How lucky we were to have brilliant weather for the short voyage with my sister Julia who was visiting our boat Sunday from her home near London, England!
We set off from Didim Marina with our sailing buddies Sue and John on S/V Catabella. The weather was glorious and the sea calm and a wonderful deep blue.
On our way to our first anchorage – Kıyıkışlacık, we went past several fish farms which smelled pretty disgusting but are hopefully a more sustainable way of producing sea bream and sea bass than traditional commercial fishing methods.
As we approached Kıyıkışlacık we felt thrilled to see once again the ruins of the Byzantine fortification tower looming out of the water at the entrance to the anchorage.
Once we had safely anchored in this beautiful place we went for a look around the village.
Although Jonathan and I had already spent an excellent few days there earlier in the season, it was still great to have another opportunity to explore this lovely spot.
As we wandered we came across a group of community minded villagers painting murals on the public toilets, the pharmacy and other walls around the village. It was lovely to watch them work together harmoniously with the sounds of Pavarotti in the background.
Later, when we went past the painters again there was a chap playing a stringed instrument which I think is called a baglama. Whatever it’s name, it created a great atmosphere!
One of the nice things about Kıyıkışlacık is that it is still very rural and hardly touched by the tourist boom that before Covid hit, had wrought such changes to nearby Bodrum and other coastal towns.
In this village, life carries on as it has for centuries, with fishermen arriving back at dawn with their catch, farmers driving their tractors through the village and cows being walked through the streets and milked by hand.
We were thrilled to show the others around the ruins of ancient Iasos including the agora, the bouleuterion (theatre) and the portico.
Although they aren’t outstanding in any way, the ruins are atmospheric and for us, definitely worth a second visit.
We enjoyed our sundowners aboard Sunday in the sunshine that evening and a little later we watched the brightest and reddest of full moons rise.
The following day we visited the remains of the Roman Villa where on our previous visit we had seen some marvellous mosaics.
This time the work on the shelter over the mosaics had been completed and some of the most elaborate and impressive mosaics had been covered over, presumably to protect them from the winter weather to come.
The views from the top of the hill where the crusaders built their fort were magnificent and well worth the climb.
The following day we set off for Tükü Bükü which we had been told, was the place “to be and to be seen”! Sometimes described as “Turkey’s St Tropez” – probably aspirational rather than rooted in reality – it is definitely favoured by the more “well-heeled” traveller.
Indeed, while we were there we saw three massive and luxurious-looking mega super yachts anchored together and observed the coming and goings with one of the tenders which was larger than our entire boat and which was stalked closely by another security vessel.
We saw the delivery of copious bouquets of flowers and wondered what sort of event was going to take place.
It turned out that the largest of these three mega yachts – Firefox – (the 14th biggest in the world) was said to be owned by Jeff Bezos and the event taking place was Bill Gates’ 66th birthday party!
Not sure why but we weren’t invited to the shenanigans! A little disappointing but we made up for it by having a glorious Turkish breakfast at a beautiful waterside restaurant before we left this prestigious location.
The location was stunning, the weather was glorious and the food was delicious! Needless to say we really enjoyed ourselves!
One of the special delights of sailing is the occasional dolphin sighting. These have been very few and far between in Turkey but on our trip to Tükü Bükü we were delighted to spot one in the distance and soon a whole group of them were playing around our bow waves.
They didn’t stay for long but we were so thrilled by their visit – especially as Julia was with us! What good fortune!
All too soon, we had to go back to the marina in Didim as we wanted to do a couple of land-based things with Julia before her return to England.
First, was a swim in the marina “Yacht Club” pool. It was too cold for us but Julia braved the autumn chill to add to her sea swimming over the previous few days.
We also wanted to take her to the fabulous Saturday markets in Didim before her flight home and then visit the amazing archeological site of Ephesus (but that’s another story!)