Thursday, 9 June 2011

Oinoanda, Turkey

Monday 9th May
We left the anchorage at 0900 hrs after our restless night, but in return, a beautiful morning that was calm with nice blue skies. There was no wind so we had to motor, and along the way we cruised in close to the big resort towns along the coast.

John had been told about the Yacht Classic Hotel Marina in Fethiye and that it was worth an overnight stay. Mooring fee was 53 Euros a night, but if we dined in the hotel restaurant, the price was slashed by 50%, and..... in Turkish Lira. A great bargain at TL27.00 – and with full use of the hotel facilities!

The hotel is definitely a good find and was just beautiful. After we had moored, we all headed for long hot showers that we been missing since we left Netsel Marina a week ago. Later we walked the short distance into town and had some lunch. We all went for shaves and haircuts and then wandered back to Awatea, via the bar at the Hotel. A beautiful modern tropical bar situated opposite the restaurant and next to the stunning swimming pool.

The evening was spent enjoying a great dinner at this very special place.

Tuesday 10th May
Awoke to another lovely sunny day! Robert arranged a rental car for some local sightseeing but more importantly to drive Murray to Dalaman airport the next day. We called into the weekly local markets and wandered about for an hour. Each large town has a market day each week. Just amazing what they have for sale including beautifully fresh produce, and we were able to stock up with some nice fruit and vegetables.

We then headed out of town on a mission to try and find the ruins of the city Oinoanda. Some Kiwi friends had given John some very rough directions on how to get there. It was indeed a hit and miss situation – ie: turn left at the next road where the signpost is lying on the ground, however after 90 min driving and a stop for lunch we made it to the village. 

As per our online research we left the car in the village and started walking down a path towards the hills. 

The instructions became confusing when we couldn’t locate the two big stones referred to, and as we were trying to get our bearings a man from the village came to our rescue and produced an official Guide identification. He didn’t speak a word of English, but obviously knew where we wanted to go and indicated that there was no charge.

It was a long and hard walk virtually to the top of a mountain range, but once we got there, it was just amazing. This site is so remote and so off the tourist map. It is a stiff 1.5km hike up rocky goat tracks rising 300 metres above the village of ─░ncealiler (1200m alt.). - . 

Desmond had tried to use Tomtom GPS but nothing was found. This is indeed a lost ancient city!!! It is hard to believe the incredible ruins of this amazing piece of history, and we were the only ones there. 

We were probably the only people for the month of May! The aqua duct channeling system, ruined castles with tall towers, and roads made up of slabs of granite that last thousands of years dating back to the Hellenistic times. 

Just as we thought we had seen it all, further along the peak of the hill we were lead to another area which was even bigger!!!

Huge Halls, a huge amphitheater, Forum, bathhouse and the Gymnasium where the soldiers trained, all dating back to Roman times. This was indeed a mega city!

We spent about 3 hours lost in this ancient world and then descended back to the village to reward ourselves with a cold Efes beer at the local shop/tavern. We joined the locals sitting around on plastic stools and shortly after were joined by the local mayor, who rode up on his scooter dressed with jacket and tie and who shook hands with each of us in a formal welcome. Obviously they do not entertain strangers very often, especially the crew of the Awatea from New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia, as we were very much the centre of attention, but they were very hospitable (and the beer was nice and cold)!

We returned to the Classic Yacht marina hotel for another great dinner. Everyone put on their Awatea tee-shirts for an official photo for Murray’s farewell dinner, as he was flying home to Brisbane the next morning. The poor guy didn’t want to know where we were heading to next, as all he had to think about was returning to work!

Wednesday 11th May
We were up early to take Muzza to the airport for his flight. We stopped off at Gocek for breakfast, and after delivering him safely to the airport returned to Fethiye and dropped back the rental car.

We arrived back onboard just as the skies darkened, and soon we were in the midst of a wild thunder storm with 60 knots wind gusts and even some hail stones, but thankfully it only lasted around 20 minutes. We heard that some boats had got into difficulties and needed assistance. It was very lucky that we had decided to stay and spend another night, otherwise we could have been one of them.

Tonight, we went to the Yacht Club, a sister hotel for dinner. Once again the meal was very nice however it rained nonstop all night.

Thursday 12th May
The rain finally stopped at about 0900 hours. With the wild weather of the previous day in mind, we were advised to stay another day by some of the other yachties. In contradiction the online weather forecast was not so bad, so we decided to return to Marmaris.

We left at 1050 hours. There were some light showers however the sea was calm and very light winds which meant we had to motor all day, arriving home to Netsel Marina at 18.30 hours. Derek had a roast of beef in the oven, which was a real treat!

Awatea’s first ever Turkey East coast exploration chapter was at an end, but there were wonderful memories of historical citadels, beautiful bays and inlets, interesting towns and all the natural beauty of Turkey with great sailing and last but not least, heaps of joyful moments together.

Thanks to Murray who gave so much help and advice on Awatea’s engineering side, as well as his prowess in the galley with his renowned pizzas and Chinese cooking that will be long rembered!!

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