[KensBlog] Visit to an Ancient City

Greetings all!

Roberta has come up with a succinct description of the region of Turkey in which we are now cruising: “Disneyland For Boaters.”I understand what she means.It’s as if someone started with a blank sheet of paper, wrote down all the things that make for great cruising,and then went out and had it built.

Everything seems “too good to be true.” The anchorages are spaced the right distance apart. Most days, we travel onlya couple of hours,and, thus far, our longestday at sea has only consumed six hours. By comparison, I’ve always dreamed of cruising the South Pacific, butmy friend, Braun Jones (Grey Pearl), summed up the South Pacific by saying, “The candy is good when you find it,but there’s not much, and it’s spread out over thousands of miles.”Here in Turkey, the distances are small.There are often historic sites within an easy hike, or directly on shore. The water is clear and warm. There are no sharks. The internet isgood, and there are restaurants everywhere you look, often in the smallest bay!The winds can be high, but they reliably die down each night and usually are polite enough to stay gone untilyou’ve arrived at your next destination the following day.

Our voyage thus far. We’ve cruised 250 miles, and feel like we’ve just touched the surface. For every bay we’ve entered, there are a dozen we passed by. The cruising in Turkey reminds me most of the cruising in the Pacific Northwest, except with water that doesn’t subject you to hyperthermia in minutes should you fall in.

We were sad to leave Bozburun, but the time had come to move on. We moved the boat to an anchorage in front of the smalltown of Selimiye. After our idyllic anchorage at Bozburun,neither we, or our friends, liked being right in front of the town. It was very charming, but after one night,we decided to move on.

This picture is from our passage to Selimiye, as we were running just off the coast of Symi, Greece. The water was dead calm, and no one was around for miles, except for us and this boat. I was moving 9 knots, and he approached quickly from behind at 16 knots. All I could imagine was that he was curious to see our boat. As he overtook me on the starboard side, he suddenly cut directly across my bow. Why not cross behind me? Or, overtake me on the port side, if that was his goal? I don’t know.

Sans Souci anchored in front of the town of Selimiye. We had a nice dinner at the Sardunya restaurant (which was packed!) and then woke early to buy bread from a lady who baked her own each morning in a fireplace in front of her house — on the street. It was fresh, warm and excellent. We dove into it immediately!

We all wanted to repeat the Bozburun experience and find another quiet anchorage.Our friends would be departing the boat from the town of Orhaniye, so we started seeking a nearby quiet bayto drop the anchor. On the chart, the bay of Orhaniye itself looked promising, but our cruising guidesaid that the wind could be a problem.

Thus, we dropped the anchor a couple miles away from town, in a larger bay that didn’t work at all. We were too exposedto the wind, and the anchorage was rolly.

The Angel’s Peninsula Hotel

We passed this fancy 5-star hotel and noticed, on the internet, that it had a small marina. We were in the mood to pamper ourselves, so I phoned the hotel to ask about their marina. Our plan was to stay on the boat, but enjoy the hotel’s amenities for a few days. They said we would be welcome.

Roberta and I like to scout new marinas with our tender before bringing the big boat in. As we approached their dock we were cut off by a very serious security guy in a tender. We explained why we were there, but he still wouldn’t let us approach the dock until someone from the main office came to the dock to greet us, and even then, he wanted us at the far end of the dock, away from the other boats.

The hotel was amongst the most incredible I’ve ever seen. We were given a tour of the whole place, including the private beach, restaurants, and spa.

The hotel had a “surprise” specialty. It serves a very conservative Muslim clientele, and most of the women were in traditional garb, even while swimming at the beach or pool. (Note: But there were also some in western bathing suits, shorts, and dresses.) The young lady giving us the tour pointed out that no alcohol was allowed in the hotel, or at the restaurants, and that there was a separate facility, beach and pool for the women who wanted to take advantage of it.

The hotel staff was incredibly nice to us but, I have to admit, we felt conspicuous, and were receiving confused looks from some of the guests. Once back on the boat I emailed to the hotel canceling our reservation saying that we really didn’t want to create any discomfort for their usual clientele.

This meant taking another look at Orhaniye

We tendered into Orhaniye to “check it out.” There isn’t much of a town there.What town there is, is dominated by a large marina (called Marti Marina),several charter boat basesfor renting sailboats, a small market and a few restaurants. Across from the marina, there is a small island with ruins ofa Byzantine fort and, whereas on the chart, the back side of the island looked too tight for a boat our size,from the tender I could see that it looked well protected, and a perfect place to anchor.

Briefly, I should discuss the chartering. Renting a sailboat, for a week or two, is very popular here in Turkey. Some of thishas to do with licensing. Europe, in general, has tight regulations regarding the requirements todrive a powerboat. In the US, anyone can take the helm of a powerboat, with no license required. In Europe, there arefew owners who drive their own powerboats. Some of this is a cultural issue, not just licensing. In any event,the loophole in the regulations is that sailboats are OK for anyone to drive, or rent.I don’t believe we have seen a chartered sailboatwith the sail up yet. I’m sure it happens, but in my observation, most of the sailboaters are running them as powerboats.

Some of the charter operators offer flotillas. These offer the same benefits as the rallys thatwe’ve participated in. There is a pre-defined set of destinations, a guide boat, dinners and parties.It could be a good option for someone who can’t have their own boat in Turkey,but wants to sample the local cruising in their own boat, themselves.We’ve run into a lot of these flotilla groups at various restaurants and anchorages.

Our anchorage behind the island at Orhaniye. Beautiful!

This was the beginning of four, wonderful days of perfection at anchor. There isn’t much to say about it,other than that we sadly said goodbye to our friends, John and Gloria Buchan, who had been with us for a couple weeks.During that time, we hadswam a lot, had great dinners on the boat and on shore, and had cleared out a lot offormerly occupied space in our wine cooler.

Boat’s at anchor at the Marti Marina, in Orhaniya. We had been told that it was one of the most scenic marinas in Turkey, and I can’t disagree!

We did have one “interesting” event. The tender needed fuel, and on our first day the fuel dock was out of gasoline. The fuel attendant said, “Kaput!,” and when I asked where to buy gasoline, he just shook his head no. I was able to buy some fuel from a local jetski rental merchant, at double the usual price of $10 per gallon. When I went back to the fuel station a fuel days later, an entrepreneuer was there selling gasoline in 2-liter plastic bottles. He siphoned, by blowing into the bottles, TEN of them into my tender. It was quite a show.

Orhaniye’s claim to fame is the 600-meter-long sand spit called “Kizkumu,” or “Maiden’s Beach.” According to the legend, the daughter of the Bybassos king, a beautiful princess, went into the sea to escape from pirates. As she didn’t know how to swim, she filled her skirt with sand, cast this before her so she could walk on it, and tried to cross the cove. She lost her way when it got dark, and as she neared the far shore, she ran out of sand, and was tragically drowned.

Whether or not the story is true, it has certainly been a tremendous boost to business for the adjacent restaurant. There is even a statue along the sand spit commemorating this legendary event. By late afternoon most days, there is an elbow to elbow, nearly 1/3 mile line of people walking the length of this sandbar.

Our anchorage at Orhaniye was about as good as it gets. For most of the day we had calm seas, privacy, a short tender ride to restaurants, swimming, barbecuing .. all those things that make boating fun. And, in the afternoon, the waters around us would come to life with a non-stop parade of activity and people-watching.

The second picture above shows the boats that would arrive several times a day, carrying one hundred or so tourists in swim suits. The boat would drop anchor in seconds, and a ramp would fold down into the sea. Within minutes the passengers (like lemmings) would walk down the ramp, into the sea, and collect in a drifting flotilla of humanity. I don’t think I ever saw any of them actually swim much, they just bobbed around in the sea. After 10-15 minutes, a whistle would blow, and the floaters would march back up the ramp, hose themselves off quickly, and be back underway to the next drop-point. The whole process was easily under 30 minutes.

It is very interesting watching the local captains, and how they use their anchors. Whereas my anchor is slow, and a “process” to deploy, the local captains seem to drop theirs in seconds, and raise them practically as fast. I’ve seen them drop the anchor multiple times while maneuvering, as quickly and as effortlessly as an athlete might plant a foot, in order to pivot.

Dinner at the restaurant at Marti Marina. They allowed the dogs (everywhere has!), and had a Spanish group playing Latin music. A romantic evening dining on the water.

One nice thing about Turkey — the prices are very reasonable. It will be culture shock when we enter the EU, and are confronted by higher, EU prices.

Tendering to dinner is always an adventure, particularly when surrounded by sailboats.

I tend to “over-light” Sans Souci. We were at anchor in St. Tropez when a tender smacked into the side of a boat, killing the driver. We’ve seen a lot of tenders here in Turkey running at full speed in pitch black. We’ve also seen a surprising number of sailboats with no lights on at all. On those that are lit, the coast guard regulations seem rarely to be followed. Lighting is random or non-existent. In the picture above, there are sailboats around Sans Souci. See them? Neither do I.

One reason we stayed so long was that our next passage was fairly long and to the northwest.We are headed towards an area, called Gokova Gulf, which we have heard is awesome, and difficult enough toget to that you can sometimes have whole bays to yourself.

Amusingly, the good cruising area of Gokova isn’t really that far from where we were at Orhaniye, however, we areseparated from it by a 30-mile-long peninsula. The prevailing wind here is from the northwest, and to reach the end ofthe peninsula, we’d need to run for five hours directly into the wind. The wind wouldn’t be anything our boat couldn’thandle (25 knots on our nose), but, when given the choice of staying another day in an anchorage where we’re having fun,or pounding into head seas, I prefer going “tomorrow.”

Too quickly, the weather forecast improved, and it was time for our next voyage.

Imagine anchoring in an ancient city…

We had a smooth ride to the end of the peninsula, where we dropped anchor in one of the most unusual harbors ever:in front of the ancient, Greek city of Knidos! It’s not Ephesus, but to me, it is almost as awe-inspiring.We couldn’t believe where we were!

The ancient amphitheater, with Sans Souci at anchor in the background

Entering Knidos is a bit of an adventure. It’s an ancient harbor, surrounded by a ruined city 2,500 years old. You have to enterbetween two seawalls, one of which is damaged and partially submerged, and the other which is fully underwater. Roberta asked why,with 2,500 years to figure it out, they couldn’t put a red and green light at the entrance, or at least place some buoys to show their locations!

The ancient city covers an entire hillside, plus more on the adjacent island. You could easily wander for days through it, and unlike many historical sites, there are no fences to separate you from the artifacts.

Toundra and Keeley enjoyed the chance to “be dogs again” and get off the boat. We worked them hard going up and down hills. They were much more limber than we were!

When Roberta and I entered Knidos, there were dozens of sailboats tied to the dock (we’re too large to fit) and three other boats free-swinging at anchor, so I did the same. As the afternoon came, more boats started arriving, most of which anchored far closer to me than I was comfortable with. The blue boat anchored practically touching my bow, despite plenty of room in other places. Luckily, he only stayed a couple of hours. However, he was immediately replaced by the white boat that anchored even closer. This led to a sleepless windy night waiting for boats to start bumping into each other (none did).

The morale of the story: ALWAYS find a way to stern tie. If not, your “circle” will be compromised, with your anchor possibly interwoven with several others. I’m learning this lesson the hard way.

View from the restaurant at Knidos. Sans Souci can be seen towards the back of the harbor.

A happy captain, and a member of his crew, after a hard day at the office.

I wonder what the process is for awarding concession rights. The restaurant at Knidos is very good, and I’d assume it is a money factory. I was surprised when I asked about reservations and was told that they would be full that night (luckily, they were able to fit us in).

Our night in Knidos turned out to be “difficult.” After an excellent dinner, we were in bed by 11 p.m. At 1 a.m.,we were awakened by rising winds.The wind was supposed to be calm! Instead, we were seeing gusts to 27 knots inside the harbor. This would have been fine,except that we were now packed tight with other boats, some of which I suspected were on my anchor. We thought seriouslyabout leaving the marina, but that was impossible in the dark. It was a long, tense night and we took turns at anchor-watch.

Kucuk Cati

After our uncomfortable night at Knidos, we were tired, but eager to get moving at first light.The winds let up a little for our departureand the forecast was getting better. We had a long run to make eastward through the Gokova Gulf,but knew the wind would be behind us the entire way. And at the other endwe’d have a wonderful bay in which to anchor.

The pups, helping Roberta drive Sans Souci.

I call this the tender-cam, a small monitor on the dashboard dedicated to keeping an eye on the tender. I like to watch it as we run.

The view from our upper aft deck, while at anchor in Kucuk Cati, in the Gokova Gulf.

I stern-tied, but goofed. It’s a tighter cove than I’m accustomed to anchoring in. As I was coming in, my focus was on the surrounding rocks and finding the easiest place to tie up — not on thinking about the direction of the wind and swell. This led to an uncomfortable situation in which the boat was taking more swell than necessary on our port, bow quarter.

The gulets shoot into these bays picking the ideal location, cram themselves into tight spaces I’d never even consider, and are tied up perfectly in minutes. I’ll get there but… learning is a process. It’s not instantaneous (at least for me!)

Kucuk Cati is off the beaten path. There are so many choices for bays at the head of Gokova Gulf that you have a reasonable shot of getting one all to yourself. It’s far enough away from the major tourist centers that when you do see other boats, they are usually Turkish, not the pervasive chartered sailboats with British, French or German tourists that we see farther south.

Our approach to Kucuk Cati was complicated by a problem with the charts. Our chart was showing us driving on land! Adding to the fun, there were white caps at the entrance to the bay, obscuring visibility, and as this picture shows, shallow places and rocks.

I’m not sure what is happening with the charts. I have a chart plotter in my tender, and it is showing the same thing. The charts are off by over 100 feet! Perhaps it is some magnetic disturbance in the area? Or, perhaps, the charts for this area are just wrong.

As I type this, we are still at anchor at Kucuk Cati. The gulet and small, sailboat that joined us in the cove left early this morning.With a little luck we’ll have the place to ourselves for several days!

A few pictures that didn’t seem to fit elsewhere

Although cruising Turkey is nearly perfect, there are a few flaws.

For instance: Sans Souci’s underwater lights are usually a terrific way to attract fish to the stern of the boat. The first picture above was taken near Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. The second picture is typical of what we see at night here in Turkey. We have not seen one fish over four inches yet. The restaurants all serve fish, so we know they are out there .. somewhere.

Even though I have Vsat, for satellite internet, I haven’t been using it. Sim cards are available cheap, that plug into my Pepwave router. They provide fast (3gb) internet, and 10gb costs only about $40. There are lots of rules that I don’t understand, and language has been an issue at times while buying the cards. But, overall, it is awesome, and so far, has worked everywhere, even at all the anchorages in which we’ve been.

Steve Dashew just did a write up on the Pepwave routers for those who want to know more: http://setsail.com/the-ultimate-cruising-communications-tool/

Links to 360 degree photos from the places in this blog

When viewing these, there’s a little icon that makes these full screen. To get the best effect, go full screen,and move around the image with your mouse (or with your finger if on a mobile device). They are pretty incredible!



Kucuk Cati:

Reader Mail

Here’s some reader mail. If you’d like to write to me, I can be found at: ken@kensblog.com.

From Peter Sheppard, Nordhavn owner

Ken & Roberta,

I search your blog for what I can learn about your experiences with the boat and not with the places you go to, but thats just my bent. Firstly I’m interested why you lose sleep on anchor watch and not rely on your Furuno anchor guard. I have a child crying intercom alongside my pillow turned up loud from the wheelhouse and one foot always on the floor.Secondly don’t take any notice of the detractors of your big Rocna as it is the best in my view. The biggest problem I have is weighing it as it buries itself so deep some of the mud, sand, surely comes from China.Rule 1: if anchor drags, go straight to a mirror and have a good gaze in it for the answer to the dilemma. When my 110 kg Rocna is on the bottom and only in the correct bottom for holding, I reverse the boat and try and break it out going up to 1500 rpm. If I cant, I can sleep, but need to plan for how I’m going to get that sucker back to the boat. Even though I have a 4000 Maxwell windlass, my Rocna beats it completely sometimes, so on goes my enormous chain lock, and I then have to drive over it to get it unstuck. The other day it came up with so much mud the windlass was punching way above its weight.Rule 2: If it still won’t set, get the hell out of there. When I see boats bailing, I immediately have respect for the skipper.Enjoy, and keep the boat stuff coming.

Peter Sheppard
N55 SKIE (30,000 nm in 5 years all around the Pacific)

Response from Ken = Peter, Thank you! Good advice, as always.

From Phil Eslinger, Nordhavn owner


I know how much you like to take your dogs with you on your cruises because I sent you some back ground on Hawaii and dogs. Now, I am in the same boat. We acquired a yellow labrador retriever last year who is now 11 months old. Currently we are cruising down the West Coast of the US to San Diego. We’ll pre-position the boat there until the end of hurricane season and depart at the beginning of November. Then we will take the boat to the Panama Canal, through the canal, and into the Caribbean.

What was your experience with taking dogs with you in Central America?

What are the difficulties in flying dogs in and out of foreign countries? I know that your dogs are small so you probably take them with you in the cabin. Amos is 87 Lbs. now and he could barely fit under a seat when he was ten weeks old and 18 lbs. Does customs for any countries give you guff about the dogs?

Phil Eslinger
Flat Earth N5025


Roberta and I both responded to Phil via email. Our response had a lot of goodinformation in it for people contemplating cruising with a dog. To read all the correspondence:CLICK HERE

Email from Brian

Hi Ken-

Great writing and entertaining blog reading as always!
Thanks for sharing your adventures and I vote that you keep moving the boat.
I also wanted to tell you that I saved the pictures of your boat at anchor near your “private bay” and the aft view of your “personal swimming pool” and the American flag. Hope that is ok, it is just for my inspiration!
Best regards,

Response from Ken — Thank you Brian, and good luck!

Excerpts from an email from a friend now traveling in France

[…] We are in Antibes where we literally squeezed between a couple 100 footers one foot at a time. Departed from our berth in Nice with boats a fender away on the sides and a boat in front of us. Got within 6″ of the boat out front before I could turn and then almost caught the bow of the boat on my stern. Amazing what these marinas put you through.[…]Had a Frenchman towing his tender trying to anchor in front of me, wrapped the painter around the prop and drifted back into me. He kept letting out chain until he was next to me on the stern. As the boats sailed in the wind we would come together and the people on his boat would scream. Took him over an hour to clear his prop……….

Good luck!

Response from Ken — Boating is a lot of things, but it is never dull!

Not really an email to me – just interesting reading

[Note from Ken] I know of three Nordhavns that were struck by lightning last year, plus my own very minor run in withlightning.

Kathy, on Shear Madness, a Nordhavn 72, wrote a detailed accounting of their lightning strike. It’s a long read,but interesting and educational.


And, a couple of emails about the interview I conducted, about the Turkey economy

Hi Ken,

[…] I participate in the Turkish Gov Health plan–SGK & the cost is 426 TL every 2 months (Approx $250).I pay only for myself & [name withheld] is included automatically.This includes medications for asthma which in the US would cost close to $500/month & with the SGK coverage is about$35 every 3 months. Also when we go into a hospital & request a routine blood screening it takes about 10minutes to get an authorization from a Dr., about 10 min to sequence thru the line at the lab to get ID stickersfor the blood tubes, another few min for the blood draw and get the computerizer results about 10 minutes laterwhich we hand deliver to the authorizing Dr. [Name withheld] has chronic lymphocytic leukemia which requirestesting every 3 months & is followed up at the Mayo Clinic in US. We balance our care between here & the US butgenerally find care here–both public & private so much more efficient (no lawyers) than in the US. […]


Dear Ken,

I’m a lifelong boater from Vancouver, British Columbia. I’ve followed the GSSR and your follow on commentary with great interest. I hope to do a similar trip when I’m in retirement which, given than I’m 39, is still a few years away.
I enjoyed your recent piece on Turkey. “Hearing” about the current state of Turkey’s economy, health care system and tax regime were very interesting. Particularly for this Canadian who is continuously disappointed with our country’s socialized medical services and our federal government’s refusal to permit a parallel private system. I have not verified that this is true, but other than Cuba and North Korea, I understand that our country is the only one with socialized medicine that does not permit a private alternative. Be careful with Obamacare.
We can read about history from myriad books. If you have a choice write what feels right to you. If right is writing about other countries from locals and on current conditions then spectacular!
Thanks again for running your blog.

All the best,

That’s it for this week! (as usual .. it’s too much… My apologies, but when I start typing, it’s hard to stop. And, when I stoptyping, it’s hard to start.)

Thank you!
Ken Williams

PS I just noticed, looking at my website (www.kensblog.com) that the page counter will soon pass TWO MILLION!Who would have thought that was possible for a blog about boating written by a computer programmer? I am very amazed.

As a reference for future cruisers, here’s a map to the locations in this blog:

View 2012-07-23 Sans Souci Blog in a larger map

3 Responses

  1. Hi Ken and Roberta.

    I was so pleased to know that the two of you are together and happy.

    The same can be said for myself and my wife Diane.

    Our three boys and our daughter are all doing well and we have six grandchildren.

    Oldest boy, Richard Georget is Board Certified in internal medicine and is currently doing his cardiology fellowship.

    Youngest son, Chris is a CPA who just joined Ernst & Young in their NYC office. He just spent two years working for KPMG in Honolulu. Before that he worked for Deloit Touch in Fresno.

    Middle son, Bennett has his own pool maintenance company “Pool Doctor.

    Our daughter Jennifer is a design consultant for several local builders. Before the real estate bubble broke she was a conultant for CENTEX Homes and doing extremely well. Now she is still doing very well.

    Tos see what we all look like now go to my Facebook page. Not the one that says Richard Kiel “Jaws” but the one that is just Richard Kiel. Oldest son has the same first and last name so there is one for him as well.

    I remember your family fondly as we did those informercials for the Las Vegas Electronics Show. Your children played my children.

    Those were the days! Apple 512 was state of the art. Hard to believe.

    I remember having difficulty switching over from using a Smith Corona word processor to Microsoft Word using a P.C.

    Diane and I are going to London in September and will be staying at Claridges. We love to cruise and perhaps the next time we go to Mexico we could connect.

    All the best!

    Richard “JAWS” Kiel

  2. SUBJECT: Inaccurate Turkish charts

    I also have enjoyed reading your cruising blog especially about those places I’ve never visited. The problem with inaccurate charts is the charts were published far earlier than the advent of GPS. As a result GPS vividly displays those positional errors that in many cases are over 50years old. The modern electronic chart manufacturers must use the official government published charts. They do not have the option to add corrections because if you think about it, the world is so large it is impossible to add the thousands of changes each from different sources plus all chart correction must be certified as correct. Some countries are diligently working on corrections but many are not or cannot. I hope this helps you to understand chart errors. Your option is to cruise conservatively and do not rely 100% on electronic charts.
    Stay safe, Chuck Worst,
    ” Anmchara”

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. The boat that cut in front of you may have been trying to avoid giving you a big wake. I have seen this a few times, if they keep going straight, you will be hit on the beam, if they cut in front of you, you are hit more on the bow.

    ————— RESPONSE BY KEN 2012-07-24


    You may be right. This hadn’t occurred to me.

    Had it been me, I would have slowed down, and crossed the boat I was overtaking from behind rather than in front, or gone enough in front of the other boat to make my wake negligible.

    My guess: The powerboats in Turkey have professional crews. The crew’s goal is to give a smooth ride to their boss. It isn’t me that decides what to pay them each year. They needed to cross over me, and had their choice of slowing WAY down, bouncing in my wake, or keeping their boss’s ride smooth and crossing in front of me. Easy decision.

    -Ken W

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