Cruise Details

Guests: George and Chris, Jim and Helen

Crew: Captain Oktay, Chef Ozan, Sailor Sue

The Cruise

Day 1 - Fethiye Harbour to Ağa Limanı

Our guests arrived just after 11AM and settled in quickly. We departed Fethiye before noon and enjoyed a champagne toast while heading out into the Gulf of Göcek. The two½ trip to Ağa Limanı was smooth and uneventful, and we anchored in the peaceful little bay with a few sailboats.

Helen had been a bit nervous about developing seasickness, but handled the journey well. It was a marvelous start to our time together.

A vegetarian lunch was served on the back deck and, although our guests discussed hiking and swimming, simply enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of the bay won out and they spent the afternoon relaxing on the boat.

For dinner, we had sea bream and mezes, followed by a surprise (and very belated) birthday cake to mark Chris' 60th birthday.

map of day 1 of the cruise route

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Day 2 - Ağa Limanı, Kadırga, and Ekincik

Day 2 of this trip started early to ensure a relatively smoooth sail on the next leg of the journey. Captain Oktay and crew raised the anchor at 5:30AM and we made our way out of Ağa Limanı and then west towards Marmaris. George joined us on deck quite early, and others appeared as the nearly 5-hour long journey progressed. Seas were reasonably calm, so breakfast was served enroute, and we made it to Kaderga Bay outside Marmaris by 10:30AM.

The water in the bay was beautiful - turquoise and teal - but cold. We had the place to ourselves for several hours. Then a big party yacht showed up, disrupting the calm with its blaring music. We spied on the boat (a yacht named Sunrise) with the binoculars - looking for anyone rich and famous amongst the young, scantily clad passengers - but didn't recognize anyone worth noting.

Late in the afternoon, we lifted anchor again, intending to make our way to Bozukkale for the night. As we headed out to open sea, Captain Oktay made a final weather check and decided that forecasted high winds made it unsafe to proceed with the planned itinerary. With everyone in agreement, he turned the boat around and we made our way to Ekincik near Dalyan.

Our anchorage for the night was selected to keep us protected from high winds. After a barbequed chicken dinner, everyone headed to bed after a long day at sea

map of day 2 of the cruise route

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Day 3 - Ekincik and Dalyan

Breakfast (including barbequed chicken leftovers for Jim) was served as winds gusted around the boat, and then a water taxi arrived to take the group to Dalyan for the day.

The water taxi ride there and back was "a bit harrowing", but the visit to Dalyan was deemed a success!

Upon returning to Arkadaslik (which had been moved to a slightly less windy bay in their absence), the group enjoyed 5 o'clock cocktails instead of afternoon tea.

map of day 3 of the cruise route

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Day 4 - Ekincik

We spent a windy, but otherwise unevenful day safely anchored in the bay at Ekincik. George alerted Captain Oktay to a broken rope, ensuring we'd all live to see another day. (As a result, George was named the founding member of the Boat Saving Club - which will forevermore be referred to as BS 2021.)

Because of the weather diversion and inability to cruise in high winds, Captain Oktay and Sue offered to extend the cruise. As no one had any pressing commitments at home, the group happily accepted the offer.

Day 5 - Ekincik, Merdivenli Bay, Binlik Bay

Captain Oktay studied the weather reports and determined that the winds would die down early on Sunday morning, allowing for relatively smooth passage back towards the Göcek Islands. The crew lifted the anchor around 6:30AM and we started our return journey. Sails were raised to keep the boat steady, and we made good speed, reaching the Göcek Islands by mid-morning.

First stop was Merdivenli Bay - named for the stairs leading to a cave off the small beach. George and Chris went for a walk up to the settlement on the plateau, making friends with the local Imam. Jim and Helen stayed onboard, soaking up the sunshine. There were other boats nearby, but the bay was quiet and peaceful after the windy conditions out in open water.

After lunch, a catamaran attempted to anchor dangerously close to Arkadsalik, so Captain Oktay instructed the crew to raise the anchor for a short (but very windy passage) to Binlik Bay. We took two attempts to anchor securely in the high winds, but once settled, the spot was fabulous for the evening.

Dinner consisted of Adana kebabs on the barbeque and all the fixings. The nearby beach property played soft music, which could be heard across the water, and a nearby boat blasted a few karaoke songs before shutting down for the night.

map of day 5 of the cruise route

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Day 6 - Binlik Bay, Martili Bay, Göcek, Kille Bükü, Bedri Rahmi Bay, Hamam Bay

After a leisurely breakfast, we lifted anchor and made our way slowly to Göcek harbour for some shopping and sightseeing. Enroute, we detoured to Martili Bay (Seagull Bay) to dispose of our garbage and view the mosaic art installation of a seagull diving into the sea.

The area just outside of Göcek harbour was busy, but Captain Oktay skillfully navigated the mass of yachts and dropped anchor. Chef Ozan took everyone into town via dinghy for about an hour while Sue and Captain Oktay stayed onboard to keep watch in the windy conditions.

Shopping complete, we lifted anchor and made our way back to the peaceful bays of the Göcek Islands. First stop - Kille Bükü for lunch. (Sue became the second member of BS 2021 when she and Chef Ozan determined the anchor had dislodged and the boat was drifting towards shore.) Then on to Bedri Rahmi Bay to fill the fresh water tanks. And our final destination of the day was Hamam Bay, where Captain Oktay again demonstrated his considerable skills by anchoring directly next to the ruins of an ancient stone bath house believed to have been built for Cleopatra by Mark Antony.

We enjoyed a late dinner of barbeque sea bass, with little shrimp (pan fried with a bit of butter, chili flakes and garlic), roka salad, and a couple of other mezes, before some after-dinner night drinks, and then headed to bed.

map of day 6 of the cruise route

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Day 7 - Hamam Bay

We spent most of the day enjoying the beauty of Hamam Bay. George, Chris, and Sue headed out for a walk to the restaurant in the bay to check prices (which were scandalous). Ozan rescued Jim and Helen, who were carried away by strong winds and currents while kayaking to visit the ruins. Eventually, everyone got in for a swim.

The only sour note of the day was when George conked his head while filming his "Below Decks" video, but some painkillers and a short nap seem to have done the trick and he was fine by mid-afternoon.

Around 6:30PM, we lifted anchor and made our way to the final destination of the day, Göbün Bay, where guests and crew went ashore for a fun and relaxed dinner together. The atmosphere was lovely (although Jim's trip to the WC may have scarred him forever) and it was fun to arrive at the restaurant by boat. The food and drinks were good and plentiful, but everyone agreed that it wasn't quite as nice as anything Chef Ozan whipped up in Arkadaslik's tiny kitchen. After dinner, we returned to the boat, enjoying drinks on the front deck and watching the stars before heading to bed. All in all, it was a very nice evening.

map of day 7 of the cruise route

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Day 8 - Göbün Bay, Gemiler Beach, and Gemiler Island (BONUS DAY)

After a relaxed breakfast at Göbün Bay, the crew cleaned up the breakfast dishes and we headed out into the Gulf of Göcek. By this time, all guests had developed their sea legs and the gently rolling conditions posed no problems. The open water crossing took about 2½ hours.

Our first new anchorage of the day was a little cove near Gemiler Beach, our own little piece of paradise. Although there were quite a few people camping, fishing, and relaxing on the craggy shoreline, it felt like we had the place to ourselves for most of the day. Late in the afternoon, a pirate-themed daily boat arrived, music blaring, but they quieted down once anchored and left the area within about 45 minutes.

Around 5:30, having had a wee bit of cake with pre-dinner drinks for afternoon tea, we lifted anchor and made the very short trip to Gemiler Island, anchoring amidst the ruins of the ancient harbour. Sue took George, Chris, and Helen on a hike around the island to visit the ruins of churches built to honour St. Nicholas.

Just before dinner, we spotted a large sea turtle swimming around the boat.

The dinner menu was planned with Jim in mind - chicken on the barbeque. (There was enough left-over chicken to send him home with a doggie-bag!)

map of day 8 of the cruise route

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Day 9 - Gemiler Island, Samanlı Bay, and Fethiye

Our final morning at sea started with a leisurely breakfast. Then crew cleaned up and we were on our way back towards Fethiye. keeping an eye out for the cliffside monastery of Af Kule.

Captain Oktay made one final stop at Samanlı Bay just outside Fethiye for a final round of drinks, and we pulled into Fethiye harbour around 2PM.

Saying goodbye is always difficult when we have such friendly guests aboard Arkadaslik. Fortunately, this group is local and we're sure that the friendships developed will last a lifetime.

map of day 9 of the cruise route

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