Mother nature keeps teasing us with the occasional warm, sunny, windless day and I assume (wrongly) that spring has sprung and that we're at the end of the northern hemisphere winter weather. Then mother nature reminds us that we're only at the end of March as the temperature drops once again and the wind has a bite that cuts through, almost to the bone.
But spring is definitely in the air. As we sail around the Turkish coastline I notice changes in the flora on the hills. Things look more vibrant and there are subtle hints of small yellow flowers appearing on the low scrub like bushes. These bushes will, in the next few weeks, produce vast amounts of yellow pollen, so much pollen in fact that it will lay huge swathes of yellow tint across the surface of the sea. Small amounts of that pollen is already beginning to float in the air because I can see deposits of it on our solar panels.
I also notice the changing season from a technical viewpoint. As the world turns and tilts and every day the sun climbs higher in the sky I notice a gradual change in the input graph from our solar power system. The sun higher in the sky also means the sea will be warming up too. Right now it's too cold for me to even consider dipping my toes in the water, which is kind of frustrating when we're anchored in pristine bays with crystal clear water. The summer is not far away and soon the big pool in our back yard will be open for splashing around in.
But I digress, let's get into talking about this week's episode as we depart our anchorage at Gemiler and move to a berth in the Setur marina at Marmaris, called Netsel marina.
See you later Gemiler
After sitting out Turkey's weekend travel restrictions, Monday dawned clear and still and we were up before the sun and just in time to watch the almost full moon disappear behind the low hills surrounding our anchorage next to Gemiler island.
With a plan to come back and explore the island later in the year we brought up our anchor and pointed the bow of A B Sea north west in the direction of Marmaris.
It was another day of motoring because there was no wind, but we had to move because ironically there was a big wind expected from the north the following day. It was a wind that would be too strong for us to feel safe sailing in and we didn't want to stay another night at Gemiler with its poor Internet connection.
After an uneventful 8 hour trip we arrived at the entrance to the Marmaris Setur marina and made radio contact with the marineros for assistance with berthing. The Setur marina group has a great app which makes booking in to stay at the other marinas in the group very, very easy. The app works great but the system fails when it gets to the human part of the operation.
All of A B Sea's details are recorded in the app system and after putting in your arrival and departure dates you get an email confirming your reservation. With a 12 month Setur marina contract we're allowed to stay for free for up to 30 days at each of the other Setur marinas.
As I slowed A B Sea almost to a standstill just inside the marina entrance, I watched two marineros get into their dinghy, do a quick 360 degree look around A B Sea to size her up prior to deciding which berth she'd fit into. Then they asked "How long are you staying? Just one night?"
Bemused that they had no prior knowledge of our arrival, nor the dimensions of A B Sea or the length of our stay I replied "We're here for one week." A slight pause for thought and they said "Follow us."
Watching them head off down one of the marina fairways I noted how narrow the fairways were compared to the huge ones at Kaş marina. I decided to spin A B Sea around in the reasonably sized entrance area and reverse towards our berth, knowing that I could use our bow thruster at the end of the manoeuvre to quickly swing our bow around.
Reversing down the tight fairway also revealed another challenge. The slime lines (lazy lines) angling down from the bows of the berthed vessels on either side meant I had to stay right on the centre line to ensure that our keel bulb didn't snag on any of them. How we missed the last slime line as I turned into our berth will forever remain a mystery.
The final part of the manoeuvre involved slowing A B Sea down to a stop so we didn't crash into the concrete pontoon, whilst throwing a line to the marinero on the pontoon and keeping an eye on the other marinero who was taking his time attaching the slime line to our bow cleat and I thought I'd pulled it off flawlessly until I heard a smashing crunching sound.
I looked down and noted that our swim platform was still a good 30cm (12 inches) away from the pontoon. Next I looked at the marinero who'd caught my thrown stern line and was firmly pulling us to one side. He wasn't looking at our line and I followed his gaze over and upwards. On the edge of the pontoon was a metal pole with two plastic fire sound and light alarm fittings. Our port side davit arm had squarely taken one of them out and it was now dangling by its wires. I apologised to the marinero who didn't seem to care too much about the whole thing.
With our lines finally all secured we thanked the marineros as they jumped back into their dinghy and disappeared back to their office. The narrow fairways meant that all vessels were tied back really close to the edge of the pontoon which meant that there was no need to deploy our passerelle as we could simply step off our swim platform and onto the pontoon. That was a welcome bonus.
We were now in Marmaris for a week and we had a list of boat bits we wanted to buy from the many local chandlers. It looked like our free stay in Marmaris was going to cost us a lot.
Until next week, stay safe wherever you are in the world.
To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.