Having dropped Zeynep and her family off on Monday evening we went to Kale Koyu, the bay to the east of St Peter’s Castle to anchor for the night before setting off around the coast of the Gokova Körfezi or Gokova Gulf which lies between the Bodrum and Datça Peninsulas. We plan to spend 3 or 4 days visiting some picturesque, isolated bays on our way around to Datça.
Our first night was spent in Cökertme, 20 miles west of Bodrum. There is a small village there, with jetties belonging to the restaurants but we anchored and used our long lines to tie up to the rocks. I bought a couple of heavy duty webbing lifting strops to use with these lines and am more than glad I did. The rocks in Cökertme are razor sharp and would have destoyed our ropes but had little effect on the strops.
We spent a restful afternoon under our awning and a peaceful evening watching the moon rise over the bay and left Cökertme on Wednesday morning.
We sailed most of the 15 miles to Akbuk Limani a big, reputedly picturesque, bay where we figured we might spend the night but found the beach obscured by beach umbrellas and sunbeds, a host of trip boats and a jetty full of yachts. We turned around and headed for the next point on our itinerary, two islands on the south coast of the Gulf called Castle and Snake Island a mere 5 miles away. Castle Island has some ancient ruins on it and is also home to ‘Cleopatra’s Beach’, thought to have been built by her for Mark Anthony and apparently the sand is typical of that found in Egypt!
Disappointingly Castle Island was rammed full of trip boats so we headed off to Söğüt a few miles further west, now on the north coast of the Datcha Peninsula.
Söğüt has a small village with restaurants, a yacht club and a couple of busy jetties. The only places shallow enough to anchor free were taken so we had to anchor close to a small beach and tie back to some trees. It had been a relatively busy day with lots of down wind sailing, even having the Cruising Chute up for a few hours, so it was really pleasant having dinner being serenaded by cicadas and then watching the moon rise again over the trees behind us.
On Thursday we set off for ‘Amazon Creek’, so called because the dense trees crowd down to the shore of the little inlet giving it a ‘jungle feeling’. Not sure about that with a sign post advertising a cafeteria within 500 m and a beach bar on the small beach on the west shore, but Amazon Creek is far easier to say than Küçük Gunluk Köyü! We arrived at lunch time and found just two other yachts there leaving space for us to anchor in the middle of the inlet. I went ashore for a walk along the coast and then in search of the cafe.
It turned out to be the Club Amazon, originally a camp site but now offering ‘glamping’ chalets – their description. It is at the side of the small creek that feeds into the inlet and ‘glampers’ could either walk the 500 m to the beach through the woods or paddle there in one of a fleet of plastic canoes.
I had a well deserved beer after my 3 km stroll, then went back to the boat for a swim. Once the sun went down and the glampers left the inlet was utterly quiet, even the freezer sounded loud. There was no wind, not a ripple on the water and once the moon rose the inlet was all silver black shadows and reflections in the water. It was beautiful and we could happily have stayed another day just to enjoy the solitude.
On Friday, 27th, we had a 6 hour passage to the bay at Mercencik at the western end of the Datcha Peninsula where we hoped to watch the ‘Blood Moon’ eclipse. We set off early, primarily because we were woken but the battery low voltage alarm and arrived in the early afternoon and anchored off what the Pilot Book describes as a hamlet. This is a bit of an exaggeration but the buildings are very picturesque and whole bay is delightful, an ideal spot for watching the eclipse.
The bay is surrounded by olive groves and has big signs along the beach saying you are welcome to walk along the shore but don’t light fires or go into the orchards. We had lunch and a swim and then settled down on the bows to watch the eclipse. By the time the moon topped the mountains it was a thin crescent and we sat there as the crescent disappeared and the moon turned more orange than red – when viewed through binoculars Valeria decided it was the colour of the perfect Paõ de Queijo! (small round Brazilian cheese bread)
And that was our last night in the Gulf of Gokova. On Saturday we plan to be around the end of the Datcha Peninsula before the wind picks up. Hopefully by then we will be south of the peninsula heading east with the wind behind us.