Marmaris to Ayvalik
Trip Start May 09, 2011
4Trip End Oct 14, 2011
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MARMARIS TO AYVALIK
Left Marmaris mid morning and motored out along the peninsula before turning north to Pedi bay at Symi to stock up on essential Greek supplies. Red wine and pork chops. Spent the night at Pedi with only 8 boats in the bay. Three were NZ boats, 3 Australian (1 an ex NZ boat, Kiwi Spirit), 1 Dutch and 1 German. Can't get away from Anzacs in this part of the world.
A 6 am start and motored until the eastern end of Kos when a 16 knot northerly came up so tacked out the channel between Kos and Bodrum and up the western Bodrum peninsula to the charming little Turkish settlement of Gumusluk. A good shake down for KV. Unfortunately Bruce’s knot tying skills did not pass muster and one of the lines holding the lazy bag (the bag along the boom that the mainsail drops into when lowered) came untied and ended up halfway up the mast. As Bruce has an absolute phobia of heights yours truly had to don the bosuns chair and retrieve the offending rope. Not a problem except that he base of the bosuns chair is very slippery and it took considerable effort not to slip forward and be suspended by the crotch strap, and therefore do myself a rather delicate injury.
We were aware that strong northerlies were forecast for the following day so made a dash for as far up the coast as we could manage in the day. Arrived at Sigacek marina at 7.45 pm after a 80 miles of motor sailing. The only highlight was watching Turkish armed forces helicopters target practising on the coastal slopes near Sigacek. Whole hillsides painted with various targets.
The winds arrived during the night and they were cold. We were very pleased to be tucked up in the marina. Sigacek was once a lovely sleepy village, but all that has now changed with the arrival of the very upmarket marina. Apparently built to attract the increasing wealth of the nearby city of Izmir. A Scottish couple arrived in the marina in the late afternoon and declared in a most delightful Scottish accent, 'we battled all day against big seas and strong winds only to be shot down by bloody Turks playing war games.’ We only saw the prelim the day before. A full scale ‘war’, troops landing on the shore etc. was happening as they made their way up the coast.
And still windy so we took the local dolmus (minibus) to the nearby town of Siferihiza for the market day. Great fun with superb fruit, veg, olives, nuts etc. Bruce even managed to find himself a couple of pairs of warm socks, big enough to fit his large feet, for only $3. The afternoon we walked to the nearby ruins of the ancient Ionian city of Teos. Not in great repair but parts of the ancient fortified walls and the Acropolis are clearly visible. Early that evening a local Turk spotted our NZ flag and after showing us over his own yacht insisted we join him for the evening at a local restaurant. It transpired he is a well known Turkish yachtsman who has recently completed a circumnavigation in his beautiful little 26 foot wooden yacht using no modern aides (GPS etc). He also studied economics in London where he met his NZ ‘blood brother’ so we spend the evening talking Turkish politics and the beauty of NZ. An enjoyable evening. The website of his travels, if interested , is www.kayitsiz.com.
The wind eased slightly in the afternoon so we sailed across Sigacek Bay and turned up the coast to spend the evening at Sarpdere Limani , a lovely bay with crystal clear water and only a very small tourist settlement at the head of the bay. The coastline is now getting greener and in places looks very NZ like.
Another long day of motor sailing north, although we did have a lovely sailing breeze for the last 4 hours. We spent the evening at Bademli, a secluded inlet between the mainland and a couple of islands.
Our pilot book mentioned hot springs on the shoreline opposite where we anchored so in the morning we thought we should check them out. Although the water was hot the makeshift pools on the shoreline were full of leaves and algae. Not at all inviting. So we wondered amongst the olive groves before upanchoring and motoring the 20 miles for Ayvlaik. A stunning area, which could easily be mistaken for anywhere in NZ, except for the style of the buildings. The town and the smaller village of Alibey are on the shore of a large enclosed area known as ‘the lake’. We arrived mid afternoon, after entering through a narrow buoyed channel, topped up the diesel tank at the local marina, then spent the evening anchored in a beautiful secluded bay with pine trees growing down to the waters edge
Thought we should check out the towns on the edge of the ‘lake’ so entered the little fishing harbour of Avlik and tied off beside the fishing boats. The buildings here are very Greek as this area was occupied by Greece until the 1920’s when the Turkish/Greek exchange occurred . The back streets of Ayvlik stlll retain a very Greek feel with donkeys and carts transporting goods. Greek Orthodox churches, now converted to mosques , with minuets built beside them appear rather odd. We had to try a Ayvik ‘toste’ for lunch. A thick toasted sandwich filled with salami, cheese, pickle, mayonnaise and tomato. Very tasty. Apparently the town is well known throughout Turkey for ‘toste’s’.
Now that we are further north we are appreciating the greener landscape. All the areas we have cruised up until now have been very arid or rocky. One disappointing feature of the coastline from Bodrum north has been the large number of resort developments that have obviously been built within the last 5 years or so. Anywhere there is a beach there is row upon row of square boxes, mainly white, covering the hillsides. The western end of Bodrum peninsula is the worst. Completely covered with white houses. There are also a number of new, expensive marinas popping up along the coastline. Western Turkey is changing rapidly as the country becomes increasingly affluent. It will be interesting seeing the eastern areas when we venture along the Black Sea coastline.