Turkey – the Carian coast

Having dropped Karen off in Sarsala Bay to catch a taxi to Dalaman airport for her flight to Istanbul, we set sail for Marmaris. Or so we thought – the westerlies had started kicking in, resulting in the wind on the nose, a confused sea and much motoring to make headway. The first night we found shelter at the jetty in Asi Koyu, where we enjoyed dinner at the restaurant, in return for the tie up at their bouncing, floating jetty.

Carian coast.

This time around, we decided not to visit the ruins of ancient Caunos and their rock tombs on the Dalyan river again, because like Machu Picchu in Peru, the tourist numbers have skyrocketed. Across, in the bay of Ekincik we found a beautiful anchorage in Semizce cove, before motoring into Marmaris the following day. We would spend a week in Marmaris, the first four days at the Marmaris Yacht Marina, with its 600 berths and 1,000 dry berths. A well run marina with all the facilities and reasonably priced. We had a lot to do.

Marmaris Yacht marina.

Our original three-year-old anchor chain, had come to the end of its useful life. It had been re-galvanised twice, in Darwin and in India, but was again badly rusted and worn. We purchased 80m of 10mm short link galvanised chain at a very reasonable price (by Sydney standards). Also on the shopping list, was a 6.5l engine oil draining vacuum pump for our periodic engine services and an industrial type pop riveter. After five broken pop riveters in my lifetime, it seemed the sensible thing to buy. The other items required were two stern reels with 50m webbing for the med style mooring here – no more tying halyards and lines together!

The name is Blond – James Blond, correction – James Grey.

Stern webbing reel.

Webbing reel in action.

Lucky for us, we could refill the gas bottles, but we will probably have to dump them when we get to the EU countries, as they don’t refill the Aussie bottles. We also found a sailmaker to sew new Sunbrella edging fabric to leech and foot of the jib sail– he also reinforced the spray dodger which showed signs of wear. I rust treated the anchor and painted it with cold galvanising, as the nearest galvanisers were in Istanbul. Then there was the usual replenishing of water, diesel, petrol, wine, beer and food. In between, we spent time at the pool, at the bar and walking around Marmaris old town, still recognisable, but much modernised.

Marmaris harbour – the castle and old town on the hill.

The old town mostly unchanged.

The bazaar area now paved with sculptures.

New paving and landscaping.

Social media has a lot to answer for – Sunday the 24th June 2018 was election day for 56 million eligible voters in Turkey, for a new government and president. As a result of misinformation, many sailors left for Cyprus and Greece to be away from this perceived catastrophe. Everything went without drama and we spent the day at the library and later, having a few drinks with friends. The Turks were mostly non plussed.

Byzantine church ruins above Gerbekse Cove.

From Marmaris sailing west, we will be on the Carian coast. We anchored at Gerbekse Cove, Bozuk Buku and Bozburun over the following three days, as we wanted to re-visit these anchorages to climb some hills for exercise and visit their Byzantine ruins. Bozburun is the heart of the timber boat building industry where most of their traditional gulets are built. Five years ago, while sailing with Dave Bruce, we visited a huge shed here where some Russian oligarch was having a 100m long timber gulet built. We didn’t call again, as security was tight – maybe the oligarch was now spending time in Siberia as one of Vlad Putin’s guests.

The massive uncompleted fortification at the entrance to Bozuk Buku.

The view down from the fortification.

Huge stone blocks, perfectly hewn and placed.

A refreshing beer after the climb up and down.

Anchored off Bozburun town.

Anchoring in Selimiye, we caught up with Soul again and had a great dinner with them on Esprit. Selimiye is a pretty town offering walks along the shore with waterside cafes and shops. The next day we anchored in Keci Buku where the dedicated rock-hounds on Soul and Esprit climbed up to the fort on the island for sundowners – leaving the climb down not too late, as the climb down was as difficult as the one going up.

Selimiye beachfront.

Cozy cafes along the beachfront.

Colourful bougainvillea on the streets.

For the Vespa enthusiasts.

Keci Buku – the fort on the island.

Sundowners with the Mason’s at the top.

View of Keci Buku from the top – note the people walking out on the sandbar.

Our next stop was Datcha which has retained much of its charm despite the substantial growth of this beautiful town. Annie had to buy more data for her SIM card in town and I did shopping for fresh vegies and other provisions at the Migros supermarket. The sail from Datcha to Knidos was quite lively in a strong westerly. The anchorage in the ancient harbour of Knidos was crowded but we found a spot and explored this ancient city early the next morning. Knidos was one of the six cities of the Dorian Confederacy.

Anchored in Datcha.

Fish statue in Datcha – hard to resist for our fishing enthusiast.

The town was famous for the statue of Aphrodite by Praxiteles one of the great Greek sculptors. In the 4th century BC, the statue was one of the first of a naked woman, only male statues having been naked until this time. The sexy Aphrodite was believed to bring good fortune to seafarers. Although the ruins of the city are overgrown, it is easy to pick out the skeleton of the city in this grand setting. We set sail after our hour walk around the site and had a fast sail past the Greek island of Kos to Aspat Koyu, 5 miles west of Bodrum.

View over part of Knidos to the harbour.

The theatre.

Clay amphora for grain storage.

Amazing detail on these lintels.

Even more amazing.

Although Bodrum is quite a lovely but very busy town, the reason we gave Bodrum a miss was the memory of 5 years ago when we sailed out of there with Dave Bruce. To quote Rod Heikell from his Turkish Pilot: “Several discos assail the night air with the latest dance music to keep the novice sailors happy into the late evening. In the height of summer, bars and clubs around the harbour compete for ascendancy in decibels and the incessant beats, reminiscent of a cardiac monitor in overdrive, can go on into the small hours.”

The start of the Meltemi season appeared earlier this year and we had a night of 20-25 knot winds in Aspat Koyu, requiring constant checks of the anchor during the night. An early start the next morning in lighter winds got us to Gumusluk, which is a more sheltered bay and very quaint with its village on the shore. Thanks to strict planning laws, little has changed here for 20 years. Despite the intense housing developments to the north and south, which had earned itself the moniker of the “Concrete coast”. Lots of opportunities for exercising here, with walks up to the ancient ruins of Myndus and the lookout at the top of the hill.

View of Gumusluk bay from the hill.

Gumusluk waterfront restaurants.

Gumusluk village.

Lively restaurants at night.

Here you can keep your feet cool.

The wines of Myndus were said by Athenaeus to be salty in taste because they were mixed with salt water, a practice believed to eliminate hangovers and aid digestion. Others have said it was mixed with salt water because the wine was so bad. The local wines we had at the restaurants here, were in fact most palatable. Gumusluk also has an excellent bakery where we bought delicious spinach and feta pies, baklavas and rice puddings after our walks. After waiting for two days for the winds to subside, we set forth to round the Bodrum peninsula, leave the Carian coast behind and enter the Ionian coast. Our aim was to explore the coast going north to Kusadasi harbour and then visit Ephesus, site of the most impressive ruins in Turkey.

Next to us in Gumusluk: “Young men who sail” – who said 22ft is to small to sail from Australia? Half the length of Esprit.

We will report on the Ionian coast in our next post, around the end of July. Cheers for now!