Monday, September 27, 2010

Summer Cruising 2010 - Starts and Stutters

Summer Cruising 2010 - Starts and Stutters

Above : Map of summer sailing 2010

It has been sometime since the last blog was written - Ye Faithful Readers will recall last
November! We escaped the northern winter with a (flying) trip to New Zealand (via Canada briefly) returning to Chinook in the spring where we had left her in Marmaris, Turkey in the marina's boatyard, "on the hard", awaiting the extensive refits we had begun before leaving.

The NZ trip will not be detailed in this blog as it is dedicated to the sailing aspects (again, for the faithful). We did have a great time there, of course, again, as in previous visits, buying an older van to trip around in, camping (mostly) and staying with friends and family. We spent Christmas in Canada before going and stopped in British Columbia and Ontario on our return to Turkey in April to see our sons (and their families).

NO PLAY BEFORE THE WORK IS DONE... . And plenty of work there was to be done too

Picture: Chinook's mast being unsteppedby the Doyle Sails crew.

When Chinook was hauled in December, her mast was also unstepped and laid beside her for inspection  (for rot - wooden masts being prone to that scourge), sanding, painting, rewiring and receiving her new rigging lines. Her hull was scraped of all the old antifouling paint so that blisters could be addressed, applications of new barrier coats and antifouling and a testy through-hull fitting was replaced.
A cockpit cover was made from Sunbrella to keep out rain, the dirt and dust of the boatyard. The windows of the dodger were replaced - after 6 years the sun had hazed the plastic.
The battery banks were replaced with Optima AGM batteries (two 90Ah house and two 55Ah starting/windlass batteries) and the new solar panels (two 110 watt Solara - new generation) placed on brackets that allow them to orientate fore-aft and beam-beam.

And finally in December, before leaving her alone for the winter, the watermaker and electric windlass were put into place, neither plumbed nor wired as yet. The autopilot ("Coursemaster 80" with a hydraulic ram) was to be left for installation in spring. (Our Volvo-Penta engine was lifted out for a thorough overhaul in mid-May).

Picture: the Katadyn 80E Watermaker
With so much to be done on Chinook the working days became long and tiring as the days grew hotter. The ladder we had to climb seemed to grow longer each week and by midday the heat inside the boat was quite unbearable. We managed to finish as the real Turkish summer heat hit and envied other yachties who were in the water - and those who had left on their summer cruising. Early morning and late afternoons were the obvious times to work. The engine was refitted four days before the splash date of June 14, the mast restepped two days before going in.

Pictures above: Mehmet and his gang install our overhauled engine
In the meantime, our life-raft was serviced, a new spinnaker/drifter crafted by Doyle Sails in Istanbul, the auto helm installed, and the steering quadrant was "beefed up" with stronger fittings and new cables.

To ensure we did not become totally absorbed in what we were up to - and thus become boring people - we did not miss out on one bit of socializing as there were several (6) NZ and (3) Canadian boats in the Marina over the winter and spring and that of course meant the mandatory drinks at happy hour and an occasional meal at the marina's restaurant - particularly Friday nights. We attended a couple of musical concerts in town and Brian "jammed" with the guys on Thursday afternoons at Netsel Marina.


The launching was far from spectacular. Placing "herself" gently in the water was expertly done by the marina staff and we hung in the slings (in the water) while leaks were sought. However, Mahommet, the engine mechanic, anxious to be efficient, had the engine in gear with full revs when turning the key. The boat lurched forward in the slings - had it been in reverse, rudder damage would have occurred. Sliding out we found the steering cables had been put on backwards - turning the wheel to the right made Chinook turn left! Very tricky getting into our mooring! Finally later in the afternoon, Brian developed a nasty flu’ bug laying him low for a few days. Stuff happens…

Our maiden cruise was purely to put hours on the engine so that it could be checked over; the valves adjusted, an oil change and the head block tightened. Half an hour after breaking free of the marina and well into Marmaris Bay we noted the bilge pump going off "too often" and found the new stuffing box was leaking badly - for a while. It stopped, then leaked again; finally we saw that the propeller shaft was loose in the flange - moving backward and forward as we changed gear. We decided to anchor for the night anyway as it did not leak when the shaft was not turning. We returned slowly the next day to have that problem fixed. Then off again a few days later to build up the required engine hours - and twenty five engine hours later we were back in Marmaris where Mehmet and his gang did the necessary work finally leaving us free to sail off for what remained of the summer.

Picture: Kale Koy at Kekova Roads from the Castle
This season (so far, July, August and September) we cruised slowly eastward along the south coast of Turkey. This area tends to be hotter with less wind than the cruising grounds of northern Turkey (last year), but to our mind more beautiful with mountain ranges in constant sight. There has been no significant rain since leaving Marmaris. The anchorages on the map below were all quite pretty with clear warm water. They can be "Google Earthed" at your pleasure. Turunc, Ekincek, Fethyie, Gocek, Kas, Kekova Roads, Finike, Cineviz and presently, Kemer.

Picture: At anchor in Kekova Roads and further below, our neighbours.
The summer daily heat has been quite terrific, the norm was 35 - 39 C. Debby made a new shade awning from old sailcloth material to keep the sun off the decks and we installed more fans inside. Swimming, reading, napping, and more swimming made up the daily routine and only now, in late September, the nights are cooler and pleasant for sleeping (20 C) We met up with several cruisers we knew from Maramis as well as meeting many new people - one of the good aspects of our life..

At Fethiye, Deborah flew to Canada for two weeks to play nanny to her grandsons (Lucas and Ryan) on a trip to British Columbia. While at Kemer, Brian flew to Canada to see his first grandson, Luca (6 weeks old), stopping off at the Southampton Boat Show on the return to buy a new EPIRB and an AIS-capable VHF radio and other toys. In that time, Debby went to Venice, Italy for a few days to see men with long poles...

One notable excursion from Kemer was to hike up to Mount Olympus to see the Chimera. There are actually about twenty Mount Olympuses of antiquity but a 20 minute hike up the one 15 kilometers south of Kemer (near the ruins of yet another ancient city of Olympus) has the winged fire breathing lion and goat-bodied, snake-tailed mythological creature slain by Homer‘s Bellerophon. In the present day it is a natural phenomena of trapped pockets of methane gas escaping from a sloping rock face with unquenchable flames. It has occurred for thousands of years here - the small fissures in the rocks changing in size and location. It was once a beacon to sailors. At this site there are ruins of an ancient Greek sanctuary - one of the stones has an inscription on it roughly translated to: "Stranger, fart not into the wind here lest thy buttocks become a burning ring of fire…" Worth the hot hike to see it.
When your holding tank no longer holds…. After only 12 years of dubious service our aluminium holding tank finally corroded through and some pretty nasty liquids were leaking into the bilge - along with a thriving colony of small bugs and their maggoty offspring. The hot days surely let us know about that situation. We gingerly took the tank out in Finike and ordered a new polypropylene one from DepoTanks in Marmaris. Brian took the eight-hour bus to Marmaris with the measurements and it was freighted to us the following week. Then came the installation with new hoses and valves. Bravo Debby for the great bilge-cleaning job! We do use our holding tank in anchorages and then dump on passages - not as obvious as you would think, as many boats do not have them here. Why they ever made tanks of aluminium in the first place is beyond us…

Future plans: From Kemer we will sail further east and plan to be in Cyprus in mid-October, Syria in November and then into the Suez Canal and Hurghada, Egypt, by early December. More on those adventures when we actually have them. We must note that we will be sorry to leave Turkey. It is a fabulous country, having great cruising areas, very friendly gentle people, superb weather (if not a little hot in mid-summer), readily available (and cheap) fresh fruits and vegetables, historical sites in every town. One of those places!

Pictures below: Brian IS the engine; a bus driver beating the heat between shifts;