Gorgeous Gorges

In the never ending quest to keep my blog up to date, I’m trying to do one a day to catch up.

So today’s blog is from about 2 weeks ago, when we decided to go super touristy and do a day tour to Saklikent Canyon from Fethiye, 50km away.

The Canyon is 300m deep and 18 km long, one of the deepest in the world. Four kilometres of the canyon are walkable after April, when most of the snow in the Taurus Mountains has melted and passed through on its way to the Med.

The bus trip was rather tedious, look left, look right with the guide beside himself that one of the passengers may wander off and break a leg.

Once we got there, he insisted that we all hire shoes for the walk up the canyon and Ewa was equally insistent that we wouldn’t. In the end our thongs (flip flops to you non-Australians) and bare feet did the trick.

The canyon was absolutely magnificent and we snapped away with our cameras as we walked along. About 2 thirds up, things started to get tricky and it was here we met John, our canyon guide for the day. He helped us clamber up small waterfalls and through water up to our chests. I think he especially liked helping Ewa.

I’d packed my camera and laptop in a water proof bag so we could keep things fully charged for the day not knowing what we were in for. Had I known I would have gone a bit lighter – certainly wouldn’t have brought my laptop. It was an interesting exercise passing my (pseudo) waterproof backpack over my head to John as we clambered through and over water falls and deep pools.

But it was really worth it as we made it to the waterfall at the end. Ewa loves having her photo taken and so we snapped away with her under the waterfall.

Back at the bus, we had the obligatory stop at a carpet weaving factory and outlet, which was half interesting and then onto lunch at a trout farm. Yum – fresh fish in a beautiful setting up in the mountains.

Last stop was the roman ruins at Tios, which was one of the six principal cities of Lycia (and one of the most powerful). It was eventually inhabited by Ottoman Turks.

The whole place is dominated by Acropolis Hill, which overlooks a lovely valley of fertile fields and orchards with mountains rising in the distance. There are lots of Lycian rock-cut tombs and sarcophagi at its base. Crowning the top is the fortress of Kanlı Ağı (‘Bloody Chief Ali’), a notorious Ottoman feudal lord, built upon the foundations of a Lycian fortress. The view from the top is spectacular with amazing 360 degree views over the Xanthos valley and the surrounding mountains.

There’s also a large Amphitheatre, an athletics track, markets, a gym, and two large baths, as well as the remains of an impressive temple. Lots more photo opportunities.

Next day, it was off to Gocek to pick up Ms. Deanne Trigg, who was flying into Dalaman Airport the next evening.

For photos see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201979560443512.1073741927.1620379103&type=1&l=bcdf7fe4e2

The Captain’s Excellent Adventure

5am was a bit of a different time to get up. But the Captain said this was the time his Gulet needed to depart so up we got. Shouldn’t complain because it’s a lovely time of the morning.

We pulled anchor and charged off after him. Straight into the wind so no sailing – just motoring. We got to our first stop of the day – Butterfly Bay – just after 9am and anchored off the beach. There was one gullet on shore so we made sure we were clear of him.

Then it was off to explore. We dingied to the beach and were met by a guy who suggested we put some fenders out. Strange.

The main attraction of the bay is a gorge that runs directly behind it, up to a beautiful waterfall. At the head of the gorge is a really cool place with lots of butterflies. Very pretty and worth calling in, even if Rod knows nothing about it.

The walk takes about 30 mins and costs 5TL and on the way back we began to pass heaps and heaps of people. Where did they come from?

We soon found out as when we got back to the beach we found one end of the beach (the north end) completely covered in wall to wall gulets. Unfortunately we were anchored off this end of the beach as well. Now the fender comment made sense. We quickly dingied back to the boat and got out of there fast. Next time it’s the south end of the beach for anchoring.

Next stop was Olu Deniz, a couple of miles north. We anchored around the corner from the Blue Lagoon stern to and had a nice relaxing time swimming and paddle boarding.

The Blue Lagoon is a no go zone for powered craft since 1983, but okay for the paddleboard so I poked my head in and had a look. We also took the dingy in to the adjoining beach and got charged 10TL for the privilege. The lagoon is packed with wall to wall deck chairs along with the usual touristy peddle powered craft with the water slide off the back. They had successfully managed to transform a beautiful looking lagoon into a crass tourist trap. The captain was right when he suggested we swim round the corner and don’t bother going to the Lagoon.

After a nice afternoon swimming, we headed off to the overnight anchorage at St Nicolas Island, a lovely anchorage between the mainland and the island.

Next morning, we headed onto the island to have a look at the extensive ruins dating back to the 7th century AD. Evidently St Nicolas stayed there (obviously on his way to the North Pole). It was quite a stopping off point for the pilgrims on their way to the holy lands. There were about 7 churches on the island, some connected by long tunnels. And the views from on top of the island were to die for. For 10TL entrance fee, this is a must do island.

Sight seeing over, we headed for Fethiye.

For photos of butterfly bay and blue lagoon see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201973785259136.1073741925.1620379103&type=1&l=22c5cf7d5a

For photos of kalkan see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201962554178366.1073741924.1620379103&type=1&l=2647e8a9ec

We Are Quite the Social Set

We had another nice sail to Kas – albeit with the wind on the nose. But hey, you get there eventually and we get some bonus miles tacking along.

We decided against going and anchoring off the marina this time. Instead we headed for Bayindir Limani and just took the dingy the one and a half miles across to the old port when we needed to get to town. Bayinder is really beautiful and Kas is really quite accessible from there. Best of both worlds.

But I am getting ahead of myself. We picked out a spot next to a Gulet called Ali Baba 10 and started to drop anchor, only to hear the gullet captain suggest we may not want to park there as they were planning a party that night. Did someone say party?

He then went on to invite us over saying there was a heap of Aussies on board. It was not a hard decision really. Ewa could do with a dose of young people and I wasn’t adverse to the idea (at all).

We had a swim and met Aussie Milo and his friends who were some of the paying passengers. We had dinner and headed over and found we were a little too early so we got treated to another meal sitting with the captain, Mutlu and his two crew. Then we rejoined the passengers when they had finished dinner, had a quick game of Uno, and then the dancing started. And boy could the captain dance. Ewa and the Captain tore up the floor. The cook was fun too in his oversized glasses and funny hat. The third crew was a guy who everyone called Turkish Delight (which he came up with), one cool Turkish Dude. Anyway the Aussies on board decided I should be called Craig so Craig I was.

The captain invited us to follow him back to Kekova for a session at Smugglers Bar, but we declined and spent another night at Bayinder. Instead we said we’d see him at Kalkan and tag along with him to Fethiye.

Next day, we bid farewell to our new found gullet friends and headed into Kas to sort out our Internet access. I decided on a second SIM card for the 3G router so if we ran out of credit on one card we could just switch across to the second.

We also found a postcard for Ewa to send to her Kiwi guy who is built like a brick shithouse (or to quote Men at Work “6 foot four and full of muscle”). If you happen to read this, you need to do some serious wooing of this beautiful young lady. Now that I’ve severely embarrassed Ewa I can move on.

After our morning trip into Kas, it was time to relax. Plus we’d forgotton to take the rubbish into Kas, so we hopped in the dingy again and headed for a nearby restaurant. The turks are amazing, we didn’t even have time to ask before the guy at the bar whipped our rubbish away.

Several EFES beers were consumed whilst Ewa and I built our list of top five bikinis on the beach. She was doing it with her eye for fashion, I was just doing it because I’m shallow and I’m a boy! Still, it was a pleasant way to spent a lazy afternoon.

We eventually got bored with that bar and checked out the next. More bikini spotting! Starting speaking with Husan who was one of the bar staff there. He is Turkish but also has an importation business in Scotland, where he went 8 years ago without a word of English.

Husan said he was going fishing after work so we invited him to bring some fish to La Mischief and we would cook it on the BBQ. He arrived about 9pm with supermarket fish and a mate just as our supermarket fish that we had decided to cook was ready. The four of us had a fun night chatting and drinking beer and raki, the local Turkish firewater.

Next morning, it was off to Kalkan, where we said we would rejoin our Gulet captain and his new guests.

It was another nice sail around to Kalkan, tacking all the way. Kalkan has a very small marina and anchoring outside this was not an option. So we headed over to Yesilkoy Limani, which was a beautiful spot with lots of clear water. We anchored in 5m and just swung on anchor as it was too windy to get a line ashore.

Next morning, we pottered into Kalkan, about a 2nm dingy trip, and had a nice walk around. It’s a picturesque little town, with views down to the small harbor and lots of high end fashion stores. We found a neat little coffee shop for a milkshake, followed by a neat little bar for a beer.

We stayed two nights in Yesilkoy so that we could rendezvous with our captain who duly turned up at 5pm and parked up right next to us. More Australian guests to banter with, this time from Noosa. The crowd were a bit more subdued this time so no dancing L.

Next morning it was up at 5am to follow our captain to some places that Rod didn’t even know about!

A Bit of Royal Mischief

Kalekoi was just as good the 2nd time.

After our first full sail after the mainsail had been fixed, we arrived about 6pm, just in time for a delightful dinner on shore on a picturesque spot over the water.

Next day, it was time to check out the castle and the village.  it turned out to be another epic photo session with Ewa, who seems to take better photos than me just with her iPhone. We managed to get to the field of sarcophagi  this time and it was interesting wandering through an ancient graveyard. The sarcophagus’ lids are shaped like an upside down boat as most of these people were fishermen and this signified the end of their fishing days.

Then it was off to check out the sunken city and find another bay. We headed west towards Poleos Buku and passed a beautifully restored luxury yacht called Nahlin. Worth googling, we quickly found out it was owned by Mr Vacuum Cleaner, aka James Dyson, and is one of the last of three large steam yachts constructed in the UK. It’s also the largest British-owned super yacht at 91 metres, and was ranked 36th in a 2013 survey of the world’s 100 biggest yachts. There you go.

Much, much more interestingly though was the fact that it was chartered by King Edward VIII and used by him and Mrs. Wallis Simpson to get up to some rather serious Mischief (oops, did I start that with a capital letter). First thing he did was rip out the library so he could fit more grog on board. This was evidently the trip (to the Adriatic) where the press got wind of this royal mischief and soon after he abdicated.

After our dalliance with history, we decided the bay wasn’t much chop and it was time for some downwind sailing to the other end of Kekova Roads and Gokkaya Limani. Sailing on the inside passage was delightful and in no time at all we were at our destination for the night.

Safely anchored, we hopped in the dingy for a bit of a sightsee up the creek and into the pirate cave. This time there was a gullet there so we let him go first and he popped his whole nose inside. We dingied in around his so we were both inside. Wow.

Next day after a morning paddle board, it was up anchor and off to Kas.

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

And Back We Go From Whence We Came

With fridge stocked, we said our goodbyes and left Kemmer about 3pm and headed back to Phaselis. With 5 on board, Ewa, Myself, Eric (the autopilot), Little Eric (the remote control for Eric) and Rod (the cruising guide), it felt good to be back on the sea. We dropped anchor a few hours later and settled in for the night.

We needed to get to Fineke by Wednesday, so I decided we would spend our time at Olympos rather than doing the ruins at both Phaselis and Olympos. I was also put off by Mike saying someone had climbed onto a yacht at Phaselis – all very suspicious.

Olympos turned out to be as spectacular as it was the first time. It was a great place to wander around with Ewa, as she was a better photographer than I was and it was fun to chase good shots together. We spend half an hour trying to take the money shot of a spectacular blue dragonfly. In the end, I’m afraid to say she got the better shot. Her dad thought it was photoshopped – it was that good.

Back on the boat, it was time to introduce Ewa (pronounced Eva) to stand up paddle boarding, which she managed quite well for a new comer. Then it off to get an anchorage close to Finike for the night so we could go in the next day and get our repairs done.

Are we got round the cape we got hit with 30kts right on the nose. We bashed into it a bit but without a mainsail it was pretty horrible. So we pretty soon called it quits and consulted Rod. Rod told us about Cavus Limani and it turned out to be a good recommendation.

Next morning, we hauled anchor and headed for Finike Marina. All our parts had arrived, and we found an excellent sail maker so we had a very productive stop getting our dingy winch, shower sump pump and bilge pump operational again. We repacked the ball bearings in all of the batten cars and I’ve decided not to let the mainsail freefall when taking it down as Vicsail showed me. Nowadays I ease it down in a more controlled fashion.

It was get to sail again, even it meant tacking all the way against the wind. We got some reefing practice early as we left Finike bound for Kalekoi. It was fun sailing and we sailed pretty well all the way to the start of Kekova Roads. Ewa was busy sleeping and didn’t wake up until we got pretty much to the crusader castle. She had one of those jaw dropping moments as we motored up to our anchorage.

All my Olympos photos are at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201909126122698.1073741922.1620379103&type=1&l=498f53f18b

Happy Hour

wpid-wp-1404739797594.jpegAs we drew closer to Kemer, we marveled (is that the word) at the touristy aspects that were everywhere. The pretend pirate ships intermixed with the paragliders pulled along by the ugliest speed boa
ts you are ever likely to see. Then hotel after beach front hotel with take a number deck chairs lining the beach front.

We’d heard various reports about Kemer, a Russian tourist mecca, and so we were fully prepared for ultra tacky. As always, its wasn’t like that and we were pleasantly surprised.

But what was really good was the marina crowd. Albeit they were all packing up and going home but Mike and Corrine from Switzerland made us feel really welcome and invited us to Happy Hour, where we met the rest of the United Nations of Cruising – South Africa, UK, Germany, Wales, Belgium and a Turkish Dentist – they all kept me entertained during my 3 day visit.

It was here I said goodbye to Jo, who was off to the UK and then onto the Tour de France. We’d had a great time together, seen some sights and made some miles, so it was sad to see her go. I suppose that’s the nature of cruising – you meet great people, you become friends in no time at all and then you say your goodbyes. Then one day, you see them again on the water and you are best friends again.

My first chore was to get the mainsail batten cars fixed and so off I wandered to the Technical Department. A guy came and had a look and then his boss came back with a quote for 323 Euro, for what mounted to 2-3 hours work. I said I’d pay for 2 hours – he said he’s not a factory and he’s providing a “service” which will take a day. We agreed to disagree and so no mainsail until Fineke. I’d heard rumours about getting things done in Kemer and Mike pretty well confirmed it. So great marina if you want to have a fun time, but not so good if you want anything fixed.

I had a couple of days on my own in the marina before my next crew, Ewa flew in from Poland, via Berlin. Allan and I had met Ewa in Spain last year and we put her up for a night on La Mischief so she knew the boat already.

One good thing about marinas is that you can leave the aircon on 24/7 and I think Ewa appreciated this as it was pretty hot out in the sun. But there wasn’t much time to enjoy the aircon as we went in search of the weekly markets, which are on the Monday in Kemmer and are pretty damn good.

Stocked up with fresh food, we headed back to the boat and on our way for our overnight stop at Phaselis as we backtracked first south…then west….then north.




Roman Ruin Time Again

We were quite excited to have a look at Finike as lots of cruisers had said good things about the place. The marina turned out to be really nice but the town was a major disappointment. They had tried to do it up, but all they managed to do was make it more tacky.
It did however have some good tradesmen at reasonable prices and we got the shower sump pump, dingy winch and one of the bilge pump sensors diagnosed and parts ordered from Istanbul (to be picked up on way back). More boat bucks.
We managed to get away about 3.30pm . We headed across the bay and around the corner to a nice beach.
We were right on track for beer o’clock when bummer, the mainsail got stuck, 3/4 of the way down. Luckily there was no wind so going up the mast was a lot easier than last time. We got the sail down with a bit of silicon spray and some gentle persuasion and decided it must be a lubrication issue. So on went more silicon spray.
Mainsail in lazy bag, we finally anchored and Beer o’clock was just reward for climbing the mast.
Next morning we had a great swim around the bay and headed off for ancient Olympos. We motor sailed along the coast against a 0.5-1 kt current and got there at lunchtime. We anchored outside the roped off swim area and i donned the water proof back bag and paddled in with Jo swimming to shore.
The beach was beautiful, albeit stoney,  with a freshwater stream running into the sea. Olympos is just behind the beach and we wandered up to it only to find a ticket booth wanting 5th entry fee. So it was back to the boat on the paddle board to get some more money plus a few other things we forgot.
Then it was back along the deep shaded valley that runs up from the sea. Olympos was founded by Rhodes in about the 2nd century BC and had another upturn in property market values when the Romans moved into the neighbourhood. The last bit of ancient stuff happened when the Genovese build a castle high on the hill. The place is very pretty and it took us longer than expected to wander through the ruins.
By this stage we were getting hungry so we stopped at the hippy inspired restaurant amongst the shady trees and gobbled down some Turkish pancakes.  Nothing to write home about (wait a minute – I just did!) but can now say I’ve tasted them.
Back on the boat we back tracked a couple of miles to Port Genovese and found an anchorage amongst the gulets with sufficient swing room to feel comfortable. Jo was busying herself for another phone interview so I went for a swim and checked the anchor. Back on the boat I saw another gulet come in and drop his anchor way out as they do and then back into shore really close to our anchor. I was a bit peeved that he may have laid his anchor chain over ours and swam out again to check (in fact he had laid it over Sun Dancers who were further out that us.
Then it was off to check out the bay on the paddle board – a productive exercise as I came across Sami (Davis Jnr) and friends and sat down and drank Turkish Tea. Sami was a professional captain who had come out on his day off and we had a great yarn.
Back at La Mischief with Jo’s interview over, we had Trevor and Yvonne from Sun Dancer over for sun downers – a lovely English couple who were good for a ribbing about cricket and the world cup.
Just as we’d gone to bed, the wind changed and we had to get up again as we swung dangerously close to our errant gullet. I was kicking myself that I was more concerned about crossed anchors than swing room. So Jo got her first night sail!!! as we shifted into the middle of the bay – well out of range of any gullet mayhem.
Next morning we set off motoring to Phaselis, another ancient Roman town. Rod told us to use a trip line because of our the rubble from the ancient Roman breakwaters, but looking down we could see there was no real need.
Phaselis is set on a beautiful peninsular, between two equally beautiful bays. It too was founded by colonists from Rhodes in the 7th Century BC but the ruins were largely Roman  and Byzantine. Hadrian’s gate at the entrance of the street that runs from the North Bay to the South Bay was a highlight. It was once again a very pretty place with extensive ruins set amongst the pine trees. Unfortunately the Turks had put a car park right up against some very impressive aqueduct ruins. Whenever you see an aqueduct ruin you feel compelled to utter the now famous “What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?” line from Life of Brian.
Ruined out once more, we pulled anchor and headed for Kemmer.