I've rewritten the start of this blog half a dozen times because I make some statements that might offend some people. This version is the best I can do to explain my thoughts and feelings.
Extrovert turned introvert
If asked, I would say that I'm not really cut out for marina life. I've become an introvert, which is a really odd thing because I was a DJ for 20 years and I was definitely an extrovert during that time.
These days I like solitude, I enjoy my own company and I love the tranquillity of a peaceful anchorage.
On the other hand marina life for me means living in close proximity to neighbours on all sides and saying hello to many people every day. Sometimes trying to find my own space is a challenge in the marina environment. That may sound antisocial but it's not meant to be taken that way.
We do have a small and close group of friends in the marina that we like to hang out with, share meals and have great conversations. But my mind, heart and soul are always hungry for living at anchor, enjoying the solitude, peace and quiet and having the freedom to head for the horizon at a moment's notice just to see what's over there.
During the Mediterranean winter only the most diehard sailors will live at anchor and with everything I've said above, there's no doubt in my mind that the best place to winter is in a marina.
The benefits are obvious; long hot Hollywood showers, normal toilets, shore side electricity and water, easy supermarket shopping, buying boat bits and access to shore side technical help and most importantly a safe place to hide from the savage winter storms.
But the reality for me is that I'm not cut out for marina life. I really do prefer living at anchor. This realisation was brought home this week as we finally were able to slip the lines and go somewhere else. Ironically our destination was Finike marina just 6 hours to the east of Kaş.
With our 12 month Setur marina contract there's a bonus that we can stay for up to 30 days at each of the other Setur marinas in the group. If we were able to max that usage it would total 270 days of free stay time and we'd only spend 95 days at our 'home base' marina. We'd have to sail really hard and fast to max out our free stay time, that's why Setur can offer this bonus with confidence that it can never be fully utilized.
Now that A B Sea was ship shape after the extensive and prolonged maintenance jobs we'd done on her over winter it was time to blow off the cobwebs and do a proper shakedown cruise.
We deliberately chose a windless day to make the 6 hour trip to Finike because we wanted to test our engine after the top end rebuild, the installation of the new turbo unit and the new starter motor and solenoid.
It was a perfect day. The blue sky was completely cloudless and with no wind it was pleasantly warm for the end of February. The engine performed flawlessly and I periodically went below to monitor all the systems and made sure that our alternator was supplying electrical power to our battery banks. We're now confident that A B Sea is ready for what we have planned for this summer.
We've headed east from Kaş plenty of times previously but our destination had always been the picturesque and well protected anchorages of Kekova. This time we were heading further east.
Along the way we pointed the nose of A B Sea into the small isolated bay on the outside of Kekova island. It's an anchorage that we'd heard stories about from sailors who spoke highly of it as a small but peaceful anchorage. At this time of the year we were quite surprised to see a yacht and a catamaran rafted up with lines ashore at the head of the bay.
During the summer months it's a popular destination for many day tripper boats and the tranquillity is obliterated by loud music and loud tourists. As an added bonus there's a good chance that someone will snag your anchor because the bay is so narrow. So if you're in the area then we recommend checking out this spot outside of the busy season.
We headed back out of the bay and continued east. Leaving the Kekova area behind us we next passed the huge and unfinished marina just to the west of Demre. We had planned to stick our nose in there too, but as we neared the entrance a very slow moving tug boat towing dredging equipment on a large barge decided to head in. Not wanting to hang around and wait for the entrance to be unobstructed we continued on.
We've travelled up and down the coast road in this area many times by car and it was interesting to see familiar places and landmarks from off shore. As we neared Finike the first thing we spotted was the fish farms and the attendant vessels. One small boat carrying freshly harvested fish headed into Finike marina ahead of us as we positioned ourselves for a straight run at the marina entrance.
As the marina looked deceptively small on our chart we decided to radio the marineros from just outside the entrance. That way we could be sure of getting to our berth on the first go and not need to do any fancy manoeuvring in a tight spot.
Finike marina is quite shallow, especially compared to Kaş. Average depths are around 4 metres (12 feet) and there are a few very shallow spots which needed avoiding. The big surprise was the width of the fairways which are quite generous given the relatively small size of the marina overall.
The highly efficient marinero guided us to our berth on C pontoon and with the assistance of two sailors that we knew from catamaran Boomerang taking our stern lines, we easily tied up without issue, even though we had 17 knots of wind which picked up on our final approach to the marina.
Next week I'll tell you more about Finike marina and the surrounding area, until then stay safe and take it easy.
To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.