Bodrum to Didim – the Coast of Little Boxes 2


Little Boxes on the Hillside

A song kept popping into my head as we headed north from Bodrum. ‘Little Boxes’. The coast is dotted with thousands of white cubes tumbling down the hillsides. They’re summer homes and holiday villas, but we wondered how many of them will actually have people in them this summer. At least the holiday developments are all low rise though.

All we needed was for someone to write a song about ‘fish farms’ to provide an alternative ear worm to represent the other major feature of the area we passed through.

Little boxes tumbling down the hillside

Around Cape Petera to Yalikavak

We don’t seem to be doing very well with the weather. The day we were ashore in Bodrum, the wind blew from the south for most of the day which would have been great for crossing the Gokova Gulf if only it had been forecast!

After two nights of the Gumbet boom-boom it was time to move on. Light westerlies were forecast which should make the rounding of Cape Petera non too troublesome. The wind did pick up for a while on our way there but by the time we rounded it was light again. We had more trouble from the wakes of the huge powerboats that regularly whizzed close by.

Powerboats and superyachts have been the most common boats we’ve seen the last few days. A handful of yachts and even less foreign flagged cruisers. Where is everyone?

We looked into Gumersluk on our way past, but it was pretty full so we continued onto Yalikava where there were even more mega boats. We found a spot to anchor amongst the mooring buoys in the bay with the pipelines running through it, obviously not anchoring over the pipes and finding very good holding in sand/mud. Kids from a sailing club used us as a sailing mark, it looked good fun with a nice breeze powering their dinghys along.

After a few noise disturbed nights and some early starts, we were hoping for a peaceful night. It started off well. Then at 4:50am the mosque on the hill behind us started up with it’s call to prayer. Their speaker system must have been set to 11 it was that loud! I guess we’ve done well though, this being the first time we’ve been woken by the morning call in the two months we’ve been in Turkey. I hope the holiday homes all around have good double glazing and air-con.

The noisy mosque

Kuyucak Limani

On again the next day, passing coves full of mostly powerboats. Even the gulets were outnumbered by them. We passed between the fish farms that lie off Salih Adesi and around to the eastern side where the pilot book says there is a cove good for anchoring. When we got there we found a line of buoys running from the villa across to the other side with a gap for small boats to pass through.

Signs on the beach said you could not venture off the beach, private property. We could have dropped the hook outside the buoys but along with a nausea inducing pong of dead fish, the place had a very unwelcoming feel to it. Instead we went into Kuyucak Limani and anchored in good holding mud. We were the only visiting boat. The wind blew down the entrance all day and although there were a few jet skis out from the hotel and people being towed behind a powerboat during the day, they were pretty respectful to us and didn’t use us as a mark for doing circles around.

We spent the afternoon fixing the watermaker which had failed to power on that morning. It turned out to be just the on-off switch on the unit, which was good. You’d think it would be simple enough to sort out but due to the unit’s casing and the way we’ve fastened it into a locker meant a simple job to bypass the switch took several, sweaty hours.

An abandoned house

Kiyikislacik / Asin Limani

We continued on again the next day, just a 10nm trip to Kiyikislacik. On the way we called up Gulluk Marina to ask about a pump out; they wanted a half day mooring fee so we didn’t go in. After weaving between the moored tankers out in the bay we came through the narrow entrance to Asin Limani to find an empty bay and just one visiting boat on the quay with what looked like a space next to it. But also lots of empty anchoring space to choose from. We watched the quay boats bouncing around as the wind blew straight into the bay (from the non-prevailing direction) and was glad to be out at anchor.

The ruins of Iasos are surprisingly vast; the curved, tiered seating of the bouleterion and the columned agora are impressive. Further into the site a theatre is succumbing to nature and we had to go a little off-road to work out how to get in to the mosaic house.

The ruins are free to visit and we wandered around a different section most days; sometimes following the dirt track, other times wandering off when a section of wall caught our interest.

Ruins can be found all over the site

The former council meeting house

Broken pottery and tiles scattered all around

We play at being statues again

Lots of columns

Mosaic floor and painted walls

A castle was built later on top of the hill

Some ancient reuse and recycle is evident in the castle walls

The walls of the theatre. The marble of the interior was taken to build the quays of Istanbul

We really liked Kiyikislacik, a welcome balm against the holiday commercialism of the last few days. Fishing boats came and went from the quay with nets piled up ashore, cabins set back sold the wares. A couple of well priced bars and restaurants provided a place for locals to chat and play their dice and card games. We watched sheep being led down for a bath along the shore of the ruins and cows have now taken up residency amongst the ancient stones – watch out for the cow pats!

The sheep don’t seem very keen on their bath

There were quite a few dogs around the village, all very friendly. These two took us for a walk one day, walking ahead then checking we were still following

There are lots of tractors around

A boy being paraded around the village

Friday was market day where we restocked on fresh fruit and veg. We were waved over to a cheese stand and inundated with lots of lovely cheeses to taste. And it was so cheap compared to what we’ve paid in other countries. There are a couple of mini-markets in the village as well as a bakery.

The only negative for us was the noise. The bay lies directly under the flight path for Bodrum airport, the prevailing winds meaning we had jets taking off over our heads. It wasn’t constant through the day but in phases; the earliest kicking off at 6am – argh! On one day we saw some kind of ceremony and celebration taking place in the market area. Later on that day we saw a boy dressed up like a sultan and being driven around the town whilst he waved a flag. How nice, we thought, a chance to see some local customs. Not nice we thought a few hours later as their party music boomed out into the early hours.

Looking out across the bay

View from the top

The ancient city of Iasos

Paradise Bay

Around the corner from Asin Limani is a cove called Paradise Bay. Perhaps it’s because we’ve seen so many beautiful places over the years that I wouldn’t really class it as paradise but it’s pleasant enough. It has a pretty aspect, sat amongst pine trees and the fish farm shown on the charts is no longer there. Sadly there are still plenty of fish farms around, and the methods of farming have turned the water a murky green colour.

We were invited to join some new friends ashore for a BBQ on the pebble beach. A beach clean had been done that day and at least 10 bags of rubbish were waiting to be collected. Unfortunately there was still plenty more trapped under the bushes behind the beach. A skinny white kitty roamed around and it’s plaintive meowing meant it got to share some of our food. If only it liked to eat wasps as there were plenty of them around until their curfew time just after sunset when they thankfully all buzzed off.

It was a lovely way to say farewell to Turkey and Colin got to play his guitar ashore, meaning he has now played the same guitar in 4 continents – Antarctica, South America, Europe and Asia.

Colin plays on his 4th continent

Nice to have met some new friends

Kitty hides in the bushes waiting for some tit-bits

Talianaki, Kuruerki Buku

Next was a staging stop to place us closer to Didim ready for check out. We left Paradise Bay in flat calm seas, barely even a swell disturbed the surface. After an hour we noticed a line on the water ahead of us and a few white horses. The wind was howling out of Akbuk Limani, blowing a F6 and gusting F7. Where did that come from? We had planned to anchor on the west side of Kuruerki but made for the little inlet of Talianaki instead where we found good holding in sand in 3m.

It’s a pleasant little bay with great shelter. Along the shore people were swimming and picnicing. We found a couple of mini markets with bread in the vicinity and our cheapest bar beer yet – only 9TL! Of course we had to partake as they would be our farewell to Turkey beers. Well, except the the ones we had later when we went back for an exceptionally well priced farewell dinner.

Anchored in the very sheltered bay at Talianaki

A pirate ship arrives

Where Next?

We did some pondering on how to spend the rest of the summer during our days in Asin Limani. We had very good shelter but we knew from others’ reports that the wind was howling from the north in the Aegean. The coastline north of Bodrum hadn’t been particularly inspiring to us and it looked like it would be much of the same heading on north. A major goal of the summer had been to see the ruins of Ephasus, but we’d reached old-stones-burn-out and were feeling pretty meh about the costs and effort involved to get there. Our view began to turn west; perhaps we should take the opportunity to see some of the Greek Islands along this coast instead. With Didim providing a well placed check-out point and a possible window of light weather coming up, we took the decision to cut our Turkey time short by a couple of weeks and say farewell. And we’re leaving something to come back to 🙂

Our last beers in Turkey

Sailing Info

11th July: Gumbet to Yalikavak, 21nm
Anchored in 11m in position 37 07.157’N 27 16.912’E Good holding in sand but rather noisy from the mosque on the hillside!

12th July: Yalikavak to Kukucak, 19nm
Anchored in 8.5m in position 37 09.299’N 27 33.375’E Very good holding in thick mud. Wind blew straight up the entrance channel. Very little noise from the hotel ashore.

13th July: Kukucak to Asin Limani (Iasos), 10nm
Anchored in 6m in position 37 16.543’N 27 34.941’E Excellent holding. Rather than the expected prevailing winds from the north and north west, we experienced winds blowing into the bay for most of the time we were there.

19th July: Asin Limani to Paradise Bay, 12nm
Anchored in sand/mud in 8m in position 37 19.075’N 27 28.022’E Good holding. Wind blew from N, out of the bay.

20th July: Paradise Bay to Talianaki, 9nm
Anchored in 3.5m in position 37 22.449’N 27 19.987’E Very sheltered spot, good holding.


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2 thoughts on “Bodrum to Didim – the Coast of Little Boxes

  • Pat Pride

    I see you were in “tractor heaven ” yet again Nichola!! Haha!!
    You should have made a ships cat out of kitty to keep those rats away