TURKEY: Sailing Along Turkey’s Mediterranean Coastline

Quick Note: Being in Kalkan the last couple of weeks has made me reminisce about our FIRST sailing trip we took our FIRST week living in Turkey (September 2016). We actually stayed on the sailboat in this little Kalkan town’s marina! What a fun opportunity to be here again with Sofia and our friends seeing some of some places FOUR years later! I hope you enjoy reminiscing with me!

Also, this article was first featured first in the Lale Magazine May/June 2018 (Pg. 8-11)  – Sailing Along the Mediterranean Coastline

Sailing along the coast of Turkey may have been one of the best vacations my husband, Jason, and I have ever taken. With our ‘want to see every site’ wife married to the ‘one city is enough’ husband, we finally found a travel mode that suited both of our needs.

As we neared the marina, I was excited and had a fear of the unknown simultaneously. Jason summed it up thus, “This could either be a really great idea or a terrible one.” Although I agreed, I leaned more towards the optimistic side, and somehow knew this was a perfect way for us to celebrate his birthday.

Our small flotilla consisted of 3 yachts. Two narrow eight passenger premier yachts, that leaned into the wind when sailing, were equipped with double cabins. The cabins had bunk or double beds and at least two communal bathrooms. 

The larger, spacious catamaran held eight passengers. The private quarters had a double bed and bathroom.  Each yacht had a large kitchen, a communal lounge, and spacious decks for sunbathing.

Our week started with the rules, an overview of sailing protocols, and a review of our itinerary.  Since we were all adults, our skippers sped through the details knowing we were anxious to get on the water and experience what sailing was all about.

Our yacht left the marina and quietly slipped out into the quiet sea leaving the hustle and bustle of city life behind. Soon, after our group soaked in the first sites and experiences of our new adventure in the Mediterranean, we all quickly became like old friends reuniting back together, instead of strangers. There’s truth in the saying that experiences together with others will bring people, known and unknown, closer together. 

Our soft-spoken and likeable skipper proved to be a skilled teacher. With the choppy water, sailing wasn’t always a viable option, so the majority of the time we had to use the engines. 

I quickly abandoned my dream of being silently driven by the wind, and settled for a book and the sun on our first day.

We all rapidly adapted to sea life. Our anchoring and docking skills shined as we assisted the skipper with the more menial sailing tasks. In unison, our group worked to tie the ropes which releases and retrieves the sail to push us one way or the other. We soon realizing how much there is to learn about wind and sailing. But the skipper still made sure we all had a chance to ‘take the helm.’

Our days on the boat were surprisingly serene. With nowhere to go, you’re forced to enjoy the water, sun, and the passing coastline. We noted the change from forest to bush to the rocks that descended straight into the sea. Other boats sailed by further off, respecting the unspoken rules of sailing on the open seas. 

In the mornings we dipped into the chilly water, cooled from the sunless nights. Our breakfast was self-serve and minimal. Halfway through the day our skipper, who also served as our chef, would surprise us with some creative lunch that we would enjoy in between our midday sea explorations. Personal snacks and drinks were welcome on board. We always ended up in a marina in the late afternoon and we ate dinner on dry land. No matter how much we consumed during the day, everyone was starving again by the time we landed at the marina.

Photo Credit: Eric Rowell

Our days went like this. Each day we sailed from one coastal town to the next, the evenings free for exploring the nearest cities by the marinas. The stopovers in the coastal villages allowed us time to browse the many bazaars and markets.

One evening we moored in a secluded cove accessible only by the sailors. Snorkeling in this secluded bay revealed waters packed with sea life and the ever popular sea turtles. This location has gained traction over the years and is now popular enough to boast a large open-air covered restaurant. 

This little oasis along the miles of uninhabited rocky coastline provides solid ground for wobbling first-time sailors to enjoy hearty Turkish casserole dishes, the local ‘catch of the day,’ and even wild hog hunted in the forest. After cruising all say, our dinner followed the Turkish customs, starting after sunset and visiting well into the night, with live music wafting from the background.  

Our group never lacked things to do when we docked at the thriving Turkish fishing villages. Lazier options include strolling on the pristine beaches or partaking of amenities like the hammam—a traditional Turkish bath. Alternatively, we could opt to simply sit at a local bar and enjoy the golden sunset, cocktail in hand.  

More active activities found us sloshing through the river and healing mud of a nearby gorge or hiking through world-famous UNESCO sites. Another day, we explored a ‘ghost town,’ deserted since 1927, where we meandered through thousands of dilapidated stone homes. 

Sailing is like a road trip on the water. Instead of stopping off at a park or a truck stop, you can do activities such as snorkeling and paddle boards, while cooling off from the summer heat, or if we felt energetic, taking a hike.

Patara Beach = Photo Credit: Eric Rowell

Championship yachtsman, K. Adlard Coles once said, “Our voyage had commenced, and at last we were away, gliding through the clean water, past the reeds. Care was lifted from our shoulders, for we were free from advice, pessimism, officialism, heat and hot air.” Sailing on the Turkish Coast lifts the cares and burdens from your life and takes you far away from what worries you.

As Ratty states in the book Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: There is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. In or out of ’em, it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not.

And from our experience at sea, I couldn’t agree more.

Photo Credit: Eric Rowell

Now to you:

  • Have you been sailing before?
  • If so, where did you go?
  • Have you sailed in Turkey?
  • What was your experience like?

I’m so curious to know! Let me know in the comments below!

 

WRITING: Cyprus Guide featured on Nomadasauras

NOMADasaurus featured my article titled Beginner’s Guide To Backpacking In Cyprus. The article covers the highlights of our time in Cyprus and what cities and sites you should see.  The article covers sites in and near Paphos and the navigating the divided capital of Nicosia. There is an in-depth guide for the country info and all the where to stay, eat, and when to go!

NOMADasaurus is Australia’s biggest adventure travel blog.  Travel writers and photographers Alesha Bradford and Jarryd Salem aim “to inspire people to seek out new adventures and meaningful travel experiences.”

Here is the start of the article:

Cyprus wins major historical points. By legend, this 9,250 km island is the birthplace of the ancient Greek goddess of love Aphrodite. However, the modern enmity between its Greek and Turkish inhabitants rivals ancient Greek mythology with its continued reconciliation efforts today.

In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus twice and after the 2nd invasion, both parties established the ceasefire which is known as the Green Line.

Both sides effectively partitioned the United Nations troops patrolled this “Green Line” dividing the two parts: the northern third inhabited by Turkish Cypriots and the southern two-thirds by Greek Cypriots.

Both Turkish and Greek people were moved hastily to their matching nationality’s side and until 2008, the border remained closed due to the Turkish occupation of the north side of the island.

Neither the United States nor any country, other than Turkey, recognizes the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.

Sprinkled with castles, churches, monasteries, mosaics, white-sand beaches along the blue seas, Cyprus is also a land for romantics.

 

My own account of our 4-day itinerary for Cyprus is one of our top hits on this website. Enjoy reading a more personal account or listen to our podcast episode instead.

WRITING: Snowy Weekend in Cappadocia in Lale Magazine

Lale Magazine featured my article titled Snowy Weekend in Cappadocia in their January/February 2018. The article covers a romantic weekend getaway to the snowy land of Cappadocia. The curved canyons of speckled volcanic rock jutting 2 to 3 stories into the chilled winter air were dusted with the recent fluffy snowfall!

The expat magazine, Lale Magazine, is produced by the IWI, International Women of Istanbul. The bi-monthly magazine is shipped to over 600 private home, as well as all advertisers and sponsors. The readers are comprised mostly of Turkish nationals married to foreigners, but also foreigners living in Istanbul. It is full of helpful information about local schools, exhibits for art and workshops, and experiences with IWI groups. There aren’t a lot of English print magazines in Turkey, so this is a fun magazine to have available!

Here is the start of the article:

While most tourists prefer to visit Cappadocia, in central Turkey, in the warmer summer temperatures, our winter travels there proved much more rewarding. Snow covers the usual brown facade and dresses the rocks in white, giving the area a beautiful, wintery glow.

The area prides itself on its carpet-weaving, wines, and the distinctive red pottery of Avanos. The snow and colder weather didn’t stop store owners or their warm rooms from inviting customers into their galleries.

Tour agencies in the region offer four tour routes labeled Green, Red, Blue, and Purple. To best explore Cappadocia you can choose a self-guided, well-traveled tour using a map in a rental car, or via a tour company.  Private day guides are always available and cost less during the offseason. Your guided tour may or may not include the entrance tickets and lunch, so be sure to clarify this before agreeing on a price. Take the Green and Red Tours for the more popular sites or, the less-traveled, Blue and Purple Tours if you have been before.

Continue reading here… or scroll down (flip to page 42).

Catie FunkTravels Istanbul Lale Magazine Cappadocia Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Istanbul Lale Magazine Cappadocia Turkey

Catie FunkTravels Istanbul Lale Magazine Cappadocia Turkey

 

You can also view the article via the link below. Flip to page 42.

 

Thank you, Lale Magazine for the feature. I am honored to be working with you as a writer.

 

See my past work published in the Lale Magazine:

For more pictures and my other accounts of our weekend in snow-covered Cappadocia, read more via the links below:

Episode027: When there is plenty of room at the Inn

Now to you:

Did you enjoy the article?

Would you go in the winter?