Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Sailing In Turkey. Didim In Gulluk Bay To Bodrum In Gokoava Bay. 25 July - 9 August 2017.

Sailing Into Didim And Then Around Gulluk Bay To Turgutreis. 25 July - 5 August 2017.

    1.  Visas Sorted.   We decided that it was at long last time to start our trip along the Turkish coast to Cyprus where we had planned to winter. We also wanted to escape the worst of the Meltemi blows. We had already purchased our Turkish Visas on line. They last for 180 days but within that period, the maximum you are allowed to stay in Turkey is 90 days which would give us ample time to explore the coast and get to Cyprus in time to return to UK for Zoe's wedding.

   2. Leros To Didim. 25 - 26 July 2017.    The night before our planned departure, we said our farewells to several sailing friends and Martin at Lakki sea front. It was great to see Gail and Ian again from Princess Orsini. We went to the Lakki Marine Headquarters early on 25th July and booked out of Greece. We returned to Kisti Two in the Leros Marina and then quickly set off. We decided to stay overnight in Xirocampos Bay to the south of Leros Island tied to a buoy and depart early the following morning. We were off at dawn on 26 July in calm seas. Guy decided that his favourite straw hat had come to its natural lifes end so it was given a ceremonial and emotional send off by being thrown into the sea. It was all degradable material so would rot very quickly. It was a peaceful trip across under motor and we were closely monitored by a Turkish Coast Guard boat as we entered Turkish waters in Gulluk Bay. We arrived at Didim Marina at 1000 hrs, tied up, paid for 2 nights (£76!!) with a third free and then went to customs to book in Kisti Two and ourselves.

  3.  Transit Card And Blue Pooo Card.      After an interesting 3 hours going backwards and forwards, we completed the 'Transit Log' and entry forms etc fairly quickly as all departments are in one building provided by the Marina, but most importantly, we think they wanted to go off for lunch! We also purchased our Blue Card, commonly known as the Pooo Card. For most of the Turkish Coast, it is regulated that you are not allowed to pump out ones pooo or waste water into the sea. The marinas all have pumping out machines and the Blue Card records the amount so that the pooo Police can then decide whether you have pumped out waste into the sea or not. This requirement becomes a major planning headache and can also be fairly expensive, one Marina charging £30 for a pump out!! 

3.  Turkish Marinas And Yacht Clubs.     We spent the afternoon walking round the enormous Didim Marina and trying out the Yacht Club and Pool. We were so impressed we returned that evening for an excellent meal. We were to discover that all the Turkish marinas appear to have an excellent swimming pool and yacht club attached to them that is included in the bill. Its a tough life?

Our Route From Leros, Greece Into Turkey And Around Gulluk Bay.

Farewell Drinks With Ian And Gaille.

Martin Clearly Enjoying Himself Too Much!

Guy Saying Farewell To His Favourite Straw Hat.

Dawn Hat Burial At Sea.

Up Go The Turkish And Yellow Customs Flags.

Turkish Coast Guard Keeping A Watchful eye On Us. 

Kisti Two Tied Up In Didim Marina.

The Bright Port And Starboard Lighthouses Showing Entry Into Didim Marina.

  4.   Didyma. 27 July 2017.    We went into Altinkum early on 27 July to find Vodafone and get a Turkish Sim card for us to continue to use our iPad, especially important for weather reports and and emails etc. This completed with relative ease, we decided to find the 'Sanctuary To Apollo.' After a long hot walk up the hill, we suddenly found it surrounded by many old buildings and looking fairly sad. Didyma was not an Ionian city. It did however have a famous Oracle here dedicated to Pirates instructing 'That it is right to do as your fathers did.' Didyma was famous for it enormous temple. The original was destroyed by Persian Darius in 494BC and was a ruin until Alexander The Great started a rebuild that was to last 200 years and still never get completed. It is the largest Ionic temple measuring 120m by 60m and was again destroyed, this time by an earthquake in the 15th Century. It was still an amazing ruin to visit despite being surrounded now by buildings.  We walked back down to the beach area of Altinkum and immediately left as it was worse than Benidorm. An awful holiday spot. We were delighted to get back to the Marina and enjoy the ambiance of the Marina Yacht Club.

Didyma Temple.

Sanctuary To Apollo.

The Scale Of The Temple Is Very Impressive.

The Entrance To The Temple.

The Scale Of The Pillars Are Very Impressive.

Ginny In The Doorway To The Inner Sanctuary.

The Impressive Inner Sanctuary.
Like An Enormous Olympic Pool.

Two Pillars Still Standing.

Guy Leaning Against A Collapsed Pillar.
No I Did Not Push Previous Picture Pillars Over!!

Guy Providing Scale To Those Two Pillars.

5.  Didim To Paradise Bay. 28 -29 July 2017.     We decided to stock up Kisti Two and enjoy the Marina Pool on our 'free' day on Friday 28 July. It was a relief to depart the Didim Marina on Saturday, the heat was intolerable and so much cooler out to sea. We decided to ignore the tourist bay of Akbuk but head straight to the pleasantly named Paradise Bay in Kazikli Inlet. The scenery here changed from concrete monstrosities to gorgeous pine forest, however you had to be very careful of the various fish farms as we tacked along.    

Departing Didim Marina. 

Anchored In Paradise Bay.

Kisti Two In Paradise Bay.

Kisti Two In Paradise Bay.
Simply Stunning.

6.   Paradise Bay To Mandalya Marina. 30 July 2107.    For Guys Birthday, we decided to go into Mandalya Marina which was a wonderful small marina just 2 NM around the corner. A quick motor and we were tied up safely by the marina staff. We enquired about a restaurant to celebrate and were taken that evening by vehicle around the bay to the opposite side where there are several restaurants in Kasikli. We had a most enjoyable meal and were well looked after by our hosts to enjoy Guys birthday.

Guy With New Birthday Hat.

Time For That Wonderful Turkish Beer, EFES.

The Happy Mariners Celebrating.

Departing Mandalya Marina.

Tacking Through The Fish Farms.

7.   Mandalya Marina To Iasos Marina. 31 July - 1 August 2017.    We had our first pump out experience from the holding tank at the Marina before departing. We managed to get 150 litres of pooo out of a 90 litre tank!! Useful if you leave the seacocks open and suck out some sea water as well!! Should keep the pooo Police off our backs. We left Mandalya Marina at 1400 hrs and had a most enjoyable sail round to Asin Bay tacking between the various fish farms. We were heading to Gok inlet to anchor but on arrival found a delightful new and small Marina had been built called Port Iasos which now forms part of the up market Holiday Village, a mass of very smart apartment villas. We loved this small marina with its excellent facilities, charming manager, reasonable price and excellent restaurant. We also caught the free boat taxi on 1st August to go across and explore Gulluck. Just as well as it was not very pleasant although we did find one good drinking hole to relax and watch the world go bye. 

The Small Marina Of Iasos In Gok Inlet.

Departing Iasos Marina, Holiday Village And Gok Inlet.

8.    Iasos Marina To Sali Adasi.   2 - 3 August 2017.     We departed Iasos Marina at 1015 hrs and motored up Asin Bay to Asin Inlet where there had been an ancient Byzantine city with its harbour, fortress built by the Knights Of St John and temples from the period of Alexander The Great. We entered the ancient harbour carefully avoiding the sunken wall and ancient tower, but decided not to stop as everything looked a bit tired and space was limited. We admired the ruins from Kisti Two, turned around and then headed off again. Maybe stop next time? We then tacked our way out SW from Asin Bay avoiding fish farms again until heading south to the island of Salih Adasi anchoring in a gorgeous clean bay on the south of the island west of the fish farm factory. The island is the site of the as yet unexcavated city of Karyanda where the famous sailor Skylax may have been born, the writer of probably the first Pilot Book of the Eastern Med and as far east as the Indus River. We spent 2 days anchored here and were joined by several other boats which made it a bit of a nightmare and unrestful location to stay - probably why we have no photographs of the bay!

Entrance To Salin Limani With Ancient Fortress And Ruins On The Headland
And Byzantine Tower At Harbour Entrance.

9.   Sali Adasi to Ilica Buku. 4 August 2017.    We left Sali Adasi Island at about 0830 hrs on 4 August and generally headed west exploring all the coves, inlets and bays by motor as there was not much wind. It was rather sad as all the hillsides were covered by either enormous hotels or thousands of white villas or apartments. The bays themselves were full of motorboats all tied up to the shore with virtually no space to squeeze Kisti Two in for the night. We believe that most of them were tied up permanently over summer to avoid Marina fees. They even had cars parked in the bays which were clearly used for resupply and going out at night. A pooo pump out boat would visit the motorboats, pump out all waste and supply water. Ice creams were also available from a Walls Ice Cream speed boat. We eventually found a spare place to drop our anchor at the head of Ilica Buku but had to remain on our toes as boats came and went and the wind changed direction several times over the day. 

The Latest Treadmill. He Passed Us Quite Quickly!
Whatever Next?

New Hotels Being Built Everywhere.

Our Busy Anchorage At The Top Of Ilica Buku.

These Motorboats All looked As Though They Were Tied Up Here All Summer!

Villa Cities On Bodrum Peninsula.

More Villa Cities!!

Sailing From Turgutreis Into Gokova Bay Beyond Bodrum. 
6 - 9 August 2017.

10.    Ilica Buku To Turgutreis Marina D-Marin.   5 August 2017.    We departed Ilica Buku at 0915  hrs as we need to resupply and planned on spending the night in Turgutreis Marina on the SW corner of Bodrum Peninsular. We sailed round again westwards exploring all the bays and coves but were again horrified by the number of boats tied up to land and hills covered in Villas. We did find one lovely little harbour of Gumusluk which we entered but again spare room was limited so had to move on. Not before observing a pizza being delivered to a yacht by dingy! It was good to be tied up at Turgutreis Marina by 1440 hrs so that we could wash, fill up with water and resupply with food and beer. We enjoyed a good meal ashore that night in a busy holiday area. As usual there is an excellent yacht club and pool. 

Entering Gumusluk.

Pizza Delivery By Tender In Gumusluk. Love it.

11.   Turgutreis Marina To Catalada Island.  6 - 7 August 2017.   A Turkish sailor told us that Catalada Island just west of Turgutreis Marina was a most wonderful anchorage and place to enjoy watching the sunset. We then left at 1430 hrs after completing our resupply and had our second pump out to conform with the pooo Police.  We enjoyed a short sail to the Islands and found a most wonderful anchorage with lovely clear water to swim in. The previous bay with all its fish farms and shallow waters made for very unpleasant water, but this was clearly further out and much cleaner. More like Greek waters. We enjoyed a couple of lovely days anchored here swimming, BBQing, exploring the island and watching the sunset. This was more like it, away from the madness we had experienced so far.

Departing The Villas And Madness Of Turgutreis Marina.

Anchored Off The Delightful Catalada islands.

Catalada Island Sunset.

Catalada Islands.

Kisti Two In Catalada Island Anchorage.

Catalada Island Pier.

12.     Catalada Island To Akyarlar Bay.  8 August 2017.  After a wonderful swim, we departed Catalada Island at 1020 hrs and headed round SE to enter the Gulf Of Gokova keeping Kos Island on our starboard side. We explored various bays and inlets and eventually settled for Akyarlar Bay due to a good anchorage and shelter at 1500 hrs. It was a lovely spot where we enjoyed a good swim and then went ashore for a delicious meal overlooking the bay and Kisti Two. There were plenty of large resorts surrounding the bay while the town itself catered mostly for Turkish people, the hotels all being full board. Before 1923, it was a Greek summer resort and still had plenty of that Greek charm about it.

Akyarlar Bay Anchorage.

13.   Akyarlar Bay To Bodrum Then Taslan Bay.   9 August 2017.   We departed Akyarlar Bay with the vague idea of going into Bodrum Marina at 0930 hrs. We surveyed the coast again and then went round in towards Bodrum. The bay looked excessively busy, noisy and expensive so we had a good look at St Peters Castle from Kisti Two and then headed off east past Karaada Island. We eventually found a wonderful anchorage at 1400 in Taslan Bay but full of tourist Gullets. Thankfully they all departed before 1800 hrs but always full of noise and loud music including one most ugly  tourist gullet complete with Pirates Of The Caribbean decoration. We were clearly not far enough from Bodrum to escape the gullets by day but at night it was to prove to be a peaceful, lovely and attractive bay far enough from the noise of Bodrum. This was to come a feature of our trip along the Turkish coast, Amadas of noisy Turkish Tourist Gullets attacking every peaceful bay. 

Approaching Bodrum.

St Peters Castle From The South,  Bodrum.
St Peters Castle From The East, Bodrum.
Karaada Island.
Taslan Bay.

It Looks As Awful As It Was Noisy!

14.    Thoughts So Far.  25 July - 9 August 2017.    We had crossed into Turkey expecting much the same as in Greece but our first two weeks were a big disappointment. The Bay Of Gulluk was an enormous letdown full of fish farms, dirty murky water, hills full of white tourist villas and enormous full board tourist hotels. The bays around the Bodrum Peninsular were full of large motor yachts permanently tied up to the shore leaving little space for newcomers. The Marinas were expensive and very hot. The restaurants were not as good as Greece but at least the EFES lager beer was very tasty, but expensive due to a 25% tax on alcohol. We still enjoyed ourselves and were glad to have explored the coast, however after all the excellent stories about sailing in Turkey, it had so far not lived up to expectations. The one good thing was the lack of strong Meltemi blows disrupting our plans.