Sailing Routes and Cruising Areas
Sailing Cleopatra's Honeymoon Route Through
Turkey And Greece
(Links in Underlined Blue Text)
Ekincik. Twenty-seven miles west of Cleopatra's Bay (see Lycian Sailing Holiday) and one hour fifteen minutes from Dalaman International Airport, Ekincik is like, well, a mountain lake plopped down with its own pine trees against the red buttes of Sedona, Arizona. And does it have a restaurant! Serving a fine grilled octopus among a wide variety of other seafood. River boat with our friend Aladdin past beaches, over sandbars, and up narrow channels to ancient Caunos, once a maritime city-state with its own language. Particularly notable today for its classical-period walls with well-preserved bastions and towers and for its dramatic rock tombs, Caunos should be on every itinerary.
Marmaris. Ancient Physcus twenty sailing miles west of Ekincik. Bazaar town with down-scale prices, beach tourists, and waterfront restaurants. Fine doner kebap and exquisite pizza at La Vita Bella Ristorante. Yacht-voyeurism, like "Airwaves" and "Frequency," two megayachts once belonging to Cem Uzan whose family scorched Imar Bank for six billion dollars. In 480 BC, however, voyeurs watched Artemisia the Elder outfit some of fifty Carian galleys for the Persian Xerxes, each about 128' in length and propelled by 170 Carian oarsmen. Port of Entry.
Kumlu Buku. Ancient Amos seven sailing miles south of Marmaris. Ruins a short climb above the beach, including an early Hellenistic theater with a hill-top view of Marmaris Bay. And with an altar to Dionysus, the God of good times. Behind the beach below is an extravagant example of modern bank-insider excess. At the other end of the beach is a restaurant featuring superb Beijing cuisine and unsurpassed hot chocolate cake.
Rhodes Town. Some believe the Colossus once straddled the smaller of Rhodes Town's three harbors sixteen sailing miles south of Byzantine Creek and one hour by air from Athens. But it's certain this is the port from which Hospitaller knights of the order of Saint John of Jerusalem sallied forth in fast red-hulled black-prowed galleys to ravage infidel shipping and coastal towns, until 1523 when the infidels threw them out. The Hospitaller castle remains, however, and is a major attraction as is the old town surrounding it. A variety of pedestrian cuisine which changes from year to year as restaurateurs retire to Long Island and Philadelphia, but Outa Lapee in the Agora across from Mandraki is a stellar exception. Try the salt-baked grouper. Port of Entry.
Loryma. A Rhodian outpost thirteen sailing miles from Rhodes Town, the fortress here dates from the third century BC while the two acropolei are Chersonese and centuries older. The anchorage during the fourth century BC harbored the ninety-trireme Persian fleet of Conon the Athenian while it prepared to end Sparta's sea supremacy in a battle fought nearby. Fresh-caught lambuka (dolphin fish) at the Sailors House is remarkable as are the statue bases in its back yard one of which may well have supported a bronze Conon together with his son Timotheus. Meanwhile the swimming and kayaking in clear water over a sand bottom doesn't get much better.
Sogut (Sogutkahvesi). A seaside village thirteen sailing miles through the Simi Channel and into the Gulf of Yesilova to its eastern extreme. A sometime waypoint for Roman Abramovitch's 377-foot, $130 million, super yacht Pelorus. Here also may be found an exceptional restaurant (The Octopus House) and fine beach spa. On a hill 35 minutes distant is the acropolis of ancient Thyssanous with Classical period walls of both coursed ashlar and polygonal masonry still standing to a height of ten feet, scattered cut blocks, elaborate tomb, and large cistern. For two hundred yards along the shore leading southeast from the spa are more than half a hundred Hellenistic blocks including stepped pyramids presumed to be bases for offerings to the gods. This may be the site of an ancient nymphaion or Sanctuary of the Nymphs. All fifty of them, one Poseidon's wife Amphitrite, the other forty-nine ladies in waiting.
Selimiye. A charming village sixteen sailing miles around Cape Apostoli from Sogut, partly inland passage. Selimiye (ancient Hyda) and its bay are notable as a swimming and kayaking respite, but a respite featuring fine ambient dining under a mulberry tree at the water's edge. A walk among almond, fig, olive, and pomegranate trees takes one to the Byzantine castle dominating the backdrop, while the restaurant (Aurora) itself is partly constructed of older Hellenistic blocks. A ten-minute taxi and one-hour hike take the curious to a Classical-period acropolis and adjacent monumental tomb near Asarcik called Agnostopolis (also Artamitos for "city of Artemis") below which are settlement ruins including a temple with Hellenistic peribolus or sacred enclosure. There are also a number of inscribed blocks, stepped sacrificial pyramids, dwelling walls, black potsherds from the Archaic period, and an extensive necropolis.
Bencik. A pine-encircled finger-bay five miles northwest of Selimiye. One thousand yards (five stades, according to Herodotus) north of the bay's north end is the Ceramic Gulf, and it was this narrow isthmus which the citizens of Knidos (old Knidos) attempted to sever in 545 BC to deter advancing Persian armies. Before completing the task, however, the oracle at Delphi opined that had Zeus intended the Doric Peninsula to be an island, he would have made it so himself. And it is for this reason alone such an idyllic retreat exists today.
Simi. Having put into 248 Greek islands, this one, twelve sailing miles from Bencik, is among the more striking. Short of Simi Town is a delightful anchorage at Ayios Marina notable for clear swimming water over a sand bottom and for a sleepy taverna ashore. Simi Town itself has a special charm with neo-classical homes of long-gone sea captains climbing steep harbor slopes. From the heights above Simi Town see the straits in which the Spartan fleet in 411 BC trapped the Athenian fleet, beginning a six-year decline in Athenian maritime dominance culminating in final defeat at Aegospotami. See as well remains of the tropaion (monument) erected to celebrate the local victory (just beyond the last windmill). The best taverna dining in Simi may be had at Meraklis one block south of the harbor, while the seafood at Taverna Manos fronting the harbor is popular at upscale prices. Port of Entry.
Datca. Eleven sailing miles from Simi Town, Datca is a an AM Port of Entry en route to Knidos. In fact, it was Knidos before Knidos moved to the Triopian cliffs about 365 years before the Christian era. As Knidos the city was famous for its school of medicine, and many Knidian medical analyses have come down to us as parts of the Hippocratic Collection. Later, as Stadia (whence Datca), the city flourished as an agricultural center. Now it's a resort town where rug merchants are somewhat reasonable if still cunning. When remaining overnight, the Mocca Bistro at the harbor-end of the main street serves a fine chicken, spinach, and black olive pasta. And the price is right.
Kalaboshi. Ten sailing miles from Datca, Kalaboshi is twin coves beneath green slopes with a hamlet for thirty-eight residents. Close by ancient Triopium and its port at Palamut. The cuisine at Ogun's Place on the beach is superior, thanks to his sister, Semra.
Knidos. Sounds Greek but is Turkish, a clear-water cove at the tip of the Doric Peninsula twelve sailing miles from Kalaboshi. Triopian cliffs seasonally flush in rosemary and myrtle. Theater and stoa at the water's edge. Temple of Aphrodite (the "round" temple reconstructed during the Roman period) once housing Praxitele's first nude. Great swimming, kayaking (the TGE carries two kayaks, a single and a twin), and snorkeling over underwater ruins. A must visit.
Kormen. Seventeen miles into the Gulf of Gokova or Ceramic Gulf and an alternate landing stage for old Knidos (Datca), Kormen is located within a Specially Protected Area home to the monk seal and other endangered species such as the brown bear, ibex, Bonelli's eagle, Eagle owl, and Eleonora's falcon. Kormen is a safe harbor with the remains of a medieval fortress in the hills above.
Amazon Creek. Nineteen miles east of Kormen. An idyllic spot with dense pine growing out over the shore. Clear-water swimming and kayaking. A superb restaurant.
Amnistus. Fifteen miles NE of Amazon Creek, Amnistus (or Karacasogut) was an incorporated part of Rhodes. Fortress and quai walls survive. Also called Honey Water Bay, Amnistus was and is renowned for the purity of its spring water. Forested slopes, too. On the bay's western shore may be found the Galley Restaurant operated by a family of circumnavigators offering a superior cuisine.
Cedreae. Four miles northeast of Amnistus, Cedreae's walls, temple, and theater mark the site of a Carian settlement the citizens of which were sold into slavery by the Spartan Lysander. Later the site of a considerable Rhodian deme (political subdivision), and still later a deme in which Cleopatra dawdled awaiting Antony's import of beach sand from Egypt. The sand remains at, naturally, Cleopatra's Beach.
Ceramus. Eleven miles west of Cedreae, Ceramus was a Carian town founded during the Archaic period (seventh and sixth centuries BC) remains of which still stand. Though considerably silted by the Koca River flowing down from Kiran Dag, there are walls, temple foundations, and tombs worthy of inspection. While the town was busy enough in antiquity to give its name to the Ceramic Gulf (now Gulf of Gokova), the anchorage here is steep-to and care must be taken.
Cokertme. A pine and olive tree encased hamlet at the head of a clear-water bay nine miles west of Ceramus. Excellent fare at Kaptan Ibrahim's restaurant. Fair road connections in one hour to the international airport at Bodrum, or four hours by yacht to Greek Kos and its international airport. Cleopatra visited both, Bodrum in part because her forebear Ptolemy I Soter had conducted Alexander's 334 BC siege of the city, Kos in part because his son Ptolemy II Philadelphus was born there, and both because they were ideal places to honeymoon.
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This page last updated on 12/31/2012
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