Travel Log of Catamaran Voyage from Fethiye to Bodrum
On my 100+ cruises, I've sailed on ships of all sizes and lifestyles. Some were spartan, others luxurious. An an avid traveler, I've enjoyed them all for different reasons. However, I'd never slept on a boat as tiny as the 8-passenger catamaran leased by G Adventures for its "Sailing Turkey" 10-day marine adventure until the summer of 2014. This sailboat took us to many of the most beautiful parts of the Mediterranean along the southwest coast of Turkey between Fethiye and Bodrum.
Anyone who travels by sea has seen marinas jammed with sailboats and yachts. If you're like me, you've been curious about what it would be like to travel on such tiny vessels, visiting ports of call inaccessible to even the smallest cruise ship. I loved this G Adventures' voyage, and it greatly exceeded my expectations. But, a tiny catamaran adventure is not for everyone, even not for every avid traveler. Here are some pros and cons of traveling on a small sailboat.
Read this 12-page detailed travel journal and learn about our voyage and the amazing places we visited along the Turkish Riviera (or Turquoise Coast). Each page has links to photos and more detailed information about the sailing adventure. Sometimes I felt like one of the ancient seafarers exploring new worlds, or enjoyed getting to know my other cruise mates better. Other times I just cuddled up with my book while the quiet of the rocking boat lulled me into unconsciousness. However, it seems impossible to truly capture the essence of:
- the thrill of sailing across a brilliant blue sea, with the warm winds in your face and the sails billowing in the sun overhead,
- the joy of swimming and snorkeling in pristine waters with no other boats infringing on your space,
- the beauty of the southwest coast of Turkey,
- the fascinating, memorable ports of call, and
- the delicious Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine served in the local restaurants we dined in ashore each evening.
I hope this journal provides at least a peek at a G Adventures sailing adventure and enough information to tweek your interest in visiting the Turquoise Coast (or Turkish Riviera).
Day in Fethiye, Turkey
The G Adventures "Sailing Turkey" voyages start in either Fethiye or Bodrum. Our cruise embarked in Fethiye, so I flew into the Dalaman Regional Airport, which is about 35-40 miles from the harbor in Fethiye. Although buses run between the airport and the many towns along the seacoast, I was tired after a long night and day of flying from North America, so I just took a taxi (about $75) to my hotel in Fethiye, the Yacht Boutique Exclusive Hotel. I arrived about 7:30 pm, checked in, and went for a walk around the town and a light supper along the waterfront. This hotel is a good option since it's within easy walking distance of the marina cafe where our G Adventures group met late the next afternoon.
Fethiye was the first of many quaint seaside towns we visited on this journey. It was clean, and the people were friendly and helpful to tourists. The next day, I loved strolling the pedestrian area and exploring some of the shops. The vendors were not nearly as aggressive as those I've experienced elsewhere in Turkey. It might be the summer heat; it makes everyone more laid back and relaxed.
A little before 5 pm, I collected my bag from the hotel and walked the short distance to the meeting point. My sailing adventure was to begin!
Diamond Sea Catamaran
Our G Adventures information package instructed the group to meet at 5 pm at a cafe in the marina. We got lucky. Our group was diverse in ages and backgrounds, but respectful of each other, our Skipper, and the boat.
At our first meeting, Scott briefly outlined where we would be sailing. Our cruise was the eighth he has done this year, and each had a different itinerary and experiences for its guests. G Adventures gives him the flexibility to adjust the activities and ports for the weather and the interests of those onboard.
We boarded the Diamond Sea catamaran about 6 pm and had a short tour, learning how to work the toilet, stove, refrigerator, shower, etc. We all assisted in the cooking, cleaning, and sailing. Scott especially needed our help when docking or anchoring the boat, so we learned to handle the lines, bumpers, and anchor. He did most of the cleaning, although we all pitched in to wash the dishes.
Each person contributed 75 euros or 200 Turkish lira to a kitty, and we took it into Fethiye to the local grocery store to buy water and food for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Each of us bought our own alcohol and any special foods or drinks no one else wanted. I bought some Turkish beer, two bottles of white wine, and some diet coke since I was the only one who drank it.
We returned to the boat and unpacked the groceries before going to dinner at a local Turkish restaurant called Pasa Kebab where Scott had made a reservation. It was very good. I had the house specialty, which was kebab beef in a light pastry covered with melted cheese. Yummy, but rich.
Back to the boat about 10:30 pm, we all walked to the marina bathhouse to shower. It was on the dock of the marina--kind of like one you would find in a campground. The temperature was still very warm, so I was sweating again by the time I got back to the boat. The next day we would be sailing towards Gocek.
The Diamond Sea left Fethiye about 10 am, and we sailed towards Gocek. We passed by an island where they filmed the James Bond movie "Sky Fall", and then Scott raised the sails. We had a lovely crossing to the Gocek Pass. Scott said we were sailing about 8 knots (the motor only pushes the boat 6 knots). The breeze was fresh and the sea was brilliant blue. I can't think of a better start to our sailing adventure.
We passed through the narrow Gocek pass dividing an island from the mainland. By 12:30 or so, we were anchored in Fathom Bay. Fahad volunteered to swim ashore and tie the boat to an iron rod on the shore, so he donned water shoes and gloves and dove in with a rope. I fed him the rope, and he climbed up on the sharp rocks to tie the boat before swimming back to the Diamond Sea.
Soon after anchoring, we were all in the water. First time I was cool since I landed in Turkey! We enjoyed seeing all the caves in the cliffs and the goats on the shore.
After swimming a while, we had a pot luck lunch - Greek salad, cheeses, crackers, olives, bread, grape leaves wrapped around rice, salami, etc. Delicious, and the fresh air and swim made us all ravenous.
After lunch we went swimming again--too hot to do anything else. Then, after showering off with fresh water, we all rested or read. Scott said we would sail for the town of Gocek at about 5:00 pm. While everyone was resting, reading, chatting, etc. Scott suddenly grabbed his conch shell (aptly nicknamed the Honky Conch) and blew it loudly, which is more difficult than you would think. We all quickly gathered on the aft deck to find he was summoning the ice cream boat. The area around Gocek has many pleasure boats, and this guy goes around in a small boat with a freezer onboard selling ice cream. We had to pay about $4 for a Magnum bar, (8 TL) but it was worth it. Not soon after, the Market Boat arrived, and we bought some fruit and salad fixings from the kitty. Great entrepreneurial ideas! We really got a sense of what life is like living on a boat.
The Diamond Sea moved to an anchorage in the Gocek Harbor in the late afternoon, and we went ashore about 6 pm. Scott the Skipper had made dinner reservations at 8 pm at the "West Restaurant" on the waterfront, so we had a couple of hours to explore this quaint little Turkish town. Gocek sits at the foot of a large mountain with a steep cliff. Quite picturesque. The harbor was packed with sailboats and yachts, but the town didn't seem too busy.
It's definitely a town geared towards tourism, but most of the shops seemed to be selling the same tourist stuff--souvenirs, beach clothing, carpets, etc. After walking around, we gathered at the restaurant, and we all took advantage of the free WiFi while waiting on our meal. This was a Mediterranean restaurant, and I had a delicious grilled sea bass for dinner.
All the wine drinkers quickly learned that drinking wine in a Turkish restaurant is ridiculously expensive. Although beer is cheap, wine has a luxury tax when bought in a restaurant, which meant a glass of wine was about the same prices as a bottle at one of the grocery stores. So, we usually drank beer and water for dinner and had our wine on the boat.
We used the tiny dingy to return to the boat about 11 pm. The seven of us just barely fit in! We sat around the table, opened a bottle of wine, and discussed a variety of topics, each providing a different viewpoint. Fun ending to a fun day.
Scott raised the anchor about 7:30 the next morning and we slowly motored out of Gocek. I was the second one out of a cabin. We sailed much of the time as we moved to a bay near the mouth of the Dalyan River.
The boat anchored in the small harbor just before lunch, and we ate, swam, and relaxed until 3 pm when we were picked up by two men piloting a motorized riverboat for a trip up the river. Nice day trip. The six of us had the whole boat to ourselves, and it cost 72 TL per person. Glad everyone went along to keep the cost down. The boat was covered and had padded seats around both sides, so it could have held 40 or so. It was about a 30 minute ride in rolling seas from where we boarded at the quiet Diamond Sea anchorage to the river mouth. The waves were pounding on the 4-mile long curving sandy Iztuzu Beach at the mouth of the river, and the harbor was rolling, so I can see why Scott chose a quieter spot to anchor.
We saw about 50 identical river boats either docked or sailing on the river. The driver and guide spoke only so-so English, but we got by. (Their English was way better than our Turkish.) We saw two large tour boats anchored off the sandy beach at the mouth of the river. Each must have each carried 200+ people. The guides said that they bring about 1,000 people a day from nearby Marmaris.
Loggerhead turtles come ashore on this sandy beach to lay eggs just like at Jekyll Island back in Georgia. They are protected by the Turkish government, and no one disturbs the eggs or eats turtle meat. We had the chance to swim at the beach, but it was very crowded, and we all decided we'd rather swim from the Diamond Sea. They also cook and sell blue crabs at the beach, which we could order and pick up on the return. But, Scott was making dinner for us, so we passed.
The river is very narrow (I could swim across it), and lined with marshes filled with grass much like the Georgia coast. The boats parade up the river, and we could only see the tops of the canvas boat top covers and the Turkish flags of those way ahead since the marsh grass was high.
The river wound back and forth, and it was about 4:30 before we arrived at the first stop where we could walk to see the ancient town of Caunus (also spelled Kaunos), which was an important city in Caria and Lycia before the river silt filled up the harbor (kind of like at Ephesus). According to a sign on the road near the dock, the road to the town was about ½ mile or so. Leaving the boat, the road soon comes to a fork--to the left is Caunus and to the right is a cemetery and a closer view of the rock tombs in the cliff overhead.
We decided to walk and look at the tombs first, which was a mistake. This was further, and we wasted time since we couldn't get very close to them. Photos from further up the river were just as good. These tombs kind of reminded me of Petra, but the rocky cliffs were gray, brown, tan, and black rather than red. The tombs date back to the 4th century BC. One set of tombs on one hill is a Lycian king, his queen, and their four children. Another set of tombs on an adjacent hill are other royals and VIPs.
Leaving the tombs, we walked back and up to Caunus. The end of this road was uphill and rocky. The town costs 10 TL to enter, but even though it was about 5:15, and we only had a short time to visit, we paid and went in. It looks much like other ancient Greek and Roman ruins, with a large theater, agora, fountain, and other buildings. The view from the site of the river below and what remains of the ancient harbor was quite lovely and worth the fee.
Back on the riverboat, we continued to sail up the Dalyan River, passing by the small town of Dalyan, which had great views of the tombs on the opposite river bank. Our next stop was at the mud baths, where we donned our swim suits and got in the warm muddy baths. They were not as much fun as the Blue Lagoon in Iceland or the Baldi hot springs of Costa Rica, but a nice way to relax after a walk. The sulfur-smelling mud was a sickly gray and we smeared it on our faces and bodies before heading to the outdoor showers to rinse off. Then we bobbed around in the mineral springs pool, which was even warmer, before showering again and re-dressing. Scott had thought they had indoor showers, but they didn't (or if they did, we couldn't find them). So, we had taken shampoo and soap, but didn't get to use it.
We briefly stopped in Dalyan town for a cold Efes beer and some snacks. Sarah wandered off to find a refrigerator magnet and explore some. We got worried when she was gone so long, but it turned out she had ridden on a motor bike with the two guides from our river boat to buy some petrol. Brave girl!
It was about 9:15 pm and dark by the time we got back to the Diamond Sea. Scott had cooked baked potatoes and onions ashore in some coals. He had planned for us to have a big campfire ashore, but one of the local riverboatmen made him extinguish it, telling him that beach fires were not allowed in that area. Scott didn't want to argue, but he did let the fire die down and cooked the potatoes and onions in the coals before extinguishing it with water. Unfortunately, he had wasted time gathering up a bunch of driftwood for our bonfire. He also fixed a Greek salad and a tuna salad to go along with the hot potatoes and onions. Nice dinner and another memorable day. In bed by soon after midnight.
We had a late start the next morning-about 930 am--and we all had time to go swimming for a while and eat breakfast before untying the Diamond Sea (Scott had moved it in closer to the bank in anticipation of our beach barbecue that didn't happen) and pulling up the anchor.
We spent the morning sailing the short distance towards the town of Marmaris, which is bigger than Fethiye. We had "luxury" there, docking rather than anchoring and being able to hook up water and electricity. We also could bathe/shower ashore in the facilities for boaters. After economizing (eco) water for two whole days, a very long shower felt great. This sailing trip sometimes reminded me of our old camping days--no air conditioning, tight quarters, and having to walk to the bathhouse.
The passing scenery in this part of the world is spectacular--brilliant blue sea, towering rocky hills, low mountains, and cooling sea breezes. And, the sailing was so quiet compared to being on a motorized boat.
The Diamond Sea anchored in a quiet harbor near Marmaris so some of us could join in the water sports. Scott had the phone number of the local power boat drivers, so when some of our gang (the three youngest ones) decided to do a ride on an inflatable sofa-like inner tube, the power boat came and the four of them were off (Scott went with them). I was glad I passed, because they really took a pounding, plus had to hold on tight since there weren't any seat belts. I would have hated to have been thrown off at the speeds they were going. I think the 10 minute ride was 30 TL (about $15). They were also tempted to try the parasailing, but decided it looked kind of scary, plus cost at least 200 TL per person.
We did more swimming while at anchor, and headed towards Marmaris about 3:30. We were tied at the dock about an hour later, and we all walked into town to see the castle, old houses, and the famous Bar Street (lined with watering holes) that wouldn't open until later. We had a nice stroll around the city in the oppressive heat, and easily found Bar Street. It was the only one in town where everything was closed and the streets were still freshly washed down.
Marmaris is larger than Fethiye, and was filled with boaters (like all the towns along the Turkish coast). Loved the houses, which looked like the Greek ones (white with blue trim) that I've seen before. The castle was interesting and had nice views of the harbor and old town Marmaris from the top. It also had many ancient archaeological relics discovered at sites nearby--many dating back thousands of years. (jewelry, amphora, sculptures, etc.)
The two girls I was exploring with wanted to do some shopping, and I browsed the lovely shopping area while they bought. Amazingly, (or not) we spent much more time in the few stores that had air conditioning! Marcy bought a beautiful glass piece of a whirling dervish dancer to hang on the wall. Sarah bought a plate-sized "evil eye" to hang on the wall of her shower. (This blue/white eye is supposed to ward off evil spirits, and you see them all over Turkey.)
We concluded our afternoon in town with a cold drink at the Panorama Bar, which sits at the highest point in the city. It advertises "the best views in Marmaris", and I guess they were right. We loved looking down on the harbor with all the boats and at the surrounding mountains. A soft drink was 7 TL ($3.50), so we were mostly paying for the view.
We met back at the ship at 8:15 since we had reservations at 8:30. When walking around all of these towns, we learned from Scott to just say "we already have reservations for tonight" when all the restaurant owners wanted us to see their menus as we are strolling along. Nice tip for future travels--even if we don't have reservations!
Scott had advertised this restaurant (named Memed Ocakbasi) as "the best tasting and best value Turkish food on the coast", and he was right--it was delicious and cheap. Memed is the owner, and he warmly greeted us. It was about 4 or 5 blocks off the main harbor promenade and filled with many local Turkish diners. We ate outside, and they started bringing mezzes (appetizers) before we even ordered. Not even sure what I was eating, but it was tasty and served with hot thin pita bread for dipping.
They didn't have an English menu, so we either pointed at a photo or decided on an item and asked if they had it. Fish wasn't on the menu, and I've usually been eating Scott's recommendation. But I asked if they had lamb and ordered a lamb/beef kebab combo. Good choice. The meat was ground together (not layered on the kebab as I expected) and then put on the kebab for grilling. Seasoning was exceptional and not greasy at all. Scott got some type of meat/cheese/kebab dish that looked similar to the yummy (and very rich) one I had the first night in Fethiye. Marcy and Fahad got the eggplant stuffed with meat and cheese, Elizabeth got a mixed grill of meats and veggies, and Jacek got a lamb kebab, which was chunks of lamb. Sarah got a flat bread pizza-like dish topped with tomatoes and cheese.
Fahad also ordered a traditional Lebanese/Syrian dessert he had been craving and ate it along with the mezzes. It is called Kunafa, and is one of the best things I've ever tasted that didn't have chocolate in it. It is served hot and has cheese, sugar, and shredded wheat in it. It's baked like a crème brulee and served in a similar shallow custard-type dish, but not nearly as sweet. Anyway, Fahad gave us all a bite, so we ordered another one for dessert to share. (nothing like dessert both before and after the main course) They also brought us two large fruit plates to share (watermelon, honeydew melon, grapes, and sliced nectarines) plus a dessert "specialty of the house", which was hot and similar to the one Fahad ordered but covered in peanuts and with a sesame seed flavored filling. I liked Fahad's Kunafa better, but the second dessert was delicious, too.
We had a nice stroll back to the boat, and could hear the music and see the lights at Bar Street. The three younger folks went to explore the bar scene, but I grabbed my shower stuff and went to the luxury bathhouse (not really luxury, but that's what all the ones ashore are) for a very long shower. Of course, I was sweating by the time I got in bed, but slept like a rock
Bozukkale, Turkey and the Loryma Fortress
The three of us elders (the Polish/Canadians and I) went to the grocery store near the Marmaris marina to replenish supplies while the youngsters slept in. Good idea to have a joint kitty to spend. Didn't get in a morning swim since it was a busy port area. How quickly we all had gotten used to having a morning swim to wake up and cool off! We pushed two shopping carts back to the boat and had to walk the plank from the boat to the pier a few dozen times carrying things. Glad our balance was pretty good! Returned the carts to the market. These grocery stores next to the busy yacht basins do a booming business.
The party-goers got up about the time we pulled away from the dock. They said most of the bars on Bar Street were fairly empty, with everyone crammed into one huge disco. They also found that drinks outside on the street were about 1/10 of the price inside the busy disco. Glad I didn't go along since it didn't sound that great. Plus, we could hear the music way out on the pier.
We had strong winds most of the morning blowing in our faces. We pulled away from Marmaris about 10:30 and sailed until about 2:30 in the afternoon when we arrived at Ali Baba's dock at Bozukkale. Scott had to tack since we were mostly sailing into the wind. We also had to batten all the hatches (close them) to prevent spray/water/waves from going into the cabins and galley. It was very rough, and I was glad I took my Bonine (dramamine) before we sailed. Since it was too hot in the cabins with the hatches closed, we gathered around the table on the back deck and Scott stayed at the helm. He finally was able to raise the sails and cut the engines, which was better.
Ali Baba's is on a secluded cove, which was appreciated after fighting the wind for about 4-5 hours. His dock is not a "proper one" with cleats to tie up at, but men did come down to the dock to help get the Diamond Sea secured. Since there is no road access to Ali Baba's restaurant, only boaters can visit. There were about a dozen sailboats either tied to the dock or anchored in the small cove.
The restaurant was built in this spot since the cove is one of the few sheltered ones in this area of Turkey. Plus, there's a marvelous old citadel built on the top of the hill leading up from the harbor. It's named Loryma and is of Hellenic origin dating back to the 10th Century BC. The walls are still standing, but that's about it. This harbor is across from the nearby Greek island of Rhodes. The rectangular fort had 9 towers and walls that were 120 meters long, 10 meters high, and 3 meters thick. It was built to help defend Rhodes.
It was too rough to eat lunch while sailing, so we broke out the cheese, crackers, and veggies and had a cold lunch after docking. Then we all jumped in and swam for a while. Water was a little cooler (about 26.5 degrees Celsius), but invigorating in the heat. I have so much body fat that I float quite well, so it's very relaxing. We also did a little snorkeling, but didn't see much marine life.
When it cooled down some, I walked with the girls up to see the Loryma citadel up close. It was a rough trail, but not too hard. The views of the harbor and surrounding area were worth the climb. Sarah is into geo-caching, so we spent some time looking for a cave where a cache had been hidden. We found the cave at the far end of the bluff where the citadel sits, but she couldn't get into it--either the cache had moved further into the hole or someone had replaced it in a too difficult place to reach.) I think most of the other boaters also hiked up there, and although we wore our wet swimsuits and hiking sandals, it was a little hard to avoid the prickly bushes--wish I had put on my jeans although it would have been too hot! We did find a friendly donkey on the citadel.
Returned to the boat about 7:00 pm and went for a swim to cool off before going to dinner. I have to admit it's nice to not worry about hair and makeup--just sunscreen. Shared a bottle of wine with the drinkers in the group (all but Sarah and Scott) before heading ashore. Went to Ali Baba's at sunset (about 8 o'clock). It's located at the end of the dock and you have to walk through it when going to hike, so it's two minutes from the boat. At Ali Baba's, we parallel parked rather than backed in, so getting on/off the boat was a little tricky--no nice plank to walk. You had to swing your leg over the side, put the foot you swung into a notch. and then pull yourself over. I always put my camera/shoes/etc. on the boat and then retrieved them when secure in case I fell in, but it wasn't too bad.
Had another nice dinner at Ali Baba's busy restaurant--about 30 of us sailors there. I got chicken kebabs and Fahad got lamb and we split. Marcy got octopus, Scott got some kind of meat casserole with cheese, Sarah got a vegetable casserole, and Jacek and Elizabeth split some type of grill. Very nice.
Back to the boat about 10:30 and in bed soon afterwards.
Symi and the Bay of Awesomeness
I woke up at 6:45 am and decided to go for another walk in Ali Baba's Cove before it got too hot. Jacek and Elizabeth were up, and she loaned me her Nordic walking stick. I donned my bright orange shirt so I couldn't get too lost. My plan was to walk up the hill opposite the citadel, but I could never find the trail. Scott had given me general directions, but I gave up and went back up to the citadel since the light was better for picture-taking than the afternoon before. Returned to the ship before 8 o'clock and we sailed about 9:30 am.
The sea was not nearly as rough as the day before, and we arrived at St. George Bay on the Greek island of Simi (or Symi) before noon. Scott said this was the most awesome stop on the trip, and he was right. It's another bay that is inaccessible via road/land, and has a lovely white pebbly beach that sits at the end. The bay is surrounded on three sides by towering cliffs that drop straight into the ocean and the water is an amazing aquamarine. Surprised we didn't see any rock climbers or hang gliders, so it must be very difficult to reach. Symi doesn't have an airport, so all visitors arrive via boat and I think the whole island of Symi has only a few thousand residents. We didn't have the necessary permits to go ashore in Greece, so just swam in the cove and only stayed about an hour. It was a memorable morning and an awesome bay.
Leaving Symi, we sailed towards our overnight stop--Bozburun. Elizabeth and I fixed lunch while Scott sailed the boat. The lunch was delicious. Elizabeth made a big salad with feta cheese, lettuce, peppers, onions, cucumbers, etc. and I made a tuna salad to go along with it. Scott had bought some of Ali Baba's fresh bread that morning with money from the kitty, so we ate that. The sailing was so lovely (cool but not too rough) that we even opened a bottle of white wine to go along with the lunch. The Nutella lovers polished off the lunch with Nutella and bread.
Before arriving in Bozburun, we stopped at Kizil Adasi, a small island nearby, for a swim stop. The water (as usual) was invigorating and wonderfully cool. There was a large rocky outcropping in the middle of the bay, and some other boat swimmers had found a pool of yucky mud and were smearing it all over themselves. Looked kind of trashy to us, so we passed. It is amazing to swim when the coastline surrounding you is covered with ancient crumbling buildings of an old city and fort. Kind of nice to use your imagination to picture life back then and all the residents were involved in while protecting their homes and feeding their families. Doubt if they had air conditioning either.
The Bay of St. George on Symi Island was the most awesome bay we've seen on this voyage, but the bay at Bozburun was very scenic and different. The small town sits at the foot of a line of hills, so it stretches for a long distance along the shoreline--only about one block deep and a couple of miles long. It's another popular boating stopover, and there was a flotilla of nine sailboats in port along with us (plus a bunch of others).
Scott had reserved us a "parking" place right in front of the restaurant (less than 20 feet away) where we would be dining. So, this time he backed the boat in while we "mates" threw the lines to one of the men ashore. They looped the lines around a cleat and then they threw them back and we secured the boat. The plank went out and we could go ashore. The restaurant is named "Osman's Place", but also has a sign that says "Gordon's Restaurant". We met Osman, but Scott didn't know who Gordon might be. Osman provides free WiFi, free toilets, and free showers to boaters. And, the boaters reciprocate by dining in his restaurant. Nice trade, and the WiFi works over 100 yards away. I was out walking along the harbor and sat down on a shady bench to have a cold drink. I was amazed to find that Osman's WiFi was still coming in strong. Guess it had a long sight line across the harbor. Osman's WiFi also worked well from the Diamond Sea.
We strolled around the town and did a little browsing in the shops. The men went to a Turkish barber for a "real" shave. We found that the barbershop had air conditioning. so we women went and watched a little and soaked up the cool air. I then went and had a shower before dinner.
Osman set up a table for 7 on the pier outside his restaurant. We were only about 10 feet from the boat! Another great dinner. I had a Turkish pepper steak while others got the usual mix of dishes. We shared some mezzes (appetizers) and had some hot fresh bread. In bed by 10:30.
The next morning we sailed away from our "A+" docking spot in front of Osman's in Bozburun at about 10 am. The winds were flat, and the seas were the calmest we had on this voyage. So, we had to use the motor. Scott steered the boat back towards Greek waters since he wanted us to see Symi town, one of Greece's loveliest island towns. He was right.
We circled the harbor taking photos from the boat, and I've added Symi to my long list of places to have a more lengthy visit. We didn't have the proper permits to go ashore, but we all appreciated Scott taking us for the tour around the harbor. The Neo-Classical buildings made the town look very wealthy.
Leaving the island of Symi, Scott drove the boat though a very narrow passageway separating Symi from the nearby island of Nimos. The water was flat, so he stopped for about 10 minutes for a quick swim to cool off. Very refreshing! After our swim we ate lunch on board. This wasn't as grand a lunch as the day before--kind of pot luck. I had cheese, crackers, cucumber, and tomato. Scott was able to put up the sails for a bit as we sailed towards our next Turkish port of call--Datca.
We stopped outside the harbor for one last swim to cool off before arriving in Datca about 4 pm. The water had dropped in temperature about 3 degrees C (almost 6 degrees F) since Bozburun. We could all tell the difference! It was 23.6 degrees C (about 75-80 F).
After docking in Datca, I stayed onboard for about an hour in the shade since it was so hot. Then I went ashore with the two girls to do some shopping. They bought and I advised. We went back to the ship about 6:30 to have a glass of wine on the back deck and watch the people stroll by.
Scott hadn't found a good restaurant in Datca on his previous visits this season, so we stopped at one that seemed to be filled with locals. I had grilled fish, which was good, but those who got the kebabs said the meat was too chewy. Another one off the list. Hope Scott finds a good one in Datca before the season is over.
Returned to the Diamond Sea about 10:30 pm, and I took a shower onboard. Surprisingly nice shower, but you have to keep remembering to push a button to activate the drain/bilge pump. Since we were connected to the pier, we had "luxury" showers--didn't have to worry about using the onboard water tank up. I've seen similarly-sized showers on much larger boats/ships. Some of the group went out walking around and doing more shopping, but I got in my bed and finished the good book I'd been reading--"The Son" by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.
Although the music from the town was still somewhat blaring through my open hatches, I quickly went to sleep after finishing the book.
The Diamond Sea motored away from Datca about 9:30 the next morning. The seas and winds were very calm, so we couldn't put up the sails. Scott stopped for a swim break at a small cove with two caves in the rock wall. As usual, we broke out the snorkeling equipment and swam and snorkeled around the rocks. Have seen a few interesting things in Turkey, and the water is crystal clear--great for snorkeling. We could snorkel into the cave a little ways, but the water was very shallow.
Some locals were swimming and snorkeling from the beach and swam out with their flippers to take their photos with a waterproof camera treading water with our boat as a backdrop. We all laughed a little since the Diamond Sea is not a yacht or anything. Guess it was a nice photo for them.
We stayed anchored at the two-cave cove while we had lunch. All of us were in a "clean out the refrigerator mode", but we still ended up with too much food. The next group appreciated our generosity, I'm sure. Whoever sailed behind us found lots of leftover cereal, tuna, beans, and other dry goods.
Leaving two-cave cove, we motored on to Knidos, an ancient city that sits near the end of a long peninsula. We had an "A+" docking spot on the wooden dock, which was similar (but nicer) than the one at Ali Baba's earlier in the week. Think there were about 20 boats either docked or anchored in the harbor.
There was a nice breeze, which helped a lot with the temperature. Sarah and I and Jacek and Elizabeth paid the 10 TL ($5) to visit the archaeological site, while Fahad and Marcy explored the area (for free) between the one building (a restaurant/bar) and a lighthouse on the tip of the peninsula. It was worth $5 to get a look at this old bearded billy goat. The old town spread up into the hills, and we all enjoyed the view from the top.
The Knidos archaeological site was much larger than it looked from the boat. It wasn't well preserved, but they had signs showing the purpose of the buildings that once stood there. It was fun getting to do some serious walking. Swimming in salt water (where I float anyway) just doesn't get it. And, it's been too hot to walk very fast in most places. Also, I always love to visit out of the way places inaccessible to most people. The best preserved thing at Knidos was the "small" (according to the sign) theater that sat 5,000 people and a portion of the Dionysus temple.
We returned to the tiny restaurant and all walked down towards the lighthouse to see the sun set at 8:10 pm. It was a gorgeous sunset, and the first we've seen since we've always been docked/anchored in a sheltered harbor. The trail to the lighthouse would have been a good hike, but just not enough time.
Dinner was at the one restaurant at Knidos. Choice of mezzes, meatballs, lamb chops or fish. We tried everything, and it was better than the night before in Datca, but service was slow and not as friendly as most spots. In their defense, they were busy with all the boats in. At the end of our trip, I finally got used to the high prices (lack of supply/high demand). My meal was about $23 with only water to drink.
Four of us played cards for a while, but I was in bed and asleep by about 12:30.
We sailed away from Knidos at about 9:30 am for our last full day on the Diamond Sea. Time is so interesting to me. It's amazing how it can seem to go by slowly and yet fly by at the same time.
It was calm again, so Scott used the motor until the wind picked up. The Diamond Sea can only go about 6 knots with the engine, so it's slow going. The boat came around the peninsula with the old lighthouse and sailed across the long narrow bay towards Bodrum, our last port of call.
We anchored about 1 pm and had another "clean out the refrigerator" lunch and our last swim and snorkeling opportunity. The weather was much more comfortable, with a light breeze, so we weren't as anxious to jump in. I even laid on my cabin bed (it's usually been too hot in there in the daytime) and read for a while as we sailed from Knidos towards Bodrum. The snorkeling where we stopped didn't have as many fish to see, although we did see a small dead shark on the bottom (about 2 feet long). The water has been crystal clear everywhere we have stopped, and it is covered with sand, large rocks (even boulders in some spots) and lovely grass with green on one side and purple on the other. Quite spectacular as it waves back and forth with the sunlight all around. Almost mesmerizing. Just not as much marine life as I've seen elsewhere in the world.
We put up the snorkeling gear and motored about 30 minutes to Bodrum. Like most Turkish towns, this one is ancient, has a fascinating history, and was named Halicarnussus in Hellenic times. The marina has room for 450 boats. They don't have many catamarans, so we had a berth at the end of a long pier. It was the furthest we had to walk to the luxury facilities (showers and air conditioning). We had another interesting maneuver to step off the ship, but guess we were used to it by now, since we all hopped on/off easily.
Fahad was immediately off the boat to go explore this rich Turkish man's holiday spot. The other four went to the Hamman. Scott started cleaning the boat for the next bunch of guests.
I grabbed my camera, purse, and water bottle and was off to see Bodrum's biggest attraction--its Castle of St. Peter. Kind of an unusual name for a Turkish castle, but this one was built by the Christian Knights of St. John and completed in the 15th century. Like most fortresses, it sits on a high promontory overlooking the sea. Like the much smaller castle we visited in Marmaris, you can't miss it.
This fortress is now a Museum of Underwater Archaeology, with many exhibits of artifacts recovered by divers. The presentation was very nice, with the designers using the castle space effectively. They even had a replica of the remains of an ancient 7th century AD boat in the lovey old chapel. The lighting was very nice on the old wooden boat. Had hundreds of different amphora (large jugs used to carry everything from water to oil to all other liquids). The style of these jugs is used to identify where they were made. They also had models of several of the sites showing how the divers used large flat pallets and winches on a floating barge on the surface to raise the materials. Some of the shipwrecks were excavated by American universities.
I got my exercise in Bodrum since it was about a 25-minute walk along the waterfront from the marina to the fort. And the fort was filled with steps (very tall ones). I went into several of the towers and down into the dungeon. Nice way to spend a few hours.
As I was getting ready to leave, I came upon a small wedding in the shady courtyard of the castle. The ceremony was in Turkish and English, and had about 50 guests. The bride and bridesmaids were dressed in western clothes--bride in white (no veil) and bridesmaids in different jewel tones. They all carried beautiful bouquets, and an area was set up for the reception following the wedding. The attendants all sat on the front row of the rocky "theater" on lovely Turkish pillows.
I walked back to the ship along the beautiful main shopping street. The bay is on one side, with a park-like area separating it from the busy street. The shops are on the other side of the street. Loved the wide, paved sidewalk and really loved the shade!
Got back to the ship about 7 pm and showered ashore in the luxury shower. Dressed and ready for dinner by 7:45. However, the Hamman folks weren't back yet, so Scott called and changed our reservations to 8:30. They got back about 8 pm, but I don't think they enjoyed it much. The price was right, but the experience wasn't as good as at other Hammans on the itinerary.
Dinner was excellent. It was at Musto's, a trendy spot with a mix of interesting dishes. I had poppy-seed covered salmon on a delicious pasta with grilled Asian vegetables. The salmon filet was completely covered in poppy seeds--I must have eaten about a half bottle! It was terrific. The others got steak with mushrooms (Scott's recommendation), shrimp with squid ink risotto, or a beet carpaccio with goat cheese.
It was a nice last dinner. Returned to the boat, packed, and was in bed by about midnight. We said our goodbyes since Jacek and Elizabeth were leaving the boat about 5:30 am, I was leaving at 7:30 am, and the others were not leaving Bodrum until the late afternoon. Our memorable adventure was over all too quickly.
I loved this sailboat adventure, but it's not for everyone. The quarters are tight, and I might not have liked sharing a tiny cabin with a stranger. Even sharing a bath with three people I barely knew was a little odd at first. However, we all got used to it.
I've always been fascinated by boaters I've seen on my travels, and now I have a taste of what it is like. A family group or eight good friends would love to experience this together since the weather (although hot) is perfectly clear in Turkey in the summer. Scott said he had rain the first day of the first trip this spring, but not a drop since. We rarely even saw clouds. It was a marvelous way to see a part of the world that most people don't see. All of us left the Diamond Sea hoping to return to the Turquoise Coast and to experience another G Adventure. (Lucky me--I got to sail the islands of Greece the very next summer with G Adventures!)
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