Before we started our new adventure on S/V Sunday in early 2020 quite a number of friends from Australia had said they would come and visit us. And then Covid hit.
Fast forward to this year and we have our very first Aussie visitor- our friend Jackie, a former colleague of mine from Sydney in the 1980s!
As she was our first Aussie guest (we have had visitors from England and the Netherlands) we decided we should go and meet her at Izmir airport in a hire car so she didn’t have to mess about with taxis or other means of transport to get to our anchorage at Sığacak.
A few days before she was due to arrive we took the small shuttle bus (dolmuş which means “stuffed to the brim”) to the nearby town of Seferihisar to try and find a place where we could hire a car.
As Seferihisar is a fairly sizeable town we thought we would find a place to hire a car easily but that definitely did not turn out to be the case. After chasing up various possibilities we ended up at last finding a place that advertised car hire in big letters at the front of the building. When we walked in and said we wanted to hire a car they looked totally blank!
Not sure what they did for a crust but at least they directed us to a genuine car hire company. So it was that we were there when Jackie arrived on her flight from Istanbul for a three week stay aboard S/V Sunday.
Unfortunately a big northerly wind was blowing persistently for a number of days which meant we had to spend a few more days than we had planned in Sığacak but as it was such a great spot we didn’t mind at all.
We spent time introducing Jackie to the delightful alleyways and narrow pedestrian streets behind the ancient town walls and eating at some of the great spots we had found before she arrived.
As we wandered through the tiny network of lanes Jonathan found a walking stick that he declared he “might need one day” and which was calling to him. He’s called it Michael (Michael Caine – get it? Ha ha)
One evening soon after Jackie’s arrival we met up with sailing mates from Didim Marina Lyn and Brian and discovered that Brian has just had a lucky escape from serious injury when his finger and thumb were caught in their anchor chain. Luckily he has completely healed but the accident served as a reminder that we all have to be so careful when working on boats!
Talking of which, we had another timely reminder that accidents happen when your guard is down AND that alcohol and boats don’t mix! After a big night out I nearly fell in while trying to get in the dinghy to return to Sunday.
There are photos to prove this (thanks to Sue on Catabella) but I don’t want to publicise my loss of dignity! I have to say they are very funny and make me laugh every time I look at them but it could have ended so badly.
Another day, another drama – I was mopping the deck when I realised the wind was blowing a rubber dinghy closer and closer to our starboard bow. It seems his engine had conked out and he’d tried to anchor it while waiting for the coastguards to rescue him.
The anchor definitely wasn’t holding so we took his painter rope to the stern (rear) of our boat and tied it off. We invited him aboard (using our own sign language as our Turkish is pretty basic) but he declined and before too long the coast guards arrived to tow him away.
Later on that day we decided to take a look at the ancient site of Teos, just up the road from Sığacak.
Teos was one of the twelve cities which formed the Ionian League in the mid-seventh century BC (Ephesus was another of these cities). Sadly, there isn’t that much left to see but excavations appeared to be happening so there might be more to see in the future.
A highlight of this site was a 1,800-year-old olive tree which still produces olives. In fact in 2018 there was an auction held for a half a litre of olive oil produced from this tree that sold by a charity for 30,000 TL!
A couple of days later the weather had settled so we were able to head further north at last. As we hauled up our anchors John and Sue discovered theirs was caught up on something on the seabed (this was the second time it had happened while in the bay!) Whatever “it” was, it was a) very heavy and b) well and truly stuck.
We had pulled up a lot of our anchor chain by the time we received the call for help but Jonathan quickly got the dinghy down and left me in charge of Sunday.
It took almost three quarters of an hour to untangle the mess. In the meantime, Sunday was slowly dragging her anchor as Jonathan had dashed off to assist Catabella while we were in the middle of raising it and she was left without enough chain down to hold it in place. I should have put more chain down immediately after he left but we thought the untangling wouldn’t take long! I just put on the engines and kept edging forward to keep out of harms way.
Eventually the anchor reset near the marina entrance and although we got a bit too close for comfort, I just used the engines to steer away. A dock worker from the marina came out to see if we were in trouble but I told him everything was under control. I explained with gestures that Catabella was the boat in trouble but he didn’t seem at all interested in going to see if he could assist.
In the meantime Sue on Catabella was getting worried that we were too close to the marina wall and sent Jonathan back. We would have been fine but it was good to be able to pull the anchor up and reanchor.
Eventually Catabella’s anchor was free from its iron prison and we were at last heading north.
As we left we had helicopters constantly flying over and around us and in the distance we could see the NATO fleet that had been on exercises in the vicinity for at least the previous week. It would be good to move on, if only to escape from the distant but threatening booms of the mock explosions and the persistent slap of helicopter blades overhead.