Reflections on sailing in Turkey Oct. 2014

As my body readjusts to Vancouver time, and the rain and wind erase my Mediterranean tan, our sailing trip along the Turkish coasts feels almost like a dream.

Luckily my photographs say otherwise.

Arriving in Kas Marina, the first thing I notice is my dad, waiting for the taxi. Then other details fall into focus; the exquisite blue of the sea, the yachts stern tied to the docks, the incredible tidiness of it all. The air is warm but not humid and the warmth disappears in the evening, leaving a refreshing coolness behind.


Kas Marina at night

Casting off our dock lines we are escorted out of our slip by the helpful dock boys in their zodiac. Our first day is a longer one, about 80nm to a cruising area to the north. Clouds pile up against the hills as we pull into our first anchorage and bring a stern tie to shore.

Truthfully we were not in awe. Accustomed to the abundance of life at home, the scrubby bushes that dot the hillside seemed bland. Squished in among other yachts and various gullets, the anchorage felt crowded, nothing like the remoteness we had experienced this summer. Discussing these differences while I cut off Kolby’s mop of hair on the shore, we decided to hold off judgement. Perhaps we hadn’t got the right feel of the place yet.

As we bumped along the coast, Turkey started to reveal herself. On the backside of those empty hills with scrubby bushes? Lovely olive trees, lush and green. Scour the landscape closely and signs of ancient civilization poke out from the rock. Often layers of 3000 years of human life are stacked on top of each other. As we poke among the rubble, I wish I had a better understanding of this country’s complicated history. The most obvious ruins are the Lycian tombs, ornately carved into the cliffs so their dead can fly free. The Roman’s left an equally recognizable mark, with their large stone block temples, amphitheaters and arches. The rest we mearly guessed at. Ottoman? Greek? More recent? Turkey is fantastic as their ruins are not behind ropes but just there for you to explore. Only when they are close enough to a population do they have an entrance fee.


An old fort and a new flag


Blue seas and olive trees


Ruins everywhere

The ease of sailing in the med was surprising. Coastal towns and bigger cities dotted the coast, and within them we could find anything we needed. If you timed a town visit with a market day, the produce was fresh, varied and cheap. An entire kilo of tomatoes? 50 cents. A kilo of grapes? $1.50. Surprisingly, the local cuisine is lacking in variety, consisting mostly of meatballs, grilled fish and bread, and every meal was served with a side of fries. None the less Kolby and I enjoyed meals to ourselves, as we had babysitters on board to help with Fynn. After our summer of sailing around Vancouver Island, essentially short handed with a baby, sailing with a ratio of 4 adults to 1 child was delightful. I had time to relax and finally get started on some more Asunto videos!


a classic Greek town


Fynn and her boat


Tucked in with the cliffs

Satiated with the Lycian Peninsula we head back south to Karkova Roads then onwards to the Olympic coast. As we approached the hills stretched upwards until they were dwarfed by Mount Olympus, so tall her peak was often obscured by clouds. Whether it was the area, or that it was now October, the anchorages become quieter. Quickly the days ran into each other as we swam, hiked, ate and slept. Then all too soon it was time to leave.

Turkey is good to her tourists. The people are genuine, friendly and helpful (unless you are wanting to buy a carpet) and many speak English. Travel is easy, the roads are good, the towns are tidy. It is a country focused on its future and determined to be considered European.

We certainly had an amazing trip.