After a long and eventful summer Tainui has finally arrived. We ran east down Rhodos Strait stopping at secluded anchorages. But we were no longer alone, sharing our journey with Turkish guletts, Eurvision Song Contest beneteaus and bling boats, increasing in number as we approached our destination.
Cruising means constant surprise. If, like me, you live from day to day and do not research your journey fastidiously, every new sunrise brings surprise. I had no idea what Marmaris would be like but all these boats were a bit depressing. Virtually none for 4,500 miles and now, suddenly, millions of them.
But Marmaris Bay is a truly wonderful bit of water, where Lord Nelson prepared his fleet for the Battle of Cairo. High jagged hills cradle a splendid harbour with islets, protected bays and crystal clear water. A steady, warm 20 knot northerly, yachts everywhere, 2 races in progress. It felt like Sydney Harbour on an early summer afternoon as we made for the marina which Ercan had booked for us.
And what a marina! A veritable forest of masts and a marina runabout waiting at the entrance to guide us to our berth and handle our lines for us.
I suppose this is a normal stopover for most of the yachts here, but for us it is so novel as to be unbelievable. I will be happy poking about in the huge chandlery and working my way through all the boat jobs which have accrued over the last 12 months.
As everywhere in Turkey, the local people here are hospitable and generous. Ercan Erkut, who will be looking after Tainui over the winter, took us with his wife and Orcan to a splendid lunch in a local cafe, off the tourist track. He would hear nothing of my effort to contribute – “in Turkey, this is our way”, he said. I was reminded of the optometrist in Dikili, who spent an hour repairing my glasses for me. When he heard I was Australian he said there would be no charge. “This is for the ANZACs,” he said.
Tainui is to be hauled on Monday. Before then Pasha and I will have one last go at the engine coolant problem (replacing the capillary stack in the header tank), run a new wind instrument cable down through the mast, stow sails and deck gear, then pack our bags.
It is all over. Or perhaps it is just beginning….