A Fabulous Exploration of the Historic Lycian Region of Turkey
- Jan and Mike
- Chris and Steve
- Captain Oktay
- Chef Ozan
- Sailor Murat
- Sailor Mustafa (apprentice)
Day 1: Fethiye - Tarzan Bay - Gemiler Island
We departed from Fethiye shortly after 2PM and made our way into the open water. Strong winds meant it was a bumpy ride, causing a few in the group to develop seasickness, so Captain Oktay chose to anchor at Tarzan Bay for a while to let the wind die down.
A few hours later, we continued the journey to Gemiler, anchoring at a small bay with a fabulous view of the island. Rowdy neighbours and persistent wasps forced us to move to the foot of Gemiler Island, where we spent a lovely evening getting to know one another.
Day 2: Gemiler Island - Kalkan - Kaş
The second day of the cruise started early (5AM) to avoid the winds and waves that usually come to the region later in the day. We made our way out of the Gemiler channel and south towards Kalkan under calm conditions. There was a hair-raising moment when young sailor Mustafa accidentally touched a lever controlling the flow of diesel to the engine and we stalled, but Captain Oktay quickly sussed out the problem and had us back on track within a few minutes.
We pulled into a bay near Kalkan about 5 hours after departing from Gemiler Island for a lovely breakfast and time in the sea. The water was an incredible turquoise color and the sky a slightly deeper blue - making it feel like we are in paradise! The location was perfect, so we stayed for a few hours, leaving only after the lunch table (green bean casserole) was cleared and put away.
Mid afternoon, Captain Oktay raised the anchor and we made our way to Kaş, where we had planned to visit for a few hours before settling into our anchorage for the night. Although everyone on the boat is a resident of Turkey and quite familiar with Covid-related lockdowns, we all forgot it was Sunday and were a bit disappointed that we couldn't get off the boat to wander around the seaside resort town.
Instead, we anchored at a bay opposite Kaş harbour for a barbeque chicken dinner and settled in for another evening of pleasant conversation.
Day 3: Kaş - Aquarium Bay - Furunoz Bay
After breakfast, we moved the boat to the backside of the Kaş breakwater. Everyone hopped into the dinghy for a self-guided visit to Kaş town. For some, that meant a short search for ice cream and shade, for others, it meant a hike to the antique theater just west of town.
Sightseeing complete, and hot as Hades, we returned to the boat and Captain Oktay took us to another piece of paradise - Aquarium Bay. We practically had the place to ourselves for several hours! Chef Ozan served an incredible lunch of chicken caesar salad and everyone took advantage of the clean, clear water to cool down. We lifted anchor and continued our eastward journey just as the noisy day boats arrived.
Our final destination of the day was a little-visited spot on the south side of Kekova Island called Furunoz Bay. Goats frolicked on the steep cliffs surrounding the boat as the sun set, and almost everyone decided to sleep outside due to the heatwave.
Day 4: Furunoz Bay - Demre Harbour - Gökkaya - Simena
We started the day with a leisurely breakfast in the bay (with time for swimming while the crew cleared the breakfast table), then made our way to the tiny harbour at Demre. Normally, a stop-over at Demre involves a visit to St. Nicholas Church and the site of ancient Myra, but the hot weather made us re-think our plans. Sue, Chris, Mike, and Steve made their way to the museum / interpretive center at Andriake for a few hours of exploring. Everyone's favourite part of the visit was the cistern - because it was lovely and cool. They made their way back to the boat and the journey continued.
Loud, crowded, day boats were plentiful in the area and Captain Oktay did his best to find a quiet anchorage in Gökkaya for the afternoon before heading to his favourite anchorage in front of Simena castle for the night.
We enjoyed a barbequed steak dinner with all of the fixings, anchored in front of the ancient castle before heading to bed for the night.
Day 5: Simena - Sunken City - Kekova - Uçağiz - Konschuk Canyon
After breakfast, everyone went ashore at Simena. Some climbed to the castle, others went to visit the sunken tomb, and others relaxed in the cafe - which serves incredible, home-made ice cream.
Our wanderlust satisfied, we returned to the boat and cruised over the Sunken City of Kekova, and then to a nearby bay for lunch and relaxation.
Late in the afternoon, Captain Oktay lifted the anchor and headed towards the small village of Uçağiz to fill the fresh water tanks. It was windy as we dropped anchor, but we were quickly tied to the rickety dock and connected to the water supply. We all hopped off for a brief foray into the village, but the heat quickly drove us back to the comforts of the boat.
It took a while to find a suitable anchorage for overnight, but we found one that fit the bill perfectly. Nicknamed Konschuk Canyon because we first discovered it when cruising with the Konschuk Family, its a long windy canyon that only fits a single boat. Another night in paradise!
Day 6: Konschuk Canyon - Five Islands near Kaş - Kalkan
We lifted anchor early on Day 6 of the cruise, making our way to the Five Islands area just outside of Kaş for breakfast and swimming. The water was amazing. It's no wonder that this area is so popular for scuba diving!
Mid-afternoon, we lifted anchor and continued another 90 minutes westward, stopping just outside the harbour at Kalkan. Everyone was relaxing and elected to stay on board while the crew made a quick shopping trip and Sue spoke with potential new passengers about cruise options later in the year.
Chores complete, Captain Oktay took us to a bay about 15 minutes away from the harbour where we spent a windy night at anchor.
Day 7: Kalkan - Butterfly Valley - Ölüdeniz - Gemiler Island - Tarzan Bay
Our penultimate day onboard was another long day of cruising. We delayed departure from Kalkan until the winds died down and made our way up the coast towards Ölüdeniz, with a visit into Butterfly Valley enroute.
As everyone in the group lives in the general area, we didn't spend much time at the small anchorage near Ölüdeniz before heading to Gemiler Island for the afternoon.
Sue, Chris, Steve and Mike headed out for a hike around the island as the temperatures started to drop. (It was over 40 degrees during the hottest part of the day!) Once everyone was back to the boat, and had the chance for a quick swim to cool down, Captain Oktay raised the anchor and we made our way to Tarzan Bay, just outside of Fethiye.
The journey was bumpy and rolling, and the bay was jam-packed when we arrived. Fortunately, we found a lovely spot between a mega yacht and a sailboat to spend our last night at sea.
Chef Ozan's final masterpiece of the trip was Ottoman Kebab - beef stew prepared in big clay pots. Delish!
Day 8: Tarzan Bay - Fethiye Harbour
We made our way towards Fethiye after breakfast, facing dozens of small day boats making a mass exodus from the harbour. Once in the harbour, we had to wait a short while longer until a suitable spot opened up on the kordon for disembarking.
Safely anchored, we said our goodbyes to a wonderful group of new local friends. We hope to stay in touch and see you all again!
A Shared Summer Cruise in the Kekova Region
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