Thursday, December 15, 2005

Log 43 - November 2005 - Fethiye Bay Area, Turkey

"Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer." - unknown

Our late 2005  cruising route during October and November

Map of our Oct/Nov cruise

After a week in late October in Rhodes Town, Greece, and some rather unsettled winds, we sail east to Fethiye Bay (Fet-ee-yeah), Turkey for our last month of cruising for this season.   Back in the Panama Canal zone, some cruisers told us we could spend an entire season in this bay alone.  Almost two years later, here we are and it is easy to see what they meant.  The bay consists of the towns of Göcek and Fethiye, along with multiple stunning anchorages all surrounded by pine clad mountains and that same amazingly blue water. 

Monday, November 7th -  Motoring to our next anchorage!

In search of sun, sun, sun...

We spend several days relaxing about in anchorages with names like Kucuk Kuyruk on the west end of the bay.  The days are getting noticeably shorter and the nights beginning to cool.  Oddly enough, with the sun not rising as high in the sky at this time of the year,  the mountains are keeping us in the shade for most of the morning and afternoon.   We are noticing our battery bank falling off as our solar panels struggle for enough sunshine, so today we are in search of a wide open anchorage.    While motoring these couple of miles (and charging the batteries), the boys enjoy a favorite pastime of swinging in the hammock as we search out the sun.

Tuesday, November 15th -Making Christmas cards??

View out our porthole at anchor.

While anchored off the town of Göcek, we receive an email from Chris's brother Mark back in Calgary saying that he is thinking of doing something wild and crazy.....he's wondering whether he can easily hook up with us if he were to hop on a plane in the next few days to come visit us!  Wow, we say, what a great opportunity since we are and will be staying very close to a major Turkish airport, it couldn't get more convenient!   

Making Christmas cards.
Given the opportunity to have Mark deliver letters back to Canada for safe mailing, we set to work making Christmas cards.  We even pull out Santa hats and Christmas music to set the mood! 

Wednesday, November 16th - Fethiye - Ancient Telmessus

Fethiye Bey - the town's namesake
With Chris's wild and crazy brother due to arrive tomorrow, we head to the town of Fethiye to ready for the rendezvous!   It is a beautiful place with many historic monuments and statues along the water front, like the one shown here of Fethi Bey, a well known Turkish pilot killed in an airplane crash.  In a quick history lesson, we find the modern city sits on the site of the ancient city of Telmessus, believed to be founded in the 5th century BC.  Legend says the city was founded by the God of Sun, Apollon, who named his son Telmessus.  It came under Persian rule in 547BC, surrendered to Alexander the Great's army in the winter of 344-343BC, joined the Kingdom of Bergama in 189BC, joined the Lycian Federation in 133BC when Bergama fell to the Romans, renamed Anastasiapolis in the 8th century AD, in honor of the Byzantine Emperor, became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1424 thence renamed again to Megri, to its current name of Fethiye, given in 1934. This kind of history is what really sets these parts of the world apart from our relatively young country of Canada. 

Joel and Gerrit doing what they do best...having fun.

Joel and Gerrit really don't care how Fethiye got it's name...they love the freedom to explore and have fun no matter where we end up each day.  

Friday, November 18th - Uncle Mark arrives with goodies from home!!

Uncle Mark arrives with great gifts ... Hardy Boys

Well, Uncle Mark safely arrives at our home, even though a fierce storm caused his Istanbul to Dalaman (airport near Fethiye) flight to be delayed by 15 hours due to extremely high winds.  He is probably lucky he wasn't on board last night anyway, as the heavy rains and high winds caused for a rather sleepless night aboard TIOGA.  None-the-less, he is safely here now, and has kindly brought many lovely things from home, including Kraft salad dressings, sugar free kool-aid and, for Joel and Gerrit, a whole collection of Hardy Boys! 

2:18pm - Saklikent Gorge

Hiking up the coffee coloured waters of Saklikent Gorge 

After a bit of downtime and a few cups of Turkish chai (tea) to help Mark cope with jet lag, we head out for the rest of the day in the car we rented yesterday to pick Mark up at the airport.  First, we head to Saklikent Gorge, which cuts into the rugged flank of the 3,016m (9,895ft) Gombe Akdagi.  The normal stream of pure limestone-filtered water is a rushing muddy torrent of angry, boiling water.   The multi-colored sheer rock walls are very beautiful and the air is fresh.  It actually reminds us of Johnson Canyon, a favorite hike back home in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. 

3:24pm - Lycian Tombs near Tlos

Lycian tombs cut into limestone rock faces

Meandering our way back to Fethiye, we stop at one of the many sites of Lycian tombs.  Ancient Lycia, a federation of 19 independent cities, lay in the mountainous area between modern Fethiye and Antalya.  Burials must have had an important role in the beliefs of the Lycians, for they cut hundreds of tombs, thought to be intended as houses for the dead, into cliff faces and crags that can be seen throughout the area.  

Lycian Tombs

The house tombs shown here near the village of Tlos, are of one to three stories high and carved into solid rock.  

View from inside the tombs.

The panoramic view from the top is made even more beautiful by the addition of autumn colors, something we miss from home!

9:30am Saturday, November 19th - Turkish Breakfast in the cockpit

Turkish breakfast with Uncle Mark

When we were in Istanbul, the hotel we stayed in served us the same delicious Turkish breakfast every morning.  We thought this must prove it to be authentic, so we decide to serve Mark his first true Turkish breakfast.  Boiled eggs, olives, tomato slices, cucumber slices, feta cheese, plain yogurt, fresh bread and honey....yum!  Breakfast might not be a fair indication, but the Turkish kitchen is considered one of the top three in the world along with French and Chinese. 

2:06pm - Lunch at the Fish Market in Fethiye Center

Fish market in Fethiye

This bustling fish market is surrounded by restaurants and fresh fruit and vegetable stands, each dependent on the other for survival.   The experience starts by first choosing the fish you want to eat from the vast selection of sellers in the center.  Then the fish is cleaned and taken to the restaurant of your choice for preparation.  While you enjoy a drink, the restaurant chef picks fresh vegetables and such from the nearby stands to enhance the meal.   For a minor seating charge, you enjoy your fish cooked to perfection, accompanied by fresh salads, sauces and bread.  A very unique dining experience. 

Delicious fish (and kebabs for the boys)

Today, our experience is made even more memorable by Mehmet, a local Turkish business man that Mark originally met during the events surrounding his delayed flight from Istanbul.  Prior to bringing us to the fish market, Mehmet walks us about the town center showing us his favorite spots and even buys the boys a kabob wrap from his favorite kabob stand (soon to be our favorite stand).  We all enjoy a wonderful fresh meal in the company of this very busy man who has taken the time out of his schedule to enhance our stay.  Mehmet is the owner of Alesta Yachting and Travel Agency, what looks to be a prosperous business here in Fethiye.  Have a look at his site - maybe you can arrange a unique Turkish holiday!

4:50pm - Hamam or Turkish Bath - Bliss and relaxation guaranteed!

Turkish bath entrance

You can't come to Turkey and not experience a Turkish Bath!!  Especially one like The Old Turkish Bath, in the old town of Fethiye, built by Yavuz Sultan Selim in the 16th century. The baths or 'hamams' as they are named, are for many aspects of health, not just for external cleanliness. Before Turkey was established as a separate country, the Romans, Byzantines, and nomadic peoples of the region had their own variations of bathing rituals. Today, the Turkish Bath combines all these traditions and creates a different variation of these ancient bathing habits.

Steaming away - check out Gerrit's grin

Wrapped in our towels, we enter the dry heat of the sweating area as a group. We all lay on a huge marble surface and begin to perspire heavily because of a wet steam. For what seems an eternity, we lie staring up at the domed roof above us and its geometric light holes.  As big droplets of water collect then fall, we wonder if our Turkish masseuse has forgotten about us (or maybe, we giggle, they had to go find one!).  But he soon shows and, one after another, our skin is scrubbed with a coarse glove and warm water.  It is shocking to see the dark, dead skin role off us all (not just us cruiser types!).  Next comes a soaping down and muscle massage for each followed by a temperature-normalizing cold water douse.   We are all finished off with a scalp scrub and massage, followed by more cold water.  It is truly a relaxing experience that we all thoroughly enjoy.  

Sunday, November 20th - Lycian Tomb of King Amyntas

Magnificant Lycian tomb overlooking Fethiye

We spend this cooler, damp day mulling about the town and hiking up to the Lycian tombs in the rocks above Fethiye.  These tombs, or houses for the dead, are similar to the ones we visited near the town of Tlos, except the one in our photo is huge!   King Amyntas, believed to be either a king or governor of Telmessus during the Hellenistic period, has a tomb with grand columns and ornate rocks carvings all about.   As we are standing high up at the tombs over looking the town and bay of Fethiye, the Muslim call to prayer begins to echo from the minarets below.  There is a very mysterious feel in the air as the call echoes through the shrouds of mist surrounding us.   

5:35pm Monday, November 21st ... Rainy afternoon

Rainy day in Fethiye

Unfortunately for Mark's stay, we have seen our first sign of approaching winter.  In fact it started with the storm that delayed him in Istanbul!.  Later in the day, we do what most Turks do when it rains .. we sit and drink Turkish tea and play backgammon in one of the many waterside tea houses in Fethiye.

Tuesday, November 22nd - Bus trip to Kayakoy

Kayakoy - abandoned Greek town

Today, we hop a bus up through the pine trees to "Hayaletköy" (Ghost Town), more commonly known as Kayaköy (Rock Village). Here sits 3,500 totally abandoned old Greek houses on the hillside.  The Anatolian Greeks were apparently good farmers who did not place their houses in the fertile valley but on the nearby hills where agriculture was not possible. 

Remnants of an abandoned church

Up until 1922, approximately 25,000 Greek people lived here. After the Independence War, there was a population exchange program, where the Greeks and Turks migrated back to their homelands, so in a sense, land was swapped between the two.  However, the people who returned here established their houses on the flat land in front of Kayaköy, thus leaving an entire ghost village to explore. 

The best kabob stand ever!!

Our favourite kebab man - the best ever!

After hiking all about the hills of Kayakoy, we head back to Fethiye for one last lunch at the best kabob stand ever.  Since our new friend Mehmet bought a kabob for Joel and Gerrit here a few days back, we have enjoyed lunch here almost every day!  Today being Mark's last day with us, we felt the need to keep up the tradition of these delicious succulent meat wraps.   Apparently, this man has been in business forever and has earned his reputation by personally selecting and spicing quality meat for his skewer.  He opens daily at 11:30am and stays open until the meat is gone....usually about 3pm.  Not too bad!

Mark and Chris...C'ya Mark

Good-bye Mark.  Thanks for experiencing a slice of Turkey with us...or is that a slice of kebab :)  We'll see you back in Canada in about a year.  

Sunday, November 27th - Dalyan Carpet Weavers Association

Learning to weave carpets - it's as easy as 1-2-3!

Visiting our favorite kabob stand everyday allowed us to get to know a man called Musafer or Muso, a worker with exceptional English.  Muso's other job turns out to be with the Dalyan Carpet Weavers Co-operative, where he gets paid to bring people into the co-op for a demonstration and show in hopes of selling a carpet (and a further commission for him!).  As our friend, he assures us there will be no pressure to buy a carpet, merely the chance to find out how the association works and to see carpets.   We accept his offer to drive us to nearby Dalyan, where we are treated like royalty for this totally fascinating day.  

All over Turkey, these co-ops are set up to teach women from their respective nearby villages the ancient skill of weaving carpets.  Once the skill is mastered, the women return to their villages, complete with a loom and wool (supplied by the Turkish government) for carpet making.  They, in turn, teach the other women of their village, and soon the weavers' association has even more carpets coming in for sale.   When a carpet is sold, a portion goes back to the weaver, while a portion remains at the co-op to help keep it functioning.  Meanwhile, the Turkish government manages and pays for all the shipping and duty to transport a bought carpet to anywhere in the world.

A silk worm cocoon - a bizillion miles of silk thread
We learn all about the different types of carpets: cotton, wool and silk, as well as what to look for when buying a carpet.  We are amazed to find that patterns of the carpets are repeated over and over; it's not like the women create a different pattern for each rug.   Different carpet weavers throughout Turkey have their own regional symbols and patterns that they are identified by.  We all get the chance to try our hand at tying knots in the carpets currently being made in front of us.  The boys are even given a silk worm cocoon where the silk for pure silk carpets is harvested from.  There is several miles of single strand silk in this tiny cocoon alone!  Silk carpets are by far the finest and most expensive.  We could not believe that some of these silk carpets have around 3,500 knots per square inch, all done with the naked eye of these amazingly talented women. 

Carpet weavers' showroom

We are given the full show where carpet after carpet is laid out before us and every detail of their designs and patterns explained.   They even lay out a $22,000 silk rug for us to sit on for a photo!  We go through all the steps of purchasing a carpet and even select a beautiful one we would buy if we had a home!   Later, Muso takes us to his home to meet his wife and son and then treats us to a Turkish supper out.  These are the kind of days that make our lifestyle so great!  

Showroom experts. 

Tuesday, November 29th - Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent (1520-1566 AD)

Sultan Sullieman the Magnificant

Fethiye has many wonderful monuments and statues all about the water front and streets of the old town.  Today, on the way to the market, we find this great one honoring all the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire.  We find our favorite sultan, Suleyman the Magnificent, for this photo.  We have really enjoyed learning about the Ottomans and especially about Suleyman, the sultan said to have brought the empire to its peak.

2:25pm - Market Day in Fethiye

Turkish woman making Burek - a delicious snack

Every Tuesday is a busy, bustling day as people scramble to purchase their weekly needs from the huge open air market in town.  We've been to many markets in our travels, and this one is great!  There is a huge area selling clothing and shoes, another for household needs like teapots and umbrellas, and finally the fresh fruit and produce section.   Everyone is so friendly and eager to speak to us as we saunter through making our purchases.  We are tossed oranges, given olives, dates and dried apricots all to taste before we actually buy anything.  Then we cross the small bridge to the fast food section where the ladies are making burek, or Turkish pancakes.   Basically, they roll out a huge soft dough tortilla, fill it with spinach, cheese, potato and spices and then quickly fry it on a huge grill.  Delicious!

Saturday, December 1st - Marmaris Yacht Marina

Marmaris Yacht Marina - Turkey

Well, December is upon us and we realize it is time to leave the beautiful bay of Fethiye and head back west to our wintering marina in Marmaris.  The nights are getting so cold that we have fired up our diesel heater to take the chill out of the air and solar-generated electricity is getting rare.  Our experiences here in Fethiye are what our memories of Turkey will be made of.  The friendly people we were fortunate to meet and spend time with combined with the sites and history have made this place a real highlight  We are invited for a send off breakfast with Muso and his family, then we sadly raise our anchor and head out to the sea for our final sail of the season.  By the end of the day, we are safely tied to the dock at Marmaris Yacht Marina where we plan to spend the three coldest months of the winter.  Brr!

This is one massive marina - click to expand.

Log 44 has us tied to a dock in Marmaris Yacht Marina.  It is the second time we tie to a dock for the winter season and are able to enjoy all the benefits of being in one place for a greater length of time. Join us.