Friday, 18 October 2013

Keeping a low profile

Because next year we expect to leave Turkey, these past few days out on the water, the ones we've grabbed from the end-of-season bin, have a particular poignancy. This is the last time we'll be in Keci Buku... If we don't go to the Datca market tomorrow, that means I'll have just been the once, and it's such a good market... We missed Ceren again in Bozuk Buku, and next year, even if we do stop off there for a night, she'll still be at school in Istanbul. And so it goes. A slow goodbye each time we pull up the  anchor.

A man's boat is...his own affair

Slowly is how we're doing everything, actually. Not because infirmity demands it any longer (Alex is back on board, so to speak) but because hasty or sloppy decisions can cost you dearly in the second half of October when what's good for one day at sea is not at all good the next.

A woman in love with her transport
We made our escape from Marmaris under cloudless skies and a warm-you-right-through sun. As is so often the case in Turkey, there was just a whisper of wind in the morning, but when the afternoon breeze came in, it was at the expected hour (2 pm) and from the expected quarter (south-west) on this elephant-grey peninsula which runs west from Marmaris towards the Greek island of Symi. We sailed close-hauled at a cracking speed for about three hours and ducked into the shelter of Bozuk Buku with a couple of daylight hours to spare. If ever there was a remedy for marina blues, this was it!

All tied up and nowhere to go

Every backyard has a pomegranate tree
Almost as soon as we'd dropped anchor, Ceren's round-faced cousin Ayse came alongside in her shopping boat, offering the usual selection of light cotton towels and village bread. Then came an older man offering yet more of the same. I bought a jar of his honey. I enjoy trading and talking with this particular crowd of villagers who come from Sogut, across the hills, and appear all to be related somehow. I have no idea if one family is more deserving than another, but since our first visit in August last year, it has always been Ceren's boat we've looked out for. The girl's got brains and beauty, and on top of that, she knows something about making her own luck. Once she's finished school in Istanbul, I doubt she'll work another summer in Bozuk Buku.

The hills behind Orhaniye and Keci Buku

In Keci Buku the people walk on water (a sandbar helps)

The best anchoring is close to island in Keci (Goat) Buku 
We would gladly have stopped one more night at Bozuk Buku, but caution urged us to find an anchorage better protected from the south-east. Bad weather was on the way. That day's run into the shelter of Keci Buku at the far end of Hisaronu gulf was textbook autumn sailing - again. But the weathermen were right. In the dead of night the barometer fell off a cliff, and the winds which had been building all day ratcheted up their rage even further. Not much sleep that night. Both the skipper and the first mate were thankful for a good holding and a big anchor and, in the skipper's case, a new set of Musto wet weather gear purchased in an end-of-season sale in Athens. Fielding gusts of 35 to 40 knots at anchor over a period of six (very dark) hours is something you like to be well-prepared for.

Don't mess with this low pressure system

A figure you don't much like to see at 4 am 

When will those guys at UKMO update the synoptic chart??

Another Swedish boat getting knocked about 

Kristel and John from Bluesipp hasten back on board after visiting Enki

When the rain stops and wind eases up, it's good to stretch your legs. Between the anchorage and the dramatic hills which protected us from the southerly gale is the village of Orhaniye. It doesn't have a heart as such, unless it's the mosque, but we enjoyed taking the road less walked around its wide arc. Few people were out (it was Friday, and most were heading towards the mosque), but I'd guess that Orhaniye (25 minutes from Marmaris by road) offers a quiet life for people both rich and poor, those who have built swimming pools next to faux Swiss chalets and those whose animals share much the same kind of traditional drystone accommodation as the family. My hairdresser in Marmaris lives in Orhaniye. Annette is Swedish, married to a Turk, and they have some land and a few goats which she milks. "When we settle down after this, you know we have to grow things, don't you?" I say to Alex, again. He understands why that might make a person happy.



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