Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Full circle to Fethiye

We had to come back to Fethiye. It was where we would have started our cruising this year had we decided not to buy Enki, but rather opted for Lazy Jacques, a very attractively priced Contest 48 which was in exceptionally good nick. We flew from London into Fethiye's baking heat in June last year and spent a couple of days checking her out from top to tail (photo below).  We almost talked ourselves into her creature comforts - huge cockpit chart-plotter, copious air-conditioning, hyraulic passarelle, gorgeous cocktail cabinet  - and then we backed off. We wanted Enki's hardtop very badly. 

Just the other day, as we were sitting in Fathom Cove, watching thundery-looking clouds rolling off the mountains behind Fethiye, we were talking of that boat, and wondering if anyone had yet bought her (it's still a tough market for sellers) and if so, who. 

Our first "real" rain in four months
Now we know. In Gocek, Alex picked up the October issue of Yachting Monthly and there on p4 under the headline Chay Blyth Becomes a Cruiser! was a photo of his new sailing boat,  the very same Lazy Jacques.  Blyth, for those of you not familiar with the name, is famous as a rip, shit and bust non-stop circumnavigator, a boy racer type. He once rowed across the Atlantic with another paratrooper mate of his. A leisurely cruise around the world with his wife, one reads between the lines, is a concession to his advanced age -  he is 72.  They'll be sailing Lazy Jacques (being renamed Willy Waught) from Turkey to the Canaries next summer. They've signed up for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) in 2013, and are then carrying on across the Pacific with the World ARC, the crowd we tried so hard to avoid in Vanuatu in 2010. Sound like a familiar route? Wonder if we'll try to avoid Sir Chay and Lady Felicity should we cross the ARC's path again,  or if we won't be able to resist the 'hey, we almost bought your boat' pick-up line.

We've also come back to Fethiye to close the Lycian circle. Fethiye is where I first heard the word Lycian. Please don't go away. I'll keep it brief. When we visited last year, we were dazzled by the small local museum's collection of archeological treasures, many of which had been recently excavated from places which we'd never heard of but which we learned were quite near to Fethiye. I remember being astonished to see Lycian coins which were minted in the 5th century BC. There was an amazing block of stone, from somewhere called Letoon, with a proclamation etched on three sides in three different languages - Greek, Persian and Lycian (photo on left). Who were these people? Since then we've made up for lost time in the ruins department, and today we revisited the museum, much wiser about things Lycian, and about why their buried cities are revealing such treasure to teams of Turkish archeologists now that they got the bit between their teeth.

Statue of a Roman emperor, excavated from Tlos in 2011
Fethiye has rock tombs too, but we took little notice of them last time. They're magnficent. Today we climbed up to the biggest of them, built in the 4th century BC by a Lycian king called Amyntas. We think the Fethiye tombs are as, or even more extraordinary than the much more popular tombs in Myra.

But don't you just love the sarcophagae scattered around the town, like this one which is a kind of traffic island?

Then there are the people, who live their lives around these tombs, and all the other paraphernalia in this town which has had more lives that its plenteous cats.

We like the open-mindedness that we've encountered in Turkey, the co-existence of Efes beer and minarets, of high heels and headscarves, of new money and old ways. There's a resilience, and an elasticity we've found here that perhaps shouldn't surprise us. Things change, but they stay the same - Fethiye is the town that was ancient Telmessos, and also Megri at one time, but was renamed after independence for Turkey's first "aviation martyr", who crashed his plane near Damascus in 1914 trying to fly from Istanbul to Cairo.  A big earthquake flattened the town in 1957, but the status symbol tomb which Amyntas built for his bodily remains in the cliffs hasn't moved, and he's still got the best view in town (the one that opens this post).


  1. G'day intrepid adventurers. Love getting your updates sprinkled with your dry humour and little anecdotes .We are leaving Mooloolaba this weekend for a month in Moreton Bay and surrounds. It pales against your itinerary but hey we will take what we can. Stay safe. Ange & John x

  2. Hope you believe this, but we were talking of you two just today as we sailed Enki back to Marmaris. Moreton Bay in October/November sounds pretty nice to us...you can have our share of the fresh seafood!! xx

  3. Hope you believe this, but we were talking of you two just today as we sailed Enki back to Marmaris. Moreton Bay in October/November sounds pretty nice to us...you can have our share of the fresh seafood!! xx

  4. Your comments about Chay Blyth prove that you are an arsehole. Total wanker. Tosser. It's you that I would avoid.