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MARMARIS TRAFFIC JAM

July 30th, 2010 No comments

We were recently anchored off the Town of Marmaris near the quay where tripper boats and gulets line the port and watched with amusement the comings and goings of myriad vessels that ply the waters of one of the most beautiful harbors in southern Turkey.  

Hundreds of tripper boats leave Marmaris Harbor daily.

Tripper boats make hundreds of passages through Marmaris Harbor daily

Marmaris is a town of under 30,000 year round residents that bustles with vacationers this time of year–some 300-400,000 of them–all wanting to enjoy the crystal clear water from a gulet or day trip boat.  

Who has the right of way?

At any given time there a boats moving in every direction in Marmaris Harbor

From about 10 a.m. on the boats are loading up and taking off for the many islets, inlets and bays that line Marmaris Limani (Turkish for “harbor”).  Invariably, they all return about 4 p.m. with congestion in the harbor as they all vie for places at the quay that can only be described as a massive traffic jam. 

Heading out in morning. . .

Heading out in morning. . .

Here come the gulets

Here come the gulets, back at day's end.

The boats all blare loud 1970’s US rock-n-roll or Euro-techno rock, as bare-chested men and bikini glad women sway to the beat.

Happy Vacationers

Happy Vacationers

Dream Boat--you bet

Dream Boat--you bet

Whoa, boy!

Whoa, boy!

Eventually, by late afternoon the boats are all backed into the quay and some semblence of peace returns to the harbor.

Gulet Fleet's in. . .

Gulet Fleet's in. . .

and the day tripper's too!

and the day tripper's too!

Until it starts all over the next day.  We’re told that things are less chaotic in the “off season”, but that remains to be seen.

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HERE THERE AND EVERY WHERE. . .IT’S HOT!

July 29th, 2010 No comments

Turkey is a magnificent country, chock-a-block full of ancient sites and beautiful anchorages, but in the months of July and August it is HOT, and I do mean HOT!  In the past several weeks we have pretty much kept on the move from anchorage to anchorage, spending a few consecutive days at docks where we could plug in to power and run the A/C to get some relief from the heat.

Even a nice sailing day with wind on beam is HOT

Even a nice sailing day with wind on beam is HOT

It’s even too hot to blog—now that is HOT!  However, in an effort to keep you up-to-date on our travels I’ll give you a summary of where we have been.

From Knidos on the west end of the Datca Peninsula (see “Naked Aphrodite” post) we made a quick trip to the Town of Datca with the hope of salvaging my Acer web book that had crashed.  I was heartsick as thousands of pictures and other data were on the computer, not to mention all our contacts.  Luckily we found a replacement computer (with a Turkish keyboard—whole other story) and recovered the data from the hard drive.

Destiny in Datca with the A/C humming.

Destiny in Datca with the A/C humming.

Kent gets the new computer set up and running

Kent gets the new computer set up and running

We spent three nights in Datca, enjoyed air conditioning and had a lovely dinner on the beach.  Datca is a pretty little vacation town dominated by hotels and restaurants that line its beaches.  The town quay offers welcome shelter from the meltemi which was blowing while we were there.

Datca Quay is quite lovely

Datca Quay is quite lovely

From there we worked our way east along the southern shore of the Datca Peninsula, anchoring Kuru Buku and Kuyulu Buku before arriving in Keci Buku where we stayed several days.  “Buku” is Turkish for bay—and no two are the same, except for the number of gulets that fill them.  Heading east on the prevailing west wind we had a few nice sails in 20 kts. of wind.

Sunset at Kuyulu Buku--we were attacked by bees in this anchorage

Sunset at Kuyulu Buku--we were attacked by bees in this anchorage

The bees liked what we were having for dinner.

The bees liked what we were having for dinner.

The sand bar in Keci Buku is a popular place to cool off

The sand bar in Keci Buku is a popular place to cool off

We snorkled all around this island in Keci Buku and saw remnants of the old Fortress on the bottom

We snorkled all around this island in Keci Buku and saw remnants of the old Fortress on the bottom

From the town of Orhaniye, located on Keci Buku we took a dolmus (local bus) to Marmaris to check out the marinas there for possible winter storage.  We have pretty much decided that Destiny will winter at Marmaris Yacht Marina about 20 min. from the town.

Overlooking Marmaris

Overlooking Marmaris

It is quite common that restaurants located on the bays provide free docks, power and water to boats who patronize their restaurants.  Not a bad deal—you have to eat anyway, although we find that the cost of meals tends to be a little pricier to make up for the “free” stuff that accompanies it. If the restaurant has a swimming pool as well, you expect to pay more–but in this heat it is worth it. 

Orsay Restaurant Dock was pleasant. . .

Ersoy Restaurant Dock was pleasant. . .

but Iskele next door had a pool where Kent & Jolie could chill

but Iskele next door had a pool where Kent & Jolie could chill

Sunset at Iskele Restaurant, Keci Buku

Sunset at Iskele Restaurant, Keci Buku

After Keci Buku, we anchored for one night in Dirsek, but the heat got to us and we started hopping from restaurant dock to restaurant dock trying to keep cool.  The Greek island of Simi is a stone’s throw from Karaburun Point as we started back east toward Marmaris.

Rounding Karaburun Pt. Simi in Distance

Rounding Karaburun Pt. Simi in Distance

Unfortunately, Ali Baba Restaurant at Bozukkale had wonderful food but no power–so no A/C for us.  However, the location surrounded by towering cliffs and an nearly in tact fortress at the entrance to the harbor made up for the lack of A/C at least for one night.  The snorkeling was quite spectacular too.

Bozukkale Harbor from Fortress

Bozukkale Harbor from Fortress

Moonrise over Bozukkale Fortress

Moonrise over Bozukkale Fortress

Our next stop enroute to Marmaris was Alarga Sail Yacht Club in Ciftlik.  This “free” dock included not only water and power but a very classy resort, including swimming pool.  The outdoor restaurant overlooks the docks and there were comfortable lounge chairs for sunning as well.

Alarga Sail Yacht Club, Ciftlik

Alarga Sail Yacht Club, Ciftlik

The meltemi blew for about 36 hours, giving us an excuse to stay another day, and for the first time in a month since we arrived in Turkey, we had a little–and I do mean a “little”–rain.

Kent prepares for a welcome rain shower

Kent prepares for a welcome rain shower

Cliflik is a rather small harbor with steep cliffs around it and a beach that lines most of the shore making it an attractive spot for restaurants and hotels.

Hotel beach at Citflik

Hotel beach at Citflik

Early morning at Ciftlik is tranquil

Early morning at Ciftlik is tranquil

Just outside the entrance to Marmaris Harbor is a lovely little bay where we have spent several nights on a mooring–for free.  OK, so there is no power for A/C, but the swimming is quite nice and makes up for it.  Turunc is a lovely little holiday village with the usual restaurants, bars and ice cream stands.  It also has a very cool cave adjacent to one of the hotels that you can walk through to swim on either side of a peninsula.

Turunc cave

Turunc cave

View from beach at Turunc

View from beach at Turunc

Destiny moored off Turunc

Destiny moored off Turunc

Tomorrow we head for Yacht Marina in Marmaris where will possibly winter.  At least we’ll have A/C for a couple of days to cool off–and of course another restaurant and pool. 

We are told that the average temperature in Marmaris in August is 41 C. or about 94 F.–we won’t be staying long.

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NAKED APHRODITE

July 21st, 2010 No comments

Now that I have your attention, let me introduce you to Knidos, the ancient ruins of a once prosperous city on the end of the Datca (pronounced “Dat-cha” like “gotcha”) Peninsula.  The harbor itself has two bays.  The ancient harbor is perfectly situated for a sunset though exposed to the prevailing wind, and the other more protected harbor sits under the shadow of an ancient amphitheater.  According to scholars there has been a settlement in this location for over 3,000 years, but Knidos became an ancient metropolis in 4 B.C.

So where does a “naked” woman come in?  According to legend, the great sculptor, Praxiteles made two statues of the goddess Aphrodite in the 4th century B.C., one clothed and the other not.  The one with clothes was purchased by the rather conservative people on the nearby island of Kos.

Kos in distance from Knidos City Walls

Kos in distance from Knidos City Walls

The people of Knidos reportedly purchased the unclothed statue to adorn a circular temple to Aphrodite.  The statue was so beautiful it was coveted by many in the millennia that followed, and while copied, the original is not believed to have survived. 

All that remains of the Round Temple is the steps and foundation

All that remains of the Round Temple is the steps and foundation

The curved steps surrounding the foundation of the temple are a reminder of the ingenuity of the people who designed and built it well before modern tools and machines replaced slave labor.  The precision evident in both the cutting of the stone and its creation into enormous perfectly formed walls is a tribute to ancient architects.

Precision cut blocks

Precision cut blocks

Massive stone walls made up city

Massive stone walls made up city

The size and scale of the massive stone structures that survive are impressive, but no more so than the delicate and ornate carving that adorned this ancient city.  Amid the rubble are perfectly formed columns, portions of pediments and cornice moldings, and ornate carvings of animals, flowers and vines.

Ancient pediment

Ancient pediment

Marble Artistry

Marble Artistry

Greek key is a reminder that Knidos was not always Turkish

Greek key from Hellenic period

Vines & flowers

Vines & flowers

Symbols of Abundance

Symbols of Abundance

Words from the past

Words from the past

While the Aphrodite statue that made it famous has vanished, the ruins at Knidos are a reminder of the majesty of the civilizations that occupied this part of the world in 4th century B.C. when the port city was flourishing.  According to a tour guide, it is estimated that 150,000 people occupied the town at the height of its glory.  There is a large amphitheater on the site that seats 25,000 and a smaller one that overlooks the eastern harbor. 

There are marble avenues and steps that survive without much change since they were made.  Walking through the site you can envision the bustling metropolis that once existed, and marvel at the beauty of what has survived after earthquakes, and the ravages of wind and weather.

Marble Main Street

Broad Marble Avenues ran east-west and north-south with intersecting stairs

All that remains is the ornate base. . .

All that remains is the ornate base. . .

while other pillars have been resurrected from the rubble.

while other pillars have been resurrected from the rubble.

Entrance to small amphitheater

Entrance to small amphitheater

Being a sheltered harbor at the end of the peninsula made it (and still does today) a logical stopping off place for protection from the meltemi winds that blow from the N and NW.  A guide reports that the ship carrying St. Paul to trial in Rome was laid over here waiting for a weather window to travel north.

Nightfall over Destiny at Anchor

Nightfall over Destiny at Anchor

Today the former commercial harbor hosts numerous private vessels, like Destiny, and more than its share of day trip gulets that bring tourists from Marmaris and Bodrum to tour the ruins. 

View of Knidos Anchorage from Ruins

View of Knidos Anchorage from Ruins

In the small amphitheater that sits on the south harbor overlooking the modern-day anchorage, there are marble steps that show little evidence of their age amid the ruins.

Step into the Past

Step into the Past

In the very first row, at the very center of the amphitheater is the slightly elevated and elaborately carved base of a seat obviously reserved for a “very important person”.  

Seat of Honor

Seat of Honor

The lighthouse that sits on the end of the peninsula, seen through the arched remains of the amphitheater, has been guiding ships since 400 B.C.

Lighthouse through time

Lighthouse through time

In many cases, the weather has eroded the decoration from the windward side of an urn or column leaving it smooth, while the other side has the depth and detail of its original creation.

Elaborate detail on one side, vanished by time on the other

Elaborate detail on one side, worn smooth by time on the other

The remains of a Temple to Apollo sits high on the hill overlooking the ocean and the Greek island of Kos barely 7 NM away.  

Foundation of Temple of Apollo with altar remains in foreground

Foundation of Temple of Apollo with altar remains in foreground

Remnants of Altar of Apollo

Remnants of Altar of Apollo

Altar close up

Altar close up

There are few areas in Knidos that are cordoned from exploration by interested sightseers, unlike some ruins in Greece and Italy.  Everywhere you see bits and pieces of antiquity—from ornate carvings on all manner of architectural forms, and bits of pottery scattered among the ruins and along the sea bottom near the shore visible only with snorkle and mask.

The old harbor, once used for military purposes, is now silted in and accessible only to small fishing boats.  But it makes for a perfect sunset ending to the day.

Sunset over Old Knidos Harbor

Large earthquakes destroyed Knidos sometime after the 7th century A.D. and the town was abandoned.  What remains is truly remarkable.  Stepping back into the past is a cherished part of our “adventure”.

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TURKISH DELIGHT

July 7th, 2010 No comments

Turkish Delight is a wonderful chewy, stick to your teeth confection that is sold everywhere in Turkey–think “gummie bears” and you’ll get the picture.  It is somewhat addictive, and may account for Kent needing to see a dentist when we return to Bodrum.  However, we are discovering that there are many “Turkish Delights” to savor, and some are calorie free.

How sweet is sunset over Castle Island!

A sweet sunset over Castle Island!

Castle Island and its near neighbor, Snake Island are about 38 NM east of Bodrum near the eastern end of the Gokova Gulf, and have the same addictive quality as the candy.  The islands bear the remains of ancient civilizations, and glorious crystal clear water along rocky shorelines. 

Approaching Castle Island, Cleopatra's Beach is prominent

Approaching Castle Island, Cleopatra's Beach is prominent

Having a shallow draft means Destiny can tuck in close to Castle Island

Having a shallow draft means Destiny can tuck in close to Castle Island

You can anchor in a tiny harbor—along with dozens of other boats, including many large day trip boats.

Did I mention that the anchorage is crowded during the day?

Did I mention that the anchorage is crowded during the day?

The island is a park and is open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily under the supervision of a caretaker and numerous roosters that can be heard crowing at all hours.  You can tour the ancient ruins on shore and swim off Cleopatra’s Beach—for a mere 10TL per person (about 5 euros).  

Welcome. . .that will be 10TL

Welcome. . .that will be 10TL

The best time to be at Castle Island is before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. when the only boats remaining are a few die hard cruisers who are willing to endure a little roll coming around the point from the afternoon breeze.  The first day trip boat doesn’t arrive until about 10 a.m. which leaves two hours to explore the virtually empty island.  The island  is meticulously maintained with walking paths throughout leading from various of the archaeological sites on the island.   Although you can’t go ashore after 6 p.m. the anchorage is tranquil–if you don’t mind the hum of the generator for the caretaker’s cottage.

We arrived on shore before the first tripper boat

We arrived on shore before the first tripper boat

. . .while Destiny enjoyed the quiet harbor.

. . .while Destiny stood by in the nearly empty harbor.

One of the most interesting aspects of the island is “Cleopatra’s Beach”, so called because fable has it that Cleopatra once occupied the island and imported the sand on this small beach from Africa for her lover, Antony to sunbath on.  The sand beach is now a “protected” area and it is FORBIDDEN to remove sand from the beach or even to sit or walk on it.  In fact, the beach is roped off and you are required to shower with fresh water when leaving the sea to ensure that no sand is inadvertently carried away.  There is actually a guard stationed at the beach’s edge who blows a whistle at children (or anyone for that matter) who should step beyond the rope cordoning off the beach from the water.  He also blew his whistle at us when we approached too close in the dinghy the day before.  Although I didn’t see him blow his whistle at anyone who failed to shower the proximity of his perch to the shower seemed to ensure compliance with that rule.

Cleopatra's Beach is rather small

Cleopatra's Beach is rather small

Before the crowds arrive. . .

Before the crowds arrive. . .

and after the day trip boats arrive.

and after the day trip boats arrive.

The ancient ruins are evident all over the island and include a 2,500 person amphitheatre, a chapel, a basilica and various commercial buildings that date back to Byzantine times.  The island was called “Kedreai” in ancient times and was reportedly occupied by the Romans in 129 B.C.

Remains of 2,500 person Amphitheater--hard to imagine so many people on this tiny island

Remains of 2,500 person Amphitheater--hard to imagine so many people on this tiny island

Artisans handiwork. . .in ruins of Basilica

Artisans handiwork. . .in ruins of Basilica

. . .date from the 1st Century A.D.

. . .date from before Christ.

All that is left of the Isthmus Church

All that is left of the Isthmus Church

If what is left is this impressive, imagine it in its glory

If what is left is this impressive, imagine it in its glory

Not much remains of Apollo's Temple

Not much remains of Apollo's Temple

. . .except the amazing view.

. . .except the amazing view.

The snorkeling around both Castle and Snake Islands is the best we have seen in the Med.   There were large schools of very small fish–and some larger ones that looked very much like the sea bass I had for dinner the night before.  More interesting were terracotta fragments of pottery washed into the sea and now incorporated in the rock formations.  In some cases you could visualize the actual size and shape of the vessel, now broken in pieces by wave action over many centuries.

Day trip boats also anchor off Snake Island just across the channel for snorkeling

Day trip boats also anchor off Snake Island just across the channel for snorkeling

Ruins on Snake Island sit close to shore

Ruins on Snake Island sit close to shore

Being one of a handful of people to enjoy sunset and sunrise in this magical setting makes us appreciate how fortunate we are to be on this adventure.

Day break

Day break

Day's end

Day's end

We’re off to find more Turkish Delights!

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BODRUM. . .AND BACK

July 6th, 2010 No comments

The entry to Bodrum’s inner harbor is dominated by St. Peter’s Castle which divides the two bays around which Bodrum fans out. 

St. Peter's Castle sits at entrance to Bodrum Harbor

St. Peter's Castle sits at entrance to Bodrum Harbor

Harbor entrance and anchorage outside

Harbor entrance and anchorage outside

The Bodrum Milta Marina is very upscale, with prices to match.  Anytime there is a swimming pool at a marina you can expect to pay premium prices. 

Castle is backdrop for Bodrum Milta Marina

Castle is backdrop for Bodrum Milta Marina

View of Castle from Marina Pool

View of Castle from Marina Pool

St. Peter’s Castle was built during the Crusades in 1402 now houses the Museum of Underwater Archaeology and its many displays, including a full size reconstruction of the stern of a 7th Century Roman ship discovered off the Turkish coast.  There are displays of gold jewelry, amphorae, bronze and glass all recovered from the sea and covering thousands of years of civilization. 

Under this castle entrance passed Knights of the Crusades

Under this castle entrance passed Knights of the Crusades

The Castle has many towers and lush landscaping

The Castle has many towers and lush landscaping

 

. . .not to mention stunning views from ramparts

. . .not to mention stunning views from ramparts

Harbor entrance from castle

Harbor entrance from castle

Ancient urns in replica ship hold--one of many exhibits in Archaeological Museum

Ancient urns in replica ship hold--one of many exhibits in Archaeological Museum

After one night in the marina (at Croatia prices 64 euros for Destiny) we picked up a mooring off the castle for a second night.  From there we could easily dinghy ashore for food (there was a harbor front Burger King) and Jolie walks.  The beauty of the castle lit at night made up for the Euro beat music emanating from several competing discos on shore.  And yes, we did have Burger King sandwiches for dinner.

View from Destiny's mooring

View from Destiny's mooring

Burger King even has a seaside terrace--that's Destiny in the background

Burger King even has a seaside terrace--that's Destiny in the background

Bodrum was the first major city we visited since arriving in Turkey, and it was fun to see the Eastern influence in architecture, restaurants and clothing.  Although Turkey is a Muslim country with over 90% of its population avowing to be religious, it has a notable secular influence.  While call to prayers is evident as elsewhere we have been, the dress for the most part is fake designer wear.  Kent and I speculated that Turkey would never become part of the EU because it would mean giving up their substantial trade in knock off designer goods—everything from handbags to clothing.

Typical shopping street in old town

Typical pedestrian shopping street in old town

After two days in Bodrum that included provisioning and touring the Castle, we headed south on the afternoon breeze.  The wind was West at 15-17 kts. and we were making over 8 kts. at times approaching the north side of the Datca Peninsula.

 

Kent enjoys the sailing in Turkey

Kent enjoys the sailing in Turkey

We anchored off Mersincik, which is somewhat protected from the prevailing wind.  We had hoped to tuck into a small cove that was nearby but found it chock-a-block full of boats—many even larger than Destiny.  Surrounded by cliffs that soared 2,500 ft. in the air and olive groves, it was a sweet spot to spend the night. 

No room in this cove

No room in this cove

Kent and Jolie go ashore in Mersincik

Kent and Jolie go ashore in Mersincik

The next morning, we were off again this time north on the wind to Cokertme which has several restaurants that offer free mooring, water and electric for simply coming to dinner.  Since we have to eat anyway, the opportunity to top up the batteries for free is welcome.

 

Docked at Capt. Ibrahim's

Docked at Capt. Ibrahim's

In Cokertme we had our first opportunity to see Turkish rugs being made by hand through every step–see July 1st post.  As much as we covet one, putting a beautiful hand made rug on the boat seems impractical.

Dinner ashore at Kaptan Ibrahim’s Restaurant included an mezza (traditional appetizers) buffet, and the usual fish and lamb courses. 

Twilight dinnertime at Capt. Ibrahim's

Twilight dinnertime at Capt. Ibrahim's

From Cokertme we headed east to Castle Island, a pristine little piece of sand that is a park and warrants its own post–see “Turkish Delight”.   We enjoyed Castle Island enough to spend two nights and then return for a third–it really is paradise.

 In between we spent two nights, including the July 4th holiday, at another restaurant location at Okluk in Degirmen Bay.  The Deniz Kizi Kaptan Restaurant was situated so far up the bay that it was like being in an inland lake.  With pine trees that line the shore, it reminds one of a lake in New Hampshire or the Basin in Maine.

Maine? New Hampshire lake? No. . .Turkey!

Maine? New Hampshire lake? No. . .Turkey!

You won't find mermaid sculptures in ME or NH either

You won't find mermaid sculptures in ME or NH either

Deniz Kizi Kaptan Restaurant--who knew Turkey would be so green

Deniz Kizi Kaptan Restaurant--who knew Turkey would be so green

We celebrated July 4th by dressing ship, although we had no fireworks this year unlike last when we were in Stromboli, Italy and the volcano provided our “fireworks” display. 

Sunset July 4th

Sunset July 4th

After two nights on the dock, some fine food, and spring water for our tanks, (great provisioning as well) we moved less than half a mile to English Harbor on the opposite side of the bay from Okluk for what we hoped would be a quiet night in an anchorage.  While it was fairly quiet, it wasn’t very private as there were 8 large gulets, one of which backed in right next to us just as we were starting dinner, and assorted private yachts all packed into the anchorage. 

Getting a little crowded in English Harbor

Getting a little crowded in English Harbor

English Harbor was a great place to swim and kayak.  One day trip boat dropped people into the water where they covered themselves with mud—interesting, but we did not try that.

 

Therapeutic mud?  Or drunk vacationers?

Therapeutic mud? Or drunk vacationers?

Although it was crowded, English Harbor did have two things we haven’t seen elsewhere.

A garbage boat that came along side to pick up trash.  We had none, having  just left a dock.

English Harbor has its own Garbarge Boat

English Harbor has its own Garbarge Boat

Sorry, we have no garbage today

Sorry, we have no garbage today

And a boat selling ice cream–now that we can use!!!

The ice cream man. . .

The ice cream man. . .

bringing Ben & Jerry's--the world is truly flat!

bringing Ben & Jerry's--the world is truly flat!

We’re back in Castle Island for more snorkeling before returning to Bodrum and completing a circle through the Gokova Gulf.

 The so-called Carian Coast stretches from north of Turgutreis, where we checked into Turkey, to Marmaris and includes the Boddrum and Datca Peninsulas which are separated by the Gokova Gulf. 

 Next stop will be the southern coast of the Datca Peninsula as we work our way to Marmaris.

 

More adventures to follow.

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