April 5 From Kemer to Marmaris
As April approaches, the spring weather in this part of the Med has been getting milder, close to 20C in the day. Last Saturday we had a wonderful barbecue party, followed by music and dancing. That was our last party at Kemer Marina. On a fine, sunny morning, we bid farewell to our cruiser friends at Kemer, and casted off for an early season of sailing. We've made a lot of wonderful friends here, and leaving this place was very hard, but it’s time to move on and continue our journey.
Another wonderful party at the Navigator
As usual the wind was against us. The prevailing wind is northerly, and along the coast the wind curves around the coast line and presents a head wind no matter where you are, if you are heading north-west as we are. We tried to sail for a couple of hours, and then gave up and cranked up the iron horse. With building sea and head wind, we were barely making 4 knots as the boat pounded into heavy seas. Not only we were not sailing, we were wasting precious fuel. What a way to start the first sail of the season! Fortunately by daybreak the wind had died down, and we entered into the large Fethiye Bay under a cool morning sun and a calm sea. We dropped anchor in a nice sheltered bay and finally had some rest.
Entering the Bay of Fethiye
In the afternoon we went out and explored the town of Fethiye. With a natural harbour that’s very well sheltered and surrounded by distant misty mountains, Fethiye is good size city with a well-developed water front. The mass of tourists had not arrived yet, but waterfront restaurants and parks were very vibrant and filled with locals who were sipping tea or playing broad games. We met up with Paul, a cruising friend who was working on his boat here, while his wife and new-born son lived in Istanbul. We went to a fish market and outdoor restaurant area where one can pick the fish, and then take it to a restaurant and have it cooked. The evening air was chill, but with our glasses of wine and dishes of delicious pan-fried sea bass, we had a wonderful time musing about the cruising life and cursing about the boat working life.
Sailing into Marmaris
The next day we raised anchor bright and early, and continued our journey to Marmaris, about 40 miles away. It was another motoring day, with no wind and the sea flat as glass. The consolation was that Ben saw a dolphin – a single juvenile that played with the bow wave for a short while and then disappeared. By late afternoon the wind picked up a bit, and we enjoyed an hour of fine sailing with the boat doing 5 knots under 8-10 knots of wind on a close reach. By 4:00pm, we’re anchored just outside the Marmaris Yacht Marina, next to the Pupa Yat Hotel, a very scenic and peaceful place (for now, without the tourists, and therefore, without the blasting disco backbeat). Ben finally had a chance to test out his brand new bbq grill and it was a success!