Sneaky road trip, riders in the sky, a ghost town and a fabulous breakfast

Lockdown in Turkey has meant we haven’t been able to realise our plans to travel – during the cooler months – to various locations inland. There are so many wonderful places to explore in this amazing country so it has been slightly disappointing.

The village of Kalkan

Restrictions have been loosened now however, and we are back travelling over the water. This is just wonderful but the urge to explore some places of interest on land was still there so while we were anchored in Kas we decided to sneak in a quick road trip – just for the day – with our friends Sue on John of S/V Catabella.

A profusion of bougainvillea

We hired a car and drove first to Kalkan – only just over half an hour from Fethiye. Kalkan was an old Greek fishing village which became part of Turkey in 1923 during the Greek/Turkish population exchange. Now it is a thriving, sprawling, town, a haven for tourists, especially from Britain.

Kalkan reminded us of Greece
Take away the minaret and this could be a Greek Church – perhaps it was once

The old fishing port still maintains its Greek character, with narrow, paved or cobbled lanes, a profusion of bougainvillea and small and simple whitewashed houses.

The small fishing port still retains its Greek character
One of the narrow cobbled lanes
Bougainvillea and whitewashed houses everywhere

We had a lovely time browsing in the shops – empty of people but not of tempting purchases – and admiring the wonderful view of the sparkling sea.

Who could resist this soap – it’s packed with vitamins!
Such inviting window displays
Another carpet wonderland!

Apart from seeing the old village, the reason for stopping at Kalkan was to find a suitable spot for a nice cup of coffee.

The Doy Doy restaurant seemed the perfect spot

The good news is that we found the perfect spot – the Doy Doy restaurant which boasted glorious views and every coffee choice you could wish for. The bad news was that the coffee machine had broken down!

The restaurant boasted glorious views

Faruk, who welcomed us in, and who turned out to be the son of the owner, was mortified and insisted on us sitting down anyway for free çay. When you consider a cup of tea in Australia costs between $2.50 and $4.00, and the fact they have had no customers for months, this was so generous.

No coffee but Faruk insisted on us sitting down for free çay

Next on the itinerary – the ruins of the Lycian city of Xanthos. This fascinating city, which was once the capital of Lycia, is perched on a hillside with extensive views of the surrounding countryside.

Xanthos is perched on a hillside with extensive views of the surrounding countryside
Many greenhouses can be seen in the middle distance
A closer view of some of the thousands of greenhouses in the district

The city has played a prominent role in understanding Lycian history. In the 19th Century stone carvings were discovered in both Greek and Lycian which led to the unraveling of the Lycian language for the first time.

Xanthos has played a prominent role in understanding Lycian history
Stone carvings led to the unraveling of the Lycian language for the first time
This column was covered in writing carved in the stone

It is also famous for its funerary art but very sadly, many of architectural and sculptural pieces were taken to England in the 19th century, by the archeologist Charles Fellows. Among these artefacts were the Monument of Harpy, the Tomb of Payava and the Nereid Monument. These remain in the British Museum to this day.

Xanthos is also famous for its funerary art
Sadly this tomb was plundered and the carvings taken to the British Museum in London
This is a copy of what was taken

Due to Covid there were very few other tourists there so we were able to spend a pleasant time wandering around the ruins undisturbed.

We were able to spend a pleasant time wandering around the ruins undisturbed (photo credit Sue Done)

The peace and quiet belied the city’s violent past. When invaded by the Persians, rather than be captured by the invading forces, the Xanthosian men gathered their women, children, slaves and treasure at the acropolis and set them on fire before taking their final doomed defensive action.

The peace and quiet belied the city’s violent past (photo credit Sue Done)
A section of mosaic which had probably been covered to protect it
Jonathan examining a column

In 42 BC the people of Xanthos again used murder and suicide to avoid being taken in the Roman civil wars.

Beautiful poppies in Xanthos
It’s hard to imagine the violence that was perpetrated here (photo credit Sue Done)

The amphitheatre with its 2200 person capacity was very atmospheric and had spectacular acoustics. Built originally in the Hellenistic Period, it was renovated in Roman times.

The amphitheatre with its 2200 person capacity was very atmospheric
It was a great place to sit and soak up the atmosphere
Some of the large blocks of stone had collapsed – maybe during an earthquake?
It was very impressive
John trying out the acoustics

From Xanthos we headed to the popular beach resort of Ölüdeniz.

The first thing that struck us about this lovely spot on the “Turquoise Coast” is that it was full of cars! It really was very busy and the little car park we used was chock full!

The restaurant at Ölüdeniz

The second thing we noticed was that the sky was absolutely filled with colourful paragliders soaring and dropping like gorgeous mythical birds.

Riders in the sky!

Apparently, Mount Babadağ which towers above Ölüdeniz, is regarded as one of the best places in the world to paraglide from. This is due to its unique panoramic views, stable weather conditions, and because the mountain has incredible thermals.

Mount Babadağ which towers above Ölüdeniz, is regarded as one of the best places in the world to paraglide from

It was quite a sight to see the scores of paragliders floating gently in the sky, soaring upwards when they caught an air current and meandering slowly downwards and turning to land perfectly at a special spot in the middle of Ölüdeniz.

A quick lunch in Ölüdeniz

After a quick lunch in a waterfront cafe we decided to walk to the famous Blue Lagoon – we almost made it but were put off by all the commercial activity we could see in the distance – sun beds, cafes, craft of all kinds for hire and hoards of people.

On the way to the famous Blue Lagoon

Time was marching on and we had one more place to visit so we decided to turn back, leave the crowds behind and find our car.

We almost made it but were put off by all the commercial activity we could see in the distance

Just 20 minutes later, after travelling along a rather bumpy road on which we had to make an emergency stop for a slow moving tortoise trying to cross the road, we made it to the ghost town of Kayaköy.

Well spotted Jonathan! A helping hand for the very slow tortoise

This haunting place was once home to Greek-speaking Christian subjects, and their Turkish-speaking Ottoman rulers. The townspeople had lived in relative harmony from the end of the turbulent Ottoman conquest of the region in the 14th century until the early 20th century.

Kayaköy was a haunting place

Then in 1923 following the Treaty of Lausanne, the town’s Greek Orthodox residents were exiled and Muslim people exiled from Greece were settled there. The new residents found the land in Kayaköy inhospitable (and too full of ghosts!) and soon decamped, leaving the hillside village abandoned for a second time.

The town’s Greek Orthodox residents were exiled in 1923
The townspeople had lived in relative harmony for hundreds of years

I am currently half way through “Birds Without Wings” by Louis de Bernières – set largely in the village of Eskibahçe which is based on Kayakoy. It felt strange being in the village after imagining the place in my head so many times.

It felt strange being in the village after imagining the place in my head so many times.
The new Turkish speaking residents found the land in Kayaköy inhospitable (and too full of ghosts!) and soon decamped, leaving the hillside village abandoned for a second time.

It wasn’t hard to visualise the little children in the story, Christian and Muslim, running together through the maze of little lanes that twisted around the houses, past the old men playing backgammon outside the coffeehouse, past the women of the village gossiping at the well.

One of the Churches in Kayaköy
It wasn’t hard to visualise the little children described in Birds Without Wings – Christian and Muslim – running together through the maze of little lanes that twisted around the houses

How poignant it was looking at the empty houses and the abandoned churches, shops and other civic buildings. It all felt such a waste – all that meddling in people’s lives – people who had lived amicably side by side for generations suddenly uprooted from all they had known. And for what?

How poignant it was looking at the empty houses and the abandoned churches, shops and other civic buildings
Admiring the view from the fort
Looking over the farms from the highest point

We managed to get ourselves a little bit lost on our wanderings and ended up returning to our car via a rather circuitous route.

The Turkish flag proclaims ownership of Kayaköy
Another, very ancient Church

On our way we met a camel giving rides to tourists and then came upon its mate and baby along the way.

This was an unexpected sight
Mother and baby

We arrived back in Kas late in the evening to find the Oxygen Bar in the marina buzzing with people listening to the live music. No masks in evidence and social distancing seemingly completely forgotten, we decided to sit at an adjacent restaurant/bar to listen to the last few numbers of the night.

The Oxygen Bar was buzzing

Later we had a delicious meal at Vati one of the marina restaurants. After we had finished our waiter brought us – as a gift – a plate of fresh fruit and four shot glasses with a cocktail shaker containing a very shocking-green potion. It was a fun way to end the evening.

Lovely fresh fruit – such a kind gift
A great way to end the evening

The next day we once again experienced the generosity and hospitality that is so typical of the Turkish people.

On the way to breakfast (photo credit Sue Done)

Sue and John invited us to join them for breakfast (kahvalti in Turkish) at the house belonging to Aysun, a short dinghy ride from Kas marina.

We arrived at Aysun’s house

Aysun runs some wonderful bed and breakfast cottages in which Sue and John had stayed the previous year.

The garden was beautiful and full of olive and fruit trees

The property is situated on the peninsula opposite Kas marina and is perched high up on a hillside overlooking the water.

The house was perched high up on the hillside

We arrived at the small jetty and private beach and after tying up our dinghies walked up the prettiest flight of stairs to a shady balcony where we were warmly greeted by Aysun.

After tying up our dinghies we walked up the pretty stairs

In the middle of the deck overlooking the water, was a table groaning with the most fabulous spread imaginable.

The table was groaning
Olives from the garden and freshly cooked menemen

There were black and green olives from the garden, apple jam, fig jam, chili paste and quince preserves all made by Aysun from produce grown on the property. The honey came from their neighbours up the hill. The tomatoes and cucumber came from the family farm. There was also menemen – the Turkish version of scrambled eggs – delicious salty white cheese, Börek – thin sheets of dough, filled with cheese and vegetables, fresh bread and other delicious treats.

Aysun joined us as we ate

We ate far more than was good for us and chatted to Aysun who continually topped up our cups with çay.

Sue at the breakfast table
Jonathan and I (photo credit: Sue Done)

What a hostess Aysun was and what a paradise she shares with her many guests from around the world! We felt sure that this would be the perfect place to stay and immediately thought of family members and friends who would just adore it. To our consternation Aysun refused any payment – she just loved it that John and Sue had returned to visit her. So very generous.

There were beautiful flowers from the garden on the table
Aysun seeing us off
Leaving Aysun’s beautiful B and B, such a great sunbathing and private swimming spot!

That evening we had the first rain in months. It was so refreshing and such a novelty to hear rumbles of thunder and the sound of the rain drops hitting the water surrounding us.

Rain- it was so refreshing
Very low clouds over Kas Marina

The sky looked very threatening but apart from the downpour and a few rolls of thunder, there was no really rough weather to contend with and as if to reassure us, a beautiful rainbow appeared over Kas before the rain finally stopped.

The sky looked very threatening
Soon the rain stopped and a rainbow appeared

Celebrating meals out, anchoring dramas and new discoveries

Arriving at Uçağız, the small fishing village in the heart of the landlocked bay of Kekova Roads felt a little like visiting an old friend.

On our way to Uçağız (photo by Sue on Catabella)

We have anchored close to the village more than half a dozen times and always feel so comfortable and welcome when we go ashore.

The small village of Uçağız where there are more tourist boats than head of population

Covid has really hit this little village very, very, hard. For too long the restaurants have been closed, the tourists haven’t visited to take trips on the beautiful gulets and every shop and business owner has been doing it tough.

On the streets of Uçağız
The restaurants have been empty for so long
Despite the relaxation of Covid regulations there are no tourists
There are always new corners to discover in Uçağız
One of the many Lycian tombs dotted around the village

We tried to do our best to make up for this by spending money where we could – buying some fruit and vegetables at the little greengrocers, eating gözleme one day for lunch etc. (We never tire of watching the gözleme making process!)

The greengrocers
Sue from Catabella stocking up
Getting ready for gözleme creating
From a small ball of dough our gözleme maker has rolled out a perfect circle and is now adding chopped parsley, cheese, and other good things!
She deftly rolls it onto her very long, slim rolling pin and passes it to the cook
On a special large circular gas-heated hot plate, the first delicious gözleme cooks

We also ate twice at our favourite restaurant – Hassan’s – on the waterfront. The second time Sue and I had lobster which was beautifully cooked and tasted absolutely wonderful!

Chef Hassan catches a large lobster
Sue and I slightly regretting our decision
It tasted amazing though

Yachties have been frequenting Hassan’s restaurant for many years and his fame as a fish chef extraordinaire is legendary. It was so special having our first lunch out since lockdown restrictions were reduced, at this legendary spot.

Loved these finely sliced chips
The calamari tasted good too

At our first lunch there we (Jonathan and I and Nikki who had been staying with us and Sue and John from Catabella ) were joined by our friends from Finike Marina Jill and Shelley who live aboard their beautiful Catamaran Eucalyptus (yes, they’re Australian!)

We were were joined by our friends from Finike Marina Jill and Shelley of S/V Eucalyptus
It was a great lunch and catch up

They came by taxi on this particular day as they were in the process of having some work done on their boat.

Hassan after preparing the fish at the water’s edge
Nikki having a chat with Hassan

We had a fabulous lunch and afterwards we walked through the village marvelling at the gorgeous array of flowers on display. This is such a fantastic time of year to visit Turkey!

Such a lovely time of year to be in Turkey
There were flowers out everywhere
More blooms to admire

Eventually we ended up once again at Jonathan’s most favourite shop – The Antique Carpet and Kilim store.

We ended up at Jonathan’s favourite store – The Antique Carpet and Kilim store.

We had already spent considerable time (and some money) the previous day looking at the gorgeous rugs. We had bought a lovely runner which will grace some lucky floor one day.

Jonathan loving getting down amongst the carpets (he was a carpet designer in a previous life!)
Proud owners of a lovely runner. Just need somewhere to put it now!

Once again, the ever patient proprietor and his mentor, pulled out all sorts of beautiful works of art for us to see. Several among us were tempted but wanted to take measurements and decide if a sailing yacht was really the place to have antique rugs.

Carpets, carpets, carpets!
So many gorgeous pieces of art
Outside the shop!

Our visitor Nikki who had sailed with us from Finike and spent almost a week aboard with us, went back with Jill and Shelley in their taxi. It was sad to see her go but she has her own boat that needs her attention.

Bye bye Nikki!

During our stay in Uçağız we had some incredibly windy weather. It was so blowy that we had to postpone our lunch with Jill and Shelley for a day as it was just too rough to dinghy in to the restaurant.

Some of the gulets moved from their berths to anchor out due to the string winds

It was the kind of weather that flummoxes even experienced yachties. Jonathan gallantly went to the aid of former fellow Finike marina residents who unfortunately caught their dinghy painter (rope) in their propellor while trying to anchor.

Jonathan returning the dinghy

The wind was blowing nine bells and the poor skipper had to cut away the dinghy and dive down to free the propeller. What a drama but fortunately Jonathan was able to retrieve the dinghy and bring it back to its owner.

During this window of blowy weather I decided to try my hand at a popular Turkish dish Tepsi kebab (tray bake Antakya). It looked and tasted delicious but we were sadly unable to share it with Sue and John on Catabella as the weather was just too rough for them to launch their dinghy.

Tepsi kebab before baking
Have to make a cake when the weather is bad – it’s a rule!

After a wonderful few days it was time for us to move on to our next destination – Kas.

Catabella on the way to Kas

This lovely spot also feels a bit like home as we have spent quite a bit of time here both this year and in 2020. However we have realised there are always lots of new things to find even if you think you know somewhere pretty well.

The view of Kas from our anchorage

Thanks to Nikki we have discovered the Muhtar supermarket which has lots of goods that are difficult to find in Turkey including cans of coconut milk, green curry base, Marmite and marmalade!

Some of our haul from the Muhtar supermarket

I now have several months worth of coconut milk in my stores!

We also found a delicious pide restaurant, a new wine shop and a restaurant called the Corner store recommended by Nikki where we had a delicious lunch one day.

Muhtar also have a new wine shop

Although we have a contract which allows us to stay at all the Setur Marinas in Turkey we had already exceeded the 28-day limit at the Kas facility which is why we anchored in the sheltered cove near the marina hard standing.

The last gulet on the hard standing gets “splashed” ready for the new season

We usually prefer to anchor anyway as it’s cooler, quieter and normally more relaxing than being in a marina berth.

The peace and quiet of an anchorage as the sun sets

Strangely we had two instances during our stay which definitely weren’t relaxing. Both times it was – despite perfect conditions – due to boats coming into the anchorage that failed to anchor correctly.

But wait – why is this boat cuddling up to us?!

Instead of laying their anchor by reversing slowly once it was dropped, the skippers just slung the anchor over and didn’t even stop to check it had set correctly.

She is slowly inching nearer!

The result was that twice we had other yachts drift so close to us that we could almost step onto them from our boat!

The cheese counter at the new wine shop

One yacht owner quickly realised that he was too close and pulled up some chain and ensured his anchor was set. The other seemed totally unconcerned and didn’t do anything until Jonathan made it quite clear he wasn’t happy with his anchoring and wasn’t wanting to be woken up at 3am with his boat banging into us!

The Corner Store restaurant

Fortunately discretion being the better part of valour, the other skipper decided he wouldn’t want to be banging into our boat at 3am either so he hauled anchor and actually did a decent job second time round.

Looking for cushion covers

Despite these couple of hiccups it was great to be back on anchor in Kas.

Walking the plank and drinking at a “pirates only bar”

A week after full lockdown in Turkey finished and Covid restrictions had begun to lift, the engineers at Finike marina started to put our hydraulic passerelle (gangplank) back together.

Our gangplank having its seals replaced

For many weeks it had been propped up with an ingenious steel bar (which we hadn’t asked for but appeared after they had removed the hydraulic system) and then later, a rather large log.

All that had been wrong with it was a slight leak of hydraulic fluid. It needed a seal (or what turned out to be a number of seals) in the hydraulics replaced. Seemed simple enough but the replacements had to be flown in from Istanbul and because of the lockdown, deliveries were severely held up.

This log did a good job of holding up our gangplank

It was so good to have it fixed finally and not to have to struggle to get aboard with the passerelle sticking up at a perilously high angle when the tide was low. At last we could walk the plank!

We were rather shocked at the bill – we were verbally quoted a sum for the work and then when it came time to pay, the bill was double the quoted amount. Eventually it was reduced to the original sum but it left an unpleasant taste in our mouths.

Note to self: get written quotes and warn the contractor that unless extras are discussed as they occur and signed off, they will not be paid! Not that there was any extra work done in this instance but still….

Playing Rummikub on S/V Eucalyptus- I think Albert wants to play too……

Maybe there is an expectation that customers will “bargain” when they receive a bill and thereby a mutually agreeable price reached or perhaps the contractors here in Turkey think we are all fabulously wealthy and can afford to pay elevated prices. Either way, being charged over and above what was agreed doesn’t sit comfortably with us.

Or maybe it’s just the box that’s so fascinating

Other jobs to be done before we left included a pump-out of the black water (toilet) tanks, a service to our large in-house generator, lots of food shopping and last minute games of Rummikub aboard S/V Eucalyptus!

The mobile pump-out set up

At last, after almost exactly two months in Finike marina we cast off our lines and left to feel the wind on our faces, swing at anchor and enjoy some more sailing adventures.

We left Finike Marina on Thursday 27 May heading for one of favourite spots – Kekova Roads.

Leaving with us were our buddies Sue and John on Catabella and aboard Sunday was our new neighbour at Finike marina, Nikki from Destination Anywhere.

Sue and John on Catabella

Nikki had quickly become a good friend since arriving at the marina during lockdown and we invited her to come along for the ride, as she is currently on her own and her very large (and beautiful) Beneteau is hard to sail singlehanded.

Nikki checking out the steering position

There was very little wind so we motored to our first anchorage, and as we slid through the beautiful clear water a mist settled around us which created an eerie atmosphere.

A naval vessel appears out of the mist

Fortunately the mist lifted as we approached Gökkaya Limamı and we were very happy to see that Catabella was safely anchored in an excellent spot and that there were only a few boats in the anchorage.

A tourist boat pokes its nose into a cave – we heard a loud graunching noise as it hit submerged rocks!

Gökkaya Limanı is a beautiful sheltered spot surrounded by a group of small islands which gives the bay a fiord-like appearance.

Catabella comfotably anchored in Gökkaya Limanı
Gökkaya Limanı is a beautiful sheltered spot surrounded by a group of small islands
We were anchored roughly where the red circle is. You can also see where the cave is and Smugglers Cove with “restaurant” marked

Aah! It was so good to be at anchor again! After a lovely (cool!) first swim of the season, in the clear blue water, we had a celebratory barbecue aboard Sunday and late in the evening we were treated to the most glorious full moon.

The first swim of the season
The bay has a fiord-like appearance
We anchored close to Catabella for easy access!
What a magnificent moon!
It was hard to capture the full beauty of the full moon.

The following day Sue and I taught the others how to play Rummikub (taught to us by Jill and Shelley on S/V Eucalyptus) – a fun game that apparently originated in Israel but is very popular here in Turkey.

The anchorage started to fill up at the weekend

We had more swims that afternoon and had a delicious curry night on Catabella.

A great curry night on Catabella
Nikki enjoying the evening sun
Relaxing with a drink or two

The following day we took our dinghies to explore the beautiful cave on the south side of the small and uninhabited island of Ashil Adasi.

The cave entrance

Inside the cave there are rocks lurking under the water like Captain Cook’s Crocodile while high up in the roof of cave tiny little bats squeak loudly and irritably at being disturbed.

It was quite dark inside!
Submerged rocks looking like Captain Hook’s crocodile
Definitely looks dangerous crocodile or not!
The black mass is made up of bats, hundreds of them, all squeaking indignantly
Sue, John and Nikki arrive at the cave (Sue has brought an umbrella to fend off the bats!)

The bats were starting to dart around in the dark – too close to our heads for my liking – so we headed out to explore the promising sounding “Smuggler’s Cove” just a short dinghy ride away.

Adjusting their eyes to the dark
Photo time! Meanwhile John avoids the crocodiles
Jonathan and I at the cave entrance
Us fleeing the bats!

At the mouth of the cove was a motor yacht anchored but as we made our way along, the cove started to narrow and the water became too shallow for a yacht to anchor in.

Then we saw a building that could possibly have been a pirate’s den, a smuggler’s lair or was it a bar?!

Was this a pirate’s den?
Pirates only allowed!

A notice proclaimed that “Pirates Only” were allowed and the guy who greeted us definitely looked a lot like a pirate! He offered us cold beers, coffee and çay but there was no food available (due to lockdown). It was lunchtime so we decided to return back to our yachts for lunch rather than go ashore.

The owner certainly could be mistaken for a pirate
We decided to forgo a beer for lunch on board
On the way back to the catamarans

The following day we decided to see if we could walk to the bar along the rough track that the goats take each morning to find new things to eat.

The little specks ashore are goats. We love listening to the goat bells tinkling and the goats “maaing” (apparently sheep baa and goats maa)
Making good progress along the path
Sue negotiating a rocky section
Lovely views!

It was a very pleasant walk with lovely views and strenuous enough to make us feel we deserved a cold beer at the Smugglers Inn Pirate Bar before walking back!

A cute little lizard
Sunday (in foreground) and Catabella at anchor
Jonathan and John (behind bars). Jonathan was hoping for a different kind of bar
And we found one!
Avast me hearties it was a pirate bar!
Waiting to be served
With plenty of “yo ho ho”
Enjoying a beer after our walk
Selfie time!

Thanks to Nikki and Sue for additional photography!

Big news week!

Thinking about what to write in this week’s blog there didn’t seem much news to recount but on second thoughts, there have been at least three events of importance this week.

The first is that Turkey came out of full lockdown which means we can walk freely, get boat work done (our gang plank – aka our passarelle has been waiting for new seals for weeks) and postal and courier deliveries can get back to normal.

There are still lockdowns every weekend which means we can only sail during the week and can’t wander around town or go for long walks at weekends although food shops will still be open.

At the post office trying to find missing post!
Our gangplank waiting to be mended

The second big event is that yesterday we received our Turkish temporary residency cards! This is such a wonderful relief at a time of travel restrictions and closed borders due to Covid.

It was a red letter day!
Officially Turkish residents now!

Last year, in contrast, we arrived in Greece just as the country was about to go under total lockdown. We moved onto our boat on March 17 the day lockdown began and from then on were confined to the boat and the marina surrounds for almost. three months.

Leaving Alimos Marino in Athens in May 2020 after almost three months in lockdown

There were barriers placed across the harbour entrance to ensure no one tried to sail off into the blue yonder (there were 1,000 charter yachts moored there and a tiny handful of cruising yachts – us and the Whittaker family on Polykandros to be precise.)

The Whittakers who we spent the first lockdown with in Athens, Greece

When our three months Schengen visa free period was up we were not allowed to extend our stay despite the circumstances. The Immigration official banged on her desk and shouted to Jonathan – who has a New Zealand passport but hasn’t lived there since 1984, “You go back to New Zealand and your wife must go back to Australia” (despite there being absolutely no flights!)

Despite being told (forcibly) to leave Greece we do miss the beauty of the Greek islands
Just one of the wonderful Greek sights – on the island of Amorgos

In contrast, in Turkey it has been very easy to apply for one-year temporary residency and with the help of Finike yacht agent Samet Gölgeci and travel agent Tarik Toprak, the process was easy.

We feel so grateful to Turkey for giving us the security of somewhere to stay while the world continues to be unsettled – unlike our home country, the hermit kingdom of Australia, where the government has made it nigh impossible for us to return.

Finike marina

The other important milestone was that I was called in for my first Covid vaccination. Unfortunately Jonathan is still waiting for an appointment but hopefully it will be his turn soon.

The Turkish health app letting me know that I could go in for my “jab”

Having had a very mild dose of Covid late last year in the Netherlands I wasn’t too anxious about getting grievously ill with the virus even if I caught it again but I really do believe that it is each person’s duty to think about the good of others before their own needs and desires.

The hospital in Finike is very modern

It’s all very well for people to decide they don’t want to be vaccinated – for whatever reason – but in order to get ALL of our lives back to normal we need to have the majority of the population worldwide vaccinated – ASAP.

The entrance to the Covid clinic

In the UK more than 37 million people (55.9 per cent of the population) have received at least one dose. Now the country is out of lockdown and Covid cases and hospital numbers are way down.

New cases are way down in the UK

So for those anxious about having a vaccine – look at the numbers. The vast majority of people in the UK who have been vaccinated have had no harmful side effects. In contrast, the small number of people who have ended up very sick in hospital and in some cases, dying, with Covid have been unvaccinated or have caught Covid before they were vaccinated or before their immunity had built up.

Deaths are right down. The vast majority of the people dying have not been vaccinated

In Australia people are being very slow to be vaccinated partly, I believe, because they feel that they have “beaten” Covid. Well they haven’t!

Hospital admissions of people with Covid continue to tumble

The Australian government has announced that the borders with the rest of the world will remain closed until mid-2022. There is no way the country will open even at that stage unless people go out and get vaccinated.

The entrance to the hospital in Finike

For those, like us, who have family in Australia (and dear friends of course) it seems a hopeless situation. We sometimes wonder if we will ever see them again.

This is where patients sat for 15 minutes after their vaccination

And just by the way, the Astra Zeneca vaccine is being provided at NO profit. Additionally, for those worried about blood clots it’s estimated this syndrome occurs in just six people per one million people vaccinated, on average, with the risk even lower for those over 50. This is about the same as your risk of serious injury from being stuck by lightning in a year in Australia.

No crowds, no fuss.

Anyway! Apart from those important events, the passed week has unfolded pleasantly with 7.30am yoga sessions (a miracle that I’m even awake at this time!); Scrabble or games of Rummikub in the afternoons; movie nights on S/V Catabella with a big screen, complete with popcorn and choc ices; farewell coffee and cake on S/V Liberte with Liz and Steve who we first met in Borneo, and drinks on other boats and on the dock.

Playing Scrabble has its tricky moments. This was Sue’s hand…..
….and this was mine!!
Just before our movie night we went to watch the flotilla commemorating Ataturk’s arrival in the Black Sea to launch the Turkish War of Independence in 1919
There were a lot of flares lit and patriotic music playing
Ataturk dedicated May 19 to the youth of the Turkish nation as Youth and Sports Day – a national holiday that (normally) sees young people take part in sporting and cultural activities with official ceremonies across the country

Yesterday we had a communal “casting off” party for all those leaving the marina this week. It was organised by the Turkish sailors who kindly invited us along to their celebration.

We all brought salads and other dishes to share to eat with the delicious “tray kebabs” cooked by the local butcher Nikki from S/V Destination Anywhere and Jonathan

We all took salads and other things to share and the local people organised large “tray kebabs” for everyone. The food was spicy and delicious and we had a lovely afternoon eating and drinking together.

The food was delicious! John from S/V Catabella enjoying a beer
Shelley (left) and Jill from S/V Eucalyptus
Sue from S/V Catabella

I have also been introduced to the delights of a Turkish spa this week by Sue of S/V Catabella.

The spa (Sue entering the bathhouse at the end of the passage)

Before our massage we were taken into a steamy marble-lined room with two slabs on which we were to lie.

Into the steamy atmosphere ready for the “dog wash” as Sue has dubbed it

Beforehand, hot water was sloshed over the slabs so it felt comfortably warm to lie on.

All set for the scrubbing

Then we were scrubbed from head to toe with what can only be described as one of those old fashioned pan scrubbers. While slightly excruciating it was also invigorating and strangely relaxing. At intervals we were rinsed by bucketfuls of hot water being sloshed over us which felt lovely.

After the scrub came the bubbles (not the alcoholic kind!) applied with what felt like a deliciously soft chamois, followed by a vigorous hair wash. Then after a quick dry off it was time for a wonderful but pretty conventional massage.

The massage itself was pretty conventional

Now lockdown is over we are slowly getting ready for our departure this coming Thursday. We can’t wait to out into the blue yonder again! One such task was to find a way round the strange phenomenon of having our telephone blocked.

A misty view of a mosque in the way to the phone shop

For some reason, after three months in the country, phones that are foreign made are somehow “disabled” by the Turkish government, regardless of whether you have a Turkish SIM or whether you are a temporary resident.

An unusual coloured bougainvillea

To get around this rather strange situation we have bought a small portable wifi hub with which we can “hotspot” using our disabled phones (apparently they can still do this!). We have also bought a tiny little Nokia with which we can receive an sms from our bank or credit card with a security code to complete a transaction. Hopefully this will work!

Our portable wifi hub

Not many photos this week but hopefully my next blog will be full of fabulous shots of blue seas and glorious landscapes!

Lowdown on Lockdown

A full lockdown began in Turkey on 29 April in an attempt to get Covid cases down before the tourist season begins in earnest. Tonight (Sunday 16 May) we have heard that restrictions will start to be lifted at 5 am tomorrow (Monday).

The aim of the full lockdown was to get cases to around 5,000 a day instead of the almost 62,000 reported on 21 April.

The vaccination program has been going well – on 21 April more than 12.5 million people had received at least their first dose (about 15.4 per cent of the population.)

Now, as we near the end of lockdown, cases have dropped to around 11,400 and over 14.8 million have received at least one dose of the vaccine (18.1 per cent of the population.)

Love to go bird watching around the marina

Rather than stay out at anchor during lockdown we decided to go back to Finike Marina as we had various boat jobs to complete and appointments organised.

Even saw some eagles this week!

The lockdown rules said that we could only leave the marina to do food shopping and even then we were, strictly speaking, only allowed to walk to the nearest supermarket. It seemed that even a walk outside of the marina for the purpose of exercise was not allowed.

Fortunately the marina includes four jetties and a reasonably sized area where the offices, shower block and laundry are situated, so we have been able to walk around to get some exercise.

There are also some fish to spot

Behind our new mooring spot over near the sea wall the fencing is topped with razor wire so sometimes it feels a bit like we are in a prison exercise yard while we watch people stroll or power walk past to and fro in the mornings and evenings!

View from our boat!
The razor wire sometimes makes us feel we are living in a prison exercise yard!

The rules around socialising are a bit vague and apply only to residents rather than those on a tourist visa. Basically there is a 24 hour a day curfew but of course, in the marina it appears that there is no expectation that even those with temporary residents cards should stay aboard 24 hours a day. This would be impossible to achieve anyway as we have to use the facilities at the toilet/shower block and visit the office for various reasons, for example to collect mail or parcels.

Yes we received some post!

Some people have refrained from having other people aboard their boats and kept themselves to themselves during this time while others have mixed with others in a reasonably low key way.

Beautiful flowers by the bathroom block

It has been the holy month of Ramadan which ended with the beginning of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations on 12th May 2021.

Pretty colours

This is a time of great joy and is normally marked with huge get togethers, feasting and the giving of gifts to children. The lockdown has meant that many family celebrations have been cancelled throughout Turkey but yesterday (Saturday) around 30 Turkish marina residents and some friends and family held a low key open-air Eid celebration in the community garden.

Around 30 Turkish marina residents and some friends and family held a low key open-air Eid celebration

The past two weeks have gone by quickly. I have been joining two other ladies for a game of scrabble every afternoon and in the last week we have sometimes played a new (to me) game called Rummikub with friends from another catamaran instead.

Deva the cat watching our game of rummikub

Early morning yoga has also begun over the last week. I have to admit, arriving for a 7.30 am start has been a challenge for me but I can honestly say I feel so much better which has been a great incentive to get up in time to attend. Since it is probably against lockdown rules I won’t mention the name of the person who has been leading us but all the participants have really enjoyed the sessions and definitely feel the benefits!

Getting ready for yoga in the clubhouse
We are very fortunate to have this space for our yoga sessions
Plenty of reading material in the clubhouse

In between the yoga and the games sessions, there have been plenty of other things to occupy our time.

There are some beautiful flowers in the marina gardens

Jonathan has done some maintenance such as greasing the anchor windlass, removing and renewing sealant in various spots and other jobs. We have put all our winter clothes away because the weather is now deliciously warm (but not too hot!)

I have been trying out more new recipes and we have both been studying a language on-line ( Jonathan French and me Turkish).

Cooking up a storm
This was delicious!

One of the ladies on the dock we were on previously was writing an article for a Turkish yachting magazine and so one day all the occupants from the boats on her dock gathered for a photograph to be taken.

Getting ready for the photo session
Even the dogs were included!
Getting organised – still with our masks on!

I have continued to take photos of things I see on my walks round the marina that catch my eye – beautiful flowers, yachts named after birds or animals, etc.

More lovely blooms
Smell this rose!

One night we had a wonderful birthday celebration for one of our fellow yachties and another evening we had a pizza and film night.

A curry night birthday celebration
Mmm cake!
The pizzas here aren’t too bad and are really well priced

Last weekend was Mother’s Day (a different day to the UK) and I was was wonderfully surprised to receive to big bouquets of flowers and lovely messages from my two beautiful children.

Beautiful flowers delivered to the marina. A miracle considering the complete lockdown!
And another happy delivery!

Lockdown has whizzed by and hopefully we will be out of the marina and back at anchor very soon. Unfortunately we have to wait for an oil seal to be delivered for our electronic gangplank (passarelle), a pressure washer that has got stuck somewhere due to the lockdown to be delivered, a credit card and our residency cards that also should have been delivered and for me to be registered to go in the queue for a Covid vaccination (Jonathan is now registered but there’s been a slight complication with mine.)

Flowers on the way to the shops

Hopefully all these items will be ticked off the list quickly so we can once again drop the lines and start enjoying sailing and dropping the anchor in gorgeous spots on the wonderful coast of Turkey.

Anniversary celebrations and a pre-lockdown escape

This week we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary on board our very comfortable Lagoon 420 catamaran in Finike Marina, Turkey.

“It was 35 years ago today ….”

Such a contrast to our tiny (28 foot) traditional cutter rig timber cruising yacht on which we spent our first wedding anniversary in 1987 in Ballina, New South Wales, Australia!

Our pride and joy having a day out with friends in Papua New Guinea

Although there wasn’t room to swing a cat in our little boat we loved it and had some great adventures in her in the Coral Sea, the highlight of which was an extended visit to Papua New Guinea.

In the intervening years we have had some wonderful anniversaries in fabulous places but it was particularly special to be celebrating our 35th on board once again.

Another anniversary – our 25th – in New York

Due to Covid lockdown restrictions we couldn’t go out to celebrate so we did the next best thing and ordered a lovely home delivery meal of fresh grilled fish, chips and salad (a loaf of bread came with it too!) – washed down by a very pleasant Turkish wine of course.

Our 35th celebration !

Talking of food, we have discovered that the fruit and vegetable shop we found on our first visit to Finike in August last year, not only delivers to the marina but also can buy herbs and other produce not normally found at the local market and shops.

This week he gave me a “menu” of goodies he could procure at the wholesale market in Marmaris and we ordered lots of fresh herbs, some fennel and “American” style capsicums, as well as some of the other “normal” fruit and vegetables.

All the “special” items our local fruit and veg man can obtain for us

We have been in Finike for over a month now and have been itching to get out and about and swing at anchor for a while. John and Sue on the catamaran Catabella felt the same way so we planned a short to trip to an idyllic little bay north of Finike called Çineviz Limani.

Here come the marina staff to help us with our lines

The day before our departure we heard that Turkey was going into a full lockdown for 17 days in an attempt to decrease the number of Covid cases before the summer season begins. This meant we had to go out for the whole lockdown or for only two days.

Sadly we had appointments and various bits of work scheduled in the following couple of weeks so we had to choose the two-day option.

Leaving the marina at Finike is very simple as one of the marina workers comes alongside in a dinghy to assist you and instruct you if necessary.

After helping us – on to S/V Catabella

As we slid through the water on our way out we passed S/V Catabella as Sue and John dropped their lines.

Letting go S/V Catabella’s lines

What a great feeling it was as we motored out of the marina! It was a sparking morning with scarcely a ripple to disturb the glassy surface of the water.

What a great feeling it was as we motored out of the marina
Farewell Finike!

We headed out as far as the fish farm just a short way off shore and then turned north for the four hour trip.

Going past the fish farm
Just behind us S/V Catabella skims through the water

Unfortunately the sail we were looking forward to didn’t eventuate as there was just no wind at all although about an hour before journey’s end we did roll out our foresail hoping to catch the few breaths that had begun to whisper across the water but had to give up and roll it back in fairly quickly.

There was scarcely a ripple to disturb the glassy surface of the water.
So calm we could see this turtle several metres away sunning itself

The coastline in this part of Turkey is rugged, wild and imposing and we enjoyed spotting the many caves in the limestone cliffs – lots of places for pirates to hide!

The coastline in this part of Turkey is quite wild and rugged.
There are loads of caves waiting to be explored!
Looks like there have been some rockfalls here!
There were people on the beach of this tiny little rocky island (spot the boat!)

As we approached Çavuş Burnu to start the approach to our anchorage – Çınevız Limanı we had spectacular views of Mt Olympos (Tahtalı Dağı).

A lovely clear view of Mt Olympos (Tahtalı Dağı) in the distance.

We were fortunate to have such a clear view of the whole mountain as apparently the peak is often covered by clouds, particularly in summer.

A closer view of Mt Olympos and still so clear

After we had settled John and Sue came over for gin and tonics and fish cooked on the barbecue. Lovely!

Buying the fish was quite the experience.
They were mostly very small so there wasn’t a huge choice
Sue and John arriving
Gin and tonics to start with

We couldn’t have been happier with our anchorage. Sunday and Catabella were the only yachts there, the sea was calm, there was no swell, the scenery was fabulous with awe inspiring cliffs dropping sheer into the sea. Bliss!

We couldn’t have been happier with our anchorage
The cliffs were awe-inspiring
It was beautifully calm – and no swell!
Sunday at anchor – photo credit Sue S/V Catabella – thanks Sue!

That night I looked for the full moon – it had been so bright the previous night in the marina but in the dark anchorage it was even more magnificent – a great silver orb reflecting like a lantern on the stillness of the calm seas surrounding us.

The moon rising brightly over the marina the previous night

This is what you miss staying in a marina – the magic spun by being on your own in an isolated spot where you can feel that the moon is shining just for you!

A great silver orb reflecting like a lantern on the stillness of the calm seas surrounding us.

The following day, after a relaxed start we took our dinghies over to Cirali Limani, the beach where the ruins of the ancient Lycian city of Olympos can be found – about two nautical miles from where we were anchored.

On the dinghy going to Cirali Limani
Cirali Limani ahead
The first signs of a ruined city perched on the rocks as we near the beach
The landing was pretty tough on the feet!
Who doesn’t love peering through a hole in the rock!

Both the guidebook and the sailing pilot were rather lukewarm about the ruins of Olympos (established around the 4th Century BC) saying they were “much overgrown and in a ruinous state” but we were absolutely enchanted!

The remains of a bridge over the channel which must have been navigable at one time
A leafy boardwalk beckons us in
A monumental tomb from the 3rd Century AD
The house of a wealthy Lycian family
Posing for the camera! Photo credit John and Sue from S/V Catabella

Yes, the ruins were set amongst overgrown trees but that really added to its charm.

The overgrown trees added a certain charm
I was reminded a little of Angkor Wat – definitely a little mysterious

It reminded me a bit of Angkor Wat in Cambodia – a little mysterious and with an atmosphere that made you feel that you might walk along a passage or turn a corner and suddenly find yourself in another time with people in strange clothes and speaking a completely different language.

There was an atmosphere that made you feel you could turn a corner and suddenly find yourself in another time with people in strange clothes and speaking a completely different language.
We really enjoyed exploring the ruins
On our way to another part of town
Some beautifully carved stone

Definitely a place that sent a few delicious shivers up my spine!

An incredible fig tree had spread its branches through the ruins
We wandered away from this part of ancient Olympos

We wandered away from this overgrown and mystical part of ancient Olympos and found ourselves in a paddock full of glorious spring flowers including a mass of vibrant red poppies.

Just a few of the vibrant red poppies we found
Such an amazing vibrant colour against the white of the daisies

Soon we were amazed to find that we had entered another part of the city – just as intriguing but with a completely different atmosphere.

The other part of the city had a completely different atmosphere
There were the remains of some formerly magnificent buildings

Here were Roman temples, early Christian Churches and a Bishop’s palace.

This anteroom in the Roman Temple had obviously been used later by the Christians
It was amazing to see the remains of paint on the walls of the anreroom
Jonathan pointing out the remains of a delicate leaf pattern
There were more remains on the hill in the distance

All the buildings were in a poor state of repair but the presence of a large crane gave us hope that restoration work was in progress.

Some restoration work had been done
The size of these walls indicate the grandeur of the city 2,000 years ago
The impressive entrance to the Roman Temple

The remains of the Roman Temple, such as they were, still enabled us to imagine the grandeur of the front facade of the Roman temple. Built in the first half of the second Century AD, to honour Emperor Hadrian, the temple had an impressive facade made out of cut stone blocks.

An artist’s impression of the temple facade
Using the artist’s impression we could visualise how the entrance must have looked
Jonathan showing how massive those blocks of stone were

After a lovely wander through the ruins we found a small restaurant open only for “takeaways” (due to Covid restrictions) but who allowed us to sit in their garden while they prepared some delicious gozleme for our lunch.

The cafe’s shady garden
Gozleme – delicious!
More buildings on the way back to the beach
This channel must have flooded once upon a time judging by the thickness of the wall

We arrived back to our respective boats and had a couple of hours of relaxation in the beautiful surroundings before a sumptuous roast dinner on Catabella.

We arrived back at our boats for some relaxation before dinner. S/V Catabella at anchor

We would have loved to stay longer and explore Olympos a little bit more and also try and find the Chimaera at the other end of the beach that we had motored to on our dinghies. The Chimaera consists of two outcrops of volcanic rock where escaping natural gas is permanently alight. Homer described this phenomenon as “a fire breathing monster part lion, part goat and part snake”. I really want to see that!

Alas, lockdown was starting at 6 pm and we had to get back in time to collect the dress, long pants and shorts I was having made by the local dressmaker from fabric I had picked up at the market for less than 10 Australia dollars.

Trying to explain what I wanted using Google translate! The Dressmaker’s son was trying to participate in an online class, poor thing.

Adalet, the dressmaker, had rustled these up in just a couple of days and we were anxious to pay for them before lockdown as she wouldn’t be earning much, if anything, during the 17 days when everyone was having to stay home.

Modelling my new dress – very cool for the summer

The journey back to Finike was once again gorgeous with calm seas, no wind and no swell.

Calm seas, no wind, no swell

The peak of the majestic Mt Olympos was still visible but the lower slopes were encased in a circle of low thick cloud – very atmospheric and a sight that will remain in our memories.

Mt Olympos hiding behind a thick cloud – just its peak visible
S/V Catabella following in our wake
The clouds were doing some odd things that day

We arrived in good time to go to the dressmakers and stock up on wine (supermarkets are not allowed to sell alcohol during lockdowns) and be back in time for “pre-lockdown drinks” on C-arm with some of our yachting compatriots.

More strange cloud activity
Pre lockdown drinks.

It was so great to get away – even though it was only for two days – as we felt thoroughly rejuvenated and ready to face lockdown with reasonable equanimity.

A Day in the Life…

No dramas or exciting news to report this week so instead I thought I would take you through a typical “Day in the Life” on S/V Sunday in Turkey.

S/V Sunday in Turkey

Every morning before the break of dawn (around 4.30am!) the “Azzan” (Call to Prayer) reverberates round the town from the mosque on the hill above the marina.

Often we don’t wake up – even though the call is broadcast at incredible volume over loudspeakers. Sometimes we do “come to” then lie awake until the next call – heralding the sunrise – which happens at around 6am, at which time we finally fall into a fitful sleep for a couple of hours.

The mosque on the hill above the marina
In this photo the mosque doesn’t look that close but believe me its PA system is mega loud!

At the moment it is Ramadan so I assume that between the two early morning prayer times devout Muslims will eat and drink to prepare for fasting during daylight hours. We on the other hand usually have a long and leisurely breakfast (after a lazy cup of tea reading the news on-line in bed) before starting the day’s activities.

Turkish potato bread for breakfast. A massive loaf – one slice is equivalent to three normal slices! Extremely delicious toasted.

On Tuesdays we go to the massive under cover market (quite often with other yachties) about 20 minutes walk from the marina, on other days we might go into town to shop at one of the stores or the local supermarket.

Always something new to discover on the way to the market. Jonathan and Heather from Amorgos Blue examine an ancient plough/seeding machine
An elderly cannon on the way to the market

At the market there always new wonders to marvel at – goats cheese presented in a goatskin carcass “pot”, dried vegetables hung on garlands that remind me of Christmas trees, some mysterious and unrecognisable foodstuff in a bucket or wild herbs on an upturned milk crate.

Yes, this is a real goatskin!
This reminds me of a Christmas tree!
No idea what this was!
Wild herbs on sale at the market

Weighed down by wonderful fresh fruit and seasonal vegetables we return to our boats to try and find room to store our bounty.

On our way back from the market we find what looks like the lid to a Lycian coffin
The Wisteria in Finike is glorious
The Wisteria perfume is captivating
Love the ducks here

There’s always work to do on the boat whether it’s servicing the engines, fixing “dings” in our gel coat inside or out and always cleaning! Being an AWB (Another White Boat) it is a constant slog keeping Sunday looking reasonably spruce. Every mark shows and with the dreaded red dust from the Sahara still lurking, keeping the decks clean is a major task. Then there’s the stainless steel to polish and the canvas to keep looking good. My approach is to do a little each day and try and keep on top of it. It’s not a great strategy – I think we need a full time cleaner!

Jonathan servicing the engine
The “Captain’s kit” for grinding and polishing gel coat
Putting our canvas back up as the sun is now quite warm
Dirty footprints – the bane of my life!

Then of course there are the normal household tasks that are the same for everyone wherever they live!

Our very kind Turkish neighbours in the marina brought over some delicious falafel one day this week so I baked a lemon drizzle cake to share with them.

These falafel were delicious!

As our oven has no temperature controls (it is either hot or hotter) our baking attempts have been very hit and miss. On this occasion the cake actually rose very well and tasted great even though it was slightly over-browned around the edges!

I was thrilled that the cake had actually risen!
A dusting of icing sugar masked the slightly singed cake bottom

We sometimes skip lunch if we have had a big breakfast but sometimes we have a salad and always cook a meal in the evenings.

Despite weekend lockdowns and other restrictions life is sociable in the marina. Some people prefer not to go aboard other’s boats but will stop for a (masked) chat as they walk past.

At weekends there used to be a socially distanced BBQ at the marina clubhouse but cooking together has been stopped temporarily due to Covid restrictions. Last weekend a few people met for a beer and a chat.

A Sunday catch up outside the marina clubhouse

Each day we work on learning a language – Jonathan is improving his school boy French and I’m trying to learn Turkish. We are both using the Duolingo App which is a fun way to learn.

Attempting to learn Turkish. It’s going to take me a loooong time

Often we chat via video call to our adult children and their partners, other family members and friends far and wide. We also keep up email correspondence with family and friends that prefer that method of communication.

Found this Sufi dancer on a walk this week

Over the last week I have thoroughly enjoyed a daily Scrabble session with Sue on S/V Catabella a few doors away from us. We have also had the pleasure of a couple of nights socialising with Sue and her husband John over a few wines. It was also fantastic to have a great evening catching up with Liz and Steve of S/V Liberte who we first met on the Kalimantan Rally in 2017.

Enjoyed socialising on S/V Catabella

One of the pleasant surprises we have experienced in Turkey is how very palatable and reasonably priced the wine is here. We have found some firm favourites and are keen to keep finding more!

Most days we try to go for a walk – at the weekends when we are in lockdown it would probably be just round the marina but on a typical weekday it could be round the foreshore to the mouth of the harbour or a longer stroll along the beachfront.

A view of the marina from around the foreshore
Arghh! There’s an elephant in the marina!
…and a grey hippo!

Of course there is always something new to see – the flash of a kingfisher (my favourite bird I think) or a beautiful view; a gorgeous tree or the comical antics of some young ducks.

Captured a flash of a kingfisher flying by
Then found it on this rock
Then managed to get another shot
This was my favourite though. Just wish I had a proper camera!
The tranquil view across the Bay
So good to see blossom!
Leaves and catkins bursting into bloom
Another gorgeous Wisteria by the water’s edge
So beautiful!
We love watching the antics of the ducks we come across
A group of juveniles stop by briefly at this feeding station made from an old door
These juveniles still had their yellow baby feathers on their head and necks!

On the first day of Ramadan we received the fright of our lives! Just as the Call to Prayer started at sunset there was an enormous explosion. It sounded as though a bomb had gone off! Our lovely Turkish neighbours laughed as we ran out to see what had happened and they explained the explosion was just a signal to the people in Finike that they could break their fast. Traditionally a cannon is fired but here the enormous bang seems to be made by a “whiz bang” rocket. The explosion never fails to make me jump – even though I’m expecting it – much to the amusement of our neighbours!

The evening ritual – our neighbours waiting for the “Big Bang”
…and they’re off! The plume of smoke from the rocket’s ignition still smoking

At least once a week I try to cook a new recipe – mostly trying to increase my repertoire of appealing vegetarian dishes.

red pepper (capsicum), tomato and bulgur wheat tray bake – yum!

This week it was a great choice – red pepper (capsicum), tomato and bulgur wheat tray bake with feta cheese from my sister Sarah’s second family cookbook. It was delicious!

The day usually closes with watching a movie or a couple of episodes from a TV series or reading one of many books we have purchased and stored electronically.

We love walking along the foreshore
More ducks having fun!
We have to cross this bridge over the canal on our walks along the beach
A dog enjoying the biscuits from the slot machine. We always try and put a few coins in.

And so ends another day of living on the marina in Finike, Turkey.

Cinderella your coach awaits!
A lovely stroll along the beach
I thought these looked rather scary!
The fishing boat harbour

Thank you Turkey! (Teşekkür ederim Türkiye!)

Anxiety levels during the time of Covid are high even amongst the most fortunate of us.

Jonathan and I feel exceptionally blessed to be on our boat in beautiful and fascinating Turkey. This week we feel doubly so, thanks to some generous and warmly given assistance we have received here in Finike with our application for a 12-month temporary residents visa.

“Sunday” tied up at Finike marina

Thanks first to Samet of Finike Yachting Shipping Agency who, after our unsuccessful attempt at making the initial on-line application, efficiently executed the process in just a few minutes and then magically had an appointment booked with the Turkish Immigration Department organised for just a few days later.

The online application form we filled in unsuccessfully

Samet then took us to Tarik’s car hire office and organised our transport. He also accompanied us to the Finike Marina Office to request an original copy of our marina contract.

To be honest after hearing from other yachties about having to get documents translated and the need to move between government departments in different parts of town, I felt quite anxious and wasn’t looking forward to this process at all.

It was therefore so helpful to have Samut’s advice and knowledge of exactly what the Immigration Office required. He just took all the stress away from getting everything organised!

View from the harbour wall
Finike from the marina

The day before we were to travel to Kemer for our appointment we heard that we would need to take a pink file to Immigration for all our documentation. We were reminded instantly of our disastrous attempts to find pink files on the island of Belitung in Indonesia when we were trying to extend our visas there. There wasn’t a pink folder to to be had anywhere on the island! In the end, we and our friends from S/V Yantara arrived with orange ones (being the nearest to pink we could find!) and despite their protests, the Immigration officials did allow us to use them!

Just before we started to head for the shops in Finike to search for pink files we received a visit from Seda who works at Tarik’s car hire/tourism company.

Tarik’s details

She asked us to bring our passports and a list of other documents to the office just outside the marina so Tarik, the owner, could check we had everything required. I went to the office with Seda and was surprised but delighted to see that they had very thoughtfully provided us with the necessary pink files.

The hardstanding at Finike marina

They checked all of our documents, took photo copies and arranged each one in the correct order in the file. Finally Tarik reminded me to bring the originals of all our documents and to be at the end of our dock at 8.40am where he would be waiting to drive us to Kemer – just over an hour’s drive along the coast from Finike.

The drive to Kemer was very pleasant

The whole process on the day went extremely smoothly thanks to Tarik who drove us there and walked us to the Immigration Office from the car park. He then drove us on to the Taxation Office and even went in to pay the fees on our behalf.

Lovely mountain views on the way to Kemer
In the very comfortable mini bus on the way to the Immigration Office in Kemer

We were driven back to the Immigration office to show the proof of payment and were issued with a receipt and even given our Visa numbers so we could organise (after a six-day wait) our Covid vaccinations without waiting for our official “Ikamet” (residency) cards to arrive.

There was loads of room!

We feel so grateful to Turkey for allowing us to stay as temporary residents in the country during these difficult times, especially as it’s virtually impossible to go back to our “home” country of Australia.

Waiting to be seen at Immigration

Flights to Australia are prohibitively expensive (think many thousands of dollars) if you can get on one that is. This, combined with the strong likelihood of flight cancellations and with two-weeks quarantine in a hotel at your own cost, has made our return problematical to say the least.

The tax office where we had to pay the visa fees

It is so comforting knowing that we have the certainty of having somewhere we can stay in our floating home for the immediate future.

The resident cat at the tax office

Huge thanks to Samet, Tarik (and Seda) for all their assistance. Other than paying for the car hire we were given all this invaluable help and support without any charge. We are so grateful!

That isn’t snow in the distance, the blanket of white is from the hundreds of plastic roofs of green houses – ubiquitous in Antalya

Another highlight of the week was a lovely pot luck dinner with Catie and Michael from S/V Alyse and Giles and Julia from S/V Elisabeth.

Enjoying a Covid safe pot luck dinner
Time to go home, it was getting chilly!

A visit from the beautiful (and massive) resident turtle in the marina was also exciting . What a magnificent creature!

A big old Loggerhead Turtle lives at the marina
Such a beautiful creature

We have explored Finike a little more, watched the snow slowly beginning to melt on distant mountains, and had more encounters with the friendly marina dogs.

Lots of snow on the mountains in the distance
The snow is gradually disappearing
Pas Pas (Mop) the most elderly canine marina resident
This handsome doggie loves lying in the sun
In the meantime, young Emma is always on the move

Cemal (Jamal), the technical manager at the marina and the hydraulic engineer came to look at our passarelle (gangplank) which is leaking hydraulic fluid.

Looking into our leak
Luckily despite the leak it still works

We also enjoyed going to the massive Tuesday market with Heather and Robert from S/V Amorgos Blue and Cate. We bought lots of delicious things to enjoy through the week.

The massive covered market
So much wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables (even the bananas are grown in Turkey)
Lots of wonderful nuts and dried fruits
Nuts anyone?
Buying some gorgeous dried apricots

Thank you Turkey for making us so welcome!

Ducks paddling furiously upstream

Drama as our anchor gets stuck and other stories

A stroll round the streets of Kaleköy (literally, Castle village) in the stunning enclosed bay of Kekova Roads, in Turkey, was a must before the dinghy trip back to our catamaran Sunday.

Strolling along the beach front in Kaleköy
There were of course, lots of steps in the village

We had just eaten our first meal out in a restaurant since December (and that was the first since the previous August) due to Covid restrictions. It felt ridiculously good!

We had a lovely wander round the village which clings to the hillside below the fortress

Feeling rather full we decided not to go all the way to the castle (more of a fort than a full-on castle) but we had a lovely wander round the village which clings to the hillside below.

Wasn’t sure if these berries were edible or not

Back on board Sunday we had an unexpected “flying” visit from David and Jaynee aboard Adventurous who were on their way to join their travel buddies on Imagine 2 – already anchored over the other side of Üçağız.

We had an unexpected “flying” visit from David and Jaynee aboard Adventurous

The next morning dawned still and warm and we had our first outside breakfast of the season which was really wonderful.

We woke up to this peaceful scene
Our first breakfast outside this season

At around 9 am we decided to haul the anchor and start our three hour trip to Finike marina.

Time to haul anchor

At first the anchor seemed to be coming up fine but soon it became apparent that we were very stuck. Had we become tangled up on a rock? Or had we snagged something on the ocean bed?

The village of Üçağız and the gulets perfectly reflected in the still water

After a bit of manoeuvring to see if we could disengage whatever we were caught on we decided that we needed to find out our exactly what we were up against.

Slowly, slowly we pulled up the chain in tiny increments to avoid stressing our anchor winch. Soon the anchor was near the surface and we could see what had happened. It was caught on what appeared to be a massive disused mooring chain. It was incredibly heavy!

On no! Our anchor was snagged!

How were we going to get it off? Drastic action was needed or we would be stuck in Kekova Roads for ever!

Drastic action was required to get this incredibly heavy chain off our anchor

We needed to tip the anchor somehow to get the massive chain to slide off. Captain Birdseye cleverly managed to thread a rope through the “loop” of the anchor using the boat hook. What next though? We obviously couldn’t use the anchor winch to tip the anchor on its side. We then hit upon the idea of tying the rope off on the cleat on the starboard bow so the anchor was held in position and as soon as we loosened it off it tipped and the huge chain slid back off into the water and we were free!

We needed to tip the anchor somehow to get the massive chain to slide off.
Captain Birdseye cleverly managed to thread a rope through the “loop” of the anchor using the boat hook
As soon as we loosened it he anchor off it tipped and the huge chain slid back off into the water and we were free!

Soon we were gliding along towards Finike where we were planning to stay for at least a month while we apply for a one year residency visa, look into the possibility of getting a Covid vaccination, make dental appointments, get a few boat jobs done and do some land travel.

As with the Kas-Kekova Roads leg there was no wind so we just switched on the engines and enjoyed the passing scenery – rock formations, the remains of earthquake-ruined ancient buildings and the village of Kaleköy with the fortress rising magnificently high above.

Soon we were gliding along towards Finike
The remains of earthquake-ruined ancient buildings
The village of Kaleköy with the fortress rising magnificently high above

Nestled snugly in a small bay we saw the superyacht M/V Never Say Never which apparently you can hire for a mere 6,000 euros a day!

M/V Never Say Never which apparently you can hire for a mere 6,000 euros a day

The three-hour trip passed quickly and soon we were radioing Finike Marina to let them know of our approach.

The three-hour trip passed quickly
Finike in the distance
Soon we were radioing Finike Marina to let them know of our approach

Our call was answered immediately and in no time at all we were being guided into the marina by two staff members in a dinghy.

We were guided into the marina by two staff members in a dinghy.
Heading for our berth on “B dock”

Everything went very smoothly and we were soon tied up and ready to check in. As we have signed a year’s contract with Setur Marinas in Finike we are able to stay in Finike at any time within that timeframe without any extra payment.

Ready to tie us up

Although we prefer to be anchored out it is great to know that we can also stay up to one month in any of the nine other Setur marinas for a total of four weeks each. An excellent thing if we need to leave the boat to visit family (Covid permitting), go land travelling or family and friends visit us. No more luggage transfers by dinghy!

Sunday nicely settled

After a warm welcome from Marina manager Barbaros and his staff at reception we wandered round to get our bearings and on the way acquainted ourselves with the marina dogs Emma ( just one year old and an affectionate and playful little dog) and the sweet, deaf but perky, 15 year -old Paspas (Turkish for Mop).

Meet Emma
She is the friendliest little dog
Paspas (Turkish for Mop) is deaf but very perky

That day and the day after, several people stopped at our boat to say “hello”. However, it was very difficult to see who they were as of course their faces were covered by a mask and often a hat too. It was a case of “guess the guest”.

No guessing needed with Paspas
A welcome cup of çay

Amazing what a small world it is – especially in yachting circles – one of our “callers” was Liz Colman from S/V Liberte who we last saw several years ago in the remote Andaman Islands. Others we had met more recently last year in Turkey. It is always such a delight to reconnect with people no matter how long you have known them or when you last met!

Liberte (third from left) who we had last seen in the Andamans

Donna from Intrepid Kiwi, who we met along with Ross last year very briefly in Gocek, kindly offered to take us on a bit of a tour round town, along with another recent arrival to Finike, Heather, from S/V Amorgos Blue.

Donna took us to three department stores (supermarkets that also sell everything from pots and pans to furniture), to hardware street (browsing heaven for Jonathan) and many other shops (my favourites were reminiscent of shops from my childhood that were “old fashioned” even then) and other various points of interest.

We really liked the old fashioned shops
Underwear anyone?
Everything neatly stacked in this shop which was reminiscent of my childhood
The mosque near “hardware street”

When we had our first and very quick visit to Finike last August we had found a fabulous baker’s shop where delicious bread of all kinds is made in a wood fired oven. So we were able to show Donna and Heather this wonderful place and of course we all purchased supplies to take back to our boats.

You can just see the glow of the wood fired oven – the smell was amazing!
Heather from S/V Amorgos Blue buying bread supplies
Fresh out of the oven and still warm

The bakers is at one end of short covered laneway and the rest of the space is taken up with a fishmongers and a cafe/restaurant. Having walked our feet off we decided to take the weight off and have a hot drink. Two of us had delicious cappuccinos and the other two had çay – one “normal” and the other herbal, also declared “very good”.

The roof of the covered laneway
The fishmongers opposite the cafe/restaurant
Jonathan keeping his hands warm
Coffee time!

When we arrived in the marina we saw that the bowl at the bottom of the machine installed by a pet food company on the dock was empty. We all put one Turkish Lire (about 15 cents Australian or 10 Euro Cents) in the slot and for each coin a handful of dried animal food was delivered to the bowl. Such a great idea to feed the many local homeless cats and dogs!

The machine installed by a pet food company on the dock

Before going back to our boats we called into the boatyard to meet Donna’s delightful rescue kittens Huey and Louie. As we entered the yard Donna called out to them and they came scampering up, jumping like dogs trying to get picked up by her.

Huey and Louie
Donna getting a cuddle

During the week we caught up on all the normal “housework” as well as a few boat “projects” such as re-doing some old sealant in the galley that did not reach Capt’n Birdseye’s (or my) standards. He also did a great job replacing bathroom taps that had tarnished over the years with brand new shiny ones!

Good work happening in the galley
It looks much neater now
The old taps were quite tarnished
One of the shiny new ones

One afternoon I wandered down our dock to say hello to Australians Jill and Shelley on S/V Eucalyptus. I had “met” Jill on an non-sailing related Facebook page (any other Chat 10 Looks 3 members out there?) so it was great to meet at last.

View from the marina. The white in the centre top of the photo is snow not clouds!

As the week wore on we met a quite a number of Finike marina residents – most of who had wintered over there but some newer arrivals too.

Meeting some of the longer term marina residents at a dock party

At a Friday night dock party we met a crowd of new people, amongst them were Roland and Dagmar a German/Swiss couple with three children. Roland very gallantly offered to go up our mast to fix the anchor light which had recently stopped working.

Roland going up our mast
His eldest son Florian helps with the safety line

When he got up there he found a loose connection and was able to fix it straight away which was absolutely fantastic!

When Roland got up to the top he found a loose connection
View from the top of the mast
Letting Roland down slowly