Dropping our anchor is the same but different every time we do it. The physics is always the same, but the variables are many.
Arriving at Datça our plan had been to anchor in the middle of the south bay and swing free and that's what we did. These days it's a simple manoeuvre even with the wind gusting to 20 knots. You can see the bay in more detail in the *Turkish waters and Cyprus pilot guide which is one of the sources we refer to when we’re planning a passage. Here are a few other *books we recommend:
Immediately after snubbing the anchor chain Aannsha completes the ship's log with time of arrival, water depth, chain amount and various other details.
My first job is to get our cameras below, remove the batteries and set them charging, then begin downloading the footage to various folders on our storage hard drive. Arriving at Datça this is exactly what we did, then Aannsha began making a light lunch.
The ding of a text message coming in made us both raise a curious eyebrow. It was a message from Ismail on his yacht Wanda explaining that the town quay was free (at the moment) and if we wanted to move there, he'd happily catch and secure our stern lines. We'd certainly have more protection from the predicted northern winds that were due to blow for the next two days, so we decided to take up the offer.
Reversing stern to onto Datça town quay involved a lot of variables and unfortunately we didn't film it because footage was still downloading from the cameras SD cards and the batteries were still charging.
Med mooring should go like this. Pick your spot on the quayside and reverse towards it. Based on the water depth and the amount of chain you have available, decide when to drop your anchor while still reversing to make sure you reach the quay with some chain left in the locker but close enough so that the stern lines can be caught and the passerelle deployed.
The variables at Datça that day included winds now gusting to 25 knots directly onto our starboard side. Our anchor chain's desire to want to jump off the gypsy because I was reversing faster than it was deploying. An abrupt shallowing from 3m (10ft) to 1m (3ft) at the edge of the quay. Our rudder depth is 1.6m (5ft) and it's set far back at the stern.
The first attempt was aborted after a gust of wind blew us too far out of line from where our anchor was and we ended up at a crazy angle which left us wide open to someone else coming in and crossing our anchor and chain with theirs. That's not a scenario you want to deal with.
We weren't happy with our second attempt either as that's when I discovered the abrupt shallowing at the quayside. We scraped some antifoul paint from the bottom edge of our rudder.
We got in on the third go, mostly due to the fact that we got a small break in the wind gusts and I managed our speed of approach a bit better.
With our stern lines secured and the slack taken up on our anchor chain, A B Sea was now firmly held in place from three points of a triangle.
A big thank you to Ismail for his patience, persistence and effort in helping us finally get the job done. Having a helping hand to take stern lines in invaluable, so if you ever see a yacht reversing towards a town quay, stop and lend hand in catching their lines, they'll thank you for it.
Leaving a med mooring is so much simpler. With the engine on, the stern lines are slipped simultaneously and the weight of the taut anchor chain wanting to oblige gravity pulls the boat forward and away from the quay. The chain and anchor are then brought up and secured in the usual fashion. You can see a fine example of this manoeuvre in this week's video.
We motored out of Datça south bay with the strong northern winds of the last few days now a fading memory. Ahead of us lay a 27.5nm trip to a bay called Akcali. The morning was calm and windless and we had our fingers crossed that the predicted 12 knots of wind would arrive and we could get our sails out.
Along the way we passed the ancient anchorage of Knidos just before rounding the headland and heading north east. This is where we expected the predicted wind. It didn't arrive. In fact the whole day was super calm with only a slight subsiding swell in some parts, reminding us that the power of the previous big winds was still having an effect on the sea.
As we cruised along with the Turkish coast off our starboard side, various Greek islands came into view on our port side. First the unspoilt Tilos with a permanent population of just 780. Next Nisyros, with its sleeping volcano that last erupted between 1881 and 1887. Then Giali with its abundant pumice deposits which are mined in huge quantities from open cut mines clearly visible from the sea. Finally the big island of Kos, rich with Greek and Roman landmarks, loomed into view. All of them so close and yet so far away in these strange times we find ourselves living right now.
Now heading almost directly east we covered the last few nautical miles and entered Akcali bay (Murdal Koyu). What a pleasant surprise. In reality the bay was a lot bigger than it looked on the charts, plenty of room for dozens of visiting yachts to anchor and swing freely.
The other bonus was the very large areas of shallow water (4 - 5m (13 - 16ft)) with a sandy bottom. Being the only tourists in town (there actually isn't a town) we had it all to ourselves. Anchoring was easy and within 15 minutes of arrival we were enjoying a cool drink on deck and soaking in the peace and tranquillity.
The bay is wide open to the north, but winds were predicted from the south, so it was perfect for us to overnight. As I said there isn't a town, in fact there are no facilities on shore at all. There is what looks like a resort of some sort but we couldn't see any movement there.
We will visit this bay again and enjoy some swimming in the crystal clear water, take the dinghy ashore and explore along the bay. But that's a story for another time.
Until next week stay healthy and safe wherever you are.
To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.
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