Turkey ~ Sailing
We’ve always wanted to experience sailing in the Mediterranean Sea.
With no near term trip across the Atlantic on Reach in our future, we jumped at the chance to visit Lizz & Charlie on Kaya in her current cruising grounds in SW Turkey.
Reach and Kaya have sailed together on and off since 2010! Although we both left in 2008 for cruising, we somehow missed each other in the Bahamas and finally crossed paths in the Grenadines.
As often happens, we met up again along the way in various anchorages and countries, until pausing in paradise for a few years in the San Blas, Panama… . (then & now).
Since those days, we each have upgraded to the “2.0” versions of our cruising catamarans (Manta 40/42 -> Dolphin 460; Catana 401 -> Catana 431, respectively).
Although our paths have taken different directions in recent years, the goal is to one day share an anchorage again!
Some expectations of Mediterranean cruising were accurate: crowded marinas, picturesque towns, history everywhere … while others were somewhat debunked: all or no wind, no fish in the sea (not many game fish, but plenty of blennies!)... along with some noteworthy surprises: med-mooring and the food.
After long but uneventful travel days, we arrived at the marina in Turgutreis on the Aegean Sea. After our first of many wonderful Turkish breakfasts, we set sail for Knidos.
This island is a unique intersection of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas on either side of the harbor! Here was our first med-mooring experience…
This island has Greek and Roman ruins dating back to 400 BC. When we relate our history in the USA, 200 years seems old. Here the historical periods are 2000 years old.
It felt amazing to be sailing again! We all took our turns at the helm and admired the new sails and rigging on Kaya. Our entire trip had very favorable winds in the mid-teens, only occasionally lighter. We also had plenty of downwind legs to put the spinnaker up.
One pleasant surprise about our sailing was the calm seas. It may not always be the case, but it made for smooth and speedy sailing.
The meltemi winds, striking winds powering across the terrain, were a preconception before coming. We were mostly spared these with the exception of some strong side winds while med-moored. When the wind picked up from the side we would put out a second line to shore for backup.
Speaking of med-mooring, this was a big eye opener. I knew that the crowded marinas would require this stern-tie configuration to fit more boats in; however I didn’t realize that most anchorages also required it.
The main reason it is hard to free anchor in the depths and topography of the sea bed. Most bays are deep slopes all the way to shore. If you anchor on the slope any wind shift would easily lift your anchor right off of the bottom.
The other reason to med-moor is for the crowds. We were stunned at how many boats could line up packed like sardines on the shorelines, many of them gulets with charter guests and day travelers going out for a swim.
The good news was that by evening, the crowds always thinned out. We were definitely there at high season in August.
To med-moor, you must anchor or moor at the bow with your stern facing towards shore. Then you secure two lines at the stern to the shore at wide angles to limit side movement.
It was Charlie’s job to swim the lines to shore to tie them to a rock or tree.
All of this wasn’t as easy as it might seem. Getting the scope right, avoiding swing in side-winds and avoiding sea urchins were just a few tricks to be learned. Other hazards included rope chafe and rat guards needed to be added to be prudent.
When we saw the local gulets adding rat guards, we decided this would be a good place to do the same… we didn’t see any rats, but we did see a killer black rabbit!
It was great to be cruising again!
Days slip by in the familiar routine of sailing to the next destination, cooling off with a swim/snorkel, eating lunch followed by chill out time (aka nap time), snorkeling and critter hunt, shower on the stern, happy hour with snacks, planning the next day’s route, and dinnertime… as always with a few boat projects sprinkled in.
Meeting up with [new] cruising friends and buying goodies from boat vendors is also a universal part of life on the water.
Making stops along the Carian and Lycian coasts, the weeks flew by and before we knew it, the four of us were on a plane heading inland for more adventures.