31 March to 9 April 2018
Kaş to Fethiye, N36° 37.36’ E29° 05.85’, 54nm, 9 hours 30
Leaving Kaş in the early morning meant passing the geographical anomaly that is Kastellorizo, the most easterly of the Greek Dodecanese islands. It is only about 2 miles from Kaş. Having checked out of Greece we couldn’t pop in for a closer look.
We had the most wonderful sail up the coast to Fethiye. 15 knots of wind on the stern pushed us along comfortably and Stefan enjoyed getting acquainted with Clarence 2.0. We passed sand dunes along the coast with snow capped mountains behind.
We anchored off the head of Fethiye bay and arranged to meet up with Lavinia and Richard who had arrived the day before and sensibly checked into a hotel.
On our first day together we took the boat out hoping to make it over to Skopea Bay for the night but the swell was a little too much for Richard, who had managed to take only half a dose of his seasickness tablets (next time Rich, follow the instructions!) so we found a nearer anchorage and stopped to explore a little. There were lovely views across the islands and to the mountains. As we looked out from the hill we saw a succession of fast coastguard boats zooming passed the bay where Pintail was anchored and our tender was on the beach. When we returned we found the tender filled with water from the wash of the coastguard boats. Somehow Lavinia and I got the job of pumping the water (and many small shrimps) out. We later discovered that the coastguard boats had been on their way to rescue a dive boat full of about 70 students which was sinking around the coast. From our anchorage back in Fethiye we watched the poor divers return. Happily everyone survived.
The next day we visited the Fethiye institution that is the fish market. Surrounded by restaurants, the stalls vie for the attention of diners who buy their fish and take them to one of the restaurants to be cooked. We were assisted in making our choice by the restaurant owner and shared some beautifully fresh cooked calamari and sea bream. It was my first time trying bream. It was delicious.
With our stomachs full it seemed like a good time to visit the weekly market with stall after stall of fresh fruit and vegetables. Artichokes are firmly in season here now but a little too much like hard work for us to prepare! We were tempted to try strawberries, nuts and Turkish delight by stall holders and stocked up on some mixed nuts to fuel our intended hike the following day.
Later we took in the ancient sites of Fethiye – some very impressive rock tombs, a sarcophagus casually acting as a roundabout and the Crusader fortress
from where we got excellent views back down to the sprawling metropolis of Fethiye and the mountains beyond.
Not discouraged by the woman in the tourist information office who told us that such a walk was impossible and armed with our bag full of nuts and lots of water the next day we embarked on our hike to the abandoned Greek village of Kayaköy. We started to think the tourist information woman might be right when we struggled to find any sign of the path but eventually found it up behind the fortress.
Our only company on the walk were some local Turkish men off on their own hike (who confirmed we were on the right path), a bee keeper and several tortoises.
After the steep climb up out of Fethiye the shade of the trees and the downhill stretch to the plateau was very welcome. The temperature is definitely hotting up.
Down on the plateau rural life carried on and beautiful wisteria dripped everywhere. Even for us it was too early in the day to seek out the wine house
so we carried on passed yet more rock tombs and sarcophagi and through lush pastures.
Eventually we reached the ruins of the abandoned village. Used to visiting ruins that were BC rather than AD this ruined village was positively modern and made all the more spooky for it. After Turkish independence in 1923 whole communities of Ottoman Christians were exchanged with Greek Muslims. The Greek/Turkey people exchange resulted in whole villages just left to crumble over the past century.
The ghost town is full of about 400 derelict roofless, windowless houses. Painted plaster walls were still evident inside the ruins.
The only inhabitants of the village are the sheep that graze the grass growing inside the shells of the houses. The mosaic floor of the church was just about visible through the encroaching weeds.
In Fethiye we spent 3 nights on the pontoon of the 5 star Yacht Classic Hotel, frequented during the filming of Skyfall nearby by Daniel Craig. For the price of a meal in the restaurant each night we had water and electricity for the boat and access to all the hotel facilities for us. This included two pools (only just filled and still too cold) and the best marina showers we’ve had since Plymouth Yacht Haven (and they only top the chart because they had a bath!). Lavinia and I had a Turkish hamam – my first. Lavinia is a veteran of many a visit to the hamams of Dalston but this was definitely the first time I’d had someone else scrub me in the bath since my mum bathed me as a baby!
Too soon it was time to say goodbye. Thanks for making the trip Lavinia and Richard – it was great to spend so much time with you both.
But we had only two days to wait for our next visitor and our trip back to Marmaris…