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KASTELLORIZON: A Greek Outpost

May 29th, 2011 1 comment

Approximately 3 NM from the town of Kas is Kastellorizon, one of the most remote Greek islands.  Boats travelling the southern Turkish coast pass between it and the Turkish mainland, and it is said that hoisting a Greek flag is sufficient to make a brief visit there without observing formalties.

We wanted to visit Kastelorizon and considered taking Destiny there “under the radar” so to speak, but also had an issue with our current Turkish visas expiring in mid-June which meant we needed to leave Turkey for the day and get a new 90 day visa upon our return.

A trip to Kastelorizon proved to be quick and much less expensive than traveling from Marmaris to Rhodes as we had previously planned.  A local travel agent was recommended to us who arranged all the passport requirements and the ferry tickets.

Leaving Kas Harbor on the ferry. . .

was a new experience for me. . .we don't have beanbag chairs on Destiny.

The ferry ride from Kas took about 30 minutes.  Arriving in Kastelorizon was like visiting a movie set for a Greek village.  All the houses looked fairly new and freshly painted.  The ruins of a picturesque castle perch over the small harbor which is surrounded by small colorful fishing boats.

Much of Kastellorizon is undeveloped. . .

but the harbor is lined with post card perfect houses. . .

but the harbor is lined with post card perfect houses. . .

and cafes. . .

and colorful boats. . .absolutely enchanting.

Exiting the ferry and with hours to kill before lunch time, we headed off to find the path to the castle.  It turned out that we took the long and steep route, but it took us by a Lycian tomb from the 4th Century B.C.

We followed a seaside walkway. . .

and climbed up. . .

and then walked some more. . .

first to a 4th Century B.C. Lycian tomb. . .

and finally reaching the castle.

The walkway along the sea was impressive, and after climbing various stairs we reached the long set that approached the castle.  Having come that far we were not deterred from the last step climb and were rewarded with panoramic views of the island, its surrounding islets and Kas in the distance.

View of the harbor. . .

with boats arriving at the quay.

From the castle the view of the harbor was impressive.  Several private sailboats were at the quay, but for the most part other than island residents the only people around were those from our small ferry.  The island was lush with flowers, so much so that Kent couldn’t resist playing in them.

Lush with flowers. . .

and petals on the ground.

There were several churches on the island, but none unlocked.  The clock tower on one of the churches did chime during our stay which included a lovely lunch at a restaurant owned by an Australian.  Mousakka every bit as good “as Mama’s” in my opinion—“Mama” being a little Greek woman we met off season at a beachside taverna who served us her family’s lunch.

Lunch at a Greek taverna owned by an Australian whose mother was born on the island.

After lunch Kent decided to try his hand at a traditional Greek past-time.

. . .mending fishing nets.

One sure sign that we were in Greece was the abundance of blue and white–the sea and sky of course, but also

Blue and white on buildings. . .

and boats. . .

and of course the Greek flag.

One of the additional benefits of our day trip to Greece was being able to purchase duty free liquor to bring back to Turkey.  Alcohol is heavily taxed in Turkey, even the local wines. Entering the EU means getting access to liquor that is not imported or can only be had in Turkey at exorbitant prices.  We are now stocked up with gin and vodka that should last until we are back in Greece later this summer.

Leaving the island proved interesting when a mega-ferry arrived just as we were about to depart. 

Kastelorizon has ferries from mainland Greece. . .

. . .that leave little room for a small Turkish ferry to pass.

As we finally squeeze by the Greek ferry we can see Kas on the distant hillside.  Back to Turkey!

Our journey east now ended, we are heading west and then north, possibly as far as Istanbul.  From Kas we will back track to Fethiye where we hope to meet up with friends before returning to Marmaris to say “good-bye” to yet more friends.

 Then we’ll see where the wind blows—but hopefully it will be favorable to go north.

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EAST TO KEKOVA ROADS

May 29th, 2011 No comments

Our plan for the season included going east along the southern coast of Turkey (called the Lycian coast) as far as Kekova Adasi, a four mile long island that protects numerous harbors and small bays from the prevailing wind. Set along the shore of Kekova Roads, as the leeward passage between the island and mainland is called, are numerous castles, forts and other ancient ruins. 

Leaving Marmaris in mid-May we revisited places that we first saw last year, including several in the large Gulf of Fethiye.  The two main towns in the Gulf are Gocek in the northwest end and Fethiye in the southeast. 

Dusk at Gocek town marina

Both towns were just coming to life but there was no shortage of space at the town dock in Gocek or Yacht Classic in Fethiye (one of our favorite stops last year). 

The fish market in Fethiye is charming.  You purchase the fish of your choice at one of the several markets and then take the fish to an adjacent restaurant where they will cook the fish for you and provide salad and bread to accompany it for 7TL.

Fethiye Fish Market--our fish bagged and ready to go

to a nearby grill and then my plate.

After spending a few nights in the Fethiye area, and one night at Cold Water Bay—another favorite from last year, we pushed further east to Kas.

Coldwater Bay is a charming little cove with a nice restaurant

I say “pushed” as opposed to sailed because the winds are very light and fickle this time of year.  The best we could hope for was not to have a strong breeze from the east since that was the direction we were motoring. 

From Fethiye to Kas is approximately 54 NM and you pass by the Seven Capes which are notorious for strong winds later in the season, and a 7 mile long beach with sand dunes reminiscent of Cape Cod–except for the mountains in the backgroud.

Seven Capes rise steeply. . .

with tops shrouded in clouds. . .

then 7 miles of beach and dunes.

Kas harbor is small and very crowded with daytrip boats and gulets that ferry passengers to the nearby Greek island of Kastelorizon and the many sights in Kekova Roads.  Kas was also part of Greece until the population exchange in the early 1920’s and retains much of its Greek charm.

We anchored for several days in a well protected bay just south of the town in front of idyllic vacation homes and hotels that can only be reached by boat. 

Full moon over Bayindar Limani, the bay south of Kas

When Kent was looking for a place to walk Jolie he was invited ashore by an Italian gentlemen whose house overlooked the bay and had a dock.  Alessandro had a small white dog that enjoyed playing with Jolie while Kent was served Nescafe.

Alessandro's house is hidden from view by pine trees and surrounded by lush flowers

Later that day we received an impromptu dinner invitation from Alessandro and his Turkish born wife.  Dinner was served alfresco under a large olive tree in the courtyard of their multi-building house with a full moon overhead.  What was billed as a family “spaghetti dinner” was really several courses, including grilled beef filets and topped off with chocolate and ice cold watermelon.

There is a new marina in Kas that sits in a bay just west of the town and we also spent several nights there (currently free of charge as they are awaiting their final license from the government) both coming and going from Kekova Roads.  The marina which will hold over 400 boats currently has fewer than 20 at its several docks and is offering many financial incentives to lure customers.

The mountains make a dramatic backdrop to Kas Marina

Our first stop on Kekova Adasi was a small bay on the south side called Karaloz.  The cruising guide calls this “a miniature fjord” that is “grand and rugged”.  The water is crystal clear and dropping our anchor in 35 ft. of water, we could see from deck that it was well set in the sand.   

Rocky slopes surround the Karaloz anchorage

The cove-like area to the east of the entrance is just wide enough to drop your anchor on one side and tie stern to shore on the other side. 

The entrance to Karaloz as seen from inside. . .narrow but deep.

Although the guide describes a large cave on the east side of the entrance as being a visual reference, the entrance itself is difficult to find, because it is narrow—one of those times that GPS coordinates are particularly helpful. 

Finding a place to land Jolie ashore was a challenge for Kent—flat rocks about the best he could do.

Jolie goes rock climbing at Karaloz

. . .but getting into the dinghy is tricky.

After one night at Karaloz we stopped briefly in Andraki, which is mostly a staging area for local daytrip boats and gulets.  There was a mini-market sufficient for buying bread and wine that we needed, but not much else.  Many of the local commercial boats were anchored out as dredging was being done along the docks.

Dredging at Andraki

kept many boats anchored off shore. . .

including Destiny.

Heading into Kekova Roads from Andraki we started up one channel only to find that a cable referenced on the chart was overhead not under water.  Not wanting to tempt fate and feeling uncomfortable relying on the approximate height noted, we opted to turn back and enter the anchorage at Gokkaya Limani from the other channel.  On the way we passed large cave that is quite a tourist attraction–it was easy to see because a tripper boat was edging into its entrance.

This boat could nose into the cave but not turn around inside.

Just off Ashil Adasi (an island at the entrance to Gokkaya), we were approached by a small fishing boat and offered a 1 kilo snapper still flopping with a hook in its mouth.  Fish doesn’t get any fresher than this, and after a little haggling we bought the fish for 40TL—still pretty expensive at 20 euros, but well worth it.

Gokkaya is pristine. . .reminded us of Maine, only warmer.

One of the features of this anchorage is several small islets. We quickly found one to our liking and dropped the anchor in 15 ft. of crystal clear water, tying our stern to our own private little island. 

Jolie relaxes in the cockpit. . .

while Kent cooks our fish.

As dusk falls the water is so still the rocks of our little islet reflect in it.

The next morning we toured Gokkaya in the dinghy.  Our first stop was the nearby cave.

The entrance to the cave was quite large. . .

The entrance to the cave was quite large. . .

and inside soaring rock walls. . .

plunged into iridescent blue water so clear that you could see the rock formations below the surface.

Our dinghy tour next went to the headland of the Gokkaya bay to a ruins that looked interesting.  From this vantage point we could see the entire bay.

We could see Destiny moored off the islet in the distance.

As we were enjoying the view, Kent heard the distant sound a bell coming our way and we realized that a herd of goats was heading our way.  Not knowing how friendly these goats might be we quickly headed for the dinghy.  The goats were faster than we were, and suddenly we found ourselves separated and goats coming from every direction.

The goats just kept coming and I couldn't get by them. Kent was on the otherside, but the dinghy was also surrounded by goats.

The goat herder said they were harmless. . .

but I didn't like the look of these horns.

We have seen many goats in our travels, but this was our first close encounter.  From a distance they seem about the size of a large dog–up close they appear to be the size of a small pony.  When they are trotting by in large numbers you feel the ground vibrate and the horns on some of them were 12 inches long.  Needless to say I was very glad when their numbers twindled and we could finally make it back to the dinghy.

Our next stop was a little more sedate–a castle overlooking a small bay nearby Gokkaya.  However, I stayed with the dinghy while Kent explored content to take pictures from a safe distance.

This castle sits atop a small unnamed bay near Gokkaya

Kent picked flowers for me as he hiked to the castle

When we returned to Destiny we realized that the stunningly beautiful spot we picked was thought to be the same by day trip boats that arrived throughout the day seemingly in pairs.  Each set of boats would anchor, sometimes tying to our island and stay for exactly 20 minutes, during which time all the passengers jumped in the water until a horn sounded signaling that the boat was leaving. 

Day trip boats arrive at our islet. . .

and everyone dives in. . .well sort of.

Almost simultaneously, the next boats would arrive repeating the same scenario.  It became our afternoon entertainment.

It's getting a little crowded. . .

not to mention noisy--enough shrieking already!

Fortunately, in the evening we had the place to ourselves and peace and quiet returned.  We stayed in Gokkaya a second night to have dinner with our Chilean friends Jorge and Isabel on Excalibur who were on their way to Cypress where they are hoping to leave their boat next winter. 

Jolie came to dinner with us and said her goodbyes to Jorge & Isabel.

We first met Jorge and Isabel in Mystic, CT while heading down the east coast on our way to the Caribbean.  They participated in the Caribbean 1500 with us in 2008 and shipped to Genoa at the same time in 2009.  Our paths are now diverging, and we will miss sharing good times with them.

From Gokkaya we went west through Kekova Roads to the lake-like bay at Ucagiz.  The entrance to this bay is near the west entrance to Kekova Roads and sits under a castle, the ramparts of which offer a visual reference. 

The Castle at Kale Koy has well preserved ramparts

There were several small bays and anchorages that we passed along the way, but the distance between Gokkaya on the east end and Ucagiz on the west end of Kekova Roads is a mere 4 NM.

Kale Koy which is the small hamlet that sits just under the castle faces Kekova Roads and is suitable for anchorage in calm weather only.  It is the site of a sunken city.  The ruins of the ancient Lycian city of Simena dating to the 4th Century B.C. can be seen partly sunken beneath water after earthquakes. 

Solitary Lycian tomb in midst of sunken city of Simena

We anchored west of the town of Ucangiz just off a necropolis which contained numerous Lycian tombs.  It is hard to imagine how ancient Lycians created and placed these massive structures where they have now stood for 2-3,000 years.

Lycian tombs line the shore of our anchorage at Ucagiz.

Kent & Jolie tomb sitting

The next day we visited Kale Koy by dinghy and hiked up the steep hillside to the castle.  From the castle you can see remnants of the city upon which the current restaurants and other buildings have been constructed.

From the castle you see the two narrow west entrances to Kekova Roads. . .and the town of Kale Koy below.

The castle is remarkable in a couple respects.  It has ramparts and walls that have survived the centuries remarkably in tact. 

Carol at the Castle

It has a small theater that is carved into the bedrock, which reportedly seated up to 700 people in 7 tiers.  Kent speculates that ancient people had to be much smaller for this theater to have accommodated that number.

Theater carved into rock

. . .has views to the entrance of Kekova Roads.

The views from the castle are sweeping, and include not only Lycian tombs, but a fertile valley under cultivation.

Tomatoes and other veggies are plentiful thanks to the fertile valley below the castle.

The town of Ucagiz has some residences, but is mostly seaside restaurants and other tourist businesses.  There are fishing boats, but many more day trip boats and gulets.  The town is lush with bougainvillea this time of year.

Bougainvillia covers shops. . .

and houses.

A small anchorage at the head of Polermos Buku (bay) was our next stop.  There is one small restaurant and a well protected anchorage surrounded by high cliffs on the south side.  The steep cliffs are tree covered and quite green.  While Kent was ashore with Jolie he was told about another sunken village directly across a narrow ismuth that separated this bay from the next one.

View east up Kekova Roads from the anchorage at Polemos

Rather than hiking over land to the sunken city, we took Destiny around to Asar Buku.  The remains of the ancient city and port of Aperlae dot the hillside and extend down into the water on the north side of the bay. 

Ruins of Aperlae at edge of and below water

Portions of city wall remains but couldn't protect against earthquakes.

Taking care to avoid the underwater ruins, we anchored and then snorkeled along the shore.  It was one time I wished I had purchased a waterproof camera this winter. 

Ancient sargophagi share the beach with chairs for sunbathing. . .a study in contrasts.

The distance from Kekova Roads back to Kas Marina, even with the diversion to Asar Buku was only 21 NM.  

Sunset at Kas Marina

Our next stop will be the Greek island of Kastellorizon several miles from Kas which we have passed already several times on Destiny.  Our Turkish visas are about to expire and a ferry trip to Kastellorizon will allow us to check into Greece and then renew our visa for another 90 days when we return to Kas.

Categories: Europe, Turkey Tags:

FRIDAY THE 13TH IN TURKEY

May 13th, 2011 No comments

OK, I’m not a terribly superstitious person, but Friday the 13th does make me careful not to walk under ladders and I definitely avoid black cats.  Friday, May 13th was no exception, except that we are in Turkey and the main concern is whether something will break on the boat. . .and of course the spring weather.

Leaving Fethiye the weather was threatening

As it happened the day started out uneventfully.  Nothing broke and we were off anchor without a problem heading east to a little cove called “Cold Water Bay”—that is until the scary, dark clouds on the horizon and wind on our nose prompted a change of course.

It is always preferable to be going with the wind rather than against it.

We thought we left the stormy weather behind us as we turned west. . .

The weather seemed to follow us. . .if we went east or west.

We headed to Wall Bay west of Fethiye, and arrived just before the torrential rain, lightning and thunder.

Destiny at Wall Bay

Safely anchored and tied to shore the weather blew through and we were greeted by passengers from a nearby gulet who were from Ohio and thought that Marblehead, was Marblehead, Ohio, not Massachusetts.  One in the group graduated from Bowling Green State Univeristy the year that I arrived—small world, as always.

Then as suddenly as the rain, thunder and lightning appeared. . .

it cleared through leaving behind a faint rainbow.

By sunset, the storm had passed through, the sunset was magnificent—we even saw a faint rainbow and the pink clouds of sunset reflected on the calm water.

The pink clouds reflect in calm water. . . like the storm never happened. . .

as Kent takes Jolie ashore.

What a heavenly Friday the 13th.  Hope yours was as special.

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SOMETHING OLD AND SOMETHING NEW. . .Parts, People and Places

May 9th, 2011 No comments

We left Marmaris Yacht Marina on Easter weekend for a brief visit to the Greek island of Simi to stock up on essentials like Mt. Gay rum which can’t be found in Turkey at any price.

After a couple of days in the lovely harbor at Panormitis listening to church bells instead of call to prayers and being treated to Gregorian chanting over Easter, we hauled anchor planning to head to Datca.  Rather, we tried to haul anchor only to find that our windlass was not working.  Our chief engineer (that would be Kent) diligently took the windlass apart only to find that the main gear was totally chewed up and bronze shavings sparkled in the lubricant.  Not a good sign.

Bell Tower at Panormitis monastery

So we stayed put another night and Kent raised 100 ft. of chain and our 70 lb. anchor by hand the next morning—not an easy task.  We then made a dash directly back to Marmaris where we checked back into Marmaris Yacht Marina.  No parts were available for the Vetus windlass which meant ordering a new windlass (Lofrans, this time) from Istanbul through Marlin Marine.  Because of the configuration of our bow some modifications were needed to the new windlass which is larger and more powerful than our old one, so that took some additional time.  The Marlin technicians were amazing and very precise so the investment (another two boat units=”Bring Out Another Thousand”) was well worth it.  Not only that but it cost about a thousand dollars less than the retail cost in the U.S.

Kent oversees installation of our shiny new windlass. . .

while the techs customize the newly fabricated "chain stripper".

While Kent dealt with the windlass, I took another land tour for a day with my friend Carol on Indigo.  This time we visited Xanthos and had lunch on the ridge of one of the Seven Capes that line the southern coast of Turkey between Fethiye and Kemer. 

Pediment at Xanthos

Inscribed pillar originally 11 meters high dates to 400 B.C.

The pillar contains the longest known inscriptions in the Lycian tongue

Carvings of lions adorn tombs in the necropolis of Xanthos

Xanthos was interesting, but not as impressive as some ancient sites we have seen, but the view from the small hotel/restaurant where we had lunch was incredible.  Spending so much time at sea level we rarely get to see the coast from this perspective.

Tasty food with a panoramic view. . .

from dining deck of Yediburunlar Guest House.

Carol & Carol enjoying lunch

We finally left Marmaris Yacht Marina a second time on Friday, May 6th and are now on our way east along the southern coast of Turkey, where snow can still be seen on distant mountain tops.

Snow capped mountains to port. . .

and genneker to starboard. . .

signal a beautiful May day in Turkey.

We are still spending a lot of time with friends Jorge and Isabel on Excalibur.  They are headed to northern Cypress where they plan to base the boat for the summer and winter over.  Since we will be heading west to Ragusa, Sicily our paths will be diverging.

Destiny and Excalibur moored at Gocek Municipal Marina

We had cocktails last night moored off an island just south of Gocek with two other boats that did the 2008 Caribbean 1500—Excalibur and Imagine. 

Carib 1500 boats, Excalibur, Destiny & Imagine

Imagine, a 46 ft. Hallberg-Rassy, hailing from Chicago with Marc, Jane and their three children are completing a circumnavigation that started with the 1500.  Marc and crew just transited the pirate infested waters of the Indian Ocean and Red Sea, while Jane and the children stayed ashore due to the dangerousness of the passage. They will be heading west over the summer and will complete their circumnavigation by doing a fall Atlantic crossing back to the Caribbean.  A chance radio communication between Destiny and Excalibur alerted Imagine that we were in the vicinity and prompted the little 1500 reunion—such is the cruising life.

Caroline, Jane, Grant, Noah & Marc from Imagine with Kent, Carol & Isabel on Excalibur

The weather this time of year is glorious.  The days are mostly sunny with temperatures in the 70’s and the nights are pleasantly cool for sleeping.  We know that summer will bring scorching temperatures that send many EU residents to their land bases for the months of July and August.

We plan to be heading north by the time the scorching heat begins and hope that it will be a little more temperate than southern Turkey.  In the meantime, we have decided that spring in Turkey rivals the best summer days in New England–the water temperature is already in the mid-70’s.  Jolie agrees and is glad to be back to her favorite sailing spot.

Jolie prefers sailing to the boat yard!

Leaving the many friends we made in Marmaris is sad, but then the prospect of seeing new places makes moving on inevitable and since several boats are already under contract at Marina di Ragusa, we know we will see some familiar faces when we arrive there.  In the meantime, we are revisiting some places that we particularly enjoyed last year and are looking forward to those further east that we have yet to visit.  We are  meeting old friends along the way, and making new ones.  The adventure continues!

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