To our great relief, we had managed to get our anchor down in the Gökağaç anchorage at Yedi Adlari – despite both our ignition and the anchor hand controller being out of action.
We had also managed, with the help of John from S/V Catabella, to shut down the engine (and the dreaded alarm mentioned in my last blog) after locating the emergency cut off switch.
Now to find out what had caused the problem in the first place! It didn’t take Jonathan long to find the culprit – two wires in the engine well had melted together causing them to fuse which affected the relay switch to the ignition (and the anchor control device).
He carefully prised the two wires apart and taped them up which was enough to enable us to start the ignition and although the engine was out of action we were still be able to get the anchor up (thanks to sailing friends on social media who reminded us that this was possible by turning on the ignition only!)
We managed to find a marine electronics specialist via the very helpful Marlin Yachting Technical Service in Marmaris and it was agreed that he and his assistant would meet us at Değirmen Bükü (aka English Harbour, roughly two hours motoring for us and less than half an hour’s drive from Marmaris) in two day’s time.
After a peaceful night and a trouble-free raising of the anchor (albeit having to put up with that insistent alarm!) we set off using the port side engine only. This was quite uneventful although I must confess to being slightly nervous as we navigated the entrance to the anchorage where the jagged rocks taunted us as we exited in a slightly crab-like manner.
Değirmen is known as English Harbour (according to the pilot book for this area) and apparently it gets its name from the second World War when the British Special Boat Squadron used it as a base.
The bay is very large with a number of anchorages but most of them require stern-to mooring (where you anchor and then tie your stern off on land). As you probably know by now, we hate doing that – always preferring to free anchor when ever possible.
With that in mind, we headed for Malderisi Limani from which it is a short dinghy ride to Okluk Koyu where we planned to pick up the marine electricians and also have a meal at one of the restaurants.
We were also keen to have a look at the Turkish President’s summer palace in Malderisi Limani although we had heard that boats were not allowed to anchor there when the president was in residence.
Judging by the enormous security barriers on the hillside boundary it was understandable that security concerns about the easy access from the water meant you couldn’t anchor close to the palace when the President was there.
It therefore wasn’t a huge surprise when suddenly we noticed a small police motor launch heading straight for us!
The police officer/security guard aboard told us very courteously that we would not be allowed to anchor anywhere in that end of the bay and also, to our surprise, we were absolutely not allowed to go down the small arm to the side (Oluk Koyu) even though this was on the other side of the massive security fence.
This was really frustrating as that meant we couldn’t meet the guys coming in from Marmaris (or go for a meal at one of the restaurants!)
This small hiccup meant we had to turn round and have a rethink. Our research turned up a small village called Söğüt (pronounced something like “suet” as in the pudding). It was only an hour away and it had a good road connection to Marmaris.
On the way out we saw a lovely bronze statue of a mermaid sitting on a rock at the entrance to Okluk Koyu.
Apparently, the sculptor of the statue was Tanku Öktem and it was a gift from Sadun Boro, the first Turkish sailor to circumnavigate the world. This area was where he always anchored after every one of his voyages.
His inscription reads “The mermaid, in order to realise her dream, has travelled over the seas, crossed the horizons. She went through continents, islands and coves until she got to Gököva”.
Söğüt turned out to be real find – it was “so good”! It had a really pretty little harbour with a sailing school, one hotel, a handful of restaurants and a very well stocked and well run mini market. It was also very quiet, peaceful and calm!
Entering the anchorage on only one engine was rather hair-raising as we had lost the ability to manoeuvre easily. As always, our fellow boat owners were very understanding while we were negotiating our way through the other boats anchored there – even though we were getting perilously close sometimes!
Jonathan did a great job and in the end we found a great spot to drop our anchor a little further out than the other boats.
John and Sue on Catabella anchored quite close to a small beach and realised that they could put a line to shore quite easily. Sue bravely volunteered to swim the line over (her first time) and tie up – well done Sue!
The following day, exactly at the time arranged, Gökhan Coşkun and his assistant from AC/DC Marlne electric and electronics arrived. They soon diagnosed the problem – as we suspected a new relay switch was needed. They not only replaced the switch but also spent considerable time checking the wiring out, sealing everything up correctly and generally making sure everything was in good shape. They also left us with a spare relay switch in case the same thing ever happened again!
Earlier that day we were very surprised and happy to see the Whittaker family enter the bay on their yacht Polykandros. We hadn’t seen them since catching up in Kas early in the season but last year had spend many weeks (almost three months!) together in Alimos Marina, in Athens Greece, during the first Covid lockdown.
It was lovely to have a big catch up that afternoon on Polykandros and enjoy Silke’s delicious cinnamon rolls once more.
We also had sundowners with Silke and Tim aboard Sunday and an art lesson and popcorn making session with Nina and Luka before the family left for Bodrum.
Sadly, the Whittakers had decided to sell their boat and had lots of packing and organising to do before the handover to the new owners.
While we were in Söğüt we met Chris and Irene who hail from Christchurch in New Zealand and had lots of interesting sailing stories to share. After drinks on Sunday we went for a good meal at the beachfront restaurant in the village.
On our last day in Söğüt we walked round to the small marina where the famous Global Sailing Academy is based.
We were surprised to see how beautiful this little marina was, a small green oasis with weeping willows and even a “Monet bridge”. It was so beautiful!
It was also interesting to see that the marina, although small, could have accommodated Sunday if we ever wanted an alternative safe spot to leave our floating home.