One of the two castles at KizKalesi
We left Mersin marina just after sunrise and headed southwest along the Turkish coast. The coast from Mersin is very straight with no indentations for over 20 miles. It consists of one large sandy beach with high-rise holiday apartments for the complete length without a gap, and in the background, you can see the Taurus mountain range. It reminded us very much of the Spanish Costa Del Sol.
As we continued, the coast changed from sandy beaches to rocky indentations and we started to look for an anchorage for the night. We soon noticed the village of Kizkalesi which is protected by two large castles. One is built on a peninsula at one end of the town and the other is built on an island just off the shore.
After passing both castles, we headed inland to Narlikuyu, a small village at the end of an inlet. We tucked ourselves in close to the rocks for good shelter and dropped the anchor. The location was not as sheltered as we had hoped and the boat rolled all night long making for an uncomfortable sleep.
Our Anchorage at Narlikuyu
We lifted anchor at first light heading back out to sea towards Bagsak, our next planned stop. The good northerly wind gave us a great sail along the coast. We had to head well out to sea to avoid a large sand spit before passing Tasucu village. Once around the spit, we could head directly to Agalimani, a bay just west of Tasucu harbour . Once in the bay we anchored in the southern end just off the village of Bagsak. The bay was surrounded by mountains, and at one end was yet another castle. The whole setting was absolutely beautiful. We soon had our dinghy afloat and were off to explore Bagsak.
Shazam Anchored at Bagsak
The village consisted of a mosque, mini market, two restaurants and a small holiday camp. We finished our first day there with a wonderful fish meal on the water's edge watching Shazam slowly swing at anchor. The next day we set off for an 8 mile hike to the castle that had a great write-up in one of our cruising guides. However we soon found that the guide was out-of-date as the peninsula where the castle stands is now a military compound surrounded by 12-foot high barbwire. We felt very conspicuous as we walked past the fence, sensing we were being watched. Since we were enjoying this anchorage quite a lot, we decided to stay a few more days and did some more walking and swimming, as well as a few boat maintenance tasks.
The Castle at Bagsak which is now a Military Base
With good weather forcast for the next day, we decided to head off again towards Yesilovacik, the next harbour along the coast. After another beautiful sail along the mountainous coast and around the Ovacik peninsula, we headed into Yesilovacik harbour. We expected a small fishing harbor, so were rather amazed to find the harbour full of small ships, tugboats, pile driving equipment etc. It seemed like we had just sailed into an industrial work site. With no free spaces along the quay other than alongside a ship we decide to anchor in the centre of the harbour. We were a little concerned that evening after dark when they started to move some of their vessels around in the harbor, but things eventually went quiet for the night. After a good night's sleep we left first thing the next day for Aydincik.
Anchored in Yesilovacik with the Ships
The village of Yesilovacik
After a short sail along the coast we approached Aydincik harbour which was almost impossible to see from offshore, with the breakwater walls blending into the shoreline contours. We used the large mosque in the city center as our point of reference, and it was not until we were within a hundred yards of the shoreline rocks that we could finally see the small entrance into the harbour. Once through the entrance and into the relative calm of the harbour, we could look for a mooring spot. It was a small harbour full of fishing boats with no obvious free mooring spaces. However, the local fishermen soon called us over to the quay and created a gap about the same width as our boat. After dropping our anchor, ensuring that we had lots of fenders over the side, we reversed in between two fishing boats and made fast against the quay. After an initial check of the town and a great meal at a local fish restaurant we wandered back to the boat and noticed a large gathering on the harbour quay with chairs/stage set-up and a wedding party/guests arriving. The music and fireworks started up and lasted until midnight. There was lots of loud Turkish celebration music and dancing - it is understood that weddings here may be a 3 day celebration event! We watched for awhile and then on back to the boat. We had forgotten that we had moored just in front of a mosque, so we were rather surprised when we were woken at 04:30 AM by the loudest call to prayer we had yet experienced. It seemed to be followed by several announcements and then all was quite again until morning.
Shazam Squashed in amongst the Fishing Boats in front of the Mosque
Mary checking out the Workout Equipment. You see these Exercise Machines all over in Public Places/Parks in Every Town we have Visited.
Incredible Colours and Rock Formation of the Local Cliffs
We stayed at Aydincik for several days enjoying some great walking along the coast and through some pine forests. The friendliness of the Turkish people still continue to amaze us. We were walking through one of the pine forests when we met a family having a picnic. Despite not easily being able to communicate with each other, in no time they invited us to join in, sharing fresh cherries, strawberries and melons. Later on we were stopped by another family that wanted to know if we were the same couple that they had seen walking through Mersin a couple of weeks earlier. We are beginning to feel rather conspicuous - like we have "tourist" written on our foreheads or something. There were also some great ruins around the harbour, including a most amazing mosaic of the harbour 2000 years ago - in almost perfect condition.
The Local Market at Aydincik.
This time of the year along the Turkish Mediterranean coast, the prevailing winds are westerly's and seem to increase to around 20-30 knots every afternoon. Therefore, for any boat like us that is heading westerly along the coast, it will be a very uncomfortable ride. The way we got around this was to either wait until we got the occasional easterly wind to make a departure, or to leave at sunrise while the wind was still light and try to arrive at the next location before noon when strong westerly's usually start. As easterlies are quite rare at this time of the year, our normal plans were early morning departures in light winds. After a few days at Aydincik, we had the rare easterly wind forecast for the next day and decided to use it to continue to our next port of Bozyazi. Once entering the harbour at Bozyazi, we were directed to the quay and tied up alongside a Turkish gullet. It was a very large harbour with a small assortment of boats which ranged from a Turkish Coast Guard vessel, a gullet, a few yachts in transit, a dozen fishing boats and a few work boats. The harbour master was very kind and soon had water hoses and electric cables down to our boat should we need them. The harbour at Bozyazi was rather industrial and certainly not as pleasant as the previous harbour of Aydincik but was still a secure sheltered place to stay. The town of Bozyazi seemed to be a little run-down. It looked like it had been a great holiday resort back in the 1960's/70's but had since gone into decline. The old town square was surrounded by derelict buildings and the mosque at one end was in a very bad state of repair which is very unusual as nearly all mosques that we have so far seen in Turkey are in immaculate condition. We did, however, find a much nicer part of town when we walked alongside the river which winds through a very pleasant park and into the market square and main shopping centre. On the way back to the boat, we decided to walk via farm land and passed through large greenhouses of banana crops and strawberry fields. Bozyazi is a center for banana farming in Turkey and the town is very proud of it's bananas which are smaller and sweeter than typical bananas in the supermarket.
The Banana Crop at Bozyazi
After a couple of days' stay at Bozyazi and with another good weather forecast, we left Bozyazi harbour at sunrise and headed southwest along the coast. After a few miles we sailed past the castle at Anamur. The castle was built in the 12th century, was later restored by the Ottomans in 1840, and continued to be used well into the 20th century. It is the best preserved castle on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. As we continued southwest along the coast with the castle now out of sight behind us, we started to see the ancient town of Anemurium. This ancient town is still largely intact. The city was founded by the Phoenicians in the 12th century BC and was finally abandoned in the 12th century AD after damage from a major earthquake and continual raids by Arabs. A few more miles down the coast we rounded the Anamur peninsula heading northwest into Antalya Bay. The new northwesterly heading took us clear of the strong prevailing westerly winds making our sailing much easier.
Cape Anamur and into Antalya Bay
We continued along the coast, now without castles or ruins, but still with beautiful mountain scenery. As we closed in on Gazipasa we were able to pick out the river and then the entrance into the harbour. Although Gazipasa was under construction, we had been told that the quay heading had all been finished and it would be a good place to spend a night. As we motored around the harbour, we soon noticed that at one end there were a lot of rocks just below the surface. So rather than risk damaging the boat, we decided to anchor in the deep water in the middle of the harbour. After packing up the boat we took the dinghy ashore and found a small local restaurant. Later that night onboard the boat around 11-ish, we started to hear voices outside the boat which seemed a little surprising considering we were the only boat anchored in the harbour. Getting up on deck we could see a large rubber dinghy with three men holding the side of our boat. Their boat had no lights and we were a little concerned as to what they were doing here. It turned out that they were the Turkish Coast Guard and wanted to see our boat documentation and passports. After checking our documents and filling out all their forms they wished us good night and motored off into the night. We don't know whether it was the rocks, or the Coast Guard experience, or just that we did not take to Gazipasa but we headed off first thing the next day for the city of Alanya which would be our next stop and a marina visit.
Dusk in Gazipasa