Jul 2, 2011

Girl power sailing the Turkish coast

One of the nicest things to do in Turkey is sailing or yachting the Southwest coast, locally called “doing a blue voyage”. Along with Croatia, Turkey has one of the best coasts in the Mediterranean for this given the zigzag nature of the (Aegean) coast stretching 450 miles. According to Ali Boratav, there are 5 routes 2 of which I have already explored. The Bodrum-Gökova route is the classic route for beginners usually done with a goulet, a Bodrum built wooden yacht.

Korsan Bay in Marmaris, Turkey.

Turunç Pınarı east of Marmaris.

On the shore Fisherman Osman at Turunç Pınarı, Marmaris.

The second is the subject of this post done by a team of four women that I call "girl power". Under captain Aylin, the team -all professional women by the way- sailed from Marmaris to the East towards Dalyan. Because I have done the tour myself couple of years back, I can totally relate to their adventure. If you love the nature, the sea and boats, it is the perfect holiday. You first stack up all food, alcohol and details until toilet paper in Marmaris, board the boat, do the last checks and set sail. 

Daily boat trip to Dalyan, Turkey.

Daily boat trip to Dalyan.

The team departed from Marmaris with s/y Hadar, a Beneteau Oceanis 40 (appx. 13 metres) chartered by Offshore Yachting. Since this was their second trip, instead of last year's hesitant "should we take you out of the harbour?", the company was like "yeah, Captain Aylin can take you out". So the ladies went off to Turunç Pınarı via Korsan Koyu (Pirate Bay). 

Ekincik My Marina in Marmaris.

What is so nice about the whole thing is that you are constantly in fresh air and at night under stars. This is why noone sleeps in the rooms but onboard. You wake up, jump into the crystal clear water and then sip your freshly brewed coffee. Then you look around and  amid the silence, admire life while the first team starts cooking the breakfast. Cooking onboard is fun as people take rounds for it and cleaning afterwards. Of course, there are more bossy and less bossy, more perfectionist and less perfectionist teams and their "creations" make the daily conversation and jokes while onboard. 

And this is the Beneteau Oceanis 40, look at the tidyness of girlpower.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Girlpower's captain Aylin Şasa.

After breakfast, it's departure time from the bay you anchored the night before. You get the latest news from the neighboring yachts, check wind and currents. At open sea, you may be accompanied by turtles and dolphins. Weather permitting, you can sail or go by engine. Sailing is fun but the preparations before it is even more fun: collect everything that can fall; secure this and that; close all windows; find yourself a dry spot, etc. 

Göbün Bay, Turkey.

s/y Hadar entering the Karacaören bay.

The ladies arrived in Ekincik marina and anchored there. This spot can only be reached by boat like most of the spots on yachting. They took a boat to Dalyan to see the famous caretta caretta turtles that nest there. Dalyan is also where you can buy blue crabs. Our captain bought and cooked some for us when I went! Yummy! Indeed, when it's noon, the daily alcohol over-consumption starts with beer. Towards 5 PM, it is gin-tonic or mojito or campari-orange time. Later, it is wine or rakı at dinner time. Pretty much everyday for a week, it's the same! Late in the night, drinking goes on until you get too drunk and jump into calm water and get sober! It's impossible to be onboard and not drink.

A perfect sunset at Panormitis, Simi, Greece.

These ladies did a different route last year departing again from Marmaris towards the Greek island Simi. For other girl power trips click hereIn Simi we swam in the Agios Yiorghos beach and anchored at Panormitis (back of the island). In the morning, I went with our zodiac to the beach and practiced my Greek a little while buying from the local pastry shop. The ladies, on the other hand, went further down to Rhodes and Halki. In addition to these options east and south of Marmaris, one can also explore the Hisarönü region along with some Greek islands, the last two can also be combined. For a view of the area click here

On the way to Dalyan, the rock tombs.

And the proud girlpower in Turunçpınarı.
(All pictures by Dolunay Özbek).

Now, when you have a license, you can rent “bare boat” from Marmaris but if you don't, the boat comes with the crew: captain and cook or additional seamen depending on the size of the boat and your group. In that case, you do nothing but read, eat and drink. I prefer when we rent "bare boat" or with the captain and do the sailing work ourselves. In off-season early June, one week on this boat cost €1800 for the ladies, while stacking up   cost €850. Now, where do you get all of that for €650 per person for one week?