Trip on Papalagi starting 2013-06-01 in BSAAug13
After practising our Day Skipper training over several BSA trips, and some additional teaching at Milford Haven, we were ready to set out on our own; under the sheltering oversight of an experienced flotilla leader.
We chose Yildiz Yachting from personal recommendation, and then noticed that BSA chartered "Dost" from them not long ago. Yildiz use experienced skippers, and Alan, the flotilla leader, was as salty an old sea dog as you will find. The boats were excellently prepared and equipped; others who had seen many flotilla boats said these were exceptional. There was even a mask and snorkel to swim under the keel and inspect your anchor placement. The flotilla, under the guidance of an experienced leader, followed a well-tried route. This meant that predictable problems were minimised and the few unpredictable ones swiftly resolved. One night, a mechanic from Yildiz met us (by motorcycle) at our overnight port and made a repair on the spot.
Papalagi had only four berths; which made room for a deck locker which took the dingy and all fenders with room to spare, and a bathroom including a drip-dry clothes hanging space. See
The evening restaurants would also provide breakfast and a pack-lunch, so apart from the kettle our galley remained unused. The VHF was set by default to a nominated "flotilla channel", and we used this to coordinate our arrival at each harbour, so that each time we were met by Alan ready to help us moor. When there was a little spare room and time, he took the trouble to coach anyone who wanted it on different methods of approaching and leaving a mooring.
The weather varied between "wonderfully sunny" and "excessively sunny", when the generous bimini was most appreciated. Winds were slack each morning, rising to Force 3-7 in the afternoon. We could not make use of all of the wind, as a large group needs to get berthed before the harbour-master might be pressured to give away the places he has agreed to hold. Arriving late could mean anchoring, and a paddle to supper, not something for pampered first-timers in a flotilla.
The roller-furling main and good condition of the rig meant we were rarely stressed despite being just the two of us. When things got too busy nearing harbour, we dropped the sail early and stowed "all those messy ropes" so we could concentrate on chart, compass, GPS, and the radio, and prepare warps and fenders.
The day that easy-jet fly Bristol-Bodrum did not match the flotilla date, so we had a night before in a lovely hotel; Seçkin Konaklar. At the other end of the week, Alan worked out a modified schedule so we returned a day early making two longer days while the others made the homeward passing in three days.
With one tricky spot, warily negotiating submerged rocks in the entrance to Knidos, and some interesting lunchtime anchoring, we had plenty of "learning experiences" but nothing scary. It was an excellent first solo trip, with interesting scenery and lovely weather.