On the 2nd April we finally untied our mooring lines from the marina at Finike Marina, where we have called home for the past year.
Day of departure; cruising friends came to bid us fair winds and we are looking forward to meeting up in different anchorages along the way.
Since the end of March, the snow has begun to melt, the flowers are in bloom, there is still a chill in the air, but the sun is shining, and the winds are becoming more favorable for sailing. It is still a bit too early for the huge influx of visitors who come here in hoards over summer to visit this amazing country, so we are happy to cast-off and explore some of the famous anchorages along the stunning Turkish coastline. There are literally thousands of anchorages around the entire coastline, but we will be able to visit only a few before leaving Turkey and heading to Greece. This is our journey since leaving Finike.
The Turkish coastline, which is surrounded by 4 seas, (the Mediterranean, The Black Sea, The Aegean, and the Sea of Marmara), is sprinkled abundantly with classical cities and picturesque ruins. Since leaving Finike 1 month ago, we have come just 340 nms (630kms) up the coast and have stopped to explore so many wonderful places, each with its own fascinating history. Our first stop, Kekova, was just 20nms up the coast from Finike. We had sailed here once during winter so were keen to get back to this idyllic spot. Kalekoy Castle marks the entrance to the protected harbour.
The entire Turkish coastline totals 4320nms (8000 kms), of which the Mediterranean and Aegean alone cover 2425nms (4491kms). This same coastline is made up of thousands of deep bays, some which reach far into the steep, rocky terrain, The anchorages are steep and mostly very deep, so the famous Med mooring is the only way to anchor in these bays.
Med mooring means dropping your anchor quite close to shore in around 15 to 20m of water, then reversing back toward the shore, taking long lines to attach to the rocky shoreline. It is not permitted to tie to the trees, so one must find a suitable rock, or, in some places, bollards have been placed at strategic places along the shore. The bays are either far too deep, and/ or too crowded to be able to swing on anchor. We have rarely had to moor in this way, so it has been a new and fun experience. Some of the boats have one person simply jump in the water and swim ashore with a stern line, attach it, swim back to get the second line. However, at this time of the year, it was far too cold for us to contemplate this method, so we drop our anchor, then launch our dinghy and row ashore with a long stern line. But this all takes time and if the wind is blowing you can find yourself in a serious predicament quite quickly. The best way we have found happens when someone going by in their dinghy offers to take your lines ashore for you. Or we tend to look for the bays where we can swing on our own anchor, which is fairly easy at this time of the year before the crowds of charter boats arrive.
Once safely tied to shore, there are numerous paths to follow to visit the local ruins.
Further up the coast we spent 4 nights in Kas, where we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary at a quaint restaurant in town. Kas is a delightful town, keeping much of its original charm of yesteryear.
We then sailed on to meet up with friends who were already at Karacaoren Bay, moored in front of a quirky restaurant. The restaurants in these bays allow cruisers to use the mooring free of charge if we dine at their restaurant ashore. They even come out to the boat to taxi us ashore.
Often these restaurants are a bit pricey, but so worth it for the experience and to enjoy a meal off the boat. There are these types of restaurants at the head of many of the bays, some with a dock out front to use. This is a family run restaurant, very clean and excellent food.
Our next anchorage was just a mile away at Gemiler Island where we went ashore to explore. We are always amazed at the extent of the ruins of ancient cities that were built on these rugged rocky islands.
Our next stop was at Fethiye, an excellent safe anchorage and where many huge Gulets stay moored over winter, plus modern charter boats lined up in the marina.
Most towns and villages in Turkey have huge markets selling the best fruits and vegetables you could dream of. Today was market day here in Fethiye, so we made the most of reprovisioning for the next week or so. We will miss these weekly markets when we leave Turkey.
After leaving Fethiye, for a complete change of scenery, we decided to leave Mai Tai anchored in a remote anchorage called Ekincik, so we could take a boat trip nine miles up through the shallow river delta as far as Dalyan, to see the Lycean Tombs carved into the cliffs.
We were picked up by a guide in an open motor boat to visit this area. Private boats are not allowed to enter here. Even dinghies. You could easily get lost in this maze of tall reeds making up this delta.
As our local captain navigated through the tall reeds, we passed by an ancient city called Kaunos, where we stopped to visit and enjoy the views from the top.
Fishermen are installed along the river as well as a larger commercial fish farm as well as a protected turtle hatchery.
After a couple of hours navigating up the river, we arrive at the beautiful township of Dalyan where many tourists come to see the impressive Lycean tombs carved in the steep cliffs.
There are so many magical moments that change constantly as the sun rises or sets in the sky.
We could have spent a few days in Bozburun, but as usual it is the wind and weather that influence our movements. The winds in the Mediterranean are known to be all or nothing or constantly blowing in the wrong direction. So, the time was right to head for our next destination, Datca, a lovely township on the Peninsula of the same name.
From our safe and quiet anchorage, we met with friends to wander around the gorgeous countryside with wheatfields and wildflowers everywhere. Plus, there was one of the very finest produce markets we have seen anywhere.
Knidos. I kept hearing about this must stopover for any cruiser passing by. So that was to be our next stop. We entered a small horseshoe shaped bay, where only 1 other yacht was already at anchor. On the hills all around us were remains of an ancient city, and an old fishing port that is still used by the fishermen today.
Of course, we had to hike out to the lighthouse, passing the smaller fishermen’s harbour.
After a good hike, the day finished with a stunning sunset over the bay.
We were looking at visiting further along the coast, but the wind was perfect to take us straight to Bodrum, where we will check out of Turkey before sailing to the Greek island of Leros.
The famous landmark of this city, Bodrum Castle by day, and at night as seen from our anchorage in the bay.
View from the castle overlooking the Bodrum Marina, and looking out over the bay towards Mai Tai, so small we can hardly see her on the other side of the bay. Bodrum has been a great place to spend a few days with its mix of chic boutique shops, bazaar type malls, and just along from the traditional old town, where I went to enjoy a traditional Turkish Hamam with another cruising friend. There is a really nice feel to this place which goes to emphasize the impression that we have had of all of Turkey and the warm hospitality of the Turkish people.