Quiet anchorages and ancient ruins in Turkey
Clear water, hot sunshine and ancient civilisations make a memorable week for William Mills.
I had no idea there were so many marinas. I thought I could jusr ask the taxi driver to take me to ‘Göcek marina’ and I would find my boat. It turns out there are many marinas in the Turkish town, so my driver and I decided to try one after another. Amazingly, as we pulled into the first one, my friend Chris Higham loomed out of the darkness, ready to welcome me aboard his Morgan 44 Moonraker.
The evening’s heat was pleasantly oppressive as I emerged from the airconditioned car, though it was still only May. I was soon aboard with a cold beer in hand, unloading supplies, including boxes of teabags.
‘Nothing beats an English cuppa,’ smiled Chris.
Göcek is at the western end of a bay with the larger town of Fethiye about 15 miles to the east. The open sea is some ten miles distant to the south with numerous creeks, islands and headlands to explore. With fresh provisions on board, we set off. The only slight issue was Moonraker’s lack of a holding tank. Rather than risk a €3,000 fine, we would have to use toilets in local restaurants.
It was a while since I was last afloat and it took time to adjust to the movement of the boat. It was just a short sail to our first anchorage off some small islands for lunch in about eight metres of water, though we couldn’t quite see the bottom. The water was pleasantly warm for a swim, even if I did miss throwing my mask and snorkel into the dinghy – they sank quickly into the gloom. Chris offered to scuba-dive down for them, but I didn’t think it was worth the risk. I could replace them in the next town.
In the light afternoon airs we sailed across the bay to another anchorage for the night. Along the shore, trees grew right down to the water’s edge, reminiscent of the English Lake District. Under the branches were boulders with mooring posts, and we selected a likely-looking bollard. I lowered the anchor as Chris drove in astern. It was then my job to paddle ashore in the dinghy with a stern warp and tie off.
‘Quick now!’ called Chris. ‘Mind scratching the dinghy on the rocks!’
It left me a little breathless although by the end of the week I was getting rather good at it. With that, we settled in for the evening and Chris lit the deck barbeque – the smoke a sign of contentment rather than distress. Gin and tonic in hand, ‘sundowners’ is one of the best traditions, and is a good time for relaxed conversation and card games. As I lay in my bunk that night, listening to the yacht rocking gently at anchor, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be afloat again at long last.
In May there was still snow on the mountains
Chris enjoying a decent sailing breeze