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2012 Cruise

FINIKE Thursday 31st May

We arrived here as planned and without any problems on Tuesday evening.  Finding Kabardar had been moved to a different place in the yard was not a surprise as we had had an email exchange with the office which implied that it would be; what is not pleasing us is that they now expect us to pay 220 euros for the move.  Cups of tea in the managers office do not make it better. Discussions are ongoing!

Work is now underway and we are aiming for a launch on 7th June.

FINIKE  Sunday 3rd June

Here in Turkey we need something called a Transit Log which is a piece of paper which gives us permission to sail in Turkish waters for up to 1 year.  Our old one was due to expire today and theoretically we do not need a new one until the boat goes in the water.  However, a casual enquiry yesterday revealed that if the old one has expired there is a ‘penalty’ of 70YTL applied!  So, we hastily got all the documents together and handed them to the agent for renewal yesterday.  When we got the new Transit Log, the agent reported that the Customs officer had asked for 80YTL extra as he was working overtime!  Fortunately for us there were 4 such documents being processed so we needed to pay only 20YTL of this charge.  Or was it a bribe/tip/tea fund contribution!!

FINIKE Thurs 7th June

We thought we had all the papers necessary but before we could be put in the water the lift operator needed to have the ‘crane paper’!  Quick dash to the office and it was quickly sorted.  It’s good to be off the yard as work had started on repairing a rusty, old fuel barge.  This involved lots of men banging at the rust with lots of hammers from around 9am to around 8pm.  Can just about hear it from here but it’s a just distant thud.

We have now resolved the 220 euros issue.  A long talk with the Office Manager yesterday left us in total disagreement - reading the English version of the small print on our contract we believed we were not liable for the charge;  he, reading the Turkish, believed we were.  Eventually, he decided to refer it to the overall Marina manager (who we know from our days in Ayvalik when he was the manager there), but not before he learnt that we are planning to have major work done on Kabardar in the yard here next winter.  Anyway, we very quickly got the message that the charge was cancelled.

Now we just need to get the genoa, spray hood and dodgers back from being repaired. Promised yesterday, but not here this morning.

CINEVIZ LIMANI  Tues 12th June

We left Finike on Sunday to spend a few days pottering around Taslik Burnu, the headland approx. 15 miles east of Finike.  We’ve had gentle winds, nothing challenging, and are now in Cineviz Limani once more.


                                                                               Early morning in Cineviz Limani

Last time we were here, in October 2011, we had the most awful night in the wind and rain, by contrast this visit has been pretty peaceful.  There are quite a number of adult turtles in the bay and all around the boat we frequently see them sticking their heads up as they swim along, particularly early and late in the day.  Whilst swimming Chris saw 3 together resting on the bottom close enough to see the markings on their heads.

A number of things seem to have mysteriously stopped working.  The Autopilot, VHF radio and cockpit repeater are not receiving their feeds from the panel mounted GPS, which in turn is complaining about a low internal battery.  The fridge threatened to stop working, fortunately traced to a dodgy connection.  Finally, my iPod is showing a sad face;  this, I think, might be a terminal condition!

FINIKE  Sat 16th June

After a lovely few days enjoying the dramatic scenery of Taslik Burnu in warm, calm conditions and with peaceful nights at anchor, we are now back in Finike to prepare for son Phil & Alex arriving on Monday and the adventure of having both a 4 year old and a 5 month old on board!

The panel mounted GPS has now joined the iPod on the terminally sick list.  This is not a major disaster as we have both a hand held GPS and the Chart Plotter.  The Chart Plotter is now sending position information to the radio, but at the moment seems reluctant to talk to the autopilot.  That will surely turn out to be something really silly.  To add to the fun, the dinghy appears to have developed a leak which at the moment cannot be found.

It’s turned very hot here, with afternoon temperatures in the upper 30s and with little or no wind.  Just the conditions you want when in a marina - or arriving from the UK! From the middle of next week it’s forecast to return to more typical June temperatures.

FINIKE   Thurs 28th June

Here we are back in Finike for a few days.  Phil, Alex, Lara + Toby left for the airport this morning after a lovely potter in the sun.

It’s been pretty warm for the last 10 days with very light winds.  With our expanded crew, we headed west and spent a few days pottering around near Ucagiz (approx. 15 miles west of Finike) and then on to the Greek island of Meyisti for a couple of days and then back to the Ucagiz area for the final 2 or 3 days.  The first few nights there were thunderstorms around over the Turkish mountains which on our second night near Ucagiz came pretty close to us.  That night the wind woke us in the small hours with the boat lying broadside to the wind and clearly dragging the anchor.  Luckily, we had plenty of space around us and so were able to reanchor without major dramas.  After a couple of hours the worst subsided and the rest of the night was uninterrupted.  Toby’s sleep was somewhat disturbed by the noise of the anchor chain being lifted but Lara slept soundly through the whole process!


                                                                                                        Breakfast on Meyisti

Whilst at Meyisti conditions were so calm that, part way through our circumnavigation of the small island, we were able to hover at sea on the east side of the island and, by turns, take to the dinghy to go into the Blue Cave.  The entrance to the cave is so small that had we not spotted a very small boat emerging we would not have found it.

  Entering the Blue Cave........


   .........and inside it

Over the last 10 days we’ve frequently seen turtles which, at times, left one member of the party completely underwhelmed.

The leak in the dinghy has been partially repaired but still needs more work.  The good news is that once we put the C-map card (ie. The digital charts) in the Chart Plotter it decided it would talk to the Autopilot.  The card was one of the items we forgot, but thanks to a kind neighbour who retrieved it from the house and posted it (plus 1 or 2 other things we’d forgotten!) to Phil & Alex we now have a fully working and useful Chart Plotter.

Now we’ve got a few domestic days to get the laundry done, restock and generally get ready for our intended departure on Monday to head south east - first planned stop is Paphos, Cyprus.

FINIKE  Mon 2nd July

The last couple of days has been the annual Finike festival with music and fireworks each night.  Yesterday there were water ‘sports’ at one end of the marina;  things like furthest swim underwater, swimming to catch a live duck and running up a very greasy pole to try and get the flag at the end - most attempts ended in the water covered in the greasy green slime!

We now just wait for officialdom to do their stuff and check us out of Turkey and hope to be off around midday to Cyprus.  Whether we stop at Paphos (145 miles) or go on round to Limassol (190 miles) will depend on our progress.  The forecast is for light conditions so we don’t expect a speedy trip!


LIMASSOL  Wed 4th July

After a minor problem with the mainsail refusing to unfurl cleanly and a bodge being needed to the Chart Plotter housing after Chris fell backwards into it while trying to get the sail out, we finally left Finike at around 1.30pm on Monday and have had a pretty uneventful trip to arrive here at around 6.30am today.

At around breakfast time yesterday and about 35 miles out from Paphos we evaluated the options.  We could either (a) continue to Paphos with an ETA of around 2pm which we thought was a bad idea as according to our information the Customs will charge an overtime fee of approx. €60 after 2pm  (b) continue to Limassol with an ETA of 2am, not really much better or (c)  change course and head for Lara beach (about 10 miles N of Paphos) and anchor for lunch, a siesta and a shower and leave during the evening aiming to arrive at a port of entry at the start of the next working day.  We chose the final option and so anchored off Lara beach at around 12.30pm having managed to sail only 3 out of the 23 hours as there had been so little wind.  But it had been a lovely clear night with an almost full moon.

Lara beach is quite unspoilt and uncrowded, we couldn’t go ashore as we were not legally in the country so we settled down to enjoy an afternoon relaxing.  Soon after we arrived, a fire started in the bushes a little way back from the beach and before long we had 4 helicopters with buckets dropping into the sea near us to pick up water which they then dropped over the fire.  At times they were joined by a couple of fire fighting planes one of which, quite bizarrely, was circling overhead making a noise like a police car!!  This all went on for some time and was quite entertaining.  It did seem to get the fire out eventually.

We left early evening and arrived at the marina here after 11 hours.  Another lovely clear night but again not much wind and we sailed only about 4 of the 11 hours. Checking in was very easy because the Customs, Immigration and Police are all within the marina complex.

LIMASSOL  Sat 7th July

We’ve had a hire car for the last couple of days and been inland to the Troodos mountains which are up to around 2000m but still quite forested, mostly with Black Pine, virtually to the top.  We visited a few of the Unesco listed and heavily frescoed Byzantine churches in the area, some hidden away down extremely narrow roads. Driving along an extremely narrow road to one of them, we were flagged down by a couple of elderly gents and briefly wondered if they were a pair of geriatric muggers! But then one of them spoke about the only word of English he knew - ‘church’ - and waved a large key at us and we then realised what was going on.  So he climbed into the car and we continued up the hill where he unlocked the church for us.  I imagine he waits to spot rental cars - which are instantly recognisable by the red number plates they carry.

Yesterday we reminded ourselves what our legs are for and went for a 7km walk up at 1900m just below the summit of Mount Olympos.  Quite fortuitously, there was a good deal of cloud building up over the mountains yesterday which kept the temperature down.

Today we got the bus into the centre of Limassol and found little of interest there.  In fact, it is a rather unappealing concrete jungle.

We’ve been watching the wind forecasts for the SE Med and it looks as though there is a window on Monday when we might get a useful breeze to blow us down to Israel, so we are planning to check out of Cyprus tomorrow and head off.  Luckily, the surcharge for out of hours customs work has been dropped!


HERZLIYA  Tues 10th July

We chose Sunday night through Monday as the best time to get a bit of wind and we got it!  For the majority of the 180 mile trip we had F4/5/6 from the SW which blew us along nicely.  On Sunday afternoon and evening we were actually slowing the boat down as with reefed genoa and part main it was charging along at approaching 8 knots.  Even with the staysail and part main we were managing 6 knots which in the lumpy sea was a lot more comfortable.  During Sunday night the sea was particularly confused and lumpy which made sleep difficult, but during Monday it was a lot better. Finally, exactly as forecast, the wind gradually died during Monday evening and we motored the last 40 miles rather than drift extremely slowly.

Entering Israel we tried to follow all the required procedures.  First, 55 miles away calling the control centre at Haifa to advise them of our presence and answer their questions about our destination, last port, port before that, who was on board etc. etc.  We were also supposed to call the Israeli navy at around 40 miles off.  This we tried repeatedly to do during Monday afternoon/evening but they weren’t able to hear us or else each side of the call was broken up.  Eventually we gave up.  Then the navy found us.  In darkness we spotted the shape of a fast and unlit boat approaching which then slowed and circled us shining a bright searchlight on us.  A radio conversation then answered all their questions, which were the same as Haifa had asked, and we continued on our way.  They also told us that we must not enter the marina when we arrived (at this point expected to be around 2am) but wait until after 7am when all the necessary officials would be present.  They said we could anchor outside but we found the swell caused too much rolling and sleep would have been impossible so we drifted around for 5 hours, sleeping by turns.  I really don’t know what the problem would have been if we had come in, they have a patrol boat here and could have made sure we tied up on their quay being effectively locked in.

We are now in a very smart marina complex at Herzliya which is about 15km N of Tel Aviv and are planning our sightseeing trips for the next several days.

HERZLIYA  Sun 22nd July

We’ve done a far bit of tripping about over the last 10 days.  A couple of times by bus to Tel Aviv and Jaffa;  Tel Aviv a lively, vibrant, modern city while the old city of Jaffa, once an important port but now a suburb of Tel Aviv, is a mainly Arab neighbourhood and has a very much faded glory feel to it.  Then on the train to spend a few days in Jerusalem which is completely different!  Layer upon layer of history and what a mix of religious and cultural groups.  Then for the last few days we’ve had a hire car and headed north; first to the extensive coastal site, just a bit south of Haifa, of the Roman city of Caeserea founded by Herod, and then on to the city of Akko where the remains of the Crusader city have been found preserved underground as they had been filled in and used as the foundation for later buildings.  We were lucky here and stayed in a hostel right in the middle of the old town which meant we had an air conditioned refuge on hand when we felt like a break!  From Akko we went inland to Galilee and stopped at Tzfat which is  the centre for Jewish mysticism, Kabbalah. Unfortunately, the day we were there the place was clogged with bus loads of American teenagers so the place didn’t feel particularly mystic.  Finally, a stop at Nazareth; the large Arab city where suddenly Arabic replaced Hebrew as the main language we saw around us.  Traffic here was a bit chaotic - cars shot out from side turnings, did U turns in the main street and didn’t seem to worry about double parking.

Security is intense in some places.  Bag inspections entering shopping malls are not uncommon and the train stations in Tel Aviv, Herzliya and Jerusalem (the only ones we’ve been into) have airport level screening on entry.  We have been asked for our passports twice, once entering the train station at Jerusalem and once going to the old prison in Akko which was used to imprison members of various underground movements during the British administration.  And they don’t just check the photo page, every page is checked for entry stamps to countries on their undesirable list. Waiting for the tram in near the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem we noticed a perfectly ordinary looking man peering into the rubbish bins and then when he bent to look under a seat we spotted the gun, radio etc round his waist.  What surprised me was that in sensitive areas like that there are so many rubbish bins!   But this level of security is not apparent everywhere, and it’s not a problem.

Now we are back in Herzliya and really missing the air conditioned hotel rooms!  The temperatures here on the coast aren’t that high, 30-35°C but humidity is up at 65-70%.  

Herzliya is a very up market town where there are many people living in very nice, large houses in contrast to the many concrete blocks of flats we have seen elsewhere. It’s been an excellent base, with a very large supermarket close by with lots of things we miss in Turkey like decent cheese and reasonable wine.  Shopping here is interesting because the packaging is almost exclusively in Hebrew, so sometimes we need to make an educated guess at what exactly the product is!

Now we watch the weather forecasts to decide the best day to leave and head back NW.


LARNAKA  Fri 27th July

We didn’t plan to come here!  And from what we’ve seen of the place so far, we’re not overjoyed to be here!

We left Herzliya at around midday on Wednesday expecting reasonable winds to take us the 190 miles NW to Famagusta in Northern Cyprus.  We had a brisk wind to begin with but that died after a couple of hours and 24+ hours later after little wind and a lot of diesel we were approx. 20 miles off Cape Greco on Cyprus.  It wasn’t our longest engine run ever - that ‘honour’ still lies with the trip from Menorca to Corsica - but it had become pretty tedious.  So, we decided to make a slight change in course and head for the northern side of Cape Greco and anchor for the night.  We were correctly flying the S. Cyprus courtesy flag and  the yellow Q flag thus not hiding the fact that we had not cleared immigration procedures.  We hadn’t been there for many minutes before a small and menacingly grey boat with 2 officials approached us, looked and then headed off.  But they were soon back.  They then wanted to know where we had come from, took every imaginable detail of the boat, inspected our passports noting all details and appeared to make notes about all the visas and entry stamps in them. Their first comment was that we could not stay there and must first clear into the country at Larnaka.  We asked if it would be OK to stay at anchor for the night before moving on in the morning.  After a phone call to we are not sure who, they said it would be OK but we must not go ashore (we knew that) and we must call them on the radio before we left in the morning.  This had not been a random inspection, we had apparently been observed entering Cypriot waters.  They say they had tried to call us on the radio but we hadn’t heard them.

Dilemma - what would be the ramifications if we did not check into S Cyprus but headed, as planned, to N Cyprus?  Would they check?  Not wanting to find ourselves on some sort of blacklist, or worse, we decided to play the game and so have come to Larnaka.  For further punishment we had to bash the 20 miles west against the increasing wind and sea!

The check in here was much more thorough than we experienced at Limassol, wanting details of arrival/departure dates and times for all ports since we left Finike, and we wonder if that has something to do with the fact the the coast of Syria is little over 100 miles away.


FINIKE  Wed 1st August

Having found ourselves in S Cyprus and with all the issues surrounding sailing directly between N and S Cyprus we decided to forget going to N Cyprus this year and head straight back to Finike from Lanarca, a distance of approx. 220 miles.  We left on Monday afternoon at around 5pm and arrived here in Finike after approx. 41 hours at 10 am this morning.  The trip was uneventful.  With no useable wind to begin with, we motored round Cyprus through the first night.  Then, as we left the Cyprus coast the sun came up and so did a bit of wind;  not a lot but it kept us sailing, even though fairly slowly, throughout Tuesday.  Then as the sun went down so did the wind, we motor-sailed for a while until the wind died totally and we resorted to the engine once more.

Larnaka didn’t really grow on us but the good thing was that where we were tied up it was cheap, quiet and we were able to use the barbecue for the first time in over a month.  When we arrived, in conversation as we had come from Israel, the Port Police said that when Israelis visit Cyprus there is additional security.  We took this as a general comment about Israeli visitors to Cyprus, not specifically relating to the the marina but security around the harbour appeared to be intense.  There were frequently Port Police officers patrolling carrying sub-machine guns.  A police helicopter patrolled above and we joked that it must be using up the entire annual fuel budget!!  Then, chatting to someone from the yacht next to us it turned out they were Israelis!  Not only that, we suspect that one of the other yachts there was also Israeli.  That would go someway to explaining why we had to account for all our movements for the last month and why our passports were so closely inspected whilst we were at anchor, two things which have never happened to us anywhere except in Israel

Final ‘advice’ from the Port Police as we left - do not go to Famagusta; after the events of 1974 it is a closed port and if we go there, the next time we enter S Cyprus we will be arrested, handcuffed, taken to court and fined or maybe imprisoned!  It all sounded very dramatic and I’m sure he was only saying it because he is obliged to, but it did leave us wondering if they watch movements in and out of the port.

Now for a couple of weeks peacefully pottering along the coast of Turkey.

MEYISTI  Tues 7th August

We’ve headed west from Finike, tacking against the westerly winds which are totally predictable at this time of year.  We spent a couple of days at anchor in Gokkaya Limani and on our first evening there we spotted the approach of 3 men in a boat, all wearing bright orange polo shirts - the Turkish coastguard - who then went to each of the relatively few boats anchored to check papers etc.  I think we must be one of the most checked out boats in the Eastern Med. this summer!!  It’s a good job we, mostly, obey the rules.

Now we are at anchor off the lovely Greek island of Meyisti.  In the past we have gone into the main harbour on the island but this time we anchored off the only other town on the island in what is a more open, but still relatively sheltered spot due to all the islets surrounding it.  All was relatively peaceful until the light night wind from the east brought the sea in just enough to create a fair amount of bounce!

We have now come in to the much more sheltered main harbour for the night, also hoping to pick up a Wi-Fi connection, our only means of internet access at the moment.

KEKOVA ROADS  Sun 12th August

We’re now heading slowly back eastwards and are in the lovely Kekova Roads around Ucagiz and are stormbound!  Well, not exactly a storm but today is really, really windy, the first such day we’ve had this trip.  We’re anchored in just about the most sheltered place we could find with plenty of space around us and so plenty of anchor chain down.  All OK - and nothing to do but relax in the sun!

We spent a couple of days at Kas where we hired a car and went inland, up into the mountains driving through a number of very rural, agricultural villages - all very different from the expensive, touristy Kas!  Up on the high valleys there are acres and acres of apple orchards while down towards sea level the landscape consists of glass houses and plastic pretty much as far as the eye can see.  As we drove along roads up in the mountains where the surface was melting in the August heat it was hard to believe that come winter the same roads will be difficult due to snow!

We tried to find the ruins of a Byzantine castle on a hill top.  We found the hill OK and could see a ruined tower on the top but the instructions we had to ‘follow faint goat paths heading south west which would lead to the Byzantine path which in turn would lead to an overgrown gate in the ruined wall’ led us nowhere except a fair way up the hill to the point where it was completely overgrown.  Maybe winter, when there might be less growing, would be a better time.

FINIKE  Sun 19th August

We’ve been back in Finike for a couple of days now and are doing all the usual end of season jobs plus a few other bits so that Kabardar will be ready to be pulled apart for the new teak deck and rigging during the winter.

It’s been a good season, quite different from the usual with long sails and long stops as well as a bit of pottering early and late.  Approx. 1180 miles all together with no major mishaps or problems just a few irritations like the dinghy having a very obscure leak and more or less getting to the pump as you go state!

And now we have a new Turkish system to get our heads around.  It has been forbidden to pump out black water tanks in certain areas, which are gradually being extended, for some time. This is all good and the overwhelming majority of boats behave entirely responsibly in this respect.  However, there is now a system evolving to check or record or police (nobody seems quite sure what) when or how often tanks are emptied.  Records (of what exactly is not known) will be kept on-line with access to the information (for officials) via a Blue Card which all boats must have.  A number of problems are apparent - the details held for each boat mostly only apply to large commercial vessels; a lot of smaller boats do not have a pump out point to use; there are very few pump out facilities around the area in question.  Here in Finike there is no pump out facility and they don’t yet know what they are going to do about it or when!!  We have installed a deck pump out point, we have our Blue Card, we just wish we knew how the system is going to work!!


All dressed up for Eid

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