After a very quick 24-hour turnaround to the town of Kas we were back in Kekova to make sure we had covered the best of it. We needed to just do the details of life in Kas as Kekova is a little too far off the beaten track. Poo pump out (yep, another 2 weeks were up), changing money, phone plans and comprehensive shopping were all needed so we went back along the coast on a 3- 4 hour sail in each direction to do this.
Arriving back, we focussed our attention on the easternmost of the islands. Small islets dot themselves amongst shoal patches. The water soars upwards from 70 metres deep to about 5 in places with jagged rocks breaking the surface as a stark reminder of the many shipwrecks on this coast. The colour being a giveaway as it goes from deep blue to azure and turquoise as it gets shallow. We transit these areas in full sunlight to see clearly what is actually below us rather than just relying on our charts and GPS. As the days went by and we moved in and out of these areas it became more second nature and my fear dropped away. Like so many things about life on the water time, familiarity and practice are what is required to feel comfortable.
After another of many repairs to the minx of a dinghy we ventured out to a nearby cave to see the water colour, sea vegetables in bright blue, red and orange and hear the squeaking of tiny micro bats.
From there we squeezed through a tiny channel between islands and along to a narrow inlet with the ruins of a church in it. It was one of the most picturesque places I’ve seen and there was a palpable sense of tranquillity there. Few boats or people come in to check it out, a mistake in my book.
Then it was back to our boat in the most magic of anchorages that we had claimed by getting set up in early in the day behind a small islet with a narrow channel alongside. A steady stream of day tripper boats and some yachts went past. A large Gulet sent his deckhand to try to persuade us to move suggesting he came every week and we were blocking his access, and warning us of sometimes dangerous winds there. We wondered what booking service he used as we politely declined to move for him. The view of the almost full moon rising above the hills was well worth holding our ground for and we saw him head in there the following evening.
As the weather gods were smiling the following morning, we decided to motor about a half hour away to anchor and then hop in the dinghy to go up a tiny freshwater river to see the ruins of Andriake.
We dropped the pick in water of perfect clarity among a number of large turtles and checked the minxy dinghy to see if she had gone down overnight or taken on more water. Ricks repair number 3000 seemed to have done the trick. So off we went up this small startlingly clear river for several kilometres until we reached a weir. We passed many turtles and fish of all sizes, ruins of ancient Andriake that had half disappeared when an earthquake changed the course of the river submerging much of it, restaurants, and a boatyard. Soon as we left the dinghy, we took a wrong turn as fat drops of rain from a summer storm splatted gently upon us. The first ruins were close by…through someone’s goat pasture and spindly pomegranate trees to the back of the industrial waster disposal dump. Ruins of 2 types, ancient and modern. Coexisting as they do here in Turkey, layers of history butted right up alongside the modern world.
Given we’d headed towards the town of Demre and the basilica of St Nicholas we kept on walking through acres of plastic-coated greenhouses, with small drum fires inside to warm the air for winter growing or filled to the brim with bright red tomatoes of all sizes, ready for picking. We took a quick look at the Basilica, which was undergoing a lot of renovation and indeed, had done so over the centuries at various times, which somehow had left it a bit of a mish mash of styles. Given it had been excavated from 6 metres below the current ground height we wondered just what else remained under the new town of Demre. All of which would have been covered by alluvial sand and mud when that earthquake changed the course of the river.
After lunch and more rain, we called for a taxi and got the speediest lady taxi driver in Turkey who delivered us heart-stoppingly quickly to our next destination, the ruins of ancient Myra. Another Lycean tomb village blended with Roman ruins and with a spectacular backdrop of high volcanic cliffs covered with verdant green vegetation. Luckily for us the rain had scared off all the other tourists apart from us and we explored the tombs and the 10,000-seat amphitheatre with only the local wildlife to keep us company. And it was spectacular.
Thoroughly exhausted we took our speedy lady taxi back to the dinghy, back down the creek and onto the boat. We returned to one of our favourite easy anchorages that we could just anchor in and not swim lines ashore then waited for the arrival of the full strawberry moon.
A change in wind direction saw us heading back west to one of our favourite anchorages called Woodhouse Bay, behind a tiny reef where we anchored in turquoise water with many the day tripper boats. But they always leave after a swim and a BBQ lunch and soon enough we had it to ourselves. Every time you swim in this area it’s a surprise as freshwater vents are everywhere and can change the water temperature by about 10 degrees so a lovely aimless paddle can turn into a sprint to warm up and get away from the cold fresh water patches. It’s very cool, particularly as summer seemed to have arrived in full force.
We returned to Andriake to visit the actual ruins and the wonderful Lycean History Museum. The ruins were great, and an early arrival meant we were the only ones visiting. The highlight here was the most fantastic cistern under the main town Agora. Beautiful repeating archways and the cool stillness made it feel more like a temple than a water reservoir. Remains of churches, baths, the town quays, and a large granary that now houses the museum were also of note.
The museum was something else. Newly curated and still being finished off it was a treasure house of artifacts covering centuries from 1500 BC to 1500 AD. I was particularly impressed with the 2-3rd century AD Roman Glassware, the pots and coins dating back to 1500 BC.
A final dinner in Ukagiz and we were ready to leave Kekova Roads after a wonderful 3 weeks there.
Prior to sunrise the next morning we were up, coffee was made, and we departed from this most beautiful coast feeling very glad we made the effort to get here. It really had everything we love about this lifestyle. Incredible water, both warm and cold! Picturesque anchorages everywhere and a history that had me dreaming of earthquakes and pirates and sunken treasure every night.