The Fethiye Gulf has been inhabited for eons.  Civilisations have risen and fallen, cities built and abandoned.  Legends told and ruins explored give a tantalising glimpse into just how long humans have inhabited these lands and how they have done so.  The Fethiye Gulf is a part of what is known as the Lycian coast or the Turquoise Coast. There is a 500 km walk that winds its way along the coastal margins here past tombs of the Lycians, old colonnades of Greek origins, Roman ruins and finally Byzantine homes and churches.  Many of the ruins have been reused and repurposed over the generations and may now be part of a local building, goat shed or used to make a jetty even.

Repurposed Turkish style

The Turkish government is well aware of the cultural significance and much is being done to preserve the environment and the heritage.  A few major earthquakes haven’t helped.  The town of Fethiye was levelled for the second time in 1957 and because of this ancient Telemessos on which it is built is no longer really visible at all.  A crusader castle dating from the 15th century and a part of the large network of the Knights of St John sits above the town, the visible castle walls snaking up the hillside.

The Lyceans didn’t leave much behind but they left amazing tombs
Ruin Bay or Cleopatras Bathhouse (apparently she never came here!)

This adds to the enjoyment of this region but really the natural beauty is extraordinary and the indented coastline, deeps bays, gorgeous and clean waters  are the stars of the show here.  Turtles swim past, ancient pine forests are protected and sweep all the way down the steep hillsides ending on the rocky shores and snow still caps the high mountains to the East – even now on June 14th.

You can see the snow in the far distance from beautiful Tomb Bay

So, what about us in this glorious environment? Well it’s been very interesting. We are able to sail around and sit on anchor or moored with lines to shore if we run our generator for a few hours every day to top up the house batteries (the alternator being on the blink means it isn’t being charged). We have explored the gulf and stayed in some absolutely gorgeous places the variety of which you can see in the photos. We have walked to the ancient ruins of Lydae, accessible only by walkers coming from boats, walked through pine forests and swum in crystal clear waters with baby squid, turtles and schools of fish swimming by. We have tied up to a pier that is free if you eat at the restaurant (and has a generator of its own that we can charge our batteries with in the evening) and walked to the Lycian tombs from there.

And we are on a very steep learning curve…anchoring techniques, tying lines to rocks onshore and how to drop your anchor in the spot that means you will be perfectly aligned and safe, getting our anchor untangled when a super yacht lays his over ours, getting in and out of tight marina berths, getting into tight restaurant pier, knowing when to anchor in less than ideal conditions and when to say no and find somewhere else.  All of this, you will note is about us and our relationship to the land…our overnight stops.  The sailing is smooth and easy.  20 knots of breeze, flat, calm waters in the gulf and Intention romping along at 7 knots under jib alone. We are loving the boat and there are no issues with this part of our journeying.

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We are learning such a lot about ourselves too.  I do know most of it but I am watching as certain parts of our personalities are being dialled up in this environment.  The desire to get things right, yup.  Not wanting to bother, annoy or be a burden to others, not wanting to do the wrong thing. Yup.  Getting stressed when we move from one place to another and what type of anchoring that might mean (me in particular). And we know it’s just about practise and familiarity.  Doing stuff over and over again until we get our routines clear and that it’s so automatic we don’t have to think it through carefully every time.  Like get your bathers on before you get wherever you are going in case you have a mad dash swim to shore to get that stern line on or putting your flip flops on before you go to drop the anchor as the deck is HOT!  It’s little things but everything happens very quickly so organisation is the key.  Getting there on that…phew.

Classic example of boats anchored with a line ashore to keep them all in the same direction in a tight anchorage

Of course, it’s all about getting to know the boat and by extension ourselves.  We are totally up for both of those things but it takes me back to an old counselling model where you start out incompetent and you don’t know it…then you move into conscious incompetence.  Where you know you are not getting it!  Then with time and practise comes conscious competence and lastly you are able to not think everything through and do things unconsciously with competence.  We are in between step 2 and 3 and its sometimes painful for me to see my incompetence so clearly. This is the space that my fear lives and as good old Freud knew and said so well we like to move away from pain and move towards pleasure.  On a boat you don’t get that option because one and the other are intimately entwined…. You do have to move through your fear to get to that pleasure.  Until you feel that unconscious competence.  I think that’s the point where people start looking to the horizon and whisper to themselves “So what’s next?”

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Posted by:cathmaddox

8 replies on “A Meditation on Boat life

  1. Hi Cathy & Rick. Great blog & have enjoyed reading. We are in beautiful Simena 45nm (as the crow flys) from you. We understand your appreciation of the history, tombs & wonderful people of this area just having walked 9 days on the track of the Lycian Way. Amazing. It is a beautiful area. Well written Cathy. Love Cous.

      1. We have spent some of our time in the Mts. but this is the best boating waterway we have seen. It is fabulous. We have been staying in the Ankh Cafe right on the water. Xx

  2. Sorry. Did not actually answer your question. Yes Simena is on Kekova Roads & is definitely the best waterway we have seen. Xx

  3. Isn’t it great conversing with cousins in the same time zone. Margie and I did 4 years ago.
    Oh Cath I didn’t realise the sea life would be so abundant. Sounds beautiful. We will have to share Turkey cave photos one day. XX

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