Escape from bush fire and cooling oasis

After our exciting Med mooring experiences in the Göcek National Park we left for Marmaris and were looking forward to the sanity of swinging at anchor.

Farewell to the beautiful Göcek Natıoral Park

We left early (for us!) to take advantage of the relatively light winds and smooth seas as it was predicted that the wind (which at this time of year is mostly against us) would start blowing a lot harder around lunchtime.

The National Park area was beautifully serene as we motored out towards the open sea. Once on course for Marmaris we had a very good trip and even managed to sail for a while which was lovely!

Early morning serenity
Great to be sailing!

It was fantastic to be at anchor once again in the bay off Içmeler, a resort area within the massive harbour of Marmaris.

Approaching the entrance to the massive Marmaris Bay

This was where we anchored when we first arrived in Turkey almost exactly a year ago and it was great to be back!

We anchored at Içmeler almost exactly a year since we arrived in Turkey for the first time

One of the things we enjoyed during our first visit was taking our dinghy up a small canal to a great little cafe called Florida that specialises in catering to the needs of English residents yearning for some of their favourite meals!

Taking our dinghy up the small canal to a great little cafe called Florida
We had to duck a little going under some of the bridges
John and Sue leading the way

Don’t get me wrong, we love Turkish food, and we eat really well on board with lots of fresh salads and vegetables but just occasionally it’s fun to have that good old favourite – a generous helping of fish and chips – complete with HP sauce and mushy peas if that’s your heart’s desire.

Our usual fare on S/V Sunday

The cafe also does an amazing full English breakfast and even a Scottish breakfast – complete with a potato scone and black pudding! Like so many businesses they are really suffering due to Covid so if you’re in the area, I encourage you to pay a visit.

After a beautiful moonlit night we woke up to a really oppressively hot day. We’d had a couple of shockers in the previous days when the Mercury hit 40 plus degrees celcius (104 plus degrees Fahrenheit). This day it felt like someone was blowing us with a hairdryer on full heat! I said to Jonathan in passing that it reminded me of Australian bushfire weather.

It was captivating watching the full moon rise over the headland

Later on that day we heard a helicopter fly over us at very low altitude. We popped out to have a look and realised it was scooping up water from the ocean in a big pouch hung below. This could only mean one thing – fire!

The helicopter scooping up water
The helicopter on the way to the fire

There was a big column of smoke on a nearby hillside and as we watched, it began to spread at an alarming rate right before our eyes!

Watching from S/V Sunday
The fire was spreading quickly

John on our buddy boat S/V Catabella had been a member of the Bush Fire Brigade in Australia and he was concerned about the speed and direction of the fire. The last thing we wanted was to be showered with embers!

It looked pretty worrying from where we were anchored
We could see flames leaping into the air

So we upped anchor and made a bolt for it to a bay just around the corner called Turunç Bükü. Once there, we were safe from the fire although we could still hear the helicopters hard at work for quite a time.

Good to put some distance between the fire and us
Safely anchored at Turunç Bükü
It was a pleasant anchorage and we promised ourselves to visit it properly in the future

After a restful night we set off for Marmaris as Sue and John had managed to secure a berth at the Netsel Setur Marina.

The beautiful cliffs at Turunç Bükü

Almost all the marinas here in Turkey are very full due to Covid but yachties with an annual contract with Setur Marina are entitled to stay at each of the marinas in the Setur Group for 30 days.

Leaving Turunç Bükü we noticed this cave which turned out to be a tunnel to the town beach

Unfortunately in some cases people are still finding it difficult to book a berth, even with a contract. This can prove very stressful if like Sue and John, you have a plane to catch! Luckily they were able to make a booking at the last minute but we had all sorts of contingency plans just in case.

On our way to Marmaris we passed where the bushfire had been and saw how close it had got to hotels on the coastline. Thank goodness the helicopter pilots swung into action so quickly and efficiently.

The burnt hillside devastated by the bushfire. The fire was perilously close to hotels on the coast.
Jonathan on S/V Catabella helping out with a temporary repair before going into the marina
John and Jonathan working on a quick repair

With Catabella safely ensconced in the marina, we went for a celebratory meal at Memed Okabasi – a wonderful traditional Turkish restaurant where the food is delicious and very reasonably priced.

The kitchen at Memed Okabasi
Feeling full after a lovely meal

Rather than getting a taxi to the airport the following day, Sue and John suggested that they would hire a car and in return for dropping them off at the airport we could use the car for a bit of sightseeing for the rest of the day.

Demolishing the meze which automatically comes as part of your order
A complimentary dessert – we were give water melon too!

It was still extremely hot so it was blissful to be in air conditioning for a day! Having farewelled Sue and John at Dalaman Airport we headed back towards Marmaris and then onwards along the peninsula towards Bozburun.

Dropping Sue and John at the airport

But first we stopped for breakfast at one of the many cool and shady gözleme stalls that lie along the D400 highway (a gözleme is a savoury Turkish stuffed flatbread). This road starts at nearby Datça and ends 2,057 kilometres later at the Iranian border!

We stopped for breakfast at one of the many cool and shady gözleme stalls
A gözleme is a savoury Turkish stuffed flatbread

These roadside stalls are like oases, with an abundance of cooling, shimmering, water and delicious snacks to delight travellers who stop to rest there.

The roadside stall was like an oasis, with an abundance of cooling, shimmering, water

We noticed that nearly all the stalls have overhead standpipes from which water gushes freely. Many of the stalls also have fountains and little streams which deliciously cool the air.

The gozleme stop was cooled by a bubbling fountain

At the stall where we stopped we saw that next to the fountain was a pressure valve which suggests there was an underground aquifer below where the water was under pressure and bubbling up to the surface.

Was there an underground aquifer below?

Suitably refreshed, we started off again, bypassed Marmaris and took the scenic (and extremely winding) route to Bozburun.

The route to Bozburun was winding but scenic
The views were glorious

What a drive! Glorious views, hairpin bends, up steep hills, down even steeper hills. Eventually we arrived at Bozburun, a small seaside town famous for its thyme honey.

Another stunning view
There were lots of hairpin bends
Almost at Bozburun

We managed to find a spot to park on the small but lovely harbour, and were very happy to see boats at anchor here – no need to Med moor here, thank goodness!

We were parked on the quay right next to this beauty
We were very happy to see you can free anchor in Bozburun

There were a few little restaurants open but it was extremely quiet on the whole, with hardly any tourists around.

Bozburun is a small with a lovely harbour

A late lunch started with a delicious meze followed by wonderful fresh fish. We felt very full and very fortunate!

Enjoying the water views

We thought Bozburun was a delightful spot and are very much looking forward to visiting again soon – next time by sea!

The food was amazing!

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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.

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