A Turkish cruise from Marmaris to Kakova – 2018
Tony Olin has sailed extensively along this part of the Turkish coast and sums up his thoughts by concluding “All in all, a cruise along this very beautiful Turkish coast is a most pleasant experience, the people are a friendly and warm people who look after the tourist very well, they appreciate the business.”
A good read.
Published 5 years ago, updated 4 years ago
We returned to Marmaris Yachtmarin from Dublin on the 12th April 2018, having landed at Dalaman airport we took a 90-minute taxi ride to the marina for only €40. We had wintered DeDanann on the water this year at a cost of €500 per month.
We spent a week getting her ready and provisioned to go cruising down the Carian coast as far as Kakova at which point we would then head back to Marmaris for 12th July to lay up again until the end of August. The temperature gets so hot in Turkey during July and August that we choose to return to Ireland where the weather is much cooler.
Yachtmarin Marmaris to Ekincik
We left Yachtmarin and with a mixture of fresh and light winds, we motor-sailed most of the way to the very nice bay of Ekincik were we tied up to the very fancy restaurant pontoon there. They have marineros and a boat to assist in the tying up, electricity, water and a little shop that has fresh bread and milk etc. every morning. There is a really good high-end restaurant up on the hill above the pontoon surrounded by a pine forest, it really is a most tranquil setting.
Our arrival at the restaurant that first night was interesting, the chefs and waiters were standing in line all very well turned out at the entrance door, several very flash cars had just arrived. First, the bodyguards get out and spread themselves around, then this important guy emerges
On inquiry from our own waiter as to who he was, it turns out he is a government minister and much-respected guy in these parts. There was no doubt, he and his family certainly got a grand entrance. from one of the cars, he is greeted by the restaurant owner who after shaking hands and touching foreheads left and right is introduced to the staff one by one as they move along the line, he is then taken to his table that was set out with the most fantastic display of food and drinks that I have ever seen.
We spent a week or so here, the cost around €15 per night, the restaurant is a bit expensive by Turkish standards, but the service and the food are excellent and worth the money for the experience.
The water here is turquoise in color, there are some very nice walks both hill climbing or on the flat around the bay. We took a private boat taxi to take us up through the shallow delta to the town of Dalyan, one is taken through miles of high growing reeds to reach the deeper water of the Dalyan river were we stopped for a long riverside lunch washed down with a few bottles of excellent local wine, then we were off to view the ancient Carian rock tombs which are simply fantastic works of art.
Carian rock tombs
Then it was on to the ancient hot spa and mud baths were I tried to detox the litre and a half of wine and a couple of Irish whiskeys that I had just washed down my lunch with, at this stage, the world was going out of focus for me, so whilst Linda was having a mud bath the boatman (who I might add, had his fair share of booze also) and I, went back to his boat to have a little sleep on the deck. Having got lost in the delta as the sun was setting on the way back to Ekincik, we eventually made it back to DeDanann in the dark, it was a great day out and the boatman who for most of the day, only charged me €90.
Our time is up here in Ekincik we took ourselves off to the bay of Gocek some 30 miles to the southeast, we had light wind on the nose as we motorsailed all the way. There is a narrow passage between two islands from the open sea into the bay of Gocek, just as one comes through this passage to port is the very nice and well sheltered Kapi Creek, there is one restaurant here and the option of either tying up to their pontoon or just going to anchor in 10 meters with a shoreline, the writers here assist in this with their boat depending on how busy they are. This is a nice peaceful place to spend some time, the food is wholesome and not very expensive, there is no charge to use their pontoon. There are many other similar anchorages within a mile or so that are worth a visit.
We took ourselves off to Skopea marina in the town of Gocek to have some works completed that were started in Marmaris and not finished by a local company that specializes in Amel yachts based here in Gocek, (however, that’s a story for another day), its not really a marina, more like a town quay with mooring lines and no mariners to assist, this doesn’t stop them charging €50 per night for DeDanann, it was not the most comfortable marina we have been to, the wash from the tenders of large motorboats that come and go at speed day and night is dreadful, they show no respect for the boats tied up here and the marina management just allow it to go on.
The marina is right in the dead center of the town of Gocek, great selection of shops, restaurants, supermarkets and no end of chandlery shops, there are several other marinas here, some are high end and charge accordingly. There is also good and free anchoring in around 12 meters of water with good holding in the bay. The works eventually complete, we set course for the town of Fethiye only 8 miles distant in the southeast corner of the bay, we had a cracking sail all the way in a fresh west wind before arriving at the entrance to the big marina, just off the entrance we spied a very nice pontoon with mooring for about 20 boats belonging to the Yacht Classic Hotel, we took a berth with great assistance from the marineros here, they charge €80 for DeDanann reduced to €15 if one has dinner at their restaurant which overlooks the pontoon and set out with a very nice beach bar, freshwater swimming pool, sun beds and everything one could possibly want, needless to say, we dined and quenched our thirst very well here every night for over a week. The food and service in the restaurant there are only excellent, and it is not too expensive either.
Fethiye is a wonderful town to spend time, no end of good shopping, a bazaar, markets, many fine restaurants and an ancient Hamam (Turkish Bath) that’s really and truly a must do if in this part of the world. I found myself frequenting this establishment far too often, the skin was nearly scrubbed of me by the time we left Fethiye. The Ladies have their beauty parlors everywhere, but this is serious pampering for men, and of course women, and nothing sleazy about how they go about their business.
Nakedness in these establishments is quite the norm, only the foreigners wear shorts, never the Turks, first one is taken to the washroom to just sit and relax for 15/20 minutes and build up sweat, then the attendant slices you with water of varying temperatures in what resembles a dog bowel, you are then taken to a central marble slab and smothered in olive oil soap and scrubbed from head to toe as you have never been washed since you were a baby. Further sluicing of copious amounts of hot and cold water then you are given a dry towel to cover your modesty and taken out to the reception area for some chai (tea) and fresh fruit whilst you relax for another 20 minutes. Then it’s off to the massage room for 45 minutes of full body massage, lying here looking up at the ancient domed ceiling with its many port lights beaming in the natural daylight in many colors, greens, blues, reds, and ambers is a most pleasing way to relax the mind. The total cost €40 to include a gratuity for the attendant.
We reluctantly untied our lines from the Yacht Classic Hotel and headed back out to the Aegean sea to a very nice anchorage called Karakoram Bay some 20 miles distant, again the wind was on the nose as we motor sailed most of the way before taking a body belonging to the Karakoram restaurant, the water is deep here and anchoring is not a great option, but there are plenty of bouys available for cruisers in this most tranquil setting. The bay is surrounded by high hills covered by pine forests which is very pleasing, the downside of course, is the blasted mosquitos are out with a vengeance every night. The Dali Lama is quoted as saying, never underestimate the power of the little people – have you ever tried to sleep with a mosquito in your bedroom.
We moved on southeast down the coast to the port and town of Kalkan some 32 miles distant, this is a typical gulet port with tripper boats busy taking the tourists out along the coast to the many anchorages, a lot of them are noisy party boats full of young people on holiday. There is space reserved in the port for a dozen or so visiting yachts, if you can put up with a few late nights then this is a grand port to visit.
The town rises steeply above the port, narrow streets full of interesting nick nack shops, tattoo artists, jewellers advertising “Genuine fake watch’s” at least their honest about it, its very, very British here, the shops and restaurants advertise their goods in sterling and Turkish liter, the local barber where I had my hair cut calls his establishment “The Lady Diana. It was an old fishing port and village that has transformed itself into a lively tourist center and its a nice change from the tranquil anchorages that abound this coast. We called in for a night or two and stayed for more than a week. We paid no more than €10 per night for the berth, its stern to the quay with your own anchor, which is quite unusual here in Turkey.
A week of madness in Kalkan saw us setting course for Kas (Kash) marina some 12 miles down the coast, we had a cracking sail in strong west winds port to port, this is a fine big marina in one of the very best sheltered creeks on the Turkish coast, it costs €65 per night, but they have a fine beach club with excellent food and drinks, high-end sunbeds, swimming pool and swimming off the private beach, waiters to bring very nice cocktails to your bed, sure what more could a cruiser want. There is a very modern hamam on site that I found myself frequenting again, two good restaurants and a pub, its a nice 15-minute walk to the town where one can find all sorts of shops and restaurants etc. There is no mooring for cruisers in the main port, as it is completely taken over by the gulets, that is unless you are Turkish and well known by the harbormaster.
The marina here is very good to have works done, a lot of the technical services people are based here and their prices are quite reasonable, we had our aircon serviced here for small money, we also bought a new zar dinghy and had a very nice sun cover made for it at a good price.
Our next port of call was Kakova Rhodes, one comes in from the sea into a huge well-sheltered bay through a passage between some small islands. There are several anchorages in here in very pleasant surroundings, high hills covered in pine forests, the water looks crystal clear, but on getting into it for a swim one very quickly realizes that it is in fact, not so clean, about 40 gulets operate in here taking the coach loads of tourists on day trips around the bay and feeding them on board. There is no pump-out working when we were there, and I saw them pumping out into the bay at night, large slicks of greasy water from the galley’s of these boats floating all over the bay, not to mention the toilet holding tanks. I think there may be one law for the foreign cruisers here and another for the Turkish gulet captains.
Apart from eating in the restaurants around the bay where there is not much else to do, the land is too steep for walking in the sweltering heat and for us, swimming in the bay was out, we spent only a couple of days here before setting course back to Marmaris to prepare for our return to Dublin.
All in all, a cruise along this very beautiful Turkish coast is a most pleasant experience, the people are friendly and warm people who look after the tourist very well, they appreciate the business. We have seen nothing in the two years we have been cruising this coast to cause us any concern, we have seen no migrants in distress or no bad behavior of any sort.
Inshallah! We will be back in September.