We were absolutely shocked and horrified to see the level of devastation caused by the August forest fires as we sailed into the Cokertme area near Bodrum in Turkey.
It seemed that every millimetre of the hills had been completely ravaged.
Considering the wholesale destruction it was an absolute miracle that this tiny little village had survived.
Once again we were left open mouthed at the scale of the job that faced the fire fighters and full of admiration that they managed to save the village in the face of such a maelstrom.
Apart from a walk round the village our one night stay was uneventful and we set off for Bodrum the next day
We had hoped to see carpet and Kilim stands that are usually found in the village but perhaps the lack of tourists due to Covid and then the fires on top of that explained their absence.
It was exciting sailing into the port city of Bodrum and catching our first sight of its impressive 15th Century castle which dominates the whole landscape.
We really loved being able to anchor in the shadow of the castle and enjoyed the imposing view every time we were on deck.
Finding a place to leave our dinghies where we could disembark easily took a while but once we found somewhere we had fun exploring Bodrum with our travelling companions Sue and John on S/V Catabella.
Although it is a big city, it has an intimate feel to it as there is a profusion of narrow pedestrian-only laneways full of all kinds of shops.
Tucked in between the shops there were some delightful traditional cottages and bougainvillea-covered small apartment buildings as well as cafes and small hotels.
The highlight (apart from the amazing waffles!) of our short stay was our day going round Bodrum castle and the fantastic underwater archaeological museum housed within the castle.
Built by the Knights of St John, the castle is a maze of passageways that twist and turn with doorways and lookout points in unexpected places.
It has four towers – each built by people from different countries: England, France, Germany and Italy. Each tower was built in a different style – some square and some round.
Another feature that intrigued us was the carved reliefs of coats of arms placed by the knights in recognition of donations and other contributions to the building of the castle. There are two hundred and forty-nine separate designs that still remain.
The garden was a beautiful oasis of green containing a collection of almost every plant and tree of the Mediterranean region.
I also loved the funereal monuments that depicted the life led by the deceased person.
The mosque in the centre of the castle garden was once a chapel but after the capture of the castle by the Ottomans in 1523 a minaret was added and the chapel converted.
Inside the chapel there was a very serene atmosphere although I do admit to feeling less than serene when I realised that I was looking at an open tomb with 12 bodies stacked on top of each other. It is believed these bodies date from between the 12th to 14th Century AD.
In the museum we were amazed by the treasures that had been retrieved from a total of nine excavated wrecks.
I was particularly captivated by the incredible glassware discovered in the late 1970s from the wreck of an 11th Century AD ship that had sank near Marmaris due to anchor failure.
The glassware which the archeologists think came from Beirut was simply mesmerising.
Something else that really caught my eye was the broken glass that had been used as ballast – the ship carried three tons of glass – one tonne of broken vessels and two tonnes of raw glass.
There was so much to take in that we vowed to return to look at all the treasures again. So if you’re in Turkey be sure to visit this wonderful museum to discover the ancient treasures of the deep.