Cruising in Turkey
After the rally broke up in Crete (April 2005), we sailed our beloved ARAGORN to Bodrum, Turkey. There we said goodbye to John and Ginny, who had sailed with us since Thailand. However, we found ELISE there (they had skipped Crete), and CONDOR and TAHLEQUAH came a few days after we did, so we had friends around.
In about ten days, we hauled the boat, and flew back to the States (we had been gone for 17 months). We returned in June and started our summer cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean. During the summer we cruised Turkey, followed by Greece and Croatia (see other pages) before bringing ARAGORN back to Bodrum for the winter.
While in Turkey in the spring we were lucky enough to have our older daughter, Sloane, visit with us. Turkey is a great place to cruise. There are new anchorages about every eight miles, and the waters are clear, making navigation easier. The countryside is beautiful and it is said that Turkey has more Greek ruins than Greece.
The Turkish are very nice people. They have a tradition of welcoming strangers into their homes and many Turks were still happy to see us, even though they have many visitors.
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ARAGORN sits peacefully in a creek in Turkey. This actually was our first time anchoring with the stern tied to a rock and the anchor set on the other side of the creek.
Bodrum is a very modern, progressive Turkish city. It is said that many of the wealthier Istanbul residents come here to sail. It certainly is beautiful and historic.
Standing half-way up the fourth-century (BC) Greek Theater gives you a good view over the town, seeing the marina (center right), the crusaders' Castle of St. John, (center left) to Karada island.
Not seen is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, sited in little Bodrum! Then called Halicarnassos, Queen Artemisia II wanted to honor the memory of her recently-deceased husband, Mausolos, and the spectacular building she built him became the first Mausoleum. (Due to pillaging, some to build the castle, there is little left but the foundations and a hole in the ground at the site.)
This is our view from the marina, looking at a 15th century castle! Few residents think twice about the antiquities here, other than as a tourist draw. We are bowled over by their commonplace!
The wooden sailboats are local "Gullets", made nearby and designed to carry eight to twenty people on charter. The area has such great cruising grounds that the charter business is high-volumed, with gullets in every cove and frequently two deep at the dock.
In the castle you can catch the crusaders' arms as well as their names carved into the foundation stones.
The boats are finely-crafted wooden vessels in the old traditions. It is like jumping back one-hundred years.
Leslie and Jim Burnett-Herkes (off CONDOR) admire some of the ketches and schooners in one of the yards in Icmeler, the marine industry district of Bodrum.
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Turkey has a rugged coastline, matching the mountains thrust up by plate tectonics. This means there are great bays and coves to anchor in. Although the water is deep and the shores steep in many cases, you get used to anchoring techniques that work (see first photo in this page ... anchored and stern-tied to a rock).
But this little cove of Gumusluk gave us a secure anchorage for two nights. The small town has great fish restaurants, and the area has been inhabited for over 2500 years.
Gumusluk cove (cove to the left) has an entrance which is guarded by a large rock (or small islet?). Also note that Dick is standing on the ruins of a 2300-year old breakwater from Greek days.
Another great cove was Selcuk. A few of the local fishing fleet, as photoed from the ruins of a small fortress.
Their small boats, with net rollers in the bows and protective awnings aft, are perfect for the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, there are not many fish left in the Med. Most of the fish harvested from this area are now from fish farms.
The Turks are friendly people, and we got along well with everyone. But we made good friends with Tolga and Ozlem, two aggressive entrepreneurs who have built up Akustik Travel from nothing to a good-sized opertion in Bodrum. It is nice to know young people who are passionate about their business and making a success of it. They have also shown us wonderful Turkish hospitality.
Here is Ozlem with their very cute daughter, Ada.
And if you are looking for great service from a travel consultant in Turkey, call Akustik in Bodrum! (See "Links" page for email access.)
Upon arriving at home in May, for a quick break, we found our neighbors June (see Norfolk to Antigua trip) and Wendell Anderson had created a welcome sign charting our trip. They posted it on the fence everyone sees on the way into town (a local tradition).
Thank You June, Wendell, Henry and Callie!
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Copyright 2006, Richard William York