Gocek to Kekova
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yesilkoy means Green Village in Turkish and it offers excellent shelter from the prevailing winds because of the surrounding mountains. The slopes on this hilly coast are filled with maquis and olive groves.
Kas, a small fishing village over the years, has developed into a small town, important for tourism, the yachts regularly visiting and using its new extended marina, and for scuba diving. It is one of the main dive centres on the Turkey south and west coast. The rocky coastline and clear turquoise sea make a great colour contrast. The ancient ruins of Antiphellos remind visitors of its history; there is a small amphitheatre not too far from the harbour itself looking down from the town to the sea. It was an old Greek village first inhabited by the Lycians and the Greek Island of Meis is just offshore, the most easterly of the Dodecanese. It was important both to the Romans and Byzantines in olden days and remains a good base for exploring the history of the region. It has plenty of shops, bars and restaurants and is a good place for restocking during a blue cruise. A modern road now links it west to Kalkan and beyond and east towards Antalya.
Theimussa is situated about 36 kilometres east from Kas. The Bay is sheltered, surrounded on three sides. Theimussa is an importance place for yachts that regular anchor here. There is easy access to the island of Kekova and the sunken city. Ruins of castle walls are still seen on small hill, some of which are actually under the waters.
Kekova, east of Kas, is a stunning region both because of its natural beauty but its rich history. The ancient city of Aperiai on the Peninsula is en route as are the islets of Kara and Toprak Ara. Yachts regularly visit the Bay at Kekova close to the city of Apollonia which dates back to ancient times. The sunken city which slipped into the sea after an earthquake can be seen through the clear waters. Simena Castle is another nearby attraction, looking out across the sea in a dominant defensive position. Old summer houses still stand here and tourists are attracted in large numbers, whether sailing the seas or now travelling along the modern road from either direction.
Kalkan is located below the Taurus Mountains, the beginning of a stunning stretch of coast heading easy that hugs the shore. Many of its properties are built on the slope with the small town entre located below. The harbour is small with many bars, cafes and restaurants located close by. Small shops sell traditional and souvenir goods. The locals make olive oil soap, a great little present and most are now involved in some form of tourism activity. There is plenty of colour from the flowers on balconies as well of course as the blue of the sea and sky. It is a popular resort with oversea visitors and many local properties are foreign owned. Blue cruise voyagers are regular visitors and the fish in the restaurant are likely to come out of the waters the same day.
Kaputas Beach is a lovely cove, with nice sand and great for swimming. It is located below an impressive mountain gorge. It is a beach often used in travel brochures and promotions for Turkey but that has not led to big crowds going there. It is between Kas and Kalkan where steep hills meet with the sea and form a cove. The sea can be quite rough at times and is fairly deep near the beach so it is not a place for children.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.