37:01.64N 27:25.15E Bodrum
Monday 12th May, 2014.
Up like larks, breakfast and on our way. We waved to our neighbours and it was goodbye to Datca harbour and onwards to Bodrum. The scenery along the Datca peninsula is very charming but you hope each headland will be the last in order to turn north and head across to Bodrum. Jim had the main up and down all along this piece of coastline as the wind came and went. We went past Knidos being the last headland which was the port where there is a shrine to Aphrodite. We could see from being in close the remains of a theatre dating from 360 BC. This area has always been a military area with high look outposts all along the high coastline.
It was twenty miles to the final headland and once we were out in the main channel between Kos and Turkey the wind finally blew in our favour. With 14 or 15 knots of wind we were doing 8 to 9 knots under sail and the engine was silent. Once we left the last headland of Kos behind the wind dropped slightly but we sailed into Bodrum’s very big bay and only took the sails down once we had decided on our place to anchor and made for it. We are in sight of the Castle of St. Peter and in a small bay with four big hotels but far enough off the beach that we are not in anyone’s way. We have watched a couple of gulets with full sail practising for the Bodrum cup held each year in September go out and return a couple of hours later. Both looked in excellent condition with lovely sails. A pirate ship has gone out with a party who appeared to be having dinner on board and now it is dark the ship has reappeared with lights making it look like a pirate’s hat going through the water. All good fun!
The Castle of St. Peter was begun in 1406 by the Knights of St. John. Its five towers represent the five nationalities that lived there (English, French, German, Spanish and Italian). When Suleyman the Magnificent conquered Rhodes in 1523 both Bodrum and Rhodes came under Ottoman rule and the Knights left for Malta. Neglected for centuries the castle became a prison in 1895 and was damaged by shells from a French warship during World War I. In the early 1960’s it was used to store artefacts by local sponge divers. A Turkish/American partnership to restore the castle put undersea treasures found around Turkey on display and the museum has won international acclaim. The castle looks wonderful flood lit.
The town of Bodrum has a waterfront with beaches and a marina. The ancient town was known as Halicarnassus having being built by Mausolu (375-53 BC) and being enclosed by a city wall. Most of it was destroyed by Alexandra the Great in the 4th century. Herodotus the father of written history was born here in 484 BC. Bodrum of today was the first Turkish town to experience a tourist boom in the 1970’s.
The wind has dropped and we have had roast chicken for dinner and now we are enjoying watching the hotels coming alive with lights and music.