Of Crusader Castles and Sunken Cities

The cruise around from Kas to Kokova Roads was very scenic. There are a couple of “holes in the wall” to get through and a few good looking bays along the way. There was a slight swell left over from the gale and the wind was a bit fluky as we past by several islands and headlands. We managed a bit of a sail along the way but still had the motors on for a couple of hours.

Kekova Roads is a long island, protecting a wonderful cruising area. As we passed through the last of the narrow passages that separated Kekova Roads from the mainland, we caught a glimpse of the crusader castle at KaleKoi. Stunning.

But first we needed to follow the gulet trail and motor along the very edge of Kekova Roads, sometimes as close as 20m to see the famous sunken city of Simena, the result of a severe earthquake in the 2nd century AD. We had to motor along as it is forbidden to anchor or swim here. Despite the earthquake, you can still make out steps and arches and bits of wall and we could look down into the water and see what remains of ancient walls. Fancinating stuff.

Next stop for us was Kalekoi and we needed to squeeze into a small anchoring area amongst the large gulets. We had 3 goes at trying to get enough swing room but these gullets seemed to set themselves at old angles to the wind so we gave up and tried to find a nearby anchorage.

Along the way we were treated with many turtles popping their heads up to say hello. 1.5nm away we found the perfect bay and as we rounded the corner 2 gullets cut inside us and raced to get the remaining anchorages.

So back we went for another shot at anchoring outside Kalekoi. This time we found all the gullets leaving so we had the choice of the anchorage. And this is where we stayed for 2 nights, watching a parade of gullets swing past the castle, as part of their follow each other around Turkish Disneyland whistle stop tour.

We found there were two types of sounds coming from these gulets – either commentary (in everything but english),  or the single variation doof doof music, for the less culturally aware crowd. The dress code was either overdressed Japanese or the underdressed Euro crowd. Very entertaining people watching, starting about 9am and finishing about 4pm.

This content procession of gulets made swimming and paddle boarding somewhat challenging, but both were an excellent way of checking out the turtles.

The castle was the main highlight of Kalekoi and off I went to check it out. The town was a bit of a rabbit warren of thin walk ways criss-crossing the side of the hill but I eventually found the right combination of tracks and made it to the entrance where I paid my 10TL and wandered in.

Other than the castle walls, there wasn’t much left – a true renovators delight. The view was fantastic and you could see why the Crusaders put down a deposit on this patch of land to build their dream castle, with million dollar views up and down the approaching seaways. Looking around I could see a field of sarcophagi off to the side. Off to the other side next to the harbor in the shallows there’s also a single sarcophagi – which made for a brilliant photo opportunity later.

The castle was surrounded by Roman Ruins and within its outer grounds there was the cutest little Amphitheatre you ever did see.

And to top it all off there was a couple of Lycian Tombs set into the cliff face above the town. What a pretty little place to anchor up for a couple of days.

“Couple of days” over, we ventured around the corner to Ucagiz, a quaint little Turkish fishing village that is now the base for the multitude of Gulets that do the Tour de Kekova. We anchored off yet another field of sarcophagi. You really did feel like you were in the mist of history.

We went ashore and had a few beers at Hassan’s, one of the local harbourside restaurants. The proprietor was quite a character in his chef’s black hat and proclaimed himself to be quite famous in these parts. We had a great chat to his family as we drank beer and ate a plate of mixed entrees. Lovely way to spend an afternoon.

It was however not the greatest place to spend a night. Ucagiz is in a slow enclosed bay with good holding, but its quite still and hot and the mozzies and flies were difficult to deal with.

It was about here that we finished Breaking Bad and switched to House of Cards. Movie nights were proving popular.

We were quite glad to leave the next morning and head off to Gokkaya Limani, about 4nm away. Gokkaya is a series of miniature fjord-like channels with a lovely anchorage at the head of a creek.

What a great place to swim and paddleboard. We swam round a small island and then off to the sight of a disused restaurant/disco. Then Jo wanted to go further so I went back to get the paddleboard, whilst she swam to some ruins.

Then down went the dingy and we went in search of that elusive Turtle photo. We managed to find a couple and with a bit of patience managed to get a few shots as they stuck their head up. Not perfect but okay.

We then did a circumnavigation of one of the islands and found the smugglers cave that we drove the dingy into. Pretty cool.

We checked out Andraki as a possible night time anchorage but it was just a gulet jetty and not much else to recommend it, so we pushed onto Finike. We had a broken dingy winch and a shower sump pump that was shorting out so a marina berth was in order. And it was so dam hot, we were looking forward to breaking out the aircon and having a decent nights sleep. So 75 euros later we had ourselves a marina berth.

For photos of Kekova Roads, please see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201870796604484.1073741921.1620379103&type=1&l=796b84f928

Gale Warning

I thought I’d go out in sympathy for all you guys in Perth by drumming up a bit of similar wind. 45kts to be precise. There was quite a swell coming down the harbour towards La Mischief, whose anchor was well dug in.

Friday is market day in Kas so I left La Mischief to it and went for supplies. The Markets in Kas are some of the best along the coast – fantastic – lots of cheap fruit and veggies, cheese etc. as well as a lot of the stuff you’d find in the bazaars of Istanbul. Stuck will the food side of things and headed back to the boat with everything we needed including decent Potatoes – something quality control had rejected up until Kas.

Back on the boat I tried to do some jobs but it was just too rough and I was feeling queasy with my head down trying in vain to find the short in the shower sump pump that was tripping out. I did however find the Turkish State Meteorological Service website (at http://www.dmi.gov.tr/en-US/marine-marinas.aspx), which I think is the best site as far as Turkish weather goes.

In the end I was glad to get off the boat and meet Jo for a drink at the marina bar. Made the call to eat on land as cooking on the boat was not recommended. Mind you, drinking and eating on land was also interesting. The marina bar was being buffered  as we sat and watched things being blown over in all directions. Met an IT Project Manager from Barcelona at the bar and we invited her on board for a few days. Must have been the 6am start that put her off, as she was a no show.

So off the two of us set to Kekova Roads, another of Turkey’s cruising gems.

The First Dolphins of the Season

It was good to leave the brilliant cruising grounds of Fethiye Korfezi knowing that we would be back when we pick up Michael and Elaine from there (Fethiye) and can stick around for a while if the hot weather doesn’t force us further north.

We got up and left reasonably early (for us) and headed out into a light breeze. We motored for the first few hours with the light wind right up our bum. The 360 rotations on the AWA gauge amused Jo no end.

The wind gradually picked up and we were able to sail. I procrastinated with idea of trying out the geneker but was glad I didn’t as the wind gradually built past 25 kts. It was still up our bum so this kept the Apparent Wind Speed down and we jybed our way along the coast. We were borderline needing a reef but just managed to avoid it.

The entrance into Kas marina seems to take forever – not one of its strong points. But as we got closer I looked over the side and saw a dolphin splash. We raced up the front (and then back again to get the camera) before being entertained for 10 minutes as the 2 dolphins rode our bow. They were a lot bigger than those we had previously seen in the Med – more like the size of WA dolphins.

We were zipping along touching 8kts and were just thinking of dropping the sails, when the wind suddenly picked up to 45kts. We quickly jibed and then headed up into the wind and dropped the sails as quick as we could. There was no training Jo whilst all that went on.

Heart racing, we motored into the harbour and anchored off the marina at the far end. Just picked a spot in the middle with plenty of swinging room and down went 65m of chain. Which will do me right for a couple of days.

I dropped Jo off on one of the marina pontoons and was promptly told off by the marina staff for bringing the dingy into the marina. Jo thought they wanted me to shift La Mischief so I went back to the boat and radioed in. No, it was just the dingy that needed shifting.

That’s going to make going to the bar difficult!

So back in the dingy and off to the rocks where the marina staff suggested I tie up. It was a bit of a scramble up the rocks and through the bushes to the road, but do-able when sober and in daylight.

It was a 10 minute walk around to the bars at the marina and once there found that Australia was playing Holland at the World Cup. Unlike the 6-1 victory the Hockey guys had at their world cup, the soccer guys had an admirable defeat.

By this stage it was getting dark and sober was under threat as well, so I decided to trek back to the dingy and bring it around to the marina. It was 9.30 at this stage – surely the Marina guys had gone home. Surely was wrong again and there he was, Marina Guy was waiting for me. But this time I had charm on my side, courtesy of the 3 or so Efes beers that were enhancing my charm factor immeasurably (well, I thought so anyway).

Both Charm and I lucked onto the fact that the bar I had nominated belonged to the marina guy’s friends from Istanbul – so it looked like I was in. Marina guy was taking no chances though, he drove me in the 90m along the broad walk in his golf buggy to just outside his mates bar. It turned out to be a good night. We started with the price of Alcohol in Turkey (highly taxed but still cheaper than Oz) and moved onto why foreigners are avoiding Turkey because of the trouble further south in Syria as well as rioting in Turkey. Interesting to get a locals perspective.

Then I had a chat to a couple of Pommy guys who where heading back home for the summer as it was just too hot for them. I got to admit it is pretty hot – its 36 degrees in here as I write this – which is after all pretty hot for a cold weather Pom. Evidently the thing to do is to leave now and come back in August/September for another shot.

Next day, it was in to town to check out Kas. First stop was Turkcell, where I found out that the Government stops all SIM cards from working if they are not installed in a phone sold in Turkey – hence why mine had suddenly decided it didn’t have a valid SIM. To avoid this you have to register them with the Government for 160TL ($80). I decided to go back to what I did in other countries and buy a prepaid WIFI router. They’s a trick for young players.

And that’s what I’m using to write this blog.

For photos of Kas, see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201860337863022.1073741920.1620379103&type=1&l=6d3a621ac5










Snakes Alive

The Venice of Turkey, the turquoise coast, what more can I add to help describe the beauty of the Lycian Coast except simply stunning! It reminds me a bit of the Whitsunday Islands, with massive pine covered hill sides dropping down into clear idealic water. There seems to be a constant backdrop of mountains to complete the picture.

The cruising grounds of Fethiye Korfezi are littered with a plethora of great anchorages. You could get lost in here for months. Its definitely worth a week or two. On the west side of Fethiye Korfezi is Skopea Bay, which is enclosed by a chain of islands that provides great shelter.

We entered through a narrow gap in the islands and chose Ruin Bay as our first stop, and we were just blown away with the sheer beauty of the place, a unique mixture of physical beauty and Turkish exoticism.

Once safely on anchor with a line back to the shore, it was off for a swim – first along the coast then off to a small island. On the way out to the island, we swam above a large turtle about 5m below us. Magical. Jo’s a good long distance swimmer so I set my self a task to keep up and not embarrass myself. Well, not too much anyway!

Back on the boat, it was time to adopt the philosophy of “when in Rome do as the Romans do” so I dove in and cooked my Mediterranean Snapper Bake as per Allrecipes.com. In the process I soon discovered that the 3 large tins of tomato was in fact not quite what they appeared – I had inadvertently bought tomato paste instead of tomato pieces (what are we going to do with it all???). To add to my woes we couldn’t get black olives in the supermarket, so I had to settle for green stuffed ones. But even with these impediments I still managed a tick of approval, which was pretty good given the expertise of the judging panel.

Next morning, after a bit of a lie in, it was up and into the water once again. We decided to swim the other way towards the ruins this time. Along the way we found a swing rope and revisited our childhood by swinging out over the water and letting go. Then we swam into the ruins, which we were able to do as they are half underwater – pretty cool. The water was so clear and it’s temperature was right in the middle of perfect. Heaven. We kept going for a while and ended up returning to the boat 50 minutes later for breakfast. Felt pretty good about that.

After breakfast, we were sitting around drinking tea (after all I had a Pom on board) and a couple of Aussies swam by our boat from a Guluk and we of course invited them on board for a chat, primarily so they could inflict some more Australianisms on Jo. They didn’t disappoint as we had a great laugh (apologies for my crap skill at remembering names). They were on board a tourist gullet – just them and 12 other Germans – not necessary the best time to be reading a historical novel on Adolf Hitler or indeed the Book Thief, and certainly not a good time to be playing some sort of WW2 fighter pilot game on your iPad. We also got some insight into the age of the Rex airlines pilots who flew them to Sydney who look so young that they are evidently “waiting for puberty” with the hosties referring to them as the “flying fetuses”.

Political incorrectness over, it was time to head for Gocek for a look around. Gocek was 7nm down the bay through some of the most magnificent cruising grounds in the Mediterranean – and probably the world. Gocek is a combination of 5 marinas and a town that has grown up around these marinas – nothing real signs of anything else.

Still it was very pleasant and we managed to find some more icetrays, some drink bottles and a nice pair of thongs (Australian vernacular) that were better than my broken Havanas. We’d stopped and had Turkish Tea with the shop keeper and he told us business was very bad, with no many foreigners spending any money.

We decided to eat on shore and had a great lunch – Halloumi Salad and Florentine Crepes, along with a couple of Efes beers, under the shade of some trees on the broadwalk. It had a bit of a feel of Mykonos about it, but without the crowds.

Then it was back to the boat and off back up the bay. Our plan was to stop off at Tomb Bay and see the Tombs (duh!) before heading back to Ruin Bay where we had spotted a restaurant with a jetty we could tie up to, so we could merely stumble back to the boat.

Jo had a phone interview so we timed our arrival into Tomb Bay to fit in with that. But when we got there we found a simply stunning bay with a restaurant, that also came with its own jetty, so we hastily changed our plans, mid anchoring. Back went the shore rope and out came the fenders. Jo had to report in 5 minutes late for her interview citing the somewhat novel excuse of berthing delays, whilst we got ourselves organized and attached to the jetty.

The guy from the restaurant suggested that we time our arrival around the wasps, by arriving at 7.30pm so we could order and eat by 8pm when the sun went down and the wasps disappeared. We sort of followed his timetable and sat down with a bit of charcoal burning on our table to keep them away. Never seen wasps used as a sort of selling point before quite like that.

There’s a certain sort of sameness about Turkish food so thank goodness for the view. Wine is also expensive (60-70TL a bottle), so we settled on drinking their excellent Efes beer. We were both pretty knackered after a long day of swimming, sailing and exploring so we sort of bombed out and hit the sack.

Next morning, we set ourselves the task of walking up to the tombs. There were two sets and after a while we found the second set (which we mistook for the first). They were set high up on the hill side into the side of a cliff and the views from way up there were to die for. We then set off for the second set, but never did find them (because we already had if you get my drift). We came across an ancient olive grove instead and eventually gave up and started to head back. We eventually made our way down to a dry creek bed and decided to follow that back to a beach near to our boat.

And then Jo screamed. She was in front and came across a rather large snake that took fright and headed down the creek – unfortunately the same way that we were heading. It was her first encounter in the wild and my first since the Kimberley’s on Camelot. We decided to skirt round the side of the creek, avoiding the large rock that our new-found friend had taken refuse under. That got the heart rate going and it was a relief to get back to the boat and out of the bush. Breakfast and a quick swim and then it was off to have a look at Fethiye, a 3 hour sail away.

We had parts of a good sail, with some of the islands doing interesting things to the wind. Around 2pm, the wind started to pick up and we opened the sailing instruction book to the chapter entitled “Reefing” and put the 2nd reef in, which was just as well as the wind got up to 29kts. The anchoring in Fethiye was quite good, and we dropped the dingy in and had a lazy afternoon drinking Rose and publishing blogs at one of the waterfront bars. Never did make it into town proper.

Next morning we leave for a 6 hour sail up to Kas so Jo can spent a couple of nights with the skipper from her previous boat. And I can take a breath and get some bits and pieces done.

For my photos of Fethiye Korfezi, please see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201852714352439.1073741919.1620379103&type=1&l=c68df1ae27

Off Sailing

Our first afternoon on the water was quite casual. We motored round the island and found a good place to anchor amongst the gulets. We dropped in about 20m of water quite close to shore and settled in for the night. We went for a swim to test out our masks and snorkel but we were both a bit knackered so it was a short swim. The wind dropped away to nothing and we sat outside eating Jo’s beautiful seafood curry and drinking a celebratory Rose (or 2 or 3 or …), our poison of choice in this hot weather. Then we talked and talked and talked before retiring to our respective bedrooms.

Next morning it was up around 7.30am for another Jo speciality, a menamen, which turned out to be just the repair job that my somewhat fragile body required. You can see I was being spoiled rotten.


After consulting the weather once again, we decided we would make some miles and get to the Lycian Coast proper and the cruising grounds around Gocek (pronounced Go Check – the subject of some dubious Jo humour, which matches my own lame version).

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But as always, the wind persistently sat right on our nose so motoring was the order of the start of the day. Eventually we got lucky and got enough angle to go sailing in 10-15 knots of wind. We cracked 6kts of boat speed, even with about a 1kt of current against us – I was back in heaven. Rounding Kurdoglu Burnu, we were struck by a gorgeous large bay with sailing yacht darting back and forth. We headed into the bay and dropped the sails before heading through a narrow gap of 200m into an inner bay and onto Ruin Bay, which Mr. Heikell describes as “The setting in this tiny cove is exquisite, with thick pine covering the slopes right down to the water’s edge, engulfing everything except the ruins.” He really needs to do better as it was much more stunning than this!!!

We dropped anchor in about 20m of water ad tied up to some bollards that they had installed on the rocks, which was really nice of them. Our first stern to of the season.

Returning to My Girl!

It was a great drive through the mountains back to Marmaris. We got to the marina just before lunch and drove straight up to “her”. She was looking resplendid, with full make up on, positively gleaming with her new wax job.

We checked out her new bits, the BBQ moved and a new proper gas bottle holder, 4 new solar panels, an anchor chain counter, some stainless steel work at the front to stop the anchor chipping her gelcoat and a proper gas alarm/cutoff valve. She looked in amazing good shape for a boat that had been left for 6 months.

DSC_0303 DSC_0333Then we started the process of unpacking everything, trying to remember where everything was and where everything went. We wanted to get her bottom wet a day early but they had parked another catamaran right in front of her, and a couple of small  birds had taken a look at her poor state and decided the inside of their boom was a great place to build a nest. The marina eventually gave up trying to find the owner and moved it anyway, allowing us to get back in the water on the Friday, instead of the Saturday.

Our timing was perfect as the locals say it never rains after 15th June. And true to their word, the sun’s been out ever since.

Once back in the water, we got the sails back on and got her ready to go sailing. We said goodbye to Anthony and Denise, who left us to travel around the Greek Islands and Jo and I left the marina at about 3pm after paying our 160TL to register our crew list – now there’s a trick for young players – every time there’s a crew change I need to fill out a new form and pay 160TL for the privilege.

But we were off and that was exciting!!!

The Face That Launched 1000 Quasqui

Having had a fun night struggling with the effects of jetlag, we all hopped into our Nissan Quasqoi and headed off to reenact Troy, where Helen launched a thousand ships, or in our case a single Quasqoi (ok, so 999 short but good enough for a blog title).

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Troy had got a bit of a bad wrap but we find it fascinating, once we’d got past the Monty Python moment at the entrance with the very 21st century wooden horse. We resisted the temptation to have our photo taken in period costume but did note its suitability for an end of cruising season party.

There turns out to be 9 Troys, all built on top of one another. It was good to wander around the ruins and read all about.

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Troy done, we set off for a bit of a drive South, which took pretty much to the end of the day. Our stop was the night was Kusadasi and the Palm Hotel. The Palm Hotel required some tricky maneuvering through narrow streets and then once where the GPS said it should be a sixth sense to actually find it. Senses 1 through 5 were performing well but number 6 was on the blink hence why we checked into the Hotel Stella.


Kusadasi was very much a tourist town with a line of cruise boats tied up at the wharf, but it was still a nice little spot and the fish restaurant was reasonable, given its location right on the small boat harbour, next to the cutesy line of small colourful fishing boats.

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Next morning, it was off the Ephesus, one of the remarkable Roman Ruin sites of the ancient world. Bloody amazing – what these romans got up to. Another Monty Python moment – the aquaducts and the sewage system, as well as libraries and splendid roads and not one, but two Amphitheatres, one of which held 26,000 Freo Dockers fans. Anthony was prepared, having done Macbeth last year, struck up a great rendition of the Ancient Mariner. Managed to get this one on video from the top of the Amphitheatre, complete with a round of applause from the rest of the tourist population.

The place must have been pretty specie in its day, marble streets leading from the port and raised walkways for the nobility. We started at the bottom and walked the 2kms to the top of the city, noting its rules and a long sermon that I’m sure Joe Hockey pinched on the need to collect taxes.

Ruined out, it was time to hit the road again and head for the thermal lakes at Pamukkale, a town we were secretly drawn to by the copious amounts of reasonable rose we were beginning to consume. The more none-secret reason was the fabulous thermal lakes that provided a stunning backdrop to the town. Some say they resemble the cliffs of Dover stuck in the middle of Turkey, but hey, I’m no plagiarist so I will leave that description for Jo to claim.

After a 200km drive into the hills and mountains of inland Turkey we arrived about 4pm and paid our admission fees and headed up the strange bluish hillocks that were covered by a thin film of running water, intermittently punctuated by thermal pools filled with Japanese tourists. In between the occasional slip, our feet got a treat wading through the therapeutic mud that lined the bottom of the shallow pools. We eventually made it to the top and looked around for the money shot. It was so stunningly different, a landscape pinched from somewhere I’d never come across before. From our viewpoint at the top we could see the storm clouds rolling in and tossed up between sheltering at the top amongst the tourist shops or making a run for it in the rain. Luckily for us we made a run for it and although drenched, we got down before the rain really set in.

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There was a nice old guy at the bottom waiting for us who had a family run hotel that had started at 70TL when we got there and by the end of the day had progressed down to 40TL (about $20) a night per person.

Our purchasing department had got a lot more sophisticated vis-a-vis hotel rooms as it progressively matured its selection criteria . Hot water for showers was quickly added to a list that contained luggage lifts, top sheets for beds, and carpet that was more or less attached to the floor, whilst the “good mojitos” item had been left off for another day.

The hotel turned out to be a real find. The hot water for the showers was a real winner, even though the power in the whole town went off and the vital shower was had in semi-darkness. The power eventually came back on and we had the most wonderful experience with the extended family eating home-made cooking (from a somewhat reduced menu) on the top floor menu.

Next day it was off to La Mischief in Marmaris. Now that was exciting!!!

Off and Running for 2014

As the Flight of the Concords would say “It’s (Business) Blog Time” and now that I’ve landed back in Turkey its time to dust off the blog and fire away with the 2014 edition of Steve’s Excellent Mediterranean Adventure. And like every new adventure of the sailing variety, there’s the obligatory long flight, which lands at some stupid time in the morning – aka 6am in this particular case. Anthony and Denise arrived at pretty much the same stupid time the following morning and once met at the airport we all just managed to squeeze our luggage (mainly mine) into the back of our rental SUV. Then it was off to Gallipoli, our first stop on our short land based Tour De Turkey. The drive out was considerably aided by it being a Sunday along with the rental GPS which meant we only went round in the same circle the once. The rest of the drive was shared by the 3 of us, which made it bearable with our jetlagged brains. The weather wasn’t the best but we did manage to get in quite a bit of Gallipoli including the Turkish cemetery, a British one and of course Anzac Cove. We were pretty well  when we pulled up outside the Grand Eceabat Hotel for the night, which was short for The Not So Grand Eceabat Hotel. Still the Efes Beer tasted pretty good to me. 🙂 Image Image DSC_0167