Conventional wisdom tells us that “Knowledge is power” and “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”
These sayings often ring true when you are sailing but sometimes they apply to things that seem trivial in comparison to the really scary things like storms at sea, equipment failure or the consequences of making a serious mistake.
Take “Mediterranean mooring” for example. This practice is a hybrid of anchoring and docking used where there is little room due to the large number of boats and not much tidal range – allowing a lot of boats to fit in a small place.
In Turkey it is used frequently where ordinary swing anchoring would be difficult due to the depth of the water in many of the anchorages – often the water only becomes shallow enough for anchoring so close to shore you could almost reach out and touch the land.
For those who have grown up with Med mooring it is the obvious solution and probably just second nature but for those of us who learnt to sail in the Southern Hemisphere and who have always swung at anchor, Med mooring can be an anathema.
We had Med moored twice before – once on the island of Paros, Greece, where the delightful Port Policeman assisted us and the for a second time at the island of Kos where our experience was scary but ultimately fine.
Now we were making our first attempt at doing this in a ”bush” location where we had to anchor, back the boat towards the land, one of us jump in the dinghy with a long rope while the other kept the boat straight using the engines and also watching that the there wasn’t too much or too little anchor chain out and be ready to run forward to pull up or let out more. Then the dinghy person had to leap onto lethal slippery rocks or over razor sharp pebbles and quickly find a suitable rock to tie up on, all the while hanging onto the dinghy painter (rope) and securing the line from the boat to the said rock, probably while holding the painter between their teeth.
I don’t know why we found this proposition so scary but we did!
We had sailed from Marmaris to Ekincik Limani and were trying to anchor/moor in a little bay called Kargi Koyu. It was all the more daunting as there was a stiff breeze blowing and our neighbours were a superyacht on one side and a traditional Turkish fishing boat on the other.
It took us a while but eventually we worked out the correct distance from the shore to drop the anchor, how long our lines needed to be, how to hold Sunday steady and what was the best shape of rock to tie up on.
Once it was all done we felt that our newly acquired knowledge and experience had definitely increased our power and that our fear of Med mooring had decreased significantly.
In the midst of our efforts we were very happy to see Coastline, Salacia Star and (the other) Sunday motor into the anchorage.
The following day we had an excellent beach barbecue with the crews of the three boats – expertly cooked by Ryan from Sunday.
After a couple of restful days, swimming, eating, relaxing and socialising we decided to move on to our next destination – Skopea Limani, part of the Fetiye-Göcek environmental area.
We had only been going a few minutes after dropping our lines when we heard an engine roaring towards us coming up in our wake. After the initial “fright” of having a boat chasing after us at high speed we realised it was the tender from an extremely flash superyacht that had been moored close to us.
The first mate was a Kiwi and had seen our New Zealand flag the day before and had stopped by for a quick chat.
He was chasing us to let us know that he had taken some aerial shots of Sunday and would send them to us via email – he just needed our address!
There are many stunning anchorages in the Fetiye-Göcek environmental area but despite Covid-19 it seemed very crowded to us. There were luxury yachts and Gulets (traditional Turkish two or three masted sailing yachts now used for tourism) as far as the eye could see.
After being so spoilt in Greece where we had almost every anchorage to ourselves, it was a real shock to see so many vessels competing for space.
We did a bit of a tour round and eventually ended up in a less crowded spot called Seagull Bay (named for the large seagull painted on the rocky shoreline.)
This time we handled the Med mooring much more efficiently and with less fear but to be honest, it still felt daunting – the process of backing your precious home towards jagged rocks just doesn’t feel natural!
Nevertheless, once we were settled with a gin and tonic in hand, watching the goats make their way to their homes for the night, listening to the tinkling of their bells and gentle bleating, and gazing into the immensely clear turquoise water around us, we did feel a sense of relief and achievement.