Sailing in Fethiye Bay, Turkey, May 2018
Four full days of sailing the beautiful, unspoilt Fethiye Bay in Turkey during the May Bank Holiday weekend were more than a match for the heatwave back in Britain, at least for a dozen Sundowners eager for their first overseas sail of the year.
Arriving in Fethiye’s Ece Marina very late on the Friday night, we boarded our comfortable Sun Odyssey yachts, Pangea and Malea, for a few hours’ sleep. After an early rise and a swift check-in and provisioning trip, and the use of the lovely onshore facilities in the marina, we cast off late Saturday morning for a 14 nm sail across Fethiye Bay.
With a warm wind, blue skies and just a few clouds, the sailing conditions were perfect. A passing turtle and, of all things, a floating mattress, made for added interest.
Pangea anchored for lunch and a swim in the clear blue waters, while an engine problem saw Malea sail on to our overnight mooring – the wonderful ‘wobbly jetty’ at Tomb Bay. After a new fan belt was fitted by our waiting Turkish engineer, all was well with the engine – just in time for us to enjoy baklavas from the visiting ‘Organic cake shop’ boat. We could see the ancient tombs but preferred relaxing on board to trekking uphill for a closer look. After a sundowner or two, we enjoyed an excellent local dinner ashore at the Lyceum restaurant.
Day 2 and we headed southeast across the bay to Gemiler Island, but with a strong wind on the nose, some motor sailing was required. We let out our full 60 metres of chain in the deep channel behind the island and the captain of the local ice cream boat helped us with our shoreline for our lunchtime stop. For those wanting some afternoon exercise the Byzantine ruins on the island were just a short row away in the tender. Astonishingly, this tiny island was once home to numerous inhabitants, with the ruins of churches and buildings spanning the 5th to 8th centuries.
We moored for the night at Akvaryum Bay with the help of the Karacoren restaurant’s chef who returned later to pick us up in his boat to taxi us ashore. His amazing restaurant not only served excellent food from a wood fired oven but also incorporated a grocery, tourist shop, quail nursery and market garden. It even played reggae music. What’s not to like?
Day 3 began with a dip in the clear water and a birthday breakfast for Jules on Pangea. The wind had turned and was again on our nose but it toyed with us as we sailed on, past the Blue Cave, which looked every bit like a Thunderbirds prop. From a distance we spotted what looked like a small fishing boat, then a killer whale. Close up we found it was a floating cow. The poor thing had probably fallen off a cliff and drowned.
We dropped anchor and took a line ashore at a very peaceful and sheltered bay on Domuz Island for lunch. Our mooring that night at Bonynuz Buku was unusual in its setting against colourful gardens and green hillsides. Just as Pangea’s crew joined Malea’s crew on deck the heavens opened, with thunder and lightning to add yet more atmosphere. Thankfully, under Malea’s bimini we all stayed dry as we enjoyed the cocktail hour as well as the very delicious chocolate birthday cake rustled up the previous night by the Karacoren’s chef.
Day 4 we rose to blue skies again, ready for our sail back to Fethiye Bay. Another quiet bay for a long lunch and siesta for some and then it was back to Fethiye and Ece Marina for refuelling, packing and a shower before our evening taxi back to Dalaman airport.
Our sincere thanks to Paul for organising this excellent trip.