Chapter Forty Seven    July - August, 2009

 Wow!  What a summer!  A Summer to Remember.

 In summary, we have

·       Spent most of our time sitting still and soaking up the local flavors and colors (we sat still 3 days for every day we sailed),

·       Visited 27 different harbors, and

·       Still managed to cover more than 700 miles so far.

 

Actually, it has really been two summers.  Early summer was filled with friends and family coming to visit and the accompanying schedules and deadlines.  We hurried here and there to meet up with our “guests” and then hurried off to make the next meeting on time.  But it was just great!  Our long-time dearest friends, Bernard and Judy, came all the way from Cape Cod to visit us in Mykonos.  It has been ages since we had such unhurried and relaxing time together.  We think they enjoyed Mykonos well enough, but our visit was all about being together.  It was a very special time for us.  

We left Mykonos and sailed back to Turkey to spend a week with our niece and her family.  Rachel, Eric and the children were a joy to be with, as we day-sailed, shopped the bazaar, and explored a tiny bit of Turkey with them.

                   

When the "visiting" portion of our summer came to a close, the second half began.  Where the first part was all about friends, family and schedules, the second part was about solitude and an open calendar.  We knew we wanted to “head north” along the Turkish coast but that was the extent of our plans.  We found that the further north we went, the more “Turkish” the anchorages became, and the fewer day-tripper boats, chartered yachts and gulets we encountered.  Some of our favorite anchorages were so delightful we stayed far longer than we’d planned. Fabulous!

                 

Of course, we had to dress ship for the Fourth of July.  Later that night we joined new American friends for “Cheeseburgers in Paradise.”  Pretty nice!

                  

In one little bay, we thought we were all alone once again when along came a young man paddling an antique “dolphin boat,” such as those they rent to tourists along the beach.  He came out from the village around the bend to offer us fresh bread.  And such bread: still warm from the stone oven.  But, alas, we did not have the correct change for him.  “No problem,” he said.  He paddled all the way back to the village, rounded up the needed change (and another loaf of bread!), and happily paddled back out to us in the near darkness.  Now we were alone.

                

We didn’t really expect solitude when we came to English Harbor; it is quite popular with cruisers.  But we didn’t really expect such crowds, either.  Every day at about noon the day-tripper tourist boats arrived en mass.  We must have anchored in their favorite spot, because they came very close to us.  At one point there were 5 of these boats anchored within 75 feet of us, all disgorging their guests for a swim at once.  Pandemonium.  But by 4:00 they were all gone, and tranquility reigned.

       

It was at English Harbor that we made some new Turkish friends.  Their yacht, Yakamoz, anchored next door for a few days.  Yakamoz is brand new and gorgeous.  Her owner invited us aboard for cocktails and a tour.  Wow!  Two and a half years to build, but the results are stunning.  We have seen her since, and it feels like seeing an old friend each time she sails by.  One of the guests aboard, Aleif, is a young woman recently graduated from Rhode Island School of Design; Sharon did some post-graduate work there, too!  It’s truly a small world.  (Sorry for the cliché.)

            

Seeking more of the tranquil life, we looked into Amazon Creek.  It’s an interesting place.  At the head of the small bay is the “creek” which leads up to a campground.     In the campground there were no tents or campers, but rather small huts built high off the ground to resemble gypsy wagons, complete with non-working wheels.  More “interesting” than “charming.”  But they did have laundry facilities, so we dinghied up the creek for an hour or so to have the laundry done.  Upon our return to the anchorage, we at first could not see Seraphim.  What?!?!  Our anchor was dragging, and we were perilously close to banging into the rather expensive-looking yacht next door.  Quick action and good teamwork kept us out of serious trouble, but it was another hour and a half before we had the anchor solidly dug in for the night.

 

To celebrate the 16th anniversary of our first date, we headed for Paradise Bay, where our cruising guide said we would find serenity and solitude in a romantic setting.  But instead we found a mussel farm, and all its associated machinery. 

       (We did find our own Paradise Bay a few miles away and spent 4 days there.) 

 

Life on board in these quiet anchorages has been a mixture of work and leisure, usually work in the quiet and cool of the morning and leisure later in the day.  Sharon has been sewing and beading while John has been repairing and renovating.  With the isolation of many of our anchorages, mealtime has been aboard; Sharon’s culinary skills have kept us well-fed and healthy while we have both lost some unwanted weight over the course of the summer.

               

We were also quite alone as we anchored off the ancient Greek city of Ioasos.  Various peoples have been living here for 4,000 years, and the little Turkish village continues the tradition.  Climbing up to explore the ruins we were totally alone, the only tourists on the site that day.  Wandering through buildings and theaters built 400 B.C. and being the sole living person in the city is a special feeling indeed.  The tower and underwater breakwater guarding the harbor were added by the Genoese much later, of course.

            

Day after day, bay after bay, we were enchanted by the beauty of this part of the Turkish coast.  The waters are so clear we would not have to get into the water to dive on the anchor as we often do.  We could stand on the deck and watch as the anchor hit the bottom and dug into the sand, even when the water was 15-20 feet deep. 

                          

 

We began the summer with visitors, and we had some visitors later, too.  But these visitors were of the unscheduled variety.  Anchored one resort beach, we were visited by a group of young men several days running.  They would swim out to the boat, rest for a while in our dinghy, and swim back to the beach.  Or sometimes John would give them a lift if they were too tired to make the return swim.

 

Our other visitors, also uninvited and unscheduled, were different but still charming in their own way.    Goats, solitude, natural beauty.  This is, for us, the wonder of unspoiled Turkey. 

We still have 6-8 weeks left of our Summer to Remember.  The situation will change, the anchorages will change, the people will change.  But the Adventure continues.

               

Stay tuned.