December 25, 2016 – January 6, 2017 —
Now that the Greece/Turkey winter winds have started to blow, we are waiting for a safe weather window to leave. The winds at this time of year can be fierce along the coasts of Turkey and Greece so we watch the weather closely to choose weather windows for passages. Our first leg of this trip was Marmaris to Bozburun, Turkey on Christmas day. The weather was challenging clearing the Bozburun Peninsula with 35k of wind and a close reach. Bozburun is a great little town where we have twice checked into Turkey. At this time of year the Immigration office is closed for the season, so we will need to go on to Datca to clear out. Bozburun let us get a significant leg of the trip to Kos behind us, but still allow us to stay a few days in their very protected harbor and take a one hour bus to Marmaris to pick up some boat parts that were on order.
Bozburun is known for its gulet building. Gulets are a type of sailboat that are quite different and unique to Turkey. Gulets are almost always constructed of wood and are extremely large (75 to 150 feet and up) pleasure boats by most standards. Gulets have an old-style design, usually with two masts and look something more like you would think of in Pirates of the Caribbean. They are serious yachts though with up-to-date features, and equipment and electronics. Originally gulets were used for sponge diving and shipping, but with the explosive growth of tourism, starting in the 70’s gulets have become popular as crewed charter boats, complete with every luxury. Most gulets are built locally in back yards and small boat yards. They are typically built for an extended family and used for chartering when the family is not aboard. The growth of gullet building has been a boom to the local economy because it utilizes the abundant timber resources Turkey has, and provides employment, not only for the skilled and semi-skilled builders, but also captains, crews and ongoing maintenance services. Gulets have become the mainstay to summer tourism in Turkey benefiting the economy not only from the charter income but also from all the other revenues that it drags along with it. Bob enjoyed a self-guided walking tour of several of Bozburun’s gullet building activities. Having a love of woodworking himself he was in heaven watching and talking with the craftsmen.
That evening, once tucked into the harbor, we celebrated Christmas with a toasty fire in the TV. The next day we left Bozburun at 6 am and headed to Datca with the winds still high and the forecast not looking good. Once there, we rented a car and drove the 90 km back to Marmaris to pick up a final part, said goodbye to friends and returned, in the rain, to Datca. The following morning we checked out of Datca, and then motored with the wind, at about 25 kts, on the nose. As the day passed we went through rain, thunder and lightning, and hail.