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Aannsha’s Blog #191 – Mid-sea gin swap, and war games stop travel

Updated: Aug 14, 2021

What an excitement packed week we had this week! Also quite a bit of frustration.

You’ll remember that last week we left Göcek bay as it was impossible to find a place where Kev on his boat Barbara Ann and us on A B Sea could both go stern to and tie a line back to shore. It was very stressful and Baz pulled the pin on the idea.

We exited the bay and headed for our first choice of anchorage a few hours further north at Asi Koyu.

Gin exchange

As we travelled, we found out we were going to cross paths with our friend Jim on his boat Acheron. Jim was heading in the opposite direction to us. I’d picked up a couple of bottles of Orange Tanqueray gin for him in Kaş and he had some sugar free Schweppes tonic water for me.

So mid passage, Jim did a couple of passes and his crew member Dave exchanged bags with me. It was quite exciting to do that and we were glad to see our mate Jim, albeit for a very short time! Here we are doing the exchange.

Me getting another bottle ready to transfer on the boat hook.

Watching Jim on Acheron head onwards to Kaş , with his gin stash

Asi Koyu wasn’t viable

After a couple of hours we came to Asi Koyu. Kev went in close to shore and checked it out, but there was no evidence of a jetty. It could have been removed for winter or even destroyed by winter storms, and hadn’t been rebuilt yet. So we continued on to Ekincik which was the next practical anchorage available. The whole journey from Göcek took about eight hours and we were very happy when we eventually dropped anchor in the large bay of Ekincik, with lots of room to swing freely.

War Games

When we’d stayed at Karacaören a few days earlier, we’d heard lots of booming noises that initially we’d thought might have been an earthquake, but which we were told was the sound of live ammunition being fired off the coast. That was the first time we heard that the Turkish navy have war games around the same date, each year. Little did we know that a few days later it would impact on our travel plans.

We only intended to stay in Ekincik bay for one or two nights as we wanted to spend some time in Marmaris marina (as part of our contract). Kev had outboard motor issues and Marmaris a major hub where most yacht owners go with boat and motor problems.

We can’t leave!

On the morning of our planned departure from Ekincik, we heard from Kev (who was anchored closer to the entrance of the bay), that he had been turned back by the Turkish navy as they were still conducting their war games and would be for a few days. We were allowed to travel south east, but not west towards Marmaris. We could see a few large navy vessels lined up outside the bay, and they were evidently adamant that we couldn’t leave the bay.

Apparently the ‘games’ went from 8am until 5pm – give or take an hour either side, depending on which authority we spoke to (navy / coast guard). We decided to make and early start the following morning and skedaddle before the games began for the day.

However, as Baz and I nosed towards the bay’s entrance, following a few other yachts with the same idea, we kept hearing the same message on the VHF radio, “please return to Ekincik or travel south east to Fethiye.”

We’d just come from Fethiye and we didn’t want to back track. Baz followed another yacht out of the bay, hugging the shore, hoping to get through the ‘blockade’. But after a few minutes, we heard the navy guy on the VHF radio very politely telling the yacht in front of us to either return to Ekincik, continue south east to Fethiye, or travel 60 nautical miles south and then make a large square around the firing area if they wanted to head towards Marmaris.

There are obviously strict safety protocols that have to be followed. But at an average boat speed of 6nm an hour it doesn’t take a mathematician to work out how long that journey would take us. So very reluctantly, and not without a little frustration, Baz turned A B Sea back into Ekincik Bay.

Exploring Ekincik

Rather than sit stewing on A B Sea, we took the dinghy over to the jetty and explored the little village. We were accompanied by a very friendly dog (there’s always at least one in each village that likes to show us the sights), and we checked out the beach and the few, small mini marts which sold a basic provisions and alcohol. We picked up what we’d need until we could reprovision properly in Marmaris.

Evening escape into 25 knot wind

Our Turkish speaking friend Ruth had a long conversation with the navy and they said that we could leave Ekincik after 6pm. This would mean arriving into Marmaris in the dark which would be a big challenge. But the biggest concern for us was that every evening for the next few days the wind was forecast to pick up from the west from 5pm every day. This would give us the other challenge of heading into the wind for the duration of our journey.

With no other viable alternative A B Sea and Barbara Ann set off on the dot of 6pm and headed out towards Marmaris. It was a bumpy passage and at times the large waves slowed us right down to 3.5 knots, so our journey took four hours instead of three.

We had a good view of the setting sun and by the time we arrived into Marmaris bay darkness was falling.

Anchoring in darkness

Baz did an excellent job of navigating into the anchorage. If you haven’t sailed at night before, you may not realise how difficult it is to (a) see other vessels which are just black against black and (b) how confusing all of the lights on land can be when you’re trying to notice anchor lights on the top of yacht masts. It’s an experience.

Anyway, we worked well as a team and were glad we knew the anchorage. It was certainly a relief to drop anchor that night!

Day highlights great spot

The next morning Barry had a pleasant surprise to see just how well he’d judged distances, which is (c) another difficulty of anchoring in a busy bay at night.

Amazingly we were very close to Kev and when he upped anchor to move into Marmaris marina, we took his spot as he was in 8 metres and we were in 12m.

There is always something new to learn or experience in this lifestyle. Nothing can be taken for granted, but when you work together as a team, it is amazing what you can accomplish.

I’m thinking life is generally like that at the moment too.

To watch the YouTube episode that accompanies this blog just click here.

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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