Turkey VII - To the east of Fethiye, Andraki to Finike.
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Turkey VI - To the east of Fethiye, Kekova Roads and Gökkaya Limani.
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Turkey VIII - Returning west, Finike to Kekova Roads.
Log Entry Sunday 18th September - We visit Demre (the true home of Saint Nicholas/Father Christmas) and Myra by road. (105)
We take the dolamus to Demre, the home of the original "Saint Nicholas", or Father Christmas to us. Saint Nicholas, originally Bishop of Myra was born in Patra in the third century AD. He was canonised after his death due to his generosity and his popularity grew world wide. It was also said that he offered rewards for turning to Christianity and was certainly influential in the growth of Christianity!
We easily follow the signs for the "Noel Baba Museum", there is a nearby coach station to allow the tourist coaches to gain close proximity to the museum, Ann buys fresh figs from a cart - her favourite.
We decide to enter the museum, the building is along side the original St Nicholas Church where he was buried.
The renovation is obviously ongoing but it is a major attraction, tourists arrive in there hundreds! The church has under gone many transformations over the centuries but it is claimed to be one of the best examples of Byzantine history.
The church is impressive, as is it's restoration, website and all!
Inside the walls are highly decorative, with images of St Nicholas prominent every where.
One passes numerous unmarked tombs, visitors walk on the mosaics floors which are centuries old?
The external courtyard is impressive, quite a Christian temple in a Muslim country!
You follow the route, down a very highly decorated hallway, aged by time, then past the original tomb of St Nicholas from which his bones were stolen in 1072 and relocated to Bari in Italy where they rest today.
Not one of my best ideas but it made us laugh: We leave the museum and sit in one of the cafes/gift shops to have a cold drink. Ann's eye is caught by snow globes for sale, inside the glass is a model of St Nicholas's tomb? I said to Ann "That is quite unique, it would make a great gift for the grand children, how many of the little ones still believe in Father Christmas?" Ann replies " That's ok but you can explain the tomb to the grand kids?" We both stopped and thought about it and burst out laughing! Our giggles developed and we imagined the crying children weeping shouting "Granddad's killed Santa and put him in there!"
We make our way back to where the dolamus had dropped us off, we had been offered a ride to Myra for 10Tl, this was our next destination and the price was reasonable. As we approached the drop off point we were approached by a taxi driver, driven the 2km at speed and made arrangements for a return pickup to take us back to town. The ancient city of Myra was originally connected by canal to the sea, the canal fell into disrepair and is now the Demre river we had walked yesterday. Myra was said to begin decline around 7th century due to the repetitive destruction from earthquakes and flooding. The "Myra Archaeological Site" as it is known, contains rock tombs and a well preserved Roman theatre.
The site has to be said to be impressive to say the least, until recently one could climb up amongst the tombs - not that we would gain anything from that we feel?
It is difficult to imagine that some of the tombs are said to date back to the 5th century, the Roman theatre is just as impressive, collectively creating a place not to miss?
There is a tremendous support structure behind the theater front, unfortunately, not open to the public.
Log Entry Saturday 17th September - We move on to Finike.
We climb on deck about 0800, we had been joined at anchor by several gullets awaiting their cargo. We had slept poorly, the wind during the night had produced a slight swell on our beam - not a comfortable night was had? We have breakfast and leave about 1030 hours, we give the port and headland quite a wide berth as the water shallows for some distance, not all obstructions are charted? We search for the twenty meter depth, contour line and make our coarse for Finike around it.
As we pass the town of Demre (Kale being it's modern name) we are caught up by vessels exiting Kekova Roads, we prefer to sail when possible, not all do the same. We were passed by one vessel with his head sail out motoring, the sail kept collapsing, we would have been worried about damaging it, he clearly was not?
When examining Demre closely you could see what appeared to be large gullets being worked on at the water front, there was no defined slipway or even concrete road to allow access to cranes etc, very resourceful?
We continued slowly on our way, passed by in both directions by numerous vessels motoring - must be on a time schedule? Eventually the headland to the south of Finike became visible to us, as we approached it the wind stiffened considerably.
We had both main and headsail out, the headland provided it's own enhancements to the wind strength, we were now carrying too much sail. We had a smaller boat behind us, it too was struggling with the gust strength? We rolled up our headsail and continued for some time with mainsail alone, the gusts in time became unmanageable so we dropped the mainsail and completed the last mile or so around the point under engine.
We got into the large marina with ease, tidied up and set off into town, the marina is situated on the town outskirts and have for information increased their prices 50% this year on last! It was our plan to visit the nearby attractions by road from here as there exists no safe anchorages on this section of coastline. The town is very modern, due to the fertile land around it's primary strength is agriculture, the towns symbol being an orange.
There has been, at one time, considerable investment in walkways, municipal parks but now all neglected, most over grown.
There does exist some ownership, but limited which is a shame?
We walk as far as one of the parks and sit at a riverside cafe, people seemed surprised to see us?
We watch the activity on the water, people making a living, or just a hobby perhaps in the shallow waters nearby?
The Turkish people are very patriotic, the coloured flag on the hillside is very impressive?
We make our way back to Sailaway checking out the menus of the marina side restaurants, that evening all were busy!
Log Entry Friday 16th September - We leave Gökkaya and cross over to Andraki, once an ancient port.
Andraki was once the port for ancient Myra, the silt carried down by the river over the centuries means that today, the original port stands well in land. The function of Andraki harbour today is to transfer the tourists from their coaches to the awaiting trip boats, their final destination being predominantly Kekova Roads.
In our pilot book it is defined as almost a "no go area" due to the commercial traffic, however it does describe many ancient Roman ruins lying off the river behind the harbour of today. We decide to visit, we may or may not stay over night, we will access our position once there. Andraki is only a couple of miles off, if we need to move on the only destination for us would be Finike, or return until tomorrow? We get our selves and Sailaway ready for the trip to Finike just in case Andraki is not suitable for tonight, we leave about 1130 hours. We make our way round Ashil Adasi through the south channel, once round the island we need to head basically due east across the bay.
We motor the short distance round the island, turning east and putting Kekova Roads to our stern we roll out our genoa, the wind is fairly stiff now, our headsail will be sufficient to get us across the bay in due time.
We continue on peacefully, no hot, noisy engine to buzz our ears!
No sooner had we set our coarse then the tourist traffic became visible, leaving the port of Andraki, their destination being Kekova Roads which was now behind us.
The port is as described, basically a mole/wall offering limited protection from the prevailing winds. There were gullets anchored both behind and outside of the wall, the wall itself was one continuous row of day trip boats and coach's, as one left, another would return. We decided to anchor to the west of the gullets, outside the protection of the wall but the winds were forecast as very light, this also meant that we would be well clear of all the harbours daily activity. The winds always peak in the middle of the afternoon we would make our decision to stay then, but all looked good for us.
We sat and mid-afternoon came and went with only light winds as forecast, we decided to stay, it was now time to look ashore to see if there was any thing behind the harbour activity? The inner section of the harbour shallows very slowly, sandbanks were clearly visible, at the end of the harbour wall was a small slipway, we decided to land our dinghy there. The harbour activity was "as seen", still it was a perfect opportunity to dump our garbage. The harbour was lined with what were restaurants, now mostly closed, only a couple of small cafes/supper markets open today, not surprising really, people came in on coaches, were put onto the respective boats then when back, straight on the coaches and off to their next attraction? We were the only visitors wandering outside of the coach area?
We stopped at one of the two open cafes and had a cold drink, I think we were quite an attraction to the locals, even the coach drivers seemed to stay around their vehicles? After our drink we wandered off around the water front to find the river and whatever ruins lay by it?
The setting was quite picturesque, nearer the port car park boat owners began trying to get us on board, we politely refused. There were two gentlemen together, one offered us a trip to Kekova, his friend said some thing to him in Turkish? "Ah - you are on the sailboat?" the first man said to us, we acknowledged - we felt a little like celebrities, every one seemed to know who were were?
The river was lined with stone ruins, casually lying, of no significance to any one. As we walked we found what was a traditional boat builder, two projects lay along side his hut at different stages of completion - all wood working machinery could be seen under the cover.
Across the way could be seen Emperor Hadrians granary, far from the roadside, no sign posts. It was evident that work was ongoing restoring the ruins as we had seen else where, perhaps not yet in a good enough state for tourists? It is a shame, the port had once been quite active with four or five additional restaurants, now closed, a small camp site lay on the outskirts of the port - perhaps it may have more of a future with the development of such an attraction to the tourists?