A long Day….
22nd April 2018
We set off that morning just after sunrise, and after the sunrise tour boats and gulets had left.
We had woken up this morning to the anthem of Titanic which tour boat operatives insist on playing to their excited Asian – photo obsessed – passengers which in many respects added to the romantic ambience and feel of this mornings planned journey. The dawn start tied in with a spectacular sunrise and we shipped out.
Following a small trip boat out and around into the main bay we were struck with awe as we sailed close by to Duden waterfalls – another Antalya landmark – that were constantly thundering into the sea, so we decided to pause the trip a little there whilst we admired the beautiful setting.
Even though Johns friend David was now sailing with him, I decided to sail with them for one more time., so stayed aboard the Catamaran again for this trip. Whilst motoring out of the harbour, we dragged our main sail up and unfurled the head sail. Even though the wind was still quite calm, we anticipated it to pick up slightly around the headland.
Back on course, the wind had picked up, and eventually, it was enough to sail. Though this lasted for less the half an hour, we eventually put the engines back on.
Soon after that, the wind was completely dead, and we furled up the headsail once again.
After a while, the sea state became slightly choppy, and we recived a radio message from Steady on Jean, who said-
“Coral Reef, Coral Reef, Steady on Jean, Over”
“Yeah, go ahead Geoff…” replied John…
“Hello John, keep and eye out for dolphins because we currently have two playing on the bow of the boat at the moment, over”
“Okay, will do, Coral reef out”
So David and I stood on watch at the front of the boat, waiting for the elusive dolphins to start playing on the bow of our boat……..fingers crossed……
After 5 minutes, they hadn’t shown, so I span around to walk back to the cockpit when a black triangle poked out of the water…
“There’s one” I shouted over to David. Out of nowhere, two came along, three, four, five and eventually six turned up, all jumping, breaching and playing on the bow wave.
These dolphins were unlike any I’d ever seen before, and their sheer size shocked me. We quickly identified then as Bottlenose dolphins, and it was incredible to see them crisscrossing, and elegantly performing on the bow.
Soon however, they had all gone, and we continued on towards the destination of
The wind had now picked up again, and we unfurled the headsail once again. From the sea, it was quite difficult to identify the harbour, though after much examination, we saw the small breakwater to the left of the Temple of Apollo. Eventually, after weaving through isolated danger marks, fishing pots, and cardinal bouys, we entered the harbour while Geoff and Steady on Jean held back. We were all aware that the approach and entrance to this harbour were extremely shallow, so we, with a much shallower draught than the monohull, had been sent ahead on a scouting mission.
Inside the harbour, there was no sign of the a harbourmaster, and the depth was too shallow along the harbour wall for Geoff to moor although he had picked his way precariously through the entrance!
David managed to hook what seemed to be a lazyline, though we had a struggle to turn the boat around because of the wind.
And Geoff headed back into the bay and explored the anchoring situation on the west of the harbour….the depth here also was a huge concern!
So plan B was in put into actions.
We motored ahead of Geoff, and whilst john made lunch, David and I set about putting the sails back up. I took the helm while David set the sails. Minutes later we were sailing along fast whilst Geoff and his clearly incompetent crew were a mere pinprick in the distance…….I think David and I should apply to be the new crew for the British Americas cup team!
Consisted of getting to the nearby river mouth entrance of the Manavgat river, where we had read and been informed that we may be able to moor on a pontoon or against a wall. The jury was out on wether this place would be a) entirely suitable for our boats and b) wether we would be able to get in…. again depths were apparently an issue.
Before we arrived there though, we had a rip roaring sail in some 30 knots, of wind where we were averaging 7-8 knots in the Catamaran . This was perfect cat sailing weather, and when Geoff and Steady on Jean eventually caught up with us, we were duelling for first place, though the monohull wussed out of it to put reefs in their sail.
Around 2 miles from the entrance, we dropped the sails and motored In to the river mouth. The Cat again was sent ahead again on a scouting mission.
We recognised strong river currents and eventually, we settled upon mooring side to into the current and against the river entrance wall.
Mooring here was a relatively difficult, since you had to take into account the river current, sea surge and the wind. Berthing in a place like this is usually something rare in the Mediterranean, but Geoff and John have had tidal and coastal experience all over the world, so enjoyed this rare technical challenge.
Safely moored, our attention turned to the wall, since there were one or two problems with it.
It was too high, you had to mountaineer your way to the shore..
Iron spikes stuck out from it, these had to be hammered flat to prevent damage,
There was a huge swell from pirate trip gullets each time they passed,
And swell from the surf on the beach had begun to pick up……
The surging and snatching of the boats was obviously putting all the warps and in fact the situation under considerable strain, the ropes of the fenders were being strained to the max …so much infact, that our biggest fender “Bertha” snapped from the shrouds with a huge bang! She was quickly rescued from a terrible fate with the boathook which itself was no mean feat with the rising and falling and surging of the swell and the boat, and we all looked at the Skipper…….
The decision rested on Geoffrey…should we stay or should we go?
“Lets go!” He said, and soon, with some very nifty planning and manoeuvring we were safely back out of the entrance to the river and now surfing huge, great waves to get back out to the ocean.
The afternoon swell had increased considerably and we were now in a big and uncomfortable sea. Plus…. it was soon going to be dark.
Plan C was initiated…
The rest of that sailing journey was a night sail, the first I had done in around 2 years. Though, it was all good practise for the trips down to Israel from Cyprus, it was a little unexpected. From Manavgat we would now go to Alanya Marina, some 30 nautical miles away.
We didn’t arrive there until ten o’clock that night and locating the entrance to the marina in pitch darkness was another scouting mission for us and the cat………..
Safely moored alongside, we all heaved a sigh of relief….it had been a looong day!