Endless surprises

What a fascinating place Iassos is!

Located next to the charming village of Kiykislacik, the site holds endless surprises.

Village life in Kiykislacik
Bread straight out of the wood fired oven (in background)

We had loved wandering around the 4th Century BC (and earlier!) ruins on the perimeter coastline of Iassos but we hadn’t yet walked up to the remains of the medieval castle built by the Knights of St John.

Kiykislacik at dusk

So off we went to climb the hill leading to the castle. Before we had gone very far we came upon a building site where around a dozen workers were working hard on a large hut-like structure.

Start of the climb up to the castle

As we came closer we saw that the structure was more of a shelter than a hut and we were intrigued to find out what it was for.

We came upon a building site

Using sign language, we asked one of the workers if we could go in and he waved us in.

What was this shelter being built for?

On entering we were blown away to see a number of stunning mosaic floors.

We were blown away to see the mosaic floors

We had stumbled upon the remains of a 2nd Century AD villa built in the Hellenistic tradition. The part we were standing in was the 12 metre by 13 metre courtyard which was once paved with marble interspersed with geometric mosaics on three sides.

We particularly liked the dolphins

On the fourth side was a series of three interconnecting rooms that also had mosaic floors.

The three interconnecting rooms
The rooms also had beautiful mosaic floors

Standing in the middle of the courtyard it was easy to imagine the grandeur of this amazing villa – you could almost hear the tinkle of cooling fountains fed from the massive cistern carved out of the rock – still there even now.

Steps down into the massive cistern which provided all the water
There were some walls and outbuildings still in evidence

The views were magnificent and the remains of the villa and its outbuildings covered a large area. What a special place and such a surprise as none of the articles we had read on the site even mentioned it’s existence.

The views from the villa were magnificent
These might have been outbuildings or part of the villa itself
The roof of the shelter being built to protect the mosaics
More remains around the villa site (above and below)

We left the villa behind and continued climbing,eventually arriving at the summit and the medieval castle.

A lovely view of Sunday from the villa
Jonathan looking somewhat amazed by it all
Approaching the castle
The gateway into the castle compound

The view was stupendous and as we stood drinking it all in, the muezzin in the village mosque started chanting the adhan (call to prayer). Such an evocative sound and one of those times that will stay in my memory for ever.

The view was amazing

Earlier that day we had been in the village to try and post an urgent letter. Apparently there was no post office in the village so we decided to take a taxi to the nearest “big smoke” – Gulluk.

This was the first ever gold lame car I’d ever seen! It has glitter embedded in the paintwork!

We went to the hotel in the village where we had eaten a delicious dinner the previous night and asked them if they could organise a taxi for us.

The hotel where we called for a taxi
The remains of the delicious meal we’d had the day before.

The proprietor very kindly called the local taxi driver and we were amused to hear him say (in Turkish) “it’s for the Australians”! The only way he would have known that was by hearing it from one of the other restaurant owners who had specifically asked us “where are you from?” We had a bit of a giggle about that – so typical of a tiny village anywhere in the world, as soon as a newcomer enters they are discussed and gossiped about!

The older men of the village playing Rummikub

On the way back our taxi ground to a halt as there was a car parked across the middle of the road. Was there a highway robbery taking place? Or had someone casually parked there after drinking too much raki?! It turned out that the quarry up the road was conducting a blasting operation and no cars were allowed to drive by during the explosion.

Why was this car in the middle of the road?

We waited for about ten minutes and then heard the unmistakable thud of explosives and felt a slight vibration in the air. There was a spectacular cloud of dust in the distance but once we were allowed to drive towards the quarry the dust had settled somewhat and the driver had no problem with visibility.

There was a massive cloud of dust after the explosion

We had heard that there were some ruins of an ancient Greek agora (a central public space) in Iassos that somehow we had missed in our extensive roaming so we decided to see if we could locate it.

We thought this must be the entrance to the agora

We thought we had found the entrance – very close to the village of Kiykislacik but when we saw three cows and their cowherd coming out of it we wondered if we had the right place.

When we met these cows walking through we wondered if it really was the
entrance to the agora

A few steps on we were amazed to see how extensive the remains were – they extended over a massive area and as well as the Agora, we could see parts of the city walls, a small amphitheatre (a bouleuterion – where council meetings would have taken place), towers, columns that were once part of a covered walkway and other areas that had been excavated.

We were amazed to see how extensive the remains were
The remains extended over a massive area
We could see parts of the city wall
This would have been a round tower
on the city wall
It was wonderful to see so many columns still standing
The agora would have been so impressive in the days it was still complete
We would love to step back in time and see how the agora looked in its heyday
The bouleuterion – where council meetings
would have taken place
Stairs in the bouleuterion
The mighty entrance to the bouleuterion
There was a system of passages, corridors and stairs that connected with the outside and led to the side entrances
The passageways went right under
the seating area

Apparently archaeologists have identified Mycenean remains (approximately 1750 to 1050 BC) and underneath these, two Minoan levels dating from around 2000 BC.

This was in one corner of the agora showing strata from a number of different eras

Other archaeological finds cover Geometric (900 – 700 BC), Hellenistic (323 – 31 BC) and Roman through to the Byzantine period.

Iassos was such an exciting and surprising find and we were absolutely amazed that this site appears not to be part of the normal tourist trail of important archeological sites.

We were absolutely amazed that this site appears not to be part of the
normal tourist trail

We were so fortunate to have stumbled on this fascinating place and were happy to have shared the experience with just some cows, an artist at his easel and just two other couples.

One side of the agora
The remains indicate how busy this area was – it was fun to imagine the hustle and
bustle of daily life
Iassos was such an exciting and surprising find

Beware of snakes and scorpions!

It always intrigues us that there are so many ancient sites in Turkey that you scarcely hear of but when visited reveal fascinating surprises and mind blowing history.

Jonathan standing on part of the wall built in the 5th Century AD around the ancient site of Iassos.

The site of Iassos is one such place. Originally on an island but now attached to the mainland, it has been settled since the Early Bronze Age.

Iassos has been occupied since the Early Bronze Age

We were anchored in the bay in which the delightful and unspoiled village of Kiyikislacik is set and a short dinghy ride to the beach where we started our exploration.

Our catamaran Sunday anchored in front of the tower built in the entrance to the harbour
Another view of the tower from the beach where we left our dinghy

First though, we went to have a closer look at the square tower standing in the water not far from where we were anchored.

This square tower probably dates back to mid-Byzantine times.

As soon as we had pulled up the dinghy on the beach and walked a few steps we found parts of the fortified wall surrounding ancient Iassos – said to have been built in the 5th Century BC.

A part of the fortified wall surrounding Iassos

Everywhere we looked we could see the remains of small buildings – we could only guess when they were built and for what purpose.

Everywhere we looked we could see the remains of small buildings
We could only guess when these were built and for what purpose.
Could this have been a bath house?

One we thought could be a bath house, another we picked as a shelter for guards when on a break from being on patrol.

We thought this might have been a shelter for the guards
What could this have been?
We were scratching our heads about these
Another mystery building
If only walls could talk

We walked round the perimeter of Iassos, marvelling at the scattered remains. Weaving our way through groves of wizened and elderly olive trees we kept the glorious blue sea always in our sight.

We walked round the perimeter of Iassos, marvelling at the scattered remains.
We kept the glorious blue sea always in our sight
We weaved our way through groves of wizened and venerable olive trees

In some parts the ancient wall was more intact than in others and the most impressive section was over the other side of the isthmus.

The most impressive section of the wall was over the other side of the isthmus

There we saw massive arches that reminded us of the ruins of warehouses and granaries at the Adriake archeological site near Demre. Again, we don’t know for sure but this was what we guessed they were.

Right by the waters edge these buildings could have been to do with importing goods
We thought the massive arches could have been part of warehouses or granary stores
Whatever they were, they would have been impressive when approaching by sea
Fascinating to imagine the hustle and bustle of this port centuries ago
A discarded column
Amazing structure
We would love to see these arches properly excavated and “reimagined” so we could see what it had looked like originally
A handle from an amphora just casually lying around in one of the arched buildings
We thought these gaps were for ventilation

We turned inland and stumbled on an area that had been properly excavated although judging from the profusion of weeds and undergrowth, it was some time ago.

We stumbled on an area that had been properly excavated although judging from the profusion of weeds and undergrowth it was a long time ago

It was just incredible to think we were looking at small temple that dated back to the second century BC.

A small temple that dated back to the second century BC.

A little further along we discovered the sanctuary of Zeus Megistos which had an inscription that included a mention that dated it to the 4th Century BC.

Part of the sanctuary of Zeus Megistos
The temple dated back to at least the 4th Century BC

Successive modifications that have been excavated have shown the importance and longevity of this build. The abundance of votive lamps and other objects dating from the 6th Century through to the late Hellenistic period show how long it was held in such esteem.

Part of the outer wall of the sanctuary of Zeus Megistos

We wandered back off the “beaten track” to investigate some other buildings we had noticed earlier. One reminded me of a bakery but there were no notices or explanations describing what any of the buildings had been.

I thought that this building could have been a bakery…..
……but then again maybe it was a bath house?
Loved this passageway
Jonathan examining the quality of the brickwork
One of life’s mysteries- we will never know what this building was

We didn’t really know where the official path was so we turned inland and basically followed our noses. Then we came upon a massive wall that wasn’t just functional but was also beautifully finished.

We scrambled through the bushes in the hillside and came upon this impressive wall

We thought that this must be an important structure but what was it? We climbed a well constructed staircase and discovered we were in what was once a massive amphitheatre.

Following the staircase up to – what?
This had once been an impressive amphitheatre

It was hard to discern it’s layout exactly but a drawing made by Charles Texier, the French architect and archeologist who conducted some excavations in 1835 showed that it was still intact when he visited.

Strange to think it had been intact for two and a half thousand years until 1887 when the marble was removed to make a port!

Sadly, in 1887 all the marble blocks from the amphitheatre were taken for the construction of the quays in the port of Constantinople (modern day Istanbul). The price of progress!

All the marble blocks were taken to Constantinople (Istanbul)

We had been walking for a while and had seen so much. “Amazement fatigue” was beginning to settle in so we decided to walk into the village to try and find a late lunch.

This was once a street of houses very close to the amphitheatre

We scrambled down the overgrown hillside and at the bottom saw the sign below warning hikers to beware of snakes and scorpions. A bit late for us!

Eek! Beware of scorpions (akrep) and snakes (yilan)!
Away from any danger
Back in the fishing harbour
This little cat was well hidden

Fortunately there was one place open for lunch and we enjoyed some freshly caught and extremely delicious calamari. A great way to end a rewarding day!

Thankfully there was a seafood restaurant open
An adorable local dog
We knew the calamari was fresh as we had seen the boats fishing for them the night before
A great way to end our adventurous day

Our sort of place

We left Bodrum vowing to return as there was so much more to see there. For now we we were pressed for time as our fellow travellers and cruising buddies Sue and John had a flight to catch to the UK and needed to get to Didim where they were going to leave Catabella.

Catabella leaving Bodrum with the castle in the background

They were going to do the trip to Didim in two hops, the first destination being a town on the other side of the Bodrum Peninsula, Yalikavak, where we would part company.

On the way to Yalikavak – a long and winding road that leads to the beach

Yalikavak is an important hub for super yachts – mainly because the marina there caters specifically for these enormous luxury vessels.

The marina at Yalikavak is chock full of multi million dollars worth of super yachts

Owned by an Azeri oil billionaire, the marina looked very swish and well organised. There were also many massive vessels – some almost the size of small cruise liners – anchored in the harbour.

Many more massive luxury vessels at anchor
Some of the vessels were almost the size of small cruise liners

We stayed in a one of the anchorages over the other side of the large bay to the marina, right near a sailing school.

We prefer this size boats

It was great fun watching the kids doing the set course in their little dinghies – some taking it very seriously (mostly girls) some having little arguments about who got in whose way (mostly boys) and one rascal who tried to cause total chaos, almost managing to capsize his dinghy by standing up and rocking it from side to side, shouting and getting in the way of his fellow students and generally seeking attention in whatever way he could. He led the instructors (who would have rather been checking their phones) a merry dance! Great entertainment!

It was great fun watching the kids doing the set course in their little dinghies

We all really enjoyed going ashore to the town although it was a bit of a long dinghy ride across the bay. There were plenty of amazing super yachts to ogle at as we motored over!

It was a bit of a long dinghy ride across the bay but there was plenty to ogle at
There were some smaller vessels too, including this sweet little yacht

Formally the main sponge diving port in this area, Yalikavak still retains a village feel, with narrow laneways full of interesting shops and restaurants, some well kept green spaces and a delightful old fishing harbour.

Yalikavak still retains a village feel, with narrow laneways full of interesting shops and restaurants
There were some pleasant green spaces too
An ancient Sarniç or gümbet (water cistern) dating from Ottoman times – still in use!
One of the many restaurants in Yalikavak
We felt it our duty to stop off for some traditional snacks

On Sue and John’s last night before they departed for Didim marina and then on to England via Greece (doing a ten-day cruise instead of staying a a crummy hotel in England to do the required ten days of quarantine) we had a meal in a beautiful spot in one of those feet-in-the sand restaurants on the beach.

A beautiful sunset in a beautiful spot

The ambiance was excellent and the sunset glorious and of course the company was excellent!

Sue and John
Jonathan and me! (Thanks Sue)

The following day we waved farewell to Sue and John and settled in for a couple more days in this comfortable anchorage.

Farewell to Catabella for a while
See you soon!
Night falls
Time for sun downers on the front deck
Our view!

We went into the town again to stock up on food and explore a little more.

Early morning calm
I loved this tree in town
Some lovely ceramics – wish we had room for these on the boat!

Before leaving for our next anchorage we went to the marina to fill up with diesel and buy petrol for the outboard and the small generator we use to to power our water maker.

Filling up the petrol cans

We felt a little intimidated lining up with the massive super yachts to get fuelled up but we were very impressed by the excellent organisation, helpfulness and service provided – even to little us!

Join the queue big boy!
A lovely traditional “luxury yacht” wouldn’t go amiss in an Agatha Christie movie
Some very big boats at anchor
Another very large super yacht

Our next stop was a small and very sheltered bay outside a hotel complex called the Crystal Green Bay Resort. There was a bit of a blow brewing up so we thought it would be a good place to shelter – which it definitely was!

Rows of umbrellas at the
Crystal Green Bay Resort
Lovely view across the water on a walk round the headland
It was a pleasant spot to walk

Apart from the resort, there was very little else in the bay – just a handful of fishing boats and the remains of a fish farm.

Apart from these fishing boats and the resort there was very little else in the bay
Looking over to the ruins of a Greek building abandoned after the 1922 population exchange

Nevertheless, we had a pleasant couple of days there, relaxing, walking, wandering in the hotel grounds and catching up with a few chores.

Having a nose round the resort
It even had a modern version of the amphitheatre

After a very peaceful and tranquil stay we experienced a drama when we were about to leave. As we pulled up the anchor we discovered that we had managed to hook onto an enormous and incredibly heavy old anchor left behind on the seabed.

It was quite alarming as while we were occupied in getting our chain off the massive anchor, we were being dragged further into the shallow water.

We eventually managed to disentangle ourselves but while in the process found ourselves almost wedged between the boundary ropes of the two swimming enclosures. Fortunately we were able to make a clean get away once we were unhooked!

The next anchorage – outside Port Iasos Marina was also super quiet and once again, we were the only boat anchored there.

Looking over to Port Iasos Marina from where we were anchored
This was the only other boat at anchor in the bay!
The marina from the shore
Sunday from the shore
Now why would anyone think it OK to leave these chairs here?
Reflections on a still evening

After one night there we sailed on to Kıyıkışlacık – a fabulous little harbour full of intriguing history, pretty as a picture and where the remains of the Ancient Greek city of Iassos lie.

Heading into Kıyıkışlacık with the tower in the water just ahead

We anchored just behind a tower in the water which might date back to the 12th Century but could have been built much later, maybe in the 15th Century.

We were anchored close to the tower with the village in the other direction and the remains of Iassos looming above us
If stones could talk, what tales these would tell
The village elders drinking çay and playing Rummikub
Local cows enjoying the shade
We were anchored close to the
ancient city of Iassos
We couldn’t wait to explore!
After one drink in the local bar everyone knew who we were!

In the other direction was the delightful little fishing/farming village and towering above our heads to one side was the ancient city of Iassos.

So many old cottages
and many elderly olive trees
Sunday just visible – the only boat at anchor

Who could ask for more?This was definitely our sort of place!

Ancient treasures from the deep

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.

We were shocked and horrified to see the level of devastation caused by the August forest fires

It seemed that every millimetre of the hills had been completely ravaged.

The hills had been completely ravaged by the forest fires

Considering the wholesale destruction it was an absolute miracle that this tiny little village had survived.

It was an a 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.

The fires came right up to the edge of the village

Apart from a walk round the village our one night stay was uneventful and we set off for Bodrum the next day

An ancient water cistern.
built during the Ottoman period,
used to gather winter rainwater and local spring water for use in the summer months.
Judging by the pump, this one is still used (the feet are Jonathan’s, he was having a “sticky beak“)
We were full of admiration that the fire fighters had managed to save the village

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.

There were some nice beachside restaurants
One of the beach bars
A beautiful moon rises over Cokertme

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.

Our first sight of its impressive 15th Century castle which dominates Bodrum
The remains of eight windmills on the way into Bodrum

We really loved being able to anchor in the shadow of the castle and enjoyed the imposing view every time we were on deck.

We really loved being able to anchor in the shadow of the castle

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.

A bronze sculpture close to where we parked the dinghies
One of the small laneways in Bodrum
Dining with a view

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.

Bodrum is quite a big city
Although big, Bodrum has an intimate feel to it
Some of the laneways were colourfully decorated
More colour in this cake shop!

Tucked in between the shops there were some delightful traditional cottages and bougainvillea-covered small apartment buildings as well as cafes and small hotels.

Tucked in between the shops there were some delightful traditional cottages
Another of the small cottages found tucked between shops
This small hotel had a Parisian feel
One of the lovely little laneways
We loved the profusion of bougainvillea
A quiet corner
We weren’t able to find out what this ruined building used to be

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.

Going round Bodrum castle was a highlight of our stay
In Sue and John’s dinghy – on the way to dinner out. Photo credit Sue Done
Ooh those naughty waffles. This was a first for me and I have to admit it was delicious!
At the entrance to one part of the underwater archaeological museum

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.

The entrance to Bodrum castle
The castle is a maze of passageways that twist and turn
There are lots of lookouts
One of the many doorways
The path to the next level
Another doorway – this time into the garden

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.

One of the four towers – this one was French-made
One of the square towers

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.

Another feature that intrigued us was the carved reliefs of coats of arms
There are two hundred and forty-nine separate designs that still remain
Ancient graffiti?

The garden was a beautiful oasis of green containing a collection of almost every plant and tree of the Mediterranean region.

The garden was a beautiful oasis of green
Sue having a rest in the garden

I also loved the funereal monuments that depicted the life led by the deceased person.

One of 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.

The mosque was in the centre of the castle garden
The mosque was built as a chapel but was converted to a mosque after 1523

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.

The open tomb with 12 bodies stacked on top of each other

In the museum we were amazed by the treasures that had been retrieved from a total of nine excavated wrecks.

We were amazed by the treasures that had been retrieved from a total of nine excavated wrecks – this was a bronze statue of an African boy, possibly from the 3rd Century BC.
Votive lamps found intact in one of the wrecks
Who knew there were so many types of amphora?!

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 glass relics were captivating
Just look at those colours!

The glassware which the archeologists think came from Beirut was simply mesmerising.

Mesmerising glassware

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.

Raw glass used for ballast

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.

Amphora from one of the wrecks
The remains of one of the wrecks
The castle at night Photo credit Sue Done

Engine fixed – after a few hiccups! So good Söğüt!

To our great relief, we had managed to get our anchor down in the Gökağaç anchorage at Yedi Adlari – despite both our ignition and the anchor hand controller being out of action.

We had also managed, with the help of John from S/V Catabella, to shut down the engine (and the dreaded alarm mentioned in my last blog) after locating the emergency cut off switch.

Two heads are better than one!

Now to find out what had caused the problem in the first place! It didn’t take Jonathan long to find the culprit – two wires in the engine well had melted together causing them to fuse which affected the relay switch to the ignition (and the anchor control device).

He carefully prised the two wires apart and taped them up which was enough to enable us to start the ignition and although the engine was out of action we were still be able to get the anchor up (thanks to sailing friends on social media who reminded us that this was possible by turning on the ignition only!)

My plea for help in the Lagoon Owners Facebook group (you can see I was in a flap by the typos!)
We had such helpful replies! Thanks all!

We managed to find a marine electronics specialist via the very helpful Marlin Yachting Technical Service in Marmaris and it was agreed that he and his assistant would meet us at Değirmen Bükü (aka English Harbour, roughly two hours motoring for us and less than half an hour’s drive from Marmaris) in two day’s time.

If you’re in the Marmaris area we can highly recommend Gökhan

After a peaceful night and a trouble-free raising of the anchor (albeit having to put up with that insistent alarm!) we set off using the port side engine only. This was quite uneventful although I must confess to being slightly nervous as we navigated the entrance to the anchorage where the jagged rocks taunted us as we exited in a slightly crab-like manner.

Although it doesn’t look it, it was windy and rough going out of Değirmen Bükü. Not fun going past the jagged Kem Rocks on only one engine!

Değirmen is known as English Harbour (according to the pilot book for this area) and apparently it gets its name from the second World War when the British Special Boat Squadron used it as a base.

The bay is very large with a number of anchorages but most of them require stern-to mooring (where you anchor and then tie your stern off on land). As you probably know by now, we hate doing that – always preferring to free anchor when ever possible.

This stern-to moored boat looks like a
lot of fun!

With that in mind, we headed for Malderisi Limani from which it is a short dinghy ride to Okluk Koyu where we planned to pick up the marine electricians and also have a meal at one of the restaurants.

We headed for Malderisi Limani from which is a short dinghy ride to Okluk Koyu

We were also keen to have a look at the Turkish President’s summer palace in Malderisi Limani although we had heard that boats were not allowed to anchor there when the president was in residence.

The presidential summer palace
A close up of the Presidents palace (taken from a long way off!)

Judging by the enormous security barriers on the hillside boundary it was understandable that security concerns about the easy access from the water meant you couldn’t anchor close to the palace when the President was there.

The enormous security barriers on the hillside boundary of the President‘s Summer Palace

It therefore wasn’t a huge surprise when suddenly we noticed a small police motor launch heading straight for us!

It wasn’t a huge surprise to see the police launch

The police officer/security guard aboard told us very courteously that we would not be allowed to anchor anywhere in that end of the bay and also, to our surprise, we were absolutely not allowed to go down the small arm to the side (Oluk Koyu) even though this was on the other side of the massive security fence.

This was really frustrating as that meant we couldn’t meet the guys coming in from Marmaris (or go for a meal at one of the restaurants!)

Boats tied stern-to in English Harbour

This small hiccup meant we had to turn round and have a rethink. Our research turned up a small village called Söğüt (pronounced something like “suet” as in the pudding). It was only an hour away and it had a good road connection to Marmaris.

On the way out we saw a lovely bronze statue of a mermaid sitting on a rock at the entrance to Okluk Koyu.

The bronze statue of a mermaid gifted by Sadun Boro, the first Turkish sailor to circumnavigate the world

Apparently, the sculptor of the statue was Tanku Öktem and it was a gift from Sadun Boro, the first Turkish sailor to circumnavigate the world. This area was where he always anchored after every one of his voyages.

His inscription reads “The mermaid, in order to realise her dream, has travelled over the seas, crossed the horizons. She went through continents, islands and coves until she got to Gököva”.

“The mermaid, in order to realise her dream, has travelled over the seas, crossed the horizons…..”

Söğüt turned out to be real find – it was “so good”! It had a really pretty little harbour with a sailing school, one hotel, a handful of restaurants and a very well stocked and well run mini market. It was also very quiet, peaceful and calm!

Söğüt turned out to be real find
Söğüt was very quiet, peaceful and calm

Entering the anchorage on only one engine was rather hair-raising as we had lost the ability to manoeuvre easily. As always, our fellow boat owners were very understanding while we were negotiating our way through the other boats anchored there – even though we were getting perilously close sometimes!

On the way to Söğüt
Söğüt was just round the corner from here!

Jonathan did a great job and in the end we found a great spot to drop our anchor a little further out than the other boats.

John and Sue on Catabella anchored quite close to a small beach and realised that they could put a line to shore quite easily. Sue bravely volunteered to swim the line over (her first time) and tie up – well done Sue!

Sue and John on Catabella anchored quite close to the beach
Sue bravely volunteered to swim the line over

The following day, exactly at the time arranged, Gökhan Coşkun and his assistant from AC/DC Marlne electric and electronics arrived. They soon diagnosed the problem – as we suspected a new relay switch was needed. They not only replaced the switch but also spent considerable time checking the wiring out, sealing everything up correctly and generally making sure everything was in good shape. They also left us with a spare relay switch in case the same thing ever happened again!

We were very happy with the service we received from AC/DC!

Earlier that day we were very surprised and happy to see the Whittaker family enter the bay on their yacht Polykandros. We hadn’t seen them since catching up in Kas early in the season but last year had spend many weeks (almost three months!) together in Alimos Marina, in Athens Greece, during the first Covid lockdown.

We were very surprised and happy to see Polykandros arrive

It was lovely to have a big catch up that afternoon on Polykandros and enjoy Silke’s delicious cinnamon rolls once more.

It was lovely to have a big catch up on Polykandros

We also had sundowners with Silke and Tim aboard Sunday and an art lesson and popcorn making session with Nina and Luka before the family left for Bodrum.

An art lesson on Sunday – just like in Athens during lockdown!
Both Nina and Luca had grown so much since our time together in Athens

Sadly, the Whittakers had decided to sell their boat and had lots of packing and organising to do before the handover to the new owners.

Luca doing some great cartooning
Pop corn time!

While we were in Söğüt we met Chris and Irene who hail from Christchurch in New Zealand and had lots of interesting sailing stories to share. After drinks on Sunday we went for a good meal at the beachfront restaurant in the village.

It’s always great to meet fellow yachties – Chris and Irene had some interesting
stories to share.
One of the village dogs thought Chris’s dinner looked very tempting!
A beautiful moon to guide us back to our boats

On our last day in Söğüt we walked round to the small marina where the famous Global Sailing Academy is based.

On the way to look at the small marina
We saw quite a few cute ducks on the way
The sailing students bringing their sailing dinghies ashore
Although young the children dealt with their vessels effectively and efficiently

We were surprised to see how beautiful this little marina was, a small green oasis with weeping willows and even a “Monet bridge”. It was so beautiful!

The little marina was a small green oasis
The garden even had a “Monet bridge”.
The marina restaurant

It was also interesting to see that the marina, although small, could have accommodated Sunday if we ever wanted an alternative safe spot to leave our floating home.

One of the beautiful gulets anchored in the bay

“Alarming” breakdown

In my last blog I described the atmospheric beauty of ancient Knidos which lies at the very tip of the Datça peninsula in the south-west of Turkey.

The atmospheric beauty of Knidos

It was such a buzz being anchored in this harbour where many thousands of merchant vessels and warships had been anchored before us, over the course of more than 2,500 years.

It is a buzz anchoring in Knidos – until a large boat comes alarmingly close when pulling up their anchor!

Our friends Sue and John on S/V Catabella who had arrived in Knidos before us, decided to travel up the other side of the peninsula to Kairos Marina for a much needed hose-down of their boat which had been covered in soot and ash from the recent terrible forest fires.

The recent forest fires had covered our boats in soot and ash

We hadn’t had enough of Knidos yet and decided to stay an extra day to have a little more of a look round.

Shortly after we had waved them off we saw another familiar boat come into view – a pretty little traditional yacht called Wild Rover of Dart that we had last seen in Finike Marina when she was having new timber decks installed.

We had last seen Wild Rover of Dart in Finike

Her skipper Karl, anchored nearby and once settled, swam over to say “hello”. We arranged to have a drink together later but before long Karl came on over the radio and invited us over for a meal.

It was great to meet his crew Kendall, who was currently based in Chicago but was originally from Connecticut. We had a great time swapping travelling tales and stories from our youth, and setting the world to rights.

On board Wild Rover of Dart – meeting Kendall for the first time

Later we decided to dinghy over and have a further look at Knidos.

Knidos bathed in the evening light

Wandering around this site just before sunset was fantastic as the warm rosy orange glow of the setting sun brought the ancient stones to life and created a magical atmosphere.

The warm rosy orange glow of the setting sun brought the ancient stones to life
A beautiful carving we didn’t notice on the first visit to Knidos
The sun reflecting magically on a marble column
We love the evening light in Turkey

We joined a small throng of visitors to view the glorious sunset from the water’s edge. It was absolutely spectacular – the photos I took just don’t do it justice.

The sunset was glorious

As if the beauty of the sunset wasn’t enough, an obliging yacht sailed past the glowing golden orb just as it dipped into the sea. It was such a fabulous sight that when the sun had finally disappeared the crowd burst into spontaneous applause!

An obliging yacht sailed past the glowing golden orb just as it dipped into the sea
When the sun had finally disappeared the crowd burst into spontaneous applause

As if in competition to this wonderful sunset a full moon rose, shimmering in all her finery.

And then the moon rose!
Hard to capture the shimmering moon

All that beauty called for a celebration so we retired to the beer garden below the lovely little restaurant for a nightcap.

What a sweet brother to carry his little sister!
A nightcap after sunset

The following day we were up early as we had arranged to meet the crew of Catabella en route to our destination Yedi Adalari (Seven Islands).

Farewell to the Wild Rover of Dart
Sailing past the lighthouse that now guards Knidos

There was a wonderful breeze and for once we were going with it and had a great few hours of lovely sailing. We had a slight problem while we were pulling the main sail up as the piece of rope that attached the clew of the sail to the boom snapped!

The piece of rope that attached the clew of the sail to the boom snapped

Fortunately, the “lazy jacks” held the sail in place while Jonathan replaced the rope.

There was a wonderful breeze and we had a great sail
Catabella ahead of us – just in sight

But that wasn’t the end to our woes! On our approach to our anchorage in Gökağaç at Yedi Adlari, we switched on our engines and brought down the sails. All was fine – until the water ingress alarm in the starboard engine started to buzz incessantly, persistently and very annoyingly!

We have become used to the alarm going off as it has been happening intermittently ever since we took possession of Sunday. In fact when we bought her, we had to reconnect the alarm – we figured the previous owners had got so fed up with the alarm going off for no reason that they had disconnected it!

Difficult to see but the trees in Gökağaç anchorage were twisted and bent by the wind

So we simply ignored the alarm and carried on. Just before we were about to anchor we noticed that the rev counter had suddenly stopped working and then when I went to send the anchor down the hand controller wouldn’t respond!

Jonathan and John trouble shooting in the engine bay

Meanwhile that damned alarm kept on going and going with its interminable high pitched wailing!

Fortunately the anchorage wasn’t crowded and we weren’t in any danger of crashing into anything but we had to get that anchor down so Jonathan released the clutch on the windlass and just allowed shed-loads of chain to free fall!

Then came the problem of the engine – because the ignition wasn’t working the engine couldn’t be switched off.

Working on the principle that two heads are better than one, John from Catabella came over and eventually the emergency cut off switch was located!

Now we were stuck with no way of starting the starboard engine which is the one that controls the anchor winch.

Would we have to stay in (the rather bleak) Gökağaç for ever? Or pull the anchor (and it’s extremely heavy 10mm short link chain) up by hand? Or was there another solution?!

Would we have to stay in (the rather bleak) Gökağaç for ever?

The find out the answer to that conundrum look out for the next instalment of “Salty Tales”.

Fond farewells and anchored in the shadow of ancient Knidos

Saying “goodbye” is never easy, especially in these Covid times when future meet ups are uncertain with lockdowns and cancelled travel arrangements possibly occurring at the drop of a hat.

However, we felt very grateful that our daughter and son-in-law had managed to leave the Netherlands and visit us for two weeks and we have many beautiful memories to enjoy until we are together again.

We have many beautiful memories to enjoy following Hannah and Pieter’s visit

Hannah and Pieter left in the very early hours to get to Izmir airport as their flight took off around 6am. They fully expected the airport to be quite empty but were shocked to find it heaving with people.

Izmir airport at 5 am

They arrived at 4.15 am but after waiting over an hour to check in and then going through two security checks and standing in a long queue at immigration/customs, had to run to their gate to get to their flight in time!

Hannah and Pieter were home before we got back to the boat in Orhaniye

We on the other hand, had a leisurely and very good breakfast and set off at a reasonable hour to return to Sunday where she was anchored in Orhaniye.

On the way back to the boat

Rather than take the direct route back to Orhaniye we decided to drive first to Didim to have a look at the marina where we have booked in our catamaran Sunday for the winter.

On the way there we drove through a town called Şelcuk which we discovered, is the gateway to Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 10th century BC.

We drove through a town called Şelcuk which we discovered, is the gateway to Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The ruins of Ephesus include the remains of a large amphitheatre and the Library of Celsus. Also near Selçuk and part of the UNESCO site, is a marble column, one of the few remains of the Temple of Artemis completed around 550 BC which has been designated one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Taken from the car going through Şelcuk- didn’t have time to find out what it was!

We were excited to drive past Ayasuluk Hill, on top of which we could see a fine Byzantine fortress (7th century), also part of the UNESCO site.

We were excited to drive past Ayasuluk Hill, on top of which we could see a fine Byzantine fortress

There are many other amazing places of archeological interest belonging to the Ephesus site and we are very much looking forward to spending time to explore the whole area really well in the winter months.

There are many other amazing places of archeological interest belonging to the Ephesus site

When we arrived in Didim we found the marina easily and were happy to see it looked very smart and had great facilities. Everything was extremely clean and well cared for and there was plenty of space between moored boats and also for manoeuvring while entering and leaving berths.

We were were happy to see Didim marina looked very smart and had great facilities.

The marina seemed rather isolated but apparently there is a regular bus route into town.

Everything was extremely clean and well cared for and there was plenty of space

After a quick lunch we hit the road again and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, especially as we wound our way down towards the coast negotiating the alarming z-bends.

We enjoyed enjoyed the beautiful scenery on the way back

The next day we left Orhaniye to join Sue and John on S/V Catabella. They had left Datça while we were away and were now anchored below the ancient and wondrous site of Knidos which sits right at the intersection of the Aegean and Mediterranean regions.

Leaving Orhaniye

Having had to return the hire car and do a bit of shopping before we left to join them, we decided not to try and get there that day. Instead we travelled to Ova Bükü, half way along the Datça peninsula for the night.

We travelled to Ova Bükü, half way along the Datça peninsula and stayed the night there.
The beach at Ova Bükü

The following morning we arrived at Knidos before 10am but it was still pretty crowded with many big gulets (sailing boats built on traditional lines and now used as luxury tourist accommodation) and quite a few cruising boats too.

Knidos in the distance

Some of the vessels were “Med moored” while others were free anchored and the space was limited so it took us a while to find a suitable “spot” but once we were settled we were very happy with our choice.

The anchorage at Knidos was pretty crowded
Some of the vessels were “Med moored” while others were free anchored

It felt amazing to be anchored in the shadow of this beautiful and atmospheric ancient Greek city, right in the spot where in the far distant past warlike triremes and merchant vessels carrying wine, wheat, olive oil, glass and other cargo had anchored.

It felt amazing to be anchored in the shadow of this ancient Greek city, right in the spot where in the far distant past warlike triremes and merchant vessels had anchored
The merchant vessels were much slower than the triremes (see first artist’s impression)
There was once also a port on the ocean side (see map below) but it is silted up now

The city of Knidos moved to its current location right on the tip of the Datça peninsula in 360 BC. It was first excavated in 1857 and of course, as with so many of these ancient sites, many treasures were taken to England and are now in the British museum.

The city of Knidos moved to its current location right on the tip of the Datça peninsula in
360 BC.

Excavations by Turkish archeological experts were launched in Knidos in 1988 and have continued since then.

More recent Turkish excavations have focussed on restoring the aftermath of the original 19th Century exploration work.

Most of the recent work has focused on the restoration of areas that were excavated and left by the early explorations. Abandoned excavation pits have been closed and ruins restored to give visitors a feel for how the city was originally laid out and it’s main features.

The ruins are gradually being restored
There’s still much work to do
Next to the old port – could it be a dry dock?

From the decks of Sunday we could see steep terraced hillsides, planted with olive, almond and fruit trees, that rose above our idyllic bay. On one side of the harbour was an amphitheatre, columns and various ruins while on the other side there were the remains of ancient harbour walls and terraces dotted with dressed stone.

Steep terraced hillsides, planted with olive, almond and fruit trees, rose above our idyllic bay.
On one side of the harbour was an amphitheatre, columns and various ruins
Another view of the amphitheatre
On the other side there were the remains of ancient harbour walls

It was such a wonderful experience exploring this rare historical gem. One of the most amazing aspects was finding so many bits of pot (and even an almost complete amphora!) just lying scattered everywhere.

Sue holding some of the pieces of pot that were scattered everywhere
Jonathan even found an almost complete amphora
Feeling where the potter’s thumbs moulded the clay

We walked amongst temples dedicated to Greek gods and early Christian churches and chapels, some built on the site of temples. We were also amazed at the beautiful stone carvings everywhere.

The remains of a Christian chapel
Stones mark out the perimeter of this ancient temple site
The sign of the cross confirms the arrival of Christianity in Knidos
We were amazed at the beautiful stone carvings everywhere.

A broad street with a row of heroons (built in ancient times for heroes or people who did important work on behalf of their city) took us towards a lovely amphitheatre from which we could see our boats anchored in the ancient harbour.

Looking towards the tow of heroons
One of the heroons
Jonathan “proclaiming” in the amphitheatre to test the acoustics
A view of the amphitheatre (Photo credit: Sue Done)
Sitting in the amphitheatre (Photo credit: Sue Done)

By an elegant water fountain right on the harbour we imagined overjoyed sailors drinking their fill and washing their salty faces after a long voyage. How delighted they must have been to see the beautiful fresh water cascading over the sides of this lovely fountain.

The elegant water fountain right on the harbour
Taking in the atmosphere
Walking along one of the broad streets of Knidos
A beautiful tomb with unusual grey marble columns

The restaurant right next to the site was open so what better way to end our tour than to have a lovely dinner under the shadow of ancient Knidos?!

Time for sundowners and some dinner (Photo credit Sue Done)
Fortunately John had reserved a table as the restaurant became quite busy
A beer with a view
S/vs Sunday and Catabella from Knidos (Credit: Sue Done)
A beautiful sunset to end the day

Third time lucky…..

It is said that “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good” and the scary events caused by the Meltimi wind in Datça (mentioned in my previous blog), proved this to be true!

Hannah and Pieter relaxing on the foredeck

Apart from the fact a drowning woman was saved, we also met some great people through the series of events caused by the “ill wind”

S/V Grateful – we met Niki and Jamie after the wild winds settled

When our daughter Hannah noticed someone in trouble in the water and Jonathan was trying to get to Sue and John’s boat but being blown backwards in his dinghy, I put out a message on the Radio’s emergency channel calling “all ships” to let them know there was someone in the water and to assist where possible.

John and helpers from other boats saving “the drowning lady”

The message was picked up by Niki and Jamie from S/V Grateful who swung by the following day and very kindly invited all of us to dinner on their boat.

Sue (with Jamie behind about to barbecue,) on S/v Grateful

We had a lovely evening and shared many travel stories, ate good food and drank wine.

Jonathan and I on S/v Grateful
Hannah and Pieter and the delicious Baba Ganoush
Niki and Jamie’s beautiful rescue cat Habibi took a liking to Sue and John’s basket

During dinner we noticed smoke rising from a hillside behind Datça town. Our hearts sunk as there had been so much destruction already from forest fires that week.

The fire fighters leapt into action and helicopters and purpose built aeroplane were soon collecting water from the ocean nearby and dumping sea water on the fire.

The fire fighters leapt into action

Fortunately being so quick off the mark seemed to do the trick and the fire was brought under control surprisingly fast.

Helicopters and a purpose built aeroplane were soon collecting water from the ocean nearby

The next day we sailed back to show our daughter and son-in-law one of our favourite spots – the outstanding anchorage near Orhaniye in the Hisaronu Gulf. It was a terrible shock to see how much of the beautiful pine forest had burnt out in the wild fires.

It was a terrible shock to see how much of the beautiful pine forest at Orhaniye had burnt out in the wild fires

As soon as we arrived they dived off the boat and swam straight to the 600 metre sand spit that stretches out from the beach into the anchorage. It’s quite strange seeing people standing there – looking for all the world as though they are walking on water!

As soon as we arrived Hannah and Pieter dived off the boat and swam straight to the 600 metre sand spit that stretches out from the beach into the anchorage.
It’s quite strange seeing people standing on the spit – looking for all the world as though they are walking on water

We had a really fantastic few days – Hannah and Pieter climbed to the top of the rocky hill on the small island and explored the ruins of the castle, (reputed to be Medieval in origin but there would have been a fort here previously, belonging to Bybassus, a town in ancient Caria.)

Hannah and Pieter climbed to the top of the rocky hill on the small island and explored the ruins of the castle (look closely you might just see them right at the top!)

The climb was rugged but they loved the experience and said the views were amazing!

Pieter and Hannah returning from the fort

We found a beautiful sand-between-the-toes restaurant where we had a very special dinner to celebrate Hannah’s recent 30th birthday. It was a perfect spot to welcome the start of her third decade!

A very special dinner to celebrate Hannah’s recent 30th birthday
A perfect spot to welcome the start of Hannah’s third decade

Part of her birthday gift from our son Ben and his wife Sarah was a parasailing experience, so one day we took a taxi to Marmaris and she and Pieter experienced a tandem flight high up above the sea. The views were amazing they said.

Getting ready to board
Off they go!
Being lowered into the water!

That day happened to be Ben and Sarah’s second wedding anniversary so we drank a toast to them and wished we could visit them (or them us) as the last time we saw them was when we attended their wedding. It seems such a long time ago and like everyone separated from their loved ones at this time, we miss them so much!

That day happened to be Ben and Sarah’s second wedding anniversary so we drank a toast to them

Pieter and Hannah’s stay with us was rapidly drawing to a close. We went for one last drink at the restaurant where we had celebrated Hannah’s birthday and drank a toast to family, far and wide.

Drinking a toast to family far and wide

There were last swims, last stargazing on the deck together and sadly, more watching helicopters fill up with sea water to dump on fresh (mercifully small) wild fire outbreaks nearby.

The last sunset (for a while) aboard Sunday for Hannah and Pieter
A last late evening dip
Stargazing
Another helicopter about to collect water
It made the pick up behind the island – just out of sight
Flying over us fully loaded

We decided to make their last day in Turkey a bit of a road trip as they were flying out of Izmir which was a longer drive than to Dalaman, where they had landed two weeks previously. Added to that, their flight was leaving at 6am!

Road trip!

The countryside was stunning and in parts quite different to the scenery we had seen previously. At the top of the range we were amazed by the landscape – especially the massive rocks all piled on top of one another, looking just like a giant’s building blocks.

The countryside was stunning and in parts quite different to the scenery we had seen previously.
At the top of the range we were amazed by the landscape – especially the massive rocks all piled on top of one another,

By mid-morning we were ready for a break and stopped for gözleme – the Turkish answer to pancakes – at a small roadside stall. The lady there was lovely and showed Hannah the different steps used to make these delicious treats.

Rolling out the dough – just made from scratch
In goes the filling – next step cooking!

While we were watching her cooking, several guys on tractors drove by and then the tiniest woman I have ever seen leading her two good looking cows walked by! Having spent the last two weeks in tourist spots it was interesting to see a bit of rural Turkey.

It was interesting to see a bit of rural Turkey.
The tiniest woman I have ever seen leading her two good looking cows

We arrived in Izmir in the early afternoon and found the Doubletree Hilton hotel at the airport with no trouble. The only problem was it was the wrong hotel! I had inadvertently booked at the other Doubletree Hotel in Izmir! Who would know that there were two hotels of the same name?!

Fortunately the other hotel cancelled the booking at no charge but then we found out that it’s twin at the airport was full!

Eventually they did offer us a suite and a deluxe room which although expensive by Turkish standards, was still way under what you would pay for a normal room in a good hotel in Australia or the United Kingdom.

The living room in our suite – like the lime green fridge yes/no?!

So we plopped our bags down and went out to explore Izmir (founded by the Greeks and known as Smyrna in antiquity).

Another view of the lime green fridge!

We didn’t have much time but we had a walk around some of the popular tourist sites such as the Konak Clock Tower built in 1901 and the tiny Konak mosque with its lovely blue ceramic tiles.

The Konak Clock Tower
The tiny Konak mosque with its lovely blue ceramic tiles
The gorgeous tiles on the Konak mosque

The Kemeraltı Bazaar in Izmir covers a vast area and has existed in its present layout since the 17th Century but of course, the bazaar was in existence for centuries before then. Parts of it is still very traditional – selling sumptuous fruit, aromatic spices, olives, colourful vegetables, beautiful carpets, as well as plentiful fish and meat but there were also many stalls that sold gaudy toys, t-shirts and other clothes and tourist-focussed paraphernalia.

The Kemeraltı Bazaar in Izmir covers a vast area
Some of the stalls sell sumptuous fruit,
Others have fresh fish on sale
Juicy olives!
Herbs, spices and legumes on sale at the bazaar
There were also plenty of stalls selling less traditional products

In the middle of the bazaar we came across the Hisar Mosque (“Fortress Mosque”) which we later found out, was built in 1592 and is the oldest, most significant, Ottoman landmark in İzmir.

The Hisar Mosque (“Fortress Mosque”) which we later found out, was built in 1592 and is the oldest, most significant, Ottoman landmark in İzmir.
Met this cat staring intensely at herself in the mirror
Do these legs look good on me?

We ate an early dinner in one of the lovely quiet and peaceful courtyards off the bazaar and then went back to the hotel for a swim in the pool and an early night.

A peaceful courtyard off the bustling bazaar
We had an early dinner before returning to the hotel

Unfortunately, things did not go to plan! We were just getting ready to go to the pool when an incredibly massive din broke outside our window which happened to look out over the pool.

The hotel’s publicity shot of the pool

The windows were literally shaking to the “duf duf” music and there were tables set up for some kind of celebration in the pool area.

There was no way we could go for a swim let alone have a decent sleep

Given that Hannah and Pieter were leaving at 4 am and were hoping to have at least some sleep that night we agreed that the situation was untenable. The hotel was actually very nice and agreed they should have warned us about the party and kindly organised another hotel for us. So we moved again and we had a restful sleep! Third time lucky!

High drama as sail rips and drowning woman rescued

It was such a great relief to have our daughter and husband safely with us on board Sunday after an anxious wait beforehand wondering whether new travel restrictions would be initiated or their PCR tests returned positive.

Juicing wonderfully sweet local oranges aboard Sunday
Skyping Pieter’s godson in the Netherlands on his birthday

Their arrival had been quite dramatic with terrible bushfires along the coast and lots of smoke and ash everywhere blocking out the usual intensely blue skies.

There was lots of smoke and ash everywhere blocking out the usual intensely blue skies.

The contrast in temperature between the Netherlands (less than 20 degrees Celsius or 68 degrees Fahrenheit) and the extreme heat in Turkey (over 40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit) was incredible but being able to jump off the boat and cool down in the beautiful clear water helped a lot!

Being able to jump off the boat and cool down in the beautiful clear water helped deal with the extreme temperatures a lot

After a couple of nights in Bozburun we pulled up the anchor and motor sailed to Bençik – a beautiful, peaceful, inlet on the Datça Peninsula that Sue and John on Catabella had found.

Sailing passed a rocky island on the way to Bençik
A beautiful and peaceful inlet

There was nothing there except trees and the remains of a holiday camp which had been defunct for many years.

Such a restful place to be
No shops nearby but the ice cream man paid a visit
Enjoying our ice creams!

After a restful couple of days swimming, eating, relaxing and catching up, we headed for our next stop – Kuruca Buku, a large bay on the west side of a point with a holiday village around the shore.

On our way to explore on land

After a short walk across an isthmus we found Çiftlik – a small village on another large bay which has a handful of restaurants, a small supermarket and lots of holiday houses.

Enjoying our first lunch out together for a very long time

We had a good lunch at one of the restaurants there with Sue and John. What a pleasure it was to eat out at a restaurant with Hannah and Pieter! When we left them at the end of February the Netherlands was still in lockdown after several months. We hadn’t been able to enjoy a meal out together all the time we were staying with them (from mid-September until we left).

What a pleasure it was to eat out at a restaurant with Hannah and Pieter!
A beautiful sunset after a lovely day

The next day we were off again – this time to Datça, which lies in the middle of the long and narrow Datça Peninsula. The journey was marred by the smoggy atmosphere, caused by the forest fires that had been wreaking havoc over the previous few days.

The journey was marred by the smoggy atmosphere, caused by the forest fires

The sky at 6pm was as dark as it was under normal circumstances at 8.30pm and the sun gave off an unearthly glow.

The sky at 6pm was as dark as it was under normal circumstances at 8.30pm

It was great to walk along the “promenade”, past all the feet-in-the-sand restaurants (where a beer cost almost as much as a whole meal in other restaurants!) and enjoy the holiday atmosphere.

It was great to walk along the “promenade”, past all the feet-in-the-sand restaurants
There was a real holiday atmosphere along the promenade

We found a very nice little restaurant overlooking the harbour where we had a very enjoyable traditional Turkish meal.

Getting back into the dinghy after a dinner out in Datça

Datça is a popular tourist spot and despite Turkey being on the “red list” in the United Kingdom, the little town seemed bustling – there were quite a number of Turkish holiday makers and a good few Russians and Ukrainians too.

Datça is a popular tourist spot

Our stay in Datça was rather eventful. It all began when a large turtle popped it’s head up close to the boat. Then we saw it again and once again, and then realised that there were multiple turtles feeding on the thick weed near to the boat.

Hannah and Pieter set off in the dinghy to explore

Hannah and Pieter donned their snorkel masks and jumped in the water to see if they could see them close-to. We were surprised to find firstly that there were six turtles feeding and secondly, they were totally unfazed by their presence. Jonathan and I both jumped in too and were thrilled to be swimming near these beautiful creatures.

Hannah and Pieter swimming with the turtles (unfortunately not visible!)
They stayed out there for ages watching the turtles feed on the sea grass below
A turtle comes up for air

Later, the wind changed direction and it’s strength increased. Our anchor was put under load and lifted. Normally this would not be a problem as our trusty Rochna resets itself in these circumstances. However, on this occasion it reset in the thick weed which meant it couldn’t get a proper grip on the seabed.

Our anchor reset in thick weed which meant it couldn’t get a proper grip on the seabed.

We suddenly realised that we were gradually floating off towards the Greek island of Simi!

We were gradually floating off towards the Greek island of Simi (in distance)

There be wasn’t any panic, we just pulled up the anchor and reanchored with no dramas. By this time the wind was around 30 plus knots and gusting higher.

A little later we were quietly enjoying a pre dinner drink when we heard an enormous snapping sound – like a massive whip being cracked or a high pitch thunder bolt. It sounded so close that we wondered if something had happened to our boat. A second crack sent us scurrying on to the foredeck and off towards the shore. Straightaway we could see the problem – the wind had caught Catabella’s light foresail (called a code zero) and caused it to start unfurling. The loud cracks were the sound of the sail flailing in the high wind.

Jonathan immediately launched the dinghy and got the motor going. Unfortunately he didn’t get very far as the wind was blowing so hard that the bow of the dinghy started to rear up which was scary to watch from the safety of Sunday.

The wind had caught Catabella’s light foresail (called a code zero) and caused it to start unfurling (Photo courtesy of nearby but unnamed boat)

Jonathan stopped the bucking by steering slightly off the wind but the small outboard was struggling and he started to head slowly (and backwards) out to sea! Fortunately he managed to get back to Sunday but it was very frustrating not being able to help the crew on Catabella.

In the meantime, Hannah was looking through the binoculars and called out in alarm “there’s someone in the water!”

Not knowing what else to do I got on the ship’s radio and put out a “person in the water” message to alert all the boats in the anchorage. We learnt later that other boats had picked up the message and had tried to launch their dinghies but like us, were unable to fight the wind and swell.

We thought that maybe someone had been knocked off the boat by the flapping sail but it turned out to be an older Turkish lady swimmer who found herself unable to get back into the beach and was slowly getting swept out to sea.

The rescue team goes to the aid of the lady swimmer (photo credit Sue Done)

Fortunately two boats anchored near to Catabella, closer to land than us, had been able to reach them and were already assisting with getting the sail under control.

They jumped into their dinghies and went to the lady’s assistance. She was in shock and exhausted and too weak to struggle into a dinghy even with help, so in the end her rescuers towed her to Catabella.

The poor swimmer was exhausted and couldn’t get into the dinghy even with help (photo credit Sue from Catabella)

It wasn’t easy to get her aboard but eventually she was safely on Catabella where she drank three big glasses of water and recovered somewhat before one of the rescue team (a professional skipper) took her back to shore in the ship’s tender.

Trying to get the lady aboard Catabella (credit Sue Done)

According to Sue she couldn’t speak English so they didn’t discover exactly what had happened to her but they were very glad to have been able to save her despite being in the midst of their own drama!

Eventually the rescuers managed to get her
aboard! (Photo Sue Done)

Excitement, anxiety, anticipation and horror

What a week of highs and lows – of excitement and anxiety, of pleasurable anticipation and indescribable horror!

On our way to Bozburun where we’d hired a car

We were eagerly waiting for our daughter and son-in-law to arrive from the Netherlands but we weren’t allowing ourselves to get too excited as we have become used to arrangements being cancelled or rules changed at the last moment due to Covid.

Hannah getting her Covid test before leaving the Netherlands

Then, while we were hopping from foot to foot in excitement, a terrible, horrifying, tragedy unfolded – out-of-control bushfires sparked by the hotter-than-a-hairdryer wind that had first hit us a few days previously.

A horrifying tragedy had unfolded (photo credit Sue Done)

Up and down the coast terrifying fires raged and it seemed like all hell had let loose. There was wide scale devastation from Marmaris to Orhaniye and later terrible conflagrations up and down the coast and inland too.

In Orhaniye where we’d been the previous day (photo Sue Done)

We had left Sue and John in Orhaniye and were back in Bozburun where we had hired a self-drive car to pick up Hannah and Pieter from Dalaman airport the following day.

Social media were full of horrific images and stories of the blazes in Marmaris and surrounding beach suburbs. That evening Sue and John witnessed the terrifying fires first hand in beautiful Orhaniye.

Marmaris alight (photo credit Facebook)
The restaurant where we had eaten dinner a couple of days earlier (photo Sue Done)

Every boat was absolutely covered in soot and ash from nearby fires and I (selfishly but momentarily!) regretted spending the many hours cleaning to get Sunday “shipshape” for the arrival of our guests. Of course, that was definitely an extremely petty problem in the context of people’s homes and farms being burned and the vast tracts of glorious forest destroyed.

Sooty ash on our decks

We set off on the Saturday morning for Dalaman – only 2.75 hours away but we had a few things to do en route.

Pieter waiting for the tram to Schiphol Airport – on their way at last!

It was a good thing that we left plenty of time as we had a slow trip along the 40 kilometres (25 miles) of winding road from Bozburun to the main road for Marmaris.

We had a slow trip along the 40 kilometres (25 miles) of winding road

At various strategic points we encountered groups of fire fighters and trucks and water tankers as we wound our way along. There was smoke everywhere.

At various strategic points we encountered groups of fire fighters and trucks
The smoke-filled skies

Once on the main road, traffic came to a complete standstill to wait for the water bombing helicopter to drop its massive load of sea water on one of the fires.

There were fire trucks everywhere
Once on the main road, traffic came to a complete standstill
Having just dropped water on a nearby fire the helicopter flies over us to pick up another load

Soon we had been diverted off the main road and we found ourselves on a country lane heading for the Marmaris suburb of Içmeler.

There’s that helicopter again (centre of picture)
Another helicopter, another vital load of water
We found ourselves on a country lane heading for the Marmaris suburb of Içmeler.

It was like driving through a war zone. Black trees, burnt to almost total destruction, some less damaged but with ghostly scorched pale leaves quivering in the smoky atmosphere loomed above us on each side of the road.

It was like driving through a war zone
Black trees, burnt to almost total destruction
Some less damaged but with ghostly scorched pale leaves quivering in the smoky atmosphere

It was heartbreaking to see such devastation and frightening to see that the tree roots were still smoking and in places, flames licking around the dead tree trunks.

It was frightening to see that the tree roots were still smoking and in places
Smoke everywhere
It was heartbreaking to see such devastation
The whole of this hillside was burnt out

On the outskirts of Marmaris we saw a number of damaged buildings but the firefighters had done an incredible job of protecting homes and businesses from the fires.

We saw a number of damaged buildings
The firefighters had done an incredible job of protecting homes and businesses from the fires.

Eventually we reached Marmaris just an hour early for Jonathan’s second Covid vaccination but not enough time to do a couple of other jobs we had planned.

The fires were being kept away from homes by the helicopters dropping huge loads of water on them

So we went straight to the hospital -perched at the top of a hill – to see if he could sneak in early. We had to wait a short while as the clinic was closed for lunch but he was able to get his shot straight away once it opened. Thank you again Turkey!

Meanwhile Hannah and Pieter were about to board their flight

While I was waiting for him I sat in the car with the air conditioning on (the temperature was around 42 degrees with that hot wind still blowing) mesmerised by the heroic helicopter pilots dumping tonnes of water on the hillsides surrounding Içmeler.

The heroic helicopter pilots dumping tonnes of water on the hillsides surrounding Içmeler.

Rather than travel into the centre of Marmaris we decided to have a late lunch at Florida – a favourite restaurant to go to when we want a change from all the delicious Turkish meals we enjoy.

Florida – our favourite restaurant for when we want a change from Turkish food

Situated at the foot of the hills I’d been gazing over earlier, Içmeler is a small seaside area on the fringes of Marmaris. Florida is away from the seafront but it can be accessed by a canal from the anchorage and whenever we are in the area we like to visit it.

You can visit Florida by canal when you’re at anchor

The road was cordoned off to allow fire trucks to come and fill their water tanks from the canal. An impressive array of pumps and guys to help a fast turn around for the fire trucks were ready and waiting.

The road was cordoned off to allow fire trucks to come and fill their water tanks from the canal