Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Grandkids arrived; set off exploring; ancient Caunos

Mountainside near the hotel dock in Fethiye
19 June to 1 July 2012
Click on any image to enlarge.

On 19 June I flew to Istanbul to meet the grandkids' flight.  They were flying as unaccompanied minors, thus could not make a change from the international airline to the domestic airline without an adult guardian.  We arrived back in Dalaman airport around midnight.  Then a transport van to the hotel dock for another 1 1/2 hours.  Zachary and Elisabeth were really tired after flying across 8 time zones.  We let them sleep late and then walked to the Harbormaster's office to have them added to our crew list.  Also walked along the quay and sampled Turkish ice cream.  They did not expect the antics of the ice cream man and giggled as they were teased before finally receiving their cones.  We did not bring a camera, but here a link illustrating the typical antics of any Turkish ice cream man. Typical Turkish Ice Cream Vendor  This short video also show some Turkish women making the normal flat bread wraps sold all over Turkey. Don't you just love the traditional clothing worn by these women?

Zach on the foredeck
We enjoyed a few hours in the hotel swimming pool that afternoon.  The next day we made a quick shopping trip to stock up on fresh veggies and fruits and set out to explore the nearby bays of Skopea Limani.   While at a dock we put the dinghy outboard engine down inside the stern deck locker.  
All the anchorages around Skopea Limani require using a stern line ashore except for
BeBe on mizzen deck
Boynuz Buku bay where about 10 boats can swing anchor.  Since our outboard was not set-up to take a stern line ashore, we opted to go to the only place where we could swing on anchor.  Other people swim ashore with the stern line, but we don't do that. While anchored there we rigged the dinghy with the outboard, dug out the kayak and inflated it, and found a couple of hammocks for the kids to lounge in.  This is not my favorite anchorage because there are 2 tiny creeks that empty into the bay, creating marsh on either side and plenty of biting insects.

Zach taking BeBe ashore so she could play on the beach
while he paddled and explored by himself.  Does each of
good to have 'alone' time.
The next morning it was a quick motor over to Tomb Bay.  We anchored in the exact same spot where we had been a few weeks earlier.  We knew where the bollard was located to tie off the stern line and we liked this spot.  Boats are no longer allowed to tie off to trees or rocks along this section of the Turkish coastline.  You are required to use the bollards which have been installed for this purpose.   You now can be fined heavily for tying a line to a tree.  

The kids enjoyed Tomb Bay.  It is a perfect place for them to become reacquainted with paddling the kayak (which is an inflatable thing more like a 2-person canoe rather than a real kayak).  The last time they had played in this kayak was in the Caribbean at Bonaire in August 2007.  At that time they were too small to handle it by themselves.  Now they are 10 and 11 and it is so nice to be able to turn them lose on their own and keep a watchful eye from the cockpit.  They are the perfect age now to enjoy the summer here.  Zach was not happy that we would not let him climb the mountain to the Lycian tock tombs.  It was much too hot.  Neither Bill nor I could be enticed to do this activity and Zach was still wearing a brace on his broken arm.  No way we were letting him climb boulders up a steep mountain by himself.  

Muslim women in burkini swimwear
While in Tomb Bay for a few days we chanced to be anchored between several Turkish boats.  On our starboard side one day was a tour boat.  The Muslim women were wearing burkinis -- the swim costume for proper Muslim women in the more liberal Islamist countries.  
Wealthy Muslim woman wears regular bikini
On our port side was a private motor yacht out of Istanbul with the Turkish owners aboard.  This urban (and obviously wealthy) Muslim woman was dressed quite differently than the women on the tour boat.  A woman's manner of dress is a personal choice.  We often refer to Turkey as an Muslim country, but that is not really true.  Turkey is a secular country.  The government is not supposed to be religious.  That was one of Ataturk's main beliefs and how he structured the government when he established this country after WWI.  But 99% of the population in Turkey is Muslim.  So for all intents and purposes, Turkey is Muslim.

Being a good sport for his younger cousin
pretending to be a hair stylist.
After Tomb Bay we motored between a few islands and down the peninsula to an anchorage on the sea side rather than the bay side.  This anchorage was called Küçük Kuyruk. This would be pronounced KOO-chuck  KOO-i- rook and it means little tail end or little rear end.  But the colloquial translation would be little prick.  The shape of the small bay on our chart could fit any of those descriptions.  

Beautiful water near our anchored boat

Way up there on left is Zachary paddling the kayak
There were 3 boats already anchored with stern lines ashore, leaving plenty of room for another 2 or 3 boats at the end of the bay.  One can also anchor stern-to a pretty good distance along the long southern side of the bay, according to our sailing guide book.  We dropped anchor and backed toward shore and a French guy started screaming at us. WTF?????  He was yelling "stop" at the top of his lungs.  We had no idea why he was yelling and continued with what we were doing.  Our anchor was dropped well away from anywhere his anchor might have been and we were nowhere near his boat.  After our anchor was set and Bill had 2 stern lines securely tied to boulders ashore (no bollards out here),  then Bill went over to the French guy's
Zoomed in for a closer look.  Yep, he is still paddling way up there.
boat and asked what he was trying to 'tell' us.  Suddenly he spoke no English, although 3 of us had clearly heard him yelling 'stop.'  Guess we wouldn't be making any friends with this sailor.  

Later 2 more boats arrived and managed with great difficulty to anchor in this same section of the bay.  Funny -- both were flying French flags and the French guy didn't scream at either of them and they actually did get close to his boat and anchored right across his anchor chain.  

We stayed here a few nights.  Zachary perfected his kayak paddling skills.  This is really a pretty spot.  A man in a small boat came zooming up to sell ice cream at least once daily.  And a woman in another small boat would arrive in the anchorage once daily selling breads and various cakes or treats.

The weather prediction was for almost no wind and calm seas so we decided to sail (motor) directly across the next large bay and skip Marmaris altogether.  Our idea was to sail up to Kusadasi and take a tour to Ephesus and Pamukkale.  Well.....that didn't happen.  We headed out for what should have been motoring due west for 45 NM to the tip of the next peninsula.  And we quickly learned why no one ever does this.  Winds were only 10-14 knots but the waves and swell were short and steep.  The sea was virtually stopping us in our tracks.  There must have been adverse current although the guide book stated that there should be favorable current along this entire part of the coast of Turkey.  With the engine rpms revved up to 2200+ we should have been going 7.5 knots or slightly higher.   But we were going only 4 knots speed-over-ground.  That 45 miles would take way too long.  We would arrive after dark and waste a lot of diesel doing it.  

Change of plans.  We took a 90-degree turn north and had a pleasant sail up to Ekincik Limani and anchored at  36.49.758N   028.33.164E.  Ekincik is a fairly large bay with beach almost all the way around.  Depth is shallow for the entire bay and plenty of room for everyone to swing anchor.  No one had warned us how rolly this bay gets overnight.  During the day it was very pleasant; but at night swell rolls in and the anchored boats roll wildly.  
'My Marina' (strange name) near entrance to Ekincik Limani.
Friends stayed here and said the best restaurant in Turkey
is located on the hillside.
VERY expensive restaurant, they said,but worth it. 
Ekincik is not our favorite anchorage.  There is a small dock with electricity but the guide book advised that it was very shallow so we did not attempt to approach the dock.  There also are a couple of tiny markets where a limited selection of tired fresh veggies and fruits are available at expensive prices.  We had no produce left on the boat, so Bill went shopping with both kids and returned with whatever was available.  The selection was not great but better than eating canned vegetables.   Bill said that from the dinghy the depth at that small dock with the electricity appeared deep enough.  If we return to this bay I think we would try the dock rather than roll so much all night at anchor.  Either that dock or another bay with line ashore to hold us facing the swell instead of rolling sideways with it.  A very small tour boat came alongside late that afternoon and we booked a 3-hour tour of nearby turtle beach and ancient Caunos for early the next morning.

En route to see ancient Caunos and turtles
The little tour boat arrived at 08:00 as scheduled.  There are a couple dozen of these little tour boats and all looked the same.  They offer a 3-hour tour, a 5-hour tour, and an all-day tour.  We figured since it was so hot that 3 hours would be just about all the 4 of us would tolerate.  
The boat trip to the turtle beach and the entrance to the little river to Caunos takes about a half-hour.
In marshy entrance to Caunos
 We were not interested in stopping to walk the beach.  Tourists walking on the sand causes the sand to compact and damages the turtle eggs.  The local people are just trying to make a living and to accommodate a larger number of tourists.  But letting the tourists walk on the beach is further endangering the population of turtles.

Loggerhead turtle surfacing to eat crab on string

Hundreds of large loggerhead turtles here

These are the nesting grounds for loggerhead turtles.  The adult turtles are just over 3-feet diameter.  And they love to eat blue crabs -- which was news to the 4 of us.  The tour boat stopped at a tiny 'dock' and a man enticed turtles to the surface by dangling small crabs tied to a string.
Love blue crabs!

The people feeding crabs to the turtles also will sell crabs to tourists.  We are from crab country and all enjoy steamed blue crabs.  The quoted price seemed very steep to us -- 12 lira per crab!  That is almost $7 per crab!  But it has been a long time since we have had the opportunity to eat blue crabs.  We wanted a dozen but settled for buying just 3.  We later picked up the crabs on our way back out of the estuary.  When we opened the foil packets later we were pleasantly surprised to learn that the crabs were already cooked and sectioned and that there actually were 6 crabs rather than only 3. 
Diligently and intently picking crabs

 We did not get to see much at Caunos.  The rock tombs that I really wanted the kids to get to see were much farther up the river.  The guide pointed the tombs out to me as we slowly motored up the branched little river.  This is a huge marsh.  I don't know how these guides tell one patch of reeds from another.  I could barely make out the tombs out in the distance and thought we would eventually get closer.  Little did I know. 
Rock tombs at Caunos
We didn't get close enough to see anything.

We were now 1 1/2 hours into the 3-hour tour and had not yet reached Caunos.  Soon the guide tied the boat to a rickety dock and we hiked to the entrance to Caunos -- about a 10 minute walk from the boat.  The guide stayed in the boat.  We thought the guide would be accompanying us, but I guess he only does the water part of this 3-hour tour.

Unidentified piece of rock

We paid the entrance fee and walked the dusty pathways without a clue as to where we were going or what we would see.  Caunos is not well marked; the signage is poor.  This very obviously was once a large city.  But almost no information was provided for tourists. No indication of how large the population was or when the city was first established or by whom.  A sign stated that the theater seated 5,000 which indicates that this city was not so large by the time the Romans arrived.  The area of the city grounds is very large and it certainly appears that this city was once much larger that during the Roman period.

Zach in Roman theater at Caunos.  Note the marshy
low-lying area in background toward sea.  That
used to be part of the big harbor.

We easily found the theater.     It was at a higher elevation and the view easily afforded our imaginations to think of what a great harbor this must once have been.  Like many other ancient ports this river has silted over the several millenniums since this city was occupied.  What once was obviously a harbor is now marsh for miles around. 

Castle ruins way up there above the theater

There was a castle (per a sign) situated on the top of the closest mountain that would have overlooked the harbor.  I imagine that this really was not a castle but more likely a fortress to protect the city.  It looked large but there was not sufficient time to climb up there (assuming we had the energy to do so) before our scheduled time to return to the tour boat.

More marsh in background that used to be harbor.  This would have been about 5% of the old harbor area.

Overlooking baths and don't know what else.  The city
ruins go way towards those distant mountains in one
direction and equally as far in the opposite direction.

Domed church

We walked from the theater to the ruins of the baths.  I then realized I had dropped my handkerchief in the theater and I returned to fetch it while Bill showed the kids around the baths and other structures.  Like I said earlier, the signs weren't very informative; so they weren't entirely sure of what they were looking at.  They found the domed roof church -- now roofless. 
Seats for something

And this would be???

On of the mosaic floors.  Unusual patterns.

One building had a mosaic floor that was unlike anything we have seen so far.  The tile pattern was not the usual fruits and flowers.  It was more a pattern of intertwining circles.  

Unusual pattern mosaic floor

We rushed back to the tour boat and began slowly motoring back out of the marsh.  The guide offered to take us up to see the rock tombs for an additional fee.  But by now we were tired and very hot and just wanted to get back to the boat and set sail.  

We stopped and picked up the crabs we had ordered and went straight back to our boat; weighed anchor and headed off towards the point of the next peninsula that we had wanted to get to a few days earlier.  Unfortunately, outside the harbor area the winds 3 times the strength inside the bay --- and right on our nose, of course.  After an hour we turned around and had a pleasant sail for fun for a few hours while running the watermaker.  Then we returned to Ekincik Limani for another night of rolling side-to-side.  We decided to give up and going straight to the tip of the peninsula and to go to Marmaris instead.

Exiting river from Caunos to turtle beach

On 29 June we motored to Marmaris and anchored off the city beach.  Then decided to go into Netzel Marina for a few days because we needed diesel and air-conditioning.  We walked into town for doner kebabs from our favorite place.  It was very hot and humid so we really enjoyed being plugged into shore power and cooling off with the air-conditioning running.  We placed an order for a new vinyl bimini to be made.  The fabric had to be ordered because we wanted a heavier quality vinyl than the local shop stocked.  We also ordered new curtains to be made from the fabric we already had.  Also ordered a ultra-thick mattress pad to be constructed from polyester fiber.  Our mattress has a thick visco-elastic foam slab on top (a/k/a memory foam).  That foam absorbed body heat and feels hot during summer nights.  I wanted something to better separate our bodies from that comfortable foam; hoping to sleep cooler.

Pool at Yat Marin
On 01 July we moved to Yat Marin.  Netzel was $130 per day including electricity.  Yat Marin was $51 per day plus electricity.  We can't possibly use $79 per day for electricity, so Yat Marin is significantly less expensive for transient short-term stay.  Yat Marin has a very nice swimming pool and we thought the kids would enjoy that.  But they berthed us as far as one can possibly get from the swimming pool -- out next to the entrance guard tower.  We have all walked blisters on our feet going to and from the boat to the marina office, restaurant and pool.  None of us like it here at Yat Marin.  Although we do love the pool and the 7 lira hamburgers are not too bad.

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