Kekova and Kaş

26 to 30 March 2018

Finike to Üçağız, N36° 11.67’ E29° 50.59’ , 18nm, 3 hours

to N36° 10.55’ E29° 49.04’

to N36° 11.69’ E29° 51.44’

to Kaş, N36° 10.53’ E29° 38.67’, 42nm, 7 hours

After a last few days in Finike we were ready to start exploring Turkey by sea. With a boat full of diesel, water and Turkish provisions we planned to spend as long as we could at anchor before arriving in Fethiye in time for our friends, Richard and Lavinia, to visit.

Our first stop was a perfect spot – an enclosed bay with the additional protection outside of the island of Kekova. We anchored our first night just off the village of Üçağız in shallow waters with lots of lovely thick mud on the bottom to ensure the anchor held well. The bay had also proved a safe bolt hole for the Ottoman warship Hamidiye to hide out during its service during the Balkan War.

Üçağız (pronounced ooch-eye-is) was just waking up for the tourist season and was probably a sleepy enough place even then. We chatted to a local gullet owner and his brother who said that tourist numbers from the UK had been markedly down over the last two years as a result of terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

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Üçağız’s very casual relationship with its more ancient archeology – Lycian tombs dotted the edge of the bay – extended to its street directions. When we asked where we could leave our rubbish we were told we could leave it in the bins “behind the tomb”! It wasn’t hard to find when a stone sarcophagus wasn’t an everyday sight for us.

The area around the bay was once the Lycian city of Simena. All around the waters edge and under it are the ruins of this city destroyed in a series of earthquakes in the 2nd century AD. The tender was our best way of exploring them. From a distance it was hard to make anything out amongst the rocks but a closer look revealed staircases, rooms, roofs and doorways carved into them.

The following morning we decided to take Pintail round to another small bay opposite Kekova island. In Woodhouse Bay the water was a little deeper than we feel comfortable anchoring in at 20 metres but we were happy enough to stay there for breakfast. As we sat we noticed movement amongst the rocks. It was like a head full of nits! Our eyes adjusted to lots of goats all travelling in the same direction and to the presence of a speedboat bringing in the shepherds. It was obviously their breakfast time too.

Here Stefan took his first swim of the year. Or rather he dived in and bounced straight out again. “I wouldn’t call it warm. I would call it refreshing” he shivered!

We returned to Üçağız Bay but anchored on the opposite side this time under the high Crusader fortress at the village of Kaleköy. We took the tender round to the village and made the steep climb through to the top.

Not much remains of the castle but it offered wonderful views back down across the bays

and down to Pintail.

Behind the castle was another necropolis full of tombs. There was even a tomb in the shallow waters of the harbour!

Our explorations in the tender offered lots of clear bright waters and jagged rocks to avoid.

We also encountered a flock of black-winged stilts standing tall above the water. Their long pink legs became apparent when they flew, trailing far behind them. Stilts is a very good name for them.

Some strong wind kept us in the bay for a couple of days longer but Pintail’s anchor held fast in the mud and we had extra time to climb up for more views down to the bay and its islets.

We broke our onward journey with a night in Kaş where we anchored in a bay south of the town. From the top of the amphitheatre you could almost see Pintail. I was able to stock up on fruit and veg at the weekly market (fresh peas and broad beans were on the menu again!) and we topped up our quota of tombs including this rock tomb in the cliff above our anchorage.

We could have lingered longer in Kaş but we had a date to meet our friends in Fethiye…

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