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.

Published by

Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

4 thoughts on “Anniversary celebrations and a pre-lockdown escape”

  1. Wow – what a fantastic place to visit! It does as you say look extremely atmospheric and mysterious, full of a sense of hidden lives of people who lived there in times long past. The weather may not have been ideal for sailing but looks beautiful in every other way! So glad to hear about the places you’ve been exploring and the obviously enjoyable time you’re having in Turkey. At least the lockdown’s only for 17 days – not too unbearable given the location and the promise of late spring. Wish we could be with you! xx

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  2. Wow! what amazing unspoilt sights in a beautiful landscape, alone with no tourists! described so accurately and colourfully!

    Thank you for taking us on this anniversary journey…wonderful escapism from our lockdown!
    And for us, one of your most enjoyable recent blogs?

    Strangely enough, we had been watching a one- legged crow!hoping across the fallow field opposite us and coping very well, when two baby deer gambolled past! An amazing sight for us too!
    The reason the field is fallow is it’s been too cold to plant the broccoli crop!

    Also, thanks for those lovely full moon photos and CONGRATULATIONS on your 35th wedding anniversary! Was it on 5th May?!.

    Love Sally&Georgios xx

    What’s George in Turkish?!)
    Don’t know how to switch from here to Google translate and don’t want to loose my typing!!x

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    1. Thank you Sally and George! We got all excited when we heard Greece was opening its borders to sailing yachts but not from Greece yet it has turned out. How lovely to see not one but two fawns – so many amazing sights even in our everyday surroundings! Thanks for the congrats – 35 years is nothing compared to you two! Must be over 40 now?! Our anniversary was 26 April! Sending hugs to you both x

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