A week Off Course

18 to 25 April 2018

Bozuk Bükü to Bozburun, N36° 41.41’ E28° 02.45’, 14nm, 3 hours

to Bençik Limini, N36° 41.41’ E28° 02.45’, 15nm, 4 hours

to Kuruca Bükü, N36° 45.25’ E27° 53.62’, 8nm, 2 hours

to Datça, N36° 43.24’ E27° 41.31’, 12nm, 2 hours 30

Some of our best friendships on this journey have had less than auspicious beginnings. “Are you sure your fenders are big enough?” lead to two months of fun down the Atlantic coast of Portugal with Ursula and Alex of SV Faith. “Oi! You’ve nicked our berth!” in Sardinia lead to a wonderful month cruising the islands and coast of Italy with Susie and Mike of SV Toy Buoy.

And so it was when we arrived in Bozburun. We had planned to anchor there for a night or two before moving on but on our first dinghy trip ashore, in fact just as we were clambering onto the quay we were greeted with “are you from the cat?” Stefan and I were both thinking “do we look like catamaran people?” when we looked up to see three very smiley faces, the crew of SV Off Course.

We quickly cleared up that we were very much monohull people and walked with Oda and Onno, a Dutch couple, and their 14 month old son, Jasper, around the harbour wall. A charter boat was struggling with its anchor and after a while watching their attempts to get it working, Onno and Stefan decided to jump in the tender and offer them a hand leaving Oda, Jasper and I to get acquainted in the nearby café. With the charter boat safely moored on the quay and a grateful owner shouting us all a drink we stayed in the bar until it was time for Jasper to go to bed.

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We exchanged plans for our onward journeys and weather forecasts and agreed that with some strong winds coming in it might be safer to stay in Bozburun a few days. The following morning we brought Pintail into the inner harbour right next to Off Course and for a whole week we were inseparable, happily following each other around, on and off each others boats, sundowners and lots of fun with Jasper. The late afternoon call to prayer from the mosque very irreverently became “the call to beer”!

Having got ourselves settled inside the harbour in advance of the wind, it seemed to take the gulet owners a bit by surprise. One by one they started to move inside the small harbour too and we watched fearing crossed anchors. We were eventually both wedged in firmly by the bigger boats. As the wind starting gusting up and we were going nowhere Onno and Stefan set about repairing Off Course‘s outboard engine. I don’t think Oda and Onno believed that Stefan really does love stripping down an outboard and putting it together again. They soon had it running again.

Whilst they played with the outboard, Oda, Jasper and I enjoyed coffee and played with the local cats and dogs at the café.

Spending time with Jasper was so refreshing for us. We don’t have many little people in our lives and those we do are far away and mostly not so little anymore. It was just brilliant to spend time with someone who would giggle himself silly when Stefan blew raspberries on his belly and enjoyed the simplicity of a game of “boo”! In fact very quickly Jasper came to associate us with the word “boo” and it became our greeting.

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Jasper has been living and travelling on a boat since he was 2 months old. He is used to living and playing in a small space with very few toys. He was as happy entertaining himself with our plastic Ikea cups as he was some favourite pebbles he had collected from various beaches.

We were having so much fun in the company of the Off Course crew that we changed our plans and decided to travel with them for a bit along the Datça peninsular. When the wind calmed we headed off together.

At the entrance to the bay at Bozburun are a number of islands where we anchored briefly to have a swim (only Oda was brave enough to get in) and to explore the ruins ashore. The water was very shallow taking the dinghy in and had to drag it some way to the beach.

Despite all our archeological visits in Turkey we couldn’t identify the origin of the ruins!

Whilst anchored we watched a goatherd arrive on another small island. The goats all greeted him enthusiastically as he went ashore. He proceeded to select three of them, drag them into the boat not so enthusiastically and take them back to the mainland with him to an uncertain future!

Round the corner from Bozburun into the Datça peninsular the landscape changed again. Grey rock gave way to very craggy red rock.

We enjoyed a night in a very quiet thin bay at Bençik before moving on to Kuruca Bükü passed more red cliffs.

Oda and Onno are adept at carrying Jasper from the boat and transporting him in their (very patriotic orange) dinghy but whilst Onno and Stefan tried to find the cause of a water leak that had appeared in Off Course‘s engine I took Oda and Jasper ashore in search of somewhere to play. I don’t drive the dinghy very often and Jasper is definitely the most precious cargo I’ve had but we made it safely, if slowly! Ashore we found a still deserted holiday village which meant that Jasper had the children’s play area all to himself. He loved the slide!

After two days in the middle of nowhere we headed round to the bright lights of Datça. Whilst Off Course went in to the town quay to fix their engine we stayed at anchor off the beach. The water was beautifully clear and this was the first time that Stefan swam to check the anchor was dug in. It wasn’t difficult to see.

Datça was a pretty holiday town full of bright white sculptures and plenty of playgrounds for Jasper to explore

and a wonderful beach with a view of Pintail!

Getting Off Course‘s engine fixed was another example of the generous and helpful nature of the Turkish people. Onno and Stefan disappeared off with a local gulet owner and found themselves in a workshop where a growing crowd of men discussed how best to fix the part. They waited and waited and eventually returned with a newly fashioned part ready to be fitted. As a restaurant owner in Bozburun said to us “in Turkey, anything is possible”!

After a week together we needed to press on north whilst Oda and Onno had longer to linger around the Bodrum peninsular so we had to say goodbye. Thank you for a brilliant week in your company, Oda and Onno. And Jasper?

BOO!

We hope you catch up with us somewhere soon.

We ended our week together with a lovely meal of meze on the beach. Or so we thought. If our meeting started slightly inauspiciously, parting company was to have a truly inauspicious ending…

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