Cruising the Aegean Sea, Turkey

When a photo opportunity came up to sail the coast of Turkey in the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea, I wasn't about to turn it down in a hurry.

Just seven days later and we were boarding a Friday evening flight to Dalaman from London Gatwick. We were met by a driver who took us to the coastal town of Fethiye, just under one hour's drive away. After a shower and few hours sleep, we were en route to the local food market to choose our supplies for the boat.

The boat in question is no ordinary boat, let me tell you. It's a 48 ft Leopard Catamaran which was about to take us on an adventure I'd never experienced before. The owner has made it available for private charter from this summer onwards (good news!) so I'll give the details at the end of the post.

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YACHT CLASSIC HOTEL

We met the boat owner, Jeff, and his skipper at the Yacht Classic Hotel and had breakfast in the Mori restaurant on the water's edge. This stunning boutique hotel overlooks the vast expanse of Fethiye Bay and conveniently has its own mooring which is where we were to board the catamaran. A week-long cruise package on the catamaran will include a night's stay at the Yacht Classic on arrival.

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GÖCEK

We anchored up just after 10am and headed for the small town of Göcek which is widely known for its beautiful marina and small neighbouring coves. What struck me most when we arrived in Göcek was how much it reminded me of Salcombe with its pretty streets, upscale shops and sailing community. We only had time for a quick bite and walk around before clambering into the motorboat (there's nothing graceful about this action!) and hitting the waves as fast as we could before making our way back to the catamaran.

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Gocek Village.jpg
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Bedri Rahmi Koyu

Göcek sits at the head of the bay and is conveniently close to lots of pretty coves which are ideal to drop anchor and have a swim. To make the most of our time, we sailed to our first overnight mooring in Bedri Rahmi Koyu and spent the latter part of the afternoon swimming in the calm waters as other yachts made their way in. The local surroundings are impossibly beautiful with pine trees and ancient tombs etched into the hills. This is a popular spot for yachts so we were thankful that our skipper had called ahead to secure a prime spot on the pier where you can connect to an electricity generator and get access to fresh water. This secluded cove features a waterside restaurant which got very busy as people made their way to shore in the small motorboats around sunset. Zeytin (Olive) Restaurant is very traditional with Turkish cuisine on offer, English language isn't widely spoken here so make sure you have a few of the basic translations to hand!

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BAY HOPPING

After a restful sleep in our cabin (cats are blessed with space unlike monohulls), we woke to the smell of coffee and a warm bread delivery courtesy of the Zeytin team on shore. We were one of the first to raise the anchor and set off for another day of bay-hopping adventures.

The Turkish "turquoise" coastline has an abundance of spectacular bays and pretty coves which remain unspoilt thanks to the long stretch of rugged mountains which meet the crystal clear waters below. 

As we were only sailing for two full days with two overnight stops, we kept our travels relatively local. The first on our list and only a short sailing distance from Göcek was Seagull Bay, also known as Yavansu Bay in Turkish. It's surrounded by fig trees and gets its name from both the mountain water and seagull mosaic on shore. There are five ancient tombs up in the hills as well as a Byzantine cistern which are all proof of the area's deep roots in history. 

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Leopard Cat Exterior.jpg
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I'm going to split this feature into two posts as there's a heap more info (and glorious photos!) to share with you as I continue my sailing adventure along the Turkish coast.

For those who are eager to learn more about the catamaran, please check out www.aegeanyachtcruise.com

TravelSamantha Gibb