I arrived back at the Finike marina, about 1 o’clock with two other boats that wanted to come into the marina close behind me. When the third boat in line called and asked to have the pilot boat, come out and escort them in, the marina said that the pilot boat was busy. We should all enter the marina very slowly and wait for the pilot boat to meet us, but there will be a small delay.
Well, it’s a fairly substantial marina and it made perfect sense that the little hard bottom inflatable with usually two marineross in it, would be busy helping one or several other people. So, especially being first in line, I just slowed way down and kept looking around for the little boat.
I don’t know how long the man had been standing there waving at me, but I finally realize that one of the marineros was standing on the end of our pier waving. When I waved back he signaled that I should come in. So, since I knew exactly where I was going I proceeded on in. But, I had asked that they bring out an extra marineros, that would get aboard the boat and help me. Janet and I have done this operation quite a few times. There are many things that can go wrong. And that is with two on board. It is sometimes more stressful than others. But, even in the best of times, it is a handful for two people. Three or more people would really be nice.
The usual situation here is that there is a long pier. They have permanent anchors down the middle of the fairway with strong lines attached that become small lines and go over to where the end of your boat will be tied up perpendicular to the pier. These are called slime lines, or probably more correctly messenger lines, or various other names. The first 20 feet or so of the line is pretty much guaranteed to be a major ecological preserve of marine life. Hence the name slime line. It usually has a float at the end to make it harder to drop in the water and lose track of it. Typically they are small lines. Commonly 3/8 of an inch, about a centimeter or less in diameter .They often did not even untie it from the pier they just come in and pick it up and run along it leaving the original end secured to the pier and as they work their way out that pulls up a more substantial line, two or three times the diameter of the slime line or messenger, that goes to the permanent anchor down the middle the fairway. In this marina they normally come out in a small boat and pull up the substantial line and hand it to the boat as they are approaching. So one person on Alegría needs to be adjusting the tension on that line and tying it to the correct part of the boat at the correct time.
One person needs to be driving the boat, to get us into it usually a very narrow spot, with big valuable boats on either side. And our priceless boat in the middle.
One or two people need to be at our bow, to throw lines to the pier, and usually be handed back the end of the line to attach to your boat. They almost always used two lines to the pier. Most boats back in, so that their stern is against the pier, or sea wall, whatever. The line from the anchor then goes to the other end of the boat.
So, when it is all over with, you have a fairly stable situation. Boats, usually touching each other, side-by-side. Hopefully with big fat fenders in between to prevent damage. These are the rubberlike inflatable things that either are sausage shape or teardrop shapedm hanging over the sides of the boats to minimize damage. As I said, you have two lines from the pier to one end of the boat. In our case the bow. In one line from the permanent anchor attached to the end of the boat away from the pier. A few marinas have two permanent anchor lines, which is much better
This is all great once it’s over with. The trick is getting into this configuration, with the wind blowing and sometimes a small current in the water, without hitting the boats on either side and damaging or being damaged.
You really need to be in several places at once, so it helps to have several people on the boat, one or two on the pier and a person in a small boat that can intercept and hand the anchor line to the boat and very often act as a tugboat, to push or pull or assist in various ways, that become apparent at the last instant and require very fast reflexes and a knowledge of the physics of the whole situation.
As an example, several years ago wherein the marina that had one particular marinero that did most of the dinghy work and we really did not like him at all. He seemed to us to be very incompetent. He would tell you or even require that you do things that were very dangerous and unnecessary and we have seen him act as a tugboat and decided he needed to push a boat and towards the pier, but did it with such force that they rammed the pier causing significant damage to their boats. But he seemed oblivious to the problems that he caused.
However, one day, we discovered that a small power boat with two engines next to us that was owned by a Dutch couple. They had a local agent charter it out 50 weeks out of the year, to earn money, and for two weeks of the year they came to Turkey to use it themselves. This would’ve been fine except that the gentleman did not have a clue how to run the boat. Even that would’ve been okay except that he was birthed right next to us. So, for two weeks, we had to try extremely hard to make sure that at least one of us was on Alegría at all times. The marinero staff at that marina knew that this guy was a loose cannon, and they tried very hard to intercept him as he entered the marina. They would take over the controls and drive the boat themselves. Bless them. However, occasionally, he apparently snuck in without them knowing. One such time, he had the boat completely out of control, going at much too fast, sliding sideways and about to run into us. The afore mentioned marinero that we did not like, probably had noticed the loose cannon coming into the marina and was hurrying in his small inflatable boat to catch up with them.
The disaster materialize very quickly, before much could be done, however the same afore mentioned marinero, in a blink of an eye, inserted his rubber boat in between Alegría and the out-of-control powerboat. He had less than a 10th of a second to spare, but became a perfect large fender and protected us both from major damage. Our estimation of his value skyrocketed at that moment. If we had a daughter he could’ve married her! Living proof that not everyone is all bad.
But back to my arrival. When I got close to my berth, I realize that there is one marinero on the pier, and one is quickly climbing out on the deck of the boat next to where I am supposed to dock., with the slime line in his hand. This is definitely not the best way to do the job, but all things considered it looked like it would be acceptable risk. I did a reasonable job of coming in all long side the boat and he handed me the slime line and we got some lines ashore. All without running into anything or having to use full emergency power from the engine.
One of the people on the boat that I was now along side of, kept giving me instructions about what I was doing wrong. English was not their first language, and I hope that the cause of the confusion. Because, what I thought he was saying, clearly had nothing to do with reality. The things that they wanted me to do, would’ve made the situation that they were concerned about worse not better. But I was having trouble explaining that to them in a manner that they understood. There is a nearly infinite reservoir of things that I know nothing about, but tying a boat up to a dock, and vector sums, and which way the boat is going to move if you put a line on it in a certain place, pointed in a certain direction and pull, these are things that I think I understand quite well.
However, the marineros were now repeating the process with the second boat in line. So, I asked my antagonist if we could continue this conversation later. Let’s get this new boat tied up first. It was coming in stern first. As I say, the more common way. But for most people a more difficult way, as you have to come in and turn around and then back into a place with great precision. It can be pretty comical and very expensive the first 50 times you try it. And especially when the wind is blowing and other things are happening to change the equations.
The people on that next boat did a reasonable job, but there were some unexpected surprises. Like when the slime line got caught in the fenders and the wind caught the boat and kept trying to push it into the boat on the other side.
But it all had a happy ending, with everyone wearing big smiles. I never did see where the third boat went. So then, I turned around to continue the conversation with the man who felt that I was doing it all wrong. However, he had been replaced by another man. As far as I know there are three men and a woman on the boat. This new man started what seemed to me to be a different conversation, and so I asked, “Is everything okay with the way we are tied up?”
He seemed to think it was just find and I knew enough not to ask him twice.
There are whole series of things that need to be done when you arrive in the port. Securing sails more thoroughly and putting covers on them to protect them from the sun. Making sure that all the lines are adjusted correctly.
It turned out that their small boat was temporarily broken. The steering cable had died. They fixed it within 20 minutes and then they were back in business. But due to the limitations of not having that small boat they had put me in A87, not my usual A85. While I was gone the boats around me had changed so I didn’t recognize the difference at first. But once Alegría got into the birth, I immediately noticed that there was a of power and water pedestal almost exactly in front of the boat. This is less than ideal, because I put the bowsprit slightly over the edge of the pier, and then climb on and off by climbing over the end of the bowsprit and anchor. That was going to be pretty difficult with the power pedestal right where I needed to be. However, I was quickly able to use an extra rope pulling the bow over to the side enough to clear the power pedestal and solve the problem.
I was in kind of hurrying to put the boat to bed, because I had learned late the day before that an acquaintance who was recently widowed was passing through the marina and was planning to leave the next day. We had corresponded by email and I very much wanted to stop by and have a chat.
Her husband had become very ill while we were gone. And passed away in March 2013. A couple of days ago she had sprinkled his ashes in a favorite place up the coast. So, we were members of that growing club of widows and widowers. Like far too many of you. Unfortunately, there seem to be more and more of us around. I wonder where we get the T-shirts? Probably online somewhere.
Speaking of dying, perhaps a month ago now, there was some excitement in the marina. An ambulance and several official cars, and some police cars, all converged and were here for quite a while. What I know of the story at the moment, was that a Swiss man flew back to the boat and his wife was going to join him in a week or two. She spoke with him every day on the phone. But, he had not phoned for a couple of days. She was worried and could someone please check the boat.
He had passed away on the boat without anyone knowing. I have not heard any official report, but it was assumed to be his heart.
My mother’s brother died in that manner, and they thought that perhaps he had been accidentally electrocuted. Because he was doing boat maintenance on the boat’s air-conditioner. However, he did have some heart problems, and I’m not sure that there was ever an official proof of how he died. It doesn’t really matter. The tragedy for his family, and of course for him, is the same either way. And here we see it again. But someone pointed out what an excellent way to go. He was down on his boat, doing what he loved.
I pointed out that maybe it was because he was down on his boat working on his to do list. And the list was growing so fast, with such difficult jobs that needed to be done, that his heart just couldn’t take it. I hope I have not offended anyone, particularly family and friends of the deceased. I mean no disrespect. It is just an attempt at humor, that helps me soften the blow.