September 30, 2012
Saying Good Bye

September 15, 2012
Reflections on Our 27 Year Circumnavigation

September 1, 2012
Sea of Cortez Sailing

August 15, 2012
Back to the Sea of Cortez

August 1, 2012
After Circumnavigation: What to Take, What to Leave Behind

July 15, 2012
Mexican Booby Trap

July 1, 2012
Tackling the Tehuantepec

June 14, 2012
Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico

June 1, 2012
Sailing northern Costa Rica and Nicargua

May 15, 2012
Costa Rican Cruising

May 1, 2012
New Found Friends in Golfito, Costa Rica

April 15, 2012
It’s a Jungle Out There

April 1, 2012
Hunting and Gathering in Panama

March 15, 2012
Money.... Money.... Money

March 1, 2012
Feel Free Transits the Panama Canal

February 15, 2012
Transiting the Panama Canal

February 1, 2012
Feel Free is Back in the Pacific

January 15, 2012
Charter Skipper for a Week

January 1, 2012
Confessions of a Charter Cat Chef

December 15, 2011
Away to the Andamans Part 2

December 1, 2011

November 15, 2011
Sailing in a Freshwater Paradise

November 1, 2011
To Barf or not to Barf, that is the question

October 14, 2011
Remarkable Cruisers

October 3, 2011
The Sea of Cortez, Another World

September 15, 2011
Panama Canal Here We Come

September 1, 2011
Sailing for Humanity

August 15, 2011
A Hard Lesson on the Hard and Reflections on Boat Work

August 1, 2011
Here Come the Lion Fish

July 15, 2011
The Joy of Books

July 1, 2011
The Sailors of San Blas

June 15, 2011
The Good Life in Kuna Yala

June 1, 2011
The Dirt Dweller in Paradise

May 15, 2011
People of the San Blas, Then and Now

May 1, 2011
Cruising in Kuna Yala

April 15, 2011
Near Disaster in the San Blas

April 1, 2011
At Last in the San Blas

March 15, 2011
Chilling Out in Cholon

March 1, 2011
Ah, Cartagena!

February 15, 2011
Cruising the Cape Horn of the Caribbean Part 2

February 1, 2011
Cruising the Cape Horn of the Caribbean Part 1

January 14, 2011
Aruban Interlude

December 30, 2010
Hunkering Down for a Hurricane

December 15, 2010
A Day in the Life - Our Passage to Aruba

December 1, 2010
Stuck in Curacao

November 15, 2010
Stormy Night Sailing

November 1, 2010
Sailing In The Sticks

October 15, 2010
Safety, Security and Circumnavigating with some tips on how to stay safe

October 4, 2010
Feel Free Transits The Suez Canal

September 15, 2010
Red Sea Sailing

September 1, 2010
FEEL FREEs Voyage Into the Red Sea

August 15, 2010
And just a little further, to Curacao

August 1, 2010
Bonaire Diving

July 15, 2010
Then To Bonaire

July 1, 2010
Cruising Remote Venezuelan Isles

June 15, 2010
Cruising St. Vincent

June 1, 2010
Right Place, Right Time

May 15, 2010
The Spice Isle

May 1, 2010
To the Grenadines

April 15, 2010
We Be In Barbados Mon

April 1, 2010
Atlantic Passage Part II

March 15, 2010
Atlantic Passage Part 1

March 1, 2010
Provisioning for the Atlantic Crossing

February 15, 2010
Atlantic Crossing Preparations

February 1, 2010
Cruising the Canary Islands

January 15, 2010
Out Of Africa

January 1, 2010
Come With Me To The High Atlas Mountains.............

December 15, 2009
Two Years Of Mediterranean Sailing

December 1, 2009
Moving On To Morocco

November 18, 2009
Leaving The Med

November 13, 2009
Reaching The Rock Of Gibraltar Milestone

October 15, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del Sol

October 1, 2009
Sailing Spains Costa del High-rise

September 15, 2009
Sailing The Spanish Isles

September 1, 2009
At Sea Or On The Hook, These Recipes Travel Well

August 15, 2009
An Interlude At Menorca

August 1, 2009
A Pleasant Passage To Menorca

July 15, 2009
The Agony And Ecstasy Of The Tunisian Coast

July 1, 2009
Tripping Around Tunisia

June 15, 2009
Tales From North Africa

June 1, 2009
Dont Freak If Your Fridge Fails

May 15, 2009
Into Africa

May 1, 2009
Meandering Around Malta, Then Off To Tunisia

April 15, 2009
Low-Tech DIY Ideas For The New Economy

April 1, 2009
The Med Set A Few Cruiser Profiles

March 15, 2009
That Sinking Feeling

March 1, 2009
Thailand to Oman: Three Passages, Three Ports

February 15, 2009
Doing Hard Time in Malta

February 1, 2009
Pirate Alley Part 2

January 15, 2009
Pirate Alley Part 1

January 2, 2009
So Many Islands, So Little Time

December 15, 2008
Cruising With The Bear

December 1, 2008
Versatile Vinegar, The Boaters Friend

November 15, 2008
What I Did In This Summer -- Dock Masters In paradise

November 1, 2008
Over The Top Of Oz

October 16, 2008
The Tumultuous Tasman

October 1, 2008
Sweet Memories Of The Splendid Surins

September 15, 2008
And Then We Were In Malta

September 1, 2008
Feel Frees Siracusan Story

August 15, 2008
The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

August 1, 2008
All Tied Up In The Ionians

July 15, 2008
A Greek Odyssey Our Journey to Ithaca

July 1, 2008
Anatomy of a Near Catastrophe

June 15, 2008
Good-bye Turkey, Hello Greece

June 1, 2008
More Winter Cruising in Turkey

May 15, 2008
Winter Cruising in Turkey

April 15, 2008
Talking Turkey: Marmaris Marina Living

April 15, 2008
The Joy Of The Side Trip

April 1, 2008
Return to Marmaris, And The Budget

March 15, 2008
Passing Time And Dodging The Meltemi

March 1, 2008
Home Sweet Home

February 15, 2008
A Little Working, A Little Cruising

February 1, 2008
Working Our Way Around The World

January 15, 2008
Welcome Aboard Feel Free

January 1, 2008
Liz Tosonis and Tom Morkins Feel Free

January 1, 2008
About Tom Morkin and Liz Tosoni

January 1, 2008
About Feel Free

January 1, 2008
Voyage Itinerary

June 1, 2008
More Winter Cruising in Turkey

By Tom Morkin

Fethiye Bay, Southwest Turkey
36 38.6N, 29 05.8E

Cleopatra’s Baths, the ancient semi-submerged bath-house spa used for centuries by the Greeks who once ruled this part of Turkey and then, no doubt, by the Romans who subsequently replaced them, was the site of our morning exploration. The structure is located literally on the water; in fact, 30 percent of it is underwater.

Liz imagines the opulence and history of Cleopatra’s Baths

To completely explore the bath house would require mask, snorkel, and a tolerance for cold water -- something in short supply at 0900. Instead, Liz and I walked around the landward side and dinghied around the wet side, vowing to come back when the water temperature was higher.

The dramatic high and steep backdrop of Wall Bay and Ruin Bay were in marked contrast to the lower and more pastoral environment of our next anchorage off Tersane (Shipyard) Adasi, the largest island in the gulf. Tersane Bay was obviously a popular place about 1,700 years ago. Hellenistic ruins including those of a shipyard, watchtower, and monastery litter the foreshore of this very well-protected nook.

Feel Free framed by Hellenistic ruins in Tersane Bay

The resident farming family uses some of the building remains to shelter their goats, sheep, and cattle. The ruins closest to the beach have been used by yachts and small fishing boats as points to secure their stern lines. As in almost everywhere in Turkey, especially in the summer months, anchored boats take their stern lines ashore. To prevent the practice of tying to 2,000-year-old structures and trees, steel bollards have been cemented into the ground here as in other popular bays

Despite claims in Rod Heikell’s Turkish Waters Pilot that the bay provided good holding, it didn’t for us. Twice we dropped our 64-pound Bruce anchor with 150 feet of 3/8-inch chain in 30 feet, assuming our 5-to-1 scope would hold us in place with the 70-horsepower Isuzu in reverse at 1,000 rpm. Not so. On the third try the anchor held with only 600 rpm applied so we settled for that on the grounds that we could put two lines ashore. We got away with it, but it resulted in sleepus interruptus when the winds gusted to 25 knots that night.

With Feel Free anchored in Tersane Bay, winter brings cloudy days on the Turkish coast

The following day’s hike was proceeding quite nicely under light, overcast skies until we reached a high pasture that appeared to be the dining area of the island for over 200 sheep. Try as we might to pass through the diners and continue along on our circular four-kilometer trek back to the beach, the sheep clearly mistook us for their shepherd and thought we were herding them back to the beach too, and en masse they headed back down ahead of us.

Being the city folk we basically are, we thought this to be a bad thing – the four of us driving them from their feeding grounds. Would the shepherd have to drive them back up or would they all go to their sheep bed hungry because of our intrusion? We turned around and retraced our steps. We may as well have kept going because not long after we arrived on the beach, so did the 200 sheep, looking to us to be more than mildly put out by the new strangers who ruined their lunch.

The sheep seemed mildly put out by the strangers who ruined their lunch

In Kapi Creek we reconnected with Karen and Graham of Red Herring. They’d taken a mooring and backed up to the small pier in front of the one restaurant in the tiny idyllic cove. The caretaker of the restaurant welcomed us by holding up the mooring line and directed Feel Free to a spot near our buddies. Of course the restaurant was closed for the winter but that didn’t prevent Isun from inviting us for Turkish cai (tea). The tea party quickly morphed into a wine party when Isun appeared from the kitchen with three bottles of nice Turkish red wine.

Just when our party was coming to life, our trusty ol’ Nikon digital camera decided to end it all. Liz’s return to the boat for party nibblies provided the opportunity. Just as she climbed aboard, it struggled free from her pocket and dove for the drink. It fell short by two inches but had just enough momentum to bounce high enough off the deck to clear the three-inch high bulwarks and finally, peace.

Liz gets a close up view of King Amyntas’ tomb, carved into a sheer rock face, high above the town

Of course, the nagging question is WHY? Possibly, life for a 3.2-megapixel camera in a 10-megapixel world has got to be tough. No question, it did look at peace lying in 10 feet of crystal clear water under our port side. The good news was that the pictures you’re now seeing were downloaded a couple of hours before the suicide dive.

The big city of Fethiye, population 40,000, with the famous Lycian tombs, fruit-and-veggie market, nearby hikes on the Lycian trail, and the haunting remains of the old abandoned Greek village of Kayakoy were on tap for our visit. It was a two-hour motorsail (heavy on the motor, light on the sail) to the town anchorage where we found another pair of our cruising buddies.

It was fun to reconnect with our old friends. Here’s 2Extreme with Henry and Mattie and their pilot aboard in the Suez Canal

We first met Henry and Mattie of Marathon, Florida, when we were all in Australia, and the last time we saw them was in the Suez Canal. Now, 2Extreme had spent the winter here at anchor. They couldn’t figure out why we didn’t all just lie off this great town and save hundreds of dollars a month over the winter. The holding is thick mud, the setting gorgeous, and it’s just a short dinghy ride from the marina. “We’ve saved enough money in two months by not paying marina fees to replace our bank of batteries,” said Henry.

Over drinks, Henry and Mattie told us about their summer trip up the west coast of Turkey through the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, and the Bosphorus to Istanbul, then on to the Black Sea and Bulgaria to attend Henry’s brother’s wedding.

The view of Fethiye town, from the hills on a grey day

Each time we four get together we reminisce about our time together in Langkawi, Malaysia, on Boxing Day 2004 where we all survived the terrible Asian tsunami by simply postponing our trips to Telaga Harbor by two hours in order to buy five more cases of beer for our trip to Thailand. That two-hour delay may have saved both our boats because we were late for the tsunami that devastated Telaga Harbor. Who said beer wasn’t good for you?

The tombs on the hills overlook the bustle of life, and children playing, in Fethiye town

In ancient times, when this part of western Turkey was inhabited by Greeks, Fethiye was known as Telmessos and was the famed city of oracles. Nowadays it’s known for sarcophagi strewn haphazardly throughout the town site. These ancient final resting places are to be found in some bizarre locations -- such as beside the post office, in city parks and backyards, and in the middle of the road and used as traffic separators.

The real jaw droppers in the neighborhood are without question the tombs of the Kings. Not wanting their final resting spot to be in a grocery store parking lot, these guys had other people go to considerable time and trouble to be sure that they had a little more peace and quiet for the rest of eternity. Their tombs were cut out of sheer rock faces high above the hustle and bustle of what was then Telmessos and now Fethiye.

A friendly policeman poses for us in front of a sarcophagus

Kayakoy (Rock Village) or Hayaletkoy (Ghost Town) occupies a unique place in Turkish history. Here you see 3,500 old, abandoned stone Greek houses. These village homes of some 25,000 Greeks were abandoned in 1922 after the Independence War with Turkey. The peace treaty arranged population exchange whereby 25,000 Greeks returned to Greece and 25,000 Muslims from western Trace (Greece) to Turkey. (Louis Berniere’s Birds Without Wings is a good historical fiction. The setting of that novel is Kayakoy in the 19th and early 20th centuries.)

The stone houses of Kayakoy stand abandoned since 1922

The Turkish meteorological website warned of cold weather on the way. As it was we spent our evenings on our heater-less boat wrapped in layers of clothes and covered in our comforters. We developed the habit of climbing into bed with clothes on and disrobing only after we warmed the bedding. It was a novel experience after our years in the tropics, and the novelty was wearing off fast. Furthermore, we wanted to get back to Marmaris in time to join the 150 other winter residents of Yacht Marina who were bussing to Istanbul for the Boat Show.

Finally, the northwest winds (our direction of travel) were only expected to build over the next couple of days so we upped the anchor at the crack of dawn. The moment of truth was when we rounded the point leaving Fethiye Bay.

Colorful carpet shops abound in Fethiye town

We could see there were white caps outside, the question was if we could lay it. If not, it was going to be a long and expensive motoring slog. We had 40 miles to go; winds were 20-25 knots with the attendant nasty chop. If it’s on the nose, it will be a 10-hour trip. If we burn a gallon and a half an hour, that’s a $150-fuel day and a bumpy ride

Ancient tombs of the kings stand watch over Fethiye town

We reefed the main, set the staysail, rolled out half of our number 1 genoa, and off we went. Miracle of miracles, the winds were north-northeast and we could easily lay Marmaris on one exhilarating tack. The offshore winds made for flat-water sailing, the occasional dollop of water deflected by the newly constructed cockpit enclosure. Life can be good.


Feel Free sets sail for new adventures in Turkey