It felt like ages, but after a mere six months later we found ourselves back in Göcek and on board our sailboat, the Vagabond. Vagabond is a 45 ft Jeanneau that we bought a year ago. And from that moment on, it became our second home.
If all goes well and Poseidon proves to be friendly, we plan to spend May and most of June in the gorgeous Gulf of Fethiye and sailing between Göcek and Kekova, then take Vagabond up north to Gökova, Bodrum and the Dodecanese for the rest of the season. We are in no rush, so it ought to be a long and lazy summer.
For those who don’t know these parts of the world, Gulf of Fethiye and particularly Gulf of Göcek are among the top sailing / holiday destinations of Eastern Med. They are heavens on earth with countless unspoiled bays ringed with pines, little seaside restaurants and turquoise waters. In some of the bays, one can hike along the ruins of long gone civilisations or stop for a cup of tea at one of the little villages on the hills.
It’s a real shame that expectations for foreign tourists are at a low this year, due to geopolitical concerns.
We found May to be a great time to be at these coasts. The sea is still cold, nevertheless we swim almost everyday; the winds are fair and it’s a good time to get our sea legs back; and even the most popular bays and anchorages are not crowded. The heavenly smells of oregon, fig and a thousand other plants are in the air. The nature has just awoken, the colours are more fresh and the bays are full of butterflies, baby goats and baby seagulls. Unlike their parents the baby seagulls are among the most ugly creatures imaginable.
It’s also the perfect time to visit the bay restaurants to renew friendships and get the latest local gossip like who spent the most on restorations or who married with whom during the winter.
Since it’s a protected area, there are only a limited number of bay restaurants in the Gulf of Göcek and all are family establishments. They are scattered among different bays and most could only be reached by boat. They generally have good pontoons with well-laid mooring lines and a staff member is always there to help with the mooring. They offer meze, fresh fish or meat specialities, and of course the local favourite drink, rakı and wine. The costs vary , but on average EUR 35 pp would a reasonable estimate for a large dinner with drinks.
The restaurants in the Gulf of Göcek were a bit run down until this year. But, after securing the long term rental agreements for the locations from the government last year, they all made serious investments for this season, increasing the comfort and hygiene levels considerably.
One of our long term favourites is at Küçük Sarsala Bay. The quality of food is always super there, especially the oven baked pides which are only available for lunch. Sezgin, Ramazan and the team continue to be the friendliest of hosts, stopping at every table to make sure everyone is having a good time. If you don’t want to spend the night at the pontoon, there are a few good anchoring points on both sides of the bay and the restaurant is a short dinghy ride away.
Küçük Sarsala is also one of my favourite places for a good long swim.
Another favourite restaurant is located in Göbün, maybe the most protected bay in the Gulf of Göcek from any kind of weather. The owner Muammer and his team upgraded the facilities beautifully and it will again be one of the most popular places of the season. There also showers ashore and electricity on the pontoons, which is a rarity in these type of bay restos.
The mezes and dishes are good as usual and the quality of service is spot on. Their seafood selection is quite good and they also accept credit cads. We had a lovely breakfast one morning on the new terrace where Muammer brought us freshly squeezed ice cold pomegranate juice and sat down to discuss the menu and prices of one of the new restaurants at a nearby bay.
Göbün is one of the bays to enjoy a good walk to neighbouring hills. Most routes are fairly easy and the views are breath-taking. Apart from the dense pine and olive trees on the route it’s possible to see the bays in the Gulf of Göcek, as well as some bays outside. We mostly take the route going through the hills overlooking the Isle of Göbün and end up at Yavansu (Seagull bay) at the other side of the hills.
There are little settlements on the route and a tea terrace with views to kill for.
I started another blog for the adventures of Vagabond. Take a look at :