Dawn broke to the sound of waves slapping against our hull, the swell had returned, yet very little wind could be heard. Our neighbours had woken and we're busily preparing breakfast for their hungry crew, dishes clattered against work surfaces and cutlery chinked a metallic tinkling against one another. Kettles boiled and whistled their attention seeking melody, whilst yawns and morning stretches unfolded from a lazily awakening crowd. We follow suit, slowly bringing ourselves into this glorious day, one lazy steady step at a time. Tea mugs in hand we guide ourselves into the cockpit, slumber calling us back towards our comfy bed. We make our way out onto the deck to take in this beautiful day, settling down on the bow our bodies acclimatise to the warm sun. Resting on our recently purchased bean bags, we watch the bay come alive, birds singing loudly and voices gently increasing in volume as the morning slips by.
A misty haze has settled on the mountains to our right, just above the town of Olu Deniz. Through the light cloud colourful paragliders slowly come into view, there are so many, perhaps twenty, gently drifting downwards before hitting the thermals and skimming the mountainous backdrop. We are mesmerised, they glide together in an almost synchronised pattern, then twisting and weaving past one another like dancing partners in the stunning blue sky. Each then separate off in their own direction to skillfully come to a sleek touchdown on the golden sandy beach below, what an amazing sight.
Our day must move on, we plan to travel further west into Gocek town.
As we begin our tidying and securing a couple of small speed boats squeeze themselves between 'Kejstral' and the German yacht to our right, unsure of their intention, we say hello and hope for a little information!
They oblige and inform us that if they secure their vessel onto ours, the 6 passengers will experience the swimming in these unique waters around our boat, then they will be gone. We barely acknowledge the request when ropes were secured and all 6 occupants had disembarked into the crystal clear, freezing waters. We carry on tidying and leave them to enjoy the adventure, squeals and shouts, giggles and splashes fill the atmosphere, clearly the cold morning dip has been a success.
Our route will take us the 18 n.m to Gocek bay, west of our current location. Our stern lines are loosened from their rocky fastenings, the anchor is drawn in, we release ourselves from this pretty bay and set off on our journey. The winds are light in the bay and 'Kejstral' takes her place in the watery highway, where the wind escalates to 18 knots, she gathers speed quickly. We sail on a close reach most of the way, just a few sail trims required to maintain our 5 knots of speed. this perfect sailing breeze carries us past one other yacht, they glide majestically through these light waves, spray catching their crew by surprise as a rogue wave catches their gleaming white hull. The hot sun drains us of what little energy we have mustered, lethargic limbs rearrange ropes while our tired brains contemplate the next anchorage. We still have not become accustomed to these ferocious sunrays, still struggle to drink adequate fluids and apply yet another layer of sun cream. At night the temperature barely drops low enough to give respite from our sweaty skin and fuzzy heads, but it is now September, it could change at any minute!
As we enter the large bay of Gocek, boats appear from everywhere, some are tucked into tiny picturesque coves with barely enough room to swing on anchor, cruisers speed past us creating a huge foamy wake behind them, travelling much faster than the 5 knots accepted by this local area. This coastline is intriguing, so many pretty coves nestled into tree covered hillsides, turquoise waters urging us to swim. Little wooden sunbleached jetties litter the bay, awaiting our ropes and those ready for a taste of adventure and paradise. We bypass this haven and head for the main Gocek bay as we must provision for our next few days. There are as I have previously mentioned in my blog, supermarket boats, they anchor in these more remote little bays, and carry a huge range of stock a perfect solution for those relaxing holiday sailors who with to avoid the busier town. Refuse boats will travel across the bay regularly which is a great assistance when too far from the town, they send a tender out and for a small fee, will dispose of any garbage you have accumulated, a fabulous services.
By 2pm, our anchor was sufficiently set in a rather annoying swell, but it should die off later as the wind settles......we hope.
Once happy and fed, we took Zoe our tender, to shore for a catch up on the internet and our much needed shopping. Kevin loves this part, he really does, especially the air conditioning and of course the chocolate aisle!
The atmosphere is lovely in this town, three marinas sit in the large main bay, the shopping area has a great selection of quaint beautifully decorated gift stores awaiting our hard saved cash. The quality of goods sold here appears a little better than some other towns, I think partly due to the most enormous beautiful cruisers and superyachts which sit elegantly in the bay, who of course send their upmarket crew ashore for provisions. In the evenings, the rather wealthy guests are taken serenely across to land for cocktails and a sumptuous meal in one of the higher class of restaurants. Even the supermarkets are a touch more classy than elsewhere, and stock some of the sought after items which are unavailable normally.
We retreat to the local council Belediyesi for our drink, the internet is particularly speedy and refreshments are a good price.......for Gocek!
Once suitably refreshed and communications attended to, we head for the provisioning part of the day. Food shopping is a little more tricky than in the UK, mainly due to the lack of availability of tinned goods and limited ranges of packet items. However, the range of fresh vegetables and fruit can be overwhelming.
Stepping between boxes of ripe juicy oranges and the biggest mishapen bananas I have ever seen, we wander through the watermelon and find ourselves cornered by cartons of carrots. Potatoes are piled high and still caked in soil, leeks scattered loosely nearby, all of the vegetables and fruit look so healthy and large with not an ounce of preservatives in sight.
Nestling among mountains of blue berries and cranberries, sit figs both fresh and dried, mouth watering apricots and peaches, almost too big to hold are stacked high in crates ready to be added to this colourful display. Everything sold here is brought straight from the small local farms in muddy tractors, driven by the farmer and probably his wife and dog. What an amazing way of life, long forgotten to most of us nowadays.
Our shopping mission is complete, the bags of goodies are loaded into it tender Zoe, sitting precariously low in the water, we slowly motor towards 'Kejstral' in an attempt to not only soak everything including me, but to avoid sinking our very heavily laden Zoe!
Back on board, the amazing bream caught at anchor in Kalkan yesterday, are washed, then oiled and wrapped loosely in foil, before being placed on our gas BBQ and cooked gently. A huge salad is prepared from our fully stocked fridge of goods. Fresh crusty bread is carefully sliced while a glass of rose, homemade wine is meticulously poured as we settle down for our evening on ' Kejstral'. Subtle music plays from a nearby bar, a mixture of Turkish and occasional European tunes, while we idly linger over the backgammon board. Finally, when unable to keep our tired eyes open we head to our cabin for a good nights sleep.
Our journey today will take us west along the Turkish coastline back to Kalkan, having anchored here recently we knew roughly where the safe, good depth spots were. Having paid for some freshly baked bread and stowed our belongings, we set off from this perfect little spot in Nuri Beach. We wound our way through the numerous brightly coloured fishing boats, out through the bay entrance into a very calm open sea. Virtually no movement on the water, our route looked amazing, yet within minutes of leaving this sheltered bay the breeze ruffled our hair and the oceans surface. Gentle lapping waves splashed and slapped against the hull, 'Kejstral' slipped through each rolling dipping crest, undulating gracefully to our destination. The wind which had been sparse initially grew in force as we sliced through the growing waves, 10 knots filled our sails perfectly, however the wind direction altered over the first few miles, bringing it onto our bow, totally the wrong place. This meant instead of us heading west, our direction must now be adjusted and we have to tack either side of the wind. Not only does this extend the length of our journey, but we have to put in some work maneovering the sails regularly. Yes we are being lazy, as recently the wind has allowed us to set the sails for the entire passage leaving us free to relax read and write. Not today, today we must put our muscles to good use and manipulate 'Kejstral' according to the wind, land and sea in 35 degrees of sunshine!
19.7 n.ms to Kalkan, trawling line behind us, yet not a fish in sight, could have had a good tuna for tea. The waters are empty the fishing is dire which is pretty bad news for the locals who rely on this food source. We do spot a few vibrant blue flying fish launching themselves through the air just above the rippling waves and sea spray, these mystical shimmering winged fish resemble sparkling blue fairies skimming the surface at an amazing speed. At least that is how Kevin described his sighting!
Our route took us past the Kalkan harbour where the bustling town folk entice the holiday visitors to sample their menus and goods. Streams of little boats chug wearily into the congested fishing harbour, each fighting for a small space to disembark with freshly caught fish and smiling sight seeing visitors. Gulets take up residence in the sheltered coves nearby with music softly drifting after them, those settled into position already, off-load their hot sticky tourists into the cooling clear water. Barbeque aromas beging to filter into the afternoon heat, ready for the hungry swimmers to bask in this spectacular bay, beer in one hand and burger in the other.
We find our suitable spot between a catamaran and another similar sized yacht, neither seem occupied at present. We anchor about 20 meters out from the rocks, providing enough privacy for each vessel around us. A sandy grassy sea bed holds us securely as the wind has escalated to around 15 knots, not too problematic, we just swing around more than we would like. As soon as our anchor has set successfully, we head straight for a swim to cool off, the water is perfectly clear and cool.
As the afternoon sun begins to drop, the temperature follows suit. Mountainous scenery surrounds our bay, king fishers can be heard chattering in the leafy greenery, every animal, bird and person seem to come alive as the heat subsides. Having spent months in this oppressive temperature we long for that evening reprieve, it is the perfect time for sitting outside the sunshade without that painful glare and sweat trickling down our backs.
Kevin decided to try for some fish, out goes the line, dipping into the empty ocean, most previous attempts have been fruitless so no excitement in his casting. Within minutes he has picked out two bream, one large enough for a good meal, the other one slightly smaller. Then moments later a now buzzing Kevin pulls out a further three edible sized fish. Brilliant, but just a bit late for today's meal, as tea was cooking nicely on the gas stove!
Once descaled and cleaned they sat awaiting their fate in our fridge until tomorrow. (Must find some good recipes for fish!)
Our evening meal complimented by a glass of home made rose wine, and subtle background music drifting from the various gulets nearby.
We lay on deck staring at the beautiful display of glimmering stars, an awesome sight when the surrounding area has little or no artificial light to ruin the effect. An occasional star breaks free and shoots across the inky black sky, caught briefly in the blink of an eye during which, frantically thought of wishes are hastily produced, then probably forgotten as the night lingers on.
22.8 N.ms, no wind on the weather forecast, great!
Don't fancy motoring all the way. The bay we were in had quite a breeze building so we were hopefully going to to catch some of that on route.
We had planned to leave around 10.am but we hate hanging around, as we had eaten breakfast washed and tidied, there was no reason to stay.
Leaving the bay took 10 minutes with 10 knots in a good direction we unfurled our mainsail which filled gently with the lovely breeze. As we rounded the land mass and travelled between Kastalorizo, the Greek Island, we tacked to maintain that wonderful force of nature. Heading out into the open sea, usually provides a little more wind therefore more speed. With the Genoa and mainsails out we were flying, I cannot describe that feeling of freedom and power when the engine is silent and the air pressure and force, together with manipulation of the sails take you across the water. To see the sails curving beautifully and not flapping wildly gives us a massive sense of achievement and pleasure.
Within an hour we were healing over so much both sails had to be reduced in size, effectively slowing a little but more importantly allowing 'Kejstral' to sit comfortably on the water. (Less chance of us falling out too!)
Our journey should only take just over 4 hours at a speed of 5 knots however, at the wind is rarely a constant force, our speed varies accordingly. In addition, in order to travel from one point to another, we must chose our direction based on where the wind is coming from. Straight lines are not always possible, zig zags are sometimes needed. This of course takes time, more time than a straight route. Our journey therefore took 5 Hours.
Having read about Cold Water bay and friends had told us how amazing it was, we thought we must sample a little of this tiny bay.
On our approach a small motor boat zipped between each yacht, he seemed to be guiding each into the perfect position with limited language and plenty of hand signals the various captains from all over Europe managed to understand and follow his instructions.
He asked us to squeeze into a tiny cove within the small bay, not somewhere we would have risked normally. Our stern lines were hijacked by our assistant and tied securely around some pre prepared metal rods drilled into the rocky shore. These ropes were then attached back on 'Kejstral' and pulled taught after our anchor had been dropped with precision in a set spot. What a well planned, tightly packed little anchorage. Had each yacht dropped anchor by themselves, I think only six or seven vessels would have been comfortable. With this guy's planning, we had around 20 yachts sitting snugly and safely in this tiny piece of paradise and what a lovely atmosphere.
This very picturesque bay looking over the mountains around Oliu Deniz, with lush green hillsides, tree lined shores and turquoise waters and of course, a tiny cobbled walkway leading upwards to what appears to be an impressive restaurant, balancing on a ledge above this unique little bay.
We took the plunge, and as described, the water was absolutely freezing, running from these high mountains and flowing rapidly through crevices between the rocks until it splashes icily into the cool sea below. Every couple of metres a warm patch gives solace from the harsh cold, skin tingling shocks of freezing water however, it was breathtakingly beautiful and refreshing.
Once back on board, drying in the now cooling afternoon with the shade of mountains shielding us, we relax while watching further yachts being guided perfectly into gaps. Once secured, the crew leap unsuspectingly into the shocking waters below, so funny to hear their gasps and screeches, as they launch themselves from the boats.
We showered then rowed zoe to the beach where steps and a cobbled stone path led us up the hillside to a great little family run restaurant. The view down to the bay was gorgeous, with yachts tightly packed below us, the skill of our assistant on his motor boat was incredible, he has clearly been planning this 'parking' arrangement for quite some time!
High on this hillside white tablecloths adorn the many wooden benches and quaint tables, flowers fill vases and tiny candles flicker in the evening breeze.
Pristine white dishes, sparkling glasses and shiny cutlery all set out in anticipation of these boat owners and their families. Filled with enthusiasm, and excited to see what was on offer in this pretty restaurant, a trail of weary sun dried customers ascend the cobbled steps. The twinkling lights brought a warm glow to this busy thriving business, tables soon filled, corks popped and 'cheers' signalled in many different languages, before a continuous stream of loaded plates arrived for consumption and clearance.
We opted to eat here as the prices were reasonable and the chicken curry turned out to be delicious.
Impromptu entertainment from a Turkish group of friends completed this fabulous evening. Singing and guitar with drum accompaniment carried us through until bedtime, with this great atmosphere and food reminding us how incredibly lucky we are to experience this wonderful lifestyle.
We wandered back to 'Kejstral' feeling full and happy, sat on bow on beanbags with a glass of wine then settled for a good night's sleep ......
Woke early to the sound of ferries travelling back and forward to Kas, we hadn't realised what a busy place this was.
Our plan today was to catch a ferry ( free) into Kas, change our empty gas bottle and collect some shopping, mainly bottled water and other drinks.
Ferry left late, Turkish time! We were the only two passengers, two young 20 something year olds running the service, and very slick at manoeuvring the boat.
While steering these lads managed to fish on the way, 15 minute journey and they caught two, one small the other a larger tuna, poor Kevin could not believe it!! The harbour in Kas is very busy with trip boats taking their guests to the many little Islands and bays in this area, with promises of turtle and dolphin sighting excited visitors cling to the handrails with their cameras held high. Dive boats scuttle past with their exhausted passengers, tidying, cleaning and packing the cylinders of air / oxygen mix. Wet suits flapping themselves dry on hangers attached to every possible surface. Flippers dripping and goggles left strewn across the benches, must have been a tiring dive today.
We nudge our way through the many vessels finding the spot reserved for Nuri's beach boat.
,On the harbour, people queue for their days trip, various destinations including one to the Greek Island of Kastalorizo or Meis not sure why it has two names?
Above our heads shadows form which make everyone look skywards what a sight. Paragliders have made their way from high on the mountains to glide beautifully over Kas town, they look spectacular. Reds and purples pinks and oranges form rainbows above us, travelling in tandem these amazing flying kites gently float using thermals heat from the land to stay high in these stunning blue skies. They come so close to brushing each mountain yet each floating rainbow coloured sail touches nothing but the air around them. As they near ground each pupil clinging to their instructor, looks wide eyed yet exhilarated with huge grins, until they descend towards the hard, stony ground! The moment they recognise that impending crunch their faces become taught with teeth clenched and eyes invariably closed. But what an impeccable landing each makes, toes touching the ground running gently to gain momentum just as the road feels firm beneath them. Precision, I am impressed.
Just as I stop filming this fantastic sight a young girl of around 20 ish comes running over to us, "you caught pictures of my landing, please could you send them to me as I only have the pictures from the Instructor which are just of me not the chute". Of course I oblige, she is so happy. Sabina is duly sent our video and photos, they look pretty amazing.
We stroll onwards up the hill to the gas supplier, wow it's hot, hardly a breath of air, it is now the 8th Sept, it should be cooling down by now!
This section of Kas town is filled with local eating places, they smells wafting from each doorway are wonderful spices and pastry, meat gently cooking until a beautifully tender state. We are drawn to these aromas, the vendors smile in acknowledgement of their effect on us, " would you like to eat?" We decline, wishing that our money would stretch so much further, but alas......These restaurants are brilliant, really lovely people cooking fabulous local cuisine at a fraction of the price of the more touristic places. In addition, they are happy to serve meze free. (Turkish starter of usually vegetables in sauces and yoghurt, simply divine)
At the end of your meal which normally is accompanied by bread, lots of gorgeous yummy fresh bread, we are generally offered free cay or khave, Turkish tea or coffee. For around 25 tl for two people (£6 in total!)
Our pennies need to purchase some gas, with all this cooking and tea drinking on board, we use one small gas bottle in four weeks of travelling. They are between 20 and 25 tl each, price of our meal in the restaurant!
Supplies are also purchased in the local supermarket mainly drinks, water, coke orange and apple juice. In these temperatures we consume so much fluid, on average our body loses around 500 mls of fluid through breathing and perspiration ( yes, even us ladies) In 35 degrees of heat, we seem to lose a massive amount more and as everyone knows dehydration is lethal. When your urine is no longer almost clear in colour, straw coloured ...........drink and drink again ( just not alcohol! )
I am not normally one to discuss bodily fluids however, we will have a 'wee' discussion quite regularly in this climate.
The drinks bought, we opt for a cheese pastry known as a peyner sigorta, at 2tl and two vanilla buns for 2.50tl plus a large water 1.5 tl total cost 6 tl (£ 1.50) not too bad for a lunch. Benches are placed everywhere in towns in this country, the belediyesi or council seem to expect everyone to need a sit down. Luckily they are usually placed in perfectly shady and pretty spots, meaning we can plonk our hot tired selves down whenever we feel drained and too knackered to carry on. ( They have them virtually every 100 yards )
Our lunch has been demolished, water almost gone and it is time to head back to 'Kejstral' with our heavy goods. Only dilemma is, our return ferry will not leave for two hours! There are of course other boats available which charge a couple of lira, so we opt for one of those. Either two hours of dehydration and heavy bags and more water required to replace our perspiration, or we head straight back and swim, hmm I know which you would choose?
Once back and shopping stowed we jump ( ok, Kevin jumps) I slither pathetically into the lovely cool water from the pontoon, it is heaven. Rocky pools around this little bay are home to hundreds of little whitebait fish, they swim with and around us with no fear at all. Boats chug around these very picturesque bays carrying people to a sunbathing spot.
Blog updated then over to the bar for a beer, we must head there as the water and electricity are free as are the moorings and we are always careful not to abuse their facilities.
Our evening meal was taken on board then we enjoyed the evening on the internet sending email and just relaxing whilst watching the sunset.
Ferries continue through the evening hours carrying people back into Kas, there is always something to watch and keep us entertained.
Today, we travel back towards Kas, we must begin our journey towards home as time is running out, it will take us perhaps another week to get back to Akbuk from here.
We collected Lee for a short trip ashore in order to gather provisions, Larry had been feeling unwell therefore stayed on board.
This lovely town engaged us once again with its burst of enthusiasm, we gazed at fabulous materials swinging from stalls, vivid pinks and blues flapping in the light breeze. A well stocked market store with goods stacked high to its rafters, provided almost everything we could possibly need. Fruit and vegetable stalls ripe with healthy goods, forfilled our last requirements, bags loaded, arms heavily laden we wander back to our tender. It would be rude not to have a drink with Lee before we part company and head in opposite directions. They will follow this coastline a little further east, while we backtrack in a westerly heading.
Our beer is thoroughly enjoyed, however tinged with a touch of sadness as we say goodbye to this lovely fun couple, we have said we will meet up again nearer our home in Akbuk. We do realise that this may not happen as Lee & Larry have so much to see and only so long to enjoy this beautiful country, before they must fly to their home in New Zealand.
Our goodbyes said, we make our way back to 'Kejstral' ready to pack and set sail.
We stow our provisions and pack our possessions before grabbing a quite bite of lunch. Our destination is 18 n.ms away in a bay near Kas called Nuri bay, the pilot book suggests a "tranquil setting only accessible by boat" our idea of heaven.
Kevin starts the engine while I take the anchor up, within minutes we are waving to our friends and maneovering our boat between the red and green buoys which highlight this rocky shallow entrance to Ocagiz.
Out into the shimmering sea where the swell pushes itself into our path, we unfurl the Genoa into its favourite shape which delights us with a speedy response. The main sail is freed which helps to stabilise our hull, as the wind is coming from a westerly direction which is typically where we want to head, our position is adjusted to allow a close reach and a happy sail. The swell seemed to gather momentum forcing against our beam, which unfortunately begins to drop our speed. With careful tweaking our vessel is carried onwards yet not sufficiently to compensate for this robust swell. Tacking four or five times, we eventually bring 'Kejstral' into a perfect position which will carry us at a reasonable speed of 5 knots, despite the sea and it's lively nature.
With around 23 knots of wind to propel us, we arrive in Nuri bay 3.5 hours later, and what a great place.
As we turn into the bay entrance the wind now sheltered by this land, we ease our sails and drop speed giving us an opportunity to survey the area before deciding where to anchor. There are two bays on our starboard side and Kas harbour about a mile away on the port side. Clear turquoise waters lie in front of these very quaint bays, the first housing a few fishing boats with small cruisers swinging on anchors in shallow areas. Three stone buildings sit comfortably on the grassy shore looking out at this glorious setting, idyllic little homes that we would ache to own.
The second bay is home to a small campsite with its restaurant and a few guest rooms adjoining. Three little ferries are tied to a long silvery grey wooden jetty, at the other end sit a couple of yachts similar in size to ours. There is space for us, but only just enough for a careful manoeuvre as long as we all breath in!
Another yacht is tied stern to the rocks nearby, we wondered if the captain was waiting for a space to be available on the jetty. Should we just grab this little spot or tie stern to as well? Ok so, sorry other yacht, but we are going for the space........
As we came closer to find a willing participant on the jetty, one of the little ferries was encouraged by the restaurant worker to move, perfect.
The same man shouted that he had a lazy line for us, which means we needn't drop our anchor, how convenient is that? As Kevin brought us into the, now improved space, I gathered the helpful lazy line and secured our bow. Stern lines now tied, we thanked our helping hand and gazed at this fantastic little haven. What a perfectly set up establishment situated in a high rocky cove, no wonder it is only manageable by water, as is the idyllic bay next door.
Five minutes later the yacht that had tied stern to by the rocks, appears right next to us, clearly happy to have a spot on this jetty, so I guess he was waiting after all, he just hadn't made a clear attempt which would have been noticed by the waiting restaurant worker.
We relax on board absorbing this fabulous little spot, electric available on the jetty, always a good point, hoses nearby for washing and tanks with the added benefit of wi-fi accessible from our comfy cockpit seat, what more could we ask for? Only a few lazy footsteps to our right is the jetty end and a slippery ladder into the most perfect water, from this vantage point we watched some kayaks meandering through the rocky contours of this bay, a perfectly clear sea, aids their leisurely progress across towards shore. Sunbeds lay littered with bronzed bodies toasting gently, towels strewn over unoccupied recliners, the kayaks trickle across a rope barrier, dodging a few families who splash wildly and noisily nearby. The restaurant in front of our mooring is preparing for the evening meal, crisp napkins stand to attention within their protective holders, shiny silver ware chinks against gleaming white plates. The waiting staff methodically line up each setting with precision and care while chattering non stop and barely acknowledging their workload.
It is hard to envisage a busy establishment in this remote bay, where is the custom likely to come from?
We of course must enjoy at least a drink here, perhaps even food if it looks reasonably priced. When we saunter the few yards to our icy cold beer we are greeted by the very friendly staff who offer drinks, nibbles and a menu to survey before we even find a seat, what lovely people who really appreciate the cruising yachting community. As we sit idly on white painted chairs at the edge of the wooden decking, we begin to realise how this little place makes their living. Small ferry boats begin to pull up alongside the jetty, the initial few containing only one or two visitors, then gradually from the nearby town of Kas, ten or so people at a time step from these numerous colourful boats. Within a few hours the restaurant was a bustling, delicious smelling, staff filled eatery, we just had to stay and eat. The food was amazing, fresh fish, steaks and burger filled plates glide by our hungry taste buds, warm bread with oil and balsamic vinegar are set down before us. Divine, we are then treated to the most fabulous chicken fajitas ever, sizzling hot, warm wraps and crunchy salad, we are in heaven!
The atmosphere is brilliant, light music, hoards of happy people, perfect food and fabulous company to end another day in our travels around this Turkish coastline.
Today we travel a little further into Kekova bay, to a spot called Ocagiz only 3.5 n.ms away. Tucked snugly into a smaller bay within a larger outer bay, this well protected little haven is really pretty with shallow waters 4-6 meters throughout, but full of gulets whizzing around. They seem to be everywhere you look, I cannot imagine where the passengers have all come from, this area is rather remote on this southern coast, yet the trip boats are stacked alongside the harbour in anticipation of their numerous visitors.
We anchored in what we thought was a good spot, Lee & Larry following. A few other yacht's bobbed around their trusty anchor chains nearby. Crystal clear waters gave an almost tropical feel to this bustling environment with a mountainous silhouette providing the perfect backdrop. Healthy trees bend and bow to a rhythm created by the gentle breeze, leaves shimmering as each catch those sparkling rays of sunshine, such an idyllic setting. Once securely anchored, 'Kejstral' is facing bow to the bay entrance, our cockpit faces a row of small jetties protruding from the town inviting us into their surroundings. Alongside grassy shores lie yet more sarcophagus, lots of them, perching on little hilltops, others part submerged at the waters edge. Settling between buildings and cars, these stone caskets throw a touch of history between the vibrant town activities. A few small rocky outcrops sit around the outside of this bay, most of which still hold onto the remains of stone cottages and houses, gorse thriving perfectly in their shade while birds find shelter within their crumbling walls.
We took Zoe our tender across the short distance to shore, as, never quite knowing the safest place to abandon her. We later learned that each of these small wooden jetties are in fact built by the town council, providing a fantastic choice for boaters like ourselves. Additionally saving us from the obligatory drink or food purchase generally expected when we tie up to someone's private jetty.
The town is smaller than it appeared from the sea, spread around the beach front are numerous restaurants all expectantly awaiting your thirsty arrival. All over the hill behind and trailing towards the sea are sarcophagus, never ending piles of them. Old stone ruins nestled between the trees and little stalls set out, offering locally produced clothing and hand woven linen goods. Bougainvillea plants trail pink flowers over the worn encryptions, their leaves tickling tthemselves nscriptions of long emptied sarcophagus. We cannot believe there are so many just dotted around this little town. Three stores provide both locals and traveller's with their fruit vegetables and the smell of freshly baked bread tempts us in by tantalising our nostrils. Huge fresh peaches piled high in crates, peppers of green red and yellow stacked neatly next to washed potatoes which are enormous, all just awaiting their purchase. Vendors chat happily with us in their native language we try our best to pick out the words and phrases leading the conversation. We struggle with the speed at which they talk, but manage to answer and nod appropriately.......we hope!
Hand crafted jewellery and trinkets displayed on many of the stalls are pointed out by there eager makers, each smiling happily despite our declining words. For such a compact town we are amazed to see such busy people with their vibrant goods managing to stay afloat with thriving businesses.
Our walk was short yet my brain feels exhausted with the bright colours and bold people, busy boats and bustling stalls, so much to take in within such a small place.
As we reach Zoe tied onto her well worn jetty, the small wooden shack nearby drew us in for refreshments. Sinking comfortably into soft padded cushions on bamboo chairs, we absorb this beautiful setting. Sipping ice cold local beer we gaze over at a little fleet of brightly painted fishing boats, with nets sprawled over the wooden decks, fishermen busy themselves with repairs and cleaning. Trip boats hosting hoards of fresh faced holiday makers all pointing and gesticulating towards their newly spotted surroundings, whizzed by creating a wake which sent the fishermen awkwardly tumbling into their clean and newly repaired nets.
As the day progressed we realised the sea was not quite as sedate and quiet as we hoped for. Despite the protective outer bay, this little inlet managed to collect and hold onto that incoming swell. That together with the wash from other vessels meant a very uncomfortable anchorage.
When we take Zoe our tender back to our boat, it is clear we must move. The swell is growing and becoming more uncomfortable, within a few minutes the decision was made to pull up our anchor and travel 200 yards towards the shore and tuck snugly into a slightly more protected spot, away from the movement and closer to 'Sea Dreams'.
Now that we are somewhat more settled, we spend our evening on board relaxing to some background music with home cooked food and a dash of home made wine, perfect. Well, it would have been........Until the Gulet pulled in alongside us, fortunately it's guests were relatively quiet by bedtime, until that point we watched these happy holiday makers enjoying their meal on deck, followed by an abundance of alcoholic beverages and a spell of drunken dance moves, all great fun to watch from the comfort of our own little private 'Kejstral'.
Kekova bay is the site of villages dating back to the Lycian and Byzantine era, which has since been protected by the Turkish ministry of environment and forests since 1990. This area has prohibited divers, swimmers and coastal fishing since that date which has created a picturesque landscape filled with the beauty of nature, turquoise waters and patches of vivid green forest.
The occupant's of this ancient site apparently committed suicide by fire and their sarcophagus are dotted all over the area, but if they all perished...who built the sarcophagus? Further reading saw that this same village was abandoned following an Arab invasion around the 19th century.
Today we investigate the site for ourselves.
Once in the tender Lee, Larry and ourselves chugged happily towards the wobbling jetty and nearby beach, we scrambled onto land and secured the tender onto the old, well weathered wooden jetty. Two little restaurants made their living from this sheltered lovely bay, the less inhabited looking building is where we are able to have water for our boats, whereas the building to the right seemed a little more inviting. In order to reach the ancient site we must go through one of the restaurant gardens! On our arrival a sombre faced, large bodied man emerged asking if we would like refreshments, in Turkish we explained our plan to go walking then perhaps on our return we may have drinks in his restaurant. Nodding in acceptance, he led us to where the garden met out trail. His gate snapped firmly closed behind us where we found ourselves in a wide open, almost barren field. Orange speckled butterflies danced past us in their search for yellow headed flowers among the dried crisp grasses. Bees noisily buzzed between our sticky bodies as we trudged across this expanse of open sun beaten ground. Twigs snapped while leaves crackled as our footsteps picked through the prickles and rocks until we reached the entrance to a tumbled down looking farm. The gate creaked open inch by inch, rust engulfing each hinge which looked as if they might snap at any second. Scrawny chickens pecked around us, scratching for scraps of grain, bright feathered cockerels complained loudly at our intrusion, while a few multi coloured goats nudged at their wooden enclosure in a useless bid for freedom. A few small tents were carefully positioned under luxuriously shady trees, an old water tap idily dripped onto the dry sun charred soil below. Not a soul to be seen, yet sufficient evidence of a well used camping and farming establishment surrounds us. Birds sit high on the tiniest of branches at the peak of the leafy tall trees, they watch our every move, chirping happily whilst no doubt highlighting our presence to their feathery friends.
Deserted farm buildings sprawl over this landscape, some in ruins, held together only by the strongest of stone walls, roofs long gone lay in pieces inside and sprinkles of terracotta tile nestle among the overgrown weeds outside. Window openings allow nesting birds to set up home, squatters languishing in these abandoned buildings.
Ancient yellow sandstone walls disguised with wild ivy and crispy twigs sit precariously on the waters edge, beautifully shaped keystone's and lintels sit gracefully on the arched entrance ways leading us through into yet another little parcel of yesteryear and foliage.
We pick our way through this mesmerising hillside which meanders around the waters edge, stepping over these tumbled down building blocks and tree roots we are faced with the most amazing site.
Sarcophagus are left scattered across the tiered hillsides many showing signs of damage and disturbance, other ancient coffins stand proudly with beautifully sculptured stone lids bearing unrecognisable inscriptions from an era long gone. These burial grounds hold so much history of the lives and culture within this country, stories of devastating war, life changing earthquakes, all consuming plagues and horrendous tragedy. As we stroll past broken caskets and crumbling stone our minds are filled with, who's, why's and when's, if only these artifacts could give us more insight into this turbulent era.
Stepping beyond this site, we are drawn to an old grey stone house balancing on the tip of a small peninsula, an artist's dream to paint or capture on film. Situated perfectly on a pebbly headland, with a small fishing jetty and wooden boat tied alongside, this captivating home in this picturesque setting is just heavenly. Blue painted shutters protect its dwellers from the dazzling summer sun, while a hearty thick stone exterior minimises the harsh cold winds of winter. It's outlook is filled with the fabulous historical site and the little tranquil bay beyond where the fishermen can watch their lines and nets safely.
This bay opposes the one we are securely anchored within. It is known to be particularly lively in a westerly wind, and the more sheltered inlet is much too shallow for yacht's, therefore not a good anchorage for us.
The sun began to take its toll on our weary bodies, despite our bottled water we struggled. The heat is overpowering draining what little stores of energy we had, which encouraged us to head back. Again we marveled at the surroundings, with just a little less vigour, tired limbs took us through those old walls and tombs until we untied the farm/ campsite gate. Carefully stepping around the various poultry, we ambled lazily onwards until we met a couple of sailing friends of Lee and Larry.
Marietjie and Archie from South Africa had anchored near us and had that same wish to experience this lovely site. After a chat we continued our walk until we finally reached the two restaurants near 'Kejstral'. Of course by this time we had become particularly parched therefore, our earlier conversation with the rather unhappy looking owner, meant we must stop at his establishment for refreshments. Icy cold beer and a bench, what more could we possibly need!
Our boats swung lazily around their respective anchors, moving aimlessly with the gentle current, their flags barely tickled by the odd puff of breeze created from other passing boats. We gaze out over this quiet bay watching swallows skim the treetops, dipping down for a tasty fast food snack onto the dry crunchy grass below. The beer consumed, our weary feet rested, therefore time to head back on board for lunch and a siesta, it is pretty hard coping with continuous heat and a breezless atmosphere.
Marietjie and Archie ( the couple from South Africa ) were anchored behind 'Kejstral', and having decided to go for our evening meal to one of the restaurants, we climbed into Zoe our tender and motored over to ask them to join Lee, Larry and ourselves for dinner that evening.
For a few hours we read, dozed and slip down into the cool calm water for respite from that burning sun, fish follow our gentle movements as we wrinkle the glassy waters. We don our snorkels and investigate our surroundings, a grassy, sandy seabed holds little shoals of inquisitive white stripy fish, they nibble at the sand before darting swiftly away into the distance on our approach. A couple of sea bass wind and weave their way through the longer foliage, their behaviour signals to us, we have invaded their territory, but they stay proudly protecting and circling their home ground as we glide past. Small brown crabs side step their way over an uneven pebbly patch, their pincers snipping the water with each faltering wobbling step. Their beady eyes catch our movements, they freeze in posture as we agitate the water overhead, once past and bearing no threat to them, their little white legs carry them onwards on their journey across this endless seabed.
We drip dry on the deck, allowing the hot sun to evaporate the salty water, our skin tingles as the fine hairs dry leaving a crispy salty residue behind. Our attention is drawn to a visiting yacht, her white hull shines brightly against the deep blue water, she is traveling quickly on this increasingly windy afternoon. Although there is around 12 knots of wind, this yacht appears to be skillfully titrating her sails to achieve a great speed. Her captain moves in for a sharp tack bringing the vessel across this bay beautifully, surprisingly cutting slickly between the already anchored yacht's. As she reached the shallow waters to our left, yet another tack was initiated, what an awesome sight, this captain and crew have obviously carried out these maneouvers many times. Again a skillful change of course brings them snugly between a sleepy flotilla of resting boats. Another tack brought them closer to us, we waved a greeting as did each of our neighbours, by this point every stationary vessel had caught sight of this amazing sail. An audience of probably twelve boatees watched with baited breath as this vessel and crew brought in their sails whilst gently gliding to a perfect mooring alongside the wobbliest jetty in the world! Even a round of applause erupted from their audience as they brought their yacht to an adept landing, what an achievement!
At six pm, we all piled into the 'sullen faced, large man's' restaurant, two other wooden tables lay near our dining space both filled with English charter yacht captains and crew. One of which held that magnificent team of sailing experts, they enjoyed a congratulatory, ego bursting few minutes as we all threw compliments at their skillful display that afternoon.
Soon the atmosphere grew warm with comfortable chatter, light background music and great food. Our neighbours became new friends, and our collective stories of pristine bays, fabulous new villages and amazing experiences, gave us all a burst of inspiration for our future journeys. The tables of holiday guests nearby clearly eager for snippets of perfect anchorages and well priced harbours, joined our conversations. Advice was sought of the local traditions and customs surrounding this unique country, tip and hints were passed around while mental notes were made of facilities and provisions, all of us willing to share valuable information to our fellow sailors.
What an eclectic mix of people, from a fantastic range of places, South Africa, New Zealand, us from Turkey and the British group, all travelling around this stunning coastline enjoying this tranquil lifestyle. We have certainly met some lovely people on our journey so far.
Today we are meeting a couple of sailing friends who live in Kas they have been living in Turkey for a few years, and keep their yacht 'Indian Summer', a 40 foot Bavaria, in Kas marina. We try to catch up with them each year which is lovely and they have been really helpful in our search for our boat. Pep and Mick lived aboard for a few years with their gorgeous Dalmatian Prince, and actually sailed 'Indian Summer' from the UK. However, Prince is now finding the companionway or stairs a little tricky now that he is getting older which has encouraged them to find accommodation in the area, they still manage to sail very regularly and offer yacht charter over the summer season. We spent the morning in a little bar having coffee and enjoying our catch up, at some point we hope to sail alongside them on one of their trips.
Whilst relaxing in this seafront bar, the paragliders began to appear from high on the sheer rockface above us, yellow, black and red shutes silently glide across the clear crisp skies. Lazily they meander down through the rocky backdrop, gently drifting over the highest treetops before descending down over roofs and buildings. Slowly the faces filter into focus, expressions of pure delight and awe at their achievement. As they descend, drawing closer to land and almost skimming the water surface, the expressions clearly change to a brief moment of fear and panic as touch down looms ahead. Wide eyed, each glider eases themself tentatively down for a perfectly smooth landing on the narrow harbour wall. Elation replaces those furrowed brows with huge smiles of happiness and I imagine probably a little relieved that both feet are now resting on that safe firm ground. Our eyes follow each change of direction, each alteration of course, willing them down through that very unforgiving rocky territory, any unplanned gusts of wind or minor adjustments to their shute would certainly cause serious injury. As each paraglider lowers gently towards the harbour, their enormous coloured wing folds into huge bubbles of bright material, air lingering within their folds, hampering the retrieval process. Rushing to gather their billowing shute, these guys keep a watchful eye on the skies above for the next rainbow coloured incoming, threat and landing. As we look up, the skies are littered with brightly coloured airborne holidaying visitors, what a fabulous experience for these people, in such a beautiful setting.
We said goodbye to our friends and agree to meet up again in the next year, two lovely people with so much experience and knowledge of sailing and life onboard, always good to see them.
We made our way back and had lunch on board 'Kejstral' before packing up ready to sail onwards to Kekova. With our friends Lee & Larry sailing alongside, it will be brilliant to see their yacht with full sails. Kekova is a very picturesque area in southern Turkey, renowned for its beauty. With forestry and wildlife, amazing scenery and villages, not to mention the historical sites, this coastline is not to be missed when sailing.
We follow 'Sea Dreams' out from Kas bay into the more open waters beyond. The wind shaped our main and Genoa sails perfectly, carrying us through a gentle swell. The Greek Island of Meis sat ahead of us, our route following the north and eastern contours of this very popular island. We wound our way through rocky outcrops, skimming the shallows and spotting turtles, lovely bays and sundrenched beaches. We must visit this Island in the future, for now though, we stay in Turkish waters and maintain our planned route.
'Sea Dreams' is a fabulous sight, in full sail she skims the water beautifully, cutting her way through these gently swelling waves. The wind although light, is enough to carry her 50 foot hull easily and curve her enormous sails into that perfect shape. We do have to revert to our engines at one stage, which yet again frustrates us all.
Gulets can be spotted tucking themselves into tight little coves, their lazing guests experiencing the tranquility of this fabulous area and take great pleasure in languishing in its stunning coastline.
The 15 n.m.journey took around 3 hours and with a maximum wind speed of only 7.5 knots we were lucky to achieve most of the trip under sail, at one point we had the goose wing position with our wind coming from behind us, we managed to have a sail out in either direction, mimicking a goose pair of wings. Of course with no spinnaker pole to assist, we couldn't maintain this technique for very long, and flapping sails are not good!
Negotiating our way through the local small islands can be a little tricky as not every outcrop is plotted on the Navionics system used by lots of the sailing community. Therefore a watchful eye must be kept on each land mass, rock and ripple of water, we glide smoothly past the jagged shores and tomb covered Islands. This area is well known for the many sarcophagus dotted over hillsides and shores, and what an eerie yet fascinating sight they make. Rounding the Kekova entrance we pull into the westerly tree lined bay, the foliage creating a very rich green canopy and much needed shade to a couple of small local restaurants.
Our anchor settled nicely into the sandy sea bed, the gentle breeze cooling us from the bow and relieving our sticky bodies. The cool calm water urged us in, allowing us to glimpse it's crystal clear depths, we couldn't refuse. Within moments we slipped into the fabulous coolness, instantly easing our overheated brains. Small curious white fish, scuttle around us, investigating our intrusive behaviour, swimming so close yet darting away furiously as we move around them. We wallow in this perfect spot, sun blazing down with so much power, yet we float and swim in this tranquil cool bath with an amazing backdrop, a little sanctuary for us.
Lee and Larry enjoy the afternoon swimming and relaxing nearby, we are cooking tea this evening for them as we have had some lovely meals onboard 'Sea Dreams'. Pasta, homemade wine and lots of laughs end this lovely day in a great setting with some fabulous friends. Tomorrow we intend to explore this little bay and hope to learn a little piece of its history.
Lee & Larry appeared around 09.00 hours, looking forward to our day out, we all headed ashore leaving 'Kejstral' and 'Sea Dreams' to entertain themselves. Their tender was secured next to a few fishing boats, each with vulnerable looking rope, barely attached to the most crumbling jetty ever! Hope it will still be there on our return!
The roadway took us into town within a few minutes, being quite early, we caught the fishing fleet arrive back from their nights work. Box after polystyrene box were loaded from boat to shore, some pretty heavily filled with the slippery goods. Crabs stretched their blue legs over to where fingers grasped the handles, then one side steps out of its box in a dash for freedom. Meanwhile cray fish investigate the new surroundings with their long stick antenna, sitting tidily in rows and unaware of their fate. The fishermen, seemingly oblivious to their catch's intention to scramble away, gabble to their friends without stopping for a breath. Yet without even turning his head, the fisherman reaches out to one side and retrieves the wandering crab, while continuing to gossip and laugh.
We take the road uphill towards the otogar or bus station, where we have seen the car hire man, when we arrive, his shop is closed with no sign of our car. A neighbouring shop owner takes it upon himself to organise a car, we wait in anticipation of an elevated price to accompany his kind gesture. We negotiate a fair cost for his car for the day, 100tl, we managed to knock him down from 120tl. Let's hope it gets us where we want to go!
We manage to find a map with our chosen destination clearly marked and we go, Kevin and Larry in the front, Lee and I with the navigation behind.
Saklikent Gorge (Hidden city) is our destination, we have read about its amazing structure and size, we have spoken to friends who have been and loved it, so we must see this natural phenomenon for ourselves.
The Ministry of forest and water management, govern this site which covers 4068 acres of land and has been established as a National park since 1996.
Snow from the Taurus mountains melt and flow through the rocks, over thousands of years the gorge has been created by corrosion from this water force and flow. The gorge is only passable in the summer months when water flow is at a minimum. It is 11 miles or 18 kms in length and 980 ft deep, one of the deepest in the world.
We arrive in the carpark, and follow signs on foot to an entrance gate, it is rather quiet, yet there are staff members everywhere, I guess it will be filled with hoards of tourists very soon. Signs fill the walls of the wooden entrance porch, highlighting rules and hints for the attraction.
Walking sandals or water footwear are essential, a rucksack for anything you would like to carry, but it could get wet or damaged therefore, less is good! You really need your hands free for stability.
With a little trepidation we walked through the metal gate onto a steel raised walkway, immediately we could see an astounding sight, rockfaces rose up on either side of this huge narrow gorge, the walkway had been built onto the rockface and erected perhaps 10 feet above the gushing stream of fast flowing water.
These massive rocky sand coloured walls towered high towards brilliant blue sky, the cool air in this cavern due to a lack of sunlight and the cold water flowing below us was incredible when the temperature outside hovered around 36 degrees it was around 24 degrees inside this gorge.
Following the walkway our eyes were drawn to a cascade of white frothing water tearing through a smaller crevice just a few feet away, the powerful spray splattered ice cold drops of mountain water towards us. How can it be so cold in these temperatures at this time of the year, and it's force was incredible as it ripped through these ancient rocks. We left the steel path and entered a waiting area, various little huts had been erected selling water shoes and bags for covering items, not designed to get wet. Our rucksacks held only essential money and one camera, knowing that anything we carried was likely to be immersed.
The next challenge was to cross a large very fast flowing stream which poured from those high mountain crevices, a few people balanced gingerly on slippery white rocks, poised ready to leap into the water, a little fear etched on their suntanned faces. As feet touched that racing current, screaches echoed around our cavernous tomb, it was our turn.
Icy cold first steps into the shallow fast flowing stream took our breath away, cries of " it's freezing" filled the air, being last in our group to step forward I now knew what to expect, yet the frozen water still forced a shock and gasp. A rope handrail has been erected, which clearly assisted us as the furious current took us all by surprise. We picked our way over huge rocks and slippery boulders until we stepped onto the grey white rock floor beyond.
A flat shiny rock floor opening took us deeper into these mountainous clay and limestone walls, massive formations of this beautiful white and sand stone coloured rock loomed high above us. Narrow channels led gushing water though these glistening stones, we stepped across streams and into little rock pools, over large boulders and down the other side. Every step hosted a new pool waiting to be dipped into, the water temperature rose as we graduated through the passages. A few visitors emerged as we wandered through this magical hideaway, eyes glowing with pleasure and wonder. Each person wet from waist to toes yet loving the experience of this unique gorge, cameras snap each new crevice and formation for an amazing collection of memories and treasures.
Our path winds into more narrow single file steep climbs, each footstep now lingering and balancing a little longer while searching for that perfect slippy foothold, hands stretch out to grasp at handholds, while splashing through these rocky water pools. Our rucksacks are held higher and we grab each other's hands in this final few feet of now waist high water. As we near the end of this gorge the water warms and rocks narrow a little further deep into the mountain side.
This beautiful place narrows and darkens deeply, the pools more tricky to negotiate with our precious cameras, which is where we decide to head back.
As we trickle back through the now growing crowds of incoming tourists we are relieved that we chose to come early. Women with small babies struggling to maintain their balance, weave around children that barge their way through the adults, with no fear or worry of tripping or falling.
We nimbly pick our way back over this fantastic scenery, through bikini clad youngsters and fully covered Turkish men and women.
Stunning sparkling surfaces surround our walk back, sun light flashes through the trees hundreds of feet above giving a warm yellow glow to this amazing place.
Freezing cold waters greet our wet but warm feet as we step once again into the gushing flow that we had forgotten at the entrance, then we make our way back across the suspended walkway out into the incredible heat of the sun. What a brilliant place to visit, we absolutely loved the experience and recommend it highly if ever in this area.
Once out and exposed once more to the heat, we realise how hot and thirsty we are. At the entrance way a rickety bridge carries us over this now torrential stream which froze our feet a few minutes ago. On the other side is a well established group of snack bars and restaurants, each of them built of decking and balancing precariously over the fast flowing water. We order gozleme, (savoury pancakes) and chicken, rice with beer to celebrate a fabulous morning. We climb onto cushions with typically Turkish, red patterned covers and sit around a flat low table awaiting our lunch. Our view is straight into the vast gorge and looking up towards the steel walkway. Hoards of visitors now line this raised pathway, each scrambling to see the awesome pools and rocks, so happy and relieved we caught this fabulous attraction before they all arrived.
Our food was gorgeous, tasty with spices and flavour, accompanied by the gasps and screeches from within the icy waters. only a few yards away.
Fortunately I had taken spare clothing for us, we couldn't have continued our day in comfort without them, after our quick change we climbed back into our car.
Next stop Kalkan town, we had visited this quaint hillside resort before, however Lee and Larry were yet to be enthralled by its lovely winding cobbled streets and pretty shops and restaurants. We brought our hire car to a parking spot at the upper end of this busy town, this bustling town centre gave no indication that tucked beyond these everyday businesses, lay a very enchanting walkway into an old historical and well preserved 'old' town'.
Each step that we took led us gently downhill and into a very different scene, little stone buildings opened their bright painted doors to entice us inside. Gorgeous silks and cotton goods folded neatly across shelves and hung on racks of wood, sparkling materials caught our eye as we absorb these very Turkish delights in such a pretty shop. Vendors greet us as we linger at colourful window displays, golden ornaments and shining lamps sparkle in this hot afternoon sunshine. We smile and reply our thank you to invitations of cay in every doorway, each owner willing us inside to admire and of course purchase yet more fabulous goods. Little coffee shops perch on steps, large plants and soft seats add to these lovely garden rooms, they are almost hidden among these sandstone walls and cobbled streets. We amble down the winding paths, Larry disappears into a fabulous old building, we loiter nearby admiring yet more beautifully dressed windows and displays. Once he emerges, we are surprised to hear that the shop owner has had no customers at all that day, exquisite rugs and brightly woven carpets fill these windows, yet not one has been purchased, such a sad thought knowing that rent and rates for these premises must be extortionate. This delightful town is so inviting and beautiful, yet the tourists are not coming, unfortunately media and hearsay seem to be a huge reason for this sorry sight.
We make our way onward towards the small beach and seafront bars, sunbeds line this tiny but fabulous sandy shore. Children splash with their siblings and friends, parents relax with their oil covered bodies poised expectantly for those burning rays of heat. Brightly coloured towels lay sprawled across stark white sunbeds, grass covered umbrellas stand guard over their circle of shade. We stop for refreshments overlooking this amazing sight, this beach tucked just below us on our left with bars and eateries overlooking the small busy harbour on our right.
We venture onwards to Kas next, we have seen lots of paragliding each time we have visited this area, the mountains are so high that they lend themselves to this amazing sport, climbers and absailers are also drawn to this fabulous location. We drive in the hope of finding their starting point on the highest part of this mountain range, unfortunately we follow our map, yet still manage to end up in the wrong direction. To add to the frustration we are running low on fuel, and the paragliding seems to be finished for today. Once we realise that this journey is rather futile, we head back towards Kas town. On our route we stop to capture this stunning scenery and our boats anchored directly below, the view is amazing we hadn't realised just how many little Islands sit nearby in the hazy horizon.
Back in Kas we enjoy a beer on the seafront, as we relax in this lovely shaded spot we hear a band strike up and play the Turkish National anthem. Everyone around us stops walking instantly, voices quietened and traffic came to a sudden standstill, what a stunning reaction to their National anthem, very unusual to see. We wander over to where the music had begun and found crowds of local people clapping and cheering, it seemed to be an award ceremony for the Turkish underwater sports federation!
As our day drew to a sticky hot close we decided to find a typically Turkish Lokantasi or eatery, near our car hire shop sat a very small very basic restaurant. As we pulled out our four chairs it's owner leapt to his feet in a bid to assist his new guests, with a polite 'iyi aksamlar' good evening we were offered water, bread and a yummy assortment of dishes from their stove. Green beans cooked in gorgeous tomato sauce, aubergines with tomato and onions, chicken cooked in a delicious sauce and various other dishes. An enormous plate of mixed salad came with a fresh basket of bread, a pomegranate dressing offering a sweet tasty change to this very colourful salad. We ate and loved every mouthful, more bread and salad arrived until we finally gave up counting the courses. Beautifully cooked food and excellent service, we completed our meal with free cay and a huge thank you for our perfect, and extremely cheap meal.
Our feet were tired, and our tummies were full all we needed now was a quiet evening sitting in our cockpit with a perfectly cold, crisp, pink home made wine and to watch the sun disappear. A fabulous day with great friends in an amazing place, just perfect.
Kas is only 13.6 N.m. away, which is just as well really as the wind is determined to evade us. We have woken to a perfectly still, sedate sea and pristine crisp blue sky, neither of which is likely to alter for the next few days. Our weather app has been pretty reliable over the last few weeks, however, during our Greek month it failed to predict those terrible gusty overpowering winds that we endured. For this trip so far, the winds have reflected those on our app pretty well.
Our first task for today is a quick tidy up on 'Kejstral' before we sail to meet our New Zealand friends Lee and Larry in Kas. Our task took no time at all, but was interrupted by the occasional gulet pulling in to anchor nearby, knowing how these captains like to pull up very close beside us, we try to be very vigilant when they appear from nowhere to drop anchor, just to be sure we are not blocked in or our anchors crossed.
We set off at 09.00 hours into the windless bay, 'Kejstral' skimming the glassy surface barely rippling this beautiful sea. A few small fishing boats sit quietly reeling in their empty lines, disappointed faces re bait and toss out for another fruitless attempt. These waters must frustrate those families who rely on a healthy catch, motoring home at the end of an almost fishless day with a pitiful offering. There has been an influx of a breed of very aggressive sharp toothed foreign fish, which unfortunately are powerful and hungry, yet if caught are rather tasteless and unsellable.
We always ask these fishermen about their catch and have yet to see a happy proud response, stories of huge tuna, bass and bream are always from further afield and much deeper waters.
Our mainsail is unfurled, we hope for that little increase in wind but as yet rely on the motor and fuel. The sea as we follow the southern coastline begins to develop a gentle swell, this landscape is rocky and the high steep cliffs tower above us with a golden glow as the sun climbs higher over our heads. Small fissures in these cliffs create perfectly triangular beaches in the crevices below, which have been carefully laid out with pretty umbrellas and sunbeds ready for the sun hungry tourists and locals to enjoy. A road runs high on the cliffs following this amazing, pretty coast, where the crevices form, a bridge has been erected which from this vantage point looks fantastic. Cars line the roadway parked for the day above each beach, offering an idea of the number of people enjoying a lazy day of sunshine in these tranquil little coves. The colours look stunning, aqua waters lapping over golden sandy beaches vivid green foliage drawing your eyes to the deep blue cloud less skies above. Each beach managing to fill daily with locals who have knowledge of this unique landscape, people who can spend their day in these blissful backdrops cooling themselves in these gloriously clean waters.
The swell builds over our morning sail, causing us to bob up and down in response, our mainsail helps us remain stable, limiting our swing and therefore our likelihood of seasickness!
As we approach the small Kas inlet, the long peninsula on our right, starboard side, begins to fill with pretty homes and well maintained mature gardens. On our left, port side Kas marina drifts into view. Our friends yacht 'Sea Dreams' is already anchored securely they are not onboard. We throw out our anchor nearby, yet far enough away for privacy and space, however, we are close enough to shout out "beer"!
We have lunch whilst ensuring our anchor is set properly as our next stop is town for a walk and some provisions.
The heat is unbearable, more so as we struggle to find enough shade, we have a spray hood which covers the cockpit preventing sea spray and a shade which unrolls and attaches to the bimeny at the stern however, the sun has the ability to move and so does 'Kejstral'! I know.....I was shocked too! This is where we struggle as the sun and boat never sit in exactly the correct position therefore that dazzling bright unforgiving ball of heat hits us constantly. We do of course erect a haphazard cover from items such as blankets and towels, or in fact anything that's blots out that dreaded sun. But they just look very ... shabby. We have seen some very well shaded, expensive covers on other boats, they look fabulous so at some point we will probably have to throw some money at it just to feel protected and cool. Maybe another year !
Lee and Larry appear in the distance on their very plush tender ( it even has fenders) poor Zoe just has to make do with being bumped into every jetty, beach and pontoon we arrive at.
It is lovely meeting so many interesting and friendly people and helps to make this lifestyle so enjoyable as we share stories and experiences, laughing at our mistakes and gasping at our tales. A beer or two is normally consumed and minutes roll into hours of entertainment, it can be such a social way of travelling.
We spend the afternoon with them planning our trip the following day.
We have decided to hire a car between us and drive to Saklikent Gorge, one of the local tourist attractions, then perhaps visit a few nearby areas not accessible by boat.
That evening Kevin and I take Zoe to the marina just opposite where we have anchored to pick up some provisions. Kas marina is one of the most expensive but well planned marina's in this area, it holds mainly yacht's with a few moderate sized cruisers tied up on the breakwater. 472 boats can be held here.
Marina's are generally used to moor and leave boats for long periods of time whether on the hard standing or 'hard' where repairs and maintenance can be undertaken. Or in a berth or 'floaty area'. You can additionally use them to top up with fuel water and have dirty water emptied from you boat. Water comes in varied colours or terms in boat life, grey water is your dish and shower waste where as black is your toilet waste. Unfortunately this fluid collects as you can imagine, in tanks ( mainly the black water) grey water however is in most cases drained directly into the sea. So, every now and again one has to bow our head and admit to using the toilet and therefore tell the marina's that we need emptying, gorgeous!! The task is not as dreadful as it sounds, the guys at the pumping snap on their latex ( hopefully not) gloves and bring out a pipe, this is connected to the ' waste' compartment on the deck and just .....hoovered out, lovely!
Not one of my favourite parts of boating as discussing toilet usage should be a private matter in my opinion.
The supermarket within this marina is small and surprisingly poorly stocked, considering it is September and there are lots of holiday makers around. It is so small that in each aisle we must hover until the staff member has finished stocking shelves and allows us to pass, hmm not ideal, especially when pushing a trolley of bottled water. We fill up with essential coffee, milk, eggs cheese and cereals, the fresh foods will be sought tomorrow in town in one of those fabulous markets.
Our evening is spent onboard reading and writing and enjoying an amazing sunset with a glass of wine, and looking forward to our sight seeing day tomorrow.