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
There were an impressive array of pumps and guys to help a fast turn around for the fire trucks

While we ate our fish and chips we witnessed the very efficient filling of a couple of trucks that were soon ready to to return to fire fighting. It was extremely impressive to watch.

We witnessed the very efficient filling of a couple of trucks that were soon ready to to return to fire fighting

After a leisurely lunch we decided to start for Dalaman Airport. We were a little early but with so many fires in the region thought we should allow for possible diversions and delays.

A mustering point for the local fire fighters

We arrived with plenty of time to spare and were happy to find that Hannah and Pieter’s plane was landing early!

Yes! They were arriving early!

After weeks of uncertainty and anxiety it was such a joy to see their faces after five long months! Our only sadness was that our son and daughter-in-law, who we haven’t seen for two years, were stuck in Australia due to Covid travel restrictions and unable to join us.

Ahh, that first glimpse was very special
It was such a relief and such a joy to be together again

On the way back to the boat we stopped at a roadside stall to buy huge bags of oranges and limes. Kilos of limes cost the same as I’d paid for half a dozen in a fruit and veg shop in Bozburun a couple of days previously!

Sampling the limes before we bought a sack
Hannah made a friend at the fruit stall

The trip back was rather long as the fire fighters were still working on dousing spot fires from Marmaris onwards.

There were still fires smouldering on our way back to Bozbrun

Finally we were home on Sunday in Bozburun! Bubbles and a preprepared curry were enjoyed and there was non stop chatter as we caught up.

Jumping into the cooling water was a first priority the following day and a delicious meal at Osman’s restaurant with a beautiful sunset ended a perfect first day on board!

The first jump off the boat – bliss!
In our own “private swimming pool” between Sunday’s hulls
In Bozburun
A lovely meal at Osman’s restaurant
A smoky sunset in Bozburun

Plans “written in the sand at low tide” during Covid

There’s a lovely anchorage in Bozburun so it beats us why people prefer to Med moor (where the anchor is dropped and then the boat is tied to land). We are grateful for this however, as it leaves all the more room for us!

At anchor in Bozburun

More of a village than a town, Bozburun can be reached easily by sea but the trip by car entails driving along 40 kilometres (25 miles) on a very winding road from the main highway. I’m sure this accounts for why the village retains its charm and a rather old-world atmosphere.

The mosque dominates the view of Bozburun from the anchorage
The trip by car to Bozburun entails driving along 40 kilometres (25 miles) of very winding road from the main highway
The long and winding road trip probably accounts for the peaceful atmosphere in Bozburun
As the sun goes down the village gets more lively

There is a small and busy harbour usually full to bursting point but if you make an arrangement with the harbour master at the fishing cooperative, a time to enter can be made to refuel.

The harbour was full of boats

With Sue away in England for a couple of weeks, we offered to help John on Catabella to enter the harbour so he could fill his diesel tanks. Thankfully all went well although we had to wait for almost an hour while the fuel tanker went off to fill up!

Finally the diesel tanker arrived!

Boats are excellent places for “people watching” – there is always so much going on. One day we watched in sympathy as two boats tried to sort out their tangled anchors.

We watched in sympathy as two boats tried to sort out their tangled anchors

We weren’t sure which yacht anchored over the other’s chain but it resulted in quite a muddle and the two yachts travelling conjoined for quite some way before they were finally able to disentangle themselves!

The two yachts travelled conjoined for quite some way before they were finally able to disentangle themselves
Finally free!

Sometimes we engage in a little involuntary people watching when other boats anchor super snuggly next to us. Occasionally we end up closer than we anticipated to other boats but unless there is a compelling reason not to, we always pull up and start again. Wish I could say the same for others!

Sometimes other boats anchor “super snuggly” next to us

Before we left to explore the area more thoroughly we also decided to refuel and John reciprocated our assistance by helping us into dock in the little port.

Happily settled in the port

With me on the anchor, Jonathan steering and John throwing the lines to the young men employed as “dock boys”, we had a very smooth entry. It helps so much to have an extra pair of hands!

We had a bit of a disaster with the diesel which left us feeling awful but also rather cross with the delivery guy.

The diesel tanker driver had his little boy helping him

We only wanted a small amount – about 100 litres in each tank – and expected the fuel to automatically click off when the tank was full. But no, it didn’t do that – when the first tank was full the diesel kept on coming and suddenly we noticed it spilling out of the overflow pipe.

Jonathan pulls the nozzle aboard

The driver of the diesel tanker was cross with us because we didn’t need exactly 100 litres and we were upset that his machine didn’t have a working sensor to allow it to click off automatically. The harbour master was naturally angry because some diesel (albeit a tiny amount) was spilt in the harbour. Fortunately the tanker driver had absorbent mats and these soaked up the spill.

The harbour master did scold Jonathan for the accident but we really didn’t know what we could have done differently. We have never before come across a fuel delivery system (even in the most poor and primitive parts of South East Asia) that didn’t stop automatically when the tank was nearing full!

View from Sunday facing away from the village of Bozburun

So we left Bozburun with our our tail between our legs but still really liking this small town.

We left Bozburun with our our tail between our legs

The trip to Selimiye was only about three hours and most of it was fine. We travelled down the Bozburun inlet in very calm waters but once we reached the open sea and turned North the winds were head on and the sea was choppy and crashing over our bow.

Once we reached the open sea and turned North the winds were head on and the sea was choppy and crashing over our bow.

As soon as we turned in towards Selimiye everything calmed down again but there was a lot of salt to wash away once we were safely anchored.

Our lovely new hatches encrusted with salt

We ended up anchoring in very deep water rather than dropping in shallower water in the overcrowded anchorage.

Anchored in deep water away from the main anchorage

Everywhere was very crowded as it was the Eid al-Adha holiday – one of the most important Muslim festivals. This special day also coincided with school holidays which accounted for the huge numbers of boats everywhere.

So many boats at anchor

We were trying doing a bit of a “reccy” of anchorages to take our daughter and her husband to (who were shortly due to arrive from the Netherlands), so we decided to get going the following day and scout around a few of the nearby bays for good places to anchor.

Some treacherous rocks barely visible

On the way to Orhaniye where we eventually anchored, we found some lovely spots where we could stay with Hannah and Pieter (Covid allowing!)

We found some lovely spots where we could stay with Hannah and Pieter
Another great place to stay
The water here looked perfect!
A potential anchorage but we would need to Med moor!

Orhaniye is a bay situated at the connection between the two long fingers of land – the Bozburun and Datça peninsulas – that stretch out towards the Greek islands of Simi and Rhodes. It is therefore extremely sheltered and a beautiful spot to anchor for a few days.

The anchorage at Orhaniye

Marti Marina is situated on the Datça side – we weren’t terribly impressed as casual rates were very expensive and we found the staff most unhelpful when we were enquiring about car rental. Having said that, we aren’t great fans of marinas anyway so aren’t great judges!

Marti Marina

We anchored in a beautiful spot not far from the picturesque castle ruins on a rocky islet, believed to have been part of the ancient city of Bybassos.

Catabella in front of the picturesque castle ruins
A closer look at the castle ruins

Turning the other way we overlooked the famous 600 metre long Kizkumu spit which seemed to be very popular with local tourists. From where we were it looked like there were throngs of people walking on the water.

The famous 600 metre long Kizkumu spit
Boats drop off their guests so they can “walk on water’
Orhaniye was a beautiful spot
The golden light before sunset
An early morning shot

One evening we went for a meal ashore and found a small local restaurant with checked table cloths. The menu was pretty limited (actually I’m not sure that there even was a menu!) but we saw on the blackboard outside that they were offering homemade soup.

A lovely evening – before dinner

It was a simple vegetable soup but absolutely delicious and served with great hunks of home made white bread. This was followed by huge servings of manti – the Turkish version of ravioli.

The small local restaurant with checked table cloths
Waiting for our soup!

The tiny little pillows were filled with mince meat and served in a yoghourt sauce with a splodge of tomato sauce on top. Delicious but extremely filling!

The Turkish answer to ravioli – Manti

The cafe wasn’t allowed to serve beer but they also owned the shop next door so they got round the rules by grabbing some beers out of their shop fridge and serving it in coffee mugs and a beaker!

Drinking beer from an assortment of cups

It was almost time to go back to Bozburun to get ready for Hannah and Pieter’s arrival from the Netherlands on 31 July. We had hired a car there but wanted a day’s grace to ensure the booking was fine and to buy food.

Just before we left for Bozburun Sue arrived back from England and we had a great reunion.

Full moon in Orhaniye

So we bade farewell and set off on the short trip back to the lovely little town of Bozburun. We were very excited at the prospect of seeing our daughter and son in law after five months apart but still slightly nervous that it might not happen as in this Covid world all plans can be changed at a moment’s notice. We have learned the lesson well that all plans have to be “written in the sand at low tide”!

Mutiny averted and another road trip

It was great to be on the road again for a day’s exploring before picking up John from S/V Catabella who was due to arrive at Dalaman airport that evening.

On the road again!

We decided to head for some interesting spots well in range of the airport as we didn’t want to find ourselves miles away in a traffic jam when we should be in Dalaman.

So we headed first for Köyceğiz, famous for it’s beautiful lake which is joined to the Mediterranean by a natural channel called the Dalyan Delta.

A depiction of the lake at Köyceğiz and the Dalyan delta in the distance

It was a crackling hot day – think Australian outback heat, when even the cicadas can’t summon the will power to shake and shiver their timbal membranes.

A beautiful stand of Australian gum trees at the side of the road- they would have been right at home in the heat!

It was wonderful to walk for a while round the reed-fringed lake. Fortunately this area has been preserved as a nature and wildlife sanctuary so there’s plenty of bird spotting opportunities.

A cool spot by the side of the lake

There was a slight breeze wafting across the water but it had little effect on the stifling heat so we stopped at a cafe to have a freshly squeezed orange juice under a shady tree.

There was a slight breeze wafting across the water
we stopped at a cafe to have a freshly squeezed orange juice under a shady tree.

We walked back along the shore and hopped back in the car and drove to Dalyan – a lovely little town which has the river of the same name flowing through it.

A local water fountain
We have been amazed at the number of fresh water springs that pop up in this part of Turkey

The town was quite busy with tourists taking boat trips up and down the river. A few weeks earlier we had planned to take a trip up the river entering from the sea side but in the end we had to give it a miss as we were on a mission to get to Marmaris.

Scenic Dalyan

It crossed our minds to hop on one of the boats in Dalyan as we were interested in viewing the extraordinary tombs from the 4th Century BC which are cut into the cliffs on the banks of the river. We also hoped we might even catch sight of some of the loggerhead turtles who nest each year at nearby “Turtle Bay”, (a protected area since a huge campaign in the 1980s.)

We thought about going on a boat trip
These tombs would be well worth a look (Photo credit Google!)

We decided to have some lunch while we thought about it and as we were eating we received a message from John – his internal flight in Greece had been delayed which meant he missed his International flight from Athens to Istanbul and wouldn’t be arriving until the next day.

Dalyan was very pretty

As we no longer had to stay round the Dalaman area we decided to head back to Marmaris and continue on from there on the D400 to the Datça Peninsula to scope out some lovely spots where later on we could free anchor rather than Med moor.

A giant sculpture of a turtle- Dalyan is famous for the nearby Loggerhead turtle sanctuary

We saw some fabulous spots – the whole area was extremely picturesque and seeing its beauty whetted our appetite for exploring it all by boat.

The Datça peninsula was extremely picturesque
With some beautiful places to free anchor

Datça was a busy little place, not without charm but just too crowded (even in these Covid times!) for us.

The waterfront at Datça
Boats at anchor in Datça

After a walk along the seafront we stopped for a quick meal before the couple of hours drive back to Marmaris.

Datça – one of the many marble sculptures scattered through the town
Massage anyone?
The beach was still busy even as the sun was going down
Pretty laneway in Datça

Back at the car park our hearts sank – someone had parked us in! If they had moved forward a metre we (and another car) could have got out with a bit of manoeuvring. Grrrr.

Hemmed in! Ours was the little white van.

After about 20 minutes the driver came back. He was obviously a local who came to pick up a bit of shopping quickly – thinking we’d be there for the evening. Exasperating but understandable!

Driving home to Marmaris as the sun went down

We were able to book the car for another day to pick up John the following day. Fortunately everything went smoothly this time.

One of the projects we had on our “to do” list for Marmaris was to have the Perspex in our deck hatches replaced as the originals were faded, crazed and in one case, cracked.

Removing the hatches for refurbishment

Vedat of VS Marin did a fantastic job and always turned up exactly on time at the designated meeting place – important if you’re meeting someone by dinghy!

The new hatches arrive
Vedat working on installing he new hatches
Don’t we look smart!
Jonathan taking Vedat back to shore

Once we had ticked off that job we decided to make a run for it from Marmaris. The heat was becoming unbearable even at anchor and we had been in the same spot for too long! The crew was about to mutiny if we stayed one more day!

The crew had enough of these pirate incursions!
Even though Marmaris is lovely it was time to move on!

Fortunately mutiny was averted! Our first night was spent just a short distance away at Turunç where we had previously anchored when sheltering from a terrible bush fire.

Back in Turunç

We had a fantastic meal at a restaurant off the main tourist route called The Chef’s House. The food and service was excellent and the menu (a beautifully produced “book”) was extensive.

The Chef’s House – highly recommended!

We enjoyed talking English to the owner’s young son – he had a perfect English accent! He ran off but soon came back with his cousin and younger brother in tow.

Cheeky faces! The young boy on the right spoke so confidently in English
Our evening view

After just one night we took off again. It wasn’t a great trip – we had to motor all the way, the small amount of wind being right on the nose. There was a really uncomfortable swell, short and sharp with lots of spray and a fair bit of thumping as we fell off the top of the unruly waves.

Farewell to Turunç

We looked at a couple of anchorages before settling on Bozuk Buku for the night. The first one we looked at, Serçe Limanı, was approached via a narrow entrance and then opened up dramatically into a large, fjord-like bay. It was lovely but very full of med moored boats and not enough room for us to swing at anchor so we turned around and kept going.

Serçe Limanı, was approached via a narrow entrance and then opened up dramatically into a large, fjord-like bay

It was around here we realised that we were crossing our track from almost exactly a year ago when we entered Turkey from Greece!

It was around here we realised that we were crossing our track from almost exactly a year ago
Our iPad showing us crossing our track from a year previously

Little did we realise then that Covid would still be such a force to be reckoned with a whole year later!

When we arrived at Bozuk Bükü we where very happy to see boats free anchored as well as others med moored and tied up at wharves belonging to the two restaurants there.

Arriving at Bozuk Bükü

It was a huge bay so there was plenty of room for everyone to do as they pleased!

These yachts were tied up cheek-by-jowl at a restaurant wharf
While these were comfortably anchored
I know which one I prefer!

We thought we could see a herd of goats on the beach but they turned out to be donkeys! We thought they were very cute until we were woken up by their heehaw-ing in the early hours!

We thought there were goats on the beach
On closer inspection we discovered they were donkeys

At the entrance to the bay we saw the remains of an ancient citadel (there are actually ruins absolutely everywhere in Turkey!) These are apparently of Hellenistic origin and date from the 10th Century BC.

Ruins of an ancient citadel
The ruins date from the 10th Century BC

Our next anchorage was Bozburun which we had visited and enjoyed on a previous road trip.

Another view of the ruins on our way out

On the way there we past the island of Simi which we could see in the distance. This had been our last port of call in in Greece before arriving in Turkey on 1 July 2020.

The island of Simi just visible in the distance
A closer view of Simi

What a lot has happened since then. We can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

We passed so many boats of all shapes and sizes along the way to Bozburun
Gotta love a place that treats the animals as “individuals of our village”

In Marmaris – anchoring versus marina and shattered peace!

The early morning peace at our anchorage outside the Turkish Riviera resort town of Marmaris was shattered by the blaring of horns, tooting, sirens and loud music very close by.

Early morning peace at anchor in Marmaris

A fire boat was spraying water and several vessels were moving in procession with a large Coast Guard ship leading the way.

There was hooting and sirens and the fire barge spraying water

We weren’t sure what the celebration was and wondered whether there was an important dignitary aboard the Coast Guard vessel.

We think someone important was on board this Coast Guard vessel

In the midst of all the hubbub, a group of around eight JetSkis appeared with riders holding outsized Turkish flags. They put on a display of what can only be described as motorised version of synchronised swimming! That woke us up!

The JetSki riders preparing for their performance
Round and round they go!
The end of the display!

Since dropping off our boat buddies Sue and John from S/V Catabella at Dalaman airport and the lovely day out we had in the car, life on board had been pretty uneventful.

Sculpture in Marmaris water front
Another sculpture – this one near the bazaar

We had planned a stop in Marmaris to do various boat jobs and get a few things organised. Marmaris is heavenly for yachties as it has every conceivable boat orientated business you can imagine.

I love watching the ice cream sellers play tricks on their customers
Is it raining in the bazaar?
A genuine Turkish hamam

We ticked off quite a few items from our list and decided to shelve a few others (like buying a new bar fridge) for later. A plan of buying a fridge in Germany and bringing it back in the campervan in the winter was beginning to form in our minds.

One evening, after a busy boat job day we decided to go for a meal and wandered into the very charming area round the base of the castle.

Making water on board
So peaceful when all the tourist boats have gone and before the racket from the night clubs starts

This part of Marmaris has retained the character of a traditional village with narrow, cobbled laneways and whitewashed stone houses covered in bougainvillea.

The area around Marmaris castle still retains its traditional character

We sat down for a cold drink at a lovely shady restaurant called Gorya and ended up chatting to the owner and then staying for dinner. We asked her to choose some meze dishes and then she recommended a couple of main courses. We ended up with an absolute feast! There was a very good singer performing that evening so we were serenaded as we ate!

A lovely shady spot for a cold drink
Reminds me of the Greek islands
The puss cats have learnt winning ways to beg for scraps
This was a lovely meze
The fresh fish were also fabulous

This little area around the castle was so nice that we returned to explore it a bit more thoroughly and to go into the castle and small museum.

Exploring the lanes around the castle
Loved the glorious bougainvillea
Those steps are a challenge in the heat, especially if you’re carrying something heavy like this man was.
The entrance to the castle

First built by the Ionians (1044 BC) and later on repaired during the era of the Alexander the Great in the 4th Century BC and again in the 15th Century by Suleiman the Magnificent, the castle was almost completely destroyed by French cannon fire in World War 1.

The cool breeze and lush gardens were welcome in the sweltering heat
Amazing to think there had been a castle on this site for more than 3,000 years
This version was restored in the 1980s

Fully restored in the 1980s the castle grounds have a few exhibits scattered round and lovely cool gardens to enjoy.

Artefacts displayed in the Castle garden (above and below)

There were fabulous views over the bay and the small museum was interesting.

The views from the castle turrets were fantastic
We could even see our catamaran Sunday (magnified)
A beautiful study of a head in the castle museum
Loved seeing these two pigeons perched above the ticket office
This is definitely one of the oldest parts of the castle. The steps have worn down to almost nothing! How many millions of feet have smoothed this stonework over the millennia?

We also met up with Natalia and Bill from Island Bound at our favourite restaurant – Memet’s. We first met these two on the Indonesian Rally in 2015 and last saw them almost exactly a year ago when we had just arrived in Turkey and they introduced us to Memet’s. It was great to catch up again.

Egg and cheese pide for brunch!

Our anchorage outside Marmaris was extremely comfortable and much cooler than being cooped up in a marina. Even though we could have used the “free” four weeks in the Netsel Marina we get as part of our 12-month contract with Setur Marinas, we much prefer to swing at anchor.

A tranquil moment at anchor
Sunsets are always more beautiful at anchor

We did pop into the marina most days to check on S/V Catabella as we weren’t at all impressed by the way the marina workers had tied her up. Instead of attaching her bow line to an anchored line, they just tied it up onto the yacht next door! There was loads of space next to Catabella so there was no excuse really.

Despite being told the marina was full there appeared to be lots of space next to Catabella all week (to be fair it was probably rented to a charter yacht company)

As anticipated, the wind changed and all that was stopping Catabella from banging against the dock was her small strategically placed ball fender.

We found Catabella sitting at a precarious angle
Not a lot between Catabella and potential damage

After “a quiet word” with the office, Catabella was properly tied up.

Catabella properly tied up – finally

There’s such a difference between Finike where the staff constantly patrol up and down the wharfs to check on boats and Marmaris where it appears that this is not the case at all.

Anchoring out was a better choice for us although there were a few days when it was very rough and riding in the dinghy to and from land felt precarious – and climbing on and off the boat even more so!

Everything happening here! Parasailing, pirate boat and tour boat all nearby!

It could also be quite noisy – three or four mosques doing the call to prayer at the same (but with a few seconds delay so the high volume chorus just sounded like a jangled, out of time cacophony of sound). Worse were the high volume “beats” emanating from the tourist boats – many of them with towering “Pirates of the Caribbean” themed fibreglass infrastructures with massive sound systems to match.

Towering fibreglass infrastructures with massive sound systems to match.

At night the noise from the Clubs and Karaoke Bars drifted across the water but fortunately they didn’t keep us awake after a busy day.

The clubs and bars in full swing but fortunately never kept us awake!

Escape from bush fire and cooling oasis

After our exciting Med mooring experiences in the Göcek National Park we left for Marmaris and were looking forward to the sanity of swinging at anchor.

Farewell to the beautiful Göcek Natıoral Park

We left early (for us!) to take advantage of the relatively light winds and smooth seas as it was predicted that the wind (which at this time of year is mostly against us) would start blowing a lot harder around lunchtime.

The National Park area was beautifully serene as we motored out towards the open sea. Once on course for Marmaris we had a very good trip and even managed to sail for a while which was lovely!

Early morning serenity
Great to be sailing!

It was fantastic to be at anchor once again in the bay off Içmeler, a resort area within the massive harbour of Marmaris.

Approaching the entrance to the massive Marmaris Bay

This was where we anchored when we first arrived in Turkey almost exactly a year ago and it was great to be back!

We anchored at Içmeler almost exactly a year since we arrived in Turkey for the first time

One of the things we enjoyed during our first visit was taking our dinghy up a small canal to a great little cafe called Florida that specialises in catering to the needs of English residents yearning for some of their favourite meals!

Taking our dinghy up the small canal to a great little cafe called Florida
We had to duck a little going under some of the bridges
John and Sue leading the way

Don’t get me wrong, we love Turkish food, and we eat really well on board with lots of fresh salads and vegetables but just occasionally it’s fun to have that good old favourite – a generous helping of fish and chips – complete with HP sauce and mushy peas if that’s your heart’s desire.

Our usual fare on S/V Sunday

The cafe also does an amazing full English breakfast and even a Scottish breakfast – complete with a potato scone and black pudding! Like so many businesses they are really suffering due to Covid so if you’re in the area, I encourage you to pay a visit.

After a beautiful moonlit night we woke up to a really oppressively hot day. We’d had a couple of shockers in the previous days when the Mercury hit 40 plus degrees celcius (104 plus degrees Fahrenheit). This day it felt like someone was blowing us with a hairdryer on full heat! I said to Jonathan in passing that it reminded me of Australian bushfire weather.

It was captivating watching the full moon rise over the headland

Later on that day we heard a helicopter fly over us at very low altitude. We popped out to have a look and realised it was scooping up water from the ocean in a big pouch hung below. This could only mean one thing – fire!

The helicopter scooping up water
The helicopter on the way to the fire

There was a big column of smoke on a nearby hillside and as we watched, it began to spread at an alarming rate right before our eyes!

Watching from S/V Sunday
The fire was spreading quickly

John on our buddy boat S/V Catabella had been a member of the Bush Fire Brigade in Australia and he was concerned about the speed and direction of the fire. The last thing we wanted was to be showered with embers!

It looked pretty worrying from where we were anchored
We could see flames leaping into the air

So we upped anchor and made a bolt for it to a bay just around the corner called Turunç Bükü. Once there, we were safe from the fire although we could still hear the helicopters hard at work for quite a time.

Good to put some distance between the fire and us
Safely anchored at Turunç Bükü
It was a pleasant anchorage and we promised ourselves to visit it properly in the future

After a restful night we set off for Marmaris as Sue and John had managed to secure a berth at the Netsel Setur Marina.

The beautiful cliffs at Turunç Bükü

Almost all the marinas here in Turkey are very full due to Covid but yachties with an annual contract with Setur Marina are entitled to stay at each of the marinas in the Setur Group for 30 days.

Leaving Turunç Bükü we noticed this cave which turned out to be a tunnel to the town beach

Unfortunately in some cases people are still finding it difficult to book a berth, even with a contract. This can prove very stressful if like Sue and John, you have a plane to catch! Luckily they were able to make a booking at the last minute but we had all sorts of contingency plans just in case.

On our way to Marmaris we passed where the bushfire had been and saw how close it had got to hotels on the coastline. Thank goodness the helicopter pilots swung into action so quickly and efficiently.

The burnt hillside devastated by the bushfire. The fire was perilously close to hotels on the coast.
Jonathan on S/V Catabella helping out with a temporary repair before going into the marina
John and Jonathan working on a quick repair

With Catabella safely ensconced in the marina, we went for a celebratory meal at Memed Okabasi – a wonderful traditional Turkish restaurant where the food is delicious and very reasonably priced.

The kitchen at Memed Okabasi
Feeling full after a lovely meal

Rather than getting a taxi to the airport the following day, Sue and John suggested that they would hire a car and in return for dropping them off at the airport we could use the car for a bit of sightseeing for the rest of the day.

Demolishing the meze which automatically comes as part of your order
A complimentary dessert – we were give water melon too!

It was still extremely hot so it was blissful to be in air conditioning for a day! Having farewelled Sue and John at Dalaman Airport we headed back towards Marmaris and then onwards along the peninsula towards Bozburun.

Dropping Sue and John at the airport

But first we stopped for breakfast at one of the many cool and shady gözleme stalls that lie along the D400 highway (a gözleme is a savoury Turkish stuffed flatbread). This road starts at nearby Datça and ends 2,057 kilometres later at the Iranian border!

We stopped for breakfast at one of the many cool and shady gözleme stalls
A gözleme is a savoury Turkish stuffed flatbread

These roadside stalls are like oases, with an abundance of cooling, shimmering, water and delicious snacks to delight travellers who stop to rest there.

The roadside stall was like an oasis, with an abundance of cooling, shimmering, water

We noticed that nearly all the stalls have overhead standpipes from which water gushes freely. Many of the stalls also have fountains and little streams which deliciously cool the air.

The gozleme stop was cooled by a bubbling fountain

At the stall where we stopped we saw that next to the fountain was a pressure valve which suggests there was an underground aquifer below where the water was under pressure and bubbling up to the surface.

Was there an underground aquifer below?

Suitably refreshed, we started off again, bypassed Marmaris and took the scenic (and extremely winding) route to Bozburun.

The route to Bozburun was winding but scenic
The views were glorious

What a drive! Glorious views, hairpin bends, up steep hills, down even steeper hills. Eventually we arrived at Bozburun, a small seaside town famous for its thyme honey.

Another stunning view
There were lots of hairpin bends
Almost at Bozburun

We managed to find a spot to park on the small but lovely harbour, and were very happy to see boats at anchor here – no need to Med moor here, thank goodness!

We were parked on the quay right next to this beauty
We were very happy to see you can free anchor in Bozburun

There were a few little restaurants open but it was extremely quiet on the whole, with hardly any tourists around.

Bozburun is a small with a lovely harbour

A late lunch started with a delicious meze followed by wonderful fresh fish. We felt very full and very fortunate!

Enjoying the water views

We thought Bozburun was a delightful spot and are very much looking forward to visiting again soon – next time by sea!

The food was amazing!

Turkish angels to the rescue

I’ve ranted about “Med mooring” before and I know in very deep and crowded anchorages it is a necessity but I will continue to absolutely abhor this way of securing our boat!

Yachts Med moored in the Göcek National Park

For the uninitiated, Med mooring is where you anchor in (usually) very deep water and then reverse towards land, stretching back on your anchor chain. Because it is so deep it can take several attempts to secure the anchor.

Once settled it can be lovely being so close to land

Then, one of you takes the dinghy (or some people swim) to shore with a rope or webbing while the other person keeps the boat in position using the engines while simultaneously feeding the line out to the person in the dinghy.

One of you takes the dinghy (or some people swim) to shore with a rope or webbing while the other person keeps the boat in position using the engines

After what seems an eternity of watching the person (in our case Capt’n Birdseye) slipping and sliding on rocks while trying to tie up, the wind gusts send you hurtling dangerously close to the beautiful gulet next door. It is the stuff of nightmares.

Wind gusts can send you hurtling dangerously close to the beautiful gulet next door
The lines to the shore are useful for the travelling shopkeeper to hang on to

THEN what can happen – does happen! We had been for a beautiful walk – all was calm, all was peaceful – but arriving back from our tramp we found that the wind had whipped up in beautiful Seagull bay putting all the boats under strain and testing everybody’s anchoring and tying up skills.

All was peaceful when we started out

As we motored back on our little dinghy we saw a catamaran like ours in trouble – their anchor hadn’t held and they had to let go their lines and try to re-anchor and retie their ropes. They gave up and left the cove.

Our walk took us along part of the Lycian Way

Two super yachts were revving the heck out of their engines and made a break for it to another anchorage.

We seemed to be holding well but the good captain was concerned about our webbing strap which was tied up to a post on shore. A tree had fallen close to the post and he was concerned that one of the branches was chafing against the strap.

The Captain was concerned that one of the branches was chafing against the strap

He prepared another length of rope and was about to go and check when PING the strapping broke! Fortunately we had another line out and there wasn’t another boat to bang in to but we were being blown close to some very hair raising rocks.

After the strapping went “ping” this rope was all that was holding us to the shore
The strapping that went “ping” piled on the deck

Soon Jonathan had secured a replacement line but we were still sitting at an angle and it all felt very precarious.

You can see our strong the wind was blowing by looking at our flag!

Suddenly – out of nowhere – two angels appeared! Two Turkish sailors who had been tied up close to us at Finike marina had been on a dinghy ride and caught sight of us. They told us that there was space in the cove where they were moored – just ten minutes away – where it was sheltered from the wind that was sweeping into our bay.

With the help of our two angels – Cüneyt and his partner from S/V Lagon – we managed to untie our lines and pull up our anchor.