Clive and I have been on Jelani at Marmaris Yacht Marine for nearly one month. Time has passed quickly, but we are hankering to sail and explore. At dinner with friends one night, Clive invited Neslihan to join us for our shakedown cruise, and she gladly accepted. On Thursday, April 14th, she arrived at 9:30 am bright-eyed and ready to sail. Neslihan had mentioned she’d like to teach me how to cook a few traditional Turkish dishes. Since there was no wind, the lessons started right away. She walked me through the steps of making one of my favorite breakfast dishes, Menemen. Menemen is a simple yet tasty dish to make. Back home, some would call it a veggie scramble. It consists of eggs, tomatoes, green pepper, and garlic. Simple ingredients and fresh herbs and spices make this an easy dish that I will continue to make for a long time.
I call Yacht Marine on the radio, requesting assistance to depart the marina. Did I mention that I will be the skipper of Jelani on this trip? Gulp! One of the goals I set for myself this year is to be able to dock Jelani on my own. I take control of the engines, and I get nervous butterflies. Mustafa, the head Marinero, cracks a joke, and it snaps me into the moment. We get out of the marina without a problem and motor into Marmaris Bay.
I put Jelani into the wind, and we raise the mainsail. After working out a few kinks with the main, we roll out the jib and turn the engines off. Ahh, wind in the sails and water rushing past the hull is such a relaxing sound. Clive, Neslihan, and I spent the next five hours sailing to Çiftlik. It took a lot longer than expected, but we were in no rush to get there. We must have tacked twelve times to get out of the bay. It was a great day to sail! In Çiftlik, Yasar from Azmak Restaurant guided me to the dock, and with the help of Neslihan on the lines and Clive by my side, I managed to reach my goal.
Ciftlik is a beautiful village with clear water and is excellent for swimming, especially on hot summer days. You can anchor or tie up to one of the restaurant jetties. There are five popular restaurants: Azmak, Deniz Restaurant, Mehmet Place, Hayalim Cafe Beach, and Rafet Baba. Azmak is our favorite place to tie up because of the hospitality (Yasar and Engin are so kind), the assistance you get when docking, and the food is delicious. Çiftlik is a hot spot for liveaboards and charter boats leaving Marmaris in the summer. The bay provides excellent protection from the Meltemi winds, but you need to find a different bay if the wind shifts to the South.
Our friends Sveta and Rost motored Amiga to Çiftlik earlier and were there to greet us when we arrived. Sveta invited us to join her by dinghy to Gebekse Koyu. I said “yes” to adventure while the others decided to relax on Jelani. As we enter the open ocean with her dinghy, she mentions I hope the engine cooperates with us. The wind was in our favor, and we had oars and a way to communicate with the others if we needed help. The wonderfully clear turquoise water of the anchorage was beautiful. I tied us ashore, and after a misstep on my part, we managed to find the trail that led us to the ancient ruins of the pregnant church. Many stories surround the church, and one sentiment is that the church was constructed for women who could not get pregnant and was a place of worship. For a long time, we sat amongst the ruins. We sat in the shade surrounded by pine trees, the sound of honey bees buzzing, and beautiful instrumental music. Our time together was captivating and will be etched in my mind for a long time.
The next day we set off for Bozzukale, one of my favorite anchorages we have come across in Turkey. The wind was light, so we didn’t get to sail. We stayed at Ali Baba, the first restaurant on the left. The water was inviting, and we looked forward to taking a dip despite the cold. I rustled lunch for us, and the owner surprised us with Gözleme. While our food was settling, Neslihan taught me how to play Backgammon. We sat in the “star gazing lounge” and played five games. She’s a great teacher, and I look forward to playing her again.
We motored the next day back to Marmaris Bay. Strong southerlies were heading our way, and we chose to go back to the marina. Once in Marmaris, the Coast Guard stopped us. They came alongside and lowered the fenders, and we were locked together, floating in the bay. It was a very intimidating experience, but I was happy it was our friend Erol coming to say hi. I rushed down to the cabin and grabbed our Turkish Coastguard hats he made for us. I promised to make him one of my famous cappuccinos the next time we saw him, and he sent us on our way.
One more hurdle to overcome before I can fully relax. I am bringing Jelani into the marina for the first time. I had a fantastic support team encouraging me the whole time, and I managed to dock Jelani without a problem.
If any women are interested in learning how to sail from another woman, Neslihan Karayel comes highly recommended. She is patient and experienced and has helped build my self-confidence in sailing in a short period. Turkey is a marvelous place to visit and sail. If you are interested in learning how to sail, please check out her website. http://www.womensailingschool.com/home.html