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The Adventures of LeeZe: High Winds from Bitez to Kusadasi (BLOG)

Lee and Zeha visit with old friends along the coast only to realize how small the world actually is. Lee also witnesses an exchange between a French and Turkish captain involving police and black water.

September 5, 2013

So before I discuss our move from Bitez today, I trust many of you remember the Disney song, It's A Small World. I ask that you hum a few bars and then continue reading. (I apologize in advance if you somehow cannot get that song out of your head for the next few days.)

At about 0945 yesterday, I get a phone call from a friend, Recep, from Vienna telling me he read my latest blog and wanted to pass on the phone number of a person we both use to work with, Paul. Some years ago, I wrote a letter to Paul at the only address I had and it took a year to learn that he no longer lived there. So, I called. We were both quite happy to have finally reconnected. Paul, Recep and I worked together in Ankara from 1993-96. Somehow we lost touch and now, 17 years later here we are catching up.

Zerah and I (in white) are joined by long lost friend Paul and his wife Elaine.

Zehra and I (in white) are joined by long lost friend Paul and his wife Elaine.

Where does Paul now live? About 500 meters from where we are currently anchored. It is a small world after all. The 4 of us, (Paul and Elaine, Zehra and me) sat down at a restaurant to catch up on 17 years of news. And to think that had I not posted the blog early, Recep would not have read it, remembered that Paul was in the same town, and hooked us up together. Thank you Recep!

Today, we moved on to Gumusluk, because the weather broke, the wind died down somewhat, and per the forecast, the seas were not to be too bad.

It is a 3-hour run to Gumusluk and when we got there, the place is crowded as any anchorage we have been to so far. Needless to say, it takes a few minutes to find a place to drop the hook. Zehra was here yesterday by car and told me that it was the place was empty, but not today. We did try to get to the pier but the place is too small to fit so we move back to the anchorage.

The day is calm and fair, and so, the ladies relax but toward dusk, a chill sets in and it appears that shorts and t-shirts will no longer be enough.

Ashore we found the restaurants displaying the appetizers, fish and desserts they have available. There is also a local covered bazaar where local artists can come and make /sell their latest creations. And finally, a restaurant that modified some fishing baskets to light up their waterfront dining area.

We plan to be here a few days because after tomorrow, the winds pick up again.

September 11, 2013

So, we spent a few days in Gumusluk and yesterday there was a break in the weather and high winds, so we got underway for Turkbuku. Zehra says this is Turkey's Riviera. The ladies had visited Yalikavak, Gundogan, Turkbuku and Torba by car (Thanks Mesut!) when it was windy. Based on that, Turkbuku looked like the best place to anchor and be protected from the winds from the North. The NOAA Grib report forecasted a good day yesterday with a swell that would be tolerable, and for the most part, it was.

The covered shopping bazaar.

The covered shopping bazaar.

We arrived Turbuku at about 1330. Our cruise was delayed because the dive boat next to me may have dropped their anchor chain over mine, and since they were SCHEDULED to get underway at 1000, I thought it would be prudent to let them go first. How stupid of me to think that in Turkey, things happen on schedule! They depart 1035, and we left at 1040.

Before I forget, I personally witnessed the following event, which I must share. While in Gumusluk, there was a loud and boisterous argument on the dock near a French flagged sailing vessel. Within a short period of time, the Zabita (Municipal Police) were involved and after maybe 30-45 minutes, it all dies down, or so it appeared.

The wind was blowing 20+ knots and there was a "black water" smell. One of the Turks accused the French of dumping their black water tank overboard and of course they denied it. The Zabita came and decided they had and issued the French vessel a fine. The amount I do not know but I have read that one could be fined thousands of dollars if caught dumping this black water into the harbor. The next morning, the French are off to their Consulate in Bodrum to get help; but they cannot leave as nobody is going any where in this wind.

Two days later, the people who fixed my exhaust blower (Yatlift) are on the dock, waiting for the owner, because they have been hired to check over the sanitary system on the boat. They do, and find no problem. As they are coming off the boat, the Jardarma (Military Providence Police) show up to seize the vessel for failure to pay the fine. The Yatlift people tell them that this absolutely nothing wrong with the French boat and that they were not the source of the smell. They also stated when they get back, they will write a report and submit it to the Municipality. So, I believe the Jardarma did not seize the boat but that the next day, the French had to appear before some official in the Municipality with the report to argue that they were not guilty of the dumping. I left before I could learn more.

Anyway I digress, back to Turkbuku. We left my friend, Mesut, behind on the dock in Gumusluk so he could bring the car to Turkbuku. He does and we go ashore at about 1800 to meet up, do an evening walk and have dinner.

We note that some beach clubs are already closed up and boarded, their seasons over. It is only early September and we find this hard to believe. And yet, the locals confirm. (I guess they are happy the loud music is gone.) We find Turkbuku not at all busy, and really, quite empty. It takes us a while to find a place to eat, and after dinner, we all agree we just had a meal not worth the money we paid. Zehra comments that in today's newspaper, there are plenty of photos of celebs and famous people living it up in Turkbuku, and now she realizes those pictures were not taken recently. My guess that with schools and universities opening soon, people have to get back to their homes. But still, we are amazed how empty it is.

Today, the girls went to visit and old friend and I did some minor work around LeeZe. At about 1800, come to learn that they will be back at 1900 and I am to meet them. I do, and off we go in search of a better restaurant. We go to the next town over and find a typical local eatery place. This dinner is far better than last nights and the place is jumping.

We decide to move on tomorrow.

September 12, 2013

Zerah piloting the tender like a pro!

Zehra piloting the tender like a pro!

We get up, eat breakfast and plan to go to Torba. But first, Mesut needs to get ashore to move the car to Torba, and I am busy getting underway preps done. So, I ask Zehra to take him ashore with the tender. Can you believe this is the first time she will be operating the tender alone? It is, and while she is nervous at first, she returns triumphantly, having realized it is not so hard to operate.

So, we get underway. The wind is under 5 knots, the sea flat, the sky blue and the temp about 26C. Arrive in Torba and anchor.

While the pilot book says that Torba has good holding, it takes some minutes for the anchor to get a "bite" and dig in. It is Thursday and if one believes the forecast, the next few days will be very windy through Monday.

We talked with the marina manager a couple of times and at 1700, he calls to tells us that there is a space available. He also says he will provide a lazy line from the mooring buoy to our bow. In brief, he does not. We expected to be handed it via a messenger line from the pier, and it was not. The Captain of the yacht to port lets me borrow his crew person and taking two of our 40-meter lines, we head out to the mooring buoy while others are keeping the stern of LeeZe off the rocks. We come up three meters short, but by letting our some of our mooring lines, we reach the mooring buoy, tie off, and return. Then, we take in the slack and to make a long story short, I am exhausted, Zehra is not happy ("This boating life is hard.") and I am in the shower at 2030. We elect to connect shore power and water to tomorrow at 0900 and Zehra, Zerrin (her sister) and I all go to the nearest restaurant for dinner and decompression.

September 13, 2013

I am up at 0730 cleaning up from last night's mess and fiasco. At 0900, I am awaiting the connect to shore power, as agreed upon last night, and the guy shows up at 1030. No apologies. Mesut and Zehra both remind me that this is Turkey, get used to this failure to honor one's word and commitment. We also get water and since the marina manager does not know from day to day when the owner of this slot will return, we load water and fill the battery. Quick note on shore power. There is no 220 VAC outlets empty within 70 meters of us. There is a 308 VAC / 63-amp outlet and I do happen to have a plug for it. First time I am using it though so I plug it in, turn on the breaker, check and low and behold, there is 220 of the other side (actually 202 but at least it is not 308!). I use that plug and all is fine. While typing this, Zehra just gave to me a kiss! Guess she wants me to start the grill for dinner!

Our anchorage in Torba.

Our anchorage in Torba.

After completing cleanup, I shower and take a nap. I sleep for two+ hours so even my batteries needed some recharging! Just before dinner, we take a short walk toward town. Turns out that the hotel, "Voyage," has taken over the beachfront for what seems like to be many kilometers.

At least they had the decency to put in a sidewalk the public can use. We walk, realize that we will not get to town and turn around.

After dinner, we are off to Bodrum. It is Friday night and the place is hopping. We walk toward the shore, note that two UK warships are in the bay, sit down at Penguins for some great ice cream, and then drag our tired butts back to the car and back to LeeZe.

September 14, 2013

We are up late, and after coffee and breakfast, the girls go to the market while I wash the boat. The wind is picking up so I set a spring line from a bollard on my starboard side to shore to minimize the effect on LeeZe. Even though I have permission from the Captain to set it where I do, the owner shows up and says I do not. So as not to argue, his Captain and I talk a few minutes and come to a reasonable compromise.

Tonight, Merih and Ismet came over for dinner and we had a great time. We did eat dinner (BBQ) on the aft deck but with the wind blowing, we got a chill so we came inside to finish off the evening!

September 16, 2013

Yesterday, our guests left and we were once again "guest-less." We took a walk in the afternoon as the winds were expected to be 20+ knots, and they did not disappoint. We came back to LeeZe to find our port stern mooring line starting to break due to rubbing against the dock. I did put chafe protection but the dock ate that also. So, I quickly grab my last remaining mooring line and make it secure to the dock. About an hour later, the line finally parts with a whimper and the other line goes taut.

We shift slightly in our position with respect to the dock, but later, another Captain suggests I make the line to the mooring buoy more taut. I do and that is where we end for the evening. We had planned to go into Bodrum but Zehra cancelled that when she saw how concerned I was with the wind blowing so hard. The winds blow through midnight, and then like someone turning off a light switch, they die down. Just before going to bed, I note a fishing vessel (I think) all brightly lit up some 100 meters directly off my bow, but by morning, there is nothing there. Guess I could be seeing things!

This morning, I made up two new mooring lines from what remains of my purchase of bulk mooring line in 2011, and fix the broken one.

The view of Torba from our spot on the hook.

The view of Torba from our spot on the hook.

Zehra has decided to winter over in Kusadasi so that is what we are doing. We discuss our course toward there, and the stops we want to make. (I ask a friend to come along, but he just cannot break free for the entire trip.) I then break out the paper charts to plot the route to Kusadasi, and remember back in 2012, on the East Med Yacht Rally, the rally people warned us to stay south and east of the Greek territorial waters in the vicinity of Samos island. Ok, that should not be hard, right? Great! The Turkish charts do not plot this line of demarcation (political thing) and on the web there is a disparity over the interpretation of the treaty that decided this boundary. So, head over the Greek chart people and figure I use their data since that is what their Coast Guard will enforce any way. Plot that boundary and their claim makes all but a sliver of water along the coast theirs.

So, I decide to plot the boundary, claim the right of innocent passage if challenged, and follow the course I followed (in reverse though) from the 2012 rally.

If the weather holds, we are out of here tomorrow before lunch.