Sailing and Sauntering Around the Turkish Coast
Last week my father, sister and I whisked ourselves away for a week of peace and quiet, characterised by a salty sea breeze and crystal clear water, going sailing on the Turkish coast between Marmaris and Fethiye. And it was blissful. Very very hot, but blissful all the same.
We were the grateful guests of John, a family friend of ours who spends 6 months of the year living aboard his yacht in the Mediterranean, sailing to wherever he pleases, whenever he pleases. We last saw him and spent a week aboard Kurukulla, his yacht, in Croatia in September 2009. That time we sailed from Split to Dubrovnik, passing by Hvar, Korcula and various other islands on the way.
Since then he’s sailed through Greece and is spending this year pottering along the Turkish coast. Quite the life, I can assure you. John himself writes a blog about his life at sea, detailing the ins and outs of the boat and the many deserted bays and stunning marinas he stops at.
As for Turkey itself, I can’t claim to have explored it in much depth on this trip, although I can vouch for its verdant coastline and stunning array of uninhabited islands. I had only been to Turkey once before, when I was 14, but I am looking forwardto seeing more of the country, starting with Istanbul. Our first ever au pair, Nursen, is from Istanbul, but I’ve not yet had the chance to go there.
So what did we get upto this past week? Well, first of all we spent a day in Marmaris Yacht Marina, relaxing by the pool and thanking our lucky stars that we’d found ourselves in such beautiful surroundings.
I and my sister Olivia steered clear of Marmaris centre but at night could hear dance music pumping from clubs across the bay. Thankfully we set off the next morning for the anchorage at Ekincik, where the dance music at night was replaced by the sound of hundreds and hundreds of crickets and the gentle lapping of waves onto the shore of our (almost) private bay. Only a few other yachts kept us company.
Up in the forecabin we slept with the hatch open each night, meaning our only light came from the billions of stars above us in the Milky Way. I was awoken a few times by the sunrise, but hardly complained with a view like this:
From then on our days took on a certain routine: a swim around the bay first thing to wake up properly and cool down after a hot night, then breakfast up on deck followed by a rest with a good book for an hour or so, before a more energetic swim into a neighbouring bay to explore what was there, then a summer salad full of juicy tomatoes and feta cheese for lunch. After lunch we’d happily greet the “ice-cream boat” that would come past once a day, before going for another dip or perhaps a snooze on the beach of whichever bay we found ourselves in, before raising the sails to catch the breeze and move onto the next idyllic haven.
I quickly established my favourite spot on the entire yacht, perched like a mermaid on the anchor chain at water level, yacht-watching and picking out which one I’d like most.
Among the other bays and marinas we visited were Kizilkuyruk Koyu, Gocek, Yassica Adalari, Tomb Bay and Boynuz Buku, although I think my favourite was Yassica Adalari where these photos were taken:
Here are some photos of Gocek and Boynuz Buku:
If I could have changed one thing however, I think I would have chosen to go in September rather than August. It was roasting at 34°C during the day and 24°C at night. We treasured a breeze and the odd gust of wind, but when there’s no air conditioning in sight, the heat can get to you. The immense heat did however make the water the perfect temperature for swimming, and we could happily spend the whole afternoon in the water without feeling chilly. This is something that is most certainly not possible in the Solent in England!
I have one last tip for you that you must try if you get the chance: Drop anchor in a deserted bay, wait until it’s pitch black & all the stars are out, turn off all the yacht’s lights, and jump into the water. Watch the water around you turn an electric florescent blue as the terrified micro-organisms around you light up and simply marvel at it – it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen!
I love the pace of life on a yacht, there’s never any rush and you have everything you need right there. A good friend of mine is currently sailing the seven seas, working as a chef aboard a brand new superyacht, and I am seriously envious!
Last summer I took the RYA Competent Crew course in the Solent (see my blog post about the course) and the Day Skipper qualification is in my sights. A bit like skiing, sailing is one of those very handy skills to have. I grew up on the south coast of England so I’ve been sailing since I was yay-high and I’m lucky to have grown up in a very enthusiastic sailing family.
Do you like sailing or are you a fan of staying on firm ground?