Kefken Adasi, Turkey: Paying tribute to Apollo

Photo: Kefken Adasi, Black Sea coast of Turkey. Credit: Lisa Borre.
This lighthouse, coast guard station and the two breakwaters extending south are the only structures on the tiny island of Kefken Adasi. Credit: Lisa Borre.

Black Sea Logbook Entry

Date: 6/2/2010
Distance: 4.3 nm
Sailed from: Kefken to Kefken Adasi
Lat: 41° 12.7’N
Long: 30° 15.5’E

Although full gales are rare in the Black Sea during the summer, we are expecting a few days of stronger (Force 6) winds. One of our cruising guides provides a list of dates in the ancient Coptic calendar because these windy days often arrive on the same dates every year. June 2nd is listed as “strong wind northerly” which makes it the third time since arriving in Istanbul last month that the old calendar has been right. By 6:00 a.m. the winds were blowing 20-25 knots from the northwest inside the harbor, so it must have been windier outside.

The wind dropped off again around noon, so we decided to poke our nose out of Kefken’s protected harbor to experience for ourselves the infamous Black Sea swell. The short hop to Kefken Adasi, a tiny island four miles away, was a good way to get a small dose of the big seas on this leeward shore.  We really wanted to spend a night at Kefken Adasi, known in ancient times as Apollonia because of a sanctuary to Apollo built by the Argonauts on the island.

We cast-off from the raft of fishing boats and were anchored in the island’s harbor an hour later. It was a rolly ride, but Gyatso took it all in stride. We shared the anchorage with one other yacht which we later learned had spent the previous night here and had a terrible time in the storm. David watched the sunrise the following morning and gave thanks to Apollo for a peaceful night at anchor.