Alanya to Marmaris
Well, eventually we were checked into Turkey after 48 hours sitting around the Alanya Marina waiting, and waiting and waiting!!!! A long story, but it turns out there is a bit of a political battle going on between the new marina with the officials. Something they really need to get sorted. We did manage a couple of trips into town, one on the second day, before we were checked in as there was no one around. Alanya is a modern tourist resort around a high peninsula which was known as Calonoros, and in the 2nd century B.C. was a very big pirate stronghold. (Thought we were well clear or that area!!) The restored castle and walls were worth the visit, along with the stunning views up and down the Mediterranean coastline.
From now on we are doing day hops along the coast as there is so much to see. Our first stop after Alanya was Side, a delightful but very touristy town with an ancient harbour and all the wonderful ruins to go with it. We stayed here for six nights. The only problem was we were tied up to the concrete quay in the ancient harbour alongside the local tourist boats with all the wash they create, but the real downside was that the local disco started at about 11.00pm and went on till 04.30am!!! We only had to put up with that for a couple of nights/mornings, as we did a trip to Cappadocia from here. That is some 600ks inland.
We visited one of the many underground cities, churches carved in the rocks, and saw the gorgeous natural rock formations known as ‘fairy chimneys’. These were formed over the centuries by water and winds eroding away the softer rock. There are various types of these chimneys, some with caps, cones, mushroom like forms and pointed tops. All just amazing. People again carved homes in these centuries ago, and even today some are still lived in as private homes, and others have been turned into Hotels. Still this whole living underground thing does not really appeal to me, especially as the area is so prone to earthquakes. The underground city visit was the one that really got to me. I did manage to complete the tour, and on exiting it I was not the only one to gasp for fresh air. Some of these cities were originally built by the early Christians to hide from the invading armies that trampled through their lands, but the earliest date back to the 4th century BC, and, in some cases the people lived underground for three to four months at a time along with all their animals. They are a maze of tunnels and rooms, storage areas, churches, wineries and even graves. Every house would have their own secret entrance into the city. There are around 200 separate cities in Cappadocia. I would have had to live in the winery if I was to stay more than just a few hours!!
Another place we stopped to visit was the Mevlana Museum in Konya. The home to the Dervish with their unique dancing. This we saw at a show we later attended in Aspendos. It was from Side we also went to see the legendary dance show ‘Fire of Anatolia’. It has been around the world, and this year has returned to Turkey, its home, and was held at the outdoor Aspendos Arena. It is the story of Anatolia through history in dance, and quite magnificent.
We upped anchor again and sailed across a big bay, then followed the coastline. We have now done just over 300nm along the south eastern coast of Turkey. What we have seen to date is beautiful, and just keeps getting better. We are now cruising what is called The Lycian Coast. It is the area from Antalya to Marmaris and we have just entered the area of lots of Islands and bays, many only accessible by sea which is perfect as now in the villages and bigger towns they are humming with tourists. It is nice to call in every now and then to top up on supplies and have a look around, get my bit of ‘retail therapy’, but it is nicer to get out again and find some picturesque bay with clean clear waters where I spend hours cooling down in, as temperatures are now sometimes in the late 30’s to early 40’s. In some bays the water temperature can also be in the mid to late 30’s!! Thank goodness there is nearly always a breeze out on the water. One of the places which we did enjoy was an area known as Kekova Roads. You sail in one end with the mainland on one side and you are sheltered by a four mile long Island on the sea side. But also inside this waterway are lovely bays and inlets. Also in here is the magnificent castle at Kale Koy (sounds more Scottish than Turkish!!) which overlooks the ruins of the ancient city of Antiphellos with its Lycian Rock Tombs. As we sailed in Alec thought that from a distance the tombs were a whole lot of rubbish bins, as they are about the size of those large steel grey/silver bins on wheels with the double handles on each side. If you look at the photos you will see what he means. I did think he was stretching that a wee bit!!! Also in here is the remains of a sunken city which we sail by and had a close look at. Again Alec was most grateful I did not drag him ashore to see more ruins which he says looked like the last lot, and you pay out yet again to visit. In fact all along this coast is full of history and sites. Each day we are seeing the remains of something ancient.
Another of our stops was for water at a place called Kas. We have a small problem with our watermaker which has been so faithful up until a few weeks ago. We are getting it serviced in Marmaris. Well what a lovely Marina – with lovely ‘NOT’ prices to go with it. To fill our tank up they wanted us to pay a minimum 32 Euro for two hours – it would only take a few minutes to fill up – plus 5 Euro for the water. Alec did explain we were NOT buying shares in their new Marina, so we left without a getting a drop!! Next place was quite different. Three hours later we arrived into Kalkan, a delightful little fishing and tourist port tucked up under the mountains which made it very hot indeed. We tied up to the quay. We paid nothing to stay for a couple of hours, and the water was 11 Euro which included a boat wash down as well. We went ashore with Alec’s computer and had an iced coffee while checking the emails. Just across from the restaurant was the supermarket. I was just about to go in for some stores when the shopkeeper pulled down the sun shade at the front, stripped down to his undies, got a bottle of shampoo from the shelf and a new towel ,and took his afternoon ablutions. Pulled the blind up again and wandered around till he was dry enough. You will see the photo of that one!
Our next stop was Olu Deniz, just around the corner from Fethiye. Another beautiful anchorage where we swam for ages, then watched till dusk the paragliders coming down off the mountains. You would get up to 20 dropping at a time. It was a great sight. There is also a beautiful lagoon there were no motor boats of any kind can use anymore due to pollution, so we took the kayak in. There were millions of people swimming about, but it is big and there is plenty of room. Lots of people hire those paddle boats you sit in and peddle away.
The marine life in the Med is nothing like we have seen in other seas, but along the Turkish coast we have seen a number of turtles. The fishermen are not as many, so we are not trying to dodge these vessels which makes for a pleasant change. Actually I am not too sure where all the fish in the shops and restaurants come from, as when snorkelling around one sees very little ‘life’ in the water!! I have seen on the nautical charts that there are odd fish farm in some bays so maybe today that is the way they are going. But in saying all that I did catch a lovely fat Albacore Tuna off the coast of Cyprus on our way to Turkey. Sea birds are also not so numerous.
We are now anchored in the harbour in Marmaris. It is a beautiful town with hills all around the bay and surrounded by red pine forests. It is also a huge tourist centre. They come in their droves to take day or week trips out on a local ‘gulet’. These are the local charter boats which are based on traditional designs with two or three masts. Yes they look like the pirate ships of old. I have included a couple of photos for you to see. Our stop over here will be for a few days as we have some small defects to deal with.
Another wonderful thing about Turkey is the fresh fruits and vegetables available, and at really good prices. All they all have that wonderful flavour of something home grown, unlike the mass commercially grown stuff you fine in most places today. We are living on peaches nectarines apricots, watermelon and cherries at the moment. The only thing we have not found as good fruit wise are the apples compared with the N.Z. ones.
OK will sign out from Marmaris.
Love to you all
The Admiral and The Commander
PS. Great news we have the watermaker up and running again. Making water as I write this.