Summer 2022

Cruising the Turquoise Coast

Fethiye is a city and district of Muğla Province along Turkey’s turquoise coast. We anchored in the large bay at the foot of mountains covered by green pine and cedar forests.

It was Republic day when we arrived so we went ashore to watch the celebrations. It is one of the most important public holidays and national festivals in Turkey. This year was the 99th anniversary of the creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923. After their victory led by Atatürk in the War of Independence, the Turkish parliament amended the constitution and proclaimed Turkey a modern Republic, formally marking the end of the Ottoman Empire. On the same day, Mustafa Kemal was named Atatürk (father of Turks) and was unanimously elected as the first president of the Republic.

In the town we found many preparations in place, flags were flying, posters of Atatürk were up and a stage was being constructed in the main square, ready for the evening parade, speeches and performances.

With plenty of time before everything started we went for a walk around the town. The harbour has a large marina with many wooden gulet boats and tourist pirate ships.

The area has suffered repeated devastating earthquakes, the most destructive being in 1957 when there were 67 deaths and 90% of the buildings in the city were destroyed. Following this disaster the city was rebuilt with height restrictions on construction, ensuring that the whole town is now made up of only low-rise buildings. The city suffered further earthquakes in 1969 and 2012, but thankfully these were less powerful and no lives were lost, but significant damage to buildings still occurred.

Just beyond the marina is Paspatur, the name for the old town where historic streets are now filled with bars, cafes, Turkish baths and shops, all selling a range of goods including carpets, ceramics and jewellery along with dried herbs, spices and lokum (Turkish Delight). There is also a large fish market where you can buy the catch of the day and the ubiquitous ‘Umbrella Street’, to keep the scorching sun at bay.

After dinner in one of the local restaurants, the town lit up as we waited for the parade, which did not disappoint. It seemed that everyone from Fethiye was there as 100’s of people walked around the harbour towards the main square, there was a sea of red as they all proudly waved their flags, music was playing, patriotic songs were sung and flares were lit up along the way.

The main square became busy as the entertainment started on stage. First a brass band played more patriotic music followed by acts from various singers and dancers all evening. We found a bar with a good view to watch!

The following day, with a slightly sore head, we lifted the anchor just as the sun rose over the hills. There was not a breath of wind and the water was flat calm as we left the bay.

With very little wind all day, we had the engine on for most of the 40 nm journey to Yesiliköy. This is a quiet bay surrounded by hills with clear water and just a few other boats anchored, a perfect place to spend a couple of days relaxing in the sun and swimming. Unfortunately, there are always jobs to be done so, with the water temperature still 24°, we took the opportunity of having warm calm water to scrape off the barnacles and clean the hull.

Most countries in the Mediterranean have regulations about disposal of waste from boat toilet holding tanks, and it is generally acceptable to empty these when on passage a few miles from the coast. In Turkey there are strict rules that you cannot empty tanks into the water anywhere, so with our gauge heading towards full it was time to move on to the nearest ‘pump out’ station, a further 14 nm along the coast at Kas Marina. During this year we have completely re-plumbed our holding tank system in anticipation of our visit to Turkey, but we were still a little apprehensive as to whether the new pipes to our deck fitting would remain watertight when used under pressure. It was a great relief when everything went to plan and there was no leakage to be seen or smelt.

Once we had paid our pump out fees and also topped up with diesel, we left the dock. Our intended anchorage close to the marina was too busy and deep so we decided to continue on a further 6.5 nm to the next bay where we dropped our anchor in plenty of room and with more crystal clear water.

There was some swell rolling into the bay through the night making it a little uncomfortable, so the next day we continued 15 nm towards Kekova and anchored in Sicak Koyu, a pretty bay surrounded by hills and trees. With it being late in the season now it was very quiet and we were on our own in the bay for most of our stay. This will be the furthest south that we intend to travel this season.

After a couple of lovely hot sunny days here the Indian summer that we had been enjoying ever since we arrived in Turkey was due to end. There was some stormy weather forecast over the following week, so we decided it was time to continue on 20 nm to Finike where we have booked a mooring in the marina for the winter. In the calm before the storm there was no wind for the entire journey so we had to motor all of the way.

Finike marina is fairly small with a mooring capacity of 284 boats and surrounded by hills and mountains. We received a warm welcome from our neighbours on arrival at the dock, all were happy to update us about everything that’s going on. Many people are staying on their boats through the winter so there are lots of social events arranged in the marina. We are looking forward to meeting new people and also catching up with some old friends here, who we previously met in Sicily.

This is now the end of our 2022 sailing season as we prepare ZigZag for the winter and get started on a long list of new maintenance jobs.

We have had a great summer and really enjoyed having family and friends visit. Our journey started from Sicily leaving MdR in May, we traveled along the south coast of Italy to Croatia, further south to Greece and then east to Turkey. A total of 2244 nm, we were underway for 460 hours over 178 days.

4 replies on “Cruising the Turquoise Coast”

Winter has just turned a bit darker, without your weekly rays of sunshine brightening our lives, thank you so much for sharing, love every word and photo. Hope you have a fabulous Christmas, looking forward to next years adventures on the high seas xx

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Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and stories of your travels for another year. Hope you both have a fabulous winter in Turkey. Looking forward to hearing about your 2023 adventures. Have a lovely Christmas 🎅

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Paul, Sue,
From the cold and gloom of the UK your weekly travelogue has been a much looked forward to fixture of my weekly routine.
Enjoy the warmth of Turkey, and have a great Christmas and New Year.

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How brilliant it has been to share your journey this year. So truly fabulous photos and great experiences for you. With not too many near death experiences…
Have a lovely winter in the Turkish sun and look forwards to reading about your next adventures.
Happy Christmas and Merry New Year you two lovely people.

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