Remembering Icarus: 2000–Sailing Along The Turkish Coast

/Remembering Icarus: 2000–Sailing Along The Turkish Coast

Remembering Icarus: 2000–Sailing Along The Turkish Coast


After sending Susanne off back to San Francisco and making the easy transit from Kos to Marmaris, Turkey, we settled in for a few days in the lovely marina there and then welcomed the arrival of Shadee, the eldest of our three daughters.

Shadee, Croatia, Sailing

She was with us for about ten days and it was a delight to have two of our children sailing with us this summer!

We began by sailing down the coast of Turkey–that famous Turquoise Coast–and into large bay that shelters the towns of Gocek and Fethiye.  It was one of our favorites because its perimeter is lined with lovely small coves which provide excellent anchorage, even though sometimes the shoreline drops very precipitously to considerable depths and requires a good deal of maneuvering to safely anchor the boat.  First step is to drop three hundred feet of chain and the anchor a decent distance from shore, then to reverse to approximately where we wanted Icarus from shore.  Then Dave would swim ashore with a line in his teeth or around his shoulders and tie it to something ashore–a tree, a large boulder, or in this case, a post or ‘spile’ embedded in concrete.  Finally we pulled the anchor chain in until the anchor seemed securely holding and the chain taut.  And there we were, ready to take Zipper the dingy ashore!


We spent a couple of pleasant days swimming and hiking in the forests above the bay, then headed across the bay to Fethiye, a larger city on the eastern end of the island.  What drew us there was a town now called Kayakoy, just five miles from Fethiye, which long ago in BC times was a Lycian city. Later held by both the Persians and the Romans, in the 18th century it was expanded as a Greek city, among many others in modern Turkey.  What makes it so interesting is that it is today a giant ghost town.  After the Greeks abandoned it, the Turks never settled there for fear of the ghosts they believe still inhabit it.

Croatia, Sailing

You might not know that as a result of the 1919 to 1922 Greco-Turkish War, virtually all of the Greek residents of Turkey were expelled, many evacuated from Smyrna, now called Izmir.  Ernest Hemingway described this evacuation in ‘interchapters’ in his first book, In Our Times, and the first third of Jeffrey Eugenides’ Pulitzer Prize novel Middlesex is based on his family’s own evacuation from a similar town.  Ironically, the family settled almost across the street (named, of course, Middlesex) from the house Dave grew up in, and in the same community where Bonnie spent her childhood.

Close by was a river which led us up to a set of Lycian tombs, typical of those which dot the entire region.  The Lycians were unique for several reasons.  The earliest evidence of their culture is about 4000 BC and for centuries they were able to accommodate their position between the Hittites, the Greeks and others, forming in the process the first democratic federation in recorded history.  They were also strongly matriarchal with sons, for instance, taking their mothers’ names instead of their fathers’.  And they tended to frequently bury their dead in temple structures cut high into cliffsides.  Here are a couple of examples we found up a small river after traversing a broad marshy area between it and the sea.


Lycian tombs, Dalyan, Turkey, Shadee, Sailing 2000

We then continued down the coast to the east to one of our very favorite places in the entire Mediterranean, a large bay whose entrance is protected by a significant island.  Sailors call it Kekova Roads, and the bay is filled with nearly fresh water from several rivers which feed it.  It is protected as a refuge for wildfowl and has a serenity that is difficult to even describe, particularly after the dawn.

Kale Koy, Kekova Roads, Turkey, Sailing_2


It also features a man and his son who drew up each morning with freshly baked bread for sale.  We were always buyers.

Icarus, Delivering fresh bread to Icarus, Kekova Roads, Turkey

There is a modest town in the bay as well, called Kale Koy, and while pretty rustic still manages to appear attractive as one approaches.

*Kale Koy, Kekova Roads, Turkey, Sailing

Ashore it climbs up the hill towards its fortification against pirates, and is filled with shops selling beautiful Turkish fabrics and particularly carpets.


The narrow lanes which climb the hill are primitive but colorful with plants and flowers hanging down the walls everywhere.

Kale Koy, Kekova Roads, Turkey, Sailing_3

and some of the carpets are lovely.

Kale Koy, Kekova Roads, Turkey, Sailing_4

We bought one in red from these young gentlemen and it adorned our living room for years in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

We also discovered the most primitive ‘gas pump’ we had ever seen while hiking up the hillside.  While it pumped diesel fuel instead of gasoline, it was still a stunner!  The wonders of improvisation!

Kale Koy, Kekova Roads, Turkey, Sailing_5

But there is one more thing about the bay at Kekova Roads that amazes–a whole ancient town under water.  It was called Simena and was Lycian.  But in the second century A.D. it and the surrounding area were hit by a series of very strong earthquakes and the earth beneath the town simply dropped, leaving the Simena under water.  If you look closely at the following photographs you can see the outlines of walls, doorways, even the rooflines of buildings when that part of the structure remains out of the water.

Sunken ruins Simena, Sailing, Turkey_2

Sunken ruins Simena, Sailing, Turkey,

Sailing, Turkey, Sunken Lycian city, Simena founded 4CBC

Sunken ruins Simena, Sailing, Turkey

No one is allowed to swim over the site anymore, but we were able to check out the entire submerged town in Zipper, our dinghy and found it absolutely fascinating!

Fearing that the summer was beginning to come to a close, and wanting to see more sights in Turkey, we returned to Marmaris, put Shadee in a taxi for the small local airport, and rented a car for a week to do some further exploring.

We headed first towards Ephesus, the famous Roman city which served as the capital of Roman holdings on what is today Turkey.  Close by we discovered what is reputed to be the site of where Mary, mother of Jesus, is said to have spent her last days.  There stands a huge wish and prayer board, covered with tatters of paper much like the Western Wall in Jerusalem.


Ephesus itself stands on a gentle hillside which slides down to the sea, and has a main street lined with ruins from that era.


While many of the buildings have not been restored to the degree we were accustomed to, it was still overwhelming in its extent and complexity with its central temple dominating the entire site.


Inside, protected a bit from the damage weather can do, are ceiling panels which are magnificent in their scale and detail.


And on the outer reaches of the site is a huge amphitheater where the citizenry enjoyed both music, theater and gladiators in full battle.


We then turned east and made the long drive across much of Anatolia to those strange structures we all know as Cappadocia.  There we found the landscape covered with tall pinnacles made of what we want to call ‘tufa,’ a state between dirt and stone and thus relatively easy to carve–to the point of entire enclosed structures as in the photo at the top of this posting.  It is an unreal landscape, like being on another planet, and we were even able to spend the night in one of them.  Here is a look at our hotel entrance.


Although it was relatively chilly that night, we were warm and comfortable inside.

We also visited a set of tunnels, about five stories in depth, where for decades Christians hid out from their oppressors.  The complex is amazing, equipped with everything from eating rooms to toilets to bedrooms and even several wells, all underground.  They reminded us of the tunnels the Viet Cong dug in Vietnam, but these were even more extensive and complex.

We then returned to the coast intent on revisiting the small village of Kusadasi, famous for a castle on shore and another just offshore, both built by crusaders on their way to the Holy Lands.

Kusadasi, Turkey , Sailing, April 2002

We returned because in the fall of 1973 while hitchhiking the coast of Turkey, Dave had spent a week here staying with a family in a low structure made of stone but with lots of gaps between them, as they eked out a living growing tomatoes.  The family was wonderful and it was truly rewarding to spend time and begin to understand the lives of a farming family in thoroughly rural Turkey.

Dave has always carried a series of pictures of the family and the town from his stay there, and had long wanted to return to see if the family was still there.  So when we arrived we went to what appeared to be the central tea shop and showed the photographs to the men gathered there.  Most said that they did not recognize the family from the photos, but one said that he knew who they were and led us off, first to a pharmacy, then to a barbershop, and finally to another tea shop where a different group of men were assembled.  He gathered them all around the photos, and one of those there, the man with the baseball hat and peering over his friend’s shoulder, was Jamal, youngest of the children of the family Dave stayed with.

Turkey, David, Kusadasi_2

We were able to talk with the help of one of the others who acted as translator, and shared the remembrances of that long ago time.  And as you can see, we drew quite a crowd.

Turkey, David, Kusadasi

From Kusadasi we returned to Marmaris, prepared Icarus for the long winter ahead, and flew back to the United States and more specifically to the home we had purchased the prior February but had never yet lived in.  There was a lot to look forward to!

2019-01-02T21:10:13-07:00February 4th, 2016|Categories: Mediterranean Sea, Turkey|


  1. ruth hack February 5, 2016 at 10:52 am - Reply

    Hi bonnie and dave

    Another visit to turkey’s exquisite coast. Xx thank you.

    • Dave Law April 19, 2016 at 10:56 am - Reply

      Really love that coastline, Ruth. One of the best in the world.

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