TURKEY TRAVEL LOG: Orhaniye, Dirsek, Monastery of Panormitis…

IMG_5340Hello Hello! We got back from Turkey last night and we’re already feeling the cold!  I'm going to be posting a little bit about each place we sailed through over the next two weeks and I have over 2000 photo's to sift through and edit so I'll be sticking them up too.

I also have some very exciting news about the book- tomorrow is the first official photoshoot complete with food stylist and photographer!  We have spent most of the day preparing for tomorrow and all I can say is it's a stark contrast, going from tanning in 30 degree heat to prowling through boxes of peppers for the most photogenic, within hours of stepping off a plane!  We have been cooking all day and the first shots will be taken tomorrow morning, so I'm hoping to feature a few behind the scenes pics later this week.

For now here is my travel log day 1 to 3!  The pictures are more foodie related as the days progress so stay tuned and Enjoy!



The whole holiday was booked through Sunsail an English based yacht charter company, and unlike previous visits to Gocek, we decided to explore the new base of Orhaniye. After a long day which started in the early hours at Dublin airport, and a fairly erratic drive from Dalaman airport we finally arrived at our destination of Marti Marina, Orhaniye, in one piece.  I always find it a bit disorientating arriving somewhere in the dark, but even the dim light could not disguise the fact that Marti Marina looked very much like a boat yard, and the website featured a hotel overlooking the marina.  However on closer inspection the hotel was still in the process of being built and the building site gave the impression that the builders had given up and left a long time ago!  But this was not our problem, in little under a few hours of well needed sleep, we would be on the water sailing, the overlooking building site, a distant memory. 


We picked up our yacht, a Cyclades 42, which would be home for the next two weeks and gave it a quick once over before hitting the pillow.The marina itself is fully functional with Shower and Laundry facilites, a small supermarket, a salt water swimming pool, and two restaurants overlooking the bay. After a briefing at the sunsail office, picking up provisions in the supermarket, and a quick application of much needed suncream we were out sailing. Two of the best things about a sailing holiday, is that you are outdoors practically all the time, surrounded by fresh air and with the water being so warm and clear, you find yourself in and out quite regularly to cool off from the sun’s heat.  The second, you get too see so much, travelling to a brand new destination everyday!




Our first stop was Dirsek, a stunning little bay, surrounded by tall dry mountains, about an hour’s sail south from Orhaniye . There is a small restaurant in the bay which is run by the owners, who quite inconspicuously live in tents along the edge of the water, adding to the hands on feel of the place.  Boats can anchor in the bay and tie a line ashore or the restauarant offers lazy lines along a jetty.  We arrived at around lunchtime and got straight in for the first swim of the holiday, the water is so clear that you can see the bottom even at about 9 meters up, this makes great conditions for snorkelling, which quickly became my new favourite activity! 


We motored in to the restaurant with the small dighy which comes with the boat and arrived to a scene of what I would describe as controlled chaos.  The regular chef had been rushed to the dentist with some major dental urgency and a happy go lucky waiter had been drafted in as the sorry individual who was set to take up the reigns.  Guests are invited to go into the kitchen and choose from large table of meat and fish for their main course.  On the opposite counter, large glass dishes full of cold starters are spread out in a large row for guests to choose from.


Roast Aubergine in Tomato Sauce, Cooked Green Beans with Yoghurt, Olive Oil and Garlic, Boiled Potatoes with a simple scattering of Parsley, Fried Corgettes, A sort of Onion, red Pepper, and Chilli Salsa, Cooked Spinach and Yoghurt topped with a sprinkle of Paprika, Cheese wrapped in Filo Pastry, and Tzatzichi were among the many dishes which made up the Turkish Mezze, a term coined to describe this massive selection of dishes.  The restaurant charges a set price for the Mezze and you can choose whatever dishes you want in a buffet style, it’s a brilliant way to get a chance to try all the different flavours.


Now it’s not often that I feature sickly romantic moments between myself and Sofie, but after dinner we lay up on deck and watched the stars.  I know, I know, pass the bucket, but in our defence, with the only unnatural light coming from the restaurant in the distance, it was practically unmissable.  I have never seen stars as amazing as on that night, and as we lay flat on our back it was as if we were wearing 3D goggles, with every last twinkling light jumping down at us.  What a perfect way to end a great day.


Monastery of Panormitis, Simi

Our next stop was a long sail to the Greek island Of Simi, just on the border of Turkish waters.  It was an extremely strange little port, whose mystery was heightened further, when we discovered the pilot book had absolutely no information about it.  It seemed to be less of a town and more of a church with surrounding accommodation, we only came across one restaurant, there could have been more.  The change from Turkish to Greek waters was quite significant in terms of cuisine and for dinner we ate a pretty standard fare of Calamari, Moussaka, Souvlaki, with large side dishes of Tzatzichi.  The large abbey sits right on the water front and is lit up quite impressively at night, the whole bay has a white painted walkway which goes from the abbey right the way around and up the hill to a large old windmill which overlooks the bay.   After a bit of googeling I discovered that the Monastry is Greek Orthadox and dates back to 450 AD. It is the largest on the island and is also considered one of the most important.  Apart from a few small shops, there was a bakery which sold fresh bread in the morning and had extremely tasty coconut macaroons topped with cherries.  We left the following morning for a long and bumpy sail to the small Turkish town of Datca…