Kargacik Bay to Yalikakav (Agean, Turkey)

I wake in the cockpit to find the sun shining brightly on me. It’s our final morning at sea and I feel a bit sad about it. I have enjoyed being on the water and swimming in this crazy blue sea. It’s probably the most beautiful water-based experience I’ve ever had.

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We eat breakfast while watching a fisherman negotiate the sale of fish to a neighbouring vessel. The negotiations are delicate and take time. Eventually, he sells a single fish, which he scales and guts for the buyer. The fisherman’s son is bored so he takes a handline and casts it. I guess fishing is in his blood and, maybe, one day he too will be making this same trip around the bay.

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I swim to the shore one final time to untie the shore lines. We’ve finally worked this process out and now we are going back to land. Funny how that happens. The water in this bay is particularly clear. It’s almost unbelievable.

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We motor-sail our way back to Yalikakav, passing now familiar shore-scapes that were totally foreign to us just five days ago.

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We reach the white houses of Yalikakav’s urban sprawl and know we are almost back to the marina. A pair of dolphins swims in the distance. They rise out of the water higher than our bottle nose dolphins at home do. They are more brown than the blue-grey I’m familiar with. It’s a pretty sight. They frolic on the horizon long after we have passed them.

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We pass the Bond-esque elevator that leads from cliff-top houses to the sea. It’s one of those random feats of human doggedness that someone would pay for this luxury. But hey, why not. I mean, everyone wants beach access.

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And then we are done. The boat is returned to the marina and the first leg of our adventures in Turkey is over.

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But it’s by no means done. We walk into Yalikakav village to stretch our legs and eat some food. We find a Bosnian restaurant that sells some cheese and spinach bread cooked in this crazy outdoor cooker. I felt sorry for the man who was responsible for keeping the coals hot because it would be tough in the hot Agean weather.

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We take a turn through town. There’s a whole cafe filled with me playing board games.

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And lots of colourful decorations to catch the eye.

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We watch as people enjoy the final rays of the sun’s warmth by playing in or near the water.

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And take in the sunset while we eat dinner at a waterside restaurant.

Cokertme to Kargicik Buku (Agean, Turkey)

My parents are reading so I decide to head ashore to explore Cokertme a little. It’s handy being moored to a jetty because there’s no need to swim or row. So I make the most of it.

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There’s some cute straw umbrellas outside one of the other restaurants. I guess you can use them if that’s where you are moored. Because each restaurant has its own beach chair set up happening.

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There’s also this gorgeous stone house that looks like it has been renovated and restored. The new windows are tucked back on the inside of the wall’s thickness, hiding this modern touch from the old exterior.

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And a rusty old anchor completes the maritime theme that naturally occurs here in this seaside hamlet.

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There’s a path at the end of the beach. I find it because I am looking for a geocache hidden in a rock wall. Without the geocache I probably wouldn’t have thought to come walking here. The path takes me past some old olive trees on my right and clear water on my left. Shale dots the trail where it passes near the old rock wall.

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At the end of the walk I come to this gorgeous bay. I rowed to this same bay the first time I was here in Cokertme but it was different then. I wasn’t yet used to Turkey and being on the water. But now I am and I am seeing things more. It’s always this way in a new place. The first few days everything is new and you miss the subtle. But then you start to find the paths and the nooks and the interesting places.

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We’ve been eating so well on the boat. Today’s for breakfast I make yoghurt with honey, mint, half an orange and some toasted museli. It’s absolutely delicious and I must remember to make it at home because we grow mint in a terrarium.

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We potter to a nearby bay. I work inside while my parents sail the boat. We arrive and anchor before swimming ashore to the stony beach.

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When the shore is pebbly like this the water seems even more clear and crisp. The wooden gulets anchored further up the beach make it feel like I am a long way from home. Tourists snorkel and swim along the rock wall at the far end of the beach.

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Again I go for a walk. My parents are sitting on the rocks enjoying the sunshine and view. But I need to stretch my legs. I am definitely a land person; though I am enjoying being on and near the sea. But I need to walk and get some exercise. So I do. The rocks here are pretty.

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At the end of the beach there is a marked trail. We have seen a group of people walking towards this point and can see a rock building at the top of a nearby knoll. So that’s where I go. I think we will become used to trail way marking like this next week when we walk some sections of the Lycian Way.

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There’s an old ruined building at the beginning of the climb to the knoll. I don’t know whether it’s ancient or just left over from busier days in recent centuries. Perhaps I will never know. But there are many of these rocky buildings in all sorts of state of disrepair that have long been overgrown by nature. Many have big ancient-looking wild olive trees nearby.

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The views from the walking trail are magnificent. That’s our yacht there in the distance – the white one farthest out to sea.

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Walking back to the beach I pass through a large olive grove. It’s such a pretty sight. Unfortunately, olives are one fruit that you cannot just pick and eat. So I cannot sample some of them as I walk (not that I advocate stealing of farmers’ produce).

I make the long swim back to the boat where Mum and Dad are waiting for me. We have some biscuits for morning tea and set off again. This time I manage to fall asleep in a shady spot in the cockpit. It wasn’t my intention but just happens. The boat is rolling gently, there’s nothing for me to do and the passing scenery lulls me into such relaxation that my eyes fall closed. Next thing I know I am being woken up to prepare to take the lines ashore.

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After securing the lines I row down the rocky beach towards a spot where I’ve seen some steps cut into the rocks. I figure there is probably a walking path there. And I am correct. I think it will just be short so I only wear my board shorts and boat shoes. Next thing I know, I’m out hiking for an hour.

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The sweet scent of pine fills the air. I am used to tall proud triangular pines but here they are windswept and rugged from growing in rock. They are definitely not as boring as our pine trees growing in plantations at home. Nor as grand as the Norfolk Pines that grow across the road from our house at Scarborough Beach. These pines have distinct character. Each an individual in its own right.

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There are lots of pretty lookouts along the way because the path crosses a few headlands that open views to the gulf and other bays.

The path follows a ridge that takes me above a resort where disco music is playing loudly. Tour boats are all moored in the bay and speed boats are taking people water skiing and tubing behind it. This must be where the Contiki and other similar youth tour operators come. Not my scene but the guests sound like they are having fun because I can hear them from the ridge.

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The trail also takes me past old rock ruins including walls and buildings. The afternoon sun has coloured them a golden brown. Piles of shale make the walking challenging around the ruins so there must have been much larger structures here at some point in the past. It’s interesting to see these rock walls that are held together as a puzzle of correctly sized pieces, rather than with concrete or mortar. I wonder how long they have been there.

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Finally the path leads me to a village. White blocky buildings are becoming more familiar to my eye. I am starting to like the way they look dotted between the green pines. It’s pretty.

I turn around and walk back to where I left the dingy, row back to the boat and relax for the night with my parents. The weather has turned again and the night sky is clear so I can once again sleep on deck after two nights indoors. It’s heavenly.

Sogut to Cokertme (Agean, Turkey)

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We start the day lazily. It’s been raining all night and squalls of wind and rain will continue to buffet us all day. So there’s no point rushing. So it’s probably 10am when I swim to the little stony beach to release the shore lines.

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It’s a shame the weather has been bad while we’ve been here in Sogut because this beach on the far side of the bay is absolutely gorgeous. It would make a wonderful place to swim and frolic. Well, I guess the irony of that comment is that I did swim at the beach. I swam there to undo the shore lines, swam back to the boat to collect my camera, swam to the beach again to take photos and then slowly swam back to the boat. But it would have been gorgeous on a sunny day.
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We leave Sogut and head towards nearby Cleopatra Beach. I have a lot of work to do, so I spend the time downstairs in the cabin typing until we get closer. Cleopatra Beach is on a tiny island that was occupied long ago. It had a village and church and amphitheater. All the things a Byzantine might have needed to be comfortable. These are my first ruins here in Turkey. They just look like stone blocks. But maybe it’s the rain and worrying about work that make me feel that way.

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What does very much impress me, however, are the way the mountains on the northern shore of Gokova Korfezi drop into the sea. The mountains have steep jagged cliffs and today, with the weather coming in, the clouds gather up there like they do in alpine regions. It is stunning.

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To get to Cleopatra Beach you anchor on one side of the tiny island. There are lots of tour boats here. In the peak season it must get really crazy here. Then you go to a small jetty at the island, pay a 15TL ($AU7) entry fee and walk on a board walk past an old ruined church to the famous beach.

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Cleopatra Beach is famous for its white sand. It’s the only white sand beach in this region. All the other beaches have stony shores. Legend has it that Anthony had the sand brought here from the Red Sea as a gift for Cleopatra. The beach shore itself is unsightly with an ugly rope cordoning it off from the public and a guard with a whistle very quickly chastising anyone who dares to try to reach or step through the rope to the sand. There has to be a better way to present this icon. But the water is, as always here in Gokova Korfezi beautifully clear. And watching all the other tourists is as much fun as seeing the beach. On a sunny day it would be a place to sit and watch people all day long.

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The amphitheater is only a short walk away along a boardwalk. Fortunately the day is relatively warm because the rain starts bucketing down. It’s my first ancient amphitheater. You cannot enter the site (imagine the damage that would cause) but I can see how impressive it is for it to still be here after thousands of years.

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The rain increases in ferocity on our way back to the boat. There’s no wind so I can watch as the drops of water make patterns on the sea. I think it looks interesting; though the feeling of having driving rain stinging me isn’t so nice.

After leaving Cleopatra Beach I again retire into the cabin to work. Mum and Dad hoist the sails and we cruise along under wind power. After a couple of hours the angle of the boat is too steep and my laptop starts to drift away from my hands so I return to deck. It’s lucky that I do because within fifteen minutes we are hit by the strong winds that are common here. Within the space of seconds the wind speed changes from 13 knots to 35 knots and settles back at 22 knots. It takes all three of us to get the sails in so that we can motor the final approach to Cokertme where we will stay again tonight (we stayed here the first night too).

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I need to charge my laptop for work so suggest we stay at one of the jetties so we have access to power (my laptop doesn’t charge off 12V). We approach near the jetties, unfamiliar with the process for getting a berth. But we needn’t have worried. The local men come to greet us in a dingy, expertly tie themselves to the bow of our boat, climb aboard and guide us in. Meanwhile, a guy on the jetty gives directions to Dad at the helm. I tie the fenders all wrong (it’s my first time) but the guy in the yacht next to us is all over it and reties them as we come in. There’s no risk to his yacht … he has lots of fenders out too and we are moving slowly enough. The process is simple and the men from the jetty are swiftly back in their dingy racing out to collect more yachts for their restaurant. Here in Gokova you can moor at a jetty if you eat at the restaurant attached to said jetty so the guys from the restaurant work hard to fill their jetties with boats. They also will go out across the bay to anchored boats offering to “drive” people to the restaurant in their dingy. They are not pushy or rude; just opportunistic.

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We will see these same men later in the restaurant dressed in crisp clean clothes serving our drinks and meals. We are moored at the Rose Mary Restaurant jetty so that’s where we eat. The view of the yachts on the bay under a quickly filling moon is beautiful. I can imagine it’s very romantic here if you are with your partner (alas, Paul is at home working). We eat dips with bread, garlic prawns and fresh sea bass. It’s all very lovely.

Seven Islands to Sugot (Agean, Turkey)

  
I couldn’t sleep on deck last night because it rained and the cushions were wet. The cabin wasn’t nearly as nice to sleep in as the deck but it was warm and dry; always a good thing. Again I wake early before the dawn. I watch the world wake in monotone until the sun finally rises after 7am bringing colour to the bay. 

  
It’s so beautiful and calm here. The glassy water reflects the yachts, trees and clouds. I jump in for a quick swim with Mum. It’s a brilliant way to freshen up and start the day. Then we breakfast on healthy yoghurt, honey, nectarine and museli. I am enjoying the health eating that we are having. It’s such a contrast to the food in Indonesia, which I find quite heavy and complex. Perhaps it’s not my favourite cuisine after all. Maybe I do prefer a simpler diet of fresh foods with herbs instead of spices.

  
We decide to go sailing today. The wind picks up and we should get some good options under its power. We are optimistic as we leave the bay. But the wind, weather and sea have other ideas. No sooner are we out from behind the Seven Islands than the skies open, the wind start gusting and the white horses start running on top of the waves. We motor into the wind, waves and driving rain to seek shelter in a bay further east. At one point Mum and I need to tie down the dingy on the front of the boat and Dad reports we were up there in 35knot gusts. The average wind speed is still about 18 knots but the gusts are strong. It’s kind of fun. The boat and Dad can handle it so all Mum and I can do is enjoy the experience of crashing over waves and being hit by sea spray and stinging rain. 

  
Before long we reach the sheltered safety of Sogut. The village sits at the head of a gorgeous bowl-shaped bay with gently sloping rocky beaches for swimming, two restaurants and a yacht club. The restaurant jetties are busy so we opt to anchor at the other end of the bay. I row the shore lines to shore, tie them off then swim back to the boat. The water is warm despite the rain shower that just passed by (the storm has stopped now). 

   
 
After a short relaxation time we take the dingy to the jetty so we can explore the village facilities and buy lunch.

  
Lunch is delicious. We share haloumi salad, grilled octopus and muscles in garlic butter. 

  
Lunch devoured we set off on foot to explore the tiny village. The yacht club is fenced off but we walk in and look around. It’s not our scene (and we are gently escorted from the premises too). The villagers’ gardens are filled to bursting with food plants. There’s olives, oranges, pomegranate, figs, herbs, vegetables and many other things. I love this kind of gardening. We walk a loop and are faced with this bridge. Alone I wouldn’t have walked it. But Mum and Dad are adventurous types so across we go. 

  
The one striking thing I have noticed so far here in a Turkey are the dogs and cats. They are everywhere. The cats beg for food and pats. The dogs just lounge around unconcerned by the people traffic. They own the place and are confident in that ownership. 

We return to the boat and relax for a while. Mum and Dad read; I work. Around 6pm I feel the need to get out so I jump in the dingy and go for a row. I row right across the bay and back. It takes about 40 minutes return and feels so good. There’s an engine on the dingy but where’s the fun in that. Then it’s time to get changed and go back to shore because we’ve decided to eat at the other restaurant. It’s got a nice atmosphere but is set up for British guests. The menu is all meat and chips. We don’t realise until a flotilla group arrives and expect the koftes to be Turkish style not rissoles and the mixed grill to include some frilled egg plant and peppers but hey, we enjoy the night and watching the flotilla group interact with each other. By the time we return to the boat it’s dark and we all retire to our bunks to fall asleep listening to the rain falling on the sea. 

Cokertme to Seven Islands (Agean, Turkey)

  

I wake to the grey light of dawn with a gentle breeze blowing over my face. I just love waking up in nature. It’s invigorating. 

  

The bay is calm and still. Some gulets bearing tour company banners depart before the sun rises over the hills. They probably have a full schedule of swimming and snorkelling stops to fit into a few days sailing. They are beautiful boats and add so much to the atmosphere of being here.

   

The sunrise is spectacular and I take time to enjoy it while my parents read their books in the golden sunlight. 

  

Cokertme bay has a hamlet with a four or five restaurants. Each has a jetty that you can tie your yacht to for the night. The jetty is free and you can hook up to power and water. But you must eat at the restaurant that provided the jetty. We cruise past on our way out of the bay to look at the hamlet from the water. It’s gorgeous, especially from the way it is set against the striking mountains. 

  

There’s a little bit of wind blowing (maybe 10-12 knots) so we set sail. When I say “we” I mean “my parents” because they are sailors and I often manage to just get in the way. With Dad at the helm, Mum handles the ropes …

  

… And soon we are sailing across towards the southern side of Gokovac Korfesi. 

  

We sail for a while until the winds die down and we need to change direction to be heading almost directly into them. Our destination is Seven Islands. This is a series of bays tucked in behind (you guessed it) seven small islands. The approach is pretty. The islands are bare and rocky while behind them the mainland is marked with hills and mountains. It’s all greys and blues and olive greens. 

  

We drop anchor in East Creek anchorage. Double masted gulets add to the atmosphere of this quiet sheltered bay. Once again, taking lines ashore proves to be a bit of a drama and something we need to learn. It’s not something we do at home where the tides dictate the swing of a boat and where we often anchor further out from the shore. But here it is necessary due to the lack of tide and the deep water that requires close quarters anchoring. I’m sure by the time we leave the boat we will have worked it out. 

  

The water is so clear. In this photo the water depth closest to camera is about 8m (24′). 

    

 

After a swim, Mum and I get in the dingy to cross the bay and climb a hill to survey the area from above. We motor across then scramble up a rocky spur that is covered in low prickly shrubs. The views are amazing. We can look over our bay, the North Cove anchorage on the other side of the ridge we are on and out to the seven islands. It feels good to be walking on land and stretching my legs. 

  

The descent is more difficult than the ascent due to the slippery ground and our more vigorous attempts to avoid the prickly shrubs. If you are here, do not grab the shrubs because they are sharp and release splinters. But we get down safely. Mum decided she wants to swim back to the boat. It’s only about 400m (1/4 mile) so she swims while I row the dingy (the engine is fine but I need some exercise too). It’s a fun adventure. 

  

Dingy returned to the boat I jump in to swim too. The water is so salty that you can float quite easily and it’s easier to swim breast stroke than freestyle (front crawl). 

We’re not long out of the water when a storm blows over, bringing rain and lightning. It also brings a cool change so we retire inside for dinner and some reading. The cushions on the bench outside are wet so I sleep in my cabin under the cockpit. All the sunshine and wind and salt water has made me tired. 

Yalikavak to Cokertme (Agean, Turkey)

 

I wake early and listen to the water lap at the yachts in the marina.  I cannot yet make out the shapes because it is dark. The only light comes from the security lighting on the marina walkways. It’s so peaceful. I’m not a sailor but I do like to wake up on a boat. Especially when I’ve slept outside. 

  
 I enjoy a quiet morning blogging and phoning home. It takes a long time for the sun to rise and the day to kick off. I’m not used to a long slow dawn. At home when it gets lift the sun rises quickly. Here it lazes in bed and hits snooze a few times before gracing us with its golden glow. Poor old grey light of dawn actually had to work hard here for a few hours. But once up there’s no denying the beauty of the sun’s glow over the marina. That second picture is of “our” boat. 

  

We have a little hold up with the radio not working properly but once that’s resolved Dad takes his skipper’s position at the helm and we set off. This is a familiar sight for me … Dad at the helm. It is entwined with so many memories from childhood, adolescence and adulthood. It takes me back to Moreton Bay, the Great Sandy Strait and the Whitsundays back home. Not bad places from which to have memories. 

 

White washed buildings form a barrier between the deep blue Agean Sea and the grey-brown hills of Turkey’s coast. I’m still not used to this view. Maybe by the time I leave whitewashed square houses will be more normal to my eyes. 

And then we leave the buildings behind as we head further out to sea. We will be taking an eastern route into Gokovac Korfezi. This is a huge bay-like space that’s more then 25nm wide and 40nm long. There’s no tides and few currents here. For those more familiar with the Greek Islands, we will be traveling past the northern coast of Kos heading east.

   

What little wind there is (<5 knots) blows directl towards us so we motor around the peninsula. We pass the point where the Syrian refugees are making their crossing attempts for Kos. A shoe floats in the water. Maybe it’s on of their’s or maybe it’s just coincidence. Being here I change my thoughts on the situation and realise the desperation they must experience to be making this journey. I no longer buy into the media’s slant on it.  

We stop at Kara Ada (Black Island) for lunch. The water is deep right to the shore. We drop anchor in 15m depth within cooee of the rocky shoreline. The crazy thing is that we can see the sea bed below us. Mum is first in the water. She loves to swim and is not afraid of water creatures. I jump in. My automatic “there’s sharks in Moreton Bay” instinct kicks in. It’s something I need to get over because it means I miss out on enjoying swimming in the sea. But oh my, it’s worth taking the plunge and I am again swimming in another amazing new location. 

  

We eat salad for lunch and set off again. Mum takes the helm and Dad sets the sails. Usually it’s the other way round but our briefing did not include explanation of which ropes operated which control. It takes a bit of experimentation until finally we discover that the least likely rope is the one that pulls the sail back down.  

Logistics worked out we can continue. There is stil no wind but motor sailing is nicer than just motoring.

   

We continue along the coast to Cokertme where we drop anchor in the eastern bay. Turkish-style anchoring is new to us. The lack of tide means boats don’t all swing in the same direction like they do at home. So you need to throw out a shore line that you secure to the rocks. I row the dingy to the shore (not gracefully I might add) and tied our lines to big rocks like I notice others have done. Next time I will swim. The  dingy was difficult to handle. 

 

All that’s left to do is enjoy the bay.  I stay in the dingy and go for a row. I took lots of nice photos but they are on my camera so we all have to suffice with these iPhone pics for my blog because I am blogging from my phone. 

Clouds have rolled in and the wind is cold. We eat a delicious chicken and vegetable stew in the cabin and laze the night away before I throw my sleeping bag into the deck and call it a night. It’s been a good day.
 

Bodrum to Yalikakav (Agean, Turkey)

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I wake early and step onto the small balcony outside my bedroom. The view that greets me is so Mediterranean. The blue swimming pool contrasts starkly against the white walled building. There’s deck chairs that were occupied by tourists yesterday afternoon and a breakfast room that looks like it has come straight out of a movie set. I guess I am definitely in Turkey.

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I head out for a morning run. There’s few better ways to become familiar with a new environment than a morning run. It’s a joy I have been rediscovering through the Couch to 5km challenge that I’ve been doing the past six weeks. The streets around the hotel are narrow and lined with blocky white and cream buildings. The architecture and urban style are as foreign to me as any I’ve experienced this past fifteen months.

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Down the road a man is spraying smoke into drains and gardens. Dad later tells me this is common in Europe and is an attempt to reduce the pesky insects that otherwise breed in moist warm places. He probably finds it amusing that I would want to take a photo of the smoke he has left behind.

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My run takes me through quiet city streets with shops still closed before the shopping rush begins. And then I pop out at the seaside. The water here is amazingly clear. I have seen clear water before but not with this deep blue sea colour. Always clear water I’ve seen has been light coloured with white sand underneath. But here there are rocks under the water and they give a different atmosphere than does white sand. I will later learn that this harbour I am running around was first established 2,300 years BCE. That makes it some 4,500 years old. No wonder the water feels old.

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There is a sad side to this scene too. One that I wasn’t quite prepared for, having lived all my life far away from the world in Australia. There are many Syrian refugees sleeping in parks and on the beaches. Some hold signs begging for money. All look ragged and tired. At first I think they have come here by sea but later it becomes apparent that they have come overland to this jumping off point to Greece. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be there sleeping rough trying to beg enough money to pay for a ferry or a life ring or whatever I could to make the long sea crossing from Bodrum to Kos. A local man drops off a 24 pack of water to a family. Others ignore what they cannot help or change. The human need immense but the people of Bodrum don’t look wealthy themselves and are probably afraid the influx of refugees and beggars might affect tourists and cause them. I mean, the average wage in Turkey is about $AU700 (445 euros) a month and the unemployment rate is over 9%. Given that this wage includes the wealthy and the poor, I would hazard a guess that the average Turk working in a tourist shop in Bodrum is having to work hard to pay their own bills and rent.

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There’s absolutely no doubting that we are in Turkey though. The flag flies proudly everywhere. I don’t just mean that there are a few flags around. Nope. Wherever you are out on the street you will see a flag. Some are huge. Others are small. All are hung with pride. It strikes me and I know that this is one flag I will always recognise in future.

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I make my way back to the hotel and stop to take some photos of the early morning sunlight over the minaret. There are many minarets here. They make a beautiful structure on the skyline.

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I get a bit lost heading back to the hotel. Taking just one wrong street means that I end up in unfamiliar alleyways. But it also means I can explore. I like the pretty flowers and whitewashed walls. Housing – we all need it but it’s amazing how differently we have all adapted it to our various local environments and sense of style.

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Mum and Dad are up when I return. We breakfast at the hotel before heading out for a walk through Bodrum. Mum wants to buy a dress because she hasn’t got enough summer clothes with her after her cold week in Holland. We wander through busy tourist streets that make me feel a bit queezy. I don’t like this game of tourist dollar transfer. It doesn’t feel natural and makes me feel far removed from reality. It’s not an unpleasant town with its pretty Turkish buildings.

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And yacht-dotted bay.

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We have a sailing boat booked from Yalikakav. We will be taking it out on the Agean for a week. I noticed a fresh fruit and vegetable market when I got geographically embarrassed on my run so I suggest we go there. The guys are typical of the way I am noticing the Turkish people sell their wares. They tell us to walk slowly. Give me a taste of a yellow fig (OMG! Heaven in my mouth) and casually let us select our produce, helping by insisting we put the fruit down and telling us what flavour the fruits have. I love buying produce this way. It’s much more rewarding than the supermarket experience.

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The boat hire company drives us across the peninsula to the Parla Marina in Yalikakav. Apparently this is one of the most exclusive marinas in Europe. The drive in the mini bus is uneventful but arriving at the sailing boat (a 37′ Beneteau Oceanis for the sailing fans out there) is wonderful. The only time I get to sail is when my parents invite me on their adventures and they’ve been doing that since I was a young child so it’s familiar territory but still a treat (I certainly cannot afford to rent a bareboat yacht and I never quite kept up on the sailing lessons they gave me as a child).

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It’s late afternoon by the time we have been briefed and settled into the boat. Instead of leaving we decide to stay in the marina for the night and set off in the morning. So we walk into Yalikakav village for some food. My parents haven’t eaten lunch and it’s about 4:30pm so they are getting peckish. I am ready for a drink and chill (I was sensible and bought a pre-packaged sandwich from the supermarket for lunch).

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We find the most gorgeous restaurant (Ozmara) on the water. As always the gentlemen working there work hard to talk us into their establishment. They are good-natured and agree to Mum’s bargaining of free drinking water and a free Turkish coffee. They also offer a free flat bread. They aren’t pushy; they just smile and try their luck because they know it’s the best way to advertise their business and stop us going to the next restaurant over.

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We start with some entrees and drinks. Then we order a stew cooked in a testi. It comes with flames glowing on the salted plate around it. The waiter expertly cracks the bread on the top and pours out our portions. They serve it with Turkish bread. The stew is lamb, chili peppers, pickling onions and sauce. The flavours are robust and honest.

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The sunset from the restaurant is spectacular. As a guide two entrees, main meal for three people, five drinks (3 beers, 1 cola and a sparkling mineral water) cost us 147TL ($AU68). It’s not the cheapest meal you could buy in Turkey but this was not your average cheap restaurant experience either with the views, service and sunset.

We wander through the village before heading back to the marina. I have a bunk under the cockpit but it’s hot weather and a clear night so I throw my sleeping bag and pillow onto a bench in the cockpit, close my eyes and fall asleep under a crescent moon (appropriate given the Turkish flag) feeling the boat bob gently in the marina.