Sunday, October 28, 2012

Konya -- Home of the Whirling Dervishes

Saturday, October 20, 2012  
Day 2 of our 6-day tour
As always, click on any image for larger view.

This tour followed a schedule that fit me to a "T" because each morning we departed the hotel at 09:00.  This allowed for leisurely coffee and breakfast.  I think all the tour participants were delighted not to have to get up at 06:00 to hurriedly pack and rush off.  We very much enjoyed this leisurely pace.

Day 2 started with a 4-hour drive to Konya -- home of the Whirling Dervishes.  I am not sure that I can really explain the Whirling Dervishes, but here goes.  I am leaving out a lot.

As I hope everyone knows by now, there are several different forms of Islam.  The Sunni and Shia are the 2 most well known, but there are numerous other different practices of Islam.  One of those is the Sufi order.  Some people consider the Sufis to be a cult; some consider them to be a sect of Islam; some consider them mystics.  The Mevlevi order ( Mawlaw'īyya ) is a Sufi order founded in Konya (in present-day Turkey) by the followers of Muhammad Rumi ( Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi ), a 13th -century Persian who was a poet, Islamic jurist and theologian.  These followers are also known as the Whirling Dervishes.  Rumi, BTW, wrote more than 12,000 volumes of poems during his lifetime.  There are other orders of Sufism but this tour focused only on the Mevlevi order, the Order of the Whirling Dervishes.
Whirling Dervishes we saw on Turkish Night

The dervishes perform a 'dance' of whirling as a form of dhikr or remembrance of God.  This is called the Sama or Sema ceremony and the participants are properly known as semazen-s, but commonly called Whirling Dervishes.  The Sema represents a mystical journey of man's spiritual ascent through the mind and love to the "Perfect".  Turning towards the truth, the follower grows through love.  He deserts his ego; finds the truth; and arrives at the "Perfect".  Then he returns from this spiritual journal as a man who has reached maturity and a greater perfection; thus able to love and to be of service to the whole of creation.  In 2005, UNESCO proclaimed the Melvi Sema Ceremony of Turkey to be one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

The Mevlevi order was founded in 1273 by Rumi's followers after his death,  particularly by his successor Husamettin Celebi who built a mausoleum for Rumi and Rumi's son, the Sultan Veled.  Celibi was a Sufi mystic with good organizing skills.  We visited the shrine of Rumi and his son in Konya.  Photos were allowed outside the mausoleum but were prohibited inside the shrine.  The interior was beautiful!  The ceilings were painted in such beautiful patterns and colors.  Shame no photos are allowed in there. 

Per the websites I checked:  The origin and roots of Sufism lie in the life and practices of the Prophet of Islam and the Qu'ran.  Sufism espouses a well-founded and thorough interpretation of Islam which focuses on love, tolerance, worship of God, community development, and personal development through self-discipline and responsibility.  A Sufi's way of life is to love and be of service to people, deserting the ego or false self and all illusion so that one can reach maturity and 'perfection' and finally reach Allah, God.  

The sema or ritual dance consists of several stages with different meanings.  The first stage is a eulogy to the Messenger of Islam and all the Prophets before him, all of whom represent love. (This includes Jesus and Moses and Abraham, etc.)  This eulogy is followed by a drumbeat symbolizing the divine command "Be" for the creation of the entire universe.

This followed by an improvisation on a reed flute.  This expresses the divine breath, which gives life to everything.

Then follows the Sultan Veled procession, accompanied by simple music.  The participants walk in an anti-clockwise circle, proceeding 3 times around the turning space.  At the completion of each circle, each participant bows to the other.  These bowed greetings represent the 3 stages of knowledge: 1) received knowledge, gained from others or through study; 2) knowledge gained by seeing or observing for oneself; and 3) knowledge gained through direct experience.  

Contrary to popular belief the semazen's goal is not to lose consciousness or to fall into a state of ecstasy.  Instead, by revolving in harmony with all things in nature, the semazen testifies to the existence and the majesty of the Creator, thinks of Him, gives thanks to Him, and prays to Him.  By the revolving ritual, the semazen confirms the words of the Qur'an (sura 64:1):  Whatever is in the skies or on earth invokes God.

The semazen begins the sema ritual (dance) wearing a black cloak and entering a darkened room.  After the beating of the drum and the flute sounds, the black cloak is removed revealing a starkly white long-sleeved garment and an ankle length full skirt.  The semazen wears a tall camel's hair hat called a sikke.  The darkness is then lightened somewhat to a low-light level like candlelight, not brightly lit.  

The sikke hat represents the tombstone of his ego.  The wide white skirt represents the ego's shroud.  By removing his black cloak, he is spiritually reborn to truth.  At the beginning of the sema he holds his arms crosswise.  Thus, he appears to represent the number one, testifying to God's unity.  While whirling, his arms are open; his right arm is directed to the sky, ready to receive God's beneficence.  His left hand, upon which his eyes remain fastened, is turned toward the earth.   This is symbolic of bringing God or Allah to the creatures on the earth. Revolving from right to left he embraces all humanity with love.  Rumi had taught:  "All loves are a bridge to Divine love."

Tolerance is central to Mevlevi teachings, as shown in this famous verse:
Come, whoever you may be,
Even if you may be
An infidel, a pagan, or a fire-worshipper, come.
Ours is not a brotherhood of despair.
Even if you have broken
Your vows of repentance a hundred times, 

(Having been raised in the Baptist religion, that sounds so very much to me like the minister at the close of Sunday services inviting all sinners to come to the front of the church to repent of sins, inviting sinners to repent and be baptized and born again.  The message is the same:  regardless of your sins, come and be saved in the eyes of God.)
Our group at a comfort stop

Shortly after Ataturk formed the new government of Turkey, he banned the Mevlevi Sufis in 1925 because he considered them to be mystics.  Ataturk saw them as an obstacle to advancement for the Turkish people.  But several orders survived on a technicality as religious fraternities (like the Masons?).  The Konya lodge was revived in 1957 as a "cultural association" intended to preserve a historical tradition.

Our group at a comfort stop

We would have the opportunity to see a demonstration of the Whirling Dervishes during Turkish Night at a restaurant a few days later.
Pretty comfort stop en route to Konya

Our group seated on floor cushions for lunch
When we arrived in Konya we first ate lunch in a traditional Turkish restaurant, all seated on cushions on the floor at a long low table.  The meal consisted of the usual pepper spread with bread (too hot for some people in our group, but delicious to me), salad, pide and baklava for dessert.  Pide (pronounced PEE-day) is simple Turkish pizza.  It is oblong with the sides curved up and over the top edge.  It sometimes has cheese and sometimes does not.  There is no tomato pizza sauce.  It is quiet bland.  I like foods with more spice and prefer American style pizza, but pide is okay.  The restaurant staff spoke no English, so our guide translated for us.  
Pide lunch in Konya

They offered a local drink of fermented grape juice and several of us opted to try it.  Bad mistake!  This stuff was disgustingly salty and bitter.  Turned out that there was a mistake and we were served fermented beet juice with wheat instead of the grape juice.  I cannot imagine anyone willingly drinking that ultra-salty stuff!!  Enough sodium to raise blood pressure to stroke levels.

Entry door to Rumi's shrine
 Konya is the Turkish equivalent to America's Bible Belt.  More women are seen covered than anywhere else in Turkey.  Alcohol beverages are almost impossible to find in stores and never sold in restaurants.  The people are not extremists but they do take their practice of Islam very seriously.  To quote the Lonely Planet guidebook:  "Konya treads a delicate path between its historical significance as the home town of the whirling dervish orders and a bastion of Seljuk culture on the one hand, and its modern importance as an economic boom town on the other."

The exit door from Rumi's shrine
Next we visited the shrine for Rumi and his son.  There were lots of people visiting the shrine; very few were foreign tourists.  Most people appeared to be Turkish or of Middle-Eastern heritage.  People watching was good here.  Bill and I were more interested in watching the people than the buildings around the shrine area.  BTW, the mausoleum/shrine had a green minaret so I guess it used to be a mosque.

The green fluted minaret at the shrine for Rumi

Rumi shrine complex

For Muslims, this is a very holy place.  More than 1.5 million people visit the shrine each year, most of them Turkish.  The guidebook states that women should cover their heads and arms and that anyone wearing shorts should not enter.  Our guide said that covering was not needed for women because this is not a mosque, only a shrine.  Most of the women in our group did cover their heads, although only 1 woman also covered her arms.  I did not cover either.  The security guards didn't stop me so I guess our guide was correct.  Several of the men in our tour group were wearing shorts and even they were allowed inside the shrine.  That actually surprised me.

Ablution center for Rumi's shrine

The domes of the shrine and the nearby mosque are fitted with turquoise tiles.  Supposedly, these tiles are very valuable -- about $40,000 for a tile by today's valuations.  BTW, the word turquoise originated in Turkey.  It is a French word for this color that they first encountered when arriving in Turkey centuries ago.  

The old Ottoman mosque that was closed
for renovations

Then we walked over to an old Ottoman mosque, but it was closed for renovations.  I think the name for this mosque was Alaaddin Camil.  It was built for Alaaddin Keykubad I, Sultan of Rum from 1219 to 1231; and was designed by a Damascene architect in Arab style.  The interior has old marble columns surmounted with recycled Roman and Byzantine capitals.  That was a glitch in the tour.  The guide had not known the mosque was closed for renovation.  Frankly, we did not care.  We have seen enough mosques.  This big one with the green trim might have been pretty but we didn't feel that we had missed anything.  

Another 3 hours of driving delivered us to Nevsehir, where we checked into the Peri Tower Hotel, our home for the next 3 nights.  Peri Tower Hotel  Our room overlooked the pool.  Even had a couple of TV channels in English -- BBC and Central China TV (whoa!  talk about propaganda!).  The architect for this hotel must have been on drugs when he conceived this design.  There are towers in various places and the hotel is built into a small hill; so, for example, floor 2 on one side is different from floor 2 on the other side of the hotel.  And walkways slope between several floors.  It would be easy to get lost if you got into the elevator on the wrong side of the hotel lobby or bar levels.  Floor 4A is a different level than Floor 4B.  A drunk would never be able to navigate this hotel.

Dinners and breakfasts are included in this tour, and we were grateful that dinner was served in the hotel restaurant as we were tired from the driving and looked forward to a restful night.  

Tomorrow would be exploring Cappadocia!

Sagalassos -- first stop on our 6-day tour

Friday, 19 October 2012
As always, click on any image for larger view.

Last summer we signed up for an October group tour to Cappadocia; a small group tour.  This tour was arranged by Gwen in Marmaris.  Gwen is an American woman who has lived in Marmaris about 10 years in Netsel Marina aboard her yacht called K.W.  Gwen arranges many tours to lots of destinations in Turkey, and her tours are quite popular with cruisers.  She is not a travel agent and has no financial gain in these tours.  She does it to benefit the cruising community, for which we owe her a great big "thanks!".  

The small bus for our tour held 14 passengers, leaving 1 vacant seat on the back row that allowed a bit of stretching room for the folks seated back there.  As per our guide's suggestion, everyone switched seats daily to allow everyone a time in the 'best' seats.  Eight people were on boats docked at Yat Marine in Marmaris and that is where the tour originated.  Lucky us; Fethiye is on the way to Cappadocia.  The little bus collected another couple whose boat is docked at the large ECE Saray Marina (next door to us), then picked us up at the front door of Yacht Classic Hotel.  What could be more convenient for us!  Our guide was a very nice, friendly and well-educated young man nicknamed Tas; I never got his real name.  His command of the English language was excellent, both British version and American style.  Tas is very well-traveled both in Europe and America and is a licensed national guide in Turkey.  We would recommend this tour company and would definitely recommend Tas as a guide.  Here is a link to the 6-day tour we enjoyed: Koral Tourism and Travel Agency  

Please note that this tour does require a certain level of physical agility and endurance.  There is a lot of walking up and down and lots of steps or stairs to negotiate at the various sites visited.   Walking on uneven stones is tough on the joints and can be a tad painful for some of us older folks.  Glad we went now because I don't think I will be physically capable of doing this tour in another 5 years.  Just sitting in the bus for approximately 2600 km (1560 miles) over 6 days was taxing enough for old people with arthritic hips and knees.  The tour does make comfort stops every 2 to 2 1/2 hours and it does help greatly to walk around for a few minutes.
Looking across valley from Sagalassos

Our first stop was 4 hours away in the Lake District -- the archaeological dig site of Sagalassos, known most appropriately as The City of the Clouds.  Tas explained that the pronunciation of the name literally translates in local dialect to 'Make Him Cry.'   I think City of the Clouds sounds better.

Another view from Sagalassos

The ancient city of Sagalassos truly was a city of the clouds.  It is situated near the top of a mountain and affords lovely views.   The ancient city sprawled in terraced fashion near the top of Ak Dag (White Mountain) from altitudes of 1450 meters to 1700 meters (5525 feet), backed by steep rock face to the mountain top.   Sagalassos is surrounded by mountain tops on 3 sides and affords splendid views of the valley below on the single open side.  

Bill at Sagalassos, way up high

During Roman Empire times this city was known as the "first city of Pisidia" and the region was first called the Province of Asia and later called the Province of Galatia.  Today this region of the Taurus Mountains is known as the Lake District.  Human settlement of the area goes back 8,000 years, long before the Romans arrived.   Although settlement is confirmed to be be pre-Hellenistic, all the surviving ruins being refurbished are of Roman origin.

Another Hadrian arch?

Alexander the Great conquered Sagalassos in 333 B.C. on his way to Persia.  The city had a population of only a few thousand at that time and was one of the wealthiest cities in the region. 

Note wooden steps on right going uphill

Several centuries later, under Roman rule, Sagalassos (or Pisidia as they called it) was particularly favored by the Emperor Hadrian.  He declared it "first city" and the center of Galatia province.  A very large statue of Hadrian has been unearthed in Sagalassos.  Another very large statue discovered there is believed to be of his wife Sabrina.

Ancient Roman tiles being used as support for new path.
Wonder if the archaeologist know this is being done
by the construction workers building this path.

After Roman rule the city fell under control of various rules as different peoples gained and lost control of the region

Around 400 A.D. the city was fortified for defense.  In 518 A.D. an earthquake devastated the city.  Around 541 a plague halved the local population.  In 640 a massive earthquake destroyed the town and the inhabitants abandoned Sagalassos and resettled in the valley nearby.   Sagalassos disappeared from records at this time.

Such detail in the stonework

The site remained virtually ignored from 640 until explorer Paul Lucas, who was traveling in Turkey on a mission for King Louis XIV of France, visited here in 1706.   During those intervening 1066 years erosion had covered the ruins of Sagalassos.  The city had not been looted to any significant extent because of its location.  After Lucas' visit, the site remained vacant and unmolested.   In 1824 a British chaplain at Izmir visited the site and deciphered its name in inscriptions.  Western travelers began to visit the ruins occasionally; however, the city did not attract much archaeological attention until active excavation  of this site began around 1985 by a Belgian-British team.  That work continues today.  This should be a spectacular site when all the work is completed, easily rivaling Ephesus as a tourist destination.  This is the largest archaeological project in the Mediterranean region.   BTW, it is possible to arrange a wedding in this unique setting.  That would be really special but getting the wedding guests to this somewhat remote location might be challenging.
Looking down on the lower level agora (shopping area)
and a wide pedestrian street area

Rather than write a lot of detail about what we saw and learned, here is a link to what I consider the best website for this site:
Sagalassos archaeological site

Dig around on this site for lots of information if so inclined.

If you have Google Earth, this link to an interactive map of Sagalassos archaeological dig is interesting:
Interactive map of Sagalassos (using Google Earth)

Roman Baths -- what a view they had!

We exited the bus at the level of the old Roman baths and Tas explained about those.  I won't relate any of that info because I have previously written about many of the Roman baths we have visited and they are all about the same.

More of the Roman Baths

Antonine Nymphaeum at Sagalassos
Gravel on floor in front covers mosaics to protect from sun

Next we walked many steps up to the Antonine Nymphaeum and upper Agora (shopping district).  By the time we got up there I was huffing and puffing due to the elevation and exertion and decided to skip going farther uphill to the theater.  Fellow tour participants who opted to visit the theater said it was like all the other theaters we have visited.  I think the capacity for this theater was around 9,000 persons, so it was not one of the larger theaters of ancient times.

Roman theater at upper level of Sagalassos

Between the nymphaeum and the theater are the pre-Hellenistic Doric Fountainhouse and the Roman Neon Library.  The library supposedly has an exceptionally fine mosaic floor, but it is kept locked.  According to our Lonely Planet guidebook, visitors can ask at the ticket booth and they will loan a key; but we did not read the book until later and missed this opportunity.

How the nymphaeum originally looked, upper level.
Water ran through channels down to the lower level
to a collection pool beneath that circular roof.

While they continued to the theater Bill and I explored the Bouleterion and Heroon (hero's monument--it is believed a large statue of Alexander the Great once stood here)  which were nearby the nymphaeum.  There were few signs in place to explain what we were looking at.  Looking downward on the mountainside we could see the larger lower-level agora (shopping district) and the macellon (food market area) with their trademark Corinithian columns.  In the middle of the macellon was a large thoios (a deep fountain where live fish were stored and sold).  This macellon was dedicated to Emperor Marcus Aurelius. 

Another view of the Antonine Nymphaeum

The nymphaeum has been restored nicely.  Water flows and fills the fountain just as it did during ancient years.  The piping has been reattached to the original source used over 2,000 years ago.  The statues were largely destroyed by earthquakes over the centuries.  Replicas now stand in their places.  The link above provides additional links to information on the huge statues already unearthed at this site.   One was a 16-foot statue of Emperor Hadrian.

Bill at nymphaeum.  Note water pouring from the
2,000 year old source

The link also shows some of the mosaic floors found at Sagalassos.  The photo shows a design we have never see before.  Unfortunately for us, the mosaics have been covered with a thick layer of sand and gravel to protect the tiles from farther UV damage.  So we were unable to see them.

Bill sitting on the stone trim that encircled the structure
 where statues stood in the square in front of nymphaeum

While reading about Sagalassos I found this interesting tidbit on Wikipedia:
"In a phylogenetic study the mitochondrial DNA of 85 skeletons from Sagalassos dated to the 11th–13th century AD was compared to modern populations. The research found a significant maternal genetic signature of Balkan/Greek populations, as well as ancient Persians and populations from the Italian peninsula. Some contribution from the Levant was also detected, whereas no contribution from Central Asian population was ascertained."

In this short video of Sagalassos I mentioned Marcus Antonius (Marc Antony) because that is what I understood the guide to say.  That was in error.  Should have been Marcus Aurelius.  Sorry about the scratchy audio.  Nothing I can do about it.

After exploring the City of the Clouds we were supposed to stop in Isparta for bazaar and to learn about the largest local business of rose oil production, but our group voted to skip it.   We were all tired from the long drive and our mountaintop exploration of the archaeological site.  Another hour's drive delivered us to the small mountaintop town of Egirdir where we checked into the Altingol hotel.   Hotel Altingol on Lake Egirdir   
Lake view from our hotel room upon afternoon arrival

Almost directly across the street from the hotel was the Hizir Bey Camil which was built in 1237 and served as a Seljuk warehouse.  It was turned into a mosque in 1308 by the emir Hizir Bey and remains in use today.  Opposite the mosque stands the Dundar Bey Medressesi, a madrassa (university) built in 1218 A.D. by the Seljuk sultun Alaeddin Keykubat.  It was originally built to be a caravanserai -- a place where trade caravans stopped for the night.  (The roads today follow the paths of the ancient camel trade caravans.)   In 1285 the caravanserai was converted to a madrassa.   Today the madrassa houses a bazaar supposedly filled with the usual tourist trinkets.  It was almost dark when we arrived in Egirdir so there was no time to explore the mosque or this old madrassa.  Nearby also stands a ruined castle, the foundations of which were laid during the reign of Croesus, the 5th century B.C. King of Lydia.  We skipped that also due to time constraints.  Frankly, I don't think I could get Bill to walk through another castle right now after our full day recently in the Castle of St. Peter in Bodrum.  He is "castled" out.

View from our hotel room at early morning
 Egirdir Goin is the 4th largest lake in Turkey and is situated at an altitude of 917 meters above sea level (2,980 ft).  It is a shallow lake with average depth of only approximately 45 feet.  And it is a popular fishing spot.  During winter months this area is a popular ski destination.   

Egirdir was founded by the Hittites about 8,000 years ago.  From Lydian times (12th century B.C.) through today, Egirdir has been a popular stop-over for people traveling through Central Antolia to the Mediterranean Sea.  Later, the Romans called this town Prostanna and documents suggest that it was large and prosperous but no excavations have been done at this site because of the Turkish military.  In Byzantine times it was known as Akrotiri (Steep Mountain).  The Ottomans took control in 1417 but the local population remained mostly Greek Orthodox Christians until the 1920s.  Under the Turks, Akrotiri became Egridir, which means 'crooked' or 'bent.'  In the 1980s the name was changed to Egirdir, which means 'she is spinning.'  The new name was intended to remove any negative connotations of the old name. 

Travelers beware!  There is a large military presence situated on the shore and mountaintop next to this lake.  Our guide explained that photos of that installation or anywhere in that area are strictly prohibited.  The military has been known to confiscate cameras and delete photos if they think you have pointed your camera in that direction.  

Our group enjoyed dinner at a restaurant at the tip of the isthmus on Lake Egirdir.  I opted for the fish dinner and it was very good -- supposedly freshly caught from the lake.

A good first day for our 'vacation.'

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Settling in early for the winter season

A tiny part of Skopea Limani
 The last day in Ekincik Limani we met a couple of boats.  A fellow American boat arrived and invited us over for drinks.  An ex-New Yorker now living in Germany, Steve & Margaret aboard S/V Joy.  They were headed north and we were headed south, so not likely we will meet again.  The other boat was a charter boat.  The charterer had been following our blog for months and wanted to meet, so we joined them for coffee the following morning.   They had recently purchased an Oyster; I believe a 58-footer.  It will be delivered to them next May after it is displayed at the Dusseldorf Boat Show next spring.   If you chance to see an Oyster 575 named Pamarzi, take the opportunity to meet Roger & Lynn.  They are a very nice couple.  Hope they enjoy their new boat for years to come.

After chatting much too long with Roger and Lynn, we departed Ekincik Limani with intentions to sail to Gocek.  As always in the Med, the forecasted winds never materialized.  Wind was light and from the wrong direction.  But we were able to ever-so-slowly sail for most of the day, taking the opportunity to run the generator and watermaker.  This charged the batteries to 100% and also put 1,000 liters of water into the tanks.  This would be enough water to last us until we berthed at the dock for the winter.

Rounding the point of the peninsula, the wind died completely.  Engine switched on and sails furled away.  We turned toward Gocek.  But the sky started darkening and we quickly decided that maybe going to Gocek might not be the best idea.  We had never been there and were not familiar with where to anchor or if there even were anywhere to anchor there.  So we hooked a right and headed toward Fethiye.  We know that enormous bay quite well.  We could safely anchor there even in a storm after dark.  

A rock formation I liked in Skopea Limani.  An
anchorage is hiding behind those rocks.

About halfway across Skopea Limani towards Fethiye the skies opened and it poured.  Rain!!  Yes!  First drops on rain to fall on BeBe since 3 May.  It has been a hot and very dry summer, typical for this part of the world.  The persistent HI over this part of Turkey during the summer begins to break down with the cooler nighttime temperatures of early autumn.  It will rain more and more often as the temperatures continue to drop.  

Finally!!! Rain!!!
Bill put up our cockpit side panels and we were snug as a bug inside the dry cockpit as the rain washed off layers of red dust off the boat.  Felt so good to be on a clean boat again!  It rained for about 20 minutes and then cleared, so we enjoyed a clear entry into Fethiye and dropped anchor near Yacht Classic Hotel.  We anchor well out and do not try to get as close in as possible.  Let the other boats try to crowd together.  We have a big dinghy and a reliable 15hp outboard so we don't mind having a slightly longer ride to shore.  Better than being crowded too close among charter boats that usually are not anchored correctly.  The rain started again and slowly drizzled all night long.  Temperature inside the closed-up boat was cool enough to need a lightweight blanket.  Nice.  It would warm up again the next day, but it was certainly nice for the little preview of cooler weather anticipated to arrive soon.

Going to put out a wildfire.  Bet some people who believe
the cruiser rumors thought it was a poopy-copter using
video to record their illegal dumping of waste.  BTW, these
people obviously have no idea of the hi-tech stabilized
equipment that would be required to accomplish such a
Since arriving in Fethiye we have met people on several boats, none of which will be wintering here.  Most cruisers who are not longtime residents of Yat Marine or Netsel in Marmaris are going to Finicke for this winter.  Finicke offered a special promotional rate for this winter, including electricity.  We had obtained a quote from Finicke much earlier in the spring and it was too high to interest us.  A day or so after we committed to winter in Fethiye we received the promotion email from Finicke.  It was basically the same price we are paying to dock at Yacht Classic Hotel for the same time period; the difference being that electricity would be included at Finicke marina and we will be paying extra for electricity here.   But we are still happy we chose here.  Finicke gets more severe weather because of where it is situated and that marina did not look very protected.  The docks at Yacht Classic Hotel in Fethiye are much more protected from winter storms, basically no fetch to cause rough water at the docks.  We feel more secure about leaving our boat in the water here while we travel.  We would worry about leaving BeBe in the water unattended in Finicke during the winter.

No Anchoring sign -- right
next to an anchored boat
Oh! You don't mean me, of course!
Since arriving in Fethiye we have enjoyed lunch ashore practically daily.  The little cafe we like best is about 1.5 mile round-trip walk from the hotel dock where we leave the dinghy.  Makes for a nice little daily walk.  And we pass by a couple of supermarkets along the way so it is easy to pick up a few things on each trip.  Thus far we are thoroughly enjoying Fethiye.

Bill on top deck at swim stop
One Sunday we took a large tourist gulet over to Gocek,, just to check out what is over there.  It was a lovely day outing.  Driving our own boat there would have cost about 100TL in diesel; the gulet was only 45TL round trip for the both of us.   It made sense to let them do the driving.  Plus, we wanted to see how one of these large gulets behaved on the water. 
Enjoying the ride
 It was very pleasant. 

Entering Gocek on gulet trip
 While in Gocek we visited their big Sunday market.  

Someone had told me that rotisserie chickens are only 6TL each there instead of the 12TL in the supermarket here.  We brought a hot/cold bag to keep the chickens hot during the trip back to Fethiye.  We loaded up on heirloom tomatoes, about $1.10 for what would have cost $15 or more back in Houston.  I paid 2TL for a kilo (2.2 pounds).  Back in Houston in 2006 heirloom tomatoes were $6.99 per pound.  Tomatoes are such a staple in Turkey.  There are many different species and all are wonderfully delicious.  And always extremely inexpensive.  These heirlooms were ever-so-good.  We should have bought more.

Motoring away from Gocek, looking forward on the gulet
Another reason for this trip to Gocek was to meet the new Amel rep for Turkey.  His name is Riza and he is the third generation in the family-owned business.  Riza treated us to a lovely lunch (Caesar salad with grilled chicken! Not something often found here; a real treat.).  He showed us some photos of work performed on other Amels.  He impressed us and Bill decided that we will do our next haulout in Gocek rather than returning to Marmaris next spring.  I will write more about Riza and his company when we do the haul-out, which probably will be next March.

Top deck of the gulet we took to Gocek

On the gulet trip back to Fethiye we stopped at an island to give folks an opportunity to swim for an hour or so.  Not me, buddy!  It was much too cool to think about getting into that water.  A nice cup of hot coffee was more my style.  

The gulet drops anchor and backs up toward shore.  Lowers
the ramp into the water so people can go swim.  And a crew
guy swims ashore with a rope to tie to a rock to hold the
stern from swinging.

Handing fishing off the bowsprit.  Notice that some Turkish Muslim girls
dress like typical westerners instead of all covered up.

Several of the crew  fished off the bowsprit; nothing caught that we saw.  

Crew member preparing to dive off the top rail of the gulet

And off he goes!
And one crew member did a few dives off the rail on the upper deck.  

Rabbits galore!  Notice the pile of carrots they are
eating.  Left by one of the visiting gulets.
More rabbits.  They were everywhere!

The island was inhabited by lots and lots of rabbits.  Wonder what the story is there.  There are no structures on this island and no ancient ruins.  It appears to never have been inhabited by humans.  So how did rabbits get out on a little island?  And why? 

Entering Fethiye on gulet trip

An ancient citadel or fort on hillside behind Fethiye

Entering back into the big bay at Fethiye we noticed some Lycian rock tombs and an ancient citadel or fort on the hillside.  How had we missed these before?  We have been in and out of this bay about 6 times and never noticed these tombs or fort.  Guess we were always too concentrated on watching boat traffic rather than looking at the mountains.  It appears that one can walk up to one of the rock tombs.  Maybe that will be a day hike on a cool day.

Lycian rock tombs on hillside at Fethiye
One of the boats we met in the anchorage is a fellow Amel Super Maramu named Serafin, owned by Hajo and Julia, a lovely German couple.  They will be wintering in Finicke.  They departed last week but then encountered a bow thruster problem in Kas.  They have been living aboard for about 3 years but had no experience with working on the bow thruster.  They knew we had experience in that area, so they returned to Fethiye a few days ago.  Bill gave Hajo a printout of the steps to follow to replace the prop on the bow thruster while the boat is in the water.  Bill observed while Hajo did the work.  Serafin is a slightly older model than BeBe and their bow thruster had a different hub on the prop, so the spare replacement would not fit properly.   Bill called Riza the Amel rep in Gocek. Riza sent someone to the anchorage, picked up the part, returned to the shop where they have lathes and re-worked the part to fit.  The part was returned in perfect condition in less than 2 hours.   How about that for excellent service!! The next morning Hajo reassembled the bow thruster under Bill's supervision.  Now Hajo will feel more secure doing the job on his own next time.

Later that day Hajo and Julia treated us to a fabulous meal at Pasa Kebap Restaurant .The food was great and the company even better.  Hajo and Julia are people we hope to see again.  They departed this morning, heading once again towards Finicke.  They also plan to haul-out in Gocek next spring so maybe we will connect once again.  Lovely people.

This morning we weighed anchor and visited the fuel dock at Ece Satay Marina, the large marina adjacent to Yacht Classic Hotel.   Cost of diesel was 4.39TL per liter, which comes to $9.26 USD per gallon.  $1370.17 to fill our tank.  Glad we don't have to do that every month!!  We prefer to have our fuel tank completely full for the winter so that condensation does not form inside the tank to pollute the diesel.   We are now settled in once again for dock living for the next 6 months.  The weather is perfect to cruise for another month or more.  But we are not interested in re-visiting the anchorages we have already seen this summer.  We have several little interior projects to keep us occupied during the upcoming cold weather.  

On Friday we leave for a 6 day trip to Cappadocia with a tour group of cruisers, mostly from Marmaris.  Very much looking forward to  seeing this special place.

As always, click on any image for larger view.