Friday, November 7, 2008

Here in Finike

Hi again.
We are back in communication after a couple of weeks travelling along the coast eastward toward Finike,where we are safely tucked in for the winter and starting the endless list of jobs to be done.
These weeks have opened our eyes to Turkey and what a fantastic place it is - from Marmaris, where we checked in, we went on down to Fethiye where we anchored and met up with several old friends on route to winter a bit further east than Finike. We had a great time catching up with Phil& Pauline (Moyle Rose) who we last saw in Nidri back in July and Dick and Ginger (Alchemy) who we haven't seen since Lagos in Portugal.
We liked the town of Fethiye and joined a walk run by a walking group in the town. It was a fantastic day out in the mountains. We thought it would be a 2 hour ramble looking for wild mushrooms but it turned out that it is a serious walking group. Our trip started by bus at about 9am and climbed into the mountains for about an hour where we started out on forest logging tracks. We passed through a small village where we were all welcomed by a man on his porch. He directed us to the ripe pomegranates, walnuts, grapes and figs growing near his house and round the village and told us that we were welcome to feast as we passed through. Like a swarm of locusts we all did. Typical of the generosity to visitors. The walking party was mostly made up of local Turks with one expat and 4 of us boaties. The Turkish walkers explained things to us as we walked in various amounts of English. The guide also spoke English and was a mine of information, finding mushrooms and edible berries and explaining the older houses and watermills and trout farms that we passed as well as picking us wild herbs for the cooking pot, and pointing out plants like St Johns wort that can be made into tea to heal various disorders.

Lunch was spent in a small terraced field where the local children shyly brought a bucket of pomegranates and another of apples for us as a gift from the village.
Most of the walk was along ancient Lycian paths dating back as much as 1200 BC and still very walkable. The scenery was absolutely magnificent and the scenes of the farmers wives boiling up pomegranate molasses in great drums on open fires was as real as it gets. No tourist shows here. We were probably the first walkers through some of these places for months, and you certainly would not get there by car, unless you were seriously lost.
The day finished with a thunderstorm ( we were not prepared for rain and certainly not at altitude) but the guide arranged the mini buses to find us at a convenient point and transport us to a village cay (Turkish Tea) house where we had cay with the local men folk - the women are always working and too busy for cay.

Dick and Ginger invited us on another walk from Fethiye, which was also very memorable as we started out through the old town of Kaya Koyu, which was forcibly but peacefully deserted by the Greek inhabitants at the time of the Turkish and Greek resettlement program that effectively was the end of the civil unrest after the first world war. The village was not small, consisting of almost 1000 houses and the churches and supporting industry that goes with it.

Despite some effort by the government, it was never resettled by the Turks and fell into ruin. From Kaya Koyu, we continued over the hill following a trail but lost it toward the beginning of the decent to Olu Deniz, the most photographed bay or lagoon in Turkey. Stunning views but without a path to follow we had a serious 2 plus hour bush-whacking descent to the bay. Scratched and tired it was a delight to find cold beer and food despite the tourist prices and attitude.

The anchorage at Fethiye is basically bombproof and in years before marinas sprung up in these parts, Fethiye bay used to accommodate up to 50 liveaboard yachts for the winter. We have met several with fond memories of the place, but none so far that still free anchor for the winter, as the attraction of wifi and hot showers are too appealing these days.
From Fethiye we moved on with an overnight stop at the bay to the east of Kas. We didn't go ashore and the next morning after a scrub of the bottom of the boat saw a gentle sail to Kekova Roads for another hiking appointment with Alchemy.
It turned out to be a great walk through Aperlae, a sunken city of about 500 BC and on up through the ruins and tracks. And on up and on up and on up. After about 3 hours climb we found ourselves in another ancient site of Apollonia at the top of a high hill. Pillar tombs dating from the same period, and sarcophagus tombs dotted the landscape dating to as new as 400AD.

A ruin of a Byzantine church stood next to a more or less complete amphitheater, and we sat on the even older walls of the acropolis and ate a well deserved picnic. It took 2 1/2 hours to descend the trail and we were all quite tired and commenting on just how much water you need to take on a long walk even now that we are almost in November. Kekova Roads was almost
too beautiful to tear ourselves away from. However we did manage to move from the outer western bay ( which was bomb proof anchoring) to the double protected inner harbour or bay of Ucagiz . Nuclear Bomb proof. We met up with another boat Dawn Chaser (nicknamed Aubergine by Mehmet in the restaurant) and Moyle Rose (Courgette) and ate out. To our surprise
simply having a shared beer in Ibrahim's restaurant resulted in a free bread delivery the next morning to the boat and having eaten there we got bread for the following 2 days and I would bet every day if we had stayed. We broke out the canoes and toured the inner bay and the remains of another sunken city of unknown age and name. It is still hot enough to canoe in swim shorts only all day. Time was ticking and we had heard on the grapevine that the social club at Finike marina was having it's grand reopening the following night, and as it will be a main focus of
our social activities this winter we were keen not to miss the evening and the opportunity to meet some of our winter neighbours. It was tough to leave Kekova, but it is only 20 miles from Finike and we hope to visit during the winter if the weather allows, harbour rot permitting!.

Day 1 of harbour rot : check in at 4pm, buy supplies and cook for pot luck supper at 6pm for opening of Porthole club, meet Tuncay the marina manager and lots of other liveaboards.

Day 2 : 10am meeting of liveaboards to discuss winter activities and plan a timetable. Haul 3 months of laundry to the lady that does it with a smile. It is too much and too bad to do by hand! Morning swim in pleasant but chilly water, wash boat and dinghy and canoes with first free fresh water for months - what a luxury! First Turkish lessons with Tuncay this evening
and then out to try out a local restaurant -bill £15 for 2 !!

Day 3: Visit to fruit and veg market for several kilos of supplies and practice some basic Turkish, morning swim a bit chillier, retrieve laundry all beautifully air-dryed and folded - our clothes think they are in the wrong home now. More boat cleaning. Dinner was a spit-roast chicken from town (about £2.50!! ) and salad from market purchases. Games evening at Porthole, learned to play Okey a game with tiles we'd seen locals playing in the square.

Day 4: A bit shocked, as there was nothing in the diary, so got on with removing the main sail and stacker-pack (mainsail cover) for repairs - a b***h of a job involving a lot of heaving and grunting. Morning swim a bit chillier. Making the most of the late autumn sunshine - we all know
this great weather has to end sometime, but when?? Sorted out a better passarelle (plank to get on and off the boat as we are backed into the berth), that we can raise when we are off the boat to avoid the local cat population taking residence -they've already tried but we were quick
to evict.

Day 5: Morning swim - really chilly today, we could see the fresh water from the rivers (and previously the mountains) laying on top of the sea water, without any chop to mix the layers together the cold fresh water lies on the surface. To warm your feet, you can tread water as 1 metre down it's much warmer. After that, all day mending the stacker pack with the sewing machine in the cockpit - repairing and patching the chafed parts and making improvements so it
doesn't tear again. The sewing machine is worth its weight!

Day 6: - a walk in the mountains for a rest!