in MediterraneanComments Off on Turkey

We sailed much of a day and motored overnight from Pafos getting into Finike in the early morning…

It is in the cruising southwest of Turkey, gulets rule, there are thousands and even when we arrived at the end of the season there were plenty coming into the marina,

many are beautiful wooden craft, but for their size, they pack into marina space and carry many people!

The marina is adjacent to the old town, a sun-trap in the morning and sheltered from the predominant breeze by the surrounding hills.

Apart from the sea-borne tourist trade from the relatively small marina and the visiting gulets,  Finike is not a major tourism centre,  -it is still a town of Turks.

It doesn’t abound in carpet shops and traps for unwilling/witting tourists!

In reality it is best known for the Saturday morning market, which, as it is the centre of a major fruit and vegetable growing area, is certainly one of the best for fresh produce anywhere;

pomegranates, (they were being shipped out by the truckload), olives, figs, grapes, all citrus in great abundance…

but for me to die for are the tree-ripened, sun-dried figs in autumn, still left hanging on the ‘feral’ fig trees along the roadside…

The town is beneath high hills, the orchards are on the adjacent alluvial sea-side strip with all year round moderate temperatures, much of the flatland is densely covered with shade and glass houses,

they extend up into the valleys on the hills behind

where rivers are dammed to supply the water for irrigation.

Southern Turkey abounds in ancient monuments, -Lycian, Greek, Roman and others…

…the town of Limyra nearby Finike lies in ruins alongside the road.

There’s an ampitheatre, rock-cut tombs, remains of dwellings dating from several centuries BC through to several centuries AD, Lycian, Roman and Syrian, lying relatively unprotected,underrated and still subject to being raided by local farmers in need of stones!

Our time in Turkey was limited, we would soon be having to put Quo Vadis ‘to bed’ for the winter,  (on the hardstand at Finike),  so we didn’t stay in the marina for long, preferring to be out seeing some of the south-western Turkish coast before leaving  the Mediterranean winter for 6 months summer in New Zealand.

It’s best to leave Finike to motor west before the meltemi, the westerly wind picks up late morning, an easy half day to Kekova, where there is some of the best, most secure anchoring around,

although unless the weather is bad, there is not much of interest to keep you there longer than one night.

Just around the corner is Kale Koy where with its quaint pedestrian streets and hill-top castle, it gets interesting, but has crowded berthing on the dock, there is no anchoring.

We bypassed it,  to walk back to the town from Ucagiz where the anchoring is much more secure and there is room for boats to swing.

Ucagiz is a quaint tourist town because of restrictive building codes to prevent losing the vintage character,

but its new marina is a centre the tourist boat industry.

As it is also at a road-head, it has become the base for boating in the Kekova Inlet, -gulets, runabouts and sea kayaking.

Immediately adjacent to the town are the old Lycian ruins of Teimiussa, most notable for the stone burial sarcophagi with cylindrical tops, but also the remains of walls and buildings.

They are comparatively unvisited, unkempt and make for prickly exploring through the thorny growth.

It’s about 30 minutes walk around the inlet, (there is no road)

back to the little village of Kale Koy, which turns out to be one of the most attractive and seemingly ‘authentic’  Turkish villages around…

… with the hill-top fortress,

and in true Turkish style, proudly flies the big red flag!

There are Lycian rock-cut tombs

but the main attraction is the sunken Roman city of Simena. It is a dive/snorkeling site adjacent to the present town, sunk by an earthquake,  but even the present dockside where the water laps over with the tide, was once well above the level of the sea

and the sarcophagus now an islet in the harbour was once high and dry.

Sea-kayakers love exploring this stuff while other tours do shallow dive trips over the ruins out in the bay.

The castle has been through many occupiers, it is in a strategic position.

so there are Lycian tombs, Roman ampitheatre and Ottoman defences, all within its precincts.

but the view over the town below and the Kekova roadstead has to be the greatest reason for the walk to the top.

Ucagiz and Kale Koy are both on the Lycian Way, one of the great walks of Turkey. It is about 500 km of marked trail from near Fethiye in the west to Antalya in the east, following along the coast or a little inland meandering through ancient Lycia.

Lycia is that part of Turkey occupied by the Lycians 2-3000 years BC. They were a separate ethnicity of people, possibly originating in Crete and are distinct from the Hitites and Greeks who occupied much of the rest of Turkey at the time.

From the western end of the Kekova Roadstead it is just a short walk across an isthmus to Aperlai where there are some lodgings on a small inlet,

then past further ruins of the old Lycian town. This was small and possibly, in the light of its location and defence walls, served as a naval base in about 6th century BC.

Several kilometres up the hill, past numerous sarcophagi and through rough carob plantations

are the ruins of Apollonia, a sizeable hilltop fortified Hellenistic town from the first few centuries AD.

-churches, sarcohagi, cisterns and an ampitheatre.

Moving on from Kekova, it’s not far, but requires an early start to beat the westerly wind, to the town of Kas.

We got there as the breeze was coming and opted to anchor in the bay adjacent, Bayandir Limani.

This was to be our introduction to difficult anchoring in the Med, (which it seems much of it is!)

Because of bottom weed, it took several tries to get the anchor to set in what we thought would be a good position for the building wind. We did the correct Mediterranean mooring ‘thing’  taking a long line ashore to a rock to secure our stern. It was easy, (with a little planning) and we were feeling smug as we watched boats come later, having difficulty with what we perceived as having not being too hard a task…

More boats came in, the bay filled up, then the wind blew up and changed direction… -onto our beam!  We stayed happily secure, but wondering, until a big gust hit, our anchor let go, we had to do a very hasty release, then retrieval of the stern line to motor away from the rocks and out into the bay!

There was no room -or inclination -to try the same place again, we dropped the hook elsewhere in several places around the corner, where it was said to be satisfactory holding, but found them untenable as the anchor would not grab, -or in one place which we thought we were secure in, we were soon moved from as we discovered we were in the path of a gulet, -we had taken its favourite spot…

In this situation, right gives way to might and as a last resort, in near darkness, we took the last remaining spot on a small dock at the head of the bay. This is owned by a restaurant and lodging, the people very helpfully took our lines and assisted us berth in the wind and twilight.

This was our introduction to Mediterranean ways of mooring and anchoring. We antipodeans felt very green and inadequate, -that after 20 years of sailing, we appeared to still not know how to anchor!

But we also without meaning to, discovered the etiquette of the restaurant-attached docks which are everywhere in the little bays…  They’re privately owned, for specific use by cruisers,  often coming with electricity, water and by law, free for any boat to use, with only an implied obligation to use the facilities ashore.

We relaxed for several days as the wind blew strongly all around, we enjoyed their food, their ferry service across to Kas and walking the nearby tracks.

The cliffs around the bay have Lycian rock-cut tombs, begging the obvious question of  ‘how did they do that???’

The Lycian Way takes a route over the cliffs above, north, in the direction of Kas,

the track is well formed and well used by day trippers who take the ferry out from town and walk back.

In the other direction, the route passes through olive groves, more ancient ruins and the closed up houses of seasonal charcoal burners,

before becoming rough and scratchy, through very prickly scrub and along always windswept coastline.

When approaching Kas by ferry, it is a town with immediate appeal as it stretches up the steep hill behind.

and ashore, the narrow steep streets are filled with interesting shops, quality tourist stuff, -carpets -and great places to eat.

At this, the end of the season, it is quite tolerably busy, but places are beginning to close, an indicator that in the summer high season, it might not always be so easy-going for us!

Kas is the old Lycian city of Antiphellos, the present town however, apart from the occasional abandoned sarcophagus, is relatively recent, developing with the tourist trade.

From the ridge above the town there is a good view down the Buyuk Deniz inlet, to the soon to be opening Kas Marina

and out to sea, the island of Kastelerizo, just 5 km away, but a part of Greece, not Turkey. It is one of several which by location seem to be owned by the wrong country, but this is the most distant from Greece.

It has been a thriving trading port under the control of many nations over time. From the 1500s was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1923 when it was handed over to Greece after their war with Turkey, then to Italy in 1928. Many of its population moved then to Australia, the island was bombed badly in WW II, largely deserted and then returned to Greek control.

The population has never really returned and now there is only a very small town of only a few hundred, many of whom are Greek Australians, returned to find their heritage.

There’s not a lot to go there for now, but is useful for yachties to go out of Turkey for a visa renewal…  although as some do, going there illegally without doing the full clearance can at times be problematic. The Turks are sensitive to the temptations of cheap alcohol, pork flesh and other licentious commodities they perceive as being abundant in Greece!

From Kas we returned to Finike, berthing in the marina there and taking out a one year contract, we were soon to be leaving Quo Vadis while we returned to New Zealand for 6 months.

The berths were rapidly filling with Europeans, predominantly Germans, intending to spend the winter there. To us, it was akin to a caravan park as these regular customers returned to their favourite spots for yet another year, met with old friends, put up their satellite TV dishes and cluttered the finger arms with dinghies, boxes -and bicycles -as it was way too far for them to walk the 100m to the facilities…

Much as we didn’t like to be leaving our boat, we knew we could never happily stay there in that community for the long 6 months of winter!

We removed sails and did all those jobs we thought needed to be done to prepare for the months left to fend for herself, she was lifted out and put on to the hardstand, we moved into the hotel over the road for a few days, -we could still keep and eye on her until we left… -she is there, marked by the red arrow…

Autumn was clearly coming, we were fortunate that the rain held off until the night before we left, then it poured. It was the first proper rain for 18 months, we were relieved to find all our preparations were, as far as we could see, keeping the water out.

Sad to be deserting her, but happy to be leaving, we took an early morning bus to Fethiye.

In Fethiye we were met by Jo and Dennis, old cruising friends met in Darwin and who we were in company with through much of Asia, they took us to their home in Gocek.

They keep their boat in the municipal marina there, there are several. As it is quite a yachting centre, Gocek is a more European and tourist orientated town than Finike and attractive in that way.

But there’s still some local Turkish culture in the streets;

and an excellent Sunday market.

We resolved to return to Gocek with Quo Vadis next year.

Our hosts were excellent for the 2 days we stayed, taking us about to show us other places of yachting interest and in particular, to the mecca of Turkish yachting,- Marmaris.

Netcel Marina in the city is predictably very busy, but we felt we could stay there for a winter, in the water, -if we had to.

Yacht Marine, a short ride out of town, is impressive for the scope of the facilities. There are wet berths for 600 and a vast hardstand area with storage for 1000 boats, with a highly mechanised travelifting operation for lifting out,

lifting in,

and packing them altogether on the stand!

As that was foremost on our mind at the time, we thought too that it would be good for leaving the boat for a winter, there certainly would be safety in numbers, -out of the water, -but if we had to stay in a berth there, for us, for that long would be quite intolerable.

We were happy that we were doing the right thing by Quo Vadis, leaving her in Finike and it was with no regrets that we boarded a plane in Dalaman to fly to Istanbul.

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