..On The 2nd Anniversary of my first blog, ever….
14th April 2018
We’ve once again been marina bound this winter, with a timetable for school each day, morning exercise consisting of long, arduous cycles, and Evenings spent watching rubbish American movies, a short trip to Britain, wilderness camping, and many hikes. Finally though, our winter has come to an end, and our sailing season has now began. This years first sailing trip…Cyprus and Israel.
We’ve had previous thoughts of sailing eastwards along the Turkish coast and down to Cyprus, however, we’ve never done it. So since our good friend John told us that he wanted to go and explore the Antalya-Side-Alanya area, we thought we’d join him and go to that area too with the possibility to go on to Cyprus. In February this year we decided we would do the trip, and go on to Cyprus, and then continue on to Israel. We also said that I’d sail with John until Antalya, since his friend would meet us there.
We started counting down the days for our departure. These past two weeks have been hectic with the boat getting its bottom cleaned, sorting out transit logs, fixing anything and everything, and finally shopping for supplies….gin and tonics all we need!
Since I am the flotilla navigator, I have devised a plan that will keep us away from Fethiye for three months. With certain dates having to be fixed, I’ve said that we’ll be in Antalya(Turkey) on the 20th , the 28th in Bozyazi-(where we exit Turkey for Cyprus)-Limassol(Cyprus) on the 4th of May, Israel for two weeks, back to Cyprus for a week, Turkey and then Fethiye on the 9th of June. This however is only part of this years plan, since we are also going to be sailing around the Greek islands and mainland later in the year, as well as “road-tripping” in Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia, but that’s for a future blog…
Our trip to Israel however does depend on the current situation in that area regarding today’s events, so we will be keeping a close eye on that…
Today was our first leg of the trip though, when we left Fethiye on a short trip to Gemiler island. We left our berth, fuelled up and said our goodbyes to our friends we would dearly miss, and to Fethiye…the sailing,food, marina and the wonderful people we have met here. It will be really strange not being in Turkey for most of the year, and Fethiye has now started to feel like our home. It will also be a shock not saying “Merhaba” to everyone!
Today’s trip was relatively boring, since the wind was nonexistent, and it was quite a short trip. However, we always like coming to Gemiler, since it’s a beautiful anchorage with wonderfully clean and clear waters. However, the temperature isn’t exactly bathtub water…only 19 degree Centigrade, so I only swam for ten minutes…
15th April 2018
Sunlight broke around the mysterious island, quickly heating the hazy air. Our trip today would take us to the next possible stop, the sleepy town Of Kalkan.
Setting off from Gemiler at nine o’clock that morning, the five hour trip would probably be, and as it turned out to be, boring, since the wind once again was nonexistent. We motor-sailed the whole trip, eventually passing the finest beach in Turkey, Patara beach.
Like a desert by the sea, there are miles of sand and hardly another person in sight. This beach is at the mouth of the river Xanthos, and has ruins all around. Pydnai castle at the northern end of the beach, the ruins of the old port of Patara at the southern end, and Xanthos and Letoon close by. Most of the Lycian sites in this area were discovered by the British explorer and archeologist Sir Charles Fellows. Before he came though, captain Beaufort-(the man who created the Beaufort scale, a wind scale used by sailors)-charted the area on land and sea.
Upon arriving in Kalkan, we were awestruck by the sheer heat in the protected harbour. When you come to Kalkan, you can feel the the village like atmosphere, and the echo of the old Greek community, which was removed by the 1923 population exchange.
Today, the Harbour is like a bustling shipyard, with tour boats and gullets on the harbour wall all being fixed up, ready for the season. From the Harbour, you can see the modern complexes and lavish buildings which cover the main area of the town. The remnants of the old Kalkan, however, which managed to survive the 1953 earthquake are still visible on the waters edge. Many of these buildings have become restaurants and shops for the foreign holidays makers.
The next port of call is Andraki, close to the town of Demre., but we have to pick up our friend Elaine first, tomorrow from Kas.
Andraki will be the furthest east we’ve been by boat so far.
16th April 2018
We left Kalkan at 9 o’clock this morning. Todays trip took us to Andraki, a small fishing port on the east side of Kekova roads.
As we left Kalkan harbour though, I drove John’s catamaran out and the lazy line got caught on the propeller and fouled the engine. Thankfully however, the rope was wrapped around the prop loosely, so when John dived down he managed to unsnag it, and it easily came off. The reason we wanted lazy lines in the first place was because the previous time we’d been in Kalkan the anchor got snagged on the concretes block which held the lazy line. Thankfully, we eventually managed to get that free that time, too.
Before we’d go straight to Andraki, we had to collect our friend Elaine from Kas.
Two hours later, Outside the harbour wall, bothboats waited whilst I went in onboard Johns rib. Knowing the engine on the dinghy was difficult to start, I was hoping we could leave the engine running. However, Elaine was waiting at a slipway, so the engine had to be turned off. This lead to some difficulty a) re starting the engine and b) because a tour boat was being re launched from its winter mooring at the same time, and I was stalled right behind it……Eventually though, after rowing out away from the launch site, I got the engine started.
Setting off once again, John and I hoped the wind would be in our favour. Surprisingly, it was, so after navigating through a series of islands, we began sailing, as did Geoff, mum and Elaine. The problem John and I have on the catamaran compared to the monohull which the others were on, is that they can go much higher on to the wind.
Bearing this in mind, John and I kept on a steady course heading towards the North African coastline, a few hundred miles away!
We joked with Geoff that we’d see him later in the year since we were off to Egypt!
After managing to sail upwind, the wind eased and eventually became nonexistent. We started the engine and continued the trip.
Eventually, after motoring into the apparent wind, we came upon our port of call, Andraki. Reading from the pilot book, it talked about the harbour being busy with tour boats and gullets, however, since the summer season hasn’t really started, we were hopeing there’d be some room.
When were less then 15 minutes away from Andraki, Geoff called us up on the VHF radio to ask if we could raft alongside him. We said “yes” so when we entered the harbour area we were anticipating coming in close to the harbour wall, we thought it would be easy for us even though the depth was proving difficult for the other boat, i.e.: it was sitting on sand on its rudder!!! Surprisingly, it was too shallow, even for the catamarans 1 metre draught. This led us to raft alongside Geoff who by this time had four shore lines tied together(!) with no lines ashore on the cat and just anchor.
After half an hour, we setteled down, thankfully not touching the bottom.
Andraki certainly seems untouched, very different to the next few places we’ll be going to, such as FINIKE and Kemer…
Andraki was used as the ancient port for the nearby ruins of Myra, and dates to around the 5th century BC. This small port was used to export incense to Eygpt and Constantinople, and grew rich because of it.
17th April 2018
The next morning, after a hot night, we readied ourselves for the trip to the nearby town of Finike. When there, we’d visit the nearby site of Myra and the church of St Nicholas-(Also known as Father Christmas)
A short motor sail later, we arrived in Finike. I do hope that one day we’ll be able to sail…
Finike is a market town located at the foot of the Gulmez Daglari, a long spur of the Taurus mountains, and on the banks of the Karusu ( Black water) river. In ancient times, Finike was called Pheonicus.
The original harbour, once noted for its export of the timber that was used in the building of the Ottoman navy, is now buried underneath the modern Setur Marina that has been built. During the Byzantine times, Finike was know for its surplus of Lebanese cedar trees, which once dominated many wooded hills and forests in the area. The wood, which was used for shipbuilding, has now ceased to exist in these areas.
Finike has since prospered through the export of citrus fruits and vegetables. The towns logo is actually an orange.
Myra is located inland of the small village of Demre, and has many tourists, mainly coming from Russia and other Orthodox European countries. This is because these orthodox countries consider Saint Nicholas, who was the bishop of Myra, the national Saint. Incidentally, St. Nicholas is also the patron saint of Aberdeen, Galway, Greece, The Hellenic Navy, Liverpool, Bari, Siggiwi, Moscow, Amsterdam, Lorraine, and the he Duchy of Lorraine.
We then visited the church of st Nicholas, he was well known for his philanthropy and benevolence, he became a legendary figure on account of the help he offered orphans and the destitute. He won the love of children when he gave them surprise gifts.
His fame spread over time, and we now know him as Father Christmas. St Nicholas today is the patron Saint of Children, as well as sailors and pawnbrokers-(an odd duo, though maybe not, bearing in mind how expensive sailing is these day)
The first church, built here in the 4th century, was destroyed by an earthquake shortly after his death, but, as Myra was now an important Christian centre, work immediately began to rebuild it. After many raids in the 7th and 8th centuries, an Italian merchant came in the 11th century, broke st Nicholas’ tomb open, and stole his bones, taking them back to Bari in Italy.
Even today, both places say they have the bones of St Nicholas.
18th April 2018
We left Finike that morning excited for the next part of the trip. The journey there was relatively boring, and despite being so long, we couldn’t sail.
We arrived at the next stop,Cinevis rather late in the day. Since the water in Fethiye is quite dirty, and John hadn’t been able to clean the bottom of his boat, we decided to try and beach his catamaran in shallow water. After some unsuccessful attempts, we finally managed to get it into an area shallower than one metre, the draft of Johns catamaran.
For half an hour, he scrubbed away at his anti fouled hull getting rid of the seaweed and barnacles. After a while, he finished, but he still had to dive down under the boat and clean the cats keels. He said he could do these at a later date.
The bay is very beautiful, with tall cliffs on either side and because the tourist season hasn’t yet begun, it’s very peaceful and calm.
That evening as the sun began too set behind the cliffs, we dined on barbecue chicken, and the dogs licked their lips in anticipation.
19th April 2018
After a great nights sleep, we left Cinevis at nine o’clock. The bay reminds us to that of a bay in between fethiye and Marmaris called Asi Beach, though for me, it reminds me of Gemiler Island.
Since the day before we had used nearly all of the boats anchor, we were pulling the anchor up for what felt like an eternity!
Eventually though, we were on our way once again…
Today’s trip was rather short, but as per usual, the wind was non existent.
Today’s trip took us past Cirali beach, a favourite for us.
Close to the beach and sea is the ancient site of Olympus. The extraordinary setting is hidden behind overgrown bushes and rows of trees. However, the ancient site is not one to miss, with beautiful ruins and great places to camp.
Further along with the coast is Phaselis, and like Olympus, it is in a beautiful location on the waters edge. The harbour, which is shaded by towering pine trees made it a favourable place for smugglers and pirates and was made Alexander the Greats port for the winter as he favoured the place so much. All this history is dominated by the very pointy Mount Olympus, which has one of the longest cable cart systems in Europe.
Kemer is built upon the Russian tourist market. The town suffers from ‘concrete syndrome’ say one of my guide books….and I must say, I do agree. Much of the place is very built up, and even when we went into the main shopping area, they were still doing work. My book goes onto state-
“The club Mediteranee at Kemer is a model for tactful development with low lying developments set among gardens and trees with breathtaking views of the Taurus mountains behind and a translucent sea and sandy beach in front. Unfortunately, the exemplary French partice has not been followed by the new holiday complexes, largely subsidised by West German finance which could explain the prison camp atmosphere.”
20th April 2018
The phrase you read at the end of the last blog, is from a book I have.
It’s The Collins independent travellers guide to Turkey. The book was published in 1988, and is written by a bloke called Daniel Farson. In it, he provides the “essential practical information required by the independent traveller and it contains many illuminating personal reflections on the country and its people, inspiring the reader to explore this still largely undiscovered land”.
The forty years since the book was published and the present day show how this country’s look, and the overall holiday scene has changed dramatically.
This can be seen upon arriving at Antalya.
Farson says Antalya is more, “Miami then Med”, and from afar, I agree with the author. The cliffs have been mounted by towering apartment blocks, and office buildings, but the long and unspoilt view is still magnificent.
Upon mooring in the Kaleci, also known as Antalya’s old towns, the palm lined promenades and an impressive 5 kilometres castle wall, which date back to the Roman periods, make Antalya different to any other place we’ve been to in Turkey. In fact, it reminded us of Kos and Rhodes, with the castle walls, history, and tour boat packed harbours.
An hour after parking in the old town harbour, we went off a walk into the well preserved old town, on a quest to find the Fluted minaret.
This thirteenth century minaret was built during the time of Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad. This this eight thousand year old minaret has now become a symbol of Antalya. The 38 metre tall minaret is conjoined to a mosque still in use, and the ancient turquoise blue tiles and Arabic inscriptions can still be seen. In many respects, this mosque is something I would expect to see in Konya.
We then continued walking into the city centre, where a tall statue of Ataturk celebrates the Turkish Republican movement after World War One, when the Ottoman Empire was dissolved by the victorious allies.