Monday, May 27, 2013


Above the anchorage at Gumusluk
Pronounced "Goumoushlouk" roughly. It's the ancient city of Myndos, nice place, nice anchorage and despite the rampant tourism on this northern section of the Carian coast, it still retains the atmosphere of a Turkish sea side village. There are a couple small markets and a very nice little bakery right off the wooden town wharf. The bakery has the usual fresh bread and an exceptional assortment of baked goodies including the very best baklava we've had this trip, perhaps ever. There are also the usual restaurants lining the sandy waterfront walk but they aren' t too pushy, usually, and the food is good. 

Turkish baked goodies
This anchorage did get crowded on a Saturday with charter boats and boats from the big city of Bodrum. That led to our first anchoring cluster this trip. Some idiot on a chartered  38 foot Bavaria came into the anchorage about nine PM and just had to anchor right in the middle of the densest part of the fleet. We had been here several days and had gotten closely surrounded already that day but this guy dropped right beside us. It was over fifty feet deep in that position so naturally he dropped about fifty feet of chain. When he couldn't get the anchor set  he started dragging it around and hooked our chain. Then they tried to bring their anchor up with our anchor chain hooked on it and we started dragging. They had no idea what to do so we had to start up our engine and Janet kept us in position while I got in our dinghy and went over to their boat to help with an 'anchor thief',  a device built just for this situation. They had little English, my Turkish consists of "hello" and "thank you"  and the three women and one guy on board were pretty much clueless. I can only say that after about an hour of chaos our chain was freed and they motored off into the darkness where they should have gone in the first place and we got re-anchored and hit the sack. This was in flat calm. If it had been blowing as it had a couple nights earlier somebody would have got hurt.

And a few nights ago it did blow 30-35 knots from the southwest. This anchorage is well protected from about anything but a southwesterly. We had a few short drags that night, the first time our Rocna anchor has ever dragged anywhere, and getting re-stuck was an interesting exercise. We finally took an open mooring for the night. A big Oyster next to us started really dragging down onto the boat astern and our air horn woke them up in time to avoid a major collision. They just pulled anchor and departed.
Tourist "gullets'
Now we've been here a week.  We're having some canvas repair done in Bodrum that should be done today. There's another big southerly forecast for day after tomorrow so we'll depart tomorrow for a bay just north of us, Ilica Buku,  that's well protected from the south.
Bodrum Castle
Since our last blog entry from Knidos we've continued north to the Bodrum Peninsula and the city of Bodrum itself. Bodrum is a nice modern city with a lovely, if touristy, waterfront and an impressive 15th century fortress centered on the harbor. We toured the fortress and enjoyed a couple expensive nights in the excellent marina. We also found a pretty good Chinese restaurant that was an interesting change of fare.
Bodrum harbor
From Bodrum it was just around the corner to a nice anchorage off Catalada Island. So far it's the only place we've had almost to ourselves this trip, one other boat,  and in a northwest wind it was well sheltered, quiet and lovely. Having the kind of secluded anchorages you might expect in the Pacific or SE Asia is a rare event in the Med. There are a lot of boats here and people anchor a lot closer than is the custom elsewhere. The major stops are MAJOR stops and I think we'll be hunting for the out of the way places most of the time. The coastline in this area is infested with "holiday villages" which are concrete jungles that all look alike and bring in tourist hoards to artificial towns made over to serve them. This is a very good place to be on a boat and able to escape this stuff.
Catalada Island
Gumusluk is not one of those "holiday" places and I believe they don't intend to get that way. There are tourist places on the beach south of town but the village itself still has some character.
Woman at the vegetable market
So we'll be outta here tomorrow to sit out the southerly. We may stick around the area to have the Ullman Sails guy in Bodrum work on our genoa. I was very unhappy about the service supposedly provided by UK-Halsey Sails in Marmaris and these people at Ullman actually seem to be interested in doing a good job. Anyone thinking of having UK Sails in Marmaris work for them should think again and find someone else. And we do have UK-Halsey Sails on our boat. 

So not to end on a sour note, its a beautiful morning, couldn't be prettier, the anchorage is quiet and uncrowded and life is good. We'll take a Dolmas (small local bus) into Bodrum this afternoon to do a couple things and move on tomorrow. Whenever we leave the Bodrum Peninsula we plan to work north up towards Kusadasi. Maybe with stops on the Greek islands of Agathonisi and Samos and a couple places on the Turkish coast.

Love to all,
Bill & Janet

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cruising the Carian Coast

Three thousand years before Columbus 'discovered' America the Carian peoples inhabited this coastal area of what is now Turkey. 
Airstream at Ali Baba's wharf, Bozuk Buku
They were followed by Aeolian and Ionian sea peoples around 1000 BC. Between 400-500 BC Sparta founded several cities along the coast as colonies and the Dorian era began. Herodotus was born in Halicarnassus (modern Bodrum) in 430 BC. The Persians  moved in after the Peloponnesian War and then Alexander took it from the Persians. The Romans took it from the Greeks early in the new millennium.  With the fall of Rome the Ottoman Empire ruled until the advent of the modern Turkish state. There was an occasional war with the Greeks, of course.
Bozuk Buku
 So when we cruise this beautiful coast we are immersed in the early history of western civilization. And it easy to see why civilization got such a good start in this part of the world. First of all, it is truly beautiful in the most magnificent and inspiring manner. And I think humans respond to such an inspiration. The Doric Peninsula, for instance,  is a giant Yosemite by the Sea. 

Hellenistic era fortress walls at Bozuk Buku
 The sea is relatively sheltered and coastal communications and trade were easy compared to overland travel. The climate is true Mediterranean, not harsh but not enervating. A human can survive here year around without being ruled by the climate but has to work a little to be comfortable. There are defensible positions on every headland and many well sheltered harbors. In a time before the Med was so heavily fished it must have been an easy place to find a decent meal.
Pethi anchorage, Symi
And, in a way, nothing has changed. The last war between the Greeks and the Turks was only 90 years ago. Right now they're getting along rather well and Cyprus issue is in deep back ground mode. The area has lost none of its spectacular beauty. Coastal travel is still more fun than overland although the Turks are building good roads through the area. There are nice anchorages, the same anchorages in many cases, for us to use and we travel in boats about the same size as the ancient coastal trading craft. The fishing may not be so good but there is a restaurant on the beach in any protected anchorage. It is still an easy place to find a decent meal.
Symi town, island of Symi, Greece
So we left Marmaris on the 8th of May as planned. I got the fridge fixed and installed a new inverter, maybe the only 110 volt inverter in Turkey, and we were outta there. Since then we've anchored or Med tied in Serce Limani, Bozuk Buku, and we went over to the Greek island of Symi and anchored in the bay at Pethi. We had a lovely sail and crossed back into Turkey at the town of Datca. 

Stoa ruins at Knidos
And now we're anchored at Knidos and surrounded by the remnants of that ancient city. It's a magnificent setting for a magnificent ruin of what was, for about 500 years, a major Greek, Persian and Roman port. It's not as well known as Ephesus and it has never been throughly excavated but it may be even more interesting for all that.

Knidos anchorage, amongst the ruins of the ancient city
 Its also a lovely anchorage with a nice fish restaurant (no village)  ashore so we may suffer  along through a few more nights. Soon we'll move on northwards to the area around Bodrum and then into the Ionian.

Love to all,
Bill & Janet

Monday, May 6, 2013

Land Travel In Cappadocia

What happens when a group of like minded yachties goes on a little land travel? A very good time is likely and that was the end result from 2100km of travel from Marmaris into Cappadocia and return.
The gang, Americans, English, Australians and Germans.
One of the long term live-aboard ladies here in Marmaris is an organizing enthusiast and has been putting together yachtie tour groups for years. We had wanted to see some of interior Turkey and planned on renting a car and doing it ourselves. At the last minute she threw together a tour and we jumped at the chance to go traveling with some friends on what was a very good deal both from content and cost. We had a nice Mercedes bus, a great tour guide and driver and a good plan. We were off!
Taz, our tour guide and a friend.
Off into very rugged mountainous terrain that was much more alpine and beautiful than we expected. The Taurus Mountains rise almost directly out of the sea to around 13000'. The tree line seems to be about 6-8000'. There's still plenty of snow in April and May and to see these mountains above the southern coast of Turkey is spectacular.
Tauras Mountains
The travel went smoothly, the roads are generally very good, and we stopped frequently enough at scenic spots. Once in the interior mountains it feels very much like the central Sierra of California or the Snowy's of Wyoming. It's lovely country, thinly populated with small villages and some grazing of goats and sheep. There are big high altitude lakes. It was also cool to the point of being chilly but sunny and high-altitude crisp. We stopped for an afternoon at Sagalassos, an ancient Roman city at about 6000' with a fantastic setting on a mountain side over looking the main trade route through the valley far below. The ruins of the highest Roman amphitheater in the world over look the what remains of the city, a beautiful place I'd never heard of before.
Amphitheater at Sagalassos

The Library
 And that's pretty much how it went. I could write a long blow-by-blow description of the entire trip and bore the hell out of everyone but I'll try to avoid that temptation. Suffice to say we descended down into the central plains of Anatolia and on to Cappadocia.
Interior of the mosque at Beyshir
 We visited the very good 12th century Esrefoglu wooden mosque in Beyshir. This place,  despite the much smaller scale than Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque of Istanbul, impressed me much more in its mystic beauty.  The local Imam gave us a tour and he was a very modern, kind and respectable gentleman. Definitely a good guy.

Cappadocian scene
We visited under ground cities.We toured scenic valleys with amazing erosion formations. We toured churches built into earthen teepee formations. We hiked all over the place. It was not a really lazy tour. The highlight of the trip was a great early morning balloon ride over the Imagination Valley and the area near Avanos. Janet got another animal fix with a camel ride. We did most all the stuff you're supposed to do in Cappadocia and had a great time.

Great balloon ride.
Janet harassing the local fauna.
Eventually we headed back over the mountains to the coast at Antalya which is a big, big tourist destination for Russians and eastern Europeans. It's a lovely setting but far to developed for us and I wouldn't want to be anywhere near during the height of the season. Then it was back through the coastal mountains and down into Marmaris. A great trip!
Not what you think of as the Southern Med.
So we spent six days with very nice people and a great tour guide. I highly recommend that if you have time in Turkey to get out of the coastal scene that you do something similar. The interior is often very beautiful and always interesting. Tourism is a factor at the major sites but you will see much of the real Turkey going about its business.  Everyone we met was extremely friendly and helpful. It is not a difficult country to travel in however you decide to go.

Imagination Valley
 Now we hope we're in the final stages of getting out of Marmaris. Its been fun and very social but its time to move on. With a little luck our sails will be done today and the new inverter will arrive. We'll get final provisions aboard and be gone day after tomorrow, heading to the southwest along the coast.

Love to all,
Bill and Janet
SV Airstream