Gladlee of Guernsey
1st – 4th October 1993
Julie’s watch saw us to Kurtoğlu Burnu, at the entrance to the Gulf of Fethiye, in almost perfect sailing conditions and bright moonlight, but in the lee of the cape we inevitably lost the wind completely. Half an hour later, at 04.00, we got enough breeze back to sail again, but just before dawn at 05.30 the wind dropped for good. The sun rising behind the mountains produced an extraordinary sharp vertical division of colour in the eastern sky, almost as if some giant fan was blowing a hole in the high cloud, and the wooded hills and islands all round the bay looked lovely in the early light. We reached Fethiye quay at 07.00 and were shown a space to back into, tying up for the first time on Turkish soil with a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction.
The marina office dealt with us very efficiently, and the transit log formalities proved relatively painless once we’d worked out where the various officials were: we had a few awful moments when Nigel left the document case containing virtually all our papers under the counter at the bank, but happily they were still there, untouched, when we eventually realised where they had to be! Something of a shock to have to convert the TL at 18,000 to £1 (drawing TL 3 million at a time was to become the norm), and this caused us some confusion as we ventured into Fethiye town for food shopping – a false start at a not very impressive supermarket, but eventually we discovered the excellent central food market, a distinct improvement on anything we’d seen during the previous couple of months. The first Efes slid down well at lunchtime, and we took a sprig of basil from the tub outside the café, in the hope of ending up with our own bush like so many boats we’d seen during the summer (the basil, happily, did better than the cacti). And so to a well-earned siesta…. A large food shop next day, the unaccustomed luxury of washing the boat down, excellent Iskender kebabs for lunch, Nigel rediscovering a bit of Turkish – nice to be back!
We left Fethiye soon after 10.00 the following morning, retrieving our anchor from under the cable of a rather odd single-hander Brit just arrived from Rhodes. We saw a couple of dolphins on the way out, picking up a little breeze as we came out into the bay and enjoying a gentle sail across to the islands on the other side: we identified Boynuz Bükü on the mainland beyond and nosed into the creek just after 14.00. There were quite a few boats at anchor at the far end, and it proved quite difficult to find an acceptable depth to drop in, but we eventually settled for 6m – an attractive spot, with a grove of trees ashore masking a restaurant and a valley running up behind. The water was rather murky, and when Nigel swam out a little later to check the anchor he found himself standing up only a few metres away – silt from the stream had banked further out than we’d thought, so we relaid in 8m, which turned out to be relatively shallow by local standards. A good pirzola barbecue and a peaceful night, in spite of the restaurant’s slightly intrusive generator, and a leisurely morning – Julie braved the mosquitoes for a brief bird-watching stroll – before we motored off down the roads (Skopea Liman) into a stiff southerly breeze. We took a look at “22 Fathom Cove” but decided it was too open to the wind, now gusting over 20 knots, and headed for Wall Bay.
On the way we had a shot at anchoring in shallow water inside the island at the entrance to Monastir Koyu, but after a while we seemed too close to shore for comfort and upped anchor again – it was here, though, that Nigel spotted what we thought at first was a swimmer with some sort of headgear on, which we concluded later must have been a very large turtle! We squeezed into Wall Bay at 16.00, anchoring in 10m with two stern lines to trees ashore; very attractive surroundings of pine woods clinging to steep slopes all round, and relatively little disturbance from the lokantas ashore.
5th – 8th October 1993
The expected front came through in the night, with some rain, and the weather still looked a bit unsettled as we headed out of Skopea Liman and round to Kizilkuyuruk Koyu, on the east side of the promontory that had been our landfall on our way in from Rhodes four days previously. We anchored with a line ashore and went to look for the ruins of ancient Lydae, said to be an hour’s walk to the crest. Presumably we got our bearings wrong, since after some fairly strenuous scrambling up the steep slopes and round a contour or two we saw no sign of life, past or present, and there seemed to be an awful lot of hillside still above us. Still, we got some marvellous views across the bay to Fethiye before making our way down again – and we saw a snake and a tortoise! We had a rather trying sail across the entrance to Fethiye Bay, to Ilbis Burnu, with 10-12 knots of wind and a swell almost directly astern, but we had something to celebrate on the way – 10,000 miles logged in “Gladlee” since we bought her in June 1989. Round Ilbis Burnu we negotiated our way through the reef into Karacaören Bükü, where we were helped to a moor in front of the restaurant – a little too close to shore for comfort, but the anchorage filled up quickly and we didn’t have far to go for what turned out to be an excellent dinner of salad, calamari with chips, lamb stewed with peppers and home-baked bread, plus entertainment from mine host on the violin!
There was still quite a bit of swell about, but only a light WNW breeze as we left Karacaören at 08.30 and headed for Kötü Burnu and the notorious “Seven Capes” – the main soon started flogging and we triple reefed it, little suspecting that we’d soon be in enough wind to warrant reefs in earnest…. By 11.15 the wind had picked up to F4, so we poled out the genoa and goose-winged, taking in some genoa at midday as the wind steadily increased and the NW swell became quite rough. We were rapidly overhauled by a Jeaneau 38 running on main alone, but they then imprudently set a full genoa as the wind picked up to F6+ and couldn’t hold a course, so we eventually headed them into Kalkan Bay as they stopped to reef. Even inside the bay we got the odd gust to 35 knots, so we were very glad to have shortened sail as soon as we did (and very glad, too, that we’d had the conditions downwind – there’d been no warning for those who’d set out northwards from Kalkan). We backed impeccably into a berth on the outer end of the quay in Kalkan harbour, where nobody was likely to foul our anchor, just before 14.00, having logged 13.2 miles in two hours’ (it seemed longer!) sailing. In spite of some further development of the harbour area we were delighted to find Kalkan essentially unchanged since our last visit almost six years earlier, a fact which we celebrated with a nostalgic sun-downer or two on the terrace of the “Pasha’s Inn”. A leisurely day followed, wandering round the village, shopping, and saving the bacon of a girl in the travel agent’s, who’d given us £100 worth of TL against a $100 travellers’ cheque! Washing the boat introduced us to a very pleasant new Swiss neighbour, whom we met again later at Antalya: quite a few more boats came in, and there was some inevitable anguish with crossed anchors at the narrow cross-wall the following morning.
We left with some regret, though we’d be back next year – Kalkan is a genuinely charming place, in spite of tourism – and motored most of the way down to Kekova Roads in calm and sunny conditions. Attractive scenery as we picked our way past Kastellorizon and the islands off Kaş, short-cutting our original route once we’d realised that the passages were deeper and wider than our rather small-scale chart suggested. Arrived at Kekova roadstead entrance just after 14.30 and took a look at the first creek (Tersane) inside, but it seemed too cramped, and we opted for the half-hour drive down the long western inlet of Pölemos Bükü to the bay at the end, occupied by only two yachts (“Kachina” from the U.S.A. and “Aeolian Cat” flying a CA Blue Ensign – improperly?), to be joined later by a Swede. A peaceful spot, with only a small ramshackle “restaurant” ashore – the owner rowed past later to set nets, and encouraged us to come for dinner; we declined politely, but promised to drop in for tea in the morning. A lovely quiet night.
9th – 13th October 1993
We had a very pleasant walk across the isthmus at the head of Pölemos Bükü to the westward-facing Asar Bükü on the other side: a very scenic spot, with a charming gingerbread house of a fisherman’s cottage at the head of the creek, and the extensive ruins of an ancient Lycian city climbing up the steep north shore. On our way back to the boat we duly called in at the little lokanta: a special pot of çay was brewed as Nigel listened to the fisherman’s understandable frustration at not being able to develop his restaurant for tourists, when he could provide food at far lower cost than the waterfront establishments at Kekova. We also discussed ensigns at length, and we promised to call in when we next passed with some flags to decorate the premises: we weren’t allowed to pay for the tea.
Just before 16.00 we set off back down Pölemos Bükü on the genoa and a bit of engine to help, turning to port under the castle ruins to enter the landlocked bay of Üçağiz Liman, and dropping anchor in front of the ruins of another Lycian settlement soon after 17.00. Later we rowed ashore to the hamlet of Üçağiz, still quite a charming little place in spite of the waterfront restaurants, and had beers and good mezes at one of them – hardly anyone about with the season virtually over.
Next morning we took the dinghy out through the rocks at the entrance to the village below the castle, climbing up to the top of the keep for a magnificent view all round the roadstead: then down for essential shopping (bread) and çay t a café overlooking the sunken remains of ancient Simena – altogether a marvellously romantic spot. Then another hour or so’s coasting on genoa and engine along the eastern arm of the roadstead to Gökkaya Liman, the cluster of islands and anchorages opposite the NE end of Kekova adasi: another very pretty spot, with narrow channels between islets and larger islands providing some seclusion round every corner (though surprisingly there were no more than half a dozen yachts there).
We left for Finike in bright, clear weather, with a southerly F3 that soon started veering towards W. We started sailing with main and genoa, but once round Kurnu Burnu we couldn’t hold the course comfortably and set the ‘chute instead. After a couple a hours of pleasant sailing we had to gybe, managing to get the ‘chute over without incident, but our resulting course was taking us uncomfortably close to an off-lying island, the wind freshened a bit and the anchor roller pin, to which the ‘chute tack shackle was clipped, worked loose. Julie fortunately spotted this in time for us to get the ‘chute down under control, and we ran on under main to Finike harbour entrance, dropping anchor in the harbour shortly before 15.00. A number of familiar boats were already there, including “Kachina”, “Aeolian Cat” and “Maalech”. We rowed ashore to look for water and shops – Finike no more attractive than Nigel remembered it from eight years previously, though works were in progress to try and beautify the waterfront with a park (plans for a marina too, we heard). We bought some wine from a strange man in a shack (change in nuts) and had a beer and mussels at the restaurant overlooking the harbour – a very relaxing evening.
Another fine morning, with only a slight haze and a SSW breeze of 10-12 knots. We went ashore again for another load of water and cheap wine, and also eventually managed to find the small but well stocked market. The sail down to Taşlik Burnu, the last major cape of our cruise, was very pleasant indeed, with the wind just aft the beam and holding on just long enough to push us up to the headland by 14.00 hours. After just under an hour’s motoring on our new NE course the wind picked up again from SSE, and we had another good sail up the steep wooded coast, past the wide bay of Çavuş Liman, logging around 4½ knots until we rounded Çavuş Burnu and lost the wind. It was only just after 16.00, but the sun was already disappearing behind the steep mountainsides to port as we came into the spectacular anchorage of Cineviz, a narrow inlet with precipitous slopes falling almost sheer into the water on both sides, a few pine trees clinging to the rock, and a beach with a few scattered trees and an abandoned plantation behind it at the far end. There were a dozen yachts already in the anchorage: from outside it looked almost full, but for some reason everyone had anchored a long way off the beach in 10+m, so we nosed further in and found plenty of room in 5m. Apart from “Aeolian Cat” (still apparently in company with “Kachina”) there were several British boats, two flying CA burgees, so we guessed we must have joined a wave of clients for Kemer and Antalya marinas!
One of Nigel’s long-standing ambitions was to sail into one of the bays at Tekirova, otherwise known as the classical site of Phaeselis. We got off early from Cineviz so as to have time for a barbecue after revisiting the site, but as we approached the south bay we could see four boats already anchored there and a fleet of a dozen or more gullets and miscellaneous pleasure craft boats approaching from the direction of Kemer. Eventually we decided to anchor off the far end of the beach away from the crowd, though even that wasn’t altogether ideal, thanks to a noisy bunch of fishermen cleaning their net in the shallows. We had an excellent barbecue though, and the bay is still a lovely spot – nor had the tourist onslaught succeeded in spoiling the charm of the Phaselis ruins when we went ashore later (sad, though, to see heaps of litter all over the less frequented woodland behind).
On later to Kemer, where we anchored off the Club Med beach – some annoyance from water-skiers and a bit of chop later, but we didn’t fancy the marina – and went ashore to find the new town centre, entirely devoted to the tourist trade, with smart shops, and some quite nice-looking small hotels and restaurants in the streets behind the main road leading off the marina area. The whole place seemed devoid of any character, though – it might have been anywhere, and certainly wasn’t recognisably Turkish. The object of our visit was to find a TV carrying the cable channel on which the England-Holland World Cup match live: we eventually found one in a hotel lobby and settled down to watch another inept English performance in the company of some elderly Dutchmen. For better or worse, Star TV’s technicians ensured that we saw almost all of the match in black-and-white, through a snowstorm, and with the picture horizontally and reversed – it was something of a relief when the transmission broke down altogether!
14th – 17th October 1993
It was a little disappointing not to be able to sail at all on the last leg of our journey, as we headed north along the lovely coastline – steeply wooded hills dropping into the sea, with the high ridges of the Beydağlar behind – towards the cranes marking Antalya’s commercial port. Antalya itself showed off the starboard bow, with high-rise buildings now dominating the cliffs to the east of the city. Nigel spent much of the time below, taking out and descaling all the loo and holding tank pipes, emerging for a quick dip half a mile outside the harbour entrance. We finally managed (wrong channel) to raise Setur Marina on the VHF, and we were efficiently escorted into our berth by the marina staff just before 14.00. After a beer we wandered round to the marina office and promptly ran into Brian and Julie of “Fareal”, so after checking in we spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on our respective news since we’d last met at Crotone. Nice to get another heap of mail, and we also saw, improbably, an owl perched on someone’s mast! “Shiba”, we learned, had not yet arrived.
In the morning we caught the marina’s minibus into Antalya for a first look at the amenities – bank and PTT within easy reach and a superb central food market next to the main dolmuş terminal – and later we started to get to know the marina staff (the famous director, Hasan, the services manager, Sami, technical manager, Zafer and the charming Füsun at reception). Initial impressions (confirmed by the residents) were of a capable and friendly team, keen to please, and of surprisingly pleasant surroundings in spite of the commercial port so close: a friendly mix of inmates, too, with a majority of Brits but a substantial group of Germans, several Americans, Belgians and Dutch, plus a Scandiwegian or two (no French, for some reason, though one or two were to turn up later). In between making new acquaintances we started tackling the maintenance list, cleaning the loo pumps, refitting the pipes and servicing the cooker. Saturday night saw a “welcome party” on board the marina’s gullet, a very convivial occasion that went on quit late, whereupon Hasan suggested to the survivors that we went over to the harbour for a fish dinner on the quayside (literally that – basic table and chairs on the dock, with food served off boats moored below). An excellent evening, followed by a lovely excursion up to Termessos on the Sunday – glorious weather and a good lunch of barbecued köfte in the picnic area near the entrance to the park.