Two years ago, we sailed from the Aeolian Islands through the Messina Straits going south. This morning at 6:30am we sailed the straits going north, sailing from Reggio to Tropea. The Strait is 20 miles long and from 2 to 10 miles wide, funneling the Ionian Sea into the Tyrrhenian Sea and vice versa. You are able to see the energy in the water. look long enough and you are bound to see a whirlpool forming. We began so early because we knew the current would be flowing south by 7:30am, 4.5 hours after high tide in Gibraltar.
Frosty was a bit skeptical at being underway by 6:30 am, even with a Nespresso in his hand but soon we were surrounded by the ‘passarelles’ or felucas, for the swordfish fisherman. Watching them move towards a sword fish at a rate of knots is quite startling.
The boats are about 40 feet long and the mast is about 50 feet high and the skipper steers from that lofty position.
After getting through the Messina Straits with a sighting of one swordfish( or was it a tuna?), a slight whirlpool trying to form and quite a bit of current. We sailed up the coast to Porto di Tropea. Only 30 miles from the Aeolian Islands and a charming, neo-classical town, in a slight state of ruin, there is a lot to like. The outstanding feature has to be the beaches. Surrounded by tufa, the beaches are superb. Odysseus never talks about beaches, does he? The beaches here are sensational. There were incredible beaches up the coast from Reggio di Calabria.
I tried to get James and Frosty smiling while in the Messina Straits, but in that photo they looked liked they had seen Charybdis. They liked the beach though.
Our journey so far (sorry, you have to copy & paste the link)
We have been doing side trips, while we were in Ece Marina in Fethiye. The marina is so convenient, with showers just up the pontoon, cafes, and a Carrefours market . The orange ‘domus’ (shared taxi) takes us to many places on it’s regular run – a circuit about 5 km around Fethiye. We can also walk into town and take other domus to Calis (pronounced Chalish) or Oludeniz. Domus services in Sydney would be absolutely wonderful, imagine being able to pick up a mini-van going from McMahons Point to Neutral Bay, do your shopping for $5.00 return. Better than a bus and they pick up anywhere, drop off at a bus stop. They are incredibly efficient and easy to use.
There is also a shared water taxi between Fethiye and Calis, which we learned about from a great local blog, Turkey’s for Life. Julia talks about life in Fethiye and travelling about Turkey. A great resource for sailors sailing the Turquoise Coast, because she covers so many areas of Turkish life.
Once Lesley had arrived we were ready to depart, engines starts right away, all systems go until we get to the passerelle, which after two weeks of not being removed, firmly refused to let go its mooring. After much ado, James had to unscrew the whole fitting and take the entire fitting to Captain Eddy, who effects such repairs in Fethiye. He had the boat next to ours on the marina, he said “Leave it, it will be 1 hour, so we had lunch. James went to collect the piece but returned crest fallen, no one at the office. You think we had dinner in Fethiye, don’t you?
But can we say Captain Eddy delivered, although it took 90 minutes, for the princely sum of 40 Turkish lira ($AUD 20), Thank you, Captain Eddy and to your industrious team.
We had a lovely night anchored off Gemiler Island, swimming, watching first the paraglliders then the supermoon rise over the mountain.
The next morning, we sailed past Oludeniz, also known as Costa del Blackpool, then Butterfly Bay, so that Lesley could see the sights. We then continued motoring to Kalkan, for about a four and half hours. Oludeniz is in serious danger of becoming over developed. Thanksfully Butterfly Valley is unspoiled.
The coastline is not conducive to anchoring, you sail pass Long Sandy Beach and arrive in Kalkan.
Kalkan was destroyed by an earthquake in 1958, so the Turkish Government said to the people, let’s start from scratch up the hill. Move forward 50 years and an entrepreneur from Istanbul purchased the old town and now it could be called Costa del Salcombe*
No domus here, just stairs and great shops and stylish restaurants, thank goodness Lesley is here to keep me company.[Louise Sullivan, we are seriously considering a woolen kilim, we need your expertise. We will bring you back.] James is able to sit on a rooftop terrace and watch over Mercier. While Lesley and I try to determine if the leather bag is a real fake or a fake fake, some T shirts even have signs advising which is which. Lonely Planet says “Kalkan is not a haven for backpackers and lager louts.”
Last night we had a wonderful dinner on the rooftop terrace of The Olive Garden, with traditional Turkish meze and dinners. 98% of the clientele would be well off British retirees or vacationers. Every restaurant, all stylish, is the similarly full of the British. The entire town is the same, we thought we were in England. We were like sprightly Aussie kids, not a bad feeling.
*Salcombe is one of the priciest seaside villages in England.
We left Bodrum after morning coffee on Monday, not sure if we would have access to electricity or internet, we planned on one last coffee. Off to the Gulf of Gokova Korfezi, an area resplendent with beautiful anchorages.
We did the gulet run and sailed up to Orak Adasi for lunch and surprising us after lunch here comes the Algida ice cream man. How did Algida/Streets know that these Magnum fans were in this little bay? Actually, I think they do a roaring trade with the gulet traffic and it’s very similar to cappuccinos at Yeoman’s Bay.
On to Cokertme, please note I don’t have all the Turkish letters on my keyboard, so the actual spelling is very different. Here we went to the redoubtable Rose Mary’s, Rose Mary’s have showers, electricity and we ate on one of the piers under the sky for dinner. The scene sounds romantic but the pier jumped like a trout in August. Every time one of the young waiters ran to the next table with their food orders the whole pier lofted into the air and then thudded back into the water.
The next day, we journeyed on to Okluk Koyu. Here we passed the mermaid, who sits on a reef, saving many a hapless sailor from ruining their keel. Heikell says the sculpture was erected by Sadun Boro, the first Turk to circumnavigate the world in a yacht. The setting is verdant with a market garden and quite a bit of corn being farmed, perhaps for the cows’ dinner. You go in and select the dishes you want from the fridge cabinet in the store and then they cook your meal and bring it out.
Our sojourn on Wednesday morning was to Seven Islands or Yedi Adalari, a beautiful bay with the meltemi funneling through whipping white water up over and through the islands, islets and rocks. Once we battled through the bay to the East Creek, we were able to anchor and lower the swimming platform and spend the rest of the afternoon in the water.
Happy Birthday to Philippa Gray, hope you are spoiled.
If you haven’t sailed in Greece, you may not have heard of this island not far from Kea. It is barren, seemingly with its largest crop being dry stone walls circling the countryside. As you sail into Loutra, a small but wonderful village with a small town quay. We are wedged between a handsome motor boat, with a Vespa on board and the famous yacht Felipa, sailed by Helmut, Peter, Peter and crew. Just meters from the quay in two directions are beautiful swimming beaches, one with tavernas on the sand.
The crew from Yacht Felipa, were all Greek Gods, but currently reside in England and Austria. They were terribly good at having a party, teasing everyone and staying up for the World Cup Soccer into the wee hours. In winter, they are Norse gods because they spend their time skiing. Helmut was very generous in sharing some beautiful Austrian ham, sharing his precious photos of his new granddaughter, obviously a little goddess and conversation with us. We all met for dinner at separate tables at Sofrano Yachting Club, where many songs were sung about Alice.
Wednesday morning found us in a car, going up to Chora, a lovely village. We wandered for an hour on a street running parallel to our parked car but you could never find an exit to the main street. We retraced our steps and came upon a wizened old woman in full black regalia, who gave me quite a lecture because we think I said ‘Kalispera’ too early. When I repeated ‘Yasus’, she gave me a pinch on the cheek and sent us on our way.
We visited Merikha and then wandered up to Driopis, which according to Heikell is like time travelling to the 1950’s. We made our way towards Kolona, the road was amazing and we made it to O. Apokriosis only because Stephen has thousands of miles of Aussie bush bashing under his belt. We could see the sand bar at Kolona.
When Heikell called the island barren,we can confirm its browness, but it is known for its cheeses, honey and figs. What amazed me is all the dry creek ravines are full of wild oleander, which normally would like dry feet but prosper in the creeks, which see so little moisture. Come for the beaches or the food but nothing beats the Greek hospitality.