Exploring the Turquoise Coast with a Family from Tunisia
A Relaxing Family Get-Away in the Göcek Islands and Beyond
Mehdi, Sana, Kenza, and Adeeb
Captain Oktay, Sailor Ozan, Chef Ahmet, Sue
Day 1 - Göcek Harbour - Çiğlik Bay - Red Island - Turunç Bay
The Bajjar family arrived in Göcek around 2PM and, after the obligatory temperature taking and hand sanitizer, we were soon underway. Freshly baked borek was served as we made our way to the first destination of the cruise. Our first stop was a quick one so everyone could enjoy a swim in the crystal clear water at Çığlık Bay.
Feeling refreshed, we lifted anchor and made our way to Red Island about 40 minutes away. The breeze was welcome as we cruised across the open water - keeping everyone cool in the 35+ degree heat. When we arrived at the island, Sailor Ozan put the paddle boards and kayak into the water. Kenza was up in a flash and never fell in! Everyone else took their time getting the hang of paddle boarding, but all were successful in the end!
Our final leg of the day was a short but wavy trip to Turunç Bay near Fethiye. The bay was surprisingly busy with gulets and private yachts anchored against the rocky peninsula. We'll spend the night here and continue our journey tomorrow.
As the sun started to set, Chef Ahmet and Sailor Ozan prepared the meze and salads in the kitchen and Captain Oktay took control of the barbeque. Sea bass and all the trimmings were on the menu tonight, with a fruit plate to follow. It was delicious!
Day 2 - Turunç Bay - Tarzan Bay - Ağa Limanı
Our morning didn't quite go to plan. We lifted anchor around 8:30AM, intending to head towards Ölüdeniz and eat breakfast enroute. Captain Oktay turned the boat around after about 15 minutes due to heavy swell making the trip quite unpleasant. We returned to Tarzan Bay for breakfast and swim time.
When the breakfast dishes were cleared, we lifted anchor again and made our way to Ağa Limanı. There was some swell, but the trip was much smoother than our initial journey of the day and we arrived in the picturesque bay about 90 minutes after departure.
The rest of the day was spent playing in the water, napping, eating, fishing and turtle-spotting. Sailor Ozan helped a sailboat anchor. And, late in the afternoon, we moved the boat to a prime spot in front of the beach to avoid heavy afternoon wind in the area.
After a dinner of barbeque chicken, we all sat around the dinner sharing stories of "defining moments" in our lives.
Day 3 - Ağa Limanı - Ölüdeniz and the Blue Lagoon - Gemiler Island
The bees arrived at Ağa Limanı just before breakfast so we lifted anchor and headed across the Gulf of Fethiye towards Ölüdeniz. The sea looked calm, so there was a bit of a swell as we ate breakfast. But we arrived safely at Ölüdeniz about 2 hours later.
Paragliders filled the sky as the Bajjar family kayaked to the Blue Lagoon for some swimming and exploration. Mehdi was stung by a sea anemone, but will recover completely because of the miraculous healing powers of sea water ;-).
Back at the boat, we lifted anchor for the short cruise to Gemiler Island where we anchored against ruins of an ancient harbour dating back to 4th century.
The heat of the day took a lot out of us, so everyone had a short nap before hitting the water for fun and games. Sailor Ozan took Kenza and Adeeb out for some dinghy-driving lessons, and towed them through the channel on the kayak.
Adeeb caught the first (and second) fish of the trip.
We stayed here overnight and will hike around the island in the morning before temperatures rise.
Day 4 - Gemiler Island - Martılı Bay
We woke early and started our hike around Gemiler Island at 8:30AM. Even with the early start, we were hot by the time we returned the boat! (The island is home to the ruins of several churches built to honour St. Nicholas of Myra and was once a bustling harbour community.) After showers / swims and some breakfast, we lifted anchor for the trip back to the Göcek Islands region. The sea was relatively calm and we arrived in the islands about 2 hours later.
Finding peaceful anchorages is proving to be a bit of a challenge on this journey because of the Pandemic. Although there aren't many charter boats out right now, boat-owning locals and their friends are out in full force enjoying holidays aboard private yachts, so the bays are busy. We visited Guban, Merdivenli, and Hamam Bays before finding the perfect spot at Martılı Bay where we spent the rest of the day.
Before dinner, we took a quick hike around Martılı Bay in search of donkeys (Baby Dee Dee, Mom Dorothy, Dad Dave, and Auntie Doris). While we saw several goats (and lots of goat poop), the donkeys remained hidden.
Back at the boat, we enjoyed a quiet dinner before turning in for the night.
Day 5 - Martılı Bay - Summer Harbour Bay at Tersane Island - Sarsala Bay - Merdivenli Bay
The day started with a relaxed breakfast and swim time at Martılı Bay. The family kayaked and paddle-boarded in the bay, while we waited with great anticipation for the donkeys. The donkeys must be on their own vacation right now, as they never appeared, so we lifted anchor in search of new adventure.
The first leg of today' cruise took us to Hamam Bay, which was very crowded. So we dropped the fishing line into the water and slowly trawled along the shore into Sarsala Bay where a high speed dinghy caught the line right out of Mehdi's hands. After Sailor Ozan retrieved the line and lure from the dinghy driver, we continued past Aquarium Bay and eventually anchored at Summer Harbour Bay at Tersane Island.
The bay at Tersane provided a nice place for swimming (watch out for the sea urchins!) and lunch, and a break from the day's warm winds.
We then made our way back to Sarsala for a relaxing afternoon before anchoring for the evening at Merdivenli Bay. (It was a tricky anchorage, but Captain Oktay maneuvered us between other boats into a prime spot on the beach.)
We enjoyed a lovely dinner on the back deck, but as the hour grew late, the people on the boat next to us slowly woke up. Poor Adeep was on the "noisy" side of the boat - listening to the "party group" until well after midnight.
Day 6 - Merdivenli Bay - Bedri Rahmi Bay - Sarsala Bay - At Bükü - Göcek Harbour - Göcek Island
Mehdi and Sailor Ozan woke at 6AM for an early morning fishing adventure. (This was an historic moment in Arkadaslik Yachting's history because Ozan NEVER wakes up at 6AM!!!)
Sana and Sue also rose before the kids to hike around the bay before breakfast and explore the cave in the canyon at Merdivenli Beach.
After breakfast, we headed out to Bedri Rahmi Bay in search of fresh spring water. Unfortunately, the day's quota of water had already been sold to other boats, so we anchored near a Tarzan rope for some swinging good fun.
We lunched at Sıralı Bük next to a big motor yacht ("Mrs. B") outfit with fitness equipment and contemplated the life of the rich and famous. (Everyone agreed that a bank heist would be required in order to retire to that lifestyle!) It was quite windy, so we left Sıralı Bük without swimming to continue our search for fresh water, but vowed to return one more time before the holiday ends to enjoy the bay's spectacular beauty. One upside of the windy conditions is that Captain Oktay and Sailor Ozan were able to raise the sails. We bobbed along the sea at about 3 knots on our way to the next destination, At Bükü.
The line-up for water at At Bükü exceeded our patience and (unfortunately) our water supply. Poor Kenza's shower was cut short while she was still a little sudsy! And the mosquitos were terrible, so we left quickly and returned to Göcek harbour to take on fresh water.
Mission complete, We headed to nearby Göcek Island and anchored in the dark for dinner and overnight next to some very nice yachts. (Sunseeker Manhattan 55 - $800,000US).
Day 7 - Göcek Island - Kitle Bükü - Sıralı Bük
We enjoyed a leisurely start to the day with breakfast at Göcek Island and some shopping with the Purse Lady.
Afterwards, we made our way to Kitle Bükü for napping, paddle boarding, and general fun in the water.
Medhi requested that our final night of the trip be spent in beautiful Sıralı Bük. It proved to be a lucky stop for him, and he finally caught a fish! Guests and crew enjoyed a fantastic dinner of barbequed steak (and Mehdi's fish) together to celebrate a week of fun and friendship.
Day 8 - Sıralı Bük - Göcek Harbour
After breakfast and a group photo session on the bastion, we lifted anchor and made our way bay to Göcek harbour for final good-byes. Hopefully it isn't the last time our paths will cross!