In last week’s blog I described the highlights of our journey from Kefalonia in the Ionian Sea, to Symi in eastern Greece where we checked out of the country ready to cross into Turkey. Our final destination would be Kaş which is a coastal town built on the ancient Lycian site of Antiphellos. However from our entry point into Turkey, Mike planned to show us a few different moorings along the coast to give us a taste of Turkey before we arrived in Kaş.
Once we left Symi, we had a short sail east to the Turkish coast and moored stern to in the town harbour of Bozburun where we officially checked into Turkey. This was a very simple process made easier by an agent whose services Mike had used several times previously.
The entrance to Bozburun harbour was wide with gentle hills and calm water. The architecture was very different to the classic Greek buildings we’d left behind and reminded me more of northern European houses with their light square built walls and brown roofs. Dotted in the green hills they were a very attractive lead into the harbour.
We moored right in front of the busy restaurant called Osman's Place, which, in exchange for eating a meal there, allowed us to use their toilets and showers gratis. The Turkish and Scottish owners and staff were very friendly and the meals we had there were great value for money – and inexpensive too.
From the moment we arrived in Turkey, I have been amazed at the clarity of the water. It doesn’t matter if the water is 1 metre or 10 metres deep, you can see seabed through the sparkling cerulean blue water. Even when docked in a busy harbour. This is in great part due to very strict rules Turkey has about not polluting their waters with black (toilet) water and grey water. There is even a blue card system where waste water pump outs are logged on your card registered to your vessel.
We saw our first gulets in Bozburun. Gulets (pronounced gullets) are traditional Turkish wooden boats generally with two masts, often around 20-30 metres in length, built mainly in Bodrum and Marmaris; although we’ve seen them most places we’ve stopped at on the way to Kaş. These look like a great way for extended families to holiday and while many of them were moored when we saw them in October, I can imagine they’d all be rented in peak season.
From Bozburun we headed south to a delightful secluded bay called Bozekkale. This is near the ancient site of Loryma and the soft pale grey rock and scrub covered hills surrounding the bay feature the outer stone walls of a ruinen Byzantine fortress.
We moored stern to with lazy lines attached to a rustic wooden jetty and were assisted by two very helpful fellows from Ali Baba Restaurant who own the jetty. This charming little restaurant is made of wood and set in the stone of the small hill-lined bay where goats and donkeys roam. I met the local wildlife on my way past the humble showers to the ‘rustic’ yet clean toilet shack erected a way up the hill behind the restaurant. The goats were friendly and followed me back to the restaurant, although mother donkey and her foal were a tad more skittish and trotted away when they saw me.
I loved this place and after a walk up the hill to the fortress walls, (where I managed to break the screen of the mobile phone Baz loaned me after my Samsung Galaxy Edge screen got a glitch after falling off the cockpit table when we heeled sharply on passage a few days earlier! Clever me), we all enjoyed the specialty of the house: slow cooked lamb. It just fell off the bone, yum!
That afternoon as it is still hot in Turkey in October, the others went for a swim off the jetty. I couldn’t do that as the ladder to the water was too slippy and I couldn’t hold on with just my one good hand. However after putting a few metres of cling wrap around my splint and bandage, (the only cling wrap I’ve used on the boat so far), Mike led me to a gentle approach into the water from one of the rocks under the restaurant and I splashed around there for a while holding onto the ropes hanging off the jetty. It was perfect. I left when water started seeping under the cling wrap cover.
From Bozukkale we went to Çitflik which is a beach town in the Central Anatolia region. This had a different vibe to the other two Turkish harbours and felt very rural. There were three or four restaurants each vying for us to tie up to their dock, by waving different coloured flags, but Mike had already chosen the place and Baz did a great stern to mooring yet again so we were soon tied up securely. This place had a small supermarket for necessities and also free showers and toilets for customers.
After we all shared a Turkish mixed meze lunch, Linda and I sunbathed on a couple of the sunbeds on the fine pebble-sand beach. As we lay there facing the steep green mountains of the inland valley behind the restaurants, to catch the sun, we listened to cows mooing and ducks quacking nearby. When we explored an hour later, we discovered a large enclosed plot where there was an assortment of very healthy looking free ranging farm animals. Along with the well fed cats and dogs that we’ve encountered around Turkey we learned that by Turkish law all animals are protected. So much more heart-warming to see than their cousins in other European countries we’ve visited. And I reckon a people who choose to look after their animals well are good people.
From Çitflik, we all left to head further south. Phil, Linda and Mike headed for one of five marinas in Göcek while Baz and I headed further south to the port city of Fethiye where we anchored just outside the marina in the large bay. This was the largest bay we’d been to in Turkey and the town was large and contained old and modern parts nestled side by side. We explored the town over a couple of days and found a tech shop where we handed our phones in to be fixed. The ancient city sports an amphitheatre and rock tombs, but we were drawn to the colourful narrow, bustling lanes of the old city with its fresh fish, vegetable and other market stalls. Shopping and eating out there proved to be – dare I say cheap – and everything is freshly prepared, well cooked and the service is excellent. The Turks we have met have been conscientious, polite, friendly and helpful and I am loving the experience.
Where we were anchored, we listened to the school song that repeated between classes (instead of a bell that we’re more familiar with) and fell in love with the ethereal and evocative calls to prayer sung daily by a fellow with a clear, musical voice.
When our buddy boat arrived and tied up in the five star marina, we met them for dinner in the restaurant that reminded me of a high end beach hotel in Queensland Australia, with its two pool areas, elegant surroundings and attractive lighting. It was fun getting dolled up after being dressed for the boat for so long and I enjoyed the evening with Baz and our three friends.
Our buddy boat departed the day before us as we were waiting for our phones to be fixed. Unfortunately only Barry’s phone was ready when we went to collect them, because the Samsung Edge curved screen hadn’t arrived. As we had to leave the next morning or become stuck for a few days due to a change in the wind, we left the phone there and paid to have it delivered to us in Kaş. As I write this, I’m still waiting, but the guy in the shop struck us both as being honest and conscientious.
We left Fethiye early on a misty morning and made our way south to Kaş. But the sail and the destination deserve a full account, so I’ll update you on that – and hopefully my phone – next week.