Bill Biega's

Ithaca,   Santorini,   Kekova Sound - Turkey,  

The fabled Mediterranean Sea has much to offer to the cruising sailor. The clearest waters and greatest chance of finding peaceful anchorages are offered by the East Mediterranean, specifically by the Greek islands and the Turkish coast. The best cruising months are from April to October. Tourist brochures would make you believe that the water is always azure and serene. However, violent storms are not uncommon, even in the summer months. Whether Mistral off southern France, Bora in the Adriatic, or Meltemi in the Aegean, they all will test even the most experienced sailor.

There are many companies from which to charter a boat. For the occasional visitor, an excellent way of cruising, with the least hassle and worry about strange languages and customs, is to sail in a flotilla. While during the day each yacht follows it's own course, the lead boat has gone ahead and prepared for the evening mooring space in a crowded harbor, taken care of the port bureaucracy, or prepared for anchoring in a secluded but deep bay. Following are some of my favorite anchorages in this area. I provide the name in the local language, as well as the usual English name.

Ithaki - Ithaca

One of the smallest and most beautiful islands in the Ionian Sea, it is a must stop on the way between Corfu and the Peloponnesus. The main harbor, Port Vathi, is in a deep, well sheltered bay. The bay also offers several attractive anchorages. The best is in the S.E. corner of Skino Cove with sandy bottom, surrounded by tree covered mountains, see photo.
Sarakiniko Cove, on the east side of island is another delightful anchorage. The holding is good, but it is completely exposed to the S.E. However, in summer it is rare to have strong winds from this direction.

Thera - Santorini

ThiraThere is no good anchorage on this island. The water is so deep that anchoring is impossible. Therefore mooring buoys are placed off the quay. Attach a long line fRom the bow of your boat(if you don't have one long enough, tie two together,) then back down towards the quay and attach two stern lines, at an angle, to cleats on the quay.
Why bother? The view of the 1,000 foot high red-, white-, and black-striped volcanic cliffs, with the white village on top, is spectacular. No photograph can give justice to the awe inspiring sight. It must be seen in person. The island is the remnant of the caldera of a volcano which blew up about 1500 B.C. Some say that this eruption caused the decline of the Minoan civilization on Crete. Others say that the destruction of this island, on which a Minoan civilization existed, was the source of the legend of Atlantis. In any case, the visitor should climb, or ride on a donkey, up to the village at the top. The view is fantastic!

Kekova Sound - Turkey

Kekova Because of strained political relationships, the Greek islands just off the coast are inaccessible to the sailor cruising aalong the Turkish coast. It requires time consuming check-outs at Turkish harbors, followed by even more friustrating check-ins at the closest Greek immigration authorities. However, it is possible to enjoy a wonderful cruise along the Turkish coast, which offers wonderful sailing and numerous small, charming, waterfront towns with neat, well protected harbors. Most charter cruises start at the ancient port of Marmaris lying in the bay of the same name.

In my opinion, Kekova Sound is the ideal destination of such a cruise. About 16km (10 miles) long, shielded from the open sea by Kekova Island, it offers three anchorages. Polemus Buku, at the western end, ignored by most sailors, offers good holding in a muddy bottom and a gravelly beach. It is close to Tersane Creek, a small bay with ruins of an ancient settlement and a Byzantine church. At the east end there is Gokaya Limini with good holding between two small islands. A tavern offers tasty meals and local entertainment. In the center there is an anchorage off the fishing village of Ucagiz. From there it is wise to hire a small fishing boat for a visit to the castle of Kale Koy and the sunken ruins of an ancient Roman city. The mosaics of the villa floors are clearly visible in the crystal clear water.

Some suggested links: Greek Islands;   Turkey Coast

Return to top of page.  A view of the Crusader fortress of Lindos on the island of Rhodes.

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Copyright 1998 by B. C. Biega

Last Updated October 2003