Aannsha’s Blog #205 – Bitez Bay to Söğüt

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

Baz and I woke very early the morning we were departing Bitez Bay for Söğüt. We’d hardly had any sleep the night before, what with several bars on shore blaring out different types of music loudly and long into the wee hours. Then Baz was disturbed several times by some hungry mozzies (mosquitoes) wanting his blood. And because I’d known we had an early start, I awoke at stupid o’clock, longing for more sleep but unable to stop the old brain once it started ticking over.


By 6.15am we were chugging out of the anchorage which we decided would be worth visiting outside of the busy summer season. It looks quite pretty and we would like to go ashore to explore.


We were treated to a spectacular sunrise with the red orange ball of warmth rising slowly behind the low dark hills, shedding its deep yellow light over the calm, violet-pink water. That was definitely worth getting up early for. Nature at its best.


Staying in the correct zone


Along the way we skirted very close to the border between Greece and Turkey. We kept a close eye on the red border line on the chart plotter to ensure we stayed in Turkish waters. We’re glad we did because as we continued around the Greek island of Kos at the appropriate distance, two Greek coast guard vessels headed out in our direction. At one point they crossed behind us to our port quarter which, on our chart, took them into Turkish waters. Naughty boys! They stayed there for a while, obviously observing us, and then when we were far enough away, they went and stopped at a dog leg point along the red border line.


Variable wind but a good speed!


The wind decided to play with us. It was generally really helpful and we got some good speeds with the engine on – as we were on a ten hour journey to Söğüt and couldn’t afford to trust just to sail power. However, we did achieve our maximum hull speed of 9 knots which was very exciting. At some point the wind dropped, coming from around 35 degrees, so we put our flogging headsail away and kept the main out. The wind picked up again so out came the headsail and it was enough to give us an extra knot or so of SOG (speed over ground) than by motor alone.


Taking a chance


As we approached the north of the Greek island of Simi, we noticed a few vessels transiting Greek waters in both directions, some apparently coming from Turkey. Wanting to shave off as much time from our passage as we could, we decided to brave it as well. We reckoned if we were caught by more Greek coast guards we’d say we thought we had right of passage to transit. Our little short cut was uneventful, and we eventually found ourselves turning into the long bay located south west on the peninsular from Marmaris.


We headed right to the very end of the bay where the little town of Söğüt is situated and, sails away, motored towards the jetty of the highly recommended Keçi Bükü restaurant.


Tying up to the jetty with 30 knot gusts


Life is rarely dull on board A B Sea, and as we approached the jetty the wind decided it would blast us with some 30 knot gusts, right on the beam. We’ve included quite a lot of footage from this because it shows how tricky it was and how helpful the three guys from the restaurant were.


Baz did a great job manoeuvring in less than ideal conditions, with the assistance of these fellows, who, like most people, don’t understand one very important thing:


Our Gori folding prop will not slow us down if we go from reverse straight into forward.


That is the traditional way of coming to a stop in a yacht and with most props it is straightforward. However with our Gori, if you slam it from reverse into forward it thinks you want to go into overdrive, so it idles forward at the speed of a snail. So when we are reversing onto a pontoon with wind gusting, it is very difficult. Baz did an awesome job in my opinion. Given the fact that there’s no quick way to explain in Turkish, “We can’t slow it down out of reverse into forward, because it’s a Gori folding prop.” But I have to say, Barry did some great hand gestures to show what he meant. Unfortunately though, it might as well have been sign language to the blind.


Anyhoozle, Sabre and his father were still outstanding given they probably thought we were noobs and helped us get tied stern to fairly quickly given the conditions. They then went out of their way to say “Welcome” and explain where the restaurant, showers and toilets were. They also offered free water, electricity and wifi which we thought was very generous.


Five stars for Keçi Bükü


The showers were wonderful, hot and powerful. And the food in the restaurant that evening, OMG, it was beautifully presented, cooked to perfection and the waiter service was as good as any five star restaurant I’ve eaten at (not that I’ve eaten at many).


We had mixed mezes and both chose the swordfish as mains, washed down with a good bottle of white wine. Although most people eating there chose to dine at the tables set out on the boardwalk style jetty, Baz and I decided to eat inside as the wind was still gusting. And to be honest, we were so tired, we just wanted to be in a nice quiet space.


Not enough fuel


We’d wanted to head to Karacaören the following day and Kaş the next. But after I calculated how much fuel we had left, we decided against it. We would probably just make it if we used the spare diesel in the jerry cans, but that would leave us no margin of error if we got into difficulties.


Our plans changed, with us deciding to head to Marmaris for an overnight stop before heading out on a 13 hour journey to Kaş. What was our eagerness to get back to Kaş? We only had two weeks left of our marina contract there and we wanted to say goodbye to our friends properly and do a few minor jobs before heading down to Finike marina which was to be our winter home.


That’s it for this week peeps, if you’d like to see our journey from Bitez to Keçi Bükü in Söğüt, then check out this week’s video 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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