We ended up staying in 3 different marinas in Marmaris organising quotes for work on the boat – but as we head further east to explore the Turquoise Coast we are still undecided who is doing what and when. Our first leg along the coast was made more challenging by passing through (or past) a restricted military area. We were planning to go through it, but the number of calls from coastguards to sailing boats and the large number of naval ships zig-zagging through the area made us change our minds & head out to sea. Loads of other boats passed through with impunity though, so we couldn’t work out what was going on really.
First stop was the bay at Ekincik, which is dedicated to yachties visiting the nearby ruins and tombs. It’s a nice enough bay, with many boats anchored off a tan coloured beach, but with a glorious backdrop of wooded hills. We’ve hardly seen any woods since leaving the Ionian, so this was a welcome sight, especially as the trees moderate the downdrafts from the hills at night. The deal here is that the local tripper boats spot the newcomers each day, then come around in the evening to find out who wants to do what the following day. We arranged for a 5 hour trip, sharing the boat with 6 others from the yacht next door.
The trip took us up the Dalyan river about 5 miles away, stopping first at a “turtle beach”. All the egg laying was finished in the early summer, but we could certainly see all the signs of hatchlings having dug their way out of the sand the previous night. Their trails led off in all directions – not many of them directly to the sea, and rather too many ending in bird’s footprints, poor things. Judging by the huge numbers of trails after just one night though, it’s hard to imagine these loggerheads being a threatened species around here. We had another quick stop inside the mouth of the river where fully grown turtles were being enticed into view by the offer of tasty blue swimmer crabs dangled in the water.
Then on to Caunos, a very atmospheric site with a mix of Greek and Roman ruins dating from around 800BC to 200BC. Just upstream are some of the Lycian rock tombs for which this part of Turkey is renowned. These date from somewhere 1000BC or earlier and are a magnificent sight in their position on the riverside cliff face here near the town of Dalyan.
The 2nd century BC theatre, plus a local resident seeking culture! Above is part of the agora overlooking ancient harbour which has long since silted up.
Some of the rock tombs with the largest reputedly that of the royal family.