Thursday, May 17, 2012

Santa Claus' home town

Looking out from Cineviz Limani anchorage

Up at 04:30 Sunday morning so we could depart Alanya Marina at 05:00.  The sail (mostly motoring) westward across the very large bay to the next anchorage would be 73 NM and we wanted to arrive in good daylight; hence the early morning departure.  Sure enough, we motored 9 hours in only 1 knot winds.  

The mast on that white boat is 65-ft tall.  Kind of gives
perspective on how high that cliff really is.

But the final 3 hours as we approached the high mountains on the westward coast the winds picked up and ranged 15-20 at 57 degrees off the port bow. Lovely sailing conditions!  What a treat.  And we even were able to run the watermaker for 2 hours and put 400 liters of good tasting water into the tank.  The marina water was unacceptable in Alanya for drinking (tested 680 TDS!!!).  We had been forced to buy drinking water, and we are very glad to go back to drinking the water we make aboard BeBe.  It tastes better than any of the drinking water purchased.

Tiny splashes of pink flowers were all up
the mountainsides growing in rock
Tiny ruins, high mountain

The entrance to Cineviz Limani is difficult to spot.   You do not see the narrow bay entrance along the high mountains and sheer cliffs until you are practically on top of it.  Entering is straightforward.  There were 3 sailboats already anchored near the beach, as well as 4 tiny fishing boats.  But there was ample room for us to nestle into the small anchorage.  

Small anchorage at beach at Cineviz

We dropped anchor at 36.21.916N  030.30.028E.  Cineviz Limani is a gorgeous anchorage and very well protected.  The depths drop quickly from 8 meters to 30 meters, so there is room from only about 5 yachts to anchor unless everyone ties stern to shore.  With only 4 boats, none of us were forced to tie off.   I hate bothering with that.

Thread through the rocks to Gokkaya Limani anchorange
The next day was easy motoring 39 NM to Gokkaya Limani.  We dropped anchor at 36.12.64N  029.53.622E.  This is another gorgeous anchorage.  Extremely well protected from every direction; in a small bay behind several small islands.  Gulets come and go all day long.  As this is  very early in tourist season, most of the gulets had a minimal number of customers.   
Gokkaya Limani

One gulet anchored overnight near us that had only 3 young women aboard as paying guests.  We could hear the girls yelling to one another as they swam nearby and could tell they were Americans by the distinctive accents.

Tiny ruins at Gokkaya Limani near small river
We stayed in Gokkaya Limani for 3 nights.  Put the dinghy into the water and very briefly explored the beginning area of the small river (creek, IMHO) at the head of the small bay.  There are ruins situated low on the hillside adjacent to the small river.  We were not wearing shoes and I had not applied insect repellent, so we did not climb around in those ruins.  Did not look particularly interesting anyway.  Off our bow we could see Andraki, and it was close enough for access by a long dinghy ride.  Andraki is the ancient Lycian city previously known as Myra.  The Demre River has long since silted up and built a coastal plain for several miles around and has covered much of the old city of Myra.  According to our guide book little is known about ancient Myra, but at the beginning of the Christian era Saint Paul was brought here as a prisoner on his way to Rome and his death.  Paul (Saul) was put on a grain ship that went south around Crete and was later wrecked on Malta.  At Andraki there are numerous Lycian rock tombs and a well-preserved Roman theater.  We have seen enough old Roman theaters.  Bill was not interested in visiting another.  Being the frugal person that I am, I did not see any point in wasting expensive gasoline for a long dinghy ride just to see more old rocks.  The guide book photos were not that appealing; we've seen better and know there are better ruins to see elsewhere later in Turkey.

Andraki does have some interest.  In the village of Kale (known today as Demre) is a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas.  Nicholas is the patron saint of the sailor and the pawnbroker -- an odd combo.  He is better known as the original Santa Claus.  Many stores are told of the good Bishop of Demre, and it appears that he was indeed a generous man who extended charity to the poor of his town.  Per our guidebook:  "One story relates how he donated a bag of gold to a poor family.  Wishing to remain anonymous, he climbed up on the roof and dropped the bag down the chimney.  The daughters of the family were drying their stockings in front of the fire, and the gold fell neatly into one of them.  A harmless enough tale to bestow legitimacy on the tradition of putting stockings out for gifts for Christmas."

Nicholas was martyred here in 655 and his grave soon became an important place of pilgrimage.  His bones were stolen by merchants from Bari Italy in 1072 and transported to a church located there.  His remains still lie in Bari today.  The small church here in Kale which is dedicated to Nicholas has been partially restored with funds from the Greek Orthodox church.  However, recent construction now surrounds and dwarfs this tiny old church.  According to our guide book, the church still retained atmosphere only a decade past.  Today it is surrounded by plastic Father Christmases.  The Noel Baba festival, honoring the saint of that name, is held here in early December each year.

Ruins at Castle Bay in Kerkova Roads
Today we motored from hidden Gokkaya around numerous small islands and westward through the area known as Kerkova Roads.  A whopping distance of 6.4 NM.  We could get really spoiled by this leisurely pace!  Short day hops suit us just fine.  
Watch out for these!

Along the way we passed numerous tourist day boats and gulets.  
And watch out for these!

This is a very popular tourist area.  Several small groups were out kayaking.  It is not always easy to see those low-profile kayaks when winds are blowing up choppy seas.  I think these groups should be accompanied by a boat to protect them from being run over by all the sailboats and tourist day boats.

Castle near Kale Koy

We opted not to go into Ucagiz Limani.  It appeared that there are only 2 reasons for threading your way through the rocks to get into this large bay -- to visit restaurants or to walk the ruins of ancient Teimiussa.  We gave both those activities a miss.

It really is a Crusader Fortress, not a real castle.

Near the center of Kerkova Roads there are ruins of a conspicuous castle on the hilltop near Kale Koy.  The guide book does not provide much information about this castle.....not even the name or date of construction.   To the east of the hilltop castle is a small bay called Castle Bay where there are numerous ruins.  No information about these is provided.

Homes built among the sarcophagi near castle

Near the large hilltop castle ruins are numerous sarcophagi.  Some have toppled over, but many still stand erect on their pedestals -- where they were placed two or three thousand years ago.  Looking down from the castle provides a good view of parts of the sunken city that is believed to be ancient Simena.  A single sarcophagus still stands half submerged on the western side of the bay.  Today's restaurants are built upon the old sunken quay.

Looking eastward down Kerkova Roads from Polemos Buku

We motored to the farthest western point of Kerkova Roads (Polemos Buku anchorage) and dropped anchor at 36.09.902N  029.48.199E in front of the only building -- a small restaurant.  The restaurant has short docks with space for 4 boats.  We are not interested in eating in a restaurant and actually prefer to be anchored out away from shore.  Breeze is always better out at anchor and usually less bothersome insects.  

Looking westward at Polemos Buku at the restaurant

Plan to stay a couple of nights and then probably move on to Kas.

Fellow Texans.  From College Station.  How about that!

Shortly after I posted this blog entry, a couple of kayaks paddled by.  They went up to the restaurant for a couple of hours, swam off the rock beach, and then climbed back into the kayaks to head back to the resort rental place.  As they passed our boat one couple spoke to Bill -- because they saw our Texas flag flying beneath the port spreader.  Turns out they are from College Station, Texas.......home of Texas A & M University.  Gig'em! 

Bill offered them a rest aboard S/V BeBe but they declined because they must get back to that resort to return the kayaks by a specific time today.  Small world.  How odd to run into fellow Texans in this very remote anchorage in Turkey (and even from the same university that Bill attended).
Their friends.  Not from Texas.

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