Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Turkey Yacht Charter

After coming to the conclusion that, Summer was simply not going to happen, we decided to book a yacht charter in Turkey. Bearing in mind, that we had a 40 ft boat in Thailand, we decided it would be fun to do the same in Turkey. After all, it makes a change not thumping your head in smaller spaces.

We looked at a few Charter companies in Turkey and chose to book through Nautilus Yachting. Nautilus act as an agent in Turkey for Aura Yachting. Nautilus were quite helpful and responded quickly to all of our questions.

We chartered a Beneteau Oceanis 40, called Karibu.

On the whole, Karibu was clean and the sails were in good shape. The engine was spotless and well maintained. The technical handover and discussion regarding various sailing itineraries was very informative. The boat was well stocked with pots, pans and all the implements one needs for cooking. The tender was in good condition, although, I really do object to having to pay an extra deposit for the tender and for having to pay to hire the outboard for the week. It starts to feel a bit like a Ryan Air flight with all the extra necessary expenses (Compulsory transit log: €120, outboard: €70, compulsory cleaning fee: €75, *tender deposit €500)! At least with Sunsail and with Asia Marine, these cost were included.

There are some aspects that could be improved: the sanitary hosing needs to be replaced. The batteries need to be replaced as they ran down to 11 volts rather easily and a decent battery monitoring system should be installed. The Bimini and Spray hood both need waterproofing as they leak like a sieve. A coat of Renovo Ultra Proofer or similar would do the job cheaply.
Water soaked through the Bimini

 Last but not least: The bedding sheets supplied were ridiculously small - invest in some decent double sheets at the very least!

It would also be useful if they had supplied a cooler box. Apparently, we are not the only customers to have asked. Perhaps it would be useful to take notice?

Beneteau Oceanis 40

  • Twin wheel -  this makes for a wide spacious cockpit. Good steering visibility.
  • Teak cockpit - dries quicker than plastic & no glare from the sun. 
  • Decent sized fridge
  • Ample storage space
  • Straight line Galley - difficult for 2 people to work in the galley as you are constantly climbing over the chair to get past each other
  • Step down into the Fore Cabin - John constantly bumped his head stepping down through the doorway.
  • Sanitary hosing router underneath the bunks in the main cabin - all good and well if you have a non-smelly fresh water system with proper sanitary hosing, that is replaced when needed, however, very stinky with a sea water flush and standard non-sanitary hose. Not even a good wipe down of the pipes helped -  there was this pervasive smell of urine. Not good at all and not necessary.
  • 3 cabin layout - would have preferred 2.
  • Loo in the Fore Cabin - the boat is not really quite big enough for this.
Turkey as a Charter Destination:

Beautiful Turquoise Water

Once you get over the general horror of the package holiday hoards on the flights (we flew with Easyjet so it was expected) and the 4 hours of hell, sitting next to 2 young females, who insisted on re-applying their make-up, every 15 minutes of the flight (they looked like 2 pancakes with the features drawn in, with smashed fly eyelashes due to the amount of mascara by the end of the flight), you get to enjoy the delights of Turkey. The return flight was an entirely different story... there were actually 2 rather thuggish and somewhat plump males strolling around the airport without their shirts off. To my horror, they were on our flight back. Thank goodness they were at least 10 rows in front of us. 

Enough about the flights, more about Turkey! We flew into Bodrum and we were then driven to our Hotel in Bitez. We had arranged for a Private Car, as there are no surprises about the cost. We stayed at the Doria in Bitez for 2 nights. The hotel is lovely and the staff are friendly and helpful. They actually served us food at midnight - you would not get that sort of service in a British hotel.

After recovering from our late flight and getting into the holiday mood, we travelled to Aurura Yachting's base in Yalikvac. We fortunate enough to be given the boat at 1 pm, instead of their **handover time of 4 pm. This allowed us to get going on Day 1. We had decided that, taking time constraints into account, we would be sailing in the Gulf of Gokova. Our first stop, was Gumusluk. 


Gumusluk is a fairly busy anchorage, with lots of little restaurants and cafes surrounding the water's edge.The food was superb - we started with a mix of very yummy meze and then shared a whole large sea bream, which was cooked simply and was delicious. We spent a Saturday night there, which was a little noisy due to music being played quite loud (until 3 am) but I suppose, it might be quieter during the week.


From Gumusluk, we sailed onto Cokertme. Cokertme is a fabulous anchorage. There are 3 restaurants, each with their own jetty, which you can moor up to (provided you eat there) that, supply free water & electricity. We ate at the Cokertme restaurant, which was very good. John sampled the Cokertme Kebab, which is a speciality and he gave it a definite thumbs up. The next morning we bought freshly baked bread, bottled water and ice. It is absolutely astounding how friendly and entrepreneurial the whole idea of free mooring, water & electricity is provided you eat there. I doubt you would ever see this in Britain, which is such a pity as we have a beautiful coast line to complement the idea. 

Bread bought from Cokertme Restaurant
Longoz Koyu:

Longoz Koyu was our next destination and the first time we had to anchor and long line our boat ashore. Long lining involves tying the stern of the boat to a rock or a tree. It is preferable to use 2 lines -  one for Port and the other for starboard and if at all possible, try and tie your line around a rock as opposed to a tree, as the rope tends to damage the bark.

I would like to say we got our long lining right on he first attempt but the truth is that we provided the many ***Gulets with some humorous entertainment for at least 20 minutes before we cracked the technique. We found it easiest to motor the anchor down to the ground with the windlass whilst the boat engine is in neutral or ticking over in forward if necessary for steerage. Once the anchor has touched the ground, engage the reverse gear on the engine and then motor the anchor down with the windlass (Do NOT let the chain free fall because it forms clumps and the boat will continue backward once the anchor has bitten). Let out the required amount of chain and then check if the anchor has bitten. A bit of throttle on reverse helps. Once the anchor has bitten, swim out or take the tender and tie ropes from the stern to the shore.

Longoz Koyu is a long narrow inlet, which is very sheltered from the wind and hence, quite popular. There is a restaurant but we didn't try it as we decided to try our hand at cooking a few Turkish meals on the boat.

We spent the night here. Unfortunately, when we woke up, it had started to rain with a vengeance. We pretty much got up early and made for English Harbour in the pissing rain... with the Bimini leaking like a bloody sieve. Not ideal.

English Harbour: 

I would love to tell you about the delights of English Harbour but most of our time spent here, was in the pissing rain. It was quite literally torrential. Look up "floods in Bodrum" on youtube and you will understand the sheer volume of water that came down. Aside from torrential rain, we also experienced some rather robust lightning and thunder. At one point (at about 2 am in the morning), I was lying in bed, counting the seconds between the lightning flash and the sound of the thunder, to try and understand where the lightning was, as it was so bright and there was no gap. Basically, the storm was directly above us. It was at this point, I started wondering about the fact that we had this great big lightning conductor, called a mast, sticking out of the boat, coupled with the fact that we had long lined onto 2 trees. I, of course, had to wake John up, to share my thoughts - he was not very comforting. All I got from him was a bit of snoring, some lip smacking sounds and a mumbled "Go back to sleep".

We spent a day and a half in English Harbour, waiting out the storm. It is a good sheltered spot but unfortunately, there were loads of Gulets.

Seven Islands: North Cove (Yedi Adalari):

This was a fabulous anchorage. Picturesque small bay with a restaurant. The owner zips around on his dinghy asking if you would like a reservation for the evening and he offers to collect you from your boat and return you after dinner. Do yourself a favour and eat at the restaurant because the food and hospitality are both very good.

Kargicik Koyu:

Another pretty anchorage although, a bit crowded with Gulets.

Yalikvac Marina:

Yalikvac Marina is a fairly large marina, with a good many 'Super Yachts'. The facilities are clean and it is easy to provision for your charter as there is a supermarket approximately 50 metres from the marina entrance. There are also 3 Chandleries (we call them Swindleries) and plenty of restaurants, cafes and various boutique shopping opportunities (I was not allowed to make use of them). I think I might have preferred the marina before it developed into such a monstrosity of a marina, as it might have retained a bit of charm. Thumping nightclub music until 2 am, did not enhance its appeal.

*Tender Deposit: There is a tender deposit of €500. This has to be paid even if you pay the insurance waiver. It is refundable but if the tender is stolen, you are €500 out of pocket. I'm not sure I agree with the fairness of this.

**Boat Handover: I have to admit, I thought the boat handover times were quite cheeky. Our Charter was a 7 day Charter (Saturday to Saturday) and we were expected to return the boat to the marina, by 4 pm on the last night of the charter. As far as I am concerned, if you collect the boat at 4pm, then you should be able to return it 7 days hence at 4 pm, as this qualifies as a full 7 days of charter. I appreciate they need time to clean the boat, which you also pay for but, you should receive your full 7 days. If you happen to arrive after 4pm there is a penalty charge (I think it was €70 an hour).

**Gulets: The Gulf of Gokova is swarming with Gulets, there really is no getting away from them. Gulets are large wooden sailboats (who mostly motor), full of tourists. Depending on the Gulet, you might find anything from a small group of people to an unbelievably large group, whose sole purpose is to play loud music and get as drunk and be as loud as possible. Unfortunately, even though we tried hard, there was no such thing as a private bay devoid of Gulets. Simply no avoiding them..

Wooden Gulet
Gulet Decor

John and our good friend Al, both seem to think the clothing above should be the new uniform for Genesis. I don't think they have the figure for it.

After our charter, we spent a couple of days at the Med-Inn Boutique hotel in Gulluk. If I didn't have to go all the way to Heathrow to fly to Bodrum, I would certainly enjoy a few long weekends at the Med-Inn. Fabulous hotel, wonderful staff and excellent food. what more could you want?

We made a point of going into Gulluk town but to be honest, it's not much to write home about. Don't let this put you off though because ironically, the snorkeling in this area is much better than anything else we had experienced during our charter. Before we arrived at the Med-Inn, we had concluded that aside from fish farms, the Gulf of Gokova was singularly devoid of any fish but we saw quite a few shoals of fish whilst snorkeling in the bay right in front of the hotel.

One word of advice, make certain you pre-book private car transfers instead of taking taxis. We got caught out with our trip from the Marina to the hotel and paid more than double for a taxi. Private cars are a much more economic solution and the cars are in better condition than the taxis.

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