We splashed at 1am the day after we got back to Marmaris with a view to spending our last month in Turkey cruising up and down the coast and eventually catching up with Mike and Proud again in Kas. We arranged to have our new sails put on the the bay, but there was a delay so we spent a couple days hanging around and with our new sails in situ, we set off to explore the coastline.The plan was to slowly meander south, but with the threat of this Coronavirus threatening to close borders we were a bit worried we might get trapped. Our first stop was the absolutely stunning Bay of Gocek. I had been told it was beautiful but it is literally indescribable – and so early in the season it was empty.
There are hundreds of small bays, where you anchor with a long line to shore but we found a bay with two small pontoons so we tied up and stayed here for 3 days. We met a South African couple who had been here for 3 months and so we had great company, in a fabulous location with glorious weather. What could go wrong….. We visited the small town of Gocek, and hiked up some of the trails to look out over the bay in the company of some local sheep.
We walked to the famous Cleopatra Baths where it is thought Cleopatra bathed.
We could always see the snow capped mountains in the background and we were amazed at how clean the water was. In Turkey they are very fussy about water pollution and you are issued with a Blue Card on arrival which keeps a record of all your pump outs. They are very strict and even along the shore, they have put bollards everywhere to prevent people tying up to trees and rocks- very sensible.
We then headed for Fethiye – the largest town in the area. Our friends from the Marina “Bilby” were in the bay which was fun. Fethiye is a lovely place with Rock tombs overlooking the town. We walked up to see them and saw Indian Summer bobbing around in the bay – it felt so good to be out of the Marina!
We took a bus to the deserted town of Kayakoy – a town which was a thriving community of over 10,000 people until 1923. Both Turkish Muslims and Greek Christians lived in harmony from the 14th century until in 1923 when all the Christians, both Turkish and Greek were thrown out as they wanted just one religion in each country. In this ghost town you can walk through the houses, still with their painted coloured walls exposed, visit the church, wander through the streets and really immerse yourself in their life.
We visited Olu Deniz which is just a very small beachside village where the locals tried to get us to go on a boat ride to the neighboring bays.
We were getting a bit worried by now as there was talk of Turkey closing it’s borders to foreigners due to the Corona virus and Ian’s visa has only a couple weeks left so we decided to head down Kas and see what was happening at the border. We were met by Mike and Proud taking our lines at the quay and we headed straight for the bar opposite to share that long awaited drink. It had been 7 months since we had see them and we had a lot of catching up to do. Our conversation was dominated by this Corona virus which had now been declared a pandemic. We discovered there were 3 boats – co-incidently all Australians on the quay in town, and a few more in the marina but other than that we were quite isolated. Our plan was to leave a week later and head to Malta but now Maltas borders had closed.
The town of Kas is delightful, with dogs and cats roaming every where. All the locals look after them and they seem very healthy. We have 3 golden retreivers living on the quay next to our boat.
The next day we went to the customs and immigration guys who spoke no English and didn’t seem to understand our dilemma. Next stop was a visit to the local agent who advised us that Cyprus had now closed it’s borders, Tunisia had closed it’s borders, and Greece had also closed it’s borders. With Ian’s visa running out within 6 days, we were in an awkward position. We can’t stay but can’t leave as no European country will take us. Mustafa the agent has told us we will just get a small fine for overstaying – but we are still worried as we are breaking the law. Unprecedented times…..
Yesterday they shut all the bars , restaurants and coffee shops- the locals won’t be able to survive this as their whole economy is based on tourism. There are only a few of us and we would like to support the local economy but are being forced to eat on board, drink our own supply of alcohol and not visit any of their sites. Luckily our daughter Steph has managed to get out of Kenya and is on her way home to Australia so that’s one worry off our mind. On the up side, Kas really is a beautiful place to be stranded and the weather is gorgeous ..