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The Adventures Of LeeZe: The Final Stretch To Kusadesi (BLOG)


September 17, 2013

Getting underway to Gulluck was no less a fiasco than the landing. We told the "powers that be" that we wanted to depart at 0900 but the marina person came at 1030. According to him, his manager wanted to charge us 45 tl/day for the 5 days, even though the posted rate was about 23 TL per day. He could not explain what the difference so we "compromised” at 25 TL per day, plus electricity and water. Then, with the help of other yacht people, we left the pier and retrieved the line that went to the mooring buoy from the bow (aka the "lazy" line.) In the process, we nearly drifted over the lazy lines for the yacht to port. Well, maybe we did, but we did not cut them and all is well.

Less than 1 hour out and we again have engine fuel issues. Engine dies. I get it going. It dies. This cycle repeats a number of times. I am rattled, and you can imagine that Zehra is NOT happy.

I call the Turkish Coast Guard (TCG) and ask for an escort. While arranging that, I get the engine running at 1000 rpm (4 knots) and resume my trip to Gulluk. About 25 minutes later, TCG 11 is along side; we exchange a bunch of ID stuff, and by this time, I have been running 40 continuous minutes and advise them that I believe I can safely make it to Gulluk, about 1 hour away. He says OK, but he stays with us until we get there.

We had some chop, but the see was flat and cooperative for the most part.

We had some chop, but the see was flat and cooperative for the most part.

One of the questions the TCG officer asks is our ages. Zehra answered that we are both 60, and she said that we are "too old" for this. I understand, he laughs.

We do get to Gulluk, and we ask the TCG if there is anyplace that we cannot anchor. He says that by having declared this as an emergency, you are free to anchor anywhere. We drop the anchor in a cove near to some working fishing boats and I proceed to the engine room.

Now, after the last fiasco, I am really stumped. I look at my fuel water separator vacuum gauges and even after 45+ minutes, I am holding a negative vacuum. So that means, to me, that it is not a vacuum leak, at least not one of any significant magnitude.

I also note that the "dp" across those fuel filters is well within acceptable range, and the last time I disassembled them, they were virtually clean.

The indicators for the engine fuel water separator and the engine's fuel pump fuel water separator (I know that makes 4 on this engine) are also in an acceptable range. Since I have spares on board, I elect to change them as they have some 400+ hours on them, though they should last up to 500 hours.

The engine mounted one comes off hard. Whoever installed it must have used a wrench (even though the instructions say to hand tighten ¾ of a turn) and I nearly destroy it getting it off. The fuel I drained out it is the same color and opacity as the bad fuel I took from the generator. Oh, and I completely destroyed the fuel pump filter getting it off! But, what I could drain from it indicated the same color fuel as the other filter.

The fuel coming from the tank is bright yellow and nearly transparent. That is the fuel the engine was just burning so I cannot explain the color of the fuel in the filters I just took off. Maybe someone can. (Any takers?)

Anyway, I filled both filters with that bright yellow fuel, reinstalled them, and ran the engine (at anchor) at 1650 RPM for 1 hour. It runs fine. I am dirty with diesel fuel and grime so I shower and we go ashore for dinner.

We paid 50% less here in Gulluk for a great meal than what we paid on the Bodrum Peninsula. I recommend that if one has a choice, visit Gulluk and avoid Torba. In Gulluk there are two supermarkets (a smallish Kipa and a largish "Migros), numerous reasonably priced restaurants, and places to put your tender and go ashore.

Tomorrow, we have a 3+ hour run to Didim.

September 18, 2013

Up at 0730, have coffee, and go sit in the engine room wrapping in stretch film all remaining fittings that I had not wrapped from the last engine problem. I know that the vacuum held for at least 45 minutes, but not having full faith, trust and confidence that the problem(s) were in either of the two fuel filters I changed last night, I feel I have to do something! Zehra gets up, and we raise anchor at about 0920. This time, instead of 5.5 knots, I elect to go 6+, and we are off. Dodging fish farms like they are swarms of bees, we make our way to Didim.

An amazing moonrise over Gulluck.

An amazing moonrise over Gulluck.

Every time I think I hear a noise change from the engine, my heart stops but we continue. We make it to Didim and anchor.

I need to run the engine more to regain confidence, and I’m thinking about redoing the fuel system using high-pressure hydraulic hose, to get rid of all these fittings.

So for now, we are in Didim, making our way to Kusadasi.

September 19,2013

Last night before going ashore, we discussed options. There is a fishermen's port called Taşburun Limani about 12 nm up the coast from Didim. There are some islands (Dip Burun Koyu) one can anchor behind, per the cruising guide, just opposite Samos Island, which is Greek. One could also cross the straits and anchor at Samos, in one of its coves, but one cannot go ashore legally without checking into Greece. Or, we could just bite the bullet and go from Didim to Kusadasi.

The lovely Zehra out and about.

The lovely Zehra out and about.

To ensure all options are possible, it will require me to get underway near to sunrise as approaching a port like Kusadasi at dusk is not a prudent idea to me.

We went ashore after dinner and walk about.

I decide to have a beer and the place I picked is run by a man that used to work with Zehra in Ankara some 20-25 years ago. What a chance encounter! In Turkish, this would be called a "Kismet" encounter!

Anyway, I got up at 0630 and started engine, retrieved anchor, and got underway. The Water is shallow and rocky, so I tread carefully. It will be more than an hour before I am consistently in water more than 30 meters in depth. Dodge a few fishing trawlers coming back from their practice runs (their fishing season, the big boat guys, opens soon) and a few small one-man fishing boats and head up the coast. Just before Zehra gets up at about 0920, a pod of dolphins decide to join me for a 15 minute play session. Zehra gets up and is enthralled by them. I am too. Such majestic mammals!

We move on; they move on. I dodge yet another fish farm, this one so long I have to estimate that it is at least 2 miles long, perpendicular to the coast, which requires a huge jog just to miss it.

It was exciting to run with a pod of dolphins.

It was exciting to run with a pod of dolphins.

By this time we passed the Taşburun Limani so next decision point are the islands at the Dip Burun Koyu where one turns toward Kusadasi. We peek in, but the weather is pretty good so we elect to move on.

We cross the Gulf and we see an amazing sight: This water is so calm and flat (like a bed sheet) that one thinks one has been transported to a foreign world. And, the illusion is that you are not moving.

LeeZe is, at a respectable 5.8 knots and we slowly close in on Kusadasi.

We approach Kusadasi and from the South and it is hard to recognize familiar land marks one sees either from land, or when one comes from the North. But we managed, and eventually anchored on the south side of Pigeon Island, next to the fort, at about 1500.

We plan to relax tonight, lift the tender to the boat deck, and go to the marina tomorrow.

September 20, 2013

We are up and about a little later than normal, and after coffee and breakfast, give the marina a call on the cell phone. Seems they are okay with us having the tender behind us. My plan is to have it looked at next week so to lift it now, then drop it back in the water later just seems to be a real waste of effort.

A surreal flat sea while underway.

A surreal flat sea while underway.

So, underway is at about 1100 and of course, not all goes smoothly. By now, I should expect some hiccup, and true to form, this day does not disappoint. We anchored in what appears to be a very weedy bottom, so my 88 kg Rocna anchor brings up so much of this stuff that it is overwhelming the windlass. Somehow, while working on getting the anchor up, the trip line to my anchor marking buoy gets tangled in the bow thruster tunnel. No amount of coaxing can get it out. Thankfully the day is calm so we slowly motor to a spot where I cannot drift into any trouble for hours, I get into the tender and with knife in hand, proceed to the bow, and see what the problem is. From this closer vantage point, I can move the line back and forth so after taking the trip line off the anchor I am able to pull the line out completely. Back onboard, we slowly motor our way to the marina, enter, they put us stern-too a concrete wall, and so, this cruise ends.

After working on the stern lines and the lazy line, we check in, get a copy of the 7 page contract so I can read it and resolve any issues before signing, get our key cards to the ashore heads (new as of July 2013 and they are great!) and come back to LeeZe. Hooking up shore power is not an issue, but getting satellite TV is.

The marina supplies it, but when I connect the cable to the connector, no signal. The marina sends a person, who troubleshoots it for a better part of two hours, and determines something is wrong, but cannot really say if it is me or them. He calls the satellite TV technician and he shows up in 30 minutes. Wow! When we have called any of these technicians in the past, we would wait 6-24 hours or more!

Me and and a statue I came across.

Me and and a statue I came across.

He "determines" that the problem is on LeeZe and wants to rewire the cable on board because he says it is "weak." He talks so fast, and refuses to listen to me so I tell him to start. He opens up the wall outlet so he can pull the old cable out and run the new one through which, in my honest opinion, on this steel boat, will not ever be possible. Since the pass through fittings in each of the two watertight bulkheads are mechanically and thermally sealed to prevent air from coming into the engine room in case of a fire. Eventually, he stops cold and has nothing to say. The wire that carries the TV signal is military grade, quite expensive, and he has probably never ever seen one before.

I got the cable from my Dad's electronic store and provided it to the shipyard with the instruction that they are to install a continuous piece for both shore side TV and our own satellite dish. Even the yard has never seen such cable! (Thanks to LnL Distributing!)

So, he proposes to install "better connectors" and I let him. After all that, he still finds the signal weak. So, off to his shop he goes to retrieve a 20-decibel line amplifier (some cheap chinese junk!) and proceeds to profess that this will solve my problem. You can guess the next line, can't you?

Well, the cheap chinese junk solves nothing, and now he is stumped. Thankfully, the marina person is still here and he suggests that they check the signal inside the shore power pod. Now, if you were able to guess the last line, this next one is a absolutely a "no-brainer."

He finds the signal at the box weak! Working backwards, there are 7 connectors between the main TV signal line and to the point where I have to plug in. And TV repair guy told me my connectors were weak!!! The problem was never on LeeZe, but you can never tell them that as "they always know more than you" (or so they think. The fix? A very high quality 2:1 splitter is installed (which I pay for!) so I can feed directly off the main line.

The result? Vindication on my part; I had told the marina that the system on LeeZe was fine, and now they admit I was right.

This ends this cruising adventure. To be honest, we are both a little beat and drained from this nearly two-month trip. We are looking to recharge ourselves, and get really to host family for the upcoming 9-day holiday period.

I think this trip would have been less stressful on me if I did not have the engine fuel issues. Seems they may have all been self-inflicted, but one is taught in the Navy to believe your indications until such time they are proven false. These last two filters I replaced, well their indicators said they were fine and the engine manual "suggests" replacement every 500 hours (LeeZe has about 435 hours on her engine). But I did replace them, and than ran for 3 trips for a total of 14 hours with hardly a hiccup.

The mooring fiasco at Torba left a very bad taste in our collective mouths and my suggestion to any one that comes toward this neck of the woods is to bypass Torba completely and go to Gulluk. The anchorage is uncomfortable in any prevailing summer wind, and the marina staff are genuinely un-cooperative, and unfriendly to guests and really do not want to be bothered. Somebody I ran into later told me that the "Turkish Mafia" runs Torba. I do not know if I believe that but for sure, they do not warmly welcome boat visitors.

The winds around the Bodrum Peninsula really made it difficult to enjoy Bodrum. We were lucky and fortunate to get a 4-day stay in the city marina, so that was a plus. If we ever do this peninsula again, we need to do it when the prevailing winds are near to zero speed.

The Orhaniye Gulf is worth doing again in a few years, although we have met people who swear by it and do it every year.

I think that about sums up the adventure. We had some challenges along the way, we had some great times also.