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Aannsha’s Blog #182 – Look how far I’ve come

Updated: Jun 12, 2021

sin Koyue

You’ll remember that it took us a while to find a decent anchorage last week, and eventually we anchored in Asin Koyu in Turkey. Here's a *reference guide that we use a lot when choosing an anchorage:

Asin Koyu is a decent sized bay and is home to a fish farm maintenance areas. We got to watch a few massive fish farms being towed into and out of the repair area and it was very interesting seeing how they completed the manoeuvres.

Jim on our buddy boat Acheron had unfortunately anchored unknowingly in the wrong spot and was slap bang in the middle of the path that the huge fish farm tug boat took. They madly hooted their horn at him and he had to up anchor quick-smart and relocate.

Our engine wouldn’t start!

We decided to move A B Sea a bit further out of the fish farm path too. However, when Baz went to start the engine, nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. Not even a beep.

Long story short – after Baz had logically tested all the possible causes (using our very handy * digital multimeter like the one below), including taking out the new starter motor and solenoid – but to no avail, Jim came up with a suggestion. Check the connections for oxidation. We all spent time cleaning the connections and did actually remove quite a bit of build-up.

Then as Baz went to clean the connection of the main negative battery feed to the engine, it felt very loose. It had worked loose over the months and years, and this seemed to be the source of the issue. He tightened it up and then we tested it …

The engine fired up straight away! Yay!

I can’t tell you what a relief that was! Jim offered to cook us a full English breakfast on Acheron in celebration, which was wonderful, as we had real bacon! It’s expensive to buy in Turkey and we generally do without. But the bacon lovers amongst you will understand how much we enjoyed our brekkie.

If you’re interested in the finer points of troubleshooting the engine start issue, click here.

Iassos ancient ruins on a nearby ex-island

I say ex-island because it’s now joined to the mainland by a small isthmus, but when the ancient Carian city was established way back in 3000 BC, it was built on an island. Caria was a region of Greece which spread across most of the Aegean and some of the Mediterranean coastline from the 11th to the 6th centuries BC. Situated near the present day village of Kıyıkışlacık, Iassos is in the district of Milas, in Muğla province.

Isn’t it amazing how nature quietly shifts and changes over the centuries? Here are some great *guide books on Turkey. I especially love the Eyewitness Travel books as they have information sections laid out clearly, pictorially for easy general reference.

I loved this site, it was brilliant. The hilltop had ruins of a fort, a church, and the indentation of where a massive amphitheatre had been (before the stones were stripped to build the new quays of the port area of Constantinople!) At the foot of the hill, closer to Kıyıkışlacık, are extensive ruins of the Agora, which basically is a large shopping centre, which also includes a small amphitheatre.

The ancient town was set in an amazingly picturesque spot and the fort had almost 360 degree views of the surrounding bays and land. Walking through the wooded dirt paths, sprinkled with red, blue and yellow wild flowers in long grass and getting glimpses of the aqua sea, I could easily imagine myself living there in ancient times.

Just after we docked the dinghy we found ourselves accompanied on our trek by one of the village stray dogs and he stayed with us for most of our trip that day. He was a lovely big black and white fellow, had a mellow nature, and made a wonderful companion. He seemed to like the trip out with new friends. Or maybe he was protecting us from the snakes and scorpions that a sign at the entrance warned us against!

The fascinating house of mosaics

Apart from the gorgeous natural setting, the other thing that stays in my mind about Iassos are the mosaic tiles in an ancient villa. They are almost totally intact and are made up of thousands of tiny squares of mainly white and black tiles. As an artist I appreciate how the ancients adorned themselves and their houses. And when I think of how long it would have taken to design, measure and lay out these works of art, I am quite in awe of the craftsmen.

There is also the remains of a mural on the back wall of one of the rooms, although most of it is missing now. But you can clearly see the vivid red, ochre, black and white paint that was used. Again, as someone who’s painted a few murals in one of my previous lives (lol), I love to see these ancient frescoes.

Look how far I’ve come

It occurred to me as Baz and I were lowering the dinghy from the davits when we arrived at Asin Koyu, that I was doing it without any qualms at all. This might not seem like much to you, but when we first moved on board A B Sea and began travelling, I felt very overwhelmed by many of the seemingly simple tasks.

Maybe it was because I was having to learn everything all at once. Maybe it takes me longer to get something in my long term memory than it does Baz. Maybe it was performance anxiety. It was probably a mix of all of the above. But when I had to do sets of simple manoeuvres, such as lowering the dinghy with Baz, I’d get so scared of making a mistake that my mind would go blank and I’d dither and fumble. Baz would then get frustrated with me and (in the early days) would bark out orders, which only made me worse.

I’ve realised that over the years, a few things have happened. Most importantly, Baz and I have learned to work together as a team, nicely and calmly. Even when we’re stressed, our emotions rarely spoil our composure as we proceed with our tasks. Yes, I still have to think things through. But these days whether we’re dropping or bringing up the dinghy, or anchoring for instance, Baz and I flow really well together.

The other main gained proficiency is in my head. I’ve learned to trust my capabilities more. As I’ve built up experience and repeated tasks over and over, I have gained a ‘muscle memory’ if you like. I just do things. That frees my mind up to focus on the specific task in hand, rather than worry if I’ll stuff up a few steps ahead. And that all leads to a smoother manoeuvre.

The reason I’ve written this is not so those of you who are wildly competent at things can roll your eyes at how much of a dill I am and feel good about yourself, lol. I’m writing this for those of you who are reading this, perhaps as a woman who is joining your partner in their lifelong dream on a boat. Things may feel daunting to you at first. Even simple tasks, so much so that you wonder if you’re meant to be a sailor.

Well, I want to say to you this. You’re not an idiot. You’re not failing if you make countless mistakes. You’re learning. We all learned to walk as babies by continually falling over. Each time it hurt. But each time we got up and tried again. Sailing and tasks on a boat are like that. Take each day as it comes and one day, you’ll look back like me, and discover how confident you’ve become.

Next week, the mainsail gets jammed out and we have to anchor!

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