This web page describes the third leg of the third 1997 sailing trip with S/Y Thetis in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. It covers our travel from Kas, Turkey, to the Turkish town of Antalya. Along the way we visit the magnificent Kekova region (Pölemos Büku, Asar Bay, Uçagiz, Kekova Island, Semena, Gökkaya Liman), Myra, Finike, and Çineviz Liman. The web page is illustrated with photographs, also included are historical and geographical descriptions of the places visited as well as several links to other related web sites.
Monday August 25, 1997 Day 18
First thing in the morning we went shopping. Alice went to her friendly fruit stand and I tried to locate the small chandler I had seen before in order to get a pelican cleat to rig the modification of the main sheet I saw in S/Y Zephyros. I could not find the store. I bought some film and went back onboard and topped the water tanks. Nikos decided not to leave today because Rozina was afraid of the weather. We, on the other hand, decided to go.
We raised our anchor which, miraculously for Kas, was not fouled. As we were about to make a right turn and exit the harbor we noticed a small motor boat heading straight at the middle of Thetis at full speed ahead. The boat was operated by an older man and had in her a number of kids. The man was totally oblivious while the kids, who saw the impending collision, started screaming. As there was no time to get Thetis out of the way we too joined the screaming. At last the man cut off his engine, but the boat had a lot of momentum. I ran and, bracing myself, fended off the boat with my feet, absorbing the impact with my legs and thus avoiding a direct broadside which would definitely had damaged Thetis. Of course, I could had damaged myself and maybe this was not a very bright move. Fortunately, I was wearing boat shoes. It is important to remember the rule to wear boat shoes whenever you are executing maneuvers.
We got out of the harbor at 10:30. There was some wind from the West and some waves but it was not very bad. We motored to the south point of Kas bay and then we were able to use our sails. We rounded Ulu Burum and found the location of George Bass’ shipwreck excavation. Alice took several pictures to use in her course. We then sailed to Kekova Roads. After rounding Karaöol Adalari the wind became very gusty and we had some difficulty rolling-in the genoa. As it was not rolled in correctly, a section kept on flapping while all of the roller line was used. The gusts, however and the narrowness of the channel prevented me from fixing the problem which would neccesitate unwinding it again, so we motored to the Pölemos Büku [36° 10' N 29° 48.4' E], the Westernmost cove after 16.4 M. We anchored without any problem despite the wind which by now was gusting to 40 knots.
Thetis was not very comfortable and there was no way to put up the tent. I cleaned the zodiac from the grease we had collected in Kastellorizo. Since we wanted to go for a walk I set the second anchor as well.
We got into the zodiac and motored ashore. We walked across the narrow neck to Asar Bay. On our way we saw a group of young horses frolicking. The scenery was very pretty and stark.
We made it back just as it was getting dark. By that time the wind had died out, and it was very calm, an unbelievable change within such a short period of time. We cooked pasta with tuna fish and olives. I was very sore from the encounter with the Turkish speed boat in Kas.
Tuesday August 26, 1997 Day 19
We woke up early enough to watch the sunrise. The water was crystal calm, fish were jumping out of the water and splashing left and right. From the land we could hear goat bells and we watched a large bird (a heron?) fly from the sunny side of the cove to the shady one. Later we went ashore. Unfortunately the starting cord of the outboard got stuck. We walked to Asar Bay, the ancient Aperlae. On the way we met two girls dressed in local costume who were calling their goats to be watered while drawing water from a well. We tried to ascertain the direction and distance to Siçak which Alice had read was a very interesting village but we had no luck. When we reached the Aperlae site it was getting hot already. We climbed to the ruins. We met a young man who was beating with a cane a carob trees while an elderly lady was picking the carobs as they fell to the ground. Again we asked about Siçak. He said that it was 5 to 10 km with a lot of “zor” which we understood to be hard walk (Greek ζόρι - zori). The ruins were fun as these were totally deserted and quite extensive but a hard going as the terrain was very rough. I went snorkeling to see the underwater foundations which were not much but I managed to get sea urchin spines in my hand.
When we got back to Pölemos Büku we found the Faneromeni already there. We had to row back to Thetis since the outboard was inoperable. Nikos saw us and came with his inflatable as we were reaching Thetis and Faneromeni. Nikos and I started dismantling our outboard to repair the problem. In the meantime, the wind had picked up and started blowing and gusting like yesterday and the Faneromeni dragged her anchor and we had to suspend the repair job and re-anchor Faneromeni and take a long line ashore. Thetis had no problem with her two anchors. We then resumed the repairs and fixed the outboard. By the time we finished it was past 4:00 PM.
Dinner was prepared by Rozina and we all ate at the Faneromeni: chicken with mushroom sauce with rice. Both the chicken and the mushrooms came from Athens in the Faneromeni’s freezer.
Wednesday August 27, 1997 Day 20
We raised our anchor and left at 8:40 for the “long” trip to Uçagiz [36° 11.7' N 29° 50.9' E], 3.6 M, where we arrived at 9:15. The gimmick here was restaurant people wearing a huge Mickey Mouse kind of glove waving you to their dock. We anchored some distance to the west of the little town, avoiding the beckoning gloves. The area was very pretty but the water in the lagoon was not clear, as a matter of fact it was dirty.
We waited for the arrival of the Faneromeni which came some time later. We then all went with the Faneromeni’s inflatable (which is much larger and faster then Thetis’) outside of the inner cove across to the Tarsane cove in Kekova island. The ruins in Kekova island (Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine) are under water because of settlement. They are impressive but it is very hard to make out what the original buildings really looked like. Near Tarsane we all went snorkeling. This is a very busy area. There was an endless procession of day-trip boats with glass bottoms and loudspeakers.
Later we went with the inflatable past Kale Köy back to our boats. We took our own zodiac and Alice and I went to Uçagiz to try and call Corinna who by now should be back in Washington. After several attempts I managed to speak with her but we were soon cut-off and Alice did not have a chance to speak. As we were motoring back to Thetis for lunch we were hailed by Nikos and Rozina who had installed themselves at a table in a restaurant. We joined them for a light lunch which came to over $10 per head. Then Alice went back to the PTT to mail some postcards. They did not have stamps! As we were going back to the zodiac Alice discovered that she had two pairs of glasses around her neck: one her own and the other of unknown origin. We assumed it was Nikos’. After searching we located Nikos and Rozina at a store but the glasses did not belong either to him or to Rozina. Back to the PTT we went, and sure enough they did belong to the PTT man who was not even aware that his glasses were missing. It was a very hot day!
After resting for a few hours on our boats we once again set out with Nikos’ inflatable for Kale Köy the ancient Semena. We climbed to the medieval castle and saw its fine ancient theater cut from the rock with only 7 rows of seats. The view from the castle was magnificent but the light was failing and we could not take as many photographs as we wanted.
On our way down from the castle we spoke with a group of Italians cruising with a gulet. They came from a town near Milano which it turns out, not only had Nikos visited in the spring but also the Italian lawyer with whom he was doing business there is the uncle of one of the young women in the group and well known by all of them. “Picolo Mondo!” they exclaimed. We were accosted by several Turkish girls, in costume, selling scarves. Alice and Rozina bought some. By this time it was dark but none of us was hungry. We had a çay (tea) in one of the restaurants. All of the restaurants seemed very empty at night which was not what I was expecting judging by the number of yachts and gulets anchored near-by.
Back on Thetis Alice and I had a light snack but we did not feel very well. Maybe too much sun and heat.
Thursday August 28, 1997 Day 21
We got up very early and watched a marvelous sunrise. We left Uçagiz around 7:00 and after 4.8 M reached Gökkaya Liman [36° 12.4' N, 29° 54' E]: two lovely coves surrounded by many little islands. Very well protected. We anchored and took 2 lines ashore. The Faneromeni did the same.
By 9:15 we were all in the fast inflatable on our way to Andriaki [36° 13.5' N 29° 56.6' E] about 7 M away. We left the inflatable and got into a taxi which took us to Myra. Myra has one of the best preserved Roman theaters (35 rows) dating from 141 AD. It is surrounded by Lycian tombs carved on the rocks and many Roman architectural pieces.
After Myra the taxi took us to the St. Nicholas cathedral in Demre where Alice found Professor Yldiz who was a fellow at Dumbarton Oaks in D.C. and had lectured at the AIA and had dinner with us at Mehmet Ergene’s house. She showed us around the excavation (not open to the public) and the reconstructed plans of the 12th century monastery adjacent to the cathedral. The cathedral itself is very well preserved and kept. It has lovely floor mosaics.
Saint Nicolas, the patron saint of the Greek sailors and the Santa Claus of American children, was born at Patara but was the bishop of the Byzantine city of Myra. The body of St. Nicolas was buried in a sarcophagus within the cathedral until 1087 when some Italians stole it and moved it to Bari, Italy. The original cathedral was probably built in the 3rd century AD and has been rebuilt and restored several times. Each year on December 6th the saint’s name day is celebrated here with great pomp by an ecumenical group of Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant clergy.
Back at Andriaki, Nikos and Rozina stayed in a cafe while Alice and I walked past the extremely hot but beautiful sand dunes to the remains of the ancient Myra harbor, now surrounded by dunes and a swamp. The granary built by Hadrian is a most impressive huge building with nice masonry.
In the meantime Nikos and Rozina were exploring the Demre river. We joined them. The river was very clear and cool. Alice managed to call Corinna on Rozina’s mobile phone. On the way back to our boats at Gökkaya Liman we explored a lot of little fjords. The whole region is very beautiful but the water is not very clear because there are many rivers and brooks flowing into it.
In the evening we went ashore to a restaurant made of stone at the end of one of the coves. We were served by two twin girls. The food was not remarkable. After dinner we all sat at the Faneromeni as this was our last evening together. Nikos and Rozina will be heading back to Kastellorizo (Meis) while Alice and I will be going to Finike.
Friday August 29, 1997 Day 22
It was so very pleasant at Gökkaya that both of us slept late. We both felt kind of lazy and spent most of the morning doing nothing more than enjoying the lovely surroundings. We were very fortunate to be some distance from other boats but this anchorage has so many inlets and small islands that this is still possible despite the large number of gulets.
Later I spend a rather sweaty hour changing the engine oil, oil filter, and the engine fuel filter. I had a very hard time pumping out the used oil and I think that I only got half of it. Bleeding the fuel lines after the fuel filter change was no problem. Also the used fuel filter was remarkably clean, unlike last year in Sicily. Either the new Racor pre-filter is doing a very good job or the fuel in Turkey and Greece is much cleaner than the fuel in Italy.
We left Gökkaya at 15:10 and motor-sailed, as there was very little wind, with the tent in place to Finike (14.6 M) where we arrived at 17:40. The marina [36° 17.7' N 30° 09.2' E] was almost completed and it was very large. We docked alongside a pier with only a few sailboats and no gulets. Water and electricity were available so we could continue running the refrigerator. We were told by the marina attendant that Thetis was the first Greek flagged yacht to dock there.
We took a little walk. The town was nothing much but there were plenty of food stores, cafes, and restaurants near the marina. On our way back to the boat we found a travel agent whose office consisted of a table and a chair by a fence and made arrangements for a car rental for tomorrow morning. They will bring the car to the boat by 8:30. We had a nice meal at a nearby restaurant which at an earlier time probably had a good view but now is overlooking a large parking lot.
Saturday August 30, 1997 Day 23
After waking up and while waiting for the arrival of the car we took advantage of the bountiful fresh water to thoroughly scrub the deck and the cockpit. The car did not materialize. Today is the Turkish national holiday celebrating their victory over the Greeks in 1921 which led to the Smyrna massacre, so most stores were closed. I found the man in the “tourist office”, he could not find us a car, but of course he did not bother to inform us. I spoke with the young man at the marina office and he made several phone calls to car rental offices in Kas but there was no answer. Given the situation, we decided to push on for Antalya.
We left the marina at 10:15 and motor-sailed past Cape Geledonia, famous for another ancient shipwreck excavated by Peter Throckmorton and George Bass, to the Çineviz Liman (Genoese Harbor). On our way we saw a sword fish jumping out of the water.
We arrived there [36° 22.2' N, 30° 30' E] at 15:10 after crossing 28 M. While the cove was far from empty, it still was worthy of Heikell’s raving description. The mountains were covered by low flying clouds and the setting was most dramatic. We could not see the near by Musa Dagi peak (987 m) towering over us nor the distant Mt. Olympos to the North which were in the clouds until later in the evening.
Later the wind direction changed and we deployed a shore line. After that we went for a walk. As it was getting dark a strong swell entered the cove which made the night uncomfortable. Alice made pasta with tomato sauce.
Sunday August 31, 1997 Day 24
The night was not the most peaceful due to the swell, but there was no danger. We were also getting very tired being anchored so close to gulets and their large number of passengers. We left Çineviz at 9:30 following the coast towards Antalya.
There was a light north wind, dead against us, and we had to motor. The scenery was very beautiful and dramatic with all the high mountains capped with clouds. Unfortunately it was very hazy. We reached Phaselis which looked very attractive but it was too crowded with gulets and cruisers and we decided not to stop. We will come back here and Olympos by car and, if we want, we can stop by sea on our way back. We went past Kemer which is very developed with large hotel complexes offering all sorts of noisy water sports (jet-skis, water-skis, parasailing etc.) but fortunately they occupy only a narrow strip along the coast - the mountains are unspoiled.
We finally reached the Antalya old harbor marina [36° 53' N 30° 42.1' E] at 15:00 (34 M). I made a bad mistake during docking: instead of going forward to brake the boat speed I went in reverse and hit the pier. Fortunately the speed was low and the pier had a wooden bumper and there was no damage. It was extemely hot and my brains were fried!
After resting under the tent for few hours, Alice went ashore to the “showers.” She was not pleased! They were not clean and they had a surly attendant, nowhere like the ones in Kas. The boat next to us, Europe, was a catamaran in not so good shape. It was flying the Russian flag and she had started her journey 8 years ago from Yalta, went to the Red Sea and now she was coming from Cyprus all with different crews. Now there were 6 people on her from Russia and the Ukraine. The boat on our other side was a small steel hull with a German flag with 4 adults and 2 babies who cried a lot. The harbor attendant, Murat, asked if we wanted to rent a car and he offered us his for $35/day. He promised to bring it tomorrow morning at 8:00. We shall see! The marina daily charges are very high: 5 million TL plus electricity plus water which are metered. In Kas we paid 1.5 million and at Finike 2 million inclusive of water and electricity.
We walked in the old city which is charming indeed. A lot of very nicely restored houses have been turned into very fancy hotels. The whole place is very upscale. We called Cynthia and found her. She and Scott were doing fine and she also had Corinna’s new telephone number. Later we also called Corinna and spoke to her. She sounded very pleased with her new situation at Brown.
At night we went to a very nice restaurant, Villa Perla, and we had a most pleasant but expensive dinner in a garden with orange trees and lemon blossoms with soft guitar music and served by Costa who was from Rumania.
Total distance Samos-Antalya: 382.6 M covered in 72:25 hrs of sailing.