There's only around six weeks left in our cruising season. The current plan is that we settle back into Mytilini Marina for Winter at the end of October. While we don't have to do this, there's lots of good reasons to make it so. Experience has taught us that the weather beyond then gets too unpredictable. The boat gets too cold and in general it stops being quite as much fun.
And of course several of our friends from Porto Montenegro will be there around that time too. If cruising has taught us anything, it's that it is the people that matter. Being back to catch up and share the joys (and the tribulations) of the season with friends is something we don't want to miss out on.
Which means we need to take every opportunity now to squeeze the last out of the season. We're trying hard to live in the moment these last few weeks, to stop rushing from place to place and to just enjoy the simple pleasures of life aboard. But to make that happen, we needed to make the transition from the rough and windy North Aegean, to the mid-Aegean and the more sheltered shores along Turkey's western coast around Izmir.
The first few days of the week saw us stuck in Bozcaada, sitting out the strong winds. It was rough on the wall with the boat moving quite a lot, but we spent some good time on shore exploring. We tried several more wineries, hired a quad bike and explored the island further and caught up on a couple of boat jobs too.
By the time the weather finally lifted on Wednesday, we were happy to be out of there. It's a lovely place to visit, but four days is a little long! We could tell the weather had been very rough as on the last evening before we left, all the fishing boats finally left the harbour. You know it's been some poor conditions when even the fisherman won't leave.
As we were about to leave, it was amusing watching a large Turkish patrol boat pull into the harbour. They were there for some event (we're still not quite sure what). The Pershing 88 that was next to us left just as they entered which caused lots of arm waving and complaining from the warship. Then they tried to pull to the dock and were blown off by the wind, some sailor at the rear tried four times to throw the lines to shore, failing on each occasion. It's entertaining watching the professionals hash it all up from time to time too.
Having finally found the right weather window, it was time to hit the after burners and get south. We did around 50 nautical miles a day (7 - 8 hours) to leap from Bozcaada, to north of Lesvos and then from there to the top of the more common Turkish cruising grounds.
After a very rocky night at anchor on our first anchorage, we were relieved to finally get to Bademli, a beautiful calm anchorage with crystal clear waters tucked between two islands. We were able to go swimming for the first time in weeks, a reminder that there's still plenty of time left to enjoy the sea before winter comes.
Then it was back to cruising the way I think it's ideally meant to be. Short 2 - 3 hours hops from one harbour to the next, with interesting sights along the way. With no specific plan, we headed for Çanderli, a small resort town with one important feature - a TurkCell agent. Yes, our internet ran out in Bozcaada and for the last few days we've been unable to watch Netflix or YouTube on TV in the evening.
Çandarli also has a small Genoese Castle, lots of restaurants and a small fresh food market – it's not a bad place to restock. While we slept well on anchor, unfortunately we weren't able to go swimming here because the bay was full of jellyfish.
The weather is warming up a bit again - we thought of heading to visit a ruined city nearby, but the temperature inland was forecast at 36C so we decided to skip it. We've seen plenty of Greek ruins! With weather like this, what we really need is more secluded bays, fewer jellyfish and the chance to go swimming.
So here we are, tucked up in Sazlica, just north of Izmir at the start of what I think you'd consider the very northern end of the true cruising coast in Turkey. For the first time in a couple of months we're suddenly surrounded by charter boats again! There were two boats here when we arrived, as the evening progresses, there's now five of us anchored up. It's great to finally be out of the big winds and with good weather ahead, we plan to make the most of these last dying days of Summer.
We'll continue to poke our way South, explore bays, drop anchor and swim while the weathers good, and if it's not, take advantage of the marina days we have to get a few more boat jobs done, or venture to bigger cities to explore.
Until next time
Tim & Karina