The first full day was a shakedown cruise to Keppi Creek, fourteen or so miles out of Goçek and tucked away in the south-western corner of the Gulf.
The wind in Turkey, or this part of Turkey at least, is pretty predictable. There is no wind over night, which makes for peaceful if sticky nights, or in the morning. The wind comes up, usually from the south, that is off the Mediterranean, in the early afternoon, builds and lasts until the early evening. Basically its strength correlates to the warming of the land as the day proceeds. This day was no different; SSW building to 23 kts in the afternoon, although this was probably due to wind-rush between the densely packed and hilly islands in the western part of the gulf.
Tchouky Doudy rose to the occasion magnificently. Being on the large and comfortable side she starts to really move above 10 kts of breeze but is then responsive and light on the helm. She has a relatively small jib which actually makes sail trimming pretty easy for a boat of her size. We fetched out to the east of Goçek Island (immediately south of the town) and beat between the other islands toward our destination, it was splendid.
By the time we arrived at Keppi Creek the breeze was somewhat brisk and the sea choppy, but motoring into the creek its self and the conditions changed utterly. Chop gave way to glass flat waters, clear to a rocky bottom. The creek is small, narrowing to about 50m at the entrance and is surrounded by rolling hills covered in pine and olive trees. For obvious reasons these places are noticeably warmer than the open water and so, all in all, arriving feels like a warm hug.
I should explain the mooring arrangements in this part of the world: Moorings, be they buoys, pontoons or whatever are generally owned by waterside restaurants. You don’t pay to use them so long as you dine there. And seeing as, in most of the places we visited, the restaurant is all that’s there, this isn’t a problem at all. This system works very well indeed; there is always someone on hand to help you moor and they are happy to see you arrive.
Keppi Creek is pretty typical in all these regards and we were beckoned toward a rickety pontoon by a boy of about 15. Backing up to the pontoon we are required to take a bow line from him which is attached to concrete blocks, or something like that, toward the middle of the creek. We then make off port and starboard aft lines to the pontoon and the bow line is pulled tight and made off on the bow cleat. To those of us more used to marinas and fenders and multiple springs this might all sound oddly ramshackle but, due to the calm conditions and almost complete lack of tide here, it is remarkably effective and we are snugly berthed. The lad shakes all of our hands and introduces himself as “Dennis”. I feel the need to wag my finger in the manner of the snooker player Dennis Taylor, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t get the reference.
We congratulate ourselves with a well earned “Efes”, a local cough syrup that passes for beer, and some wasps join the party – they live in the pines in vast numbers and were ever present on this trip. The food at the restaurant is good, I had sea bass, and the owners seemed to have some sort of family gathering going on which allowed us to linger unmolested until quite late.
The below sketch shows the typical mooring arrangement out here. The bowline is sometimes just the yacht’s own anchor and the pontoon is sometimes just a rock but the format is pretty universal. The alarming proximity of the rudder to the seabed is not an exaggeration.