Turkey – the Lycian coast

The Lycian coast.

Our stop in Kemer was very brief, as this was holiday central for Russians. Friendly, robust and loud people enjoying their new found freedom on jet skis and pirate boats with very loud doof music. We anchored a few miles further west at Phaselis, a picturesque site which was founded in 690BC by colonists from Rhodes. It quickly grew into a prosperous trading city under Roman jurisdiction with many structures remaining. Phaselis is thankfully a preserved site, in contrast with the lack of grace and balance of the walls of reinforced concrete hotels along the rest of the coast. The next morning, we explored the ruins in the town.

Phaselis – aqueduct.

Phaselis – theatre.

Phaselis – main street, all quiet now.

Finike harbour 42 miles to the west was our next stop, where we anchored outside the marina. We had a midnight visit from the Coast Guard who wanted to inspect our documentation – all very courteous. The girls went shopping for provisions in Finike the next morning, while I topped up our diesel tank with 80l of diesel from our jerry cans. Late morning, we motored west to enter the Kekova Roads, a lovely sheltered and indented coastal area behind Kekova Adasi, a four-mile-long island. We anchored at Kale Koy, where a magnificent castle is situated on a steep ridge behind the hamlet below. A fabulous place to explore.

Approaching Kale Koy.

Climbing to the top of the castle – a small theatre inside the walls.

View of the village through the castle wall.

View from the flagstaff at the top.

Lycian sarcophagus near the castle – the hills are littered with these sarcophagi where the dead were interned.

Esprit tied up at the Likya cafe down in the village.

The village.

We then motor sailed to Bayindir Limani, a bay opposite the town of Kas, where we had dinner at the La Moda restaurant. The owner, a friendly and soft spoken retired investment banker from Zurich. We detoured past the harbour of Kastellorizon, a Greek island barely 2 miles off the coast of Turkey. We planned to enter Kas harbour the following morning, but found it packed with tourist tripper boats and gulets. The girls wanted to visit Kas town, so we motored around a peninsula which took us to Kas marina, where there is an anchorage close to town. The girls went sightseeing and shopping, while I started this post on board.

La Moda restaurant.

Kastellorizon harbour.

Kastellorizon town.

Our journey continued west to overnight in Kalkan, have lunch the following day at Butterfly Bay and med mooring at Olu Deniz the night after. Olu Deniz is at the foot of the high Taurus mountains, providing an ideal high altitude launching pad for paragliding enthusiasts, with dozens of parachutes floating down to the beach from early morning to sunset. At night the beach throbs to the moronic beat of popular dance music from the numerous discos and bars – not really the yachties’ scene.

Butterfly Bay.

Julia enjoying the water.

The island of Gemiler Adasi was our last stop before Fethiye. On the slopes of Gemiler Adasi are the extensive ruins of what must have been a sizable Byzantine community and it is interesting to wander around the remains. Part of the island connecting it to the mainland, sank 20m below the sea after an earthquake. There are the remains of no less than four Byzantine churches. Evidently St Nicholas (Santa Claus) visited or stayed on the island.

Background information.

Partially collapsed tunnel connecting two of the churches.

Small theatre at the top.

The girls with the mainland behind.

Darby & Joan at the top.

In Fethiye, we tied up at the Classic Yacht Hotel marina, so that Michelle and Julia could catch their respective flights to Istanbul and London. In Istanbul Michelle would catch a train to Bulgaria, where she would meet up with Karen at the “Meadows in the Mountains” festival. We enjoyed dinner at the hotel with live music provided by a chap on guitar, playing Spanish and Brazilian music faultlessly.

Dinner at the marina.

Annie and I then had a leisurely exploration of the large bay north-west of Fethiye, anchoring in five different bays over five nights, before tying up at the Skopea Marina in Gocek. Gocek is still as pretty as always, but the growth in the number of tourist boats and yachts, have resulted in no less than six packed marinas in this relatively small bay. This has resulted in strict pollution controls on boats, to preserve water quality.

Skopea marina in Gocek.

Gocek town.

Before tourism, Gocek’s mainstay was chromium mining and agriculture – Ataturk in the centre.

32 years ago, in 1986, we chartered a yacht in Rhodes with six friends, to explore the Turkish coast and sailed west to Kusadasi and then east as far as Fethiye. In subsequent sailings, we haven’t sailed further than Gocek, six miles west of Fethiye. This time, we were pleased to have explored the coast further to the east. The changes in this area over time have been remarkable – sometimes not for the better, but generally resulting in better infrastructure and employment for the locals in their vast tourist industry.

Annie & Karen hiking up a mountain.

Destination: Some Lycian rock tombs.

Karen arrived from Bulgaria on the 12th June to spend a week with us on Esprit, while we cruise to Marmaris. Having the girls join us from time to time has been most rewarding, as we have been able to learn of their pursuits in more detail than we ever did in Sydney. For the week she spent with us, we visited numerous bays in the Gulf of Gocek, before she caught a taxi to Dalaman airport to fly to Istanbul for w few days and from there to the Greek island of Corfu.

Esprit anchored med style to the shore.

Another beautiful bay where we tied up at a restaurant jetty.

The friendly restaurant owner who couldn’t do enough for Karen.

An old farmhouse – the people must have been small.

Migros and Carrefour have supermarket boats visiting the anchorages!

More exercise – another bay.

The last stop before Marmaris.

On reaching Marmaris, we came to the end of the Lycian coast. We will spend a few days at the Marmaris Yacht Marina, to do some work on the boat, stock up with food and wine and catch up with Darryl, Mike and Sarah who are also in the marina. Our next post will take you from Marmaris, further west. Cheers for now!

Turkey – the Pamphylian and Cilician coasts.

Note: The Turkish Waters Pilot uses the ancient titles for the Turkish Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, rather than the modern ones such as the Blue, Turquoise, Emerald coasts etc. We will use the ancient.

After checking out at Latchi harbour in Cyprus, we did a short 10-mile sail to Pomos fishing harbour in north-western Cyprus, to reduce the next day’s sailing distance to Turkey to 53 miles. We had a pleasant dinner at a restaurant overlooking Pomos harbour.

Pomos harbour.

Pamphylia and Cilicia.

The conditions for the crossing to Turkey were perfect, with a flat sea and starting with an easterly wind, which by midday had swung 180 degrees to a westerly – both on beam reaches. We anchored off Cape Anamur in Turkey at 4:30 pm and had a swim in crystal clear water before sundowners. At 7 am the next morning, we motored 6 nm to the east to anchor at Anamur Kalesi, to visit the castle of Mamure Kalesi. It was built in the 12th century and is one of the best preserved castles on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

Sailing to Turkey.

Old castle on the left, the main section was restored by the Ottomans.

The landward side has a moat and drawbridge.

View inside the restored castle, from the old castle.

Old castle and old man, both falling apart.

An hour was enough to explore the castle, before we motored back to Cape Anamur to visit the ruins of ancient Anemurium, founded by the Phoenicians in the 4th century BC. It reached its heyday in the 1st to 4th century AD during Roman times. In 580AD an earthquake damaged the aqueduct and many buildings. Still, it is amazing to walk around the baths, the theatre, the remaining houses and a large necropolis for the inhabitants.

Soul motoring to Cape Anamur.

Anemurium information.

Sarah, Mike and Annie ready to start the long hike.

The theatre – Mike taking a bow after addressing his friends and fellow Romans.

Audience of one.

Sarah and Annie in the tunnels below the theatre.

The aqueduct.

The baths.

Inside the baths.

Fortifications on the hill.

A lot of the buildings were clad in limestone – some of the remnants.

Finally, the cemetery – a grand affair.

We set sail in the afternoon and anchored at Yakacik (ancient Charadus), about 20 miles to the west before motor sailing to Alanya to tie up in Alanya marina the following day. The checking into Turkey through an agent went smoothly, albeit expensively. Turkish transit log cost AUD 155, visa for Australian passport AUD 75, visa for UK passport AUD 25. It gave us the opportunity to wash the boat down, after a dust storm from Syria hit us on the way. We bought local SIM cards and Annie went to have a filling repaired at a local dentist. The marina chandler had passerelles (gangplanks), so we invested in a 2m folding model for local use.

The new gangplank.

Alanya – these guys take their pirate history to the limit.

After two nights we headed west and anchored off Side in a bay between the old town and the modern tourist strip. An early morning walk through this charming old town showed its various stages of settlement, from the early days when this strip of coast to Alanya was a pirate stronghold, until the Romans drove them out and settled here. There are remains of the Temple of Apollo, Roman baths, Theatre, Aqueduct and Agora. Also Byzantine structures like churches etc. All in all, a town worth visiting – can’t get enough of old stones.

Plan of Side.

Temple of Apollo.

The Agora with the theatre in the background.

A house in the old town.

Traffic free street in the old town.

Very sensible – new shopping development with glass paving to show the history below foot.

Dinner at the Cuba bar.

Mehmet the owner married a Cuban lady – we promised we will visit them in Havana.

Our next stop was Antalya, where we tied up in the fishing harbour on Monday the 28th May – just in time for Michelle and her Kiwi cousin Julia, to fly in and hop on board to join us for 10 days of cruising. Or so we thought – they only arrived the following day! We got the date wrong, but it gave us the chance to explore the beautiful old town of Antalya and watch the tourists coming down to visit the quaint little harbour.

40 m high waterfall of the Demer river, just before Antalya.

Approaching Antalya harbour.

View of the harbour from the old town.

View of the harbour from Esprit

The old town.

We are not through with the pirates yet!

Hello, is this the Society for the preservation of Seagulls’ dignity?

Once the girls were on board, we set sail the following day for the Lycian Coast to anchor in the bay south of Kemer Marina.

More in the next post, until then, cheers for now!