Turkey 27 May to 20 June 2015
We are very impressed with Turkey, the scenery is magnificent, mainly high mountains, very rocky dropping down into crystal clear blue as blue sparkling water. Very little rubbish which is very pleasant indeed.
The Turkish people are so nice and friendly and extremely helpful and hospitable. Since my last blog we have travelled around 20 to 25 nautical miles from anchorage to anchorage, stopping a night, or two if it is interesting.
Whilst anchoring in the stunning Ruins Bay the Bow Thruster decided to take a break! Robbie had to access this through the floor in the guest ensuite. This is a rather confined floor space as it is in the bow of the boat, and the access is very small. Robbie contorted himself in there and proceeded to dismantle the thruster, diagnose the fault which was loose connections which had not been done correctly at installation and it was a wonder the thruster ever worked at all and had been so reliable in the past. Once it was reassembled it worked like new. With the stern tie ups in the sometimes confined anchorages the bow and stern thrusters are vital equipment, especially with only two people on board. With more crew on board this would not be as much of a necessity.
We had another anchoring problem at Baba Adasi, a small island off the coast near Kara Burun, not far from Dalaman. It was a beautiful little island with the remains of a large brick Pyramid on the top which was most likely an old Lighthouse. The island was inhabited by large rabbits which came down to the tourist gulets when they tooted, to be fed. All was well until we went to lift the anchor, and surprise surprise – we brought up a whole tree! The chain had wrapped around a branch and despite a number of attempts we couldn’t budge it. Stormvogel to the rescue – Peter and their guest Mateus jumped in our duck and with Robbie on the bow and some ropes and brute male strength they freed the tree and proceeded to tow it out to deeper water.
We had our first stern tie up to a quay (concrete wall/jetty) in Turunc, a small bay with a small town that is visited by many gulets with tourists from Marmaris each day. These gulets roar into the quay and squeeze into spots that we would have thought a boat would not fit. It was rather hair raising for us and Stormvogel. We were next to each other but one of the gulets squeezed next door to Stormvogel, Robbie and Peter had caught a Taksi into Marmaris to source some parts, so Heidi, Mateus, Olrica and I all held our breath while the gullet edged his way into the small gap. The skippers of the gulets do appear to be very proficient at driving their boats thank goodness. However we didn’t have the confidence to leave Southern Star unattended during the day whilst the gulets were roaring in and out. They are mainly filled with English tourists seeking the Turkish warmth – both weather and hospitality!
We headed into Marmaris – a booming tourist resort with the harbour full of gulets, parasailing boats, AND Pirate ships! Yes there were about 3 large wooden Pirate Galleons all in “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme, they certainly caught your eye. By day the harbour was a washing machine but when all the tourist boats finished it calmed right down and was a pleasant anchorage. We anchored (free anchored – no stern tie up) right in front of the main shopping area, spending two nights here. We walked around the busy quay, full of restaurants and bars to the marina and the many chandleries. We only needed some light rope. Robbie managed to score a deal with buying beer for the boat, paying 96 Turkish Lira for 24 550ml cans, which is a very good price. We enjoyed a couple of “Efes” (the local beer), with Peter and Heidi, the waiters mostly seem to be male, and are very cheeky and indeed flirtatious.
We continued west along the coast calling into Bozuk Buku, a delightful bay with a large ancient Citadel (Castle) virtually intact atop the hill overlooking the bay. We got flagged to the wharf by a young lad and agreed to stern tie to the rather rickety wooden wharf for no cost, so long as we ate in the restaurant. We thought we would give it a try and it was very calm and peaceful with no wind and crystal clear water, not so bad!
We went and explored the Citadel, it was only half an hours walk up to the top and then we walked along the top of the ruins, to the very end of the point and sat and enjoyed the scenic panorama around us of mountains, ruins, donkeys, goats, sparkling blue water and the odd boat cruising past. We kept an eye for Stormvogel, but they did not arrive until later in the day. As usual Robbie is like a mountain goat himself jumping from block to block and over large crevices, I’m more like a Nana stumbling, bumbling and tripping around. Some of the blocks were huge, handmade hundreds of years ago and how they ever lifted them beats us. An amazing feat for those days without modern machinery.
We waited for Peter and Heidi playing Backgammon in the restaurant. It’s a very common game in Turkey. They arrived and joined us and we had a few games of 500 which we all enjoyed.
**6230We departed the next morning for Bozburun, the old sponge fishing centre, but now the home of the Gulet boat building trade. Sponge fishing has been replaced by tourism, it is a very attractive, small town centred around the Quay. We had a wonder around and came across a number of aged men playing backgammon, and a game we had never seen before, called Okey. We were invited to sit and watch at one of the tables, and we spent a couple of hours sipping Turkish Tea, and trying to figure out the rules. It’s basically like a scrabble game with blocks you sit on an angled wooden holder but the blocks are numbers. It’s very popular and we ended up buying a game in one of the local shops. Its great but the scoring is tricky.
We got a lot of attention whilst stern tied at the Quay. Questioned by a lot of tourists “Did you really come from New Zealand on that boat?” One couple we actually invited aboard, they are Australians from Gove, currently on a year’s sabbatical holiday, having spent a few months in Pahia in NZ, and now in Turkey, renting a local cottage just around the water front. Rick & Sally and their 11 year old son Kai. Rick invited us and Peter & Heidi for dinner for a lamb roast. Yum and Yay – a home cooked meal off the boat. This was exciting! We all made our way around there that night and wow! The very old stone cottage is devine, a tiny 1 bedroom cottage with a beautiful frontage overlooking the water, complete with large entertaining area with a grapevine covered trellis. We had the most beautiful meal with Rick cooking the marinated lamb (yogurt, garlic, herbs & lemon juice) and salads and potatoes all from the cottage garden! Very, very nice. We farewelled them after a really lovely night but only short term as they had rented a yacht for a week and we will be sure to catch them on the water.
Keci Buku was our next stop for a night, it was a good anchorage, we stern tied and Stormvogel free anchored a short distance away. We had a shore excursion to the marina and then further down the bay to a local restaurant. There was only one other couple there, and 3 staff, they would not be making a lot of money at this rate. Hopefully it will pick up for them soon. Robbie took some time to dismantle and service the anchor winch and change the oil. Another tight squeeze into the anchor locker!
We arrived in Datca on the 13th
June and very unusually for us, it took us about 4 attempts to set the anchor. It was quite windy and we were trying to free anchor in the bay which was already quite busy. Stormvogel had already successfully anchored on their first attempt! Rick, Sally & Kai were also there on their rented yacht Zambuk. Eventually we got the anchor to hold, the bottom had a lot of weed so it took us a while to find a clear patch of sand. We had a walk through town with Peter, Heidi, Rick, and Sally & Kai. It’s a lovely town, again centred around the Quay, very picturesque and there were markets on so we were able to stock up on some fresh farm produce which was ridiculously cheap but first class quality. The strawberries were huge and so sweet.
June, again we took our lives in our hands and rented motor scooters with Peter & Heidi. Zambuk left to go exploring by sea, and we by land. They were 125cc automatics, piece of cake. We headed out East along the Marmaris Road which slowly climbed the mountain range. We had fantastic views over the East Agean Sea and the local countryside. We took a side road and ended up on dirt roads in the middle of nowhere, and then headed back to the coast. We stopped a few times, and had lunch at a roadside small restaurant, and a cold beer and ice cream later in the day. One of the things i love about Turkey, is that we see Tractors driving in the main street in town, and often Dad is dropping Mum somewhere on the way!
Departed Datca on the 15th
and headed to Knidos, where we again caught up with Rick, Sally & Kai. Bit of a tricky entrance through two breakwaters, one of which is sunken. The ruins of ancient Knidos are scattered about the slopes of the bay. It is very pretty, although the ruins are not fully excavated and are overgrown and partly buried. You can easily identify the main theatre, the old harbour, temples, city walls and a few houses. We had a good walk around the ruins, we didn’t climb right to the very top but high enough to see most of the ruins and to get some good views of the bay and of course Southern Star!
Knidos is renowned for its statue of Aphrodite – sculpted by the famous Praxiteles one of the greatest Greek Sculptors, in the 4th Century BC, it was one of the first statue of a naked woman. She was believed to bring good fortune to seafarers.
Our next anchorage was Pabuc, a quiet bay where we enjoyed a few swims and a few games of 500 with Peter and Heidi. I have to say it takes me a few minutes (as much as I try, I cannot just make the jump straight away!) to make the plunge into the water, it is very fresh for the first minute, actually takes your breath away. But, the water is so clean and clear, and the visibility is amazing. You can see every rock and pebble, and even the sea grass is so visible. You can see every strand, and of course there is NO current, so it just sits there 100% still with no movement, which looks quite surreal! AND thereare fish here!! OK they are small, but there are quite a few of them and it is the most we have seen for months!!! This is a good sign!
On the 18th
June we anchored in the harbour of Bodrum, 500 metres off the Castle of St Peter! Bodrum is a very
likeable town, quite enchanting with narrow twisty streets with beautiful old authentic buildings with bright colourful Bougainvillea vines and grape vines rambling and climbing over buildings and trellises.
We will stay here for a few days and today (June 20th – its Robbies birthday tomorrow!) will explore the castle.
There are Syrian Refugees squatting in the park where we walk out of the marina, lots with babies and small children. Today, together with Peter and Heidi today we are going to try and talk to them and find out a little more about their journey and their plans, needs and hopes. We have already given some of them money, Peter and Heidi have been very generous but there are so many of them and obviously we can’t help them all, but we do want to help as many as we can.