As summer passed into autumn, Beti and I joined friends aboard Kate, a new Dufour 40 yacht, part of a flotilla sailing out of Marmaris Bay on Turkey’s west coast. An empty, barren, starkly beautiful coast full of headlands, islands and mysterious deep-water inlets. Serce, completely hidden from the sea, reached through a narrow concealed channel guarded by a sentinal rock, but which opens up into a natural harbour big enough to hide an armada. Total habitation was a ramshackle wooden restaraunt serving good nourishment. Not even a rickety jetty here, the boat is moored to a small buoy with a long stern line tide to a rock on shore. I slept under the stars in the cockpit and woke to the creaking oars of the early morning boatman delivering freshly baked bread.
A smattering of ruins on the shore may be Greek or Roman, Byzantine or Otterman. In the summer of 1522 Sultan Suleiman the Magnificant assembled a fleet of 400 ships in these waters to carry 100,000 men the twenty miles across the sea to Rhodes to lay siege to the Knights of Hospitaller, whose piratical activities were a source of irritation to Otterman interests. Great history, fine people, good tucker and fascinating sailing on ancient seas. An altogether different Turkey to the one I met forty-two years ago in a Ford Anglia.