Makarma for sale at Aktio Marine, Preveza

Early one May morning in 2017 we finally said farewell to Finike, Turkey - our home for four years.  We were sad to leave behind many good friends but will always carry with us memories of very happy times.

After a leisurely cruise across the Aegean and through the Corinth Canal to the Ionian, we hauled Makarma out at Aktio Marine, Preveza, Greece.

Makarma is back on the market.  David Rogerson at NYB Levkas is acting as our broker. Phone+30 694 534 7870

We're back in Devon again and enjoying spending time with our first grand-daughter who was born in December 2017. 

Getting going again after the major refit

We're getting ready to fly down next week to Finike to get Makarma fit for cruising again. In the last twelve months she's had an extensive refit. The 30 year old teak deck is gone, to be replaced by a more practical fresh white deck and there's new teak in the cockpit.  Since the mast and every single deck fitting came off, it was a good time to upgrade wiring and loads of other stuff.  She's now looking as good as we've ever seen her.

We're excited at the thought of getting going again after so long away. The ship's log shows our last sailing trip was in June 2014! Family commitments back in UK have kept us from spending time onboard for far too long. But the good news is the absence has made us realise we still want to do at least one more voyage before we get too old and creaky to enjoy it.  Roll on the season!

Makarma is up for sale

Are we mad? Why are we exchanging our lifestyle of the last five years exploring the Med for the one we’ll go back to?  We’ll have to wear shoes, lock doors, look left and right to cross a road. Mobiles will beep for our attention, people will interrupt a conversation with you to check their email.  On the street no-one will make eye contact, strangers will think you’re weird if you say hello. And that’s before you consider the weather!

Well, for us one of the main reasons for cruising the Med is to explore remote places we wouldn’t otherwise visit. The experience has immeasurably enriched our lives. But for the first time this year we got the sense we are just doing more of the same.  The trouble is, we’ve run out of Med to explore!

For Cathy living on the boat means the family is a long way off. The children have their own lives to lead now but she wants to be closer to her parents who aren’t getting any younger.

The more we think about it, we more we come round to the idea that there is life after Makarma. We’ve had an incredible adventure and created a huge stock of memories to draw on in years to come. Time and again she’s looked after us and brought us home safely. We want to leave while the going’s good and we’re still fit enough to open a new chapter in our life together.

Winter makes an early appearance

Our usual Mediterranean gear??

What a difference a week makes! We remain in Fethiye to wait for Cathy’s sister Marion and her husband John to arrive on 3rd October. The moment they arrive in the early hours one morning after a long drive from Antalya, a fierce northeasterly plunges the temperature to the low teens, and we have to dig out our jeans and fleeces.
View of Yes Marina, Fethiye

We decide to wait until the wind abates to make the long trip down to Kas, especially as poor Marion had seriously bruised her ribs falling from her horse just three days before and wouldn’t appreciate a rough ride. The wind made our berth at Yes Marina very uncomfortable and after a sleepless night feeling like we were crossing the Channel, Marion and Catherine checked into a local pension to get a peaceful night, leaving John and Leighton onboard. That’s a first!

John dreaming of his next boat-building project?
Leaving Fethiye, we had a very brisk sail towards Gemiler but before we reach the Seven Capes the wind’s gone and we motor the rest of the way to Kas, pushed on by a dying swell. At least it’s getting warmer. A rolly sail the next day takes us to Kekova and we finally start to relax.

A good dose of sunshine and a bit of gentle walking is the perfect tonic for Marion’s bruised ribs, and she manages remarkably well given a boat isn’t the most comfortable environment.

Past Bunda Burun, Finike comes into view. We call up Setur marina on the VHF to let them know we’re approaching.  Their crackling reply echoes across the cockpit, ‘Makarma, this is Setur Marina, welcome back.’  It is six months and over 1,000 miles since we left in April.
The marina dogs are underwhelmed to see us
Pleased to be home

Fiona comes to visit

Fiona in her element
Cathy’s sister Fiona is always a welcome guest onboard, even though this year she arrives at 2am one Sunday morning when Marmaris’s nightclubs are still competing with each other to wake the dead.
Delicious Chinese meal at Kumlubuku - our first stop
We have a fantastic week. As the week goes by, we fall into a relaxing routine of a walk every morning, plenty of swimming in calm water, and eating out most evenings.
Kapi Creek

The only decision is which of Skopea Limani’s many restaurant pontoons we’ll use. The weather stays idyllic and we even have a couple of good sails.
Setting off on another morning's walk
Inspecting the Lycian tomb at Tomb bay

Fiona fancies the slide on the gin palace

Showering off after another swim
At the end of the week we anchor in Fethiye bay and row ashore to eat a last meal at Fethiye’s fish market before putting her on the bus to Dalaman. The bus trip turns out to be the only bad experience of the week, but Fiona makes it in time for her flight back to Bristol.

A spot of bother in Bozburun

‘Let’s see if the anchor gods are smiling on us today,’ observes Leighton as he starts up the windlass. Today’s Tuesday. The anchorage outside the harbour at Bozburun has emptied out a bit since we anchored here on Saturday to sit out a blow. 
The anchorage during the weekend's wind - Swedish friends on Doris on the right
Leighton has good reason to be concerned. While we went ashore yesterday for the first time in two days to get some much needed fresh food, a large gulet moored up to the outside of the harbour wall alongside a couple of others close by. At the time we said to ourselves it might spell trouble.

‘Thirty five metres’, Leighton shouts, winding in the chain. So far, so good. At that moment, the bow dips violently and the windlass grinds to a halt. ‘Yup, they’ve got us!’ The gulet’s heavy anchor and chain has well and truly trapped our anchor chain underneath. In 14 metres of water so free diving down is out of the question. We make a couple of attempts to extricate ourselves using the hand windlass but it’s useless. We’re not going anywhere.

‘Je peux vous donner un coup de main?’ Roland’s voice chips in. He’s from Provence and is on his way to Thailand in a 28 foot boat, Loyola. He’s waiting here for his Thai wife (a durian and pineapple grower) to come to crew with him. First he has to fix a bent prop shaft without lifting the boat out of the water. He doesn’t speak a word of English. As our dinghy’s already on the foredeck we ask if he can give Leighton a lift to where the gulet’s moored. His dinghy is like a paddling pool. ‘Ask him if I’m wasting my time baling,’ Leighton says, trying to keep the water level below his calves. ‘You’ll just have to put up with it,’ I say after Roland explains there was a small hole in the rubber floor yesterday which turned into a big one when he plonked two full jerrycans in the dinghy.
Roland earlier with his blue boat in the background
A little later they return with the name and phone number of the captain of the offending gulet, the Yorukoglu 2. Captain Mehmet is not due back until this evening. We leave a voicemail message and a text but it’s obvious we’re going nowhere today. We can just about afford a day’s delay but have to get to Marmaris by Friday in time to meet Cathy’s sister. Cathy finds lessons in patience hard to take and there’s no outlet to relieve her frustration. We don’t dare leave the boat in case the gulet suddenly decides to leave. The day drags. Evening comes and Captain Mehmet still has not returned our messages. No sign of life on the gulet. Neither of us sleeps well.
The offending gulet in the middle - look how far away it is!
On Wednesday morning, Leighton wakes determined we will leave today even if we have to hire a diver to extricate us. Captain Mehmet isn’t picking up his phone when we call. We dinghy ashore - this time in ours not Roland’s. Leighton heads to the port police to report the problem while Cathy collects the laundry and picks up fresh bread. By the time we head back to the boat fifteen minutes later, the Yorukoglu 2 is moving away from the harbour wall, slowly picking up its anchor chain. Hooray! We leap onboard and just have time to let out enough chain to reverse out of its way.  As it narrowly misses our bow, we get a volley of denials from Captain Mehmet that he’s caused us a problem. We don't care. We’re free and back on schedule! 

The Leros bus goes on a little adventure

The soundtrack of our last visit to Leros was the doodle-doop of the green-striped bus tooting to alert passengers it was coming as it plied up and down the length of the island. This morning we hear the tell-tale sound disappear up the road and realise we’ve missed the bus. Damn. Moments later we hitch a lift to Platanos off a Raymarine engineer and arrive just in time to buy the last loaf of the island’s must-have olive bread - Cathy’s main reason for coming here.

When we get on the bus to go back to the boat, laden with shopping, the driver looks apologetic and says something in Greek to us. We catch something about twenty minutes but the rest is gobbledegook. He lets us on anyway with a shrug and we sit down wondering what's in store for us. The bus is crammed with a group of middle-aged ladies who are clearly in holiday mood, laughing and keeping up a non-stop chatter. Halfway along the road back, the bus veers off down a small lane that soon turns into a dirt track ending at a low cliff overlooking the sea. At the end of a narrow causeway jutting out into the water stands a small blue-domed chapel perched on a rock. A sign tells us it’s dedicated to St Isidoros. 
Our mystery destination

The bus stops, the ladies clamber out and we watch the group make their way down the steps to the causeway and across to the chapel. There’s a bit of a kerfuffle as first one lady then another loses her hat, blown into the sea by a brisk breeze. The bus parks up and we wait until they return. As they come back on board, the driver turns up the volume on some traditional mandolin music, one of the ladies cheers and they all clap. Whatever they’ve done out at the chapel has clearly got them all excited.

A car is blocking the road on our way back - the bus doesn’t normally come this way. No problem. The driver gets out and pushes it into someone’s driveway so we can squeeze past. A Greek Orthodox priest runs out - he's parked the car to drop in on one of his parishioners. Soon we’re back on the normal route - about twenty minutes behind schedule.

When we get ready to get off at the boatyard, the ladies chorus to us, ‘kalo taxidi!’ and they all smile broadly, doubtless tickled that we are unwitting - and bemused - participants in the bus’s diversion from its usual schedule today.