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Sailing in Marmaris, Turkey

A gentle thump against the hull wakes us. We look through the port hole and see a motor boat puttering away. Curious, we go on deck and there, at the stern, is a  freshly baked pidebread, delivered by Captain Nemo. Still hot to the touch, the smell is mouth watering. We cut thick wedges, slather in butter and wash it down with strong, dark coffee.

What a wonderful start to the day. What a wonderful testiment to the warm welcomes we have experienced at every stop along the Turquoise Coast.

Serçe Limani is where you will find Captain Nemo’s restaurant.  Simple fare, freshly caught and prepared. We had a leisurely dinner of sea bass drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice and a simple white wine. Then a short, moonlit dinghy ride back to the yacht in this very well protected inlet.

Serçe Limani

Pide (pronounced Peeday) is a Turkish bread traditionally cooked in hot clay ovens simply made from flour, sugar, yeast and salt.

We had moored Mediterranean style with a stern rope to shore. When it came time to leave, someone had to volunteer to jump overboard and swim across to untie us. Nikki drew the short straw, and with a squeal, leapt into the crisp water, crossing the gap in double quick time. She had an interested audience.

We are squeezing in a few days of relaxed sailing after a hectic 7 days packing in the sights of Istanbul and Cappadocia

We collect “Little Gem” a Dufour 36 from Mark and Stef  from Sail in Turkey based in Marmaris. The service is excellent, nothing is too much trouble. We are even given a Turkish mobile should we need to contact them at any stage.  We  stock up on  basic provisions, but as we intend eating supper on shore every night, we don’t need much. 

After the skipper’s briefing and some recommendations for anchorages with authentic, local food and not too many tourists (we’re not fussy!), we set sail.

Marmaris is at the intersection of the Mediterranean and the Aegean Seas. It is a busy harbour especially in high season where it has become quite manic. Cruise ships, power craft of all sizes and yachts (there are 1600 berths) use it as a base to access the Lycean Coast.

The sailing is wonderful. Clear, flat waters with constant, strong winds. Except….
The katabatic wind which swoops down from the mountains is short, sharp and is known to rip sails to shreds.

We only experienced one (a small one, but enough to get the adrenalin pumping). We were sailing along briskly, with full sails when suddenly the boat was pushed over to its gunnel, and needed both a firm hand turning into the wind and letting go the main to right her. And then it was gone! No damage done  but quite disconcerting.

Çiftlik

Sailing into Çiftlik cove is quite special. You pass between the mainland and an island that provide protection from southerly winds, pine forests rise on all sides and the sandy beach (famous because it is sand!) spreads out ahead. We tie up at the T shaped dock of Mehmet Place Restaurant. (The unwritten rule is: it is free to tie up at a restaurant’s dock if you eat there.) After clearing up and some reading, we stroll up to the restaurant. There are only a few tables occupied  As always, your choices are limited to what is fresh and available that day. The calamari, which becomes our staple starter, is succulent, tender and delicious. The Moussaka, Aegean style, is rich and filling. As we savour the house wine, we watch the sun going down behind the tinkling masts. 

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Loryma

We dock, stern to, and walk along the jetty straight into Loryma restauarant. There are two choices for supper tonight – Kleftico which has been slow cooking in the clay oven since early that morning or sea bass. We place our order (one of each), together with a simple salad and calamari to start, for dinner later that evening.

We walk up to the citadel from which you can see Rhodes on a clear day. Its not quite clear enough, but the stoney, barren  wildness is intoxicating. At 8pm we wander down for drinks and our delicious meals. We are the only table and get special treatment. The local beach cat hangs around for company.

Kumlubük

We  choose Florya Restaurant in Kumlubük for our last night. It is only one hours sail to Marmaris so we will be able have a leisurely breakfast and deliver the yacht by the deadline tomorrow.

There are hot showers and a beautiful beach with plenty of large chill-out cushions. The restaurant sits on the waters edge and is a suitably romantic end to our trip.

The Lycean Coast is an endless discovery of endearing villages, steep rocky slopes with sparse shrubs, mountain backdrops, and secluded coves The  colour of the water is indescribable. The closest us mere mortals come to, is turquoise. Apparantly, turquoise comes from the French word for Turkish. Turkey offers the longest sailing season in the Med – April to October – so there is plenty of time to appreciate this wonderful sailing area. May was a prefect time to go –  the days were lengthening, the weather was cool, but not cold and there were not many yachts about. Anchorages were quiet and restaurant owners chatted and spoilt us.

On the way back to Marmaris, a cruise ship , which was no doubt travelling slowly for her, came up to us quite quickly and we received a stern and startling toot to ensure that we kept well out of her way.

1. Çiftlik    2.   Loryma/Bozzukale     3. Serçe Limani     4. Kumlubük

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