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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!