Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Found a home for next winter

Approaching Fethiye

Late Sunday afternoon we arrived at Fethiye after motoring 50 NM from Kas, and anchored at 36.37.478N  029.05.789E near the Yacht Classic Hotel that our friends Jorge and Isabel on S/V EXCALIBUR had recommended.  This is a very calm anchorage in the far eastern tip of the large bay at Fethiye.  This location appears to be very well protected with mountains on 3 sides and the bay opening and the large ECE marina on the 4th side.

This boutique hotel has a small dock and offers 6-month winter berthing for a very reasonable price.  They do not offer long-term berthing during the tourist high season, but do offer dock berthing at a much reduced rate if you eat dinner in the hotel restaurant.  For our 16-meter boat the cost would be 30-40 TL per night ($16.50 - $22 USD) to cover water and electricity.  If we did not eat dinner at the restaurant, the rate would be 1 Euro per foot boat length or 53 Euros ($69 USD).  We checked out the restaurant menu and the prices are very reasonable, and the offerings sounded delicious.  If we were docking, we would definitely eat dinner in the hotel restaurant.  But we anchored out this time.
Note the snow patches still visible on the upper elevations farther inland.  This is a huge bay!

Far eastern end of the bay
Monday morning we took the dinghy in and tied off at the hotel dock.  I do not think boats in this anchorage are supposed to leave dinghies at the hotel dock, but we were meeting with the hotel manager so figured it would be okay this time.  No one said a word to us when we walked away from the tied-off dinghy, so I guess they did not have a problem with us leaving the dinghy there.  I would not do this if just anchored nearby.  After all, the hotel dock is for hotel marina guests; not for boats from which they are receiving no revenue.

Boatyard in very end; town is at other end of bay

We found Banuhan (manager? owner?) and she showed us around the buildings.  We made an instant decision to winter here next season.  We had been told by others that 5 Amels wintered here last year.  It is safe weather-wise.  It is a good price.  The people at the hotel are nice.  The showers and toilets are heated during the winter.  There is easy transportation to the airport.  There are cars available to rent.  What more could we want for a place to winter.

We wrote the contract and paid the deposit.  The only caveat is that the hotel plans to lengthen the dock next spring.  Boats will be required to depart when that work commences.  So, rather than being allowed to stay at the dock until the normal date of 30 April, we might have to leave the dock on 15 April.  That is certainly not a problem.  We planned to leave Fethiye as soon as the weather is good next spring and sail northward about 100 miles for haul-out to apply anti-fouling.  So we might sit at anchor a week or so if the weather is inclement.  No big deal in this very protected bay.

Facing north; bay entrance at far right
As for the negatives, other sailors tell us that Fethiye is a dead town.....that it closes up after the tourists leave in September.  That might be so, but the official population count is now slightly over 80,000 people.  With a population that size, this little city should remain viable during the winter months.  The population of Marmaris (where most cruisers winter) is only 15,000 but increases to 75,000 during the summer tourist months.  Now, that must really mean a dead town for the winter months.  Marmaris has a larger cruising 'community' but we were in that community at Yat Marin for 5 weeks last spring and did not like it.  Very, very much did not like it.  Here in Fethiye is the large ECE Marina....right next to the tiny hotel dock where we will stay.   There are more than 400 yachts docked in ECE Marina.  Surely a few will be occupied during the winter months and we can find a couple of people to talk to.

So, we now have an address for the winter in Turkey.  Next step will be to deal with immigration visa legalities.  We assume we will be applying for residents' visas but there is no hurry.  Our current visas expire 2 August.  We can wait a month before dealing with the residents' visas.  One thing I have been told is that I will need proof that we are married......because our income is Bill's retirement Social Security.  I do not have a copy of our marriage certificate.  Heck; that was 42 years ago!  Bureaucrats and their paperwork!
Yacht Classic Hotel is the 4-story building in center behind yacht with blue trim.
That little dock to the left of that boat will be our winter home this year.
This is tucked up behind the large ECE Marina, so that big marina also protects our little dock.
And, yes, that is a mosque just to the right of the hotel.  Wailing 5X day.  Yippie!

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