Travels in the “Cradle of Civilisation” – part one

Even though we have been travelling more or less full time for six years we never quite get used to saying goodbye to our friends and family.

However, the sadness we feel at the parting of ways makes reunions all the sweeter – especially when you meet people again who you last saw in a completely different part of the world!

We sadly farewelled my sister Julia (right)

And so it was that we sadly farewelled my sister Julia who was returning to England and then the very next day, welcomed our friends Jan and Jack who sailed into Didim marina on their yacht S/V Anthem after crossing the Atlantic from Florida via Bermuda the Azores, Spain, Portugal and Greece.

The next day we welcomed Jack and Jan
Tying up right opposite S/V Sunday

We hadn’t seen these two since February 2018 when they had joined us on our previous boat S/V Bali Hai for the Sail Thailand Rally. Such a long time between drinks but of course, as soon as we saw them it seemed as though we had met up just last week.

So good to see the crew of S/V Anthem
once again
The last time we had been together
was in Thailand

Fortunately Jan and Jack had arrived just in time to join us on a fantastic trip of South-East Turkey organised by travel agent Tarik Toprak.

Our itinerary for the incredible tour of
South-East Turkey

Tarik is based at Finike Marina where we spent a couple of months earlier in the year. He had already taken two other groups of yachties from Finike Marina on trips to this fascinating part of Turkey.

Finike Marina, where Tarik is based

We had first heard about the tour from Sue and John on S/V Catabella when we had just arrived in Finike Marina at the beginning of April. They had just returned from South-East Turkey and absolutely raved about it. From then on, we were determined to see this incredible part of the country for ourselves.

Sue and John raved about the tour

Tarik had very obligingly opened up the third tour to yachties from outside of Finike Marina. In addition to Jan and Jack, other recent arrivals to Didim Marina – Aussies Brian and Lyn from S/V Ariel – joined us on the new adventure which took us from Izmir in the South-west of Turkey right over to the other side of the country – 1421 km away in Diyarbakir where we started our tour.

We flew from Izmir (far left) to Diyarbakir, a distance of 1421 km

Because we had an eye wateringly early flight to Diyarbakir and the airport at Izmir is a two hour drive from Didim, we decided to spend the night before in an airport hotel. This meant we had the chance to stroll round the sprawling Kemeralti bazaar (which has been in existence since Medieval times) and then along the seafront in Izmir before catching an early night.

Strolling through the sprawling
Kemeralti bazaar
There were many places to eat
There were also lots of coffee houses
Or you could eat “takeaway” as you stroll through the bazaar

The bazaar is a maze of narrow lanes, some covered and some open to the elements, and covering a vast area. You can buy almost anything you want there from girdles and trusses to wedding dresses and everything in between.

Girdle anyone?…..
….Or would you prefer a traditional wedding dress?

In the middle of the bazaar we came across the 16th Century Hisar Mosque several times in our wanderings. This historical mosque is one of the biggest in the city centre and its interior contains one of the most striking examples of Ottoman Islamic artwork in İzmir.

Wherever we wandered, we seemed
always to end up at the
16th Century Hisar Mosque (in background)
The fountain at the Hisar Mosque where worshippers wash before entering
A very good handicrafts shop

Despite the early hour we made it on to our flight without too much drama although the flight was very full. Our guide Baran was waiting for us and suggested a quick breakfast stop at a nearby bakery while we waited for the Finike based group ( English couple Colin and Maggie and Canadian traveller Marje) to arrive.

Within minutes our driver Cezar delivered us to our breakfast stop and after a reviving coffee and various Turkish pastries shared between us we boarded our minibus once again for a whistle stop tour of Diyarbakir before we headed back to the airport.

Passing the bazaar in Diyarbakir
The 4th Century AD city walls of Diyarbakir

We drove past the ancient city walls which stretch almost unbroken for about 6 kilometres and surround the historic fortress of Diyarbakir.

The ancient city walls stretch almost unbroken for about 6 kilometres

We made a quick stop at the famous 11th Century Dicle Bridge built over the mighty Tigris River. The bridge is made up of ten arches and known as “the ten-eyed bridge” by local people.

The “ten-eyed” bridge over the
mighty Tigris River
We had the bridge to ourselves

The black volcanic stone bridge (built in 1065) is usually thronged with tourists but the early hour meant we had the place to ourselves.

Looking towards Diyarbakir- the city walls can be seen clearly on top of the hill
Looking back the other way
There were musicians performing
on the bridge

Then it was back to the airport to meet our fellow travellers for the first time and drive to our destination for the first night – the ancient Mesopotamian city of Mardin – such a wonderful place to start our adventure!

Mardin, a wonderful place to start
our adventure

This gem of a place has recently suffered from dropping tourist numbers due to it’s proximity (35 kms) to the Syrian border but I would highly recommend a visit!

I would highly recommend a trip to Mardin, it was a really fascinating, beautiful and atmospheric place

The town is dominated by a ruined Roman citadel, rebuilt in medieval times which rises behind the the limestone houses that cling to the side of the hill and look out over the famous plains of Mesopotamia which lie between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.

The ruined Roman citadel

The plains stretch as far as the eye can see – all the way to Iraq and Kuwait.

We found this view captivating and
almost overwhelming – some of the most important developments
in human history, occurred here

Mesopotamia is known as the “cradle of civilisation” and it is believed that some of the most important developments in human history, occurred here including the invention of the wheel, the planting of the first cereal crops and the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture.

The famous plains of Mesopotamia lie between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.

After we had settled in our hotel which had fabulous views over the plains, Baran took us on a walking tour of the narrow alleyways and cobblestoned streets, through the bazaar, stopping frequently to marvel at gorgeous buildings such as the Ulu Camil Mosque, and to buy local delicacies such as Elmali Kurabiye and other sweet delicacies tasting of wonderfully exotic ingredients such as almonds, cinnamon, dates, honey, pistachio nuts and sesame seeds.

Our very comfortable hotel room
Baran took us on a walking tour of the narrow alleyways and cobblestoned streets
The town was very atmospheric
It was also very colourful
So much to see in the bazaar
We loved these colourful lanterns
There were many shops selling shiny brass objects- I loved the teapots
Local delicacies (above and below)
We bought some to eat on the minibus!
Blue sugared almonds!
Mardin is famous for its beautiful Arab horses
Baran did a wonderful job of giving us a short history of Mardin and
pointing out interesting sights

We visited a 4th Century Assyrian (Syriac) Orthodox Church called the Kırklar Church by its congregation. One of the Church members talked about the history of the Church and the fate of many Assyrians who had fled to Sweden and Germany. He also explained that the Church members read the bible in Aramaic – the language that Jesus is thought to have spoken.

The Ulu Camil Mosque
Listening to Baran talking
about the Ulu Camil Mosque
The entrance to the 4th Century Assyrian (Syriac) Orthodox Church
One of the congregation of the Assyrian (Syriac) Orthodox Church tells us a little about the Church and the history of the Assyrian people

That evening we had a fabulous meal in spectacular surroundings at a restaurant called Bagdadi. Perched high on the hill that leads up to the fortress the restaurant was entered via a steep stairway.

The superb restaurant Bagdadi
The restaurant was entered
via a steep stairway

At the top of the stairs was a terrace where some people were eating but we were led to a private room where we were served a sumptuous meal of traditional dishes from Mardin and the region.

We were led to a private room where we were served a sumptuous meal of traditional dishes from Mardin and the region
The food was delicious ….
…and the surroundings gorgeous
This amazing samovar graced our table

What a great way to end an amazing first day on our tour of South-East Turkey!

Such a fabulous view from our
hotel room after dinner

The splendour of Ephesus and a sad farewell

The ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey draws massive crowds of visitors – both local and international – every year. I have read that this might partly be because the ruins are easy to access from Izmir airport and Kusadasi, a nearby cruise ship port, but that seems a far too cynical assessment to me.

Arriving in Ephesus

Compared with other ruins we have visited throughout Turkey I would say the well preserved ruins of Ephesus are easily right up there with the best.

The ruins of Ephesus are right up with the best
Julia exploring an ancient staircase

We visited this precious ancient site on my sister Julia’s last day with us after a beautiful few days visiting a couple of our favourite anchorages on this part of the coast.

We visited this extraordinary ancient site on Julia’s last day with us

Founded in the 10th Century BC, Ephesus is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Excavations first started in 1863 and are still ongoing – led by the Austrian Archeological Institute, founded by German archeologist Otto Bendorf.

Ephesus is a UNESCO World Heritage site
Excavations of this incredible site first started in 1863

The ruins which mostly date from 27 BCE onwards, span over 662 hectares – one of the largest Roman archaeological sites in the eastern Mediterranean.

Most of the ruins date from 27 BCE onwards
This was only the small theatre!
Ephesus is one of the largest Roman archaeological sites in the eastern Mediterranean.

As we wandered through the ruins we were able to imagine the splendour of Ephesus in its heyday.

We were able to imagine the splendour of Ephesus in its heyday

One of the most magnificent buildings is the Library of Celsus, originally built around 125 CE, the façade of which has been carefully reconstructed from original pieces.

The magnificent Library of Celsius

A major highlight of our visit was the walk through the excavation site of terraced housing.

A highlight of our visit – the walk through the excavation site of terraced housing
Beautiful mosaics in the terraces
The well heeled of ancient Ephesus lived in beautiful homes

Covered by an amazing roof structure to protect the precious mosaics, wall paintings and other artefacts, the area is crisscrossed with glass and iron walkways leading through various levels, so you can view different aspects of the once magnificent homes of the wealthy citizens of Ephesus.

An amazing roof structure has been built to protect the precious mosaics, wall paintings and other artefacts
It was amazing to see the wall decorations and mosaics from Roman times still intact
Black marble in one of the terraced villas
The area is crisscrossed with glass and iron walkways leading through various levels

You could even see the clay pipes that once ran beneath the floors and behind the walls to carry warm air through the houses.

Clay pipes were used for drainage and for underfloor heating

It was impossible to walk around and take in the whole of Ephesus in one day and we left promising ourselves another visit as soon as possible.

The marble relief of winged Nike, the Greek goddess of Victory
It was impossible to walk around and take in the whole of Ephesus in one day
The public latrines!
Feeding time for the cats of Ephesus

Sadly, the following day we had to say farewell to Julia at Izmir airport. It of course, felt sad but on the other hand, we realised we were absolutely privileged and fortunate to see each other and to be able to move about freely when so many others have their lives totally on hold due to Covid.

Sunrise in Didim

On the way back from the airport we dropped into the popular coastal resort of Kuşadasi for lunch.

We stopped in Kuşadasi for lunch

The place was absolutely heaving but away from the busy seafront we did find somewhere very quiet to have something to eat.

A colourful carpet shop in Kuşadasi

We walked around the bazaar and on the way back to our car went into the old caravanserai (Kervansaray) close to the fishing harbour.

The old caravanserai (Kervansaray)

These lovely buildings served as roadside inns where once upon a time, travellers and their animals on the Silk Road and other trade routes could safely rest and recover from the day’s journey.

These lovely buildings served as roadside inns
Travellers and their animals on the Silk Road and other trade routes could safely rest and recover from the day’s journey

There was a lovely cool and peaceful atmosphere in this one and we could just imagine weary travellers enjoying the refreshing sound of the water fountain and the shade of the palm trees after a long amd day of walking or riding a camel or donkey.

There was a lovely cool and peaceful atmosphere
Gorgeous tiles at the caravanserai
The sturdy front gate to the caravanserai that protected travellers from thieves

The place “to be – and to be seen”!

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!

First day out!
Catching up after a long time!

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.

How lucky we were to have brilliant weather
We set off from Didim Marina with our sailing buddies Sue and John on S/V Catabella

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.

We went past several fish farms

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.

The ruins of the Byzantine fortification tower looming out of the water

Once we had safely anchored in this beautiful place we went for a look around the village.

S/V Sunday and S/V Catabella safely anchored at Kıyıkışlacık

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.

Beautiful crabs on sale at the fantastic
fresh fish shop

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.

A group of community minded villagers painting murals on the public toilets, the pharmacy and other walls around the village (above and below)

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!

Music while they worked

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.

Kıyıkışlacık is still very rural and hardly touched by the tourist boom

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.

Tractors are a common sight in Kıyıkışlacık
We saw lots of cows
We even saw them being 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.

The ruins of Iasos
Julia at the top of the stairs that
lead to the bouleuterion
Photo op in Ancient Iasos

Although they aren’t outstanding in any way, the ruins are atmospheric and for us, definitely worth a second visit.

Julia at the top of the bouleuterion
Meanwhile at the bottom John and Jonathan take a rest

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.

Julia and I on board Sunday (photo credit Sue Done)
Sundowners on Sunday
The amazing red moon rising

The following day we visited the remains of the Roman Villa where on our previous visit we had seen some marvellous mosaics.

One of mosaics in the Roman villa
Another of the 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 shelter over the mosaics had
been completed
A room in the Roman villa

The views from the top of the hill where the crusaders built their fort were magnificent and well worth the climb.

The views from the top of the hill where the crusaders built their fort were magnificent
We could see our boats at anchor
Ruins of the Roman dock area
Getting back on board Sunday (photo credit Sue Done)

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.

One of the mega super yachts with its
tender in the foreground

We saw the delivery of copious bouquets of flowers and wondered what sort of event was going to take place.

The tender on the way to picking up copious bouquets of flowers

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!

Sunday on the left with Firefox to the right

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.

We had a glorious Turkish breakfast at a beautiful waterside restaurant

The location was stunning, the weather was glorious and the food was delicious! Needless to say we really enjoyed ourselves!

The location was stunning, the weather was glorious and the food was delicious!

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.

Julia spying dolphins ahead of us

They didn’t stay for long but we were so thrilled by their visit – especially as Julia was with us! What good fortune!

“It’s behind you Julia!!“

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.

Braving the cool water of the marina pool
Proof Julia swam in the sea too!

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!)

Colourful spices at the market in Didim
Love those shiny aubergines
Everything is so colourful
Beautiful bunch of cauliflowers
This market has everything you can think of for sale!!

It’s a small world!

It really is a small world, especially when it comes to the yachting community!

We had been anchored in Yalikavak for a couple of days when a beautiful Amel ketch called S/V Dusk came into the anchorage. It turned out that this lovely boat belonged to Tracey and Steve Bell from South Africa. After a quick radio conversation they came over to our boat S/V Sunday in their dinghy.

Sailing vessel Dusk in Yalikavak

“We’ve just spoken to our friends on the Aussie boat Sunday,” they said. “We just had to tell them there was a boat here with the same name and they told us they knew you and to come over and say ‘hi’!”

On our way into town with Tracey and Steve

Turns out that Tracey and Steve had spent nine months in Tunisia and Sicily (and various places in between) with the owners of the other yacht called Sunday – a young couple, Britnni and Ryan, who have a popular YouTube channel called “Sailing Sunday”.

Strangely, Brittni and Ryan were the first people we met when we sailed into Turkey in June last year and then we were the first people Tracey and Steve met when they first arrived. Sure is a small world with many coincidences!

From Yalikavak, a popular place for super yachts to stop, we went to Tükü Bükü which is described as being the place “to see and to be seen”.

One of the super yachts in Yalikavak

There were plenty of swanky looking vessels Med moored on the way into the bay but thankfully we didn’t have to join them as we managed to find a good place to anchor.

There were plenty of swanky looking
vessels in Tükü Bükü
Even people water ski-ing

Although it was very much the end of season, and many shops, bars and restaurants were closing down, there were still some lovely looking restaurants open and a few very exclusive shops!

One of the many restaurants being
dismantled for winter
There were still some lovely looking restaurants open (above and below)
A typical laneway in Tükü Bükü
There were some exclusive (and very expensive) shops

There was also a fresh food market where we stocked up with a few things.

The market was quite small but had
plenty of variety – the peaches were unreal!
Love these packages of herbs – fresh mint, thyme, marjoram – all very fragrant

After a pleasant couple of days we sailed across the bay to Didim marina, our base for the next six months.

Didim Marina

We had to wait for quite a while (at least half an hour) at the entrance before the marinaras came to help us into our berth. Not a great start!

We had a long wait outside the entrance

When eventually the dinghy came out to greet us there was only one (young and inexperienced) guy to assist us. The whole exercise did not go well! Fortunately, things got a little better the following day. We were visited by two different companies, both very professional, who set to work immediately on the small jobs we needed doing.

The passarelle (electronic gangplank) had stopped working after we had it fixed (at vast expense) in Finike Marina. Hydraulic fluid was now pouring out of the newly installed seals. This time the repair was made in two days – a job that took two months previously – and the price was way less than half the amount we had paid previously.

Our passerelle had stopped working
Hydraulic fluid was pouring out of the new seals installed in Finike

The second company sent a guy up our mast to check our masthead light and replace the bulb. Other small jobs were completed in record time.

Our second day in Didim and our masthead light was being replaced
Birdseye view of the masthead light

We were delighted to be reunited with Sue and John, our travelling companions and friends from our buddy boat S/V Catabella. They had been in Greece (doing a ten-day cruise rather than undergo hotel quarantine in England) and then spent several weeks with family before returning to Didim a few days before us.

It was lovely to be reunited with Sue and John

It was great to have them to show us around and we quickly settled in, enjoying the facilities at Didim marina such as the beautiful “Yacht Club” hotel.

The beautiful pool which we are allowed to use
Sue and I enjoyed our Scrabble games
by the pool

The first Saturday we went to the massive and wonderful market in town. Stall after stall of fantastic fresh fruit and vegetables, fat and juicy olives, dried fruit and nuts of every variety, as well as clothes, household goods, tableware, hand carved wooden implements and much more.

The wonderful Saturday market in Didim
Beautiful plump olives
A wonderful array of dried fruits
Colourful sweets
Made a colourful tray bake with some of the vegetables we bought at the market

A couple of day’s later we experienced something which we hadn’t come across for more than six months – RAIN! Beautiful, torrential, soaking rain!

Glorious rain
We were thrilled to see the rain
hitting the water!

Although we were absolutely thrilled – Turkey has been coping with a terrible drought this year – we were also concerned about the change in weather as my sister Julia was arriving from England for a week in just a few days time.

Before Julia’s arrival we were amazed to see a strange and rare phenomenon – Mammatus clouds. They looked like fluffy bubbles in the sky and John (a retired airline pilot who knows about such things) explained that they indicate the arrival of harsh weather and alert pilots of potentially dangerous conditions .

A strange and rare phenomenon
– Mammatus clouds.
Mammatus clouds indicate the arrival of harsh weather and alert pilots of potentially dangerous conditions

The rainy, stormy weather continued for several days but on the day Julia arrived the blue skies were back and we had perfect weather on every day of her stay.

The rainy, stormy weather continued for several days
On the day Julia arrived the
blue skies were back

We decided to spend our first day together in and around Didim. We had a good walk to the beachside suburb of Altinkum and back – Julia had a swim in the sea even though the water felt a bit cold for Jonathan and me!

Julia and I pose at the peace statue in Altinkum
A detail of this dramatic sculpture
More posing!
Altinkum harbour
Julia bravely having a dip in the sea

Later that night we had a good meal in one of the restaurants within the marina precincts – a great way to end Julia’s first day aboard!

Cheers – having a good meal on Julia’s first night aboard!

Treasures from the deep

Before leaving the picturesque village of Gümüşlük, we were determined to walk across to the other side of the isthmus and up the hill to see the remains of the ancient city of Myndos.

Picturesque Gümüşlük

The walk across the isthmus didn’t take long and once there, we were captivated by the gorgeous little bays with gin-clear water and what looked like the remains of buildings in the shallows, perhaps relics of Myndos?

The walk across the isthmus didn’t take long
We were captivated by the gorgeous little bays
The water was gin-clear
Perhaps the remains of buildings in the shallows, are relics of Myndos?

The walk up to the summit was quite steep but there was a good path with stairs in places.

The views were glorious – we could clearly see the Greek islands of Kalimnos and Leros surrounded by a sparkling deep blue sea – a truly beautiful sight!

The views were glorious!
The Greek islands of Leros and Kalimnos
in the distance

Some parts of the original city wall were still visible but apart from those and a few scattered stone piles, there were disappointingly few remains. The walk was really lovely though!

Remains of the city walls of Myndos
There were disappointingly few remains

Although there wasn’t an obvious path down the other side of the hill, we decided to give it a go – what could possibly go wrong?!

At the top! But where is the route down?!

Actually nothing did go wrong really but the walk down was rather more precarious than on the way up so it took us a lot longer. The views of Gümüşlük were lovely though so it was well worth the extra effort.

There wasn’t an obvious path down so it was a little more precarious
But the views of Gümüşlük were lovely

It was misty as we left Gümüşlük – there was a strange and eerie atmosphere – hundreds of gulls had flocked to the small island at the harbour entrance and everything was so unusually still. The sounds of our engines were muffled as we travelled across the dead calm waters out into the open sea.

Hundreds of gulls had flocked to the small island at the harbour entrance
There was a strange and eerie atmosphere
Everything was unusually still
The sounds of our engines were muffled as we travelled across the dead calm waters

Before too long the sun came out and a couple of hours later we were back for a second look at historic Bodrum.

Back in Bodrum for a second look

On our first visit there we had visited the underwater archeological museum, housed in the Crusader Castle, and just loved it – particularly the treasures found on the numerous wrecks along the coast in the area.

The crusader castle at Bodrum, home to the fantastic underwater archaeological museum
Inside the castle walls
A “Birdseye” view from the castle

Situated within the walls of Bodrum Castle, the museum is chock-full of fascinating exhibits.

The museum is chock-full of
fascinating exhibits
So many wonderful treasures
found in the shipwrecks
We loved seeing the treasures found on the numerous wrecks along the coast

There was so much to see but that we ended going to the museum twice in as many days.

It’s hard to believe this sculpture was made many hundreds of years ago

One of the highlights was the collection of artefacts from the world’s oldest known shipwreck, discovered in Uluburun in 1982. This incredible wreck, found by a local sponge diver, dates back to the Early Bronze Age – 14th Century BC.

Some stunning gold pieces found in the Uluburan shipwreck
A model of the Uluburun shipwreck

As well as the 10 tonnes of copper ingots, and a ton of tin ingots, there were 175 glass ingots of cobalt blue, turquoise, and lavender – the earliest intact glass ingots ever found. There were also many artefacts that proved there was a thriving commercial sea trade network existing in the Late Bronze Age in the Mediterranean.

175 glass ingots of cobalt blue, turquoise, and lavender were found – the earliest intact glass ingots ever discovered

Some of the most fascinating relics were already antiques when the ship sunk – one which captivated us was a worn scarab of pure gold inscribed in hieroglyphics with the name of Nefertiti (c. 1370 – c. 1336 BCE).

A pure gold scarab (centre) inscribed with
the name of Nefertiti
A close up of the Nefertiti scarab

In between museum visits we enjoyed strolling through the town looking at the many wonderful sights.

We enjoyed the sights of Bodrum
We loved seeing this lovely little vessel built in Bodrum and used for sponge hunting
for many years
This carved window caught my eye as we explored Bodrum
It was lovely to come upon these street musicians who were playing at some wedding celebrations

On one of our explorations we walked up to the 4th Century Greco-Roman theatre perched high up on the hill overlooking Bodrum.

The 4th Century Greco-Roman theatre is perched high up on the hill overlooking Bodrum.

We then went to seek out the remains of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus which in its heyday was one of the Seven Wonders of The World.

We had to follow this lane to find the entrance to the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
A model of the wonderful Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

Sadly after standing for 2247 years, the Mausoleum was destroyed by a series of successive earthquakes between the 12th to the 15th centuries.

Earthquakes began the destruction
of the Mausoleum

In 1402 the Crusaders arrived at the site and recorded it as being in ruins. They then proceeded to steal many of the massive stone blocks from the mausoleum to fortify their waterfront castle. Much of the beautiful marble was burnt into lime.

After earthquakes and the crusaders helping themselves there wasn’t much left of this fabulous structure
The Crusaders stole many of the massive stone blocks from the mausoleum to fortify their waterfront castle

At some point (probably at the time of the Crusaders), grave robbers broke into and destroyed the underground burial chamber, stealing all the treasures that had remained there since the burial of Mausolus.

The original steps down to the burial chamber

The Mausoleum was approximately 45 m (148 ft) in height, and the four sides were adorned with sculptural reliefs. It was such a wonderful piece of architecture and design that from then on, the Romans called all their magnificent tombs mausolea.

The Mausoleum was such a wonderful piece of architecture and design that after it was built the Romans called all magnificent
tombs mausolea

After Bodrum we returned to Yalikavak – where many super yachts choose to anchor – to restock our fruit and vegetables at the weekly market. The produce was so fresh and delicious-looking, especially the peaches which were massive and luscious to eat.

The striking coastline on the way to Yalikavak
Anchored in Yalikavak
There was loads of fresh fruit and vegetables at the market in Yalikavak
The peaches tasted even better than they looked!

Gunshots in a lonely anchorage

Kıyıkışlacık and the enchanting remains of ancient Iassos in Turkey would remain in our memories for ever! Our next few stops were less exciting but nevertheless enjoyable.

Kıyıkışlacık village
Farewell fascinating Iassos

We sailed back down Asin Körfezi, a small gulf at the eastern end of Güllük Körfezi and made for an anchorage in Çam Limanı, a very large bay which was well protected from the Meltimi winds which were blowing up hard and fast.

Our route to Çam Limanı

On land we could see a couple of small buildings (fishermen‘s huts?) and a herd of goats. The only noise apart from the wind in the trees was the tinkling of the goat bells and the chatty bleating of the goats as they nibbled their way along the wooded area just up from the seashore. Oh and we heard the sound of a gun being fired which was a little unnerving.

Not much to see except for a couple of fisherman’s huts
The only noise came from the goats!

Amazingly there were no other boats in this massive bay so apart from the occasional sound of shots being fired it was very peaceful!

Ours was the only boat on the bay

On land we walked along a lovely wooded path until we came to a rocky track which turned inland and up a hill.

We found an old jetty to tie up to
One of the fisherman’s huts
We followed the wooded path

We hadn’t walked very far before we started to see piles of stones scattered over a large area. A closer look revealed the remains of stone walls and red roof tiles. There had been a village here but it was difficult to know whether it was an old Greek fishing village that was destroyed at the time of the 1923 Greek/Turkish population exchange or something altogether older.

Another view of our lonely anchorage
Ruins of a village but from which era?
Definitely from a roof tile but
we couldn’t date it

The next day we walked along the sea shore and followed it right round the bay.

Looking back to where we had started our walk

After a short walk over an arid open area we came to a small farmhouse which looked as though it was in the process of being modernised.

The arid open area where we found a small farmhouse
Looked like some modernising was going on here
We were amazed to see this brave little flower surrounded by rubble and dry grass

After being politely warned by an enormous but handsome Anatolian Sheep dog (Kangal Shepherd) not to get too close to his herd, we met the first (and only) people we came across in this lonely bay.

The herd of sheep – well camouflaged!
Anatolian Sheep dogs (Kangal Shepherd) – are beautiful animals

Here was the source of the shots we had heard – a man and his wife sitting at the waters edge having a picnic. The man was sitting with a rifle in his hands. We think he was trying to shoot a rabbit for dinner but we are not used to seeing firearms of any sort in “real life” so it felt slightly threatening.

Well away from our gun toting friend we noticed some ruins in the distance. As we got closer we realised that some of the remains were of a Church but once again, we wondered from what era they were dated.

We were pretty sure that these were the remains of a church
Jonathan having an explore
We wondered from what era these
ruins were from

Further on we saw a fine house with wonderful views but which had been abandoned before it had been completed. This was very new and we felt sure that this building was from the modern era – unlike all the other buildings we came across scattered along the shore.

This house looked as though it had been abandoned before it was finished

All the ruins made it a mysterious place with a haunting atmosphere and we wished we could find out more about it.

This place was mysterious
All the ruins made for a haunting atmosphere
We wished we could find out more
about these ruins

We sailed on to the next large bay and anchored in a spot that wasn’t named on the chart but has been dubbed “Paradise Bay” by visiting yachties.

The next anchorage has been
dubbed “Paradise Bay”

While it was a very pretty anchorage we were sad to see that once on land it was less of a paradise and more of a public toilet and rubbish depository.

It was less of a paradise and more of a public toilet and rubbish depository.
We were sad to see this mess left by visitors

However, the water was wonderfully clear, the walks around the water’s edge extremely pretty with different pathways to wander along where we could enjoy the lovely views.

The water was wonderfully clear
The walks along the water’s edge were pretty
There were lovely views from the footpath
Sunday at anchor

After a couple of days we moved on right to the head of the bay and anchored for a night at Kazikli Koyu. It was very quiet and peaceful, and there were no other yachts anchored and not much happening on land either.

Kazikli Koyu

We went for a stroll and saw some more deserted stone houses which we felt sure formally belonged to a Greek fishing village before the population exchange.

Lots of wood ready for winter and behind deserted houses

We found the remains of an old windmill and were amazed to find a small herd of goats locked inside. One or two of them were very curious and jumped up on a stone ledge and stood on their hind legs to have a good look at us.

We found the remains of a deserted windmill
Inside the windmill was a small herd of goats
Some of them were very curious
Such a cute goat

Our next anchorage was in another large bay at Arbuk Sahil, a beach resort with not much to recommend it except it was very sheltered from the wild Meltimi winds. It also had a big Migros supermarket very close to the beach so we were easily able to get well stocked up with food and wine.

The beach resort of Arbuk Sahil

We waited out the strong winds in this super calm anchorage with easy access to go for walks on the beach and on the small island (adasi) of Sapli.

Sunset over Sapli Adasi
The town looked better by night
The anchorage was super calm

The tiny little island was actually accessible from the mainland by clambering over a line of rocks just below the water – this seemed to be a very popular activity with the holidaymakers staying in the myriad of holiday apartments arranged in neat rows up the hillside.

Our view of Sapli Adasi
Walking on Sapli Adasi
View of town from Sapli island
Sunday in the lovely sheltered anchorage
We parked our dinghy here
Almost olive harvest time

The weather had calmed down a little so we decided to double back and make for the absolutely delightful seaside village of Gümüşlük. The entry into this lovely little bay is completely hidden until you get past the small islet at the entrance.

View of the small island at the entrance to Gümüşlük

You have to be careful as you enter as there is a reef protruding from the rocky promontory (the site of ancient Mydos) opposite the islet.

This hill is at the other side of the entrance

We motored right to the end of the bay but it was extremely crowded so we retraced our route and anchored opposite the village jetty.

The harbour is very small

Once ashore, we wandered through the atmospheric village. Although there were a number of restaurants and tourist oriented shops, Gümüşlük still retained its village atmosphere and definitely didn’t feel over-touristy or spoilt in any way.

Lovely desserts on display
There were some great beachside restaurants
The hill was part of ancient Mydos
There were some pretty laneways
Another fabulous restaurant

We went for a walk along the beachfront and then down a small lane leading away from the harbour. Soon we were in the midst of fields interspersed with the occasional ancient ruin. Walking along the rough track it was easy to believe we had gone through a time warp. It felt like nothing much had changed since Myndos was in its heyday in the 4th Century BC.

Feet in the water dining
The dinghy park
Found outside a house
We went for a walk down a small lane leading away from the harbour
Walking along the rough track it was easy to believe we had gone through a time warp

Later we went for a meal in a cosy restaurant on the beach that we had spied on our walk.

Ancient remains just casually there at the water’s edge
Moon rise over Gümüşlük

As we enjoyed our pre-dinner drink we realised that the music being played was actually Greek music. Wondering whether we might be mistaken, we asked the very friendly owner to set us straight.

Greek music in Turkey?!

“Yes of course, it is Greek music,” he said. “This a Greek restaurant”. A Greek restaurant in Turkey? What was that about?

A Greek restaurant in Turkey?

“Ah!” Said our host, “Turkish people love the Greek Beach experience!”

Driving back in the dinghy by the light of the full moon after our Greek Beach
experience in Turkey

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.