- Brett and Jill
- John and Mindy
- Captain Oktay
- Chef Ozan
- Sailor Sue
Day 1: Fethiye - Turunç Bay
Brett, Jill, John, and Mindy arrived at the boat and we departed Fethiye harbour after a quick safety briefing. Drink service started shortly thereafter. Although the weather forecast indicated quiet winds and calm seas, this didin't prove to be true, so Captain Oktay elected to overnight in nearby Turunç Bay until everyone could develop their sea legs.
We spent the rest of the day swimming, relaxing, and generally getting to know each other - swapping stories and becoming fast friends.
Chef Ozan's first feast of the cruise was a steak dinner with all the fixings. (And just a hint at what he was capable of producing in his tiny kitchen below deck.)
Day 2: Turunç Bay - Ölüdeniz - Gemiler Island
The winds died down over night, allowing for smooth passage to Ölüdeniz on the second morning. Along the way, we made a slight detour in an attempt to catch fish that were leaping from the water near Gemiler Island.
Anchored in a cove near Ölüdeniz, the Texans enjoyed the calm water of the Blue Lagoon. Paragliders soared overhead, leaping from nearby Mount Babadağ.
After lunch and sunbathing time, we lifted anchor for the short trip to Gemiler Island. We anchored along the ruins of an ancient harbour.
As evening approached, the temperatures dropped to the mid-30s and we ventured for a hike around the island - with plenty of water and wine on hand to enjoy watching the sun set over the Mediterranean from the island's peak.
We made our way back down from the lighthouse and Chef Ozan collected us at the little dock. A Russian family from Red Pepper sail boat were stranded on the dock and he offered them assistance too.
It was seafood dinner night - sea bream and shrimp - and the group was introduced to Ozan's famous zucchini tarator.
Day 3: Gemiler Island - Ağa Limanı
Today's 3 hour journey took us from Gemiler Island to Ağa Limanı after breakfast. Captain Oktay raised the sails for part of the way - allowing us to bob along the sea under the power of the wind. It was a slow, but peaceful experience.
We lucked into a prime anchorage near the beach at Ağa Limanı and spent the day enjoying the incredibly clear, turquoise water in the bay.
Late in the afternoon, we hiked up the hill to a plateau that was once an important border city called Lydae. All that remains of the ancient city are some ruined mausoleums and cisterns, but dry conditions in the region meant the cisterns were empty, so the group was able to go insider to look around.
Dinner this evening was Adana and lamb şiş kebabs plus Chef Ozan's incredible carrot tarator - which easily proved to be Jill's favourite dish. (Brett even joined Chef Ozan in the kitchen to learn how to make it at home!)
Day 4: Ağa Limanı - Merdivenli Bay - Göcek Island
Day 4 of the trip was a busy one! We left Ağa Limanı and made our way into the Göcek Islands region, stopping first at Merdivenli Bay. The tiny bay, named for the steps carved into the rocky cliff leading into a cave, was busy with holiday makers on boats of all shapes and sizes.
John saw a motor boat lose its anchor as it attempted to anchor next to us, and then we all watched as a scuba diver attempted to find (and eventually retrieve) it. Everyone hiked to the small settlement above the bay, meeting the local Imam and his family and having the chance to peek into the small mosque serving the spiritual needs of devout Muslims in the area. Jill and Brett enjoyed tea and snacks on the beach with new friends, and Mindy discovered her hidden talents as a Goat Whisperer. All-in-all, the goings-on in and around the bay kept us entertained for most of the day.
(Other highlights at Merdivenli Bay included the creation of Sue's Texas Tea and a visit to the Migros boat.
As the day wound down, we lifted anchor and made our way to an anchorage closer to the town of Göcek for the evening. It took a bit of searching (the bays are bustling due to the approaching Bayram holiday), but we found a peaceful spot on the west side of Göcek Island.
Day 5: Göcek Island - Göcek Harbour - Hamam Bay - Tersane Island
After a fabulous breakfast of potato-eggs, we made our way into Göcek harbour for an 11AM appointment for Covid PCR testing. The lab representative made quick work of collecting samples (although Jill was a little reluctant to have a swab stuck up her nose) and we were back on the water about 30 minutes later. (Results were issued via e-mail mid-afternoon and everyone was negative.)
Captain Oktay navigated to Hamam Bay where we anchored near a tree with a rope for Tarzan swinging. We enjoyed the space for a short time before day boats swarmed the area and we elected to move on, looking for something a little more peaceful.
Until this point in the cruise, we'd been blessed with lovely anchorages (which we define as pretty, clean, not too crowded, and no noisy neighbours). Unfortunately, our luck in this regard was coming to an end.
Tersane Island has always been a beautiful spot for us - and the absence of pine trees on the island mean there are no bees to annoy guests at sunrise and sundown. The downside is that everyone else likes it too - probably for the exact same reasons.
Captain Oktay backed us up onto a prime spot on the beach. The boat next to us had a screaming baby. So we moved on. Captain Oktay backed us up onto a prime spot beside some ruins. The boat next to us had karaoke-singing dancing girls. So we moved on. Captain Oktay finally found us a perfect spot outside the bay, near some big motor yachts. We spent the evening trying to guess what was going on as their dinghies mysteriously shuttled to and fro.
Day 6: Tersane Island - Göcek
Our final morning together was subdued. Guests and crew were all sad that the cruise was coming to an end.
We slowly made our way to Göcek harbour after breakfast, where we said farewell to our new friends from Texas. We signed and traded flags - a new tradition we hope to continue. Sue and Ozan escorted to their hotel, and the start of their return journey back to the US.
Brett, Jill, John, and Mindy: Thank you so much for joining us aboard Arkadaslik. The trip was a long time in planning, but well worth the wait to meet you all. Until our paths cross again, lots of love from us to you!
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