An Action Packed Cruise for Scuba Lovers
Cruising Kekova with the Hendry Family
When George described his family's cruise requirements to us, we knew the Kekova route would be a perfect fit. Small seaside towns to explore, opportunities for scuba diving, and as much "sail time" as possible.
George and Ails, Jonny and Clare, Claire and Alex
Captain Oktay, Chef Ozan, Sailor Hakan, Sue
How the "A Hill of A Deal 4 Hendry's" Cruise Played Out
Day 1 - Göcek Harbour to Gemiler Island
- After stocking up on dark rum and ginger ale, (and with a bit of drama due to catching an underwater cable in the marina) we lifted anchor and left Göcek harbour. We made the 3 hour trip to Gemiler Island in breezy, but very pleasant conditions.
- We anchored at historic Gemiler Island for the night, and after some fun in the water, most of the group headed to the island's peak to watch the sunset over the Mediterranean.
- Captain Oktay barbequed sea bream at the front of the boat - a most delicious dinner!
- Guitars came out after dinner for an evening of music, laughter and friendship. Claire and Jonny entertained us for hours, and passengers from a nearby boat came over to enjoy the tunes.
- A stiff breeze started around 11PM and continued into the early hours of the morning, but Claire and Alex managed to sleep on deck without getting blown away.
Day 2 - Gemiler Island to Kalkan to Kaş
- 6AM came early and dark as the crew woke up to prepare for the 5 hour journey to Kalkan. Anchor lifted around 6:30AM and we made the incredibly smooth journey with relative ease. Breakfast was served enroute, just after we passed Patara Beach.
- We anchored in a large turquoise-coloured bay near Kalkan for several hours before lifting anchor again to begin the eastward journey to Kaş.
- Shortly after leaving the protected waters of the bay, Captain Oktay caught a tuna! Then, we resumed course, passing the Greek island of Meis (Kastellorizo) and continued for a couple of hours, eventually stopping at the seven islands outside of Kaş for the night.
Day 3 - Kaş to the Kekova Region
- Happy birthday, George!
- We departed from the collection of small islands outside of Kaş as the sun was rising after a rolling night at anchor. Captain Oktay let out his fishing line as we made our way eastward towards the Kekova region. Fish were spotted, but nothing took the bait during the 2 hour trip.
- We cruised past Sunken City and then turned Arkadaslik around and anchored at the base of Simena castle. Everyone headed ashore to explore the tiny village and enjoy some of the best home-made ice-cream in the galaxy.
- Then we continued a bit farther along towards the Gökkaya area and discovered St. George's Bay where we spent the rest of the day. Amazing!
- George celebrated his day from beginning to end with champagne, gifts (including swim trunks, shirts, and an Arkadaslik Yachting crew t-shirt), love, and laughter with his family. There was even a birthday cake - served to the accompaniment of "The Birthday Song" - for dessert.
- Just before dessert, a few courageous souls went for a night-time swim. (Most, but not all, wore bathing suits.)
Day 4 - Kekova Region
- After breakfast, Captain Oktay took us to visit a pirate cave, impressing everyone with his ability to navigate Arkadaslik a few feet into the cave's entrance.
- We spent most of the afternoon anchored at Furunoz Bay where an odd little Russian man on a small chartered sailboat gave us nasty stares. Apparently, he wanted the bay to himself. Fortunately (for him), we lifted anchor around 4:30 and left him (and his floating Coke bottle used as an anchor marker) in peace.
- Just a few minutes after leaving the cove, Captain Oktay and the boys raised the sails. (And a few minutes after that, Sue crashed the drone into the sea. Farewell "Big Bird" - Rest in Peace.) We sailed along for a while under wind power, but lowered the sails before turning into the Kekova channel for the final leg of today's journey.
- Stopping briefly at the foot of Simena castle, George popped into the Ankh Cafe for some ice-cream "to go" for guests and crew alike. A fabulous and unexpected treat.
- As the sun set, we anchored in Konschuk Kanyon (named after some guests who joined us the week previously), and Jonny and Claire treated us to some more fabulous singing! Even the goats flocked around the boat to enjoy "Halleluja". It was magic, a definite highlight of the trip for Sue and Captain Oktay.
Day 5 - Kekova to Kaş for Scuba Diving
- We had another early start today, cruising about 2 hours from Kekova to the rendezvous area mid-way between Kaş and the Greek island of Meis for scuba sessions.
- Claire dove to 25 meters and saw a sunken boat, pottery, coral and fish in the incredibly clear water. Clare and Alex did intro dives. All gave two thumbs up (or, perhaps more appropriately, the A-OK sign) to the crew at Nautilus Diving Center for their experience.
- After lunch, we made our way to the little Kaş harbour for an afternoon visit. Everyone had the chance to shop and sightsee while the crew cleaned the boat, and refilled the fresh water and diesel tanks.
- We spent the evening at Bayinder Bay just outside of Kaş, and everyone went to sleep early after a long day in the fresh sea air.
Day 6 - Kaş to Kalkan
- Today was a relatively quiet and relaxed day, with only 2 hours of cruising to position ourselves for a longer trip tomorrow. The slow, unhurried pace was perfect for swimming and relaxing in the Turkish sunshine.
- The Turkish Coast Guard made visit to the boat while we were anchored near Kalkan, checking our documentation and safety certificates. We watched in fascination as they made their rounds to the other boats in the area - and convinced ourselves that a neighbouring sailboat was up to no good, probably smuggling drugs, refuges, or maybe a dead body. It turns out they were simply struggling with an uncooperative anchor winch, but it was entertaining nonetheless.
Day 7 - Kalkan, Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz, Gemiler Island, and the Göcek Islands
- In anticipation of windy weather and rough seas, Captain Oktay took every precaution before we pulled out of the bay at Kalkan at 7:30AM. Although a bit rough, everyone was prepared and the morning trip was smoother than expected. We passed Patara Beach and Butterfly Valley, and stopped at a small cove near Ölüdeniz for breakfast and a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon.
- After breakfast, we headed to Gemiler Island, planning for a relaxed afternoon before the final leg of today's journey. Winds picked up through the channel, so we stopped in a more protected area bustling with day boats. After a quick swim and a fast lunch, we lifted anchor again, to head towards the Göcek Islands region.
- At this point, we should cue the music for Gilligan's Island. The wind was fierce, and the waves were tall. The little boat was tossed. Except for the courage of the fearless crew (and passengers),...! In truth, it was a fairly impressive storm - but all emerged shaken and unscathed.
- We spent the evening anchored at Kitle Bükü in the shelter of the Göcek islands.
- We bid our farewells in Göcek harbour, sad to say goodbye after a really fun week. May our paths cross again!