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Sailor's Guide to Göcek

The pre-Roman civilization ancient Lycia's Glaucus Sinus, later the Gulf of Telmessos, now the Gulf of Fethiye, is surrounded by the pine clad lower hills of the Taurus Mountains coming down directly to the sea coast. The sparkling blue sea water perfect for swimming and diving, is an area of flat water sailing easily navigable for less experienced sailors not used to the open sea. For tourists and visitors the Gulf is lined with countless bays, coves, anchorages, and archaeological sites.


The Marina in Göcek is one of Turkey's premier yacht marinas. It is located next to the pined slopes of a national forest in the NW corner of the Gulf of Fethiye and may be the site of ancient Hyparna, a fortified town defended by ancient mercenaries which subsequently fell to Alexander during the winter of 334/333 BC. By the first century B.C Göcek had become Callimache, a port documented in the Roman geographical index Stadiasmus Provinciae Lyciae as 50 stade (about 5 nautical miles) from Rhodian Daedala (Inlice) and Lycian Crya (Tomb Bay). Both the Marina and Göcek village are thirty-five minutes from Dalaman International Airport. Göcek ıs also the site of a rare temple tomb in the Doric order while in the nearby hills are temple tombs in the Ionic order at a site not yet identified but which may be ancient Telandros

Tomb Bay (Taşkaya).

Six miles from Gocek, Tomb Bay is delightful for dining, swimming, or boat drive-by below Carian and Lycian rock tombs (Ionic temple, house, and pigeon-hole tombs). Originally Carian and subsequently Lycian, the ancient city of Crya can still be picked out among the olive trees and oleander, while its Carian acropolis is a short walk above a seaside restaurant. Lycians, Herodotus claimed, were originally Minoans driven from Crete by Minos of Knossos. Carians, he believed, were native to Asia Minor.

Tersane Island.

One mile from Tomb Bay is perhaps the ancient city of Telandria, an official member of Athens' famed Delian League. Present today are only a few ancient remains including a watch tower across from Domuz Adasi (Pig Island, home to wild boar), a substantial fortress-like building and the remains of a stately tomb similar to those found in the nearby Lycian city of Cadyanda. Also there are many dilapidated buidings from the 1920s when the last Greek residents were expelled as part of the population exchanges between the Greeks and Turks. At Tersane, enjoy Yesim Acar's restaurant which serves up robust cuisine she raises on her own pastures.

Cleopatra's Bay (Manastir).

Three miles from Tersane is another pristine bay with thick pine trees running down to the water's edge. Monastery ruins half submerged are evidence of the medieval presence of a Byzantine church. Also called Ruin Bay, a 55-minute trek takes the curious traveller up to ancient Lydae. Off the beaten path and rarely visited, Lydae features many vivid bits of ancient buildings including mausolea, agora foundations, statue remnants, Corinthian column sections, and inscribed pedestals from the Roman and Byzantine periods. Cleopatra who gave her name to the Bay was here twice, once in 46 BC and again in 32 BC on her honeymoon with Marc Antony who was en route to Actium. Recep, owner of the restaurant at Cleopatra's Bay, is a talkative and friendly host.

Wall Bay (Manastir).

A quarter-mile from Cleopatra's Bay separated by slightly more lively Force 4 and 5 seas are the pine forests and crystal-clear water of Wall Bay. Swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking is easily done in and around the wall gives the bay its name and which in ancient times crossed the Lydae peninsula and formed a medieval defensive perimeter on the land side for both Lydae and its satellite city Arymaxa. Yuksel and Mehmet, the local restaurateurs, offer excellent fare and camaraderie as well as a famed breakfast.

Gemiler (St. Nicholas) Island.

Gemiler in Turkish means the ships, and this island fifteen miles from Wall Bay is noteworthy because its north shore is lined with galliot and other ancient ship parking slips. Once home to Lycian and Byzantine pirates, there are remains of an entire village and it is possible to walk from the pirate-ship slips through a covered walkway to a basilica. Gemiler Island is a great setting to swim and snorkel, and an equally splendind spot to take in a hilltop sunset. Historically this part of Anatolia has harboured pirates since the arrival of the Lycians in the second millennium with Eyptian tablets found at Tel-el-Amarna in Egypt mentioning Lycian sea raiders as early as the fourteenth century BC.

Cold Water Bay.

Less than a mile from Gemiler Island, is Cold Water Bay which derives its name from a pair of fresh water springs coming up under the sea or perhaps from its location behind the hills which blocks the sun during late afternoon. The ghost-town of Kaya emptied by the Turkish-Greek population swap of 1923 begins at the top of these hills, a twenty minute walk from the Bay. A century ago Kaya was known as Levisse, a prosperous Greek town, and Fethiye then Makri, was no more than Levisse's port. Careful examination of the ghost town reveals an occasional ancient foundation. These mark the only remains of Lycian Cissidae. Ali Tuna, the amenable restaurateur at Cold Water Bay serves up fresh food and lively conversation.

Ölü Deniz.

Two miles rom Cold Water Bay is the Ölü Deniz lagoon, one of the most photographed and picture-postcard locales of any beach on Turkeyis Mediterranean coast. For brave photographers, snaps are best taken during a 30-minute paraglide down from Baba Dag (Father Mountain). The lagoon at Olu Deniz in 67 BC harbored the Roman galleys of Caesar's famous rival, Pompey the Great, there to eject Lycian pirates from Gemiler Island.

Butterfly Valley.

Two miles from Ölü Deniz and inaccessible except by sea, this striking spot is backed by a sheer mountain rock face from which water falls into this breathtaking natural preserve. Even the beach is bounded left and right by vertical rock providing a haven for more than one hundred species of butterfly, lepidoptera.

Sarsala Bay.

Sixteen miles from Butterfly Valley is Sarsala, yet another striking pine-surrounded bay in which to swim and snorkel. It is also a suitable starting point for a ninety minute trek to ancient Lissa, remarkable for the inscribed walls dating from the 3rd century BC rule of two of Cleopatra's Ptolemy forebears and for the grand positioning of its acropolis above a fresh-water lake. The one restaurant at Sarsala Bay is above the local average.

Kappi Creek (Goben Iskelesi).

Two miles from Sarsala Bay, is Kappi Creek is an idyllic all-season quay surrounded by pine and olive trees. It features ruins of uncertain history, various swimming spots, and an old bay restaurant serving superior cuisine. An enjoyable stroll through olive groves followed by a short trek takes the adventurous travelelr to ancient Arymaxa, a town of Lydae. Arymaxa features a Roman mausoleum inscribed in Greek on the land side, a Byzantine cistern, and numerous ruins of undetermined origin.


Twelve miles from Kappi Creek, is the modern Turkish city of Fethiye, ancient Telmessos, site of many of the best examples of Lycian rock tombs with stately Ionic porticoes. Once home to Alexander's soothseer, Aristander, today there remains a part of a Roman theater as well as a Byzantine fortress said by some to have been renovated by the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem on the crest of an ancient acropolis. Fethiye is near the center ancient Lycia, and from here expeditions to Cadyanda, Tlos, Pinara, and other Lycian settlements are possible. In Fethiye there are covered local markets and lots of shopping options, particularly on market day, Tuesdays. There are many restaurant offering fine meze such as artichoke heart and tuna, as well as other featuring heartier Turkish cuisine. The sail in and out of Fethiye port is spectacular.

A brief guide to sailing regulations in Turkish waters


According to international navigation rules, private yachts can only enter Turkey from the following official ports of entry:

  • Aegean Sea: Çanakkale, Akçay, Ayvalik, Dikili, Izmir, Çesme, Kusadasi, Didim, Güllük, Bodrum, Datça, Marmaris, Fethiye.
  • Mediterranean Sea: Kas, Finike, Kemer, Antalya, Alanya, Anamur, Tasucu (Silifke), Mersin, Iskenderun, Botas (Adana).
  • Marmara Sea: Tekirdag, Bandirma, Istanbul, Derince.
  • Private yachts with foreign flags coming to Turkey for touristic or sportive purposes, can stay in Turkey up to five years, provided that they are used at least every two years.
  • Private yachts with foreign flags are not allowed to carry any load or passengers between Turkish ports in Turkish territorial waters and cannot pursue any commercial activity against payment, even for touristique purposes.

Customs and passport formalities:

Private yachts with foreign flags, entering Turkish ports from international waters should fulfill following formalities based on their own declarations and in accordance with international navigation rules:

  • For the border, customs and passport formalities, a Transit Log with a yellow tab should be bought from the entry marina, and the sections concerning the yacht, crew and passengers should be filled in. Then, the nearest:
  • Customs Authority
  • Customs Guard Authority
  • Passport Police
  • Marine Health Authority

should be visited, and corresponding formalities of entry be completed. If the yacht owner is the citizen of a country that a visa is needed, the required visa formalities can be fulfilled by the Passport Police. Upon request, these transactions may also be completed by the Marina Authorities, in the name of the yacht owner against a nominal charge.

Sailing between Turkish ports in Turkish territorial waters:

In order to sail from one Turkish port to another for touristique and sportive purposes, a separate Transit Log prepared for these cases should be bought and approval of the nearest Harbormaster should be secured.

Leaving the yacht in Turkey

You can leave Turkey by any means of transportation, leaving your yacht in a marina licensed by the Ministry of Tourism. For the related formalities you should apply to the nearest Customs Authority, with your marina contract for mooring. Upon request, the transactions may also be completed by the Marina Authorities, in the name of the yacht owner against a nominal charge.

Leaving Turkey

When leaving Turkey the related exit formalities can be fulfilled at any port that is an official port of entry. For this purpose, the related section of the Transit Log bought before, should be filled in and presented to the nearest Customs Authority, Marine Health Authority, Harbormaster's Office and Passport Police.

Sailing in Turkish Territorial Waters

  • International navigation rules should be strictly followed.
  • The Turkish flag should be flown from 8:00 a.m. until sunset, in accordance with international flag etiquette.
  • The military zones which are marked on the navigation charts, should not be entered, and diving in the forbidden areas should be avoided. Upon any action on the contrary, you will be warned by the Coast Guard Vessels on point. If you persist on violating the rules, legal steps will be taken in accordance with the international rules.
  • Seals put on the diving tubes by the Customs Guard Authority to prevent diving to in the forbidden zones, should not be dismantled.

Sailing and Wind

While sailing in the Izmir, Cesme, Kusadasi area, a regional wind called "imbat", blowing from the northwest, will give you the pleasant sailing conditions in summer.

In the Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye region, the northern winds (Poyraz) will follow you throughout the summer months for a pleasant sailing, although sometimes they may reach force of 7-8 degrees.

Around the Gulf of Antalya during summer, northern winds blowing in the morning, change direction to become southerly in the afternoon.

Ports and Marinas

The marinas and mooring facilities in Turkey which are licensed by the Ministry of Tourism, are members of "EURO MARINA", the Federation of European Yacht Harbors, which provides safe mooring for yachts in international standards and gives social, cultural and tourism services for the yacht owners. You may either leave your yacht in water for wintering, or haul her ashore in the modern facilities of Kalamis and Ataköy Marinas in Istanbul; Levent and Cesme Altinyunus Marinas in Izmir region; Bay Marina, Netsel Marmaris Marina , Albatros Marina in Marmaris and the Gulf of Hisarönü; and Kemer Turban Marine, Setur Marina in Antalya for routine maintenance and dry parking.

The Turkish Ministry of Tourism has been trying to simplify the legislation for the purpose of providing better service for private yachts under foreign flags, and facilitate the related formalities of entry and exit for these yachts. These new arrangements are aimed to be put into practice in 1994. Related amendments will then be announced by the concerned authorities to EURO MARINA and yachting organizations. Upon arrival in Turkey, marinas and Tourism Information Offices will help you with information on the subject.

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