Fethiye and Gocek Bays
Gocek is situated at the top of the Gulf of Fethiye on the Turquoise Coast of Turkey. The international airport is no more than 20 minutes’ away and the setting is lovely; the mountain slopes come down to this small place that is the gateway to a number of small islands and beaches in the Bay. The harbour has a large capacity and a super-yacht is often seen berthed in Gocek.
Gocek is a starting point for the local 12 Islands Tour and an island of the same name is closest to the harbour, perhaps 10 minutes sailing? Those not wanting to sail can visit its beach where many will stop during their tour of the islands. There are refreshments available on Gocek Island throughout the sailing season. If you wish, you can camp perfectly safely under the trees ans simply spend a relaxing time.
At sunset on Kizil, the sun hits the stones turning them crimson red in colour, the colour that is much the same as the island’s soil. The island gets its name from this phenomenon because it is the Turkish word for ‘’red.’’. There is little or no infrastructure on this island but at the southern tip there is a lighthouse to guide maritime traffic. The Deliktas Islands are to the north west, a great place for diving and fishing. The waves off the east coast wash on to the wide sandy beach where swimming is ideal.
Gemiler Island off the Turkish Coast near the City of Fethiye was once an inhabited place with the ruins of homes and churches dating back to around the 4th Century. It was thought to have been the original home of St. Nicholas (Father Christmas) the Patron Saint of Sailors, and the location of his tomb. In the Middle Ages, it was a very busy place with traders heading in all directions. It continued to be important with the rich taking holidays there long before the years when ordinary people had the time or money for a holiday. The Byzantine ruins are visible from the sea incidentally. There is a crescent shaped bay on the Island which is a great place to put down an anchor. Day trippers need to leave before the sun sets but blue cruises are able to stay overnight. During the season, there is a local restaurant offering typical Turkish cuisine made from locally produced items. If you need to restock however, you should look elsewhere.
Butterfly Valley is a beautiful spot close to Fethiye and only really accessible from the sea unless you are comfortable rock climbing. For a few weeks each year in the height of summer, the valley is full of butterflies and moths, the largest being the Jersey White which is actually a moth. Even when the butterflies are not there it is a peaceful place with a waterfall and a stream running though what is effectively a steep-sided canyon. Because it is relatively inaccessible, there may be no one else around and you can observe nature at first hand. People are allowed to camp there overnight but are expected to follow strict guidelines while there.
Oludeniz is one of the most photographed places on the Turquoise Coast. It has become popular with tourists because of its beach and one of the pleasures is walking on the beach after the sun sets. The lights of the harbour help to illuminate the setting by night and by day there is the contrast of colours; the blue sea, white sand and the greens of the trees. Above the lagoon is Babadagi Mountain that stands almost 2,000 metres above the level of the sea. There are great views from up there over the whole of the Fethiye Region and gliding off the top is a popular pastime with brave tourists. It takes plenty of time to get down to earth, time to absorb the wonder of the whole environment. Once down, there is little better than taking a swim in the sea which is warm for many months of the year. The tourist infrastructure has grown as the popularity of Oludeniz attracts more numbers; bars, cafes, restaurants and shopping.
Turunc Pinari is a popular place for yachtsmen. The name derives from the citrus trees a fresh water fountain. The local seafood is as fresh as it gets and there are many fish and seafood dishes on the menus of the local restaurants which find custom for locals and tourists alike. There is a walk to Turunc Pinari starting from Kaya Village but it is also accessible from the sea.
Samanlik Bay is just a short distance from the city in Fethiye, a growing city and itself a popular tourist destination. It has a wonderful natural location with the slopes covered in pine trees. The cove has clear blue waters that are inviting both to yachts and swimmers. Yachts regularly anchor there even though Fethiye has many berths and is just a short journey away.
The ever-growing city of Fethiye lies only about half an hour by road from Dalaman Airport in South West Turkey. It is a naturally beautiful spot, a city beside the sea with many offshore islands adding to the quality of the environment. The region can boast lovely beaches and coves, many historical highlights with Fethiye’s bars and restaurants ensuring a great nightlife. Fethiye itself has ruins within its boundaries, temples and some interesting sarcophagi. A blue cruise out of Fethiye has much to recommend it, whether sailing east or west, and with 3 modern marinas ensuring the best of facilities for yacht charters.
Tersane Island or Shipyard Island, is the biggest in the Gulf of Fethiye. There is a deep, 100 m long channel which provides entry and the ‘’Shipyard’’ name comes as a result of that because it was home to the Ottoman Navy. There are plenty of coves and sheltered bays to the east side, which is known by some as summer harbour. The west side is subject to strong winds so it is largely ignored. There are some ancient ruins of a settlement called Telandria visible from the sea, and worth exploring on land. It was used by the Byzantines centuries ago.
Some people name this island as Prince Island. Once upon a time there were a lot of wild pigs here; therefore the island was named Domuz (Pork) Island. Many yachts can be found anchoring in protected areas of the island.
Sea Gull Bay is another place that is an idyllic setting, surrounded by fig trees. Its Turkish name is Yavansu because of the quality of the water coming down from the mountains. It is good only for animal watering. This Cove is also known as Seagull Bay (Marti Koyu) because you will find seagull mosaics on the shore. There is a pleasant hike through the pine after which you will need to climb to get to ancient Arymaxa. Arymaxa has a Roman mausoleum, one inscribed in Greek, a Hellenistic tomb also inscribed in Greek, a sarcophagus, and a Byzantine cistern.
Manastir Bay is a volcanic area but everything is now dormant. There are many bays in the Gulf, formed many years ago and it is hard to imagine that the area was never anything than as peaceful as it is today. It is a hilly region covered in pine forest and there is an interesting crater lake as well. An ancient wall runs parallel to the north east coast. The Lycian remains are impressive and there are several opportunities for taking a trail to generally explore. Lydia Network Port is along one of those trails and the bay is a place where blue cruises and all passing yachts are likely to stop for a period; it is too tempting not to do so. Several restaurants with wooden pergolas hug the shore and find custom from the passing yachts. It is not a place for restocking but if you have plenty of supplies on board, you may decide to stay overnight, such is the tranquil beauty of the place.
Sarsala Bay is a popular bay with yachtsmen because it is a natural bay good for swimming or for staying overnight. The attractive bay has a long stony beach, a valley running inland which is covered with trees and is overlooked by Forestry Mountain. A restaurant and pontoon are found in Sarsala Bay where yachts regularly moor.
Bedri Rahmi Bay has a Lycian name of Tasyaka or Dark Bay, a reflection of both its natural beauty and historical significance. Bedri Rahmi Eyuboglu was a famous Turkish literary man who also loved art and painting. Back in 1973 when he was cruising with friends, he drew a fish on a huge rock at the entrance to the bay. It is now known as ''Fish Rock'' which has become known as the name of the whole region. The Bay is well sheltered from any winds and as a result yachts often anchor there. The colour on the slopes is created by the pine trees, olive groves and especially the oleanders. Add to that the blue waters and the beach and the image is amazing.
Boynuzbükü Bay close to Göcek has a series of uninhabited islands, "12 Adalar". It is a very popular place for holidaymakers wanting to sail in the blue waters of Fethiye. Boynuzbükü Bay, surrounded by pine trees, has a restaurant where you can eat while you are relaxing and enjoying the surroundings. There are fruit and vegetable gardens in this clean fresh Bay. It is a perfect place to stop on the way to Fethiye.
The Yassica Islands in the Gulf of Fethiye are visited on a daily basis by trippers as well as yachts that move up and down this coastline. They are uninhabited with no buildings on any of them but they provide great opportunities to anchor and swim. Many have small beaches as well. The vegetation is pine and olive and the shallow waters are ideal for a number of water sports. Certainly, they are very safe for children and hence popular with families. Some of the islands are very close together and it is easy to swim between some of them. If you want to explore it is advisable to have strong footwear with you because the ground is fairly stony. The nearest port to the Islands is Gocek which is the starting point for day trips into the Yassicas. You will get some great photos while you are among these islands and if you stay as the sun goes down, the sunset shot may be the best of the lot.
Your blue cruise ends mid-morning after breakfast and you are likely to already have some lovely memories of your time in the stunning waters of the Turquoise Coast. Gocek is fairly small but interesting. The main shopping street runs parallel to the promenade and there are plenty of shops catering for visitors. If you still have time before you are flying home then Gocek deserves some of it, whether you simply want to sit, relax and gaze out to sea or whether you have last-minute shopping.