Cappadocia – Apologies in Advance for the Verbal Diorrhea

By the time we were on our way to Cappadocia, it seemed everyone had got there before us. Which was great for us as we’d plucked everyone’s brains and got a bit of an idea as to how we would tackle one of the world’s most fascinating places. You can’t find Cappadocia on a map – it a sort of region bound together with a whimsical fairytale landscape that seems to have been transported there from the moon. It’s both odd and beautiful at the same time with its towering boulders and honeycombed hills where erosion has formed caves, clefts, pinnacles, “fairy chimneys” and sensuous folds in the soft volcanic rock. All this is wrapped up in some fascinating history. People have long utilised Cappadoccia’s soft rocks, seeking shelter underground and leaving the countryside scattered with fascinating troglodyte-style architecture.


Firstly it was the Hittites but really the region is famous for the early Christians that settled in these caves and underground cities. Cappadocia even gets a mention in the Bible (evidently).

We started our Cappodocia adventure by driving to Goreme and going on a bit of a hotel selection expedition. We wanted a cave room with a view and a pool. We quickly gave up on the pool as they tended to be indoor or very small. After much walking around we settled on Lalezar Hotel, which had been recommended to us by a couple of different friends. We managed to negotiate the top floor suite for 150TL a night. Was a really spacious cave with a great private balcony out the front overlooking Goreme. Perfect.

Next morning, we were up early to check out the 200 or so balloons as they came past. We watched a few go by from our balcony and then headed up the top of the hill behind the town to get a really good look. 200 balloons – that’s probably 2000-3000 people a day, every day over peak time. What a sight.


After breakfast, we hooked up with Red Dot (real name Vedat), a Uni student in Cyprus who was helping out at the Hotel (which his Dad owned) and went exploring. Red Dot acted as our guide as we started to get a handle on Cappadocia. First stop was Cavusin, where Red Dot took us on a windy narrow road up to a lookout behind the town with some cool churches, cave houses and a cave hotel. After a quick stop to look out over the top of Rose Valley, we headed across to Love Valley. Looking down on all the phallic symbols, we got the gist of the name. The Turkish are evidently far less subtle. Hopping back in the car, we drove into Love Valley and had a walk around the bottom of the phallic playground.

At this stage we were getting hungry so we headed for Red Dot’s favourite restaurant in Avanos. Lunched up, we then headed over to Monk’s Valley in Pasabag. Pasabag valley contains some of the most striking fairy chimneys in Cappadocia with twin and even triple rock caps. Whilst perusing the chimneys, we also found out this is where Red Dot used to take his girlfriend for some after hours activities.

Our final stop of the day was Uçhisar, with its natural rock citadel forming the tallest point in Cappadocia, visible from just about everywhere we had driven. Interestingly enough, Rd Dot hadn’t been up the castle before so we treated him to something new.

That was just about enough for Day 1 so we headed back and booked our balloon trip for the next morning. We checked out a few companies and settled on one Red Dot had recommended. The trick is to get one with a medium-sized basket (about 12 people) rather than the 25 people baskets. It cost us a bit of dough – 250 Euros from memory, but it was my first time in a balloon and what a way to start.

There’s two takeoff times, the first just before dawn and the second, just after it. We were on the second and we took off just behind the Zelve Outdoor Museum, which we got a great look at from the air as we flew low over it.

From there we popped out over the range and looked down into firstly Red Valley and then Rose Valley. We then headed over to Love Valley and our captain expertly dropped us down inside the valley amongst the giant phallic symbols. After 50 minutes it was time to land and our pilot amazingly used a small valley to get back (against what was a light breeze higher up) to our landing spot. After the obligatory champagnes, it was back to our hotel in time for breakfast. What an experience.

Then it was time for more exploring. We took off down the road to Goreme Open Air Museum.

Yet another of Turkey’s Unesco World Heritage Sites (one of the two oldest in Turkey) that we visited on our Road Trip, the Göreme Open-Air Museum is a walk through an important Byzantine settlement that contains the finest of the rock-cut churches, with beautiful frescoes still showing after all these years. It was pretty impressive as we walked through and in a cluster of monastic Byzantine artistry with its rock-cut churches, chapels and monasteries. As Michael said (having been there a year before), it was a walk through early Christian history.

On the way back to the car park we passed through a cluster of tourist shops and of course the guy peddling the expensive camel ride. What started with Dee wanting to have her photo patting the camels became a sit on the camel followed by a ride on the camels.

With 20 million camel shots now on my camera’s memory card, we got back in the car and headed for Ortahisar Castle. Not quite as impressive as the one at Uchisar, it was still up there on the Morgan scale of Castles and worth a look. What’s even better was the wine cave at its base. Cappadocia looks barren but the soil is quite productive and it is a major wine growing area in Turkey.

Wine caves visited, contents sampled and purchase made, it was off to Urgup. Nothing really to report here – pleasant little town with some possibilities but we didn’t stop and explore much after calling in at the tourist bureau and having lunch in town.

Onwards and upwards it was to the Zelve Open-Air Museum, which once housed one of the largest Christian and Muslim communities in the region. We walked through this amazing cave town, honeycombed with dwellings, churches and mosques. The Christians were forced to leave the Valley because of the exchange of minorities between Greece and Turkey in 1924, and the Muslims were forced to evacuate the Valley in the 50’s when life became dangerous due to risk of erosion.


Back in Goreme, we enjoyed a bottle of wine on our balcony watching the sun go down, it was time to check out Topdeck Cave Restaurant, the best of Goreme’s restaurants according to Tripadvisor and who were we to argue with them. The name’s a bit confusing as it is in a small cave (tick) and the guy who owns it has a nickname of “Topdeck” from his early days of driving buses in London. It turned out to be a great restaurant, with beautiful food and great staff. We finished off the night by drinking some Cappadocia red with Red Dot and a group of his University law friends from Izmir who had come to visit – why not when your friend’s dad owns a hotel.

Next day, it was time to head underground. Cappadocia has 36 underground cave-cities, that were started way back in Hittite times, and expanded over the centuries as various marauders came through in search of captives and plunder. At 85m deep, the one is in Derinkuyu is the deepest of them all and that’s where we headed.DSC_0395

It took us 30 minute to drive and unfortunately we got there a bit late to avoid the hordes. So it was a bit claustrophobic down there with all those people. But very interesting as we saw stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, churches, wineries and school rooms.

Descending vertical staircases we saw the deep ventilation shafts that also doubled as wells. Really interesting were the carefully balanced moving stone doors, resembling mill stones, which could quickly block the corridors in the event of an attack.

Since we were on a bit of a road trip on our road trip, we decided to keep going and visit Ihlara Valley. We parked the car and descended the 100m into the canyon. It was a nice walk along the side of the river, past all the churches carved into the rocks. We stopped at a cute little café for fresh OJ with day beds built out across the stream itself – very Turkish.

Our last stop of the day was the Sunset Stop at the top of Rose Valley. We got there a bit before sunset so we walked down and had a look at the top of Rose Valley, before heading up top and checking out the sunset.

Next day we were checking out, but before we did we wanted to do a walk in
Rose Valley. After hunting around to see how close we could park the car we found that “not that close” was the answer. So it took us 15 minutes to get into the Valley proper. It was well worth the walk and it’s a pity we didn’t have more time. We met a lot of walkers doing it one way from Goreme to where we’d parked the car – obviously with a tour that picked them up at the other end. But for us it was “backtrack time” as it was time to pick up our luggage from the hotel and leave the fairy tale land of Cappadocia.


For more photos of Cappadocia click here


Road Trip – Part Deux

Ankara is the capital of Turkey, but except for two or three must see items, its pretty much the Canberra of Turkey.


Our first impression driving into Ankara was just how big it was. Negotiating the traffic via Google Maps was challenging, and after a few wrong turns we made it to Attaturk’s Mausoleum in Anıtkabir. Attaturk is a bit of a hero of mine and it was great to wander through the extensive museum and see how one man’s will and determination created a whole modern nation, including a new alphabet and written language, surnames, a legal framework and a modern education system plus a heap of other stuff. They don’t call him the Father of Turkey for nothing. Definitely a must see.

Our second destination was the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations – also a very impressive museum, impressive enough to have won the European Museum of the Year. The Museum uses the catch phase “Turkey – The Biggest Outdoor Museum in the World”, with which we would have to agree. If you haven’t been to Turkey you should definitely do yourself a favour! The museum was mostly old stuff – you know – 3000 years ago or so; plus a little bit of much newer stuff from the days of Alexander the Great and the Romans. Anatolia was one of the cradles of early civilization and the museum was chocker block full of amazing Hittite statues, wall friezes and pottery. Great museum. The museum was also just below the old castle; so we stretched our legs and headed upwards. On the Morgan scale of Castles, this one rated a “‘Medium” – but we are getting picky these days. We walked along the castle ramparts and got a great view of Ankara stretching out into the distance.


Our visit to Ankara was a hit and run exercise and we were soon on our way to Safranbolu, a wonderfully preserved traditional Ottoman village. It was a very interesting drive through the rolling hills as we continued to make our way North. The drive into Safranbolu is equally as impressive as you drop down into the valley where it is situated. We had the choice of quite a few quaint hotels, old stone mansions that have been turned into boutique hotels. The old caravanserai from the 14th century has also been turned into a very impressive hotel. From the 13th century to the advent of the railway in the early 20th century, Safranbolu was an important caravan station on the main trade route from the Orient to the West. Nowadays, Safranbolu is a UNESCO World Heritage site with the Old Mosque, Old Bath and Süleyman Pasha Medrese all surviving since 1322. The streets come alive at night with small traders and restaurants adding lots of colour and movement. Another highlight of our road trip and well worth the effort to go up there.


That ended up being as far north as we got. It was time to head towards Cappadocia – but first we needed to get a little Bronze Age action along the way. So we headed for Hattusa, the ancient capital of the Hittite Empire. It was a long drive, through some thunderstorms to Boğazkale, where we camped the night at a great little Hotel with virtually no other guests. Had a great chat to the owner over a bottle of red and dinner and called it a night.

Next morning, we headed into the museum in Boğazkale, where a lot of the bits and bobs from Hattusa are displayed. There’s a couple of very impressive stone sphinxes, originally found at the southern gate in Hattusa – one of which was returned from Germany in 2011, after much postering and numerous requests. Having got a bit of a feel for the place from the museum, we hopped into the car and drove to the actual archaeological site of Hattusa. The first thing you see is a very impressive fort that formed part of the wall that went around the whole of Hattusa, courtesy of some fairly good slave power I imagine. Hattusa is a huge site, so you actually have to drive around it and see it all. There’s an impressive tunnel that goes quite a way under the city wall and lots of remnants of buildings that show the extent of the place. We finished off our visit to Hattusa with a short trip north to the rock sanctuary of Yazılıkaya, with its interesting and very old rock carvings.


With our knowledge of the Hittite civilisation greatly enhanced, it was time to head south east towards the famous and mythical area of Capadoccia.

For photos of our Road Trip click here.

RoadTrip – Part 1

After leaving Randy and Toma we’d headed up to Gocek to get our Christec battery chargers removed and sent back to France for reprogramming, ready for when our newly ordered Victron Lithium (LIFePO4) batteries arrived to Sanli from Modayacht. The house batteries that Lagoon supplied weren’t very good and their days were rapidly coming to an end. The cunning plan was to get Sanli to remove the Christec units and send them off, whilst at the same time ordering all the parts from Victron, whilst we fill in the time waiting with a nice little roadtrip.

On the way to Gocek by boat, we had called into Kalkan and saw Peter, an American guy who we met in Kas and who lives in the hills behind Kalkan. He’s been a textile trader in Turkey and had lots of suggestions on where we should go. He also invited us to stay the night at his beautiful house just outside a little village with great views down to the coast near Kalkan. We swam in his lovely pool and got to know his dogs. He then cooked us a great meal whilst we enjoyed the view. Next day we took him out sailing – only for the day as he had some dog business to attend to – he’d been looking after some strays and the lady from the dog refuge was coming to see him.

Boats are a great way to see a country, but sometimes its great to get a hire car and check out what’s beyond the coast. As you can guess, we organized to leave La Mischief under the watchful eye of Smiley in Kas for the great bargain of 70TL a night. We had to go stern to the wall with our anchor right over the other side of the harbour, well away from the chain that ran down the middle of the harbour. In this case, the chain was a godsend as it allowed us to take a belts and braces approach and pay 100TL to a diver to attach a rope around this chain and back to the boat. La Mischief was going nowhere whilst we were away.

Smiley also organised our hire car for 90TL a day – another bargain. By the time we’d finished getting the diver organised, it was into the afternoon as we headed towards Kalkan.

With our map marked up with a combination of Peter’s suggestions, lonely planet recommendations and stuff off the net, we headed inland. It was a great drive through some interesting scenery. As it started to get towards dark, we found ourselves not far from Sagalassos. Lonely Planet describes it as “the very antithesis of the ‘Ephesus experience’, Sagalassos is rarely troubled by tour buses or crowds; sometimes the visiting archaeologists or sheep wandering the slopes outnumber tourists”. Sounded like a visit.



So off we headed hoping to find somewhere to stay on approach. We drove through one small town that didn’t have a hotel in sight. I was pessimistic as we drove through the countryside, but Dee as usual was upbeat and sure enough there was a sign that said “ Sagalassos Hotel and Spa – 200m ahead. Bingo – 5 star hotel for about $70 a night, which we nearly had all to ourselves.

After enjoying a bit of luxury, it was off up the top of the mountain to check out ancient Sagalassos, one of the Med’s largest archaeological projects. As promised, we pretty much had the place to ourselves as we wandered around some pretty impressive ancient ruins. It still had running water, which flowed through the ancient Roman water fountains in the square. Nice.

Back in the car we continued to head inland through the lakes district. Next stop was a town called Eğirdir on a lake called Eğirdir. It was on the must see list but after stopping and having a stroll around we decided we needed a new must see list. Nothing to write home about.

DSC_0593Next stop was one we would have never have got to if it hadn’t been for Peter suggesting we go there. It was the Hittite moment at Eflatunpınar, which means  “lilac coloured spring”. The spring have been directed into a rectangular pond with a high wall of reliefs with the Storm God and the Sun Goddess with winged sun-disks above each. The most amazing thing about this is that it was built 3000 years ago, well before the Greek empire came into existence.

DSC_0602next stop – Beyşehir on lake Beyşehir was very impressive, mainly due to an extremely old wooden mosque. Dee got accosted by a lovely old lady who helped us cover up appropriately so we could go in and marvel at the wood work.

The last stop of the day was Konya, a religious centre and home of the whirling dervishes. We got there at 5pm and drove through the centre of the city, marveling at the very impressive Mevlâna Museum, which is the mausoleum of Mevlâna Jelaleddin Rumî. Rumi is one of the world’s most read poets. The Mevlâna Museum is Turkey’s second most-visited tourist attraction after the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Rumi was a mystic, a Sufi saint who loved all religions, and whose own religion was love.

Konya was the capital of the Seljuk Turkish Sultanate of Rum. The Seljuks built numerous caravansarays along the Silk Road between Cappadocia and Konya, and beyond. Seljuk architecture is outstanding, and the Mevlâna Museum was a very impressive example of this architecture.


Konya is also the place to get Tandoor Lamb, with a night view of the stunning Mevlâna Museum and joining Mosque. 13 hours of slow roasting produced the best lamb I have ever tasted. It was so good , we returned later on the way back from our road trip and pigged out on 300gms each.

As luck world have it, we rolled up on a Thursday, which is when the Whirling Dervishes put on a free display. These followers of Rumi lose themselves in trance and dance, spinning like tops for hours on end. There’s lots of tourist destinations throughout Turkey where you can go and see the Whirling Dervishes but Konya is where they come from and the best spot to see them by a country mile. The Sema ceremony, which they perform is really a prayer, totally memorising with 22 Dervishes whirling away under the direction of their leader, backed by a singer and an accompanying band of traditional musicians. The performance itself is the closest a tourist can get to watching a genuine Whirling Dervishes performance.


Next morning it was off North to Ankara.

For photos of the road trip click here.


Smiley – The Happiest Guy in Turkey

DSC_0754The motor sail back from Kekova to Kas was into the wind so more motor than sail. We did a few tacks and ended up going quite close to Kasterlorizo so Randy and Toma got a bonus look at Greece.

We decided to pull into the town harbour at Kas, as this was quite reasonably priced (280TL for 3 days).DSC_0470 The harbour is really busy in summer with a steady stream of gullets coming and going, along with a splattering of yachts. This was where we first met Smiley. Smiley owns Smiley’s Restaurant (which after all is quite reasonable) and he’s a permanent fixture on the wall as each new yacht pulls in. He helps you find a spot, yells out anchoring tips and helps every yacht tie up. Then he proceeds to make you feel right at home. A local Kas icon and all round good guy.

Of course we ate at his restaurant that night! Its right by the harbor as you walk out so its impossible to miss. It even comes with a bonus set of catacombs under the restaurant. Not quite as impressive as the ones in Istanbul but quite interesting none the less.

Smiley’s also came with a really nice waiter called Junith…. who went head to head with Dee drinking Raki. He came and had some beers on La Mischief during one of his short breaks…he only gets a couple of hours off on each of the seven days a week he works. They all work long and hard during the tourist season.

Our other favourite hang out was Multu’s bar – Mumi’s, which is round the corner from Smiley’s, built out over the crystal clear turquoise sea. The sea is really refreshing as there are a lot of cool freshwater springs that flow directly into it…same ones as you find in all the catacombs underneath various restaurants on the water front.

We really love Kas and Randy and Toma loved it too. The streets light up at night and the window shopping is great. There’s Lycian tombs directly behind the town and one slap bang in the middle.DSC_0425 the highlight of our stay was a Turkish shave and massage in the local barber’s shop of which there are many. Randy had never had a shave from a straightedge before so it was a real experience for him. And me too.

Then it was time for Randy and Toma to hop in a taxi and head for Dalyman Airport – 90 minutes away. It seemed like they had hardly got here where they had to leave. It was good to hang out with some of Dee’s friends and we had a blast.


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

For pictures of Kalkan please see

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

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

For photos of Dalyan see

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

Cruising the Turkish Coast to Cesme

With Scott suggesting he was going to boycott any town unless it had a somewhat reasonable castle, it was time to make use of our Turkish cruising log and head for Cesme, half way to Lesvos, where the crew had a couple of planes to catch. An early start in light winds (on the nose) saw us make Cesme in late afternoon. We found a spot in the marina (145 euros – ouch), talked to the Australian working in the marina office, and tried to organize checking out of Turkey ahead of an early morning start, but we were a bit late and had to do it the following morning at 9am.

Cesme was definitely worth a look. Its old castle made the grade according to Scott’s criteria and the museum inside was interesting. The shopping street took a bit of a hammering with more than a few kilograms of Turkish delights and dried fruits being carted back to the boat. We got a recommendation for a great Turkish restaurant called Imran, and the recommendation was spot on.

Next morning, after handing over 250 TL to the agent to clear us out of Turkey, it was back to Greece.

For photos of Cesme see