to that at Kaş. In Kaş marina, the marineros assist you (with a friendly “welcome home”) to leave a good gap between your boat and the dock. This allows for swell, but keeps you close enough so you can span your passerelle across the gap. In Marmaris, you’re directed to butt up to the dock itself, with room for a couple of fenders, but close enough to step off.
When we talked about this afterwards, Baz and I realised that because Marmaris marina is protected all around by solid walls and the position/layout of the entrance, there is no swell to worry about. In Kaş which is protected only by the natural lay of the land, there is more of a need to take swell into consideration.
Oops were we in hot water?
We had one minor mishap as we docked. As we manoeuvred into position at Pontoon C, our port stainless steel davit arm knocked one of the two fire alarm/lights off its position on a pole directly behind the boat. It hung there like a limp red balloon at a party. Oops.
The marineros looked at it, but didn’t make an issue out of it.
After they left, I went down below to update our Ship’s informal Log. Time of arrival 15:00. Great, we’d arrive two hours earlier than anticipated!
To watch our YouTube episode that dovetails with this blog, just click here.
Next week we take you back in time to January 2021 when we visited the hugely impressive, massive, ancient hill site of Arykanda.
Until next week, I wish you health, wealth and courage, as you take the actions to bring your dreams to life.