Baz often says “the plans of sailors are written in the sand at low tide”. I think at the moment they’re written on decrees by politicians, worldwide.
There we were in Yalikavak, thinking about tootling around the coast of the Turkish province of Muğla as the current lockdown restrictions included no passing between provinces. We were happy with the plan as Muğla has many little bays that we could quite happily explore. We’d see lots of new sights and others could benefit when we added them to our Anchorages YouTube Series.
So we were eagerly planning to set sail for a nearby anchorage when we woke up on Tuesday morning to lots of messages from friends in Turkey, letting us know that the lockdown restrictions were being increased and tightened. There would be a complete lockdown (every day, not just at weekends). This basically meant that from Thursday at 5pm, we had to stay in one place, only allowed out to buy food (and the other usual necessities), until the end of Ramadan. And that was around three weeks long.
Quick change of plan
I grabbed a coffee using my electicity-free *Handpresso espresso machine. And Baz had a fizzy water (yes, he does drink liquid other than beer), and we sat down in front of his laptop to look at our options.
We ended up deciding on immediately heading further north to the nearest Setur marina where we could stay for free for 30 days as part of our marina contract. That would at least mean we wouldn’t have to worry about electricity, or water running out. Plus we’d have access to showers and toilets (so no worries about the holding tank overflowing).
Yes, it would mean crossing a couple of province boundaries to get to Kuşadası marina, but we figured if we explained why we were going there, any coast guard who stopped us would understand.
That was the plan.
Before we left Yalikavak though (and we were staying in a lovely small bay, Bahce), I needed to top up my Turkcell SIM card. It would run out during lockdown and I hadn’t worked out how to top up on the app which is in Turkish (obviously) and has too many options that I just can’t understand. Because from Thursday, Turkcell and other non-essential stores would be closed.
We took the dinghy and first of all spied out the fuel dock at the marina across the bay from us. Good thing too because usually you enter a marina to access the fuel dock. This one was accessed from outside of the long pontoon. We talked through how we’d tie up alongside, which I liked because I had the plan in my head as to which line to throw first, when to step off etc. There seemed to be another option and that was a long thin u-shaped dock with high walls where the fuel pumps were located. I didn’t like the look of that and was glad Baz had chosen the pontoon.
Next, we headed to the town quay and tied up the tender near the marina.
On the way into town we saw two of the smallest operational tug boats I’ve ever seen! They were so cute we decided we wanted one, but couldn’t work out where we’d stow it lol.
We found the Turkcell shop, had a little look around town and headed back to A B Sea.
Fuel dock dance
Not that it really felt like a dance while it was happening. The guy we were dancing with didn’t seem to know the steps. This is how it panned out.
The next morning, bright and early, we made our approach to the outside of the fuel dock which is on the outside pontoon of the marina. Unfortunately there was another yacht coming in from the opposite direction to us. The people on board the charter boat had obviously not been on a yacht before, you could tell that by the way the boat manoeuvred, how they didn’t know about throwing lines, his approach … all sorts of clues. I felt for them actually because being a noob sailor is not that much of a distant memory for me. (Although I don’t think Baz and I were ever that disorganised …?)
Before anyone stepped on anyone’s toes, the fuel guy told Baz to pull away. Baz made the instant decision that he was going into the ‘slot’.
No time to do it all
Baz was frustrated with the other boat, so I think he just wanted to get the fuelling over with. He ordered me to put the fenders down on the other side as well. And also to raise all of them (from waterline) to toe rail height.
“I need you to slow down,” I said fumbling with the individual clove hitches.
“I have no control of the boat if I slow down,” was Barry’s reply.
Fair enough. But I didn’t have time to do everything he asked of me and I was massively stressed at that point, which you can hear in my voice on the video. I could have asked him to do a big circle before entering the slot. I didn’t. I will next time I need more time though. That way he can support me to do what he needs me to do to support him. Lesson learned.
Anyway to my relief, I heard Baz say that there were lots of bumpers on either side of the slot so I could leave that and stand by the line to throw to the fuel guy.
fter that, everything went very smoothly. Baz drove in and stopped like a pro. I threw the lines like a pro. The fuel guy was very nice too and as we left he patted his chest with his hand three times, which seems to be a friendly gesture that a few Turks have made while we’ve been here.
Another change of plan
We’d had more thoughts since making our first plan. The one which made us revise our destination was that there was a strong possibility that the total lockdown could be increased to six weeks. If that happened, we’d run out of our thirty free days in Kuşadası and couldn’t afford to stay longer at marina prices. We also couldn’t stay at anchor for that long. If a bad weather front came in and we weren’t allowed to move to a more sheltered spot, we’d be in trouble.
So where did we decide to go?
Back to our home marina at Kaş. It was doable with 3 hops. The first to Knidos, the next, a 10 hour hop to Marmaris and the final hop of 13 hours would be to Kaş. It would mean coming back up the coast (again) after the lockdown, but going back to Kaş just felt right.
We arrived at Knidos as the sun was setting and anchored in the bay without incident. There were only a couple of other yachts anchored there, unlike the last time we’d looked when it had been so full that we’d seen a couple of boats with crossed anchor chains trying to sort out the problem.
It hadn’t been a long day, only six hours, but we felt as if we’d been going for longer. We decided on a quick snack for dinner and have an early night before the next day’s ten hour trip on our Mad Dash Back to Kaş!
Find out how we get on, and whether we even go to Marmaris, next week.
Until next week, I wish you health, wealth and courage, as you take the actions to bring your dreams to life.
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