Monday, 30 May 2011

Patara, Symi and back to Datca

We left Castelorizo on Friday morning and motored up to Patara, where we anchored off the beach and met my sister Nilly, her daughter Kate and grandson Jake, whom we picked up from the beach to come aboard for a cup of tea.

We dropped them back on the beach and motored on (we had the genoa up for a couple of hours, but it didn't make much impact) to anchor for the night in Kucuk Kuyruk, a beautiful little bay south of Gocek.
Next morning we set off early for Symi. The weather was bad

and got worse, with the thunderstorm fortunately skirting us. It brightened up a bit as we approached Symi and we anchored in the bay of Panormitis,
where we went ashore amidst crowds of trippers from Rhodes to see the monastry.
The anchorage was quite crowded and, more importantly, the taverna looked closed up and tonight was the Champions' League Final. Lin reluctantly agreed to move on to Symi town, where we squeezed onto the quay. Symi is a pretty town, but the harbour was very full and it was busy with tourists, so we decided to spend just one night here, rather than the two we had planned.

We had a quick take away for dinner and Lin went off to bed while Simon sloped off to a cafe to watch Barcelona run rings round Manchester United.
When we anchored Simon dropped the cap of the anchor remote control into the harbour, so next morning he put on his weight belt, flippers, mask and snorkel and tried to dive for it. The water was very clear, but it was 15 metres deep and the bottom was littered with rubbish, so he failed to find it and had to patch the remote up with sellotape. After breakfast we set off for Datca, where we planned to spend a couple of days and to clear out of Turkey. On leaving we found that the large, expensive yacht that had dropped his anchor right by our bow and backed onto the quay on the other side the night before had indeed anchored over our chain. We were very pleased that our beefy windlass managed to lift his chain so we could get free.
Datca was one of our favourite places in Turkey because although it has tourists it has the feel of a real town. In Datca we had an excellent dinner at a restaurant overlooking the quay, Culinarium - highly recommended - and cleared out using a reasonably priced agent, before setting off towards Kos to meet Becky on Thursday.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Gokkaya Limani and Back to Greece

On Sunday we motored up from Kale Koy to Gokkaya Limani, a series of little coves sheltered by two small islands, where we found a little cove all to ourselves.
We took the dinghy round one of the islands to explore a cave

Lin did not want to go in, but we had no choice as a tripper boat was coming into the cave right behind us

On Monday morning we set off early to go to Castelorizo, the Eastern outpost of Greece, and passed a fisherman out early.

We arrived in Castelorizo for lunchtime. Although we liked Turkey, arriving in Castelorizo was like coming home.
In the afternoon we went round the corner to Mandraki

for a swim

Next morning Simon went for an early walk, up the stairs to the top of the cliffs,

with a great view over the town
past the derelict 18th century monastry of St George
to paleocastro
In the evening Grigori arrived from Athens. On Wednesday morning Simon and Gregory went to the museums and up to the castle.

We went for lunch with Ruth and Mark, whom we had met last year in Agathonisi, in their newly restored house.
On Thursday morning we motored round the island
to see the Blue Grotto. It took us a bit of time to find it, because it is a cave with a very small entrance, and when we did it was raining with heavy cloud, so there was not much point in going in. But at the southern tip of the island Simon and Grigori took the dinghy into two larger caves,

where there was beautiful electric blue light now that the sun had come out (I forgot to take the camera!).
On Thursday the Blue Star ferry called, almost completely filling the little harbour.

Grigori was due to fly back to Rhodes and Athens on the evening flight, but just after he left for the airport we heard that the flight was cancelled because there was too much wind (there was only a little blow for about halkf an hour, butwith only five people booked on the flight it was a good opportunity for Olympic to cancel). The bus left before he had managed to rearrange his ticket, so he had to walk back from the airport. He was offered no compensation, had to pay to change his ticket from Rhodes to Athens and was only waitlisted for the morning flight, soi he had to leave for the airport at 6am to get on the plane, which fortunately he did.
On Friday morning we left at 7, again with no wind, to motor up to Patara to meet Nilly and Kate and Jake, who arrived there on Thursday.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Kale Koy

After two quiet days in Ucagiz bay we came round the corner to Kale Koy,
where we planned to tie up to one of the restaurant pontoons. After being refused by two, we tried to anchor a bit further to the East, but there was nowhere suitable, so we returned and were invited on to Hassan Deniz pontoon.
It turns out that now that the council has built a marina in Ucagiz they have forbidden the restaurants in Kale Koy to extend their pontoons, so they are now only 15 metres long, instead of the usual 45 metres.

Kale Koy was probably the ancient Simena and the winding alleys and steps of the village are littered with ancient stones, some of the buildings built on ancient foundations.

The hill is topped by a Genoese castle, built on ancient foundations,

which includes a small theatre cut into the rock,

and has fantastic views over Ucagiz bay

and the harbour

On our way up we met Halmine,

 a handsome old woman selling scarves and bracelets, who took us up to the castle, picked wild herbs for us and showed us around the tombs.
When we got down Lin bought a scarf and a few bracelets and later a pair of Turkish pantaloons.
In the afternoon we took the dinghy across to the 'sunken city',
part of Simena that is on Kekova island, on the other side of the gulf. We landed on a small beach and went for a swim above the underwater ruins (not actually much to see, though there were lots of broken tiles and bits of amphorae and a small shoal of very long fish that looked like barracuda. We thought we had gone over after all the tripper boats had left, but as we swam more of them came pouring past, hooting and shouting at us that swimming there was forbidden, though there were no notices to say so (plenty of notices forbidding other things). On the way back we met a friendly turtle, who popped her head up and looked us over.
One much photographed tomb is half-submerged in the harbour:

Next morning Simon met Halmire by her stall, lighting fires in the street to make her tea and cook some pancakes.
A little later she arrived with some delicious herb pancakes she had made for us.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Kalkan to Kekova

Kalkan turned out to be a tourist paradise/nightmare, with dozens of cafes and restaurants importuning for business, and expensive mooring (70 Lira (£28) for the night, including water and electricity) though we did have a very nice meal on the roof terrace of Chapter One restaurant. We left next morning and motored down to Kas, which was much nicer. Although still a tourist centre it had the feel of a real village with people living their normal lives. Ismail, who owns Smiley's restaurant at the end of the quay, helped us in and even left us a loaf of bread in the morning.

We walked along to the ancient theatre, which looks out over the sea
where we met a herd of tortoises
We then went into town
where we bought some bowls and two cushions for the boat in a Kurdish shop. At the top of the hill was an impressive Lycian royal tomb
Next day all the flags were out and stands were set up on the quay just behind Mia Hara. It turned out that is was national Youth Day, with patgriotic speeches and young people parading with bands.
We left about 10 to motor (still no wind) to Kekova Roads. On the way we stopped off at Asar Buku, the site of ancient Aperlae,

part of which is now submerged

We went on to anchor in the big shallow enclosed bay of Ucagiz
which is a relatively unspoiled little village (no new building is allowed) with loads of tripper boats on a new big pontoon.
We walked around the village on Friday morning, bought two beautiful cushion covers and are still thinking about buying a rug.

There were beautiful flowers around the houses

and animals wandering in the streets.

Ucagiz is built on the site of what is believed to have been Teimiussa. Some walls remain and a large necropolis, with loads of tombs, including a house tomb (a replica of a house carved out of the rock)

and many others,

some with inscriptions.

We stayed two days in the bay, which is quite crowded but very quiet, swimming, cleaning and repairing.