Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

2002: Hisarönü Bay

This web page contains the logs of the second leg of a 53 day sailing trip that I took, together with Alice Riginos, with S/Y Thetis in the south Aegean in Turkey. The leg covers a period of 7 days of sailing mostly in Hisarönü Bay. Places visisted are: Keçi Bükü, Palm-tree cove, Bençik, Selimiye Koyu, Dirsek, Atabol, and Bozburun. During this leg I was accompanied by my wife Alice.

The logs are illustrated with maps and also include some historical and geographical descriptions of the places visited as well as several links to other related web sites. The usual photographs are missing because my digital camera had broken down.

Route in Hisaronu
Route in Hisarönü Bay

Tuesday August 27, 2002 Day 6

In the morning we were met at the marina by the minibus which took us to the riding stable which was about 20 minutes away. By 9:00 AM we were met by our riding guide Boris from Belarus, a true Cosack. The horses were nice and well kept. The ride was scenic although it was too hot. There were no trails and we rode mostly on dirt roads and we frequently encountered jeeps full of tourists on a “safari.”

We had a quiet afternoon under the tent. In the early evening, when it cooled down somewhat, we took Faneromeni’s dinghy to the SE side of the cove where we had dinner in a restaurant recommended by Tony. It was fairly good.

Wednesday August 28, 2002 Day 7

We decided that it we did not want to hang out in the marina until Friday, so after some provision shopping, both Faneromeni and Thetis departed the marina at 0935. The plan was to check the nearby Bençik cove and then proceed to a cove further west with palm trees which Tony highly recommended. There was hardly any wind and we could only motor. Bençik looked great with many anchoring opportunities. We did not stop but continued to Tony’s cove which is just E of Dil Burnu. Following his description, we recognized it by the palm trees.

We arrived in the Palm-tree cove [36° 45.7' N 27° 58.5' E] at 1140. The distance from Keçi Bükü was just 6.7 M. The water was very clear and the beach with its palm trees was very beautiful. Faneromeni had already anchored there and with a stern line tied to a tree. We anchored in 13 m depth and rafted with the Faneromeni. Since there was some swell, although there was no wind, we too took a line ashore. The cove is very deep and the boats were hardly 10 m from the shore with over 7 m under our keel. We spent a very pleasant day in this cove, swimming, having lunch, etc. In the late afternoon a SW breeze developed as we were so close to the shore we did not feel too secure or comfortable.

At 1640 we departed going back to Bençik. On the way, while motoring, the old voltage regulator failed completely and I had to replace it with the defective one (which causes the alternator belt to slip when it reaches its third stage). From now on I will have to manually disconnect the wire which connects the regulator with alternator field after 30-45 minutes of operation. We arrived in Bençik [36° 46.9' N 28° 02.5' E] at 1710 having traveled for all of 4.7 M. Faneromeni had anchored and a local fisherman was helping them by taking a long line ashore and tying to a tree. After Faneromeni was secured we too dropped our anchor in 14 m and let out 55 m of chain and the kind fisherman took ashore Thetis’ stern line.

Later we asked the fisherman if he had any fish to sell. He came alongside of Thetis with his crew consisting of his young wife and a 5 year old son. His boat was equipped not only with usual fishing implements but with a gosleme (a kind of crepe) stove. I really missed my camera! We selected a kg of very fresh fish which he sold us for 5 million TL (about $3.6). This cove is magnificent with many indentations, all the land is covered by thick pine trees which come right to the water’s edge. Unfortunately the water, which has a greenish tint, was murky. We took the dinghy and went exploring. At the head of the cove there was a narrow but navigable (by a dinghy) river. We entered the river. A whole secret world was there. Further in, there was dock with several small motor boats and even a small sailing boat. There was a whole hotel in the trees. Again I wished my camera was working. As it was getting dark we decided to come back tomorrow for further explorations.

I fried the fish, which the fisherman had already cleaned for us, and made a rice-pilaf with fresh tomato sauce to go along with it and selected a nice white wine from Limnos. Nikos contributed grapes. We ate with gusto on the Faneromeni. Later, the seven day old moon rose and orange semi-circles were reflected on the glassy water. A very satisfying day.

Thursday August 29, 2002 Day 8

In the morning the four of us, Alice, Nikos, his dog Naxos, and I, went back with the dinghy to the hidden river while Mario stayed to watch the boats. There was a stone-paved pathway from the river. After landing, we followed this path and it led us to a hotel. This was the farthest point off the Datça Peninsula. Here was Gökova bay in the N, only half a km from our side in the S of the Hisarönü (Doris) bay. The hotel was facing to the Gökova bay.

By 1050 both boats had cast off and raised their anchors. We motored SE for 7.2 M into Selimiye Koyu. We almost circumnavigated the cove until finally we tied to the wooden pier of the Sardunyia restaurant just off the village of Selimiye [36° 42.5' N 28° 05.4' E]. This restaurant was also highly recommended by our local expert, Tony. There are many restaurants in this cove, each one maintaining its own wooden pier and permanent moorings. These are provided, along with water and electricity, free of charge, to visiting yachts. It is, of course understood, that if you tie your boat to a restaurant’s pier, you will have to have at least one meal there.

We had a pleasant afternoon exploring the area, first with dinghy, and later on foot. In the evening , when it cooled down, we had a very pleasant meal in the elegantly set tables. We ate many mezedes (appetizers) and a delicious lamb shish-kebab.

Friday August 30, 2002 Day 9

We had a slow start since this was promising to be a rather long day. We cast off at 1020 and headed back to Marti Marina [36° 46.2' N 28° 07.7' E]. A slight breeze allowed us to open the headsail and sail for about 1 M but then it stopped and we had to motor the rest of the 5.2 M. We arrived in the marina at 1140. We had no problem docking in our old berths.

Faneromeni, being faster, had overtaken Thetis and was already there. We took showers and had a snack. By 2 PM, Turgut’s driver Mustafa was already there. He waited until we were all ready and then drove us for over 200 km to the town of Selçuk which is near Ephesus. It was very hot. On the way we only stopped for refueling and to an ATM for us to draw some Turkish money. At the outskirts of Selçuk we met with Arzu and Turgut who had driven from Izmir. We transferred to Turgut’s car and, since it was only 5 PM and the concert did not start until 9, we drove to the picturesque old Greek village of Şirince. At Şirince we ate some gosleme (a kind of crepe) and other mezedes (appetizers) after wandering in the narrow streets. During these wanderings we entered an antique store and this was my downfall. I succumbed to temptation and ended up buying a lovely backgammon (tavli) set for Thetis.

Around 8:30 Mustafa came with the second car. We parked Turgut’s car and we all got into the second car and Mustafa drove us as close to the Ephesus site as he could get. This was a wise thing because if we had to park we would had to walk a long distance. As it were we walked for almost 20 minutes before we reached the ancient theater. There were thousands and thousands of people. The large outdoor theater was filled to its capacity of 15 thousand. The actual performance did not get going until 9:20 but, when it did, it was electrifying. Sezen Aksu has an imposing stage presence and was wearing some very glamorous outfits. Her voice is warm and powerful. She projects passion, love, and warmth for all mankind. The crowd worshipped her. She introduced the first of her co-performers a Sephardic Jewish group from Turkey who sang beautifully, she sang along with them on several pieces. These were followed by a chorus. Then she introduced a Greek group. They were lively and for many of their songs the crowd sang with them, in Greek! It was a great feeling to hear such a large Turkish crowd singing these popular Greek songs. There is hope after all for our people. Finally there was the highlight of the evening: a choir of Kurdish children singing traditional Kurdish songs. They were great! It takes a great deal of courage to introduce a Kurdish group and sing with them in Kurdish but the crowd was with Sezen all the way. They were however, a few protests here there but the Sezen adoring crowd quickly hushed them. The triumphant finale consisted of old classical Turkish songs which made the crowd of fifteen thousand stand up. It was a memorable performance with Sezen’s voice, the selection of her co-performers, and her message of love and peace eloquently delivered in this ancient theater.

After the performance we walked together with the crowd along the road to Selçuk until we found the waiting car with Mustafa. He drove us to Turgut’s car where we thanked the Aykers for arranging such a wonderful evening. They will be driving to Turk Bükü where they left New Life last weekend. They will sail her all night to Datça where they will meet Faneromeni and Nikos and later, they will connect with Thetis. Alice, Nikos, and I got back into the car and Mustafa drove us to Marti Marina. During the long drive Nikos, who had been feeling not so well, developed a terrible cough. By the time we got back to our boats it was past 4:30 AM but the effort was well worth it.

Saturday August 31, 2002 Day 10

Naturally, we all slept late. After we woke up, Nikos started agitating. He wanted to depart for Datça. Alice and I moved more slowly. After we said our good-byes and Faneromeni left, we did some provision shopping at the marina’s store. We then settled our marina bill, topped Thetis’ tanks with water, and disconnected the water and electricity hookups. Tony and Belinda helped us cast off. It was 1140.

We did not go very far. We just motored the 4.8 M to a wonderful cove [36° 43.5' N 28° 05.3' E], just W of the entrance to Delikliyol-Selimiye bay, where we arrived at 1235. We anchored in 2.5 m over sand. After lunch we had a very pleasant afternoon swimming and taking naps under the tent. We contacted Turgut on the GSM phone. They had left Datça and New Life is heading towards Bençik where we promised to meet them later in the day.

We stayed in this nice cove until 1710 when we raised the anchor and headed to Bençik. There was a good 12-15 knot WNW breeze which allowed us to open all of the genoa and sail. After 4.7 M we arrived in Bençik at 1810. New Life was there rafted alongside two motor cruisers. We dropped our anchor and we too rafted along New Life. The motor cruisers were the Jeopardy belonging to Turgut’s friend Fatih and the Nüket A belonging to Ajlan Yanashan, another friend of Turgut. I had met Fatih Uysal 2 years ago in Santorini and again this year in Çesme. Ajlan and Turgut were classmates in high school. With four boats complete with owners, wives, daughters, and crews this was quite a gathering. We all got together for drinks but unfortunately Alice was not feeling very well. I hope she did not catch Nikos’ cold. Dinner was a funny affair. Since there was no room for all the people to sit in one boat we sat in three different cockpits with dishes being passed along from boat to boat. They were many of them and all were very tasty. While Alice retired early, the rest of us sat on the deck of one of the cruisers enjoying the night and sipping wine.

Sunday September 1, 2002 Day 11

We spent the whole day in Bençik swimming, eating, playing backgammon etc. Alice felt somewhat better, which was a relief. In the early evening New Life, Jeopardy, and Nüket A departed for Selimiye but we in Thetis decided to stay here because Alice did not want to eat out in a restaurant and had not totally recovered.

I cooked frozen shrimps that we had bought at the Marti Marina store in a light fresh tomato sauce. I then made spaghetti to go along with them. These we ate in the cockpit. It was a very still but humid night.

Monday September 2, 2002 Day 12

We left Bençik at 0900. There was hardly any wind. We motored to Dirsek but we did not get inspired enough to stay there. We continued on. After rounding Cape Atabol we anchored in 15 m depth in a cove [36° 40.5' N 28° 00.1' E] at 1025. We had come 11.7 M from Bençik. We stayed in this cove for swimming and lunch. I had an SMS from Bob and Jean Parker on the S/Y Patient Lady. Thetis and Patient Lady have been meeting each other is the past few years. The last time we met was just one evening in August while they stopped Samos. Now they are heading for Datça where they will stay for a couple of days. Unfortunately we want to avoid noisy Datça, so we all hope to meet again next year.

Photograph of Bozburun We left the cove at 1600 and motored for 5.1 M to Bozburun [36° 41.6' N 28° 02.6' E] where we arrived at 1710. We were directed by the helpful attendant to dock side-to. It was an extremely easy maneuver with the two us on Thetis and the attendant catching our lines. After we told him that we needed some fuel, he called the nearby gas station and almost immediately a fuel truck arrived. We took 53 L of Diesel fuel for 67 million TL. The harbor dues were 15 million TL (about $10) which include water and electricity. These were collected by a smartly uniformed very polite young lady, right at the boat. After collecting the fee she said, in good English, that if there was anything we may need she would be glad to help us. Imagine the Greek Limenarchio (Coast Guard) collecting fees at your boat and offering help. We also gave a load of clothes to wash to a laundry for 5 million TL.

We went ashore and had çay (tea) at Osman’s Palace. This is the Osman who used to own the first restaurant in Serçe Liman and whom we have known for many years. We had a nice chat with him. He has sold out his Serçe restaurant but he has opened, in addition to the Osman’s Palace tea-house, the Osman’s Restaurant here in Bozburun. Obviously we had dinner at his restaurant. The fare was simple but not bad.

Photograph of Osman's Restaurant