2010 Route Map (The Turkish coast west and north from Marmaris as far as Cesme)
Map showing all the main centres visited during our cruise
A small yacht denotes a marina or town quay and the anchor denotes a bay or anchorage.
We sailed from Marmaris on the 4th May with the idea of getting as far north and west as the winds and time would allow us. We had set ourselves only one goal namely, to reach Kusadasi and from there travel inland to visit the historical site of Ephesus, the rest was in the lap of the gods.
Bozburun anchorage with Gulets moored outside the marina and on shore a handy Taverna
Our first port of call was Bozburun a small fishing village an easy day sail from Marmaris. We had called here the previous year on route to have Alba Voyager hauled out of the water for anti-fouling and felt the village was well worth a second visit. The other and perhaps more important reason was we had been invited to join in the birthday celebrations for Pam (top left) one of our close cruising friends.
We lost a few days here sitting in the harbour cafes sipping a cold beer while enjoying the views out over the waters of the bay.
Birthday Dinner at Pirates Cove Restaurant
Finally pulling ourselves away we headed for Orhaniye about 20 miles distant and another place we had visited previously. The sail was idyllic with warm sunshine and light favorable winds, we even had lunch sitting at the table in the cockpit, and that doesn't happen very often.
On arrival we immediately recognized 'Gantocks' another Scottish boat registered in Fort William and owned by Steve and Katie, we had wintered with them in Marmaris. From the picture we must admit she looks more Chinese than Scottish and a heavy boat for two to handle but with her junk rig they seem to manage without too much bother.
Gantocks at anchor off Orhaniye
We motored up to the head of the loch and moored to one of the restaurant jetties (there is normally no charge for this provided you eat in their restaurant) and here to our surprise we found a yacht bearing the name of our old home town. On inquiring the history of the yacht all we could find out was the original owner had lived in Kilcreggan. So we will have to make some inquiries back home.
Home Town Boat
One of the things we enjoy most about this lifestyle is being able to spend most of our time outdoors, it's like camping or caravaning but with the added spice of being on water. We eat nearly all of our meals at a table in the cockpit, fruit and vegetables are of excellent quality in Turkey and plentiful with markets held in most towns and villages on one day each week.
Breakfast in the Cockpit
On leaving Orhaniye we were heading for Datca (pronounced Datcha) and this for us was breaking new ground, so our cruise now starts proper. Datca is the capital and the only town of any size on the the Datca peninsula which juts out into the Aegean Sea and has only Greek islands as neighbours. For yachts sailing in the area it is a must for provisioning and the town quay and anchorage are normally very busy.
We used the town for just that and were luck to find we had arrived on market day and were therefore spoiled for choice with fruit and vegetables.
Datca hasn't always been the capital of the peninsula back in ancient times the title fell to Knidos about 15 miles to the west and at the very end of the peninsula. So it was to Knidos that we headed next after completing our victualing.
The town of Datca from the anchorage
Knidos was a major city as early as the 4th century B.C. and is renowned for the statue of Aphrodite and the scientist Eudoxos. The statue of Aphrodite was one of the first of a naked women, only male statues having been naked until this time. The statue was also said to bring good luck to seafarers. Eudoxos was a scientist and mathematician. He built an observatory at Knidos and from here mapped the night sky, he is said to be one of the founding fathers of Greek geometry.
Anchorage inside the ancient harbour of Knidos and the remains of the breakwater built B.C.
We find there is only so much ancient history we can absorb in a short time without the mind becoming punch drunk or rather history drunk, so next we are heading for the more remote area of Amazon Creek and English Harbour to do a bit of chilling out.
Alba Voyager anchored in Amazon Creek Tranquil morning Amazon Creek
Well this is chilling out in grand style, we have only the sounds of nature to accompany us. At the head of the creek which is too shallow for a yacht of our draft to reach there is a restaurant with simple cuisine, you can also buy a few provisions there. We bought fresh bread then headed back to the boat to enjoy a breakfast of fruit, lemon cheese and fresh bread served in idyllic surroundings .. smashing! After two days here and we could have taken on the Atlantic, but not yet, we were off to look at some more history this time more recent history.
English Harbour (Degirmen Buku to give it its Turkish name) derives its name from the Special Boat Squadron who used this as a base from 1944 during the closing phases of WW ll in the eastern Aegean. There is a book written by John Guard called Improvise and Dare and for anyone interested in the SBS and their history in this neck of the woods it's well worth a read. As you may well imagine the bay is well protected and off the main stream, perfect for clandestine operations. We thought the tranquility of the spot is about as far removed from war as you could imagine.
Alba Voyager hiding in English Harbour
From English Harbour we traveled only a few miles to one of the many restaurants in the area. This restaurant stands out, not for its food but for the very important fact we learned. Now we all know Scotland is famous for its national drink .. whisky and the only thing which should be added is water or maybe more whisky. Well Turkey also has a national drink .. Raki and here in this restaurant we were instructed in the correct way to administer Raki to the body. First you take a glass of neat Raki and add an equal volume of water .Next you take a sip from the glass and after coming to terms with the taste you then take a piece of white cheese eat that and followed it up with a piece of melon. When your finished that lot you repeat the process. Not sure in the end if you become drunk or obese.
The place to learn if you want to know how to drink Raki
Time to move on further up the coast but to achieve this we would have to sail west for about 40 miles before we could turn north. We were in Gokova Korfezi a fjord which runs inland due east for about 60 miles, the northern shore of which doesn't have many places of interest until you reach Bodrum.
We sailed from the English Harbour area which is located on the south shore of the fjord and headed for Cokertme on the north shore. We didn't think there would be anything of great interest there but it offered a overnight anchorage and was roughly halfway to our main place of interest, Bodrum.
The anchorage at Cokertme
We arrived mid afternoon in Bodrum and anchored in the bay just off the town. Bodrum is one of the main tourist flesh pots in Turkey and we had been warned that it could get noisy, especially at night. This was mid afternoon and the boom boom of the music from the cafes and bars along the waterfront was already a distraction in the anchorage. So without even going ashore we decided we would move a few miles along the coast and find somewhere quieter. We would visit the town on our return journey back to Marmaris when we have friends on board who would no doubt enjoy the shopping on offer.
Bodrum anchorage with the castle in the background The waterfront with it's cafes and bars
We spent a restful night in a beautiful anchorage off the small town of Bitez , we were so impressed we made a note, this was a must place to visit on our return journey.
We were now heading north and our next port of call was Gumusluk a fishing village tucked into a small bay and famous for it's fish restaurants. This was very timeous as we were coming up to our 5th anniversary of having set sail from Scotland and we decided to celebrate the fact with a meal in one of their best. I have always been disappointed with fish in the Med compared with the Atlantic coast, but there were no complaints about tonight's meal, it was first class. There are a number of walks around the village and we spent the next few days exploring some of these while at the same time just generally 'chilling out'.
Our Anniversary Restaurant viewed from the anchorage
On our return journey back to Marmaris we had arranged to pick up friends from Bodrum airport (which is 35 miles from Bodrum by road) and we were doing a recce to find somewhere closer to the airport to do the pick up. The nearest port was Gulluk so we headed there to have a look.
The town was good and only 6 miles from the airport but the anchorage was open and exposed if there was a meltemi blowing, so it would depend on the weather at the time. During our stay the weather was fine and we used our time to restock from the many supermarkets in the town.
Gulluk from the anchorage
On the opposite side of the fjord (north) approximately 3 miles away there was the small village of Kurin sheltered in the ancient harbour of Port Isene, so we headed over to have a look. There was plenty of room on the Town Quay so we moored ourselves there at a cost of 10€ per night with electricity. The area is surrounded with the ruins from the ancient town of Iassus most of which has now been excavated. Again we would have liked to have spent more time here, so decided to call back on our return trip and do a bit of exploring.
Kurin Town Quay viewed from the Castle The Castle Main Gate viewed from inside
Our next main port of call would be Kusadasi about 60 miles to the north. We made an overnight stop at Port St Paul, not really a port but only a sheltered bay where St Paul is supposed to have put in for the night while voyaging up the Anatolian coast. On leaving Port St Paul in the morning we had to negotiate the Samos Strait, a narrow strait of water (less than 1 mile wide) between the Greek island of Samos and Turkey.
The Greek island of Samos to the left and Turkey to the right
Once through the Samos Straits it was a straight run to Kusadasi and the the marina there were we would leave the boat while we ventured inland. Kusadasi is a major port visited by many cruise ships during the tourist season and the reason they all call here is Ephesus. The city of Ephesus has existed since 1000BC but came to great prominence during Roman times as the capital of their Asia Province. At this time Ephesus was situated on the coast and was the major port for the Province. The delta has over the years silted up and Ephesus is now many miles inland. The temple of Artemis once stood here, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was four times the size of the Parthenon in Athens but was unfortunately destroyed in 263AD by the Goths
Part of the city of Ephesus with its many visitors A marble mosaic lined street
This impressive building was the library Looking down from the back row of the theatre
Ephesus is without a doubt one of the most impressive sites we have visited on our travels and anyone visiting Turkey should have it on their 'must see' list.
Kusadasi is a typical Turkish holiday resort and apart from the marina and good shopping where we replenished our stores had nothing much to offer us. Also our visas were running out, so we set off for Cesme where again we would leave our boat in the marina there and travel to the Greek island of Khios renewing our visas on our return to Turkey. We had two overnight stops on route, Kormen Adasi a small bay sporting a sandy beach and a hot spring which unfortunately we hadn't time to sample. Our second night was spent in Nerkis Limani a long fjord type bay with crystal clear waters and thick Maquis down to the waters edge.
On arriving at Cesme Marina we met up with our old friends Jan and Tony from Yacht Marin, Marmaris. The marina is brand new and run by Camper and Nicholson, that's the good news, the bad news is, their charge for Alba Voyager was 62€ per night, it was more expensive than being back in the UK.
Cesme's expensive marina surrounded with clothes boutiques and cafe/restaurants
The marina and inter-structure were excellent but at the high prices we think they will struggle to fill it. It was too expensive for us and we spent only three days while doing our visa run to Khios. We wanted to spend more time in Cesme so we went looking for a bay to anchor and here we came up trumps. About a quarter of a mile from the marina we found an unfinished harbour with only two other boats in, so we tied up here and waited to see if anyone came to shift us. I'm please to say we spent a week here and no one bothered us.
Cesme's unfinished harbour Bonnie Tyler Concert
Cesme was the zenith of this years cruise and soon we would be making our way back to Marmaris but not before we had two surprises. The town was advertising a concert in the old stone Roman auditorium and the International Star was Bonnie Tyler, so that was a must. Secondly, daughter Susie phoned to say she would be arriving in a weeks time to go sailing with us. So now we would have crew for part of the return journey.