What a great nights sleep, rousing gently into our quiet surroundings, the water gently lapping on our hull and a few birds twittering tunefully from high on the mast. A glow of early morning orangy sun through the hatches slowly lit our cabin, the heat is less intense overnight therefore we seem to sleep more comfortably. This morning our neighbouring boatees are having a lie in too, not a sound could be heard from any boat nearby. Stepping out onto the deck, in that perfect dawn temperature is beautiful, we love this unique cool period before the overbearing sun envelopes our skin. Fish weave through the still waters chasing minute molluscs, flies dance on the surface tempting and teasing the hungry swimmers. Ripples appear as the fish lunge for their prey, creating perfect circles over the water, small splashes follow as they break the surface and head into the deep with their meal.
A turtle pops up for a long gasp of air, filling his lungs while surveying his surroundings. His pale green eyes and aging face meets my smiling gaze, what a fabulous sight, as his colourful green and yellow patterned shell glints in the morning sun. He glides gracefully across the bay in front of 'Kejstral', before diving down to some cooler, no doubt grassy spot below, as I look down and watch him swim over the seabed he is joined by another of his kind. These creatures are fascinating, they spend only a few moments on the surface gathering enough oxygen, before submerging to the seabed where they can stay for up to two hours in a resting state. Clearly the more active they are, the more frequently they must surface and reoxygenate. They munch from the grassy floor picking at the foliage for a tasty snack, fish linger nearby hoping to nibble at any tidbits which may be disturbed during the turtles meal.A long thin pointed gar fish wiggles into view, these dark shiny arrow like fish, pass sleekly through the seaweed without so much as a ripple. Its sharp pointed, tooth filled mouth or bill, pierces the clear surface waters.
Our plan today is to head onward as soon as the breeze picks up, we have a 6 hour journey ahead of us and would really appreciate some wind assistance. By 09.30, we were hauling in the anchor and revving our engines, we prefer to arrive at an anchorage as early as possible just to ensure we have a choice of parking spots.
With only 7 knots of wind barely tickling our mainsail, we motored the whole 31 n.m, how frustrating. The main helps to stabilise 'Kejstral' during a swell and when the wind is sufficient, it helps us gain a little speed too. Today speed was not in the itinerary, we glide through calm seas and float past other sail less yacht's, an occasional little fluttering of sail jolting us to attention, but nothing, not one gust gives pleasure to our craving.
We reach Kalkan at 3.30 pm into the large, fairly sheltered bay, west of the town. Kalkan does offer sailors a small harbour, however, knowing that it is pretty busy with fishing and tourist boats, we opt for the more relaxed and stressfree option. Our chosen spot has a lovely catamaran lounging close in to shore, they fly a French flag which tells us it will be a quiet neighbour. Nearby is a little fleet of gulets, their passengers bob up and down in the surrounding waters, splashing and swimming in the cool blue sea. A few paddle boards skim the surface, rippling the smooth glassy sheen and adding texture to the surroundings. Music fills this secluded spot, bikini clad bodies wiggle in time from the highest deck of one of the gulets. Clapping, the audience give courage and approval for another tune and another performance from the brave, perhaps a little uncoordinated wriggling girls. People watching is so entertaining, some are oblivious to the impression they create, others create that performance solely for entertainment and seem to revel in the thought of an enthralled audience.
We relax on board, allowing our anchor to settle and us to hydrate and eat. We watch the antics of our neighbouring vessels, while being grateful for the ability to leave at any time if the noise and music exceed our idea of enjoyment. The sea is cool, our bodies shiver despite the blazing sun as we dip into the aqua sanctuary, for a few blissful moments we are cold until our skin acclimatises to the temperature. We float on the salty, blue green surface allowing ourselves to wallow in this deep clear pleasure, each of us gently treading water until we find ourselves circling around 'Kejstral'. An occasional swimmer head down and determined, approaches our private and personal swimming pool, a nod of head or slight waves indicating their intrusion before they power away in an alternative direction. Most however appear alongside us and with a smile shout hello, in one of a variety of languages, they usually speak and spend a few minutes enquiring about 'Kejstral' and our journey. We happily talk to anyone around, meeting new people is a fabulous part of our enjoyment, so many different people living their own lives and venturing out into the world to see new countries and cultures. The Turkish love to chat and teach people about their way of life, while the French tend not to talk at all to anyone other than French. Germans talk with a need to enforce behaviour and their opinion, and Italians seem to happily fit in to every conversation with almost anyone. The British are a little robust in their greeting, happy to spill all to anyone, we have experienced very different behavioural traits from the people around us and love guessing their nationality through this behaviour.
This evening we are going to take Zoe our tender across the bay into Kalkan town, we have visited this pretty, tourist spot before by car and look forward to another glimpse tonight, we also need to find WiFi connection.
Having eaten a huge bowl of pasta and cheese sauce, we climb into Zoe for what turned out to be, a forty minute trip across to the harbour. We knew it was quite a distance just didn't expect it to be that far!
Zoe's engine coped well ....luckily! The thought of rowing all that way back in the dark played on our minds as we brought her to a little mooring between a few small rowing / fishing boats on the harbour wall. As we clambered up onto the concrete wall, we considered the chance of Zoe being blocked in, as we had probably taken someone elses space. However, we had buzzed around searching for a free spot anywhere else with no joy. Securely tied, Zoe was left to fend for herself, in the busy boat filled corner. We slowly made our way around the horseshoe shaped wall towards the shops and restaurants, fishing boat engines starting up, ready for their working night, unhooking old barnacle and moss covered ropes before powering out. Nets in bright yellow hang perfectly folded over crates, ready for throwing out into the dark moon lit night as the throaty engine splutters it's way out into the open bay. We watch, amazed at the enthusiasm of these men, every day is a repeat of the previous one, yet they seem happy and content despite the poor fishing in these waters, how do they survive on such a meagre catch?
We take the main street which follows the waters edge, uphill into the town. A few large well established hotels sit high on the hill above this harbour, they must have an incredible view over these little streets and winding roads, not to mention the actual harbour. The bars along the waterfront invite each passerby with soft plump cushioned sofas and pretty padded chairs. Wooden decking provides a summery feel with a wooden gazebo structure for shade in the sun and to hang lighting in the dark. The lattice work gazebo painted brilliant white, looks stunning with climbing flowering pink and yellow plants entwining each slat, soft romantic lamps subtly light the leaves giving a warm pretty glow.
These bars and restaurants take full advantage of this prime position, with extensions stretching out as far as architecturaly possible to capture the fabulous views of this little fishing harbour.
Each step we take offers a glimpse of the sea and sunset, waiters call "iyi aksamlar" we call out our good evening reply. Couples sit snugly between flowering planters and huge comfortable seats, tables glitter with silverware and glass, awaiting their guests for a sumptuous meal. Gentle music floats through the air as we wander through these pathways, as gorgeous aromas pass by our noses, tempting as they may be we walk past. Our budget keeps us from sneaking into these beautifully decorated establishments, we are always aware of our limitations and stop only for an occasional drink, we of course envy those who can experience every restaurant and fine dining of their choice. We do however appreciate what we have, and have achieved with our boat and lifestyle and the many amazing experiences along the way.
The road winds upwards, meandering through gift and craft shops, clothes and leather goods hang from doorways and man-made hanging rails on each side of us. Fabulous rugs and bedding folded neatly on tables which balance on the cobbled walkway. This traffic free road is lined with quaint buildings, painted brightly in pastels and white. Each doorway and window draws the passerby over for a closer look, fine silks in beautiful colours adorn one while glittering coloured Turkish style lights illuminate another, each with treasures waiting to be wrapped in pretty paper and carried away by another smiling customer. The shop owners sit outside, enjoying the cool evening breeze, some knitting while others share cay, or tea over a game of backgammon. As we amble through this old town we speak to almost every local, all keen to capture your attention and of course a slice of your hard earned money. By the time we reach the upper town we are sticky hot and in need of fluids. The views from high on the hillside are fabulous, lights twinkling all around the bay, voices and clinking glasses give an atmosphere of pleasant enjoyment.
We head back down, passing through new cobbled streets until we reach the lower bars, on the waters edge we flop into armchairs, which give in to our weary weight. Our waiter is seconds away with his extensive list of fruity florescent cocktails and sparklers. We opt for beer, refreshingly cold and long, just what we need in this balmy heat. We watch the evening holiday makers totter by on their clippy high heels, clearly unprepared for the cobbled streets ahead! Young couples high on the holiday spirit giggle and dance past in their finery. We could sit for hours enjoying this lovely atmosphere and town, but Zoe is alone and we must head back to 'Kejstral'.
Our drinks are finished, we make our way back to Zoe. As we edge closer, the lighting becomes dimmer, the harbour is pretty dark at this end. Fortunately and knowing that it would be a long trip on Zoe, we brought our torch. Just as well really, as when we reached Zoe, we realised that she had been completely blocked in by the local, small boats. Hmm this could take some manoeuvring! Kevin jumped in while we both pushed the other boats to the sides, Zoe was jammed against the wall so tight. Trying hard not to damage anyone's pride and joy, we pushed and pulled boats and ropes until eventually creating a gap just large enough to squeeze her out. I then climbed in whilst still holding the neighbours out of our way, Kevin pushed us bit by bit through the blockage. Gradually we broke free from the tangled traffic jam, and finally the engine could be fired up. We set off back on the twenty minute journey past fishing boats and rocks until we could see 'Kejstral' and our anchor light. The moon was out of sight and all that could be heard was the infrequent chugging of a passing fishing boat, it was quite eerie in pitch blackness travelling on the water, every now and then a light would flicker on, presumably from a fishing boat, a little spooky in this darkness.
The gulets nearby 'Kejstral' had sprung to life with music, dancing and laughter all helping to guide us towards our boat. Finally we clambered onboard, for a final glass of homemade wine and sleep.
Woke early, excited for our next leg of the journey to Karacaoren, 16 N.m from south east of Fethiye. Firstly, we needed provisions, the supermarket was only a few hundred yards away and we needed bottled water and cold drinks. The boat was ready, we were ready so, on our departure we said goodbye to our friends who were milling around in the pool. We have had a great few days with these guys, hopefully we will meet up again sometime next year.
Our ropes were released and we carefully motored past Cygnus 111, out into the large bay of Fethiye, such fabulous scenery on leaving this coastline, small bays, curious inlets and enticing coves, all yearning to be explored, perhaps on our return we will delve deeper into these areas.
The wind was feeling particularly generous today, offering a good 20 knots to our happy canvases, the journey heading south east, was unfortunately, in exactly the direction of the wind. We were in no great hurry and with this fabulous powerful breeze, we decided to use the wind and tack as often as we needed, all in a bid to arrive at our anchorage using no engine if possible. There were yacht's everywhere, some with beautifully filled sails, some flapping furiously as they battled to put their vessel in a good windy position. Other slid by with purring engines taking the strain from their lazy captain, they could of course be in a greater hurry than us. Huge cruisers sped past in their wave of frothy wash, spraying foam and waves in our direction, they must spend hundreds of pounds on fuel, for that we smile and wave, I hope their bank manager is sympathetic!
We turn 'Kejstral' into their wake, avoiding another rolling episode, our sails lose the wind, therefore we lose power until our bow is eased back to collect that force of nature into the sails. With wind coming on our starboard bow, we ripped through the water at 5.5 knots, healing comfortably we feel the thrill of this natural source of energy. Changing tack as we approach the headland, we pull the sails onto our starboard side, and ease 'Kejstral' gently into the perfect alignment. She accepts the challenge, skimming the slight swell of the seas, our boat creates a beautiful balance of wind and posture, speed and direction. We watch our sailing rivals, and admire their perfect sails while noticing how they flow as one with their surroundings, one day, we may appear this confident and competent. For now we manage to adjust and fine tune our canvases, gaining as much speed from them as we are able, what we hope for ultimately is comfort. Adjustments to the boom and traveller, offer a more stable position, reefing or reducing the sail size will drop the volume of wind, therefore the speed too, each of these techniques allow us to sit without grasping for secure handrails. We could travel faster, however we like a pleasurable journey, not a hair raising experience.
After our 4 hour sail, putting in six tacks, we brought 'Kejstral' to a slow and gentle drift The entrance into Karacaoren bay is wide, allowing us time to pull in first the main sail, then our Genoa. With the motor running we edged towards the anchorage, we had a choice, an anchor buoy near the restaurant, or perhaps dropping anchor further out in a sheltered cove. When approaching a new bay, mooring or anchorage, we have learned to motor in, have a good few minutes to assess the area, before coming out again and preparing ourselves for whichever option is suitable. The anchor buoy is usually a good option, it is stable in high winds and we are less likely to swing around too wildly, however, it comes with a price... literally!
Dropping anchor, well firstly, having enough anchor chain to hold us firmly in the depth of water we choose, is a consideration, then knowing that the anchor is actually set properly is always a concern. Once secure, we have to be sure that 'Kejstral' will not swing around and hit rocks or other boats. We normally just toss out the anchor, wait until it is trustworthy and swing around happily, but an anchor buoy is our choice in high winds.
Today our choice has been removed! A small wooden boat appears alongside our moving vessel......always scary, the guy on board yells " take an anchor buoy", I yell back ( over his very noisy engine) " we don't want to pay for one", he switched off his ear blasting roaring motor and said, " you don't pay, just come for a meal in our restaurant" this can be embarrassing ......"we have food here, can we come just for a drink"?
With that he nods and restarts his power, he gestured for me to throw a rope from the bow and he motored towards the buoy. We inched forward, very aware of his battered wooden boat, and it's close proximity to our lovely shiny hull. A few minutes later he had slipped our rope through the buoy and we tied both ends back on to 'Kejstral'. He waved "see you later" revived his noisy engine and thundered back to his restaurant.
Feeling very happy with a brilliant day of sailing and a good mooring in this bay, we sat back to enjoy the surroundings.
This rugged, rocky bay stretched out towards some additional hidden coves, boat masts could be seen piercing through the vivid blue sky, although the hulls were hidden behind a sharp protruding finger of land. Gulets were tucked into the smallest coves, enjoying the seclusion and quiet afternoon, a steady stream of yacht's slid by the bay entrance no doubt en route to their next mooring. Two small motor boats chugged their passengers towards us from the distant edge of this bay. Dressed in their bright swimsuits the guests pointed and grinned at the fabulous scenery and beautiful clear turquoise waters, with cameras held firmly, they snapped gulets and yacht's, rocks and swimmers. Their little vessel slowing as it approached our yacht, we wave at these excitable holiday makers, a few more snaps clicked from their trusty cameras, before they glided towards the restaurant jetty.
The very rickety wooden building stood teetering on the waters edge, ten or more posts wedged firmly into the stone beach supported it's two story weight. The lower floor resembled a small workshop and boatyard, various engine parts stood in a layer of dusty sandy grime. Kayaks and canoes leaned dangerously against the wood panelled walls, perhaps adding to the support of this ramshackle establishment. A couple of wobbling tree branches compiled the jetties, jutting out into the sparkling sea, these structures look tired and untrustworthy, yet have probably been used daily over years gone by. We watch the visiting boats tie up and send their passengers out onto these wooden walkways, almost holding our breath, we wait for a trip, fall or worse a splash to resonate around the bay, but nothing. Each of the guests alight, all limbs intact, no one missing or injured, still smiling and clicking snaps for those valuable life long memories.
We eat on board watching the constant stream of visitors capture their images and video of this pretty place, each passing boat sending 'Kejstral' bouncing on their waves and wake. As the heat subsides with the dwindling light, we climb into Zoe our tender, and head across to the restaurant. As we approach the jetty we spot a good metal cleat for our boat, I slip the rope around and climb out onto this undulating walkway, even on this relatively calm sea, we roll and sway. The stone beach area gives no clue as to an entrance or steps up into the floor above, we should have taken more notice of where every other visitor headed! We stumbled over oars and rope in the dimming light, just missing the wooden beams above, as we duck under a lower section of roof. Nets tangle in our uncovered toes as we trip and falter through the boaty storage, cobwebs tickle as we brush through the untouched collection of fishing goods, until we see the steps. Muffled voices, light Greek music and the scuffle of feet on wood, led us to the dining area. Four tables heavily laden with both food and diners greeted us as we stepped onto the boarded floor, the view from this open wood balcony was lovely. 'Kejstral' to the left, the bay entrance in the centre and some small, very elegant gulets on the right, each dwindling into shadowy silhouettes with the dusky sky.
We took our seats lining the balcony edge, catching the waiter for our drink, they nodded in recognition of our order between dashing back and forth with full dishes and empty crockery, wine bottles and glasses. Each table tackled their mountain of culinary delights over laughter and chatter, whilst gazing at the changing skies between mouthfuls of food. Empty plates convey contentment, while creating a signal for waiting staff to suggest yet another delicious offering, what a busy hardworking family who cleary know their clientele.
During the evening an older Turkish man trundled into the dining room pushing what appeared to be a heavily smoking wheelbarrow, the foggy offering billowed around us yet no odour or aroma could be sensed, he carried on walking through pushing this obscure, misty substance, then disappeared through another door . Everyone stopped midsentence, mid chew and mid breath, how bizarre. Apparently, it was a mosquito repellent, completely harmless to humans and animals, just not sure how he managed to get the wheel barrow upstairs one side, then down the other!
Our drinks were gone, our bill was paid and our evening complete, well .... almost, just need to get back to Zoe somehow, then board 'Kejstral' for sleep.
This morning we will be moving our boats into the Yacht Classic Marina in Fethiye, there is a small pontoon set aside for transient boats, there we can stay for a few nights if we need to. The plan is to stay one night in here where we are allowed to use the facilities, as long as we pay for our mooring. The exciting part is that if we also have an evening meal in the marina, the pontoon fee is so much cheaper!
Mark and Angelina took Cygnus 111 in first, they have stayed here on a previous occasion and are familiar with the place. They picked up anchor and slowly motored towards the moorings, there were no staff milling around to guide them to a spot, in fact there were very few people there at all! After a few drive bys, they spotted the area that housed them previously so headed there. As soon as they began reversing into the space a few helping hands appeared to assist them, fortunately they were then secured nicely, and ready to help us into our spot next door. I lifted our anchor and Kevin manoeuvred 'Kejstral' round, easing her gently into position, within minutes we were stern to, secure and ready for a day of fun.
Together, we decided to visit the well known Tuesday Fethiye market, having been to plenty of these over the last few years, we were still happy to experience this one with our friends. We left 'Kejstral' to fend for herself whilst we all wandered into town, following that same road from the evening before. Once in town we caught a local bus or Dolmus, which carried us through the older more business end of Fethiye. A familiar looking lady boarded and sat nearby, I realised it was our Austrian neighbour from the pontoon in Tomb bay! She recognised us instantly, her husband was on board their boat repairing something, while she took a few hours to come ashore for provisions. We disembarked together then took our separate paths to enjoy the sights and sounds of the local farmers market.
Passing some small hardware shops with goods piled high beside us, we picked our way through buckets and tins of paint which lined our pathway, accidentally nudging the high step ladders causing them to vibrate noisily against the stone wall. Each step took us closer to the noisy venders shouting their 'best price' to whoever was listening, loud voices calling us over to sample their colourful stalls. We smile and shake our heads, declining their no doubt tasty selection of fresh fruit and vegetables. Each makeshift table, was filled with beautiful plump, juicy foods ready to be snapped up and cooked into some delicious meal. Huge lettuce sprawled over the bright orange carrots and beefy red tomatoes, beetroot sat in piles still with purple and green leaves attached, everything looked so fresh, still dirty from the fields and gardens, yet free from sprays and pesticides. Food from the market tends to have a better flavour than the mass produced fruit and vegetables which we are accustomed to in the UK. The tastes are stronger and more pronounced, what we have previously experienced seems, watered down, weak and even tastless at times.
We wander through the shaded stalls in an attempt to hide from the fiercely hot sun, sticky from the hot bustling market with crowds of people. Teas of all flavours are offered to our dry mouths, we gratefully quench our thirst with the fruity drinks, apple tea is a common Turkish drink. From fine granules this sharp apple flavour tingles our tastebuds, box upon box of this great alternative tea are sold each day, especially to the tourists, I find my lira to purchase my own little box full. Nuts and seeds of amazing varieties fill stalls, little bowls are filled with selections, enticing us to try. A sesame and honey coating draw us to this sweet, probably extremely fattening, sample, we all have a taste. Our eyes light up with the delicious combination offered, we leave, each clutching a bag of goodies, happy with our find.
The pathway takes us through into the linen and clothing stalls, in here we experience the more lively sellers, they are heavily armed with quips and wise cracks, these vendors are on a mission to sell, and do their upmost to cajole us into spending our holiday cash. Some use unfortunate phrases gleaned from previous tourists, which, perhaps would steer a potential customer in the opposite direction. Other stall holders rely on a friendly nature and welcome smile to attract that vital custom. We quicken our step until the smell of lunch draws us to the cafe and snack stalls, we linger over each choice, hoping to find a tasty bite. Eventually we settle on a traditional gozleme, a savoury pancake filled with potato, cheese and spinach. We melt onto stools in some shade, relieved to be free from the burning sun, water is served generously, for which we are grateful while our body temperature dips below boiling. Our table overlooks a slow flowing river, huge bushy trees overhang each side, and on the opposite shore is the local farmers stalls with a white wooden footbridge adjoining the two. The stalls are busy, with such good quality produce, they have thriving businesses, it is a great sight to see. Lots of European towns have these local markets, they are a tribute to the work carried out by families living and working here, something that in the UK, we sadly seem to be losing to the large Supermarket culture.
The floury pancakes are beautifully cooked, a crispy crunchy outer edge, with a yummy combination of flavours within. Heads nod and our eyes meet, as we chew in appreciation of this perfect snack, not a crumb is left and we are full.
As we finish our meal and consider our journey back to our boats, we wearily stumble from our stools, when someone points towards a furry item drifting downstream, we stare trying to fathom it's origin when we realise that we are watching a rather deceased cat floating past, how sad, this poor soggy moggy had ended life here, adrift alone.
We have endured this heat too long, we make our way towards the Dolmus where we travel back to the marina.
Siesta time, we all have the same idea, a snooze then a delightful swim in the gorgeous swimming pool in the marina complex, before we toast ourselves dry on the poolside sunbeds.
The water is a fabulous temperature, just cool enough to refresh without causing a shiver, blue tiled steps lead down into this sanctuary, with only two other guests making use of this facility, it is tranquil. There is another pool nearby, it is labeled 'family pool', red and blue inflatable balls fly across its diameter, followed closely by two boisterous children. In their native tongue they yell across the expanse of this not so tranquil area, encouraging our 'adult only ' choice.Feeling refreshed we roam the slate tiled walkways past white painted wooden planters, each filled with healthy shrubs and pretty flowers. The restaurant sits opposite the marina pontoon, perfectly situated for boat owners and people watchers. Next to the restaurant is the circular pool bar that we enjoyed last evening, our friends are seated already sampling the local beer, we ought to help them in their task. For hours we chatter and learn more of the lives of these lovely friends, a few more beer adding depth and laughter to our stories and experiences.
The restaurant are expecting our presence at 8pm, until then we locate and make use of the superb showers and facilities nearby. Having spent so long squashing into a boat shower cubicle with minimal manoeuvrability, we luxuriate in the grey, marble tiled rooms designed just for one person! The powerful shower is second to none, on board we limit our water to a rinse, then switch off, soapy sponge clean, then a quick rinse off again, we waste none. This is heaven, standing under the flowing needle sharp jets is fabulous, indulging I stand too long in here, other guests are waiting!
Hairdryer and plug sockets, wow, this is exciting, I haven't used a dryer since leaving home, I hadn't realised just how reliant I have become on free flowing electricity, let alone water. As I complete my ablutions Angelina appears with a huge smile, "they have normal toilets...you just press and flush, it's amazing, I didn't have to pump the handle once" ( clearly she has been a boatee too long!) Jude joins our conversation a little confused by our excitement, me with the flowing water and Angelina with the loo!
At 8pm we are gathered around an elegantly decorated dining table, just a few feet from the waters edge. The sun slowly dropping from view beyond the darkening mountains, leaving a golden glow over the shimmering almost calm sea. Our waiting staff dip in and out discreetly laying plates of meze starter, mixed vegetables and yogurts with spices and tangs to surprise the palat, served with slices. of delicious fresh bread.
We taste a wine from their selection which enhances the food being served, our main meal is sumptuous, a fantastic offering.
Our overnight stay on the mooring, at 60 tl (£15 ) our meal which was perfect, for two 94tl (£25) and a few drinks throughout the day 60 tl. (£15) Totalling £55 for this stunning location and facilities, what a bargain!
Throughout the meal, we reflect on today's experience in the market and our great sail yesterday. We will be leaving our friends in the morning to move onto our next anchorage, they have been great, making this leg of our journey lots of fun, so thank you guys we hope to meet you all again.
Woke early excited for our sail with Cygnus 111
The sun glinting through our cabin hatch startled us awake, kettle on, suitable clothing adorned and out to see what the day has planned for us.
At 07.00 hours, nothing exciting is happening yet, the restaurant staff can be seen cleaning and tidying from the previous night's meal. A delicious smell of fresh bread wafts our way, there is no aroma like it. Birds glide overhead singing loudly and slowly the bay comes alive. We have arranged to leave around 10.00 for our sail to Fethiye, Cygnus 111 is moored in the bay nearby, as they pull up their anchor we will untie and leave with them.
First however, we need breakfast, so I wander along following that gorgeous smell of crispy soft centred bread. As I step from the pontoon onto land, the brown energetic bouncy dog from yesterday's entertainment, bounds past. His poor owner is stumbling along behind in his flip flops, clearly not wishing to be dragged so unceremoniously for his bread! We smile hello as he is dragged out of sight into the shrubbery to wherever his pup wishes to go. I on the other hand, saunter towards the bread oven where I am met by a lady dressed in trousers and long sleeved blouse. She is working hard beside this huge stone, flame filled cooker, in this baking heat. She must be exhausted, loaves stand in piles, fresh and crispy alongside large wooden spatulas with well kneaded dough placed in floury rows ready for baking. Obviously they sell a lot, a stream of buyers wander to her workshop throughout the morning, many purchase two or three loaves at a time. This bread is baked, free from preservatives therefore must really be consumed on the day of purchase, tomorrow any leftovers are fed to the birds and fish. The cost of bread here is very cheap 1 tl or 25 pence, therefore it is eaten with virtually every meal, and it is amazing when freshly cooked.
We eat our morning meal, catching the sights and sounds of other boatees waking and unfolding themselves from slumber. Gradually the day is starting, belongings are packed ready for another journey, boats are swilled down, ropes are re wound and placed ready for travelling. We wash up and store all mobile items, although the bay is calm and the predicted weather is light winds, we take no chances. Cupboards are closed, hatches shut and sea cocks turned off. At around 10.00 we see Cygnus 111 pull up anchor, we unhitch the lazy line and undo the stern lines, we are off. We motor out from our pontoon until free from obstruction then as soon as some wind tickles the flag, we pull out the main sail. With only 5 knots of wind, we won't be turning our engine off just yet! Cygnus 111 follows slowly, they have been showing their guests the ropes ( literally), therefore they are lagging behind. Soon their speed increases and we are sailing together on this gentle breeze. The Genoa is unfurled as the wind accelerates to 10 knots, we are trying to stay ahead of our sailing buddies! They zip past, pulling closer to the island on their starboard side, they gain speed as the wind changes direction when blowing over the land. Dam, I wish we had thought of that! Then Cygnus veers across our bow, a strange manoeuvre as our direction is straight towards Fethiye.
A glance through the binoculars explains their sudden movement, Paul, their guest was steering, he has never been in charge of one of these fickle beasts before. For the next few miles we stay behind the zig zagging Cygnus, watching them gradually gain control and eventually follow course. We on the other hand were trying our best to increase speed, tweaking here, fiddling there with little impact. We did sail alongside them on a few occasions, Mark and Angelina have been sailing for many more years than ourselves and obviously have fathomed out their own boat and techniques to compensate for low wind speed!
It was a lovely smooth, calm sail 13.4 n.m taking 2.5 hours.
Fethiye is a large town, the main open bay is filled with trip boats ferrying tourists to picturesque bays and coves for swimming and diving. Jet skis zip past spraying a plume of white froth behind them, and leaving a wake which bounces our little 'Kejstral' all over the place. Larger gulets linger on anchor closer to shore, their crew busily cleaning ready for future guests. The anchorage we head for is tucked into the southern curve of the bay, a good sheltered spot next to a Marina. The anchorage is not the prettiest area of town but, we had a plan! Mark and Angelina had been here before, had an internet password for the marina and, we all plan to moor in this marina the following day.
Our anchor sat firmly in 11 meters of thick mud, really great holding. A huge boatyard could be seen a few hundred yards away, a wooden gulet perched on tall stilts, in the construction stages of building, what a fabulous looking vessel built in a very traditional way. Around us swaying in the slight swell were small yacht's, a large quite old cruiser and a few gulets, pretty quiet for mid summer really. The afternoon was spent snoozing having eaten lunch, as in the evening we had arranged to head over to the marina, leave the tenders and walk into Fethiye town.
At 6pm we all boarded our tenders, then took off into the marina. Yacht Classic Marina and Hotel, is on the south side of Fethiye and it looked amazing. We found a spot inside where the staff very kindly allowed us to leave our little boats, having explained that we would like to reserve two spaces for our boats the following day. Our friends had visited this great place before and recognised a good deal which is why we ended up here. Our tenders were secured and we stayed in the marina for drinks before heading into town.
Jude, Paul, Mark, Angelina, Kevin and I, parked ourselves around a very lovely round pool bar, high stools on which we perched gave us a fabulous view of the turquoise pool, white washed buildings and beautiful marina in front of us, what a stunning well kept resort. Rooms resembling haciendas rested on a raised platform above the pool, overlooking the ocean and marina, they would have a fabulous view from their balcony.
We took our time over drinks absorbing this lovey place and looked forward to our overnight stay in the marina tomorrow. The road into town took only 10 minutes to amble, we sauntered past mini markets, noting the larger supermarket for provisions in a few days. Soon bars and small restaurants came into view, bringing us onto the promenade. The sun still pounded our skin, despite the hour, the heat held within each concrete building and pavement acted like a night storage heater. The sun dipping further into the huge sea, still persisted in making us perspire, we persevered on through towards a more densely populated area. Market stalls filled our path, beautifully handmade carpets and rugs pegged up high on old stone walls, gold coloured bongs with bright liquids inside lined the outside of bars and stores. High piles of linen in vibrant tones filled wooden trestle tables, vendors called out to our intrigued faces, if only we could buy these glorious gifts and wares. We sneak past the most vocal, turn away from the gaze of the expectant sellers and sidestep the pavements assault course. Huge flags in Patriotic red, flutter and dance in this evening breeze we gaze up in awe at this wonderful sight, while locals look back at us from their chairs in high balconies above. They must watch this same spectacle every evening as shoppers seep out from their hotels, having tanned and dipped all day long. Tourists eager to spend their hard earned cash whilst enjoying this amazing holiday atmosphere.
We find a local Turkish restaurant, not too expensive and not too shabby, as we approach seats are pulled our for us to rest our weary, thirsty selves onto.
Within minutes, jugs of fresh water are poured and we drink, ready now to be fed. These restaurants are brilliant, they serve a buffet style menu, you chose from the counter and they bring your chosen food to the table. Huge silver dishes with shiny round lids fill the counter, as the lids are lifted the most sumptuous smells erupt from them, chicken cooked tenderly in a tasty tomato, garlic and vegetable casserole. Green beans soaked until they slightly snap at your bite, then cooked in a gorgeous tomato sauce. This is served with bulgur wheat mixed with vegetables and coated with a delicious gravy. An amazing array of dishes to sample traditional cooking, and all at brilliant prices, what an experience for any visitors. We steer away from fancy expensive eateries and aim for the busy local clean restaurants, for a real flavour of Turkey. Our meal with a beer each, for six people came to around 170 tl or £43 for 6 people!
Once our taste buds had been tantalised and tummies filled, we wandered through the throngs of holidaymakers attempting to bartar with the prices, some had a good technique, others had a vague try but most walked away with a purchase none the less.
As the evening drew to a close, we took the road back to where our little tenders had been abandoned, another perfect day in this journey of a lifetime.
This evening we will meet with our new sailing friends Mark and Angelina, we met for the first time in Gocek only 4 n.m. away from, here. They are bringing their yacht Cygnus 111 to Tomb bay with some other friends Jude and Paul, so we are looking forward to meeting them and an evening of fun.
For the rest of today we catch up with video, blog, cleaning and relaxation.
Life on board can be so varied, not that it sounds particularly full of busy moments, however there is plenty to keep us occupied, whether we chose to tackle those things....... depends on how we feel! Firstly there is housework, yes, you may chortle to yourselves, it's only a little boat. But boats get dirty whether they are little or large, this one has just enough dust, dirt and salt to maintain my need for rubber gloves!
On this occasion we have cleaning, plenty both inside and out, dirty black marks appear on our hull from fenders and pontoons, salt covers everything from ropes to windows and winches. Dust from the reddish coloured sand lays on the deck, then the morning dew spreads it a little further into grooves and woodwork. This same red dust settles on every surface down below deck, handprints appear everywhere from suntan lotion and perspiration, not to mention cooking and mosquito spray. So we spend a few hours sweating and struggling to achieve a shiny 'Kejstral'.
The task is complete, we flop into the cockpit with an ice cold drink, the heat is overpowering even under this shade. Our attention is drawn to a scuffle a few yards away on this jetty, a slightly portly man wearing smart shorts and a short sleeved shirt, is being dragged with force by a very lively and bouncy dark brown dog. They thunder towards us, puppy excited, tongue lolling around with each springing step, his portly owner running wide eyed behind, looking somewhat apprehensive. We smile at this cartoon unfolding in our landscape, giggles can be heard from our neighbouring boatees, we gaze at the spectacle in wonder. Just as energetic pup reaches the pontoon end, he leaps with brilliant height into the stunning blue sky for his diving finale......the owner has seconds to spare, just enough time to disentangle himself from the long leash that was attempting to restrain that playful pooch. Within seconds he is drenched by the voluminous splash in cool salty seawater whilst still struggling to catch his breath from the aerobic workout he endured. Fabulous entertainment for everyone, the poor owner however, looks rather sheepish as he drips and slops past us towards his boat leaving huge wet footsteps behind him. Meanwhile, smiling puppy then paddles gently around the pontoon looking so happy and cool, gradually he makes his way towards the shore not too far away. His owner is still towelling himself dry as he makes his way towards the shore and his pooch. This lovely wet dripping pup lops onto the beach eager to be reunited with his buddy, when both parties meet the pup takes yet another leap, only this time onto his poor soggy owner knocking him flying onto the soft shingle beach. His dog, so excited to see his owner, then proceeded to lick and drip all over him, before bounding back in for another swim!
Having enjoyed the entertainment in our bay we decide to walk around the path leading to an adjacent cove. A pontoon sits at its far end with a few yachts tied stern to, so we thought we ought to investigate.
Walking sandals on, suntan lotion applied and off we wander, the view is stunning with pretty summer colours. Carefully we trace this winding, man made path over sticks and through braken, the ground slopes steeply down towards yet another tranquil spot of beach. Drift wood lies untouched almost awaiting some enthusiastic decorator to collect and adorn their abode, pebbles shine from the splashing sea alongside curled white shells filled with sand and water. Our path then leads us through shrubs and prickles, some remain green leaved others dry and crispy from the damaging sun.
The path slowly opened out revealing a stone filled beach, a large cafe building sits on the far side with a small sheltered area closer to us. Chicken wire and wooden framed enclosures lure us closer, little chicks scarper across the grain covered floor, clearly unhappy to see us. Larger hens and cocks squabble around our feet as we step near their little family, and in cages nearby quails are pecking at snacks underfoot.
Ali, as he introduces himself, greets our inquisitive faces, he welcomes and invites us to have cay (Turkish tea) at his cafe, free of charge. We find out that this collection of very healthy clean looking birds are his business, he breeds and sells them to nearby villages and towns. Although his premise is rustice, basic and not commercial, he explains that within the last few months he has become the new owner and would love to encourage boats to use his wobbly jetty. Work is underway here, the pontoon is being rejuvenated with electricity and water stations for boating visitors, his dining area, somewhat sparse at present, will house new furniture ready for the next season. His father sits each day, on a wicker chair at the end of the rickety jetty awaiting incoming boats, on their arrival he waves the vessel to an appropriate mooring and assists with ropes and guidance, all in an attempt to have new custom.
This lovely man offered drinks and fruit at no cost because we look tired and thirsty following our walk. We thank him and say goodbye to this very kind, friendly local entrepreneur, perhaps our next visit will incorporate this delightful place. Heading back towards 'Kejstral', we meet a British couple on their stroll in the opposite direction. They have their boat moored at this pontoon and are happily enjoying home made, traditional food from the little cafe and good although limited, facilities in the cove. They also happened to have four children on board with them!!
We receive a message that our friends are here in the bay, having showered already we head towards the restaurant to meet them.
By this time the bay is full, the pontoon is almost unrecognisable with boats and ropes clinging to its cleats and wooden balustrades. Sailors swarm the jetty talking with new neighbours, each learning about idyllic coves and stunning beaches, not to mention poor anchorages and overpriced locations. The atmosphere is fun and lively, people are holidaying and relaxed in this beautiful bay where light background music seeps through the excited chat. As we make our way through the carefree throng of people, the sumptuous aroma of cooking drifts towards our hungry noses. The paved footpath meanders in a slight incline towards that fabulous cooking, small vegetable gardens on each side hold bushy, healthy red and green peppers plants, beetroot, tomatoes and lettuces. I have no doubt we will have the opportunity to taste the wonderful produce this evening at dinner.
Decking edges this restaurant providing a perfect seating area with views of the vessels milling around in the bay, on the shingle beach wooden chairs and dining tables have been laid out for guests to enjoy their meal.
Soft creamy lights illuminate the dusk simultaneously, lights appear one by one on the jetty highlighting the path with a warm pretty glow. Our table is on the shingle, the trees around us would offer dappled shade from daytime sunlight, this evening those trees are adorned with colourful fairy lights, just enough for us to see and enjoy our food.
Angelina, Mark, Jude and Paul arrive, excited to try this lovely establishment, none of us were disappointed. The evening was great, lots of laughs, good food and some beer to celebrate our next plan, we will be sailing alongside Cygnus 111 in the morning to Fethiye, 13.4 n.ms from here.
The water was perfectly still, not a ripple or wave to disturb this beautiful bay, boats on anchor others tied to the pontoon, all silent not a sound could be heard. Daybreak is such an amazing time, when nature comes to the forefront of our minds. Two wasps dance around our flag, chasing and testing their agility in this breeze free sky, gradually they take their waltz over our heads high into the trees nearby. Finches shimmer in the unfolding sun, green and yellow flashes catch our eyes as they twist and dive around us, whilst chirping their morning greeting to one another. Small circles form before us in this calm sea, small silvery fish glint and shine as they bask in this gentle heat, a hundred or more shimmy through the perfectly clear water out in search of breakfast perhaps. We soak up these sights and sounds mesmerised by this fabulous scenery and it's plethora of inhabitants. The sound of a kingfisher takes us by surprise, a shrill sound unlike other bird calls often heard near water, they dazzle in blue and orange as they swoop over the trees down towards a breakfast of bugs. We could sit for hours absorbing this tranquil sanctuary, however, the sound of voices and movement begins to filter from our neighbouring boats. Loud yawns can be heard, calls of 'good morning' in various languages together with the opening of hatches and doors, I guess the day has begun.
Turtles are on our agenda today, as we spotted none on our journey from Gocek we are a little doubtful of their presence here, therefore today we have a mission. Once fed, watered and clothed we untie Zoe our tender and settle in for a stunning turtle display. Camera in hand, water bottles and suncream at the ready, we have all day to find these ( so far), elusive beasts. Within this bay many cruisers are tied stern to, against the rocks, many more are heading onto their next destination. With so many vessels around I think we have little chance of catching sight of our goal. We linger around the rocky shores, watching fish leap to the surface for insects, crabs scramble under huge boulders out of harm's way as Zoe creates a dark shadow over them. Egrets dive mid flight, down through the glassy surface in search of a slippery snack, but not a single turtle to be seen. We reach a pretty sandy beach where a small boat sways in the ripples and swell, the family onboard sit around a makeshift table, devouring a banquet disguised as breakfast. They wave and call good morning, barely stopping between mouthfuls of juicy tomato fresh bread and olives. Meals in Turkey are a family gathering which last for hours and are accompanied by great conversation and laughter, they are such sociable people. Guests are always welcome to join their meal, at times the families with the least to share, will tend to offer more. We greet them and call 'afiyet olsun', enjoy your meal, they offer us a place at their table, we declined but thank them gratefully. They do, after all get to see me snorkel, what more entertainment could they wish for during their feast!
Zoe is abandoned close to shore she is securely tied to a huge piece of sunbleached driftwood, left bobbing in time with our hungry neighbours in their gulet. Our camera and valuables tucked discreetly under towels, we feel pretty safe in this part of the world, of course we are careful, but these wholesome families seem to make a point of watching out for the welfare of others, they care more for their reputation and family values. Up to our knees in the crystal clear waters, we take a moment to savour this idyllic cove. Blue skies, turquoise sea and stunning greenery climbing steadily from the shingles on this beach, reaching high towards the heat of the mid morning sun. As we slid into this cool glassy sea stepping carefully over its rocky seabed, we pull on our masks and ready ourselves for snorkeling with turtles. The sand and rocks below us are perfectly visible through the transparent sea, tiny white fish weave rapidly through tiny gaps, small crabs sidestep over the undulating seabed, we hover above them causing a gentle movement in the water, forcing these small creatures to scurry under weeds and pepples. We swim slowly not wishing to miss a mollusc or fish, but no turtles show up for us. As we surface, other boats arrive taking their space in this bay, anchors are tossed overboard, swimmers dive into this once calm peaceful haven, sending waves and ripples out in great circles around them. We wave goodbye to our spectators, who seem to be consuming yet more delicious food, water melon and grapes, perhaps we should have joined their feast after all!
Zoe glides through the busying waters, gulets of all sizes now stretch ropes in all directions across the bay, criss crossing our route. We take off to the next inlet, a more exciting cove with caves arching over the turquoise water, this may be a turtle hideaway.....
The temperature is climbing, it surely must be 40 degrees today, we cannot immerse ourselves quickly enough in the luke warm sea, hardly refreshing in this heat but perfectly cooling all the same. We float happily in this salty bath, allowing the mellow waves to wash over our sticky bodies, the seabed is less rocky in this inlet therefore easier to walk across but with very few hideaways and shelter for sea creatures. Dark caves loom over us, water from the hillside trickles through fine cracks in the rock, down into the waters below forming circles and beautiful patterns. We tentatively tiptoe through the cooler more sheltered pools of translucent water, hands streched out before us, as our feet slip on the moss covered stones. The darkness around us feels humid yet cool to our sun reddened shoulders and faces, the sound of water sneaking through gaps in our ceiling urge us to look up. Steady streams follow the contours of each crack and tiny ravine in the walls, glistening droplets of cold water detach themselves and land sharply on our skin, the difference in temperature from outside is incredible. Our eyes accustomed to dazzling sunshine, struggle to adjust to this dark cavern. Grey shadows and shimmering water gradually come into focus, black rocks stand high around us creating a sense of enclosure. The contrast of dark black, cool echoing cave and the brilliant sunshine, heat, blue skies and green foliage outside is phenomenal, we head back out into the colour and warmth.
Zoe is boarded once again, still no sightings of a turtle. Lunchtime, so we go back to 'Kejstral', feeling rather deflated we tie Zoe onto the pontoon, and make some lunch. Sitting in the cockpit we munch away, chatting about the incoming boats and our morning swim. Voices seem raised not far from where we sit, as they become louder, we investigate. A family sitting on the pontoon adjacent to us, have noticed something interesting in the water. At first we smile and settle back to our snack, however, soon a small crowd appear pointing and excitedly talking about their find. We gradually ease ourselves out of our shaded comfy cushions to make sense of the commotion. As we step onto the pontoon a man snorkeling swims by waving to our intrigued faces, we look down in his direction to see the biggest turtle you could imagine. It is within a few feet of us! This fabulous reptile is lounging on the sea bed directly in front of us, in only a few feet of water, he occasionally stretches his neck out to nibble the sea grass beside his huge green legs. A shell at least two feet in diameter and beautifully patterned in hexagonal markings protects his body from harm, he swims slowly around underwater, looking for another mouthful of greenery. Kevin runs to collect our camera, I am stunned, to be this close to one of these harmless, prehistoric creatures and watch him through the crystal clear waters of his natural habitat. When he slowly brings himself to venture up to the surface for air, the crowd ( and I) squeal with delight, those green and patterned legs and shell, begin to glisten and brighten in the sunlight, his colours are beautiful, the design on his protective home is fabulous. He gulps for air as his body settles on the surface, big eyes take in our excited faces, his demeanour is that of an old knowledgeable soldier. He almost nods a greeting as if to say ' I know I am old and slow, just give me space to swim and eat' we are totally in awe. Within a few moments he dips his green head and dives below the water his front flippers paddling elegantly through this glassy sea. He settles back to munching and investigating his surroundings slowly gliding forwards, we follow every flipper move. Gradually he makes his way below our pontoon, we cannot take our eyes from his graceful methodical progress, he reaches the opposite side of our pathway. We rush across to ensure we miss nothing, as he reappears we gasp in delight, the glimmering sun highlights beautifully that delicately patterned shell. Slowly he resurfaces enthralling us all with another perfect display of beauty, our cameras must be exhausted and rather full.
I am so happy to have experienced this awesome sight, and to stand so close to this fabulous sea turtle, it is amazing. He leaves our little bay with a gentle paddling out to sea, hopefully he will return for another visit, and I will be armed ready with my camera.
What a great afternoon, for the rest of this day, we cannot help but scan the waters hoping to catch sight of another sea turtle, for the moment, there are no more to be seen.
In the evening as the sun dips down behind the shadowy mountain we take a stroll around this shingle and rocky waters edge. The land rises and falls steeply from one small cove to another, as it descends towards the water, the stones become a thick carpet underfoot, as we climb the sloping hill, dry grass and twigs snap crisply beneath our shoes. Darkness casts a glow as the sun hides from our view, light clouds reflect pink and orange hues across the sea, a gorgeous sunset is complete.
Our day ends with a meal on board, and a glass of wine to celebrate yet another amazing day of sights and experiences.
Tomb bay is our intended destination for the evening, it is supposed to be very pretty so we pack up ready to go!
First however, we need fuel for 'Kejstral' and our black water ( toilet tank) needs emptying, lovely.
We must take 'Kejstral' alongside at the fuel / emptying station, that in itself is always a little tricky as fenders and ropes need putting in just the right places avoiding scratches and damage to our lovely boat.
We pull up anchor from our nice settled spot in the bay and yet again negotiate the speeding posh tenders whizzing by from all directions. I stand like a muppet and point out each while Kevin steers as if playing dodgem. Just as we leave the chaos and head to the fuel station we notice a rather large super deluxe cruiser has decided to do the same, only he gets there first! Any idea how much fuel these beasts can hold, more to the point how long it takes to fill their guzzling tanks? To add to our dilemma another yacht pulls ahead of us and jumps into our path. He is also planning a fuel stop. We wait, not as easy as you might imagine in a floaty boat on a breezy day with waves and wake from numerous other boats! Eventually we tie up ready to be emptied and filled. The guy at the pumping station for toilets looks happy, considering his job........
We are meant to empty grey water also in this part of Turkey, one of the recent new rules. This means that all boats in this area should have extra tanks fitted for shower and dish water waste, or, it should be collected into bottles. We do not ( like most other yacht's, have grey water tanks) therefore we collect our grey water in old water bottles. ( Have I put you off sailing yet?)
Back at the lovely pumping station we are supposed to deposit these grey water bottles. No one has informed the pumpy man, he looks somewhat distraught at the sight of our soupy solution. He didn't even look that worried when he emptied the toilet!
However he takes away our soup and we never see it again. Funnily enough our friends Lee & Larry had to do exactly the same a few days beforehand. They handed over their grey water to a stunned looking attendant, only for the entire contents to be thrown onto the grass verge behind the building, bottles hosed clean then handed back to Lee 😁 As ever, some fabulous planning has clearly been involved when these new regulations are put in place.
Now we are empty of everything dirty, we fill with fuel 200 tl is £50 not too much really when you think that since collecting 'Kejstral' with a full fuel tank in March this year, we have only had to put a total ( including this top up) 500 tl worth equalling £125 !! We will have travelled over 1000 n.ms and we still have a container full of fuel on board.
Our plan is to head to Tomb bay, only 4 n.ms away but we have been told it is perfect. So we sail for the few miles which is so busy with boats of all types, we are on constant watch. Yacht's with and yacht's without sails up. Huge cruisers and of course Gulets, hundreds of them. There are also fleets of utility boats which are so helpful to the sailing community.
Gocek bay and it's surrounding area on the map form a great big kind of 'G' shape, made up of the mainland and a few islands. Gocek town is in the northern curve of that 'G', we are heading to the centre west coast of said 'G'. All around this area are hundreds of boats, most are on anchor with their stern tied to rocks. I don't think I have ever seen so many in such a small area! For this reason the local council and of course many young Turkish entrepreneurs provide services rubbish collection, laundry collection and delivery, gozleme (pancakes) cooked on a little motor boat that ties up alongside yours. The ice cream man and then the supermarket boats, yes I really said supermarket boats. The major problem with sailing around bays and more remote areas is provisioning, we all must eat and drink.
( Especially Kevin) When in a bay, clearly shopping is impossible if there are no buildings, what you don't want to do is only stop in harbours and ports, that would cost lots.
Remember we as lots of other sailors are on a budget, therefore we try to optimise our travelling experience. We stock up on drinks and store them everywhere we can, we have loads of storage in compartments in the floor, under beds and behind sofas, ( we have cupboard's too) Tins and packets of food are great as they can do the same. However we all like fresh things too, and these are what we all struggle with. Bread, fruit, veg and other bits are probably the first things we need, obviously we start to dwindle the other supplies over time too. Which is why these amazing supermarkets on water are like gold dust. We could of course go to the lovely little taverna's and bars that we see so often on small Islands and hidden in coves within beautiful bays, but that bloomin budget does not allow for extravagance. We only have perhaps one drink if we do succumb and a meal really is a special treat.
As we approach Tomb bay, there is always that anticipation of where we can go, how much room will there be and should we anchor, pick up an anchor buoy or just tie up on a pontoon, only a little stress involved. Most sailors try to read up as much as possible helping their orientation when going somewhere for the first time, however books become out of date, maps may not have been updated either and places change there setup and mooring facilities, so it can still be quite daunting especially for us newbies!
We decided to anchor then take a rope to the rocks as a stern line, this additional rope assists with the swinging and movement from any swell or wind. Anchor dropped almost 60 feet of chain deployed into about 12 meters of water ( ideally around four times the depth of water, equates to the length of chain required, with a little extra ....... in case !
Once reasonably happy Kevin takes a heavy rope with a huge loop of heavy duty material towards the rocks and flings it over one sturdy immobile one. I then pull us back as much as my pathetic strength will allow, which tightens both from the anchor and the stern rope and we should be nicely secure.........that is until we start worrying, what if the anchor didn't actually set, we will be pulled back, anchor just dragging into the rocks! Kevin dived in to see the anchor, luckily he did as it hadn't set well enough to give us confidence and a stress free sleep tonight.
The reason..... our chain is just not long enough for us to to risk being in more than 10 meters of water on a windy night with a rope tied to the rocks. If the anchor is loose we would just drift and our additional rope would cause us to hit the rocks, not worth the worry. (something else to redress next season)
So back in the water, Kevin unhooks our stern rope from the rock, the once on board, I take in the anchor. We decide that we will go onto the pontoon, feel disappointed that we have to as that means an obligation to have either food or drinks in the restaurant adjoining. However the water and electricity which we can plumb into are free so it isn't all bad.
The guys from the pontoons are always very helpful mainly as you are a source of income to them but genuinely they do their upmost to assist with the boats.
They direct us to a chosen space and hand us the lazy line (rope set into the water very deeply, allowing us to tie on rather than putting an anchor out, hence the name, lazy) They grab our stern lines wrap them around cleats on the pontoon then throw them back, for us to secure. It is a very slick and stressfree way of tying up. Drink and swim, it is so hot. The water is beautiful crystal clear aqua green in colour and a perfect temperature. We take the snorkeling gear ( yes I am now more confident 😁) and have a swim around the rocks, lots of little fish swim alongside us dipping down one by one to pick up debris from the rocky bottom. Feeling refreshed we relax and say hello to our incoming neighbours a Turkish group of 4 on a fifty foot fabulous yacht on our left and an Austrian couple living aboard quite an old style yacht. You can always tell the live aboard boats, they are pretty messy, I don't mean dirty, just full of ......stuff! Things tied everywhere bits of this and bits of that secured to every possible piece of chrome and attached to every surface. Cushions rarely match and covers are thrown over everything giving a homely come rustic look. There are of course some very tidy live aboard boats too 😁 just less of them! I am a tidy freak, things must be in place, look neat and match! (Did you ever see the film sleeping with the enemy!!! )
We have our meal on board as do our Austrian neighbours then decide to have a drink in the restaurant as we intend to use the water supply and electricity provided here. The pontoon is a T shaped well built structure with wooden planks forming the walkway, around twelve boats are secured here. On the shoreline as we step onto land are steps of crazy paving, well finished and leading onto a further, wooden decked area where the restaurant takes its fabulous spot, facing the entrance to this lovely bay.
Drinks are as pricey as each of our previous destinations, 15 tl almost £4, we only pay 8 tl or £2 in our home town in Turkey, however we recognise that this part of Turkey is most expensive in every way.
We watch the sunset as boats drift from place to place past the bay entrance, feeling safe and secure on the pontoon we head to 'Kejstral' for a good night's sleep.
Today is shopping for provisions and laundry day, you are probably about as excited as Kevin is at this point!
Launderettes are amazing, they take your smelly socks, bedding, towels and everything, wash them back to that beautiful white (if they started white of course) and they smell gorgeous and, just to make it a little better the amazing staff smile while they iron your smalls! All for the cost of 80 tl or £20. Now that may seem quite expensive but in this heat we perspire, I know you are surprised but even I sweat. Sleeping when you are sticky is not pleasant, and as you can probably imagine, if you sweat while sleeping, you sure as heck sweat when you attempt any form of movement whilst awake! Therefore launderettes are awsome, especially if you are on the move as much as we are, don't get me wrong, we do not take washing there every day (probably would as the clothes smell so good afterwards) our budget would be blasted well and truly out of the water rather abruptly. Perhaps every two weeks when the bedding is stacked to the ceiling and towels are solid boards stacked side by side, as if you attempt to fold them they may snap from the salt more than the overuse.
Once washing has been deposited at the ever smiling ladies in laundry land, we go food shopping, every man's nightmare. When living in 35 degrees however, I find men are actually quite happy to wander around an air conditioned food hall, it is like walking into a fridge just, a very clean filled with goodies and fresh one. The supermarkets in Turkey can be very hit and miss, as stock is not always refilled when depleted and brands just disappear overnight. Some of course are amazing, filled with beautiful foods and smell of bread and gorgeous yummyness. When planning meals one has to be rather flexible and prepared for last minute changes, great when on a boat and a budget! We choose not to stay in shop filled bays and villages as we love to see the unspoiled Turkish coastline which of course means we have to be prepared for, especially with food. Tinned food is not always easily sourced and is nothing like the British supermarket varieties. Beans in tomato sauce are not available in many stores, so we bulk buy when we can, as we do with salt and vinegar crisps which are also very rarely found, sugar free drinks, other than coke, always create excitement. Then you have milk, only UHT of course but if you would prefer fat free rather than full fat, be prepared for a bit of a challenge. Turkish supermarkets have improved over the years, they just haven't yet reached the same standards everywhere. Sounds as if we only eat beans and crisps! It can be challenging trying to plan ahead as of course the fresh bread and delicate fruits are almost impossible to store, our freezer is a small compartment within the fridge and will only hold so much, bait takes the largest space (a necessity of course, if we caught any fish! )
The markets in Turkey are by far the best place to head for your fresh fruit and vegetables. The voices of vendors reach our senses first, calling to their audience, enticing us towards their particular stall or kiosk. Colours then add to the experience, washed white mushrooms snuggle among huge crisp white cauliflower and bright, misshapen carrots. Green beans languish alongside plump purple aubergines, which highlight the vivid yellow lemons and fat juicy tomatoes. The aroma of spices waft through the warm sticky market stalls, cinnamon, basil, coriander and rosemary, and many I have never heard of. Dried peppers, aubergines and various leaves hang in colourful bunches above our heads swaying gently in the warm breeze, providing an amazing powerful bouquet to this vibrant atmosphere. Locals bustle through the chaotic range of seller's sampling the little tasters left out by each stall holder, if they purchase, it is usually a good place to shop. Linens flap from their pegs high on the stall roofs, tables strewn with beautiful brightly decorated cloths. Materials and pashmina with dazzling jewels sewn delicately, adorn the aisles between the more traditional Turkish clothes and the bright tones worn by the throngs of holiday makers. The contrast is incredible between the customary dark Turkish dress and the bright sparkling summer clothing worn by the visiting holiday crowds. When the weather is at its most harsh, high temperatures and hot winds, the markets can however, by just too hard to cope with. What entices us in the spring or autumn, seems to accentuate our stress and irritation in the height of summer.
We tend to eat on board as spending our budget on restaurants and bars would limit our travelling and mean going back to work, therefore our diet is pretty healthy most of the time. Chicken is by far the cheapest meat and as you know, can be made into almost anything ( luckily, as we have it most days) fish and red meat can be pricey, clearly not too pricey if you can catch your own. (fish that is, not red meat!) Fishing is terrible in these waters, over the years the stocks have dwindled and very rarely can we catch an edible sized fish. When watching the fishing boats bring in their haul, most of the bigger bass, bream and salmon trout are smaller than you would expect. Unfortunately they pull in many very young fish which obviously depletes the following years supply. Greece seems to have a similar issue, most of what they caught were lobster octopus or small fish.
Back in the air-conditioning and shopping, Kevin heads for the chocolate aisle, while I head for the fruit and vegetable section, nothing new there!
We stock up and lug it all back to Zoe who looks rather appalled at what she must carry. Water bottles are the heaviest and most difficult to store they weigh so much that we have to decide where on 'Kejstral' they should be placed just so we don't sink. What with the diesel tank in the stern, water tanks x 2 in the port side and bow, gas bottles in the starboard side, we must distribute the weight as equally as possible, not an easy task.
As we travel to 'Kejstral' on our tender we have to dodge the speeding dinghies with their huge powerful engines, you really do have to watch them carefully, zipping between the larger boats they appear out of nowhere scaring us half to death. Then we have to negotiate the waves left by their trail, I usually end up a soggy salty mess by the time we arrive on board.
In the evening we planned to meet Angelina and Mark for a drink in a tucked away little bar in town. On the seafront as in most places the drinks are more expensive and the establishments are somewhat commercial and not what we enjoy. Our evening is lovely, a few beers and lots of snacks provided very kindly by the staff. We enjoy lots of laughs as well as learning lots from our new sailing friends who have travelled from the UK taking six years to explore as much as they possibly can of the journey southwards.
At midnight we head back for some much needed sleep.
What a great nights sleep, a calm sea, no music and very considerate neighbours, the perfect recipe for an undisturbed sleep.
We lingered over breakfast as the nearby residents surface from their obviously equally good slumber, bodies outstretched towards that glorious sun, warming their sleepy skin. No one rushes, no one is too eager to pack up and go, this lifestyle requires as little energy as we wish to waste. The view of this bay commands our uninterrupted attention, boats move serenely through the glassy surface, barely noticeable and almost inaudible. Seagulls flutter down, dipping and breaking the perfect surface, they explore each tiny ripple in search of food, usually failing in their attempt. Owners are polishing their already gleaming hulls and chrome work, ropes are coiled and knots secured. This continuous, endless workload is carried out by all on the seas, a constant task to impede the powerful force of the sun, salt and weather. Without this care and attention to detail, these vessels slowly deteriorate which as you can imagine would endanger the lives of anyone on board.
Soon the sounds around us escalate as fishing boats pull into their mooring after a night of work, tourist boats begin their daily challenge to capture the conscience of the wandering holiday makers. Some of whom had every intention of declining the offer of a day on board one of these lively, fun filled gulets. However, having succumbed to the sorrowful eyes and sociable character before them, a sailing day is organised and money has changed hands in the blink of a sun dazzled eye.
Today is a cleaning day, I cannot see this task lasting too long, it is painfully hot. As ever, I tackle the inside while Kevin braves the outside in the hot, sticky sun. Within an hour we abandon the our posts, both feeling drained and dehydrated and in need of respite from the heat, we decide to take Zoe ashore. We secure and leave her to fend off the waves and other little boats alone on the busy harbour wall.
Shelter from the sun is imperative especially as the day progresses, a breeze filters through each gap in the surrounding buildings, small lanes and streets tend to retain the warmth and are best avoided. We head to the council cafe or Belediyesi, where a perfect combination of light winds and salty air greet our lethargic bodies. These council run café's are usually placed in the most picturesque area of seafront, overlooking a pretty harbour or stunning view. Staff are generally very friendly and accommodating despite their hectic workload, we rarely see a quiet Belediyesi. If you are ever visiting a Turkish seafront, head for the most popular, perfectly situated coffeehouse, I guarantee it will turn out to be a council café.
This cafe has the added benefit of free wi-fi, I cannot describe the joys of stumbling across free internet whilst out travelling. I say free however, this requires the purchase of refreshments at least, before we can smile sweetly while asking for a password. Drinks within these fantastic establishments are pretty cheap, bottles of water are only 0.50 tl or 12 pence, coffee is 6tl or 75 pence and beer works out cheaper than any other bar in town! That is......if you can find an empty seat and, if they sell beer. The sale of alcohol is forbidden within 100 metres of any Mosque or school in Turkey, therefore you may seat yourself comfortably, gazing at a spectacular location while picturing that long cold amber thirst quenching liquid, only to find, you cannot have one!
I hadn't realised just how essential the internet has become to us, especially since we moved to Turkey and so far from our families and friends. Through social media and various sailing groups, we have also been in contact with some other boatees, some of whom are travelling in these waters too. Others just keep in touch with advice, suggestions for new anchorages and just general chat. Mark, a guy Kevin has been speaking to every now and again over the last few months, has just messaged. "Are you in Gocek, as I think your boat is behind ours in the bay?" What a coincidence, we had no idea that he and his family were in the area.
We scanned his pictures trying to gain an image of their boat and boat name until we were sure it would stand out in the crowd. It would have to in among the thousand boats bobbing around us!
Communication complete, and internet sufficiently used, we scrutinise the surrounding activity, boats of all varieties zip past so speedily, I can barely recognise their colour. (Remember those regulations 5 n.m per hour) not these guys, if you own a superyacht, believe me you own a very powerful tender with engine. The last thing these owners or crew want to do is sedately and leisurely travel, they love to show off especially the Turkish lads. This however has a massive impact on every other floating object in the vicinity, from pontoons to dingies to huge gulets, everything is bounced all over the place leaving a trail of spilled cups and tipped plates and of course some really annoyed and consequently rather vocal people. So we watch the ripple effect in its purest form just relieved we are not on the water at that time.
On our way back to 'Kejstral' we scan the sea of boats and sure enough, Cygnus 111 is just in front of us, brilliant, someone new to meet up with later.
The sun was taking its toll on our weary bodies, we now know why so many mediterranean countries have a siesta time, unfortunately Turkey does not adopt this daily ritual. In Greece most shops and stores close for their valuable rest period, allowing for a significant break from that unbearable heat. In the evening towns come alive again fresh and vibrant from their siesta, it is usually hotter here in Turkey, therefore quite surprising that this custom is bypassed.
I need my siesta, Kevin needs my siesta, if missed, I become grumpy, hot and irritable. I then struggle to last until bedtime. Kevin manages to cope on most days without additional sleep, however, he cannot cope if I miss mine!
Feeling refreshed and bubbly, ok just refreshed, we shower and plan to head back across to town for sundown. As the heat subsides we feel rejuvenated, ready for our evening walk and drink, that is, once we scramble onto Zoe and make our way across the busy sea to shore. Settled in Zoe, ready to zip over the water, we remember Mark on Cygnus 111, we ought to just call over, for a moment,… introduce ourselves and perhaps arrange an evening for drinks. We set off towards their Oyster yacht, nearing their boat we realise that someone is on deck reading, should we interrupt them? Feeling a little nervous we slow the engine and pull up at their stern, " hello" I shout. We are greeted by the lovely smiling face of Marks wife, Angelina. Soon we are onboard and have met both Mark, his wife and their son. This quick introduction and plan to meet at their convenience, actually turned out to be an 02.00 am wine/ beer filled evening ending in a rather tipsy goodbye. What a lovely family, they had already spotted us, when we first dropped anchor in Gocek, they had sailed past us. A test we all carry out when passing other boatees, is to call out hello, and await a response. Apparently Angelina had in fact called out as I was on the bow, anchor control in hand and looking rather sweaty, but I passed the test. I seemingly did wave back and return the hello, despite the fact I cannot remember the incident! Oh well, as long as I was polite, albeit sticky and dripping.
During this great evening they explained that a couple of friends were flying over to spend a week sailing with them and their plan was to head towards Fethiye, would we like to sail across with them in a few days time? How could we refuse, we had planned to head in that direction anyway, exciting!
Departed at 08.55 and the wind has gone, abandoned and alone we switch on the engine. Motoring most of the journey was not our intention, but as I mentioned previously, we need to move on to our next destination. Our route carries us through the silent, calm waters passed the marshlands of Dalyan. We had hoped to see these ruins and tombs, however, having seen them only a few years ago we felt that the cost suggested by the tour guides was just too expensive. Very disappointed, we travelled onwards passed by numerous sandy beaches, hotels and some very idyllic little bays. Shelter in these bays is limited as the prevailing winds tend to power straight into them, leaving boats bobbing around in a rather uncomfortable way. The swell created by these winds, encourages most yacht owners to head somewhere less lively. As the coastline curves around in a wide open bay we begin to see airplanes slowly descending towards the beach. Dalaman airport sits just beyond the sand filled contours, each plane carrying excited visitors or returning locals. Their view as they fly over this area must be outstanding, marshy Dalyan, mountainous Gocek and pretty Fethiye with luxurious blue green waters tying them all together.
As we motor, yes, still on that damned engine! .... we notice more and more yacht's around us. Some using sails to capture any breath of breeze, most just motoring sedately, highly aware of their fuel consumption. Sails billow as a slight gust catches them unexpectedly, flapping them gently, toying with the captains desperation to sail. Fethiye bay drifts into view slowly, the local coastguard boat with its very distinctive red stripe on the hull, sits guard against the rocky shore. Most sailors feel a little intimidated by its sight, hoping not to attract its and it's stony faced crews attention. We have been checked on two occasions whilst in this area, both with no problems thank goodness!
Gocek is where we purchased 'Kejstral', so we were quite excited to be back in this lovely town. Restricted areas are marked throughout the nautical maps, these spots are where wildlife and sea beds are protected from divers, anchors and fouling. There are also rules for boatees with regard to their behaviour and how we conduct our business while within these waters. Grey water disposal, maximum speed limits and music prohibited on deck are just a few of the sea and costal rules. Only so many boats are allowed within the bay (1112), this includes moorings of any kind. Once at anchor, you may only remain for 11 days. This would probably limit and of course worry some sailors, we however having lived in Turkey for a few years, and have realised that guidelines are there but with no one actually policing them, it is not as scary as it sounds.
A humongous cruiser sped past at around 14 n.m. an hour (clearly adhering to the rules!) leaving behind him, a wake mirroring a tidal wave. We turn into this onslaught attempting to minimise the damage, while every other boat around us sound their 'slow down you muppet' horns, we would have blown ours however, it is down in the salon under the map table chair, in two pieces. No we haven't broken it, we just never put it together, not thinking we would ever require a rant at another boat person. In reality we should probably have put it together on day one of our sailing experience, it probably would be worn out by now!
Anchoring in 13 meters of water, we gaze around at the huge array of vessels nearby. So many shapes, colours and sizes filling the bay, most of which have people on board, children splashing beside some, others with their occupants cleaning, fiddling with equipment and some just relaxing with a glass of wine. The water is our entertainment, we are absorbed in this ever changing scenery, rotating with the water movement our view is usually 180 degrees around the pivotal point of our anchor. Just as we are dropping our eyelids in the warm hazy sunshine 'Sea Dreams' motors past!
Lee and Larry are the New Zealand couple we met in Greece on the Island of Levitha only six weeks ago. We have been in touch since our first meeting, and knowing we were likely to meet again around this location, we called out to them. They dropped anchor nearby and called us onboard their 50 foot Oceanis, ( which is amazing, and they have a washing machine. I am not jealous at all!) what a fantastic chance to get together again. A few hours drifted past as we reminisce and share our latest adventures. They took a slightly different route towards the Turkisk coastline having enjoyed those wonderful Greek islands. A few beers later we returned to 'Kejstral' for a shower and snooze, having arranged to meet later for a meal ashore.
Our friends arrived on their tender and dodging the water traffic, we arrived at the wooden jetty outside one of the restaurants. The jetty holds ten or more little tenders and a few small fishing boats, we tie up and clamber onto the shore . It is never easy arriving in a dingy, trying to grab something solid without tipping yourself and anyone else into the water, once you have that solid something, you then have to lean rather precariously over and attempt to secure a rope around it. Once tied on, the tricky part is climbing out of the tender onto a jetty or pontoon, sometimes even just a pile of rocks .....all without getting wet. We all survive the task, occasionally we arrive on shore with soggy wet bottoms from waves or perhaps the passing speedy boats. Then we walk around looking a little bit dodgy while waiting for the wet patches to dry, we do have fun!
Gocek bay has three marina's, one newly refurbished to the west, another fairly large Council marina sits in the centre and finally, D Marine Gocek is situated on the eastern edge. Although this area is reasonably busy, it seems quieter than on our previous visits despite the fact that we are here in peak season. Charter boats are still lingering in their mooring, unused, restaurants are scraping by and probably wasting valuable food with fewer customers than they are accustomed to.
The seafront is struggling with the current issues relating to Turkey. We are seeing the ramifications of the medias harsh words and negativity, these towns are almost 40% down in tourism and business.
When we experience the eager to please vendors and business owners striving to deliver their services in such a friendly welcoming manner, we are reminded of how fabulous this country and its culture really are.
We wearily flop into some puffy blue cushions in a pretty seafront bar. Palm trees wrapped in twinkling lights entice us inside towards bamboo furniture with soft padded seats facing out towards the diminishing sun, as a warm glow of colour fills the dusky sky. Boats become silhouettes across the evening horizon against an orangy sky, the effect is beautiful. Lights begin to flicker on from vessels in the water, their reflection glistening and flickering with each passing wave or movement. People slowly appear from hotels and boats, dressed up in their finery for the evening, out into this sticky heat. Couples stroll past clasping hands, laughing and whispering in that young romantic demeanour. Guests are seated ready to enjoy an evening meal or perhaps simply a drink, they relax into perfectly presented dining rooms. The hum of light music floats around our conversation to set a perfect background atmosphere, bringing to life what appeared to be only a few hours earlier, a quiet, sedate town.
We chose a local Turkish restaurant for our meal, polite waiting staff attend to our chairs as we select the perfect spot overlooking the harbour. The guvec or oven dish, consists of meat with vegetables cooked in a tomato based sauce, usually served alongside fresh bread, salad and rice, we are ready to have our tastebuds tantalised. Wine is served and napkins placed in anticipation, soft music and gentle chatter filling the air, creating a wonderful evening ambience .
Our food arrives, we are silent, who could want to disturb our experience and culinary delights, clean plates explain our enjoyment and huge sighs of contentment end our meal. We wander back to the tender, we say goodbye to our friends and plan to meet up once more further along the route.
What a fabulous day, now sleep.