Monday, 15 October 2012

Autumn pleasures

No need to kick - so much salt in the water
We're floating indolently towards the finish line, an unexpected run of impossibly beautiful autumn weather keeping us tethered to a mooring buoy in Fathom Cove, at the southern end of Gocek bay.

We had considered leaving for Marmaris today, tugged back to town and marina by the need to apply for permanent residency before our tourist visas expire. But as the day revealed its loveliness, we hesitated. Tomorrow, we said. We'll leave early, hope for a bit more wind than is forecast (from the southwest please), and deal with the visa first thing on Wednesday.

So today we stayed still, listening to the hollow knocking of goat bells, the lapping of water against my kayak trailing from Enki's stern, the sweet chatter of birds in the pines and olive trees which coat the steep hills. In the cracks of the rocks, there are autumn crocuses. Irresistible. Standing on top of the high cliff behind our anchorage, we picked out the distinctive shape of a Lycian sarcophugus amongst what at first glance was just rubble. An unmarked tomb. These things don't happen to you  in marinas.

For the past few evenings, a couple of fishermen have set their nets un-nervingly close to Fathom Cove's deep water moorings under the cliffs, perhaps reclaiming their traditional grounds, willing we stragglers to move on. Who knows.

But we'll all be gone soon. There are some last-minute charterers but fewer and fewer. Today the bay seemed to empty out. By the second half of October many longer-term American and European cruisers are calling it quits and going back to their other lives - or at least to solid ground - for the cold months. Our Nordhaven friends, Suzanne and Brian, hauled out in Gocek last week and headed for an apartment in Nice (they had dinner aboard Enki but wouldn't you know it, we all forgot about the backgammon board). Also in Gocek we finally caught up with Sea Cloud, another HR48 owned by a couple of affable Aussies who we've been in email contact with since last year.  Ian Cook is a medical specialist back home in Sydney, and his wife Cathy manages his practice. We gather they're pruning the practice back to give them more time to cruise, but last week they put Sea Cloud up on the hard until next spring. In many ways I envy them going home (I don't need to say how much we miss our kids - or do I?), but perhaps the reverse is true too. With luck we'll see more of the Cooks and Sea Cloud on the water in 2013. I hope so. 

First light in Fathom Cove
"Serious" cruising yachts (i.e. the ones with structures supporting wind generators and solar panels) have been all but invisible over summer, obscured by the armadas of gulets and charter fleets, but now they're more conspicuous. Like us they're sucking back on the last of the season. Will we meet some of these people in port over the winter? I'm curious to know other people who live aboard their boats. But we have wondered if perhaps there are fewer of us around...

Enki likes her space
People say it's been a quieter year in Turkey. Has the effective closure of the Red Sea route (because of Somalian piracy) combined with the aftershocks of the GFC and the chronic sickness of the eurozone taken the shine off the Mediterranean cruising dream? Then there's the unknown of Syria...What triggers a regional war is always more obvious after the event, but it's difficult to see what Turkey stands to gain from getting embroiled in Syria's civil war. But as you can tell, we're not exactly in the middle of things - thankfully (the Syrian border is about 600 km from here).

In these last sweet days, we have been walking a bit (we overtook the tortoise on the way down the hill from the tomb), admiring the olive crop, watching the sky, loving the gentleness of the temperature and committing to memory the colour and silkiness of the water.

Baths at Ruin Bay - Cleopatra's, they say

Looking north over Gocek bay (Skopea Limani)
The nightly thunderstorms which made us so twitchy all last week seem to have drawn back into the interior. The relief. It seems hardly believable that a month ago we were enthusing about "our first clouds". There are clouds in the sky every day now, and we're back in familiar territory, trying to read their intentions.

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