11th June 2017
So after being back in Fethiye port and going out for a few days sailing here and there, we set Off on the next large trip heading south towards the Kekova Gulf. We have ten days or so to play with until we return to collect some more friends from Fethiye.
Our first stop was Gemiler island, a small, now, uninhabited place which was once home to St Nicholas, aka.Father Christmas.
The island is separated from the mainland by a small channel, which is where we would be anchoring. The water here is crystal clear and cold, fed from freshwater springs again.
Many different ruins are now submerged near to the islands coastline like the Harbour side itself and roads and the market place. Among other ruins if you actually visit the island and explore the island itself you can find churches, baths, and an interesting long tunnel which went all the way from the top of the island to the sea.
Excavations undertaken by Japanese archaeologists (?!) discovered that the tunnel joined churches three and four on the island, but local Turkish tales involve an over protective, eccentric man who had a daughter and wished to conceal her beauty from the rest of the islanders, it is said that he had the tunnel built for her so she could walk down to the sea to bathe without being looked upon by any body else there! I think I like that story best!
Most of the ruins date back as far as the 4th-6th Century AD, during the Byzantine period. Gemiler island means “Island of boats” in English,hence why St Nicholas was the patron Saint for sailors.
If you do head over to Gemiler to visit the island, make sure you take some water to drink and a little bit of cash ( if you don’t have museum cards) as its 8tl each to enter. Just a heads up.
Upon arriving at Gemiler, we anchored just before the tour boats started to embark of the island. As they came past the bow, we noticed groups of people dancing on deck, having a great time in a foam party aboard a pirate ship. The loud disco music echoed throughout the channel, creating a haunting noise that woke up all of the local birds.
That evening, we watched the sun go down beyond the hills, and before we went to bed that night, we enjoyed the peaceful sound of crickets, and the lapping of the sea.
12th June 2017
We decided that morning to stay in Gemiler for another night, so today we were going onto the island to enjoy the beautiful scenery and historic excavations. An open-air museum
It’s said that St Nicholas established a monastic retreat on the uninhabited island in the 4th Century, after he and some of his followers escaped persecution from the Romans. Today, the four 4th- to 7th-century rock-cut Byzantine churches and 40 or so other buildings remain shrouded in mystery.
There are no written documents about or by St Nicholas, and present-day signage is scarce.
Gemiler may also have been a key stop on the Christian pilgrimage route to the Holy Land. Pilgrims sailing to Jerusalem would put in at this safe harbour, replenish water and supplies and pray for their safe journey. Today, one can explore the remains of these early churches, baths and harbour.
After going to shore using the dinghy, we walked over the island exploring all of the ancient buildings. Excavation of the island took place in 1995 collaboratle between some Japanese archeologists and the nearby Fethiye Museum. After exploring the ruined and ragged island, we went back to the boat, were we once again watched the afternoon entertainment of Gulets and tourboats and charters trying to anchor, always amusing!
That evening, mum and I went exploring in the dinghy, and we went over to a nearby beach at sunset. A pretty ride.
Cold Water Bay ( reccy ), underwater cave bay and Kalkan.
13th June 2016
We left Gemiler reasonably early because our plan was to try and visit a new, unknown to us, destination.
We were still heading down south to a Harbour called Kalkan, but I had found a bay half way between the two, which we may be able to stop at for the night.
Today, there was some swell, which made Asena quite nervous. The bay I had found was called Kötü Bükü, a large open bay which has little protection. It would be good for the future because the ragged coastline between Gemiler and Kalkan doesn’t have many bays for anchoring in.
After arriving and anchoring, we considered staying overnight however the swell was too large making the boat uncomfortable , so we just stayed and had some lunch before continuing the long trip to Kalkan.
Passing the 6.5 mile Patara beach, we ran parallel to a thunderstorm. The storm had the most impressive Fork lightning I had ever seen before, and to make the whole thing even more spectacular, we saw a small pod of dolphins going in the opposite direction, parallel to the beach with the lightning illuminating them.
Upon arriving in Kalkan, we moored flawlessly, had dinner, and went into the town for an evening drink. We call Kalkan ‘Birthday Bay’, because of how many “happy birthdays” you can hear being sung in all the Harbour side restaraunts in the evenings. This year though, the whole town seems really quiet.