Of Crusader Castles and Sunken Cities

The sail down to Kekova Roads is quite impressive. There are a couple of small gaps between islands and the mainland to squeeze through, the last of which pops you out into Kekova Roads, a superb sheltered cruising ground.

Our first order of business was to check out the partly sunken ruins of Dolchiste on Kekova Island, an ancient town, which was destroyed by an earthquake during the 2nd century. You do this by sailing close to the island and peering down into the water as well as peering out onto the island itself.

Then it was time to head to Kaleköy, known to the Turks as Simena, a delightful small village with the partly sunken ruins, underneath a very, very, very impressive Crusader castle. Its charm is further enhanced knowing that access to the village is possible only by the sea. It’s probably my most favourite place in Turkey.

DSC_0326We pulled up on one of several restaurant piers at the front of the village, right next to a Lycian tomb sitting in a metre of water. You get the berth for free on the basis that you eat in the restaurant. Fair deal.

Next day, we went up and explored the castle and all the little stalls selling the usual carpets, cushions and trinkets. Really nice village to wander through.

Next day we went around to Gokkaya Limani and anchored in 10m of water. Like a lot of the Turkish coast round these parts, you get cold water flowing into the sea making swimming interesting as you swim from a warm bit to a cold bit and back to a warm bit etc. etc.DSC_0304We did the obligatory dingy tour and checked out the disco that’s up a small river in the middle of nowhere (only open on Tuesdays evidently and it was one of the 6 other DOTW). We drove our dingy into a small cave – that was fun and up another small river.

With our wilderness experience over, we headed back up Kekova Roads. I dropped the dingy over the side and Randy drove Dee and Toma along Kekova Islands to get a much better view of the ruins, whilst I toddled along in La Mischief, picking them up at the other end.

Next stop was Üçağız, which means “three mouths”, referring to the three exits to open sea. We anchored right next to the Lycian Tombs of the ruins of ancient city of Teimioussa. Ucagiz is where all the gullets leave from to do their daily tours of Kekova Roads. Another cute little town to tick off.


The water isn’t the best in Ucagiz so we pulled anchor and headed back to anchor off Kalekoy amongst all the turtles and right next to the partially submerged Roman baths, where we attempted to get the money shot of La Mischief anchored in front of a beautiful castle.


Ah heaven!

For photos of Kekova Roads, please click here.

It Just Kept Getting Better and Better!

Oludeniz was a short hop away from St Nick’s Island, so it didn’t take us long to get there. The literal translation of Ölüdeniz is “Dead Sea” due to its calm waters but now days the official translation is “Blue Lagoon”, which is much more marketable. In the old days, you used to be able to take your yacht into the lagoon. These days you have to make do with the absurdly looking peddle powered craft, or as we did two standup paddle boards. The place is jam packed with tourists, being rated as one of the best beaches in the world – something a little bit over the top in my opinion.


We pulled up outside the lagoon and anchored and tied up to the rocks next to a 100 foot motor yacht. There’s not a great deal of room for lots of yachts and it deepens up quite quick so not the greatest anchoring spot around. With a bit of swell running around the corner it was definitely only a day anchorage. Whilst everyone took their turn on the SUPs, battling a bit of a swell and a bit of wind, we watched the paragliders descend from Mount Babadağ, a pretty impressive 2000m mountain right on the coast. Mount Babadağ is rated one of the world’s best paragliding sites – now that I can understand.

Oludeniz done and dusted, it was time to find an anchorage for the night and the one we had picked out was full so in the end with the wind picking up, we just went back to St Nick’s Island.

We had an early morning start the next day to beat all the gullets to Butterfly Bay. The plan worked to perfection as we found the ideal spot in the SE corner of the bay and tied up to the rocks just off the beach, out of the way of the 20 million gullets that will be pulling up to the beach at 10am or so.

Butterfly Bay was a bit down on both water and butterflies but still a very pleasant hike to the waterfall at the end. Everyone thought it would be a nice idea to get breakfast on shore, but after having a look at what was on offer, everybody thought it wa now a good idea to have something to eat back on board La Mischief.


We had a very pleasant motor sail down to Kalkan… again not much wind…and found a nice spot on the wall at about 2.30pm before the afternoon rush. The wall at Kalkan is a bit pricey – 160TL for the night –but still cheaper than Marina prices.

According to a 2012 survey 96% of visitors to Kalkan were from the UK. Despite this, Kalkan is still a very nice town to visit, slightly upmarket, very picturesque with its old fishing town feel, its famous white-washed houses, descending to the sea, and its brightly coloured bougainvillea. It was an old Greek town before the Christians were compulsorily sent to Greece in the 1920’s.


We spent the afternoon lazing round the Indigo Blue waterfront bar, just across the breakwater from La Mischief, before hitting the town in the evening for some shopping, eating, drinking and hooka pipe smoking (me excluded).


Next day it was off to Kekova Roads. It just kept getting better and better!

For pictures of Butterfly Bay and Oludeniz see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201973785259136.1073741925.1620379103&type=1&l=22c5cf7d5a

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

To Muddle Or Not To Muddle? That Is the Question!!

At was about 5pm when we left Gocek, so we decided to head over to 12 Islands, a short hop of a couple of miles. We ended up picking up a mooring, of which there were quite a few provided and tied up to some bollards on the shore. Very pleasant place to spend an evening.


Next morning we sailed around to St Nicolas Island, another of my favourite places. It’s a great anchorage – a little deep but doable, between the island and the mainland. As usual, we dropped the anchor and backed up to the island, tying up just below some ruins. Had a great swim and then bought some pancakes off an oldish Turkish husband and wife in an old style fishing boat, complete with a charcoal powered cooktop on board. Mojito’s were also on the menu and we tried to get some limes off one of the other boatmen who sell just about anything – icecreams, fruit and veges, bread and pastries, you name it – DSC_0139
they will bring it to your boat. The limes needed a special trip into Ucadeniz, but no problems, they duly arrived a few hours later just in time to make our mojitos. The delay allowed Randy to fully research the world’s best mojito recipes, which turned out to raise more questions that it answered – even one I hadn’t even thought of – to muddle or not to muddle??? In the end we muddled! Randy’s research had turned up another great tip courtesy of Jamie O. who suggested we “clap” the mint to release its minty-ness. Our final good tip was to use a capful of dark rum – in our case Myers – as well as the white. With all the great advice in the world and a bagful of limes arriving by boat, we did a pretty good job of Mojito production.

But believe it not, our reason for visiting St Nick’s island was not to perfect the perfect Mojito but to actually have a look at a very interesting set of old Byzantine ruins built between the fourth and sixth centuries. There’s 5 churches, lots of tombs and other buildings as well as 350 metres of processional walk ways that look like tunnels and are quite fascinating. We walked up to the very end of the island and then back along one of the walkways to the very top of the island where the most impressive of the
churches is cut directly from the rock. They believe that the Island was used by Christian pilgrims en-rout to the Holy Lands. Its also supposed to be the original tomb of St Nick himself, until he was moved to Myra around 650AD. It took us a good 90 minutes to see the whole island before it shut at 7pm, after which we enjoyed a great sunset on the back of La Mischief.

For pictures of St Nicolas Island please see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10204273859679559.1073741994.1620379103&type=1&l=65cf6adab7

Randy and Toma – The Adventure Begins

With Toma and Randy arriving, we sat down and mapped up a great itinerary for their two weeks on board La Mischief, weather and boat bits withstanding.

To start off, we hired a car and picked them up from Dalyan Airport, about 30kms from Gocek. Airports on the Turkish coast are always an issue, so Gocek was a great place for a pickup. Bad news about the drop-off in Kas though as this was a 2 hour trip in a taxi.

After a dingy ride to the boat, it was time to unpack. Me too, as Toma had kindly brought my new laptop and camera with her to replace the ones lost in the robbery. A swim and an intro into  Hendrik’s G&Ts with cucumbers, and it was time to hit the town for a meal and Mojitos.

Next day, we still had the car until 3pm so off we trotted to the DalyanDSC_0006 River. What a pleasant little spot that was, but the half day we had there was a little short. We took the obligatory riverboat trip past all the incredibly impressive Lycian tombs, perched half way up the sheer cliff walls. The boat dropped us off up the river and we had a short 15 minute walk up to some very impressive roman ruins at Caunos, with a nice Amphitheatre and a delightful little port area that is now several miles inland. It was a great couple of hours – given we didn’t have time to do the half day full river-cruise down to the mouth of The River to see the turtle sanctuary.

We used what little extra time we had to have a really nice lunch at a riverside restaurant (one of the many) and the girls somehow managed to get in a bit of shopping time. Well that not quite entirely fair as Randy and I also managed to peruse some knock off watches – the usual Rolexes etc.


Back on the boat, it was time to hit the water and head for Wall Bay. We’d noticed a problem with reversing on our port engine previously and this made it really difficult to anchor and back into the shoreline to tie back to the rocks. We eventually managed it, getting Randy to swim the lines in to the bollards amongst the tree-lined shore. Its one of our favourite spots and we had a great swim off the back of the boat in beautiful clear water as turtles popped their heads up from time to time.

DSC_0005Next morning we did a longer swim to the Roman ruins that were half-submerged in – you guessed it – Ruin Bay, which was just around the corner from Wall Bay.
When we got back to the boat I wasn’t entirely happy with how we were anchored so we decided we would pull and reset our anchor. So off came the shoreline and up came the anchor.

Or not. The anchor winch refused to budge. We tried the winch handle in it and it still wouldn’t shift. Bugger. After 10 minutes of fiddling around, we realised there was only one thing for it – I needed to get Randy to pull it up by hand – Unfortunately Randy didn’t have the strength of two men so both of us had to work together to get the 70m of chain (in 20-30m of water) with the 25kg of anchor into the chain. locker. With the two of us pulling and Toma guiding it into the chain locker it took a good 40 minutes of maximum exertion to get it all up.


Then Dee had a wonderful suggestion. Spying the restaurant with its yacht jetty across the way, we decided we could tie up there without either an anchor or a port engine in reverse. Jackpot.

Next morning it was back to Gocek and Skopea Marina. Skopea recommended that we contact Sanli from Modayacht, which turned out to be an inspired suggestion.

Whilst Sanli (and I) got to work, the rest of the crew took the opportunity to hire another car for the day and head for Saklikent Gorge for some sightseeing rather than hanging around a catamaran in various states of disrepair. Sanli got to the nub of the problem fairly quickly – it had a bit of a Mark “Jacko” Jackson look about it with a number of damaged and missing teeth in the gear box. The anchor winch was from Quick in Italy and I quickly found out that they don’t supply spare parts for their windlasses – only whole replacement units. I took the opportunity to swap over to a larger 1500W Lofrans windlass (from one of the 10 or so chanderlies in Gocek) that does have an ample supply of spares should I have a future problem.

Next problem was the engine and this turned out to be an old favourite for the SD50 saildrive – whose cone clutches need to be replaced every 600 hours. Wow. Lots of chat on the internet forums about this. Next time this happens I am going to look at replacing these with SD60 saildrives that have a more conventional long-lasting clutch.

This is also where I discovered that the Yanmar agent in Marmaris that we had to deal with was a bit of a card shark – Sanli filled me in on the fact that he was the cousin of the main agent in Instabul. I had to sell one of my grandmothers to buy two replacement cone drives and the cost of the oil was equally as exorbitant. Whilst we waited for the parts to arrive, we headed across to Fethiye to allow Dee, Randy and Tomia a visit to the old traditional Hamam to experience a Turkish massage, and to visit one of our favourite restaurants in Pasha Kebab (first discovered by Ewa).

Back in Gocek the next day, we fitted our new cone drives and were on our way.

For photos of Wall Bay see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10204244868314793.1073741991.1620379103&type=1&l=ac271af35d

For photos of Dalyan see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10204244923356169.1073741992.1620379103&type=1&l=587fec9161

Back to Turkey

After a short sail from Kasterlorizo, we checked into Kas Marina and got them to organize our entry through their local agent. This was new territory for Dee and it was good to show her one of my favourite towns. Kas comes alive at night and it’s a great place to window shop.kas

After dinner, we headed to the town harbour and who should we bump into but Ali Baba 10, the gullet we attached ourself to last year, when Ewa was onboard. Mutlu, the owner was in expansion mode, having just bought another gullet and a bar. His previous first mate was now captain and after showing Dee around the insides of a gullet, we took off to find Mutlu at his new bar, Mumi’s.

Mutlu was his same generous self as he shouted us drinks and we had a great chat, promising to return.

Next day it was time to head West towards Gocek where we were picking up Toma and Randy. We did the usual stop in Kalkan and St Nicholas Island before calling into Fethiye to get our solar panel fixed and some new sunshades made up. We found someone in the marina selling the exact same solar panel and decided to put a couple more on at the same time. My batteries were on their last legs and I figured they could do with any help they could get. That turned out to be a mistake as the guy had no idea what he was doing. On the plus side, we found a really good canvas guy and we now have a lovely set of new shades for both front and back. Well needed as August was very hot.

Next stop was Gocek and we found a really good guy called Sanli from ModaYacht to fix our panels. He came recommended and the recommendation was spot on. He became my go to guy to get any work done. Given the upcoming events, this proved to be very fortunous.

Gocek was where we picked up Randy and Toma and after we had got them settled on the boat, it was time to get back into cruising and exploring mode.

For pictures of Kas see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10204339263114604.1073741996.1620379103&type=1&l=bc1b5d282c

The Fantastic Island of Kasterlorizo and Mr Fantastic’s 60th Birthday Celebrations

After a long motor with little to no wind, we made it to Kasterlorizo about 4pm in the afternoon and sailed past a waving Jenny and Paul outside their Hotel. We found a nice spot on the wall, right next to one of the many restaurants and tied up, stern to.


Then it was off to some pre-dinner drinks that Greg, Jenny’s brother in law, was putting on outside the Hotel Mediterraneo. With 54 Aussies coming to Greg’s 60th, all the hotels were pretty well booked out. This turned out to be the start of Greg’s generous hospitality as he quickly accepted us into his fold. I must say, it was good to get a hyperdose of Australian for the week.


Next day we reciprocated and held drinks on La Mischief for 50+ people, a record for La Mischief. Lots of fun, mixing with a whole lots of Australians for the week. I was amused to find that with all the new people I was meeting, we had some common friends – always the way. A few quick snaps and an email to Fish to surprise him with who I was hanging out with.


In between hanging out with Australians, we took time to explore Kasterlorizo. As its name implies, it’s the island with a castle and the climb to the top of the castle that overlooks the town was quite impressive. Even more impressive (and exhausting) was the walk up the side of the mountain that overlooks the town and then to the monastery and around the back of the island through the military training grounds, past the airport and back down into the town. Great views all round.

But the most impressive natural wonder on the island was undoubtedly the Blue Grotto. It’s a couple of miles around the bottom of the island and almost impossible to find without local kno
wledge. And no anchoring near by. So we did the sensible thing and took one of the local boats around with Paul and Jenny. It was quite a tight fit as we all had to lay down on the bottom of the dingy to get in. Once inside, we all jumped in and took lots of photos. It was quite spectacular and every bit as good as the one at Capri or Vis.blue grotto

Next day we decided to leave the wall and take some people across to St George Beach for the day. Beach is pushing it but it was a great swim spot with lots of turtles and a clear sandy bottom. Plus a bar just a short swim away on a small island. Perfect.

zorbaAfter a week of partying, eating, drinking, walking and swimming, the Island’s temporary Australian population started to slowly decline to more normal levels as Greg’s friends all hopped on ferries or planes to continue their travels. And so it was with us as we said goodbye to Greece and hello to Turkey, a mere couple of miles away

En route to a Birthday Party – Hope We Get An Invite

With our police report done, it was time to head off towards Kastelorizo, via a bit of Greek Island hopping. Our first stop was Astipolea, a days sail away. We got there just before sunset and found the wall completely full so we anchored in a nice bay south of the town and stayed on board.

Next day we set sail for Tilos and we found a nice anchorage on the west coast that was also a bit of a hippy camping spot. Pleasant spot to hang out for a late afternoon.

This put us in range of Rhodes. We decided to do a day in Rhodes town before heading down to Lindos for a couple of days. We’d heard that the new Rhodes Marina was open so we thought there may be space in Mandraki now. No such luck. We got waved away. So new Rhodes Marina it was.

And brand spanking new it was. Right down to the newly laid mooring lines and the new staff who were still learning the ropes. They put all the yachts in one corner and left the rest of the marina free. Huge empty spaces were available for a lot more yachts.

We had a little argument about pricing. They have a strange way of pricing wide boats that saw us being classified as 23m long???? After a couple of escalations we agreed on a price of 95 euros. Still ouch – but not as ouch as the original price.

Rhodes was our last good shopping spot before hitting Turkey so we filled up on diesel and wine. Found a great wine shop in the old town that provided us with some great recommendations and in they went to our special bilge storage spot.


One of the reasons we called into Rhodes town was to try and get an extended visa for Greece. When we tried to get one in Leros they said we had to go to Rhodes to try. However when we went to the immigration office, we found out they were only open on Tuesdays and Fridays. We got talking to an English expat who’d been living there forever and she reiterated that it would be almost impossible to obtain one – something the Police in Leros had also said. Oh well – the Greeks just don’t want us to stay and spend our money there.

With diesel and wine topped up, it was off to Lindos, about 30nm down the coast. Lindos is one of our favourite places in Greece, a stunning setting under an ancient acropolis with Greek columns, a Crusader Castle and Church perched on a hill. Underneath there is a beautiful town with winding streets leading up to the acropolis and lots of shopping. On the bay itself is some delightful restaurants. Ah…heaven.

We’d only driven there by car previously so we were keen to take La Mischief there. It wasn’t that straightforward though as there were quite a few boats in the bay and the bottom was strewn with rocks.

We had a couple of anchoring attempts before we were happy. On one, we managed to get our anchor caught around some rocks and we needed to snorkel on it (lucky the water was very clear as it was caught 15m down) to work out which way to drive the boat to free it. I was on snorkel directing Dee on the wheel.

IMGA0504Safely anchored, we had a couple of wonderful days there, swimming, eating and shopping. The town had some wonderful rooftop restaurants overlooking the bay and we enjoyed a night time dinner talking to some interesting Israelis before retiring to the Captains House Bar, an original Captain’s House from the 17th Century built by a wealthy seafarer with ornate carved stone work around the Sala door and the original hand painted ceiling still intact. The barman and the owner were great company and it took us to the early hours of the morning to eventually leave. For our second night on the town, we took the recommendation of a Pommy rugby player who was managing a jewelry shop (interesting combination), and checked out another Captains House (there are a few of them in Lindos) that was an up and coming restaurant called Olive Street. It turned out to be a great recommendation and a step up from a lot of the (very good) tavern meals we’d been enjoying.

With Paul and Jenny about to arrive in Kasterlorizo, it was time to say goodbye to Lindos and head southeast to our final Greek destination 70nm away.


The day started well as we pushed off early from the dock at Iraklia en route to Naxos. With a day to spare before the Uncanin’s left for the airport, and the weather perfect with no sign of the meltemi anywhere, our plan was to hit one of Naxos legendary beaches for a day of relaxation. We pottered up the channel between Naxos and Paros in no wind at all – something of a rarity at this time of the year – checking out all the beaches as we went.

We got to Agios Prokopios, about 3nm south of Naxos Town and decided that this was it. We anchored just off the swim area opposite a beautiful beach in 5m of water. Perfect. The rest of the day was spent swimming and snorkeling, walking on the beach and checking out the beach bars.

We came back to La Mischief to shower and watch the sun go down before hopping in the dingy and heading to the beach at about 9.30pm for some dinner at one of the many restaurants that lined the beach.

Getting back to the boat at 11.30pm, Dee unlocked the door to discover the contents of the rubbish bin strewn across the floor. The boat had been trashed with all our drawers and belongings tipped out on the floor. What a mess.

We tried to tidy up a little and work out what was missing. Everyone had left their phones on charge (except me) so they were gone. All 3 Macbooks were gone – they had left Dee’s old heavy laptop. They had taken my spare watch and camera and worst of all they had taken Rachel’s handbag with all their passports and cash.

It appears they were a couple of swimmers who put all the electronics in a bin liner plus a bag of Dee’s they had pinched. They had broken some screens we had over the front hatches to gain entry and made off with a tidy stash. Bastards.

It put a real downer at the end of what was a great few days with Zeljko, Rachel and the kids.

Next morning, we made our way into Naxos, where Zeljko and Rachel had organized an early ferry to Athens to sort out their passports. We had to wait around to Monday to do a formal police report as the Greek Financial Crisis meant they done deal with crime on the weekends. The guys at Port Police were a bit taken aback as they had never had this happen at anchor before. They had had a few breakins at the marina in years gone by but none this year. Just our luck.

But life goes on. I’ve ordered a new laptop and camera from the States, which Toma brought out for me. My Travel Insurance knocked back my claim because the items stolen were left unattended in a car or a boat. Luckily I have Personal Effects insurance on my Boat Insurance.

As a result of this incident we now lock all the hatches whenever we leave the boat and will look into some motion sensing alarm/video system. Pain in the arse but never the less necessary I suppose.

But I can’t complain. Life is good and at the end of the day nobody got hurt and everything is replaceable.