Protected seals, Siren calls and shapes in the sky

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.

A sculpture reflecting how important
fishing is in Foça
One of the many delightful restaurants in Foça
We liked this cool shady cobbled street
So much colour in this village

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.

The village has a rich maritime history
There were loads of pelicans around
the fishing boats
The mad cat lady (our guest Jackie) and the cat mad skipper trying to make friends with Mumma so they could stroke the kittens
The kittens had other ideas!

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.

We anchored close to the old castle walls
The view was particularly lovely at night
A model of a penteconter (50-oared sea going vessel) called Cybele

Today there is not much left of the Medieval castle – just remains of the fortifications and some traces of a turkish bath inside.

There isn’t much left of the castle
apart from the fortification walls
Considering it was built in Medieval times it is still pretty impressive
Beşkapılar (“Five Gates”) in the castle wall.

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.

Looking across town to the
dilapidated windmills

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.

The stately Greek mansions have been beautifully renovated
Jonathan admiring one of the
Greek-built mansions
One of the mansions along the seafront
Heading to our favourite bar
(with the white umbrellas)
A great spot for a sundowner
There were some amazing rock formations behind the town
Some of the rock formations were being used for abseiling

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.

This was a Monk seal we saw in Finike marina

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.

A lovely close up of a monk seal
in Didim Marina

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.

And so it begins….

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.

The first “victim” looks much better

They both came out looking much neater and with their dignity and extraneous body hair intact!

Definitely neater but with dignity and extraneous body hair intact
Turkish doughnuts street-style
They looked very yummy!

After a very pleasant stay in Foça we sailed to our next destination, Çandarlı.

On our way to 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.

We noticed some unusual rock formations
just outside Foça

Homer describes how ships crashed and sunk after sailors lost their way by listening to the spell-binding voices of the Sirens.

We realised these must be the Sirens’ Rocks that are mentioned in Homer’s
epic The Odyssey

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.

These strange rocks 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.

The 15th Century Ottoman Castle is a real landmark when approaching Çandarlı

We were however, very impressed by its fine looking 15th Century Ottoman Castle which was in an excellent state of repair.

The castle was in an excellent state of repair
Unfortunately it was closed when we arrived so we didn’t get to see inside
It certainly gave a very good impression

After a pleasant meal in a beachside restaurant we went back to Sunday for a nightcap and were treated to a wonderful full moon.

We had a pleasant meal on the beachfront
The sun was soon going to set
Time for a post dinner drink aboard Sunday
Sue and John from Catabella and Jackie our Australian guest enjoying sundowners
Good night sun
Hello 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!

The clouds combined with the moon to make animals in the sky
This looked like a dachshund to me
Was this Godzilla?

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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.

One thought on “Protected seals, Siren calls and shapes in the sky”

  1. Hello Dot
    I love your blogs, the way you describe what you see along the way of your travels and really great photos. It is especially enjoyable having met you and Johnathon through Sue and John your fellow sailing buddies and my “in-laws” and friends who I was blessed to have spent two weeks sailing with you all for an experience of a lifetime. This connection makes me feel as though I am still with you all. Thank you and happy sailing Raylee ⛵️⚓️


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