We all fell in love with Foça – a gorgeous little fishing village with gracious historical houses, old hill-side windmills, lots of open-air waterside restaurants and the remains of a Genoese medieval castle.
Formally a Greek village, until the population exchange of 1923, the village has a rich maritime history and the busy little fisherman’s harbour stands testament to its salty heritage.
We anchored very close to the castle walls in Küçük Deniz (“Small Sea”). Round the corner was another harbour called Büyük Deniz (“Big Sea”) where there were lots of tourist boats and other craft tied up to the harbour wall.
Today there is not much left of the Medieval castle – just remains of the fortifications and some traces of a turkish bath inside.
The windmills that stand atop the hills behind the village are much younger – they were mainly built in the 19th century. Sadly they are in a dilapidated state even though some of them were still functioning until the 1960s. They are still lovely to look at though.
On a happier note, there are numerous large mansions along the seafront that have been beautifully renovated. These date back to when the village was inhabited by people of Greek heritage before the population exchange of 1923.
After we had left Foça, we discovered that the ocean surrounding this area is the site of one of three marine protected areas established in Turkey for the preservation of Mediterranean Monk Seals.
Although we didn’t see any in Foça, we had previously seen these rare and beautiful creatures in both Finike and Didim marinas where they loved to splash about amongst the moored boats.
There are only a few hundred of these seals left in existence and as they are a critically endangered species, people are encouraged to report sightings to the Monachus guardian organisation or a local marine conservation society.
While we were in Foça the captains of Sunday and Catabella, Jonathan and John, were persuaded to get their hair cut. For John, who had previously had a discombobulating and somewhat world shattering experience at a barbers involving hot wax and burning coals, another hair cut was a daunting prospect.
Jonathan was therefore the first victim and he agreed to sit in the barber’s chair once we made it clear to the barber that he wanted a haircut only and no nose or ear hair grooming whatsoever.
They both came out looking much neater and with their dignity and extraneous body hair intact!
After a very pleasant stay in Foça we sailed to our next destination, Çandarlı.
On the way out of Foça we noticed some unusual rock formations and realised these must be the Sirens’ Rocks that are mentioned in Homer’s epic The Odyssey.
Homer describes how ships crashed and sunk after sailors lost their way by listening to the spell-binding voices of the Sirens.
These strange rocks were originally formed by volcanic eruptions, waves, wind and rain and would have presented a real hazard to the unmanoeuvrable ships of Homer’s time.
We arrived at Çandarlı without hearing any Sirens’ voices and fortunately without crashing our boats!
I’m not sure why, but we were not so drawn to this village – we just didn’t really warm to Çandarlı as we had to Foça.
We were however, very impressed by its fine looking 15th Century Ottoman Castle which was in an excellent state of repair.
After a pleasant meal in a beachside restaurant we went back to Sunday for a nightcap and were treated to a wonderful full moon.
Later, the night became cloudy and the dark clouds scudding across the sky combined with the bright moon to produce amazing shapes that in our imaginations looked like various animals and birds in the sky. Ah the joys of the cruising life!