As far as we know budgerigars are not native to Turkey, so you can imagine our surprise when one landed on the stainless steel of the cockpit bimini. We tried to encourage it to make friends, but it skittishly flew away as soon as my hand got near it. We hope it found its way home safely.
Finding the Goldilocks bay
As I said last week, the big bay at Didim was way too busy with water sports craft, day tripper boats and a loud cacophony of music emanating from several large beach bars. We decided to move on to the middle bay.
This bay had its own different set of annoyances. To be fair it was quiet during the day and the only water craft launching from the shore were windsurfers, paddle boarders and kayakers. It was all going well until the wind picked up a bit and the novice windsurfers found it difficult to steer and one or two actually collided with A B Sea and found themselves embarrassingly splashing around in the water.
This bay was also the playground for a speedboat towing screaming children behind it on various shaped inflatables. Its home beach was in the next bay along, beside the marina, but the driver loved to come and dodge and weave between the windsurfers and A B Sea just got included in the mix of floating things to zip past at a high rate of knots.
Eventually the sun headed towards the horizon and everyone packed up and went home. Ahhh peace and quiet at last. Not so fast there tiger.
The eastern end of this small bay features a plateau sitting atop some cliffs and as darkness fell it was lit up with a dazzling array of neon lights illuminating the many fairground rides. That's when the fun began.
From the first hint of darkness until sometimes 03:00 hrs the fairground pulsed out competing music with the various MC's touting the attractiveness of their ride. The customers climbed aboard the rides every 5 minutes or so and as soon as each ride started they collectively screamed at the top of their voices in what sounded like sheer terror.
After 3 nights of that I concluded that listening to the screeching sounds of terrified humans for 7 hours per night was not good for our unconscious minds, so we vowed to move to the smaller bay closer to the marina the following day.
This third bay is the most popular with yachts anchoring close to the conveniences of the marina, so finding a spot in the right depth of water was key. Luckily we had a good line of sight to the bay and as soon as we saw several yachts departing we upped anchor and slipped right into a comfortable empty slot.
Overall this bay was almost the most peaceful. As I mentioned, this bay was the home base of the speedboat towing screaming children behind it on various shaped inflatables. Fortunately he just zoomed out, headed for the middle bay to hoon around and then zoom back to his small dock to disgorge terrified kids and load up some more.
Surprisingly quite a few boats, mostly power cruisers, came out of the marina entrance just 300 metres (1,000 feet) away and anchored in the bay for the day, before heading back into the marina for the night.
We are always wary of people who anchor upwind from us, because it's often the case that they don't anchor properly and when the wind picks up in the afternoon we are concerned that they'll drag.
Fortunately we only had one such incident and the cruiser got so close I could read the newspaper sitting on his cockpit table. When I hailed him he seemed blissfully unaware that he'd dragged and was so close to us. He said "What should I do?" I said "pull your anchor up and go re-anchor." I didn't think that he'd take me literally.
I watched in disbelief as he did begin to bring up the anchor chain, but he hadn't even turned on his engine. I shouted and gestured to him to turn on the engine and he seemed to put two and two together and his hull just scrapped by ours with a hand width to spare. I was thankful to see that once he had his anchor up he slowly headed back into the marina.
15 days anchored at Didim
You may be asking yourself why we sat and suffered the noise, stress and crazy watercraft for 15 days and why we did not just up anchor and move on to pastures anew. Well it's a long answer and here's the timeline.
We first arrived at Didim on Monday the 12th of July and on Friday the 16th of July the Turkish coast guard came around in their rib checking the paperwork of all the anchored boats.
When they got to us and were checking our papers the guy indicated that our transit log had expired. That was news to us as we were under the impression that it was valid for 5 years. We now know that a foreign flagged vessel can remain in Turkish waters for 5 years before heading out for 24 hours and then re-entering Turkish waters to reset the 5 year clock. The transit log has to be renewed every 12 months.
Fearing a big fine Aannsha used her charm and asked "Would it be okay if we went into Atilla's office in the marina tomorrow and renewed the log?" He hesitated for a moment and then simply said, "Yes." That was a relief.
Saturday morning at 09:30 hrs I was in with Atilla and explaining what had gone on with the coast guard. He looked our paperwork over and said "Your transit log does not expire for another week." Phew, that was good news.
"As I am here already could you issue a new log now please?" I enquired.
Atilla nodded. "Sure no problem. Can I have you boat insurance documents please?"
I hesitated. "Ah, we're in the middle of changing from a UK insurer to a Turkish one. We're trying to get it issued, but as you know we are now in the Bayram holiday, so it might be difficult."
Atilla nodded again in a knowing way. "Yes it will be. No administration offices will be open for the next nine days. You'll have to wait at anchor until then."
With mixed feelings I went back to A B Sea and explained everything to Aannsha. She shrugged and said "I guess we'll just have to wait then."
Onwards to Kuşadasi
Finally on Tuesday 27th of July our insurance came through from Samet our agent in Finike, Atilla did wonders getting the new transit log issued and we could now make plans to continue our journey further north to Kuşadasi.
We looked at the wind prediction websites, it was a mixed bag, with the worst one showing that we could get big gusts coming straight from the north. We decided to up anchor the following morning at 03:00 hrs which would mean that we had a good chance to get to our next stop before the wind got out of bed.
We don't do much night sailing, so I found it quite interesting and slightly challenging navigating by following the chart and searching the coastline for the various marked navigation lights.
After an incident free trip and a beautiful sunrise we arrived at Kuşadasi marina just after 11:00 hrs. We tied up at the fuel dock to top up with diesel and pump out our black water. Then the super efficient and friendly marineros helped us get tied up at our berth.
After a quick visit to the office to show our boats papers and get pass cards to the shower blocks it was time for long hot Hollywood showers and then some chill time relaxing in the cockpit.
Until next week, stay safe and healthy.
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