Trip on Nautical Dreams starting 2011-06-21 in BSA-extraJuly11

Nautical Dreams, Gocek, TurkeyMap. 21-28 June 2011 – report by Sue Fowle

Skipper -Peter Wakeling, crew - Phil Steele, Bernard Smyth, Jo Ferguson, Sylvia Clamp and Sue Fowle.

A weeks sailing on a Bavaria 42 cruiser was booked via Setsail a small family company. Nautical Dreams is sailed regularly by her owners so was well equipped and very well maintained. The handover to Peter and Phil was very comprehensive and happened whilst the rest of the crew went to victual the boat at the local Carrefour. Quite a challenge due to our lack of Turkish - peanut butter CAN look like honey and shopping by committee is always time consuming but eased by a glass of tea. However the whole experience was helped by a very comprehensive shopping list drawn up by Sylvia our onboard domestic goddess. As supplies for boat or crew were not necessarily available each day so victualing had to be planned carefully.

After a weather briefing we decided to sail east to Kas and Kekova Roads - a round trip of over 150 miles with a long day each way to reach safe haven. This meant 2 days of motoring along the mountainous coast past the Seven Capes, notorious for turbulent seas and strong winds. An early start was the Pilot Guide's recommendation (we left KasMap at dawn, 05.00)

Despite winds on the stern most of the week we managed to reach Kekova Roads with anchorages some nights, others in harbours or on restaurant pontoons. As happens winds increased from lunchtime onwards so we got two good afternoon sails close hauled with winds of F5/6 and reaching 7 knots. Everybody got the opportunity to do anchoring, mooring up and helming as well as navigation of some tricky passages between islands and shallow submerged reefs.

Apart from one night when we ate onboard we had our evening meals ashore - sometimes collected by the restaurant tender driven by a young son or daughter, fluent in several languages and one 15 year old boy able to entertain us by playing the violin. We seemed to receive very personal service often waking to complimentary fresh bread and a bag of fruit and vegetables on deck. One day even the current copy of The Times arrived - The Guardian must have been delayed that morning! Our hopes of an extended trip were raised by the reporting of another Icelandic ash cloud but sadly it blew away! Meals of many fresh meze starters followed by fish of lamb main courses, dessert with wine or beer cost about £15. Lunch we made ourselves and usually ate it anchored in a bay with the opportunity for swims in the clear water. Note some bays have submerged fresh water springs and the water is very cold there!

From Kas we had the opportunity to visit the Greek island of Kastellorizon - just over a mile off the Turkish coast - where the atmosphere and architecture were very different. The welcome was just as warm however and two paces took us from our boat to the restaurant table!

There were not many yachts out sailing so although the harbours were busy it was mainly due to the number of gulets moored up. Close up, on the helm of our 42 footer, they were somewhat intimidating with bowsprit and gangplank protruding from the stern with dingy attached as well. One occasion when our departure coincided with the arrival of two Super Gulets we proved to be good spectator sport for the passengers.

We had few problems on the boat - the clutch on the anchor jammed on mooring one evening but the company, Portway Marine, arrived within little more than an hour to sort it out, we dragged the anchor one lunchtime necessitating a heroic swim by Jo for the line made fast to a rock ashore, some close shaves over uncharted reefs when depths went from 28m to 1.7m in seconds- reverse was rapidly engaged by the helmswoman, oh and the (boys!) heads got blocked!

Generally we were impressed by the service we received in the marina in Gocek where the brand new facilities put our UK ones to shame. The sailing area was varied with islands and bays at the start and turning of our route as well as enough places for lunchtime R&R even on the long haul days. The Turkish people made us feel very welcome and were always courteous and helpful. The area is very historic and we had opportunities to visit sites on several days including the spectacular castle at Kale Koy, ancient Lycian towns, a Hellenic temple and Roman amphitheatres. The port of Kalkan was a great surprise after the rather rustic tumbledown villages we had been to before, there has been tremendous development of very upmarket tourist facilities, very chic and trendy, to capture some of the new wealth of Russians and other east Europeans. We all found our own niche in the crew and worked well together. Thank you Peter for taking the lead on organising the trip. Your attention to detail is impressive even if strongly assisted by the current app on your iphone!! We discovered there is an app for everything! Well there are 350,000 to choose from!

Thoroughly recommend Setsail for future charters.

Gocek, Turkey  36.7478,28.9418
Kas  36.198,29.6414