Datça to Turgutreis, Turkey
April 18-28, 2003

Travelogue #4 Spring 2003

April 18, 2003. This morning we left Datcha. Yesterday we attended a birthday party for Stella, the carpet lady. She has friends all over the world, actually. There were about 20 people in attendance and at least 5 languages. We had a great experience.

Western Turkey Marmaris area

The wind changed directions last night and we found ourselves on anchor watch starting at 4:30 this am. At about 9 am we decided that it would be best to move rather than spend another night like last night. We departed and went to Palamut which is halfway between Datcha and the end of the Datcha peninsula at Knidos. Everything was ok for awhile then it turned to crap. We left Datcha going into a SE wind of 18 Kts and by the end of the trip we were going downwind in winds as high as 35 Kts. The small harbor Palamut was built on a long beach, something like Chivato. They put very large boulders in the water to make a breakwater that has an inside measurement of 200 feet by 300 feet., this is not very large. The arm of the breakwater, which is parallel to the beach, overlaps the NE finger that comes straight out from the beach. To enter it you actually must come to running parallel to the beach about 150 feet off of the beach for perhaps 150 feet. This is almost in the breakers and absolutely uncomfortable. As you enter, the beach (sand) is 150 feet to your right and a jetty with underwater obstructions is only 15 feet to your left. The wind is blowing at 35 Kts directly onto the beach and once you commit to enter there is no second chance. It was over with very fast and we are in a bit of calm water. There is only one other boat here but later we are joined by a gullet.

Easter lily on Traumerei

As the rare traveling Americans, at this time and place, we have found that occasionally people who are living in some of these tiny remote villages who are also from the USA approach us. They seem delighted to speak to someone from home. The reasons to be here are varied and make interesting stories. While walking the village I noticed that one of small farm plots had a sizable stand of Calla Lilies, so I asked the lady if I might have one. She pulled the lily up by the long stem, 40 inches, and gave it to me. It will grace our table and cabin for the Easter holidays. We took her a gift in appreciation and for that she gave us another one.

The weather has been very disturbed with one low after another and this has thrown a series of 5 days where the wind was blowing 35 kts or better in this area. We have been rather secure in the harbor. A German arrived here yesterday after being stuck in an anchorage about 5 miles from here for 4 days. He said the winds were as high as force 10. That is about 50 kts. We had a delightful surprise yesterday. Our friend Horst Anklam, our German boat broker, sailed into this same tiny remote harbor. What a coincidence. He was accompanied by another boat of German charterers. So again last night we found ourselves eating with a table full of Germans.

Tuesday, April 22. This morning it is overcast but the wind is not as great as it has been. We leave in a three boat flotilla and will stop in either Bodrum or Gumusluk. As we are making our passage we pass the Greek Island of Kos. With Turkish papers we should not enter Greek waters so this would entail a small diversion of about 3 miles. I am following Horst and see that he just changes his Turkish flag for a Greek flag and proceeds through the area. It worked and saved a bit of time. We have a good passage so we end up in Gumusluk for the evening. It is raining slightly. For the whole time we have been here it seems to either have been raining or cold or very windy. It is now the last of April and it still feels like early spring. The natives are also complaining that it has been the worst winter in as many as 45 years. This is a very small anchorage that will accommodate approximately 15 boats on the town quay. We do get in a short visit with Horst and his friends prior to turning in for what will be a comfortable night. This place with shops, restaurants, trees and the small bay reminds me of the San Juans.

Kathy and Horst in Palamut Träumerei & Good Day Sunshine in Palamut Träumerei & Good Day Sunshine on Gümüslük

Wednesday. We are going to Leros, a Greek Island that is about 18 miles west of Gumusluk today and Horst is to continue up the Turkish coast to Kusadasi. He is on the way to Cesme and to put his boat away. The wind is 20 kts from the east so we have a very pleasant sail. We sailed between the Greek Island of Kalimnos and Leros thence northwest for 3 miles to a small bay on Leros. This bay was the primary bay used by Italy in WWII. It is a rather large and well protected bay. We feel real comfortable here. We are going to have PORK of some kind for supper. There was a Greek Coast Guard boat prowling the area just east of Kalimnos and he followed us through the narrow separation, then turned SE. I thought he was going away until I looked again and saw that he was again following us. He just followed us into the bay then separated and berthed on the S side while we went to the N side.

We are sailing in the Dodecanese Islands, Greek for 12 islands. We have visited several and when this visit is finished we will have visited about 5 of them.

Leros has a very protected bay and in fact was the place where Mussolini stationed his ships in the eastern Mediterranean. It has since become a place of hospitals. There are several hospitals in the village of Lakki where we are. The primary one is an asylum where there are people with mental disorders and also some additional residents who are there for political dissent activities. This hospital has a lovely view of the bay and was probably one of the Italian administrative offices. It is a grand 3 story building. When walking to town one passes directly in front of the hospital and one would be able to converse with an inmate if he desired. There are inmates looking over the bay and quite a few inmates on the roof also looking out, most likely wondering how to get out of the situation. There are no bars on the windows and no inmates on the first floor. It would be a very long drop to jump from the second floor, perhaps 20 feet or more. As we were going to bed Kathy heard someone scream, and was startled at the sound. I couldn't hear the screaming until I stepped outside and then it was very clear. We are about 2 or 3 blocks from the hospital but the noise was so great that it could keep you awake. It seems that the inmates begin a nightly screaming session after sundown and it continues beyond the time when we both fell asleep.

One of the highlights of this place is that it is Greece and they serve PORK. We had a great meal that included pork chops, for the first time in awhile. The night was calm and we were ready to depart on Thursday morning for the island of Patmos.

Thursday, April 25, 2003. The wind is from the starboard and we have a glorious reach to Patmos. When we arrived we were immediately visited by the Coast Guard and given a sheet of instructions as to how to check into the port. When we tried to check in, the passport control and customs offices were closed. The police said that we should do all of our paperwork including check in and checkout on the day we leave, so much for instructions. The town is small and concentrated along the waterfront.

Good Friday (Orthodox), April 25, 2003. Patmos has an operating monastery at the top of the mountain. The structure was built as a Byzantine monastic fortress in 1088 in memory of St. John the Theologian. We walked the 2 miles on a Byzantine road to the top and ended up following a family to a very small church where they were having Easter services. It was a nunnery where all chanting and all songs were female. As we walked back down the hill we passed the cave of the Apocalypse where St John lived while he dictated the Revelation to his scribe. To be in the room where the book of Revelations was written is rather awesome. This is clearly one of the main places for the tourists and pilgrims to visit. The Easter service is different here than at home. Here it is a 3 day vigil where each church has a service going almost continually. There are chanters and singers who stand and chant for hours on end. We have gone to the church several times each day and never found it to be different. At 8 PM we are downtown for the Good Friday services, which culminate at 11 PM when each of the two churches in Patmos begin the procession of carrying the decorated bier on a procession through town. It ends when both groups arrive at the town center where another round of chanting and the final Good Friday service is conducted. We have met a Canadian couple, Aubry and Judy, who are traveling this area also. They have a guest, David, who is an Anglican Priest and he is spending a little time in Patmos. I have asked him if he would like to have Easter Services, minus the firecrackers, on Traumerei. He was very glad for the offer and accepted immediately. The services here are like a town meeting, everyone comes in and out of the church as the service is in progress, visits a neighbor and kiss each of the icons. The chanting lasts for several hours and we stay for an extended time at each of the two churches.

Pátmos harbor from the monastery Nunnery entrance on Pátmos Stained glass picture of St John and his scribe writing Revelations

A note about the fact that Easter is later here than in the USA. The difference can be traced to when Pope Gregory made the changes to the calendar, the Gregorian calendar. His spiritual beliefs were counter to the Orthodox views and they disregarded anything that was proclaimed by him. They were not about to change the timing of Easter to accommodate the new calendar. And so it continues. This coastline is rather dense with good anchorages and small towns where one can stop. In Biblical times the travelers would stop at many of the places where we have been stopping. The anchorages/bays are about every 15 or 20 miles. A great many of the temples and castles are built along this coast and among the islands that are but a few miles to sea. Simi and Kos are 4 miles seaward of Turkey, while Rhodes, Patmos, Samos, Kalimnos and Leros are but 15 to 20 miles off of the mainland. Along the coast of Turkey there are many places to find coverage and we do as the travelers of old did, we find a coastal anchorage each day. In reading the history of the place you read of how the coastal cities were built to accommodate the trade. As I am writing this, the same story can be told of current commerce. There are numerous merchant ships passing through here. After transiting the Suez Canal or from the far eastern Mediterranean the direct route for sea transport to the Black Sea is along this coast. Even Cleopatra used this route when traveling from Alexandria to Delos.

Saturday, April 26, 2003. This is a day to really stock up on items that are hard to find in Turkey. The stores all close tomorrow and we leave. It is a day of seeing the town and napping in preparation for a long evening of worship. We are in the town at 9 PM for the beginning and find that the real processional doesn't start until 10; it really started at 10:30. The town gets crowded and some of the younger people bring their firecrackers to the event. They are throwing firecrackers all over the place, into crowds, under cars and so forth. I don’t like fireworks, so I leave.

Easter Sunday, April 27, 2003. David and Aubrey come over for the Easter service, Judy is Jewish so she stays home. We have a glorious full service that will be remembered by all three of us. David provides a service that is as if there were a full church of people.

After the service Kathy and I go to clear out of Greece and the short of it is that we should not have been here without going through a port of entry (the Pilot guide indicated that Patmos was). Having figured that out, the officer told me I was free to leave with no paperwork, because as far as they were concerned we never came to Patmos. We had a great sail to Turkey and are now at anchor preparing Easter supper, which will be young lamb and vegetables..

Monastery Father David at Orthodox Easter on Träumerei Marina at Turgutreis

Monday, April 28, 2003; Turgutreis, Turkey. We stopped at the place that we saw on our way to Gumusluk . The installation was not on our charts but had two towers indicating an opening to a marina or the end of a breakwater. We are in a brand new marina, scheduled to open in May. I don't think they will make it. It is the nicest one we have ever been in. There will be more than 100 shops, including an Armani store. There are about 250 slips where there are finger piers between each pair of boats, first we have seen like this in Europe. There are Med tie moorings for about 150 boats of up to 80 feet long. There is a very long side wall where 6 to 8 100 foot boats could tie up and there are about 185 storage rooms. When we arrived we were met by a fellow who asked me to go to the office. There I was told that they were not open but I could stay, we were the first ever to get a slip. It is calm and you can play Willie Nelson or Ray Cocker as loud as you want to, there are no neighbors.

Marina at Turgutreis Health clinic menu Marina at Turgutreis

We caught a dolmush to Bodrum, which is the ancient city of Halicarnassus. It is an old town that is very comfortable with the tourist business. There is a lot of activity on what seems to be the first real day of spring. It is a very clean town and we will visit the Underwater Archeological Museum. It is the largest such museum in the world and is located within the castle walls. As I was walking to the boat I passed the local doctors office. He has a menu posted on the front door that identifies his specialties. The list made for good reading and is enclose. We will go to Budrum tomorrow, in Traumerei.

Previous Travelogue

Spring 2003

Next Travelogue

Copyright ©2003 All Rights Reserved