Turkish Delights Page 3 - Sail Magazine

Turkish Delights Page 3

We had already concluded, after only a few days in Istanbul, that we’d never figure out the Turkish language. Then we saw our Sunsail charter boat. The stern carried a French flag and the boat’s name: UAGIZ. My wife, Kathy, and I have dealt with a lot of foreign languages, but this one truly had us scratching our heads. And asking a dockhand didn’t help much. I heard “Oo-gosh,” and
Author:
Publish date:
Turkey8.int

Scenery and History

For the rest of our trip, we enjoyed perfect winds sailing over a deep blue sea in a place once traveled by the likes of Odysseus and Saint Paul. Kathy is on a first-name basis with all the Greek gods, which made her a portable shipboard reference. My lifetime interest in history made ancient place names and Bible references pop back to mind at unpredictable intervals. The week became a series of “Aha!” moments.

I am Odysseus,” Kathy’s journal reads. “It is not too late to seek other worlds.”

Turkish history is colorful, thanks mostly to its being the bridge between Europe and Asia. Armies have marched across her land, navies have struggled to control her waters, and silk and spices from the Orient have been lugged across her mountains. In a massive relocation launched by the country’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, in the 1920s, the entire Turkish Christian population was swapped for Greece’s Muslim population. Dozens of towns were evacuated and still lie abandoned today.

If you want ruins, they’re here, still relatively undisturbed. The seagoing Lycian civilization flourished right where we were sailing for more than two thousand years, leaving the surrounding islands covered with the remains of towns and the world’s first step toward democracy, the Lycian League. We dropped anchor off Gemiler Adasi (“Ship Island”), tied a stern line to an ancient stone warehouse and climbed among some of these buildings, imagining the lives of those who had lived and worked there long before either Christianity or Islam appeared.

And so it went: from Sarsala to Karacaren to Kapi Creek to the tourist town of Gcek, we sailed, motored and motorsailed through winds ranging from zero to 15 knots and temperatures going from hot to very chilly. We even had a bit of rain. Not knowing what to expect, we'd packed for all kinds of weather and wore everything we had.

The Sunsail pilot book recommends several anchorages for snorkeling, but for us the water was simply too cold. A couple of the hardier Brits did go swimming, but only once and briefly at that. Winter, which is cold here, was not quite over, and the hot summer sun had not yet had time to warm the Mediterranean. Here, sailing during the summer calls for all the standard protective gear: shorts, sunscreen and a good bimini over the cockpit. We wondered if the cabin fans would move enough air to cool the interior in July, and decided spring and autumn are probably the ideal times to cruise here.

Thanks to the good weather, Kathy got in plenty of time at the helm. Unlike our sessions on the narrow Severn River back home in Maryland, where big wind shifts are the norm, she had plenty of time to visualize what was happening to the boat in the steady breezes. She ended the week a much better sailor.

The last day of the cruise was to be a race back to Fethiye, but this was cancelled by both a lack of wind and the Turkish Coast Guard. As we drifted across the starting line, tacking to cover the British racing skipper in a very slight breeze, a patrol boat appeared and chased us away. It turned out that there was an officially sanctioned race in the same area, and we would be in the way of those boats. It’s the first time I’ve ever been declared an obstruction to navigation.

At a group dinner back at base in Fethiye, we felt relaxed, physically tired and enthusiastic about all we had just seen and done. Not only had we made some friends, absorbed a lot of history and consumed thousands of delicious calories (this is not a place to diet), we’d discovered that it was possible for us to charter successfully as a couple. By any measure, it was a fine vacation that served as a true testament to the benefits of flotilla cruising.

Related

daviscards

Davis Instruments: Quick Reference Cards

CHECK THESEIf you’re sailing with new crew this summer or your kids have suddenly and inexplicably started to look up from their phones and take an interest in the finer points of cruising, these Quick Reference Cards from Davis are a great way to further their boating education. ...read more

01-rbir18-596

Another Epic Round Britain Race

There are basically two kinds of offshore sailboat races out there: those that take place annually, like the Fastnet and Chicago-to-Mackinac races; and those that take place every other year, like the Transpac and Newport-Bermuda race, in part so the competitors have sufficient ...read more

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more

dorcap-open-blue

ATN Inc: Dorcap

COOL SLEEPYou’re fast asleep in a snug anchorage, forehatch open to catch the breeze, when you’re rudely awakened by a sneaky rain squall. Now you’re not only awake and wet, you’re sweltering with the hatch closed. Sucks, right? That’s why ATN came up with the Dorcap, an ...read more

HIGH-RES-29312-Tahiti-GSP

Ask Sail: Who has the right-of-way

WHO HAS RIGHT-OF-WAY?Q: I sail in Narragansett Bay, which is a relatively narrow body of water that has upwind boats generally going south and downwind boats generally going north. When sailboats are racing, the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the port tack boat, so ...read more