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THE TURKISH B.V.I.’S

We just finished cruising Skopea Limani and the Gulf of Fethiye and have decided that this region of southern Turkey is to Europeans what the B.V.I.’s are to sailors in our hemisphere.  

One of many entrances to Skopea Limani

One of many entrances to Skopea Limani

The beauty of this area is not just the dramatic scenery and beautiful water, but the flat water and mid-day wind that makes for nice, line of sight sailing from one anchorage to another.  Some, like Tomb Bay, bear the mark of Turkey’s  ancient history. 

The empty tombs visible above this boat at anchor can be reached by a path from the bay.

The empty tombs visible above this boat at anchor can be reached by a path from the bay.

Close up of Tomb

Close up of Tomb

One thing that distinguishes this from the B.V.I.’s is the depth of the water, as is evident from the name “22 Fathom Bay”.  Dropping an anchor in 50-70 ft. of water is not uncommon, and we have lost our initial reservations about it.  The process begins with having the dinghy and motor at the ready for Kent to use in carrying a long line ashore while I back the boat against the set anchor. 

Kent tyin off to bollard on shore

Kent tying off to bollard on shore

The Turkish government’s efforts to make this area hospitable for boaters, including bollards regularly spaced along the shore, a free pump out boat for waste, and mooring balls in some locations makes this the Turkish equivalent of St. John in the U.S.V.I—although St. John didn’t have a pump out boat when we were there, so maybe Turkey is ahead of the curve.

Scattered throughout the Gulf are small islands that create additional protected anchorages and also serve to keep fetch from wind to a minimum.  This time of year there are many gulets and charter boats.  The charter boats tend to travel in flotillas and can quickly fill an anchorage or restaurant dock. 

One of many gulets in the islands known as Yassica Adalari

One of many gulets in the islands known as Yassica Adalari

Another bay, another restaurant

Another bay, another restaurant

After several very hot nights at anchor (see “Sleepless in Skopea”) we headed for the very upscale Yacht Classic in Fethiye which boasts a small boutique hotel, a swimming pool and a luxurious haman as well (see post on Turkish bath).  Plugged into shore power we slept in air conditioned comfort for the next couple nights.

Yacht Classic Hotel

Yacht Classic Hotel

Dock & grounds at Yacht Classic

Dock & grounds at Yacht Classic

Bar at Yacht Classic

Bar at Yacht Classic

While at Yacht Classic we met fellow Seven Seas Cruising Association Commodores, Ed and Helen Meusch on S/V Tahlequah.  We enjoyed spending time with them and hearing about their circumnavigation and surviving the Tsunami that struck Thailand several years ago.  We have a long way to go to be as “salty” as Ed and Helen.
Tahlequah, on the end of Yacht Classic dock is named after a Cherokee chieftain

Tahlequah (named after a Cherokee chieftain), on the end, is a lovely double ended ketch

The two major towns on the Gulf are Fethiye and Gocek.  We have “saved” Gocek for our next visit to this area later this fall.  Fethiye is much like other towns in southern Turkey that are primarily tourist destinations, with meandering streets lined with shops selling knock-off designer bags and clothing or gold.  The quay is replete with the usual armada of tripper boats and gulets as well as eateries touting fish or ice cream.

Gulets and parasailing boats compete for space in the harbor

Gulets and parasailing boats compete for space in the harbor

Fethiye Quay

Fethiye Quay

Ice cream anyone?

Ice cream anyone?

Although the ambiance at Yacht Classic made for an enjoyable stay, and the opportunity to provision–the market delivers to your boat–our preference was for the bays where you could swim and snorkel in crystal clear water to the sound of cicadas in the pines.

We spent two more nights at anchor at Deep Bay–aptly named–with new SSCA friends, Ed and Helen and Colin, a Brit on S/V Sharon J. 

Kent paddles around and chats with Ed and Helen--a favorite past time here and way to keep cool

Kent paddles around and chats with Ed and Helen--a favorite past time here and way to keep cool

We parted ways with Tahlequah and Sharon J at Deep Bay, but look forward to seeing them again.

We parted ways with Tahlequah and Sharon J at Deep Bay, but look forward to seeing them again.

The weather seems to be even hotter the further east you go this time of year–forecasts in the 42-43 C. range or 107-110 F., so we have decided to head back west and return later in the fall when the weather is more temperate. 

Nice breeze for sailing west

Nice breeze for sailing west

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