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Sailing from Turkey to Greece
Keci Buku - Leros

This is an example of a typical itinerary on our two week Turkey-to-Greece trips. However, no two trips are ever exactly the same; one of the greatest things about being on a sailboat is the flexibility to change our minds and our route to suit personal preferences, prevailing wind conditions, etc. The start and finish points are fixed, of course - but all else is changeable according to the whims of the wind gods and those on board !

Day One

Your yacht will be awaiting you at 11am in Keci Buku - 30mins drive from the main town of Marmaris. A wonderful contrast to the buzzing metropolis, Keci Buku is described as a "gem" in the Turkish Waters Pilot - and it truly is. A wide, sweeping bay surrounded by pine forests, with a fascinating old fortress perched on the top of an island guarding the entrance - a view which is well worth the scramble up!
After having gotten everyone settled in, we'll set off for our first destination of Dirsek - an even quieter, very pretty little bay, with just one taverna nestled in a corner. Wonderful swimming, great chillout spot; and a shortish sail on the first day to get everyone's sealegs working !

Day Two
Enough of the quiet, relaxing evenings to recover from jetlag - tonight, we are heading for a night of belly-dancing ! We'll be heading for Bozburun; usually very leisurely sail around the corner. Bozburun is a small, very traditional Turkish town; full of gulets (wooden motor sailors), but not many yachts, and certainly not many tourists.We dock our yachts on a little wooden jetty just outside the town, the family who run a small pension/restaurant right there on the waterfront being our very accommodating hosts. It is a shady, tranquil little spot to hang out in - and we even get to borrow their fun kayaks plus a windsurfer or two to go explore the bay in! Most importantly of all is the evening's entertainment - for our groups, they will invite along local friends who play traditional Turkish music - and even a belly-dancer to teach us all how it is done !

Day Three
Sail to Datca - a lively little town. The waterfront is lined little bars and tavernas; one street behind are several interesting craft & jewellery shops. Walking towards the beach, there is a tiny lake, with a surprisingly powerful "mini-waterfall" as it runs into the ocean; a great and very cooling massage experience !! For those wanting to dance the night away, Datca has several lively bars and nightspots - and a "hamam" (Turkish baths) , to ease any aching muscles the next morning ! Nestled up in the hills is a fascinating old Greek town, which is now being repopulated. And if anyone has a hankering to buy a Turkish carpet, some of our best local connections are here.

Day Four
Sail to Ova Buku - a total contrast to the busy, modern ambiance of Datca, this is traditional Turkey as it has been for many years.Our favourite taverna - Ogun's Place - has the best home-cooked Turkish food imaginable, not at all the usual tourist fare; and our young host - Ogun himself - always has lively (and often unexpected!) additions for our evening's entertainment ! The village itself has a great little bay for cooling off; for those looking for a little more privacy, a short hike away is a lovely long and isolated beach; a perfect afternoon retreat.

Day Five
Sail to Knidos - once upon a time, this was a key city/harbour in the ancient world, home to many thousands of people. Now it is just a tranquil and well-sheltered bay - but the remains of these former civilizations still lie scattered around the hills, surrounding the bay on all three sides. There are amphitheatres, stone pillars and carvings, temple remains - all incredibly intact. It is really a time warp experience to wander around these hills and try to imagine the way of life all those thousands of years ago.

Day Six
Sail the next morning to Bodrum - an early start, so as to make the most of all the things to do and see in the "big metropolis"! A complete contrast to many of the little traditional places we have been visiting, Bodrum is very much modern-day Turkey. Winding street bazaars criss-cross the town, beautiful old wooden gulets line the waterfront, as do hundreds of little bars and restaurants. The 10th fortress of St John is a fascinating place to visit, especially the museum inside. And for those who love their nightlife, Bodrum claims the largest outdoor disco - "Halicarnassos" - in Europe !

Day Seven
We'll spend most of the morning in Bodrum - last chance for the great shopping, sight-seeing, etc. Bodrum is our official checkout habour from Turkey; once customs paperwork is done, we'll be sailing for Greece - the harbour of Kos ! It's a short 90 min sail, a lovely beam reach usually. It will take a couple of hours to deal with paperwork - enough time to go check out the castle/ruins for those who are culturally inclined / sit and drink milkshakes and take in the passing harbourfront parade for others ! Kos is very much a "package tour town", so we usually choose not to spend too much time here; but head onwards that afternoon for a taste of the "real" Greek islands - our dramatic little port of Vathi, on the island of Kalymnos.

For those sailing with us for just the Turkey week, Bodrum is the disembarkation port. On occasion and given sufficient space, we are able to extend this to a disembarkation in Kos instead.

Vathi is a well-hidden and very narrow fjord-like bay, opening up into a tiny fishing village at the head of the bay. It boasts one main street and a collection of houses scattered into the valley; an unexpected patch of lush vegetation on an otherwise very dry and arid-looking island. Vathi is the only place on the entire island that is lucky enough to have it's own spring water supply, and they use it carefully to cultivate citrus fruits, figs, grapes and anything else that can be persuaded to grow! It's also the home of Poppy's - one of our "adopted families" around here, where momma makes the best homemade dolmades (stuffed grapeleaves) you'll ever taste in your life, and the swordfish steaks are out of this world !!

Day Eight
A short sail today, just a couple of hours north of Vathi - to our little-known secret anchorage of Paleonissos! Another dramatic and mountainous bay, tucked well away in the north of the island; anchorages like this are what make landlubbers fall totally in love with the cruising lifestyle ! There is little here apart from herds of goats; at dusk and dawn, the sound of their bells echoes around the hillside - not a bad alarm call ! With no distracting light around, the night sky is a dramatic sight; many an hour has been spent sitting on deck / on the beach simply star-gazing. Our unlikely-seeming dinner spot is a hike-and-scramble 5mins inland,through bushes of sweet-smelling sage - to the backyard of our local buddy Nicolas, an eccentric character who delights in telling stories of the old Kalymnian sponge fishers, and inviting his music-loving companions from nearby villages to serenade us!

Day Nine
Time for a more lively spot ! - next morning, we set sail for Pandeli Bay, a very pretty and active little village. Traditional blue-and-white houses lie scattered down the hillside, around the little horseshoe-shaped bay. Our favourite beach tavernas are conveniently just a 2 min swim from where we anchor the boats in the middle of the bay - a real picture-postcard scene! For those with plenty of night-owl energy, there is the infamous Savana Bar - a very idiosyncratic little local hangout, where we often end up dancing the night away! Leros is also a great island to rent little 50cc scooters or a jeep, and go explore the dozens of bays & backroads, other little villages - and most of all, the 11th century fortress which towers over the bay (both sunrise and sunset are totally spectacular from up here).

Day Ten
Sail to Agathonissi - a leisurely departure time of "some time after lunch". Arrive in Agathonissi to be greeted by our host Giorgos - a.k.a. Unofficial Harbour Master and Ouzo King of Agathonissi ! A colourful evening at George's is usually on the menu; he loves to see our yachts sailing in - it's a great excuse for a party on an otherwise quiet and isolated island. 3-4 hrs sail time.

Day Eleven
Early am sail for Marathi; a truly tiny little island which is home to just two families; a real sandy beach, beautiful water to swim and snorkel in. If you could paint a picture of the perfect, idyllic island retreat, Marathi would be it. Our adopted family here are wonderfully hospitable - and the food incredible!! This tiny spot has hit top of the Favourite Spot list with our groups for several years now - it's sometimes been hard to persuade people that, really, we should leave, there are other islands to visit !

Day Twelve
Sail to Patmos—a short hop of only a couple of hours. This is the famous monastry island—in fact is supposedly the second most important religious centre for Greek Orthodoxy in the world! This is where St John (as of Apostle fame) was inspired by visions to write the Book of Revelations; where the 10th century monastry (built by Crusader Knights) reigns over the island, still an active training centre for novice monks. The village that lies at the foot of the monastry is everyone's romantic image of what a Greek village should be like; incredibly narrow, winding alleyways, cats sunning themselves on whitewashed streets, old ladies in black collecting fresh bread from the bakery in the morning. Despite all the visitors they now get, these villagers have remained wonderfullly friendly; particularly if you go up there in the early morning hours; the old ladies will look at you in faint amazement that a foreigner should find their way up there at such an hour; if you can remember enough of our Greek lessons to say "kalimera!" (good morning), they'll give you a huge smile and a "kalimera-sas" back (good morning to you too)!

Day Thirteen
Set sail southwards again - a lovely downwind leg of around 3-4 hours. Wind permitting, we may be able to stop for lunch at Archangelos, a tiny island whose turquoise-coloured waters make wonderful "make-'em-totally-jealous-back-home" shots ! We'll end in the main port of Lakki (on Leros) late afternoon.

Day Fourteen
Disembarkation 9am in Lakki.

Ongoing connection info: Flights to Athens depart approx 10.30am. There is sometimes an afternoon flight also in midseason; check with Olympic Airways. Hydrofoil connections to Samos and Kos depart between 9-10am. Ferry to Athens departs approx 9pm; takes 10hrs. Cabins are comfortable and booking one is highly recommended! The ferry dock is 5mins walk from our marina base; the airport is 10mins taxi ride.

Fantasy Travel of Greece
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