The Turquoise Coast
The West coast of Turkey offers cruising options to suit different tastes.
Below is a description of a Turkish Coast trip with some possible variations following. In most cases, these trips can be scheduled for either of the periods each year that we plan to be in Turkey. Generally we sail in The Dodecanese Islands during the summer months, the Turkish coast in spring to early summer and towards the end of August or "Indian Summer" to mid-September and occasionally, October, when weather conditions are optimum for the Turkish coast.
An example itinerary along the Turquoise Coast of Turkey
The "Yachting Experience" Cruise
Here in Turkey we have some lovely ports to go to. Some people prefer the "yachting life," of staying in well organized larger marinas rather than sailing to more isolated areas, or anchoring out, and this would be the cruise for them. Most days we will do light sailing for three to four hours and then return to the marina, where there are pubs and restaurants, shopping and great showers a short distance from your berth.
On this cruise we will spend most evenings in organized marinas.
The Marinas in the bay of Marmaris are most likely the best within a 500 mile radius, and rivals the very posh marinas in Italy and France. The pretty harbor has many shops and restaurants right within the confines of Netsel Marina, and not far from Yacht marine - both of which we use at different times.
Our favorite pub is here overlooking the harbor, simply called "The English Pub." It has been our favorite watering hole for years. We have spent many an evening watching the light fade over the bobbing yachts against the backdrop of the spectacular mountains ringing the Marmaris bay.
You have a choice of restaurants for your evening meal, or you can dine at the pub.
On your first day here, we might take a short "shakedown" cruise out in the bay, returning to Netsel for the night.The wide bay is great for an afternoon sail and the winds are almost always favorable.
The next morning you will likely visit the large Marmaris bazaar. But, should you like a leasurely English, continental, or Turkish breakfast first, you can choose from any of the harbor restaurants on the waterfront.
For those not interested in the bazaar we have found an excellent dock and taverna just at the very end of the bay, a great stop before heading down the coast.
The first day of real sailing might be a cruise a short distance to Ciflik Bay, southwest of Marmaris, or with good conditions, further down the coast to a very remote anchorage hidden by the rocky shore and surrounding cliffs.
In Ciflik we might dine at a beach side restaurant, there are some interesting choices at Ciflik. Our backdrop is the towering mountains along the Marmaris penninsula. We can leave in the morning or in the afternoon so that you can enjoy the morning swiming, reading, having breakfast at the restaurant, or sleeping in! Not too far away is one of my favorite snorkling spot in the isolated anchorage of ArapAdasi. Many pottery atifacts lie on the bottom here in 3-5 meters of water behind the small island where we anchor. If the winds are in the right direction, we can remain here for the night. If not, we will sail in the afternoon when the wind comes up, back to the Marmaris Bay and anchor in the bay or continue down the coast actually going north.
Ekincek bay, surrounded by towering mountains is our next destination.
Ekincek bay snorkeling
This bay is another unique Turkey destination, which is almost an exclusive bay for sailors, as the road in is fairly rough and there is limited accommodations. Those who sail enjoy particular hospitality at "My Marina" a very unique restaurant open only to sailors, with their own private harbor.
This is a lovely bay frequented only by a small amount of Turkish travelers and yachts cruising this coast. Most trips, we will spend one night here, at My Marina Dock and Restaurant, and one night anchored out in one of the 3 coves.
From Ekincek we will depart in the morning for an unforgettable river boat cruise up the Dalyan River Delta, stopping to visit the little known, but extensive Caunos Ruins, which in the past 5 years has been excavated extensively, I am thrilled to see what they are uncovering each year. We then take our river boat up to the watershed lake of "Kocgyiz" where, weather permitting we will spend a couple of hours enjoying the natural hot springs along the lake's edge.
Visit this website for more information on Caunos
On our return down the river we will make a short stop at the Dalayan town, a lovely place constructed along the Dalayan with balconies and walk ways jutting out on to the slow moving river lined with riverboats.
This evening we will most likely move to another anchorage. We sometimes have the possibility of visiting a local family here, that of the captain of our river boat, Mesut; I have watched Mesut's family grow over the years, and we make sure that we have Mesut has our riverboat captain - when he is out tending his bees, he sends his cousin with us, it is a family affair!
A longer day of sailing is ahead of us next for our trip along the rugged coast to Fethiye Bay. We will sail past towering cliffs, inlets and another delta before reaching our destination, Fethiye Bay
This perfect sailing destination is a 10 mile wide bay whose shore line is made up of a series smaller bays, valleys and islets which could provide different anchorages for at least a week.
We will head to the idyllic town of Gocek whose four small but well appointed harbors, give us plenty to choose from. We will stay at the newest harbor at the east end of the bay. Here the facilities are similar to those in Marmaris, but on a smaller scale. Great dining can be had here at the harbor as well as in a small cafe in the picturesque town along the waterfront.
A SUNSET ON FETHIYE BAY
After a leasurely morning we will raise the sails and head out into the bay taking advantage of the ever-present breezes here providing us with ideal sailing conditions of smooth water and 15-25 knot winds.
We are now on about the eight day of our cruise.
Gemiller Island is the destination today. This one-mile-long island is literally covered with the ruins of the Lycian, Greek and Roman cultures. The last time it was inhabited was most likely in the Bysantine period. Believe or not, we actually tie up to sunken ruins and climb on shore, every minute walking on and in ancient houses hidden partially now by forest and olive trees.
Our exploration of the island is normally unhindered by other tourists or any sort of limitiation. The whole of the island has an interesting "ranger" who greets us if we access the ruins by the main entrance, and may well offer us tea.
One of the Greek Orthodox Churches of which there are 3 that are still recognizable on this tiny island of ruins.
We will spend the second night 15 minutes from the ruins in the "fresh water" bay where there is an excellent taverna on the hill and a very interesting man who owns and runs it, AliBey, having occupied the land and then years later managed to buy it in order to stay and keep his "homestead". Everyone here has an interesting story. Alibey travels the world in the winter with people he has met from the yachts over the past 20 years, and in the "warm months" runs his great taverna hidden away in the pine forests and crags of these mountains.
On the tenth day of cruising we will have a longer day of sailing and head toward one of the isolated anchorages of Fethiye for a quiet afternoon and a night under the stars.
If this is a "pampering cruise" we will stop one night at an interesting resort in Fethiye Bay, Letoonia, where everything is included, European style. There is a particularly nice Hamam which is open to us at all hours of the day, all spa treatments are available here as well, the massages are great!
There are swimming pools and very nice waterside places to sit, sip a drink and just plain relax looking out across the bay to the mountains and Fethiye town.
Our last day of sailing is in Fethiye bay befor heading into port in Gocek.
Disembarkation at 9AM on the day of departure.
AT THE END OF YOUR STAY:
Gocek is a lovely little Turkish costal town. In or near Gocek there are wonderful places to stay if you would like to extend your holiday to include a stay on land. We recommend the following hotels:
Small B&B style hotel with 11 rooms, pool, cafe and bar, minutes from the town and harbor:
A&B Home Hotel
01190 252 645 18 20
01190 533 636 9292
You can consult the web search under "The Small Hotels of Turkey" .
5 Star accomodations are available in the marina at Gocek.
The SwissHotel chain has constructed a handsome, full service hotel as part of the marina complex.
Contact: [email protected]
01190 252 645 2767 (from the US. From Europe, dial 0090)
Getting away from it all......
Another aspect of sailing is the possibility to really get away from it all. Really.
We will sail away from "civilization" on the day of your arrival.
Along this wild coast line we can anchor out - in isolated places - for a number of nights. For two or three days we can sail from anchorage to anchorage with out touching a city or town. We can stay for more than one day in tranquil bays, swimming, snorkling, exploring and doing very little. The coast of Turkey in this area is high and rugged. Our backdrop is mountains somewhat like the rockies, with forests that run right down to the sea. My Colorado visitors tease that they never left the state and keep seeing Pikes Peak towering above us!
A stop in a small town along the way will provide variety to your cruise and allow us to reprovision and take on water and fuel.
A cruise of this type can be arranged for 10-13 days.
A little of both.........
For those of you who want to enjoy a bit of both worlds, this is possible on 12 or 13 day trips. Depending on your preferences, we will gauge the amount spent in our favorite stops. We can include more - or less sailing - touring or hiking, visits to ruins, and the small Greek towns which dot this coast. Originally the Turkish Coast was mostly inhabited by Greeks.
Our longest trip of 13 days can take you to all of the "scenic" stops as far as Kekova and Simena Kale, an isolated village which gives you a glimps of the typical Turkish coastal culture.