After about 12 weeks of lockdown, at least for those aged 65 or older (Howard), the restrictions were lifted last week (between the hours of 10:00 to 20:00) and on June 16 we finally departed Finike marina. Our feelings were rather mixed, after over 8 months there, apart from interludes in the UK and US, we had become accustomed to life in this Turkish part of the Med; good friends, very pleasant environment, wonderful fresh fruit and veg, great climate, and very friendly locals. We were the first ‘oldies’ to depart, those younger having left 3-4 weeks previously, as restrictions on their movement had been lifted earlier.
Turkey appears to have handled the Covid issue a lot more successfully than the US and UK. They started the lockdown early with most businesses, schools, and mosques being closed; only pharmacies, bakeries and some supermarkets open. Bus, taxi, and intercity travel were severely curtailed. Those under 20, apart from those working, or 65+ were only allowed out 4-6 hours one day a week. Our exercise was primarily gained from walking the docks several times a day, rowing the RIB around the marina, and cycling (12-18 km) during ‘freedom’ hours along the beach/coast road. In her extra spare time Hope has been experimenting with new culinary delights, which while superb, have not helped our waistlines. She has also embarked on a RYA online Yachtmasters course. We will be stoping at a RYA school in Fethiye to pick up some charts as those previously ordered never made it through Turkish customs.
Apart from the frustration aspect, we were quite happy to remain in Finike, compared with the tribulations of those in other parts of Europe and the US. However, the 3 month delay in departure as well as the ongoing concern regarding a second wave, especially with the influx of summer tourists to the area, have necessitated a change to our cruising plans. Our intentions are now to slowly sail west and north up the Turkish coast towards Izmir and then, Covid and travel limitations permitting (boats from Turkey currently cannot enter Greek waters), sail west through the Greek islands. In October, we will overwinter the boat in either Greece or Turkey, in order to spend the winter months in the UK and US.
During our travels we are trying to minimize our contact with groups of people, apart from the occasional shopping trip. We have not been to a restaurant since early March, although we are planning to return to one on the Lycian way, run by a single proprieter, and only accessable by boat or after a 5-20 km hike from the nearest towns. It is great to be back on the water and moving again. We have spent the last few days around Kekova, at various anchorages. We moved to the main bay off Ucagiz because of good holding there as the forecast was for 30kt gusts. A good move as not only did the wind howl but changed 180 degrees in less than five minutes. The extra chain we put out and the muddy bottom meant we did not move. A good night’s sleep was obtained.
We should be in Marmaris in early July, where we will have some work done on the boat. Once completed we will head towards Bodrum and Cesme, stopping at multiple anchorages/places along the way. Given the current uncertainty we will the either head to Greece or stay in Turkey, either option will mean good sailing.