Headlines along the lines of “Aussie couple disappears in Turkish countryside – boat found abandoned” were running through my mind as we pondered where we had gone wrong.
We were on a hike in Kekova Roads starting in Woodhouse Bay where we had anchored Sunday.
We hadn’t been off the boat for a few days due to high winds and seas to match so when we reached this beautiful, calm bay we were raring to go!
Our cruising guide mentioned a track which started right behind the spot where we had anchored although it was really difficult to make it out from the boat.
Once we had tied up our dinghy we scouted around and followed what did in fact turn out to be the trail although we were definitely dubious to start with.
Despite the heat it was great to be going for a hike (more of a scramble really!) after being cooped up in the boat for a few days.
After a laborious climb we reached the top and came to a more defined track – apparently there was meant to be a deserted, tumbledown, village somewhere on this path but we obviously chose the wrong direction to take (we turned right!) and managed to miss it!
After a walking for a while in the rugged terrain we decided it was time to turn homewards. We walked back the way we had come for what seemed rather a long time and gradually became aware that we were travelling through unfamiliar scenery. We had managed to miss the turnoff for the rough path back to the boat!
While I had visions of spending the rest of the day wandering back and forth trying to find the track back down to Sunday, Jonathan retraced our steps the way we had been.
Being a former Boy Scout with a bushcraft badge he had, unbeknownst to me, left a sign using small stones a short way before our turn off.
Unfortunately, it was so well camouflaged that he completely missed it on the way back. Luckily he found it second time round!
Eventually using his sneaky sign we were able to find our route and followed the red markings painted on the rocks all the way home!
Later that day we took the dinghy to a small cove where apparently, there was a fresh water spring. The cove narrowed to become more like a large creek which was cool, rather mysterious and so peaceful.
Craggy rock cliffs topped with trees towered above us on each side and from time to time low shrubs clung tenaciously to the rocky outcrops at eye level. It felt like we were in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark!
We motored further up the creek and the banks became bushier and less rocky. As we swished through the green water we became aware that the bottom of the dinghy – where our feet were – was deliciously cold. Aha, we had found the fresh water spring!
A little further along we spotted a very clear pool of water which was surrounded by submerged rocks. We could just make out trickle of water bubbling over the rocks – this was definitely the spring!
Jonathan was very keen to get to taste this beautiful crystal clear water so he waded through the ice-cold pool to collect some in his drink bottle.
He took a sip and then gave me some to try – it was revolting! Yes it was icy cold but it also tasted horribly salty and not in the least like we had imagined!
Keen to explore some more of the Kekova Roads area, we set off again the next day. Despite there being a fair number of tourist boats moored in the bays the huge harbour felt gloriously empty as we sailed across, passing the little village of Kaleköy which nestles beneath the mighty Byzantine castle – built in the Middle Ages to fight against invading pirates.
We sailed deeper into the harbour to outside the sweet village of Üçağız – described rather disparagingly in the Turkish cruising guide as “a ramshackle little village”.
It is true that it is very small but ramshackle isn’t accurate – Üçağız is a charming village steeped in history with welcoming locals. It is just such a charming place to visit once all the day trippers have left for the day.
As we strolled through the narrow streets we marvelled at the ancient sarcophagi from Lycian times dotted around the place – some in a car park, another on a street corner, one with hens living in it!
We also saw a crumbling old building that looked like a Christian church – later we found that the village had been inhabited mostly by Greeks until the population exchange of 1923 and that the building indeed had been a Church.
We had a long and very interesting chat with the manager of a Turkish carpet shop – the smell and the colours inside the shop were intoxicating and it looked like an Aladdin’s cave.
We would have loved to have bought a carpet but where on earth would we put it?!
We had tied our dinghy up outside Hassan’s restaurant (he had seen us looking for a spot and called us over).
He wore a magnificent black chef’s hat and was so welcoming that we decided to have dinner at his restaurant.
We had a delicious meal of fresh fish which he filleted at the water’s edge next to our table. As he was working a huge turtle came to visit.
One of his daughters had excellent English (she had been working in Berlin before Covid) and she showed us several foreign magazines and other publications in which her father and his restaurant were featured.
Apparently Hassan’s restaurant has been renowned in yachting circles although more recently they hadn’t seen many yachting visitors at all. We think this was because the once plentiful yachting charter boat companies had closed down. The Covid-19 crisis had made things even worse.
We ended up leaving with a bag of plums, a huge bunch of freshly picked basil and a home made bracelet which Burcu, Hassan’s daughter had made and put on my wrist before we left.
What a great evening we had!
So yachties, if you’re in the area, do go to Hassan’s and you’ll receive a very fine welcome!