Inaugural Shared Cruise of 2022 Season - Rhodes and Symi

Guest List

Shirley and Charles, Jan and Mike, Debbie and Richard

cruise guests sitting on the front bench of the gulet

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Crew List

Captain Oktay, Chef Ozan, Sailor Murat, Sue

Highlights of The Adventure

Day 1 – Fethiye – Ağa Limanı

After some confusing instructions from the Fethiye customs officers and a bit of shuffling around in the harbour, everyone boarded the boat for a week-long adventure to the Greek Islands of Rhodes and Symi. Shirley and Charles were the first to come aboard, which seems appropriate since they booked their holiday way back in 2019! Mike and Jan have cruised with us before, and they invited their long-time friends Debbie and Richard to join them on this trip. Everyone settled in quickly – a great mix of people we suspect will stay connected after the journey ends.

Sue led a quick safety briefing and boat introduction, and then Captain Oktay headed out of Fethiye harbour for the 3-hour journey to Ağa Limanı. The sun was shining and sea conditions were perfect. We anchored at Ağa Limanı and Sue, Shirley, Charles and Captain Oktay hiked to the ruins of the ancient city of Lydai at the top of the hill overlooking the sea.

Chef Ozan and Sailor Murat prepared dinner of fresh fish and everyone settled in for the evening.

At the night-time engine inspection, Captain Oktay noticed a problem and determined we'd need to return to the harbour in the morning to get it checked out before heading to Greece. A bit frustrating, but a good decision to keep boat and passengers safe and sound.

map of day 1 of the cruise route

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Day 2 – Ağa Limanı – Fethiye

We lifted anchor and made the disappointing return journey to Fethiye, where Captain Oktay anchored us near the shipyard. Mechanic "Duran Duran" met us to assess the situation and figure out repair requirements. Sue kept guests apprised as the situation played out.

Fortunately, everyone's schedules were flexible and we were all able to postpone the cruise by a couple of days rather than alter the planned itinerary. Jan, Mike, Debbie and Richard left the boat to stay on land until the repairs were completed; Shirley and Charles decided to remain on board.

Day 3 – Fethiye

It was a quiet day in the harbour waiting for the repair work to be finished.

Shirley, Charles, and Sue visited the shipyard and watched a "pirate boat" getting launched into the sea. Ian, Mike, Debbie, and Richard toured Kayaköy before returning to the boat for a group dinner.

Day 4 – Fethiye – Ağa Limanı

The repairs were finished and tested by mid-afternoon, and we headed out to Ağa Limanı for the second time. The engine, named Eleanor by our guests, purred along and gave us no further problems. We anchored at Ağa Limanı for the night, everyone enjoyed a chicken dinner before heading to bed early in preparation for the long journey to Rhodes.

map of day 4 of the cruise route

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Day 5 – Ağa Limanı – Rhodes

Captain Oktay lifted the anchor quite early for the 5 hour trip through open water. It was fairly smooth going and we were able to eat breakfast along the way. Our Greek agent met us as we pulled into the New Marina and the formalities for boat and people immigration were completed fairly quickly. After that, everyone was free to head out and explore Rhodes on their own.

We met up for pre-dinner cocktails around 7PM and then headed out for an amazing dinner at Mama Sofia's - and to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries galore. It was a fabulous night out!

map of day 5 of the cruise route

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Day 6 – Rhodes – Panormitis – Symi

After breakfast in the harbour, we hoisted the anchor and headed towards the Greek island of Symi. Our first destination of the day was the Most Holy Monastery of Archangel Michael at Panormitis where we witnessed the tail end of a baptism, enjoyed a wander, and had a cup of Greek coffee before heading back to the boat for lunch and the next leg of the journey.

After lunch, we made our way to the north end of the island, dropping anchor in Symi harbour near a group of Welsh groomsmen and their groom, who were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the bridal party. All boats tooted their horns in appreciation as she arrived.

Sue and Captain Oktay negotiated the ever-changing paperwork requirements with the Greek authorities and then gathered everyone together for "face control". (Fortunately, everyone was at the nearby Greek ice cream stand, so round-up was a simple task.) Then they went on a shopping spree at the Duty Free shop – returning to the boat with an assortment of alcohols and perfumes. Part of the evening was spent comparing favourite perfume scents.

Chef Ozan prepared a lovely steak dinner for us in Symi harbour. We were surrounded by loud motorbikes zooming around the narrow harbour roads, but things quieted down by bedtime and everyone had a good night's sleep.

map of day 6 of the cruise route

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Day 7 – Symi – Bozukkale – Bozburun

Shirley, Charles, Mike, Richard and Sue caught the local tour bus for a ride to the castle at the top of Symi before breakfast (4 Euro, round trip). We wandered around the ruins for a while, snapping amazing photos of the views, before heading back to the bus stop and hopping aboard for a complete circuit tour of the harbour town. (Interesting note: when debriefing "highlights" of the trip, everyone who visited the castle mentioned it as a highlight!)

At the same time, Jan and Debbie headed out on a short shopping spree around the shops lining the harbour.

Everyone re-connected for breakfast and we then made our way to Bozburun to re-enter Turkey. Turkish bureaucracy is like nothing else in the world, and it would be an understatement to say today's experience was complicated and frustrating. Fortunately, in the end, everyone was cleared for re-entry to Turkey. And, the boat's supply of Magnum ice cream treats was restocked – so all's well that ends well.

We made our way to Bozukkale as the winds picked up, but Captain Oktay found us a nice secure place to spend the night and watch the blood red moon lunar eclipse. As we rounded the peninsula, everyone threw bread into the sea in memory of a sailor who is said to have lost his life due to starvation on the rocky shore. Once safely anchored, the paddle boards and kayaks were put into the sea for fun by all.

map of day 7 of the cruise route

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Day 8 – Bozburun – Kadirga Bay (near Marmaris) – Ekincik

The winds died down over night and Charles, Shirley, Mike and Sue ventured from the boat before breakfast to explore the ruins of the ancient castle called Bozukkale. The sun was shining as the adventurous group made their way along the red and white paint marked path, and it got warm enough that Sue eventually shed her winter coat.

After breakfast, we left the protected bay and made our way eastward, anchoring at Kadırga Bay near Marmaris. A daily-tour boat was vacating the area as we arrived, leaving us in peace and quiet for most of the afternoon. Everyone swam, kayaked, and paddle boarded to their hearts content. Chef Ozan baked and served a cake and caught three calamari, so it was a productive day for him. It was an amazing day of rest and relaxation for the rest of us.

Our final leg of today's journey took us to a bay near the village of Ekincik, where we anchored for the night. Sue made some first attempts at preparing "Bloody Susan Marys" – experimenting with strength and zip. The path to perfection is a long one, but one she is willing to pursue.

map of day 8 of the cruise route

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Day 9 – Ekincik – Dalyan Delta Tour – Ekincik

After a hearty breakfast, Captain Tacettin collected us in his water taxi for an excursion along the Dalyan Delta. The trip was smooth and we made our way to the open air museum and archaeological site of Kaunos. He proved to be a good guide and gave us interesting information about the ancient Carian site. A group of children were having belated Mother's Day celebrations in the shade of olive and pistachio trees on site, and several in the group joined into their singing and dancing.

After the ruins, we toured farther up the Dalyan River to see the rock tombs cut into the steep cliffs overlooking Dalyan town site. Then we stopped by "La Boheme" restaurant for some decadent, Instagram-worthy desserts. (Although the media is reporting that Queen Elizabeth II attended several Jubilee celebrations around the UK today, we are 99% sure we spotted her enjoying an Efes in the sun at the same restaurant. ;-) )

The water taxi ride back to Ekincik harbour was a bit rough, but Captain Tacettin guided us safely and we were back at Arkadaslik about an hour later. Shirley had never seen a sea turtle, so we searched the harbour and found a solitary male slowly swimming about. Photos and videos ensued.

Back to the boat, and Captain Oktay lifted anchor and we made our way out of the harbour. About 15 minutes later, he elected to turn around as the winds were high and conditions quite unpleasant. We re-anchored at our original bay and spent the evening waiting out the wind and enjoying another fabulous chicken dinner.

map of day 9 of the cruise route

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Day 10 – Ekincik – Merdivenli Bay – Hamam Bay – Sarsala Bay

Captain Oktay lifted the anchor early, intending to visit a pretty bay for breakfast before heading towards the Göcek Islands, but threat of rain changed his mind. (Who wants to eat breakfast in the pouring rain while on holidays???) Instead, he piloted us around the Kurtoğlu peninsula and we enjoyed breakfast before arriving in the Göcek Islands region.

First stop, Merdivenli Bay. Named for the stairs leading to a cave at the mouth of a long canyon, Merdivenli is a popular and picturesque anchorage. Richard, Charles, Mike, Shirley and Sue elected to go for a walk along the canyon and up into a small farming settlement, and Richard and Shirley even ventured into the cave.

Second stop, Hamam Bay. Named for the ruins of an ancient stone bath house which legend says was built for Cleopatra and Marc Antony. Debbie and Richard kayaked through the ruins and the rest of us watched Chef Ozan and Sailor Murat fling themselves off a tall tree into the clear water of the bay.

Our final stop of the day was Sarsala Bay, where we had dinner and then bid a sad farewell to Shirley and Charles, and Debbie and Richard, who had to go to the airport to catch a late evening flight home. Jan and Mike stayed onboard and we had a quiet final night together at sea.

map of day 10 of the cruise route

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Day 11 – Sarsala Bay – Fethiye

Captain Oktay spotted a family of dolphins early in the morning and we kept watch for them while lifting anchor and making our return journey to Fethiye. It was a smooth journey and Jan and Mike were able to eat breakfast along the way. We pulled into Fethiye harbour around 10:30 and said our final good byes.

map of day 11 of the cruise route

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Shirley and Charles, Jan and Mike, and Debbie and Richard – we enjoyed our time with you and are thankful for your patience and understanding, and especially your friendship. We will all remember our first cruise of the 2022 season fondly. Thank you for being a part of it!

Lots of love,

Sue, Captain Oktay, Chef Ozan, and Sailor Murat (and Eleanor the Engine)