|Katabatic Winds in the Gökova Körfezi
(account by a professional seaman)
Strong ‘meltemi’ conditions
Towards the end of June, we anchored our 76ft motor yacht in the ‘Gelibolu Bükü’,the cove of Gelibolu, situated in the eastern part of the Gulf of Gökova, at around 14:00. This lies on the southern side of the Gulf of Gökova, just to the east of ‘Sehir Adalari’, Şehir Islands.
(the north side, west of Sehir Adasi). Once we hadpassed this area the swell was less powerful. At the time I inspected ‘Akbük Limani’, the AkbükHarbour, whilst we cruised by, my assessment was that it appeared an uninteresting bay but a useful escape hole from bad conditions…I was later to appreciate it!
At around 1630 – 1700 the day boats all started to leave
During the afternoon several day boats anchored nearby us. We launched tenders to explore the islands (Sehir Adasi etc) and my guests relaxed in the sun. The bay was pleasant as the wind did not reach around the promontory of rock on the western end.
I made the decision to leave, ‘Akbük Limani’ springing to mind as the destination. Our jet boat was shipped; no mean feat as by this time the northerly waves were rocking us considerably. The crew in the other tender made to remove the shore lines from the rocks. The increasing sharp waves made this difficult and rather dangerous – each time the pilot neared the rocks the tender would be picked up and thrown forward. By going astern he could narrowly avoid damaging the craft, but the second man was thus unable to get ashore. We were now being buffeted so much by the increasing swell that I considered it a real danger to the yacht as the anchor could be jerked out of position at any time.
The water was blown flat by the wind, with the long spray streaks!
My thoughts were thus – motor directly north to the northern shore then west to ‘Akbük Limani’. I could now understand that this ferocious wind was pounding down off the mountain, a beautiful example of the Katabatic winds one normally only reads about!
The speed, with which the wind arrived was astounding
My guests were, understandably, a little shaken up by our adventure as was the crew member who bravely tackled the slippery rocks. I was also somewhat rustled; the speed with which the wind arrived from the moment the choppy waves started to a full gale blowing was astounding. Even safely anchored in the new spot, we had strong gusts which stretched us back on the full extent of our chain.
My lessons learnt
A month or so later whilst cruising around Göcek, I spoke with an experienced guletcaptain. Upon hearing my account he laughed and explained that the mountain was locally named ‘GrandMountain’ and everyday it produced the ‘Grand Wind’! Further, he happily pointed out that to the south west of the area were some lovely little bays which we should have visited instead! My lesson learnt, I considered the following points:
• Local day boats and guletsmay appear to be sea-going cowboys, but their knowledge of the area and its conditions is not to be scoffed at. Take heed of their movements and of their advice!