Words and Photos by Maarten Janssen
A recent invitation by Edmiston, to join them on a 4 day charter in Turkey, provided the perfect opportunity to explore this beautiful unspoilt area, on board one of the region’s finest superyachts, Metsuyan IV. Our itinerary would take us from Göcek to Fethiye, with stops in beautiful tranquil anchorages along the way.
Göcek is the perfect starting point for a charter in the Turkish Muğla Province. This small village is easily accessible from Dalaman International Airport, a short 20 minute drive away. Direct flights from most European countries and several flights from Istanbul arrive at the new terminal daily.
Göcek, despite being a small village, hosts six significant marinas that serve yachting tourism in the region: Club Marina, Skopea Marina, Municipality Marinas, Marinturk Göcek Village Port, Marinturk Göcek Exclusive and Port Göcek Marina.
Metsuyan IV was docked at the Skopea Marina, and after a swift transfer from the airport arranged by Begüm Yachting, I was welcomed on board by Captain Clive Carrington-Wood, who joined the guests in the upper deck lounge, where Chief steward Adbi had prepared his signature cocktails. Dinner followed in the main deck dining room, where Chef, Rebecca, had prepared a delightful welcome dinner. The first night was spent in port, as 3 guests would not arrive until the next day.
The following morning was spent getting accustomed with the yacht. Metsuyan IV is a practical, comfortable and stylish superyacht, built in 2006. She offers accommodation for 10 guests in one master cabin on the main deck and four guest cabins below deck.
The interior is designed in a relaxed, traditional style with mainly cherry wood and marble details, and a large table on the aft deck allows for 12 guests to dine al fresco. The two large tenders (both fast enough for waterskiing), two jet-skis, scuba gear and lots of other water sports equipment (including a diving board that fits onto the side of the sun deck) are some of the features available for the active guest and a delight for the children. At anchor, guests can access the crow's nest, a small platform on top of the radar arch, providing stunning views of the surroundings; the zero-speed stabilizers guarantee minimal movement for complete guest comfort.
Metsuyan IV’s crew had the yacht ready for departure, as soon as our charter party was complete. After the customary safety briefing by the captain, lunch was served on the upper deck, and we quietly slid out of our berth.
By the time lunch had finished, we had moved into a deserted deep anchorage, Southwest of Göcek, where we moored stern to to the rocks. Despite being relatively early in the season, the temperature had risen to a comfortable 26 degrees, and our guests were ready to try out some of the yacht’s water toys.
The crew quickly had the inflatable banana ready for use, and after having overcome the initial shock of the fresh water temperature (the average water temperature in Gocek in May is 19 degrees), many hours were spent in the water, followed by sundowners on the upper deck.
Whilst guests retired to their cabins to freshen up for the night, the crew had set up the sundeck for a sumptuous barbeque, which lasted until well after midnight.
The next morning, whilst most guests were still fast asleep, Captain Carrington-Wood got the yacht underway for the two and a half hour cruise towards the uninhabited Gemiler Island, better known as Saint Nicholas Island. We anchored in between the island and Turkey’s mainland, in crystal clear deep blue water. Whilst we were enjoying a prolonged breakfast buffet on the upper deck, which included freshly baked breads, fresh fruit and an endless selection of cereals, Metsuyan IV’s crew made all the arrangements for a visit to the island.
A short tender ride later, we stepped ashore on the island, which was a residential island during the early Byzantian Period until the 12th century A.D. Some medieval sources claim that Saint Nicholas, better known to all as Santa Claus, lived on the island for some time. There are several vaulted tombs, numerous small houses and religious buildings on the island, some of which still have the original frescoes. The steep climb up to the top of the island was rewarded with beautiful vistas of the Turkish coastline.
A short walk back down the hill, and we were back on the small jetty, where Metsuyan’s large tender picked us up and returned us to the yacht. Chief Steward Abdi was there waiting on the aft deck, with freshly made lemonade. The remainder of the morning was spent swimming and snorkeling in the clear waters, remaining close the yacht, as local fisherman were pottering up and down using the narrow channel as well.
For the more adventurous guests, the crew had set up a diving board on the bridge deck, which became an addictive activity until noon.
We picked the anchor at noon and left for a short cruise towards what is arguably Turkey’s most beautiful beach, in Ölüdeniz. In fact, Ölüdeniz is frequently rated among the top 5 beaches in the world by travellers and tourism journals alike. It has a secluded sandy bay at the mouth of Ölüdeniz, on a blue lagoon. These days, the lagoon is a national nature reserve, famous for its shades of turquoise and aquamarine.
We anchored just around the corner, and again moored to the rocks. The popularity of the area however, does have its downsides. Locally operated Gullets do crowd the area slightly, especially in the high season, however our late May charter was still early enough in the season, to find a quiet spot with ease.
Lunch was served on the upper aft deck, and the hours following lunch were spent snoozing on the sunpads by the Jacuzzi. By the time lunch had settled, we once again tried our luck on some of the toys on board. The crew had launched the jet ski, as well as an array of towable toys. Favourite amongst the guests was the three man donut, as well as the two one-man sliders.
Ölüdeniz is famous for its paragliding opportunities. It is regarded as one of the best places in the world to paraglide due to its unique panoramic views, and the Babadağ Mountain's exceptional height. Late afternoon, the sky was filled with paragliders, although none of our guests used Captain Clive’s offer to arrange a paraglide of our own.
We eventually pulled anchor late afternoon, for the hour and a half cruise to Fethiye, one of Turkey's well-known tourist centres, where we would spend the night in port. The talented Chef Rebecca, treated us to a wonderful Gorgonzola & Nashi pear parcel with saffron onion jam, sea bream on cauliflower mash, followed by a freshly baked lemon tart.
After dinner, it was only a short stroll into town to walk off our delicious evening meal. Souvenirs were bought at the spice market and in the many pottery shops, and after a few drinks in one of the many local bars, everyone headed back to the yacht. Unbeknown to us, the crew had set up the karaoke machine in the main salon, which proved to be a great hit! Soon we were all singing the night away.
The following morning, it was blisteringly hot. Yet, the opportunity to see the ancient tombs and the ruins of the Hellenistic theatre could not be resisted. The latter was easily found, its location is just outside the marina Quai. The main attraction however were the Lycian tombs, located a little further from the port.
Most of the Lycian tombs date back to the period prior to the rule of Alexander the Great (4th century B.C.) The Lycian rock tombs, almost resembling temples, are carved on the slopes of the mountains, and are not within easy reach, as we discovered. A wrong turn lead us not to the tombs, but instead lead up straight up the hill to the Fethiye castle, believed to be constructed for the Knights of Saint John. From the top of the castle, we enjoyed an incredible view of Fethiye and the distant tombs; the view really made up for the lack of general upkeep of the castle ruins and the walk up the hill. With the temperature still on the rise, we decided to visit the tombs another time, and we radioed back to yacht to inform the captain that we were ready to come back to the air conditioned comfort of Metsuyan IV.
Within 2 minutes of stepping back on board, the captain had us underway to our next location, a secluded bay east of Göcek.
An hour later we were once again anchored in a gorgeous secluded bay, far removed from the buzzing streets of Fethiye. After some swimming and snorkeling from Metsuyan‘s swim platform, we tucked into a delicious late lunch, followed by a quick nap on the sunpads to digest the wonderful homemade cheesecake desert. The afternoon was spent wakeboarding, waterskiing and kayaking.
Our original itinerary had us back in the port of Göcek for dinner that night, but none of the guests were quite ready to leave the beauty of our anchorage behind, and plans were quickly changed, to an overnight stay at our anchorage.
For our final night on board, Chef Rebecca really showed off her abilities in the galley. After margaritas in the upper deck salon, we descended down to the main deck dining room, for our farewell dinner. A sumptuous 7 course main followed, that included scallops, pork fillet on a bed of ramen noodles, and homemade ginger ice cream. Desert was followed by a large selection of cheeses, port and local Turkish Delights on the sundeck.
Our short cruise to this part of the world on Metsuyan IV, one of the region’s most comfortable superyachts, had proven what an incredible charter opportunity the Turkish coast has to offer.
Traveling by yacht is by far the best way to explore this region, especially with a crew as professional and accommodating as the crew of Metsuyan IV.
Even before our plane had left the runway the following morning, we were planning our next trip back.
Metsuyan IV, our host for this charter, can accommodate 10 guest, and is available for charter through Edmiston. Her weekly charter rate is €85.000 in the low season, and €95.000 in the high season
There are daily direct flights to and from Dalaman International Airport from a number of European cities, as well as connecting flights to and from Istanbul.
Begüm Yachting has offices all along the Turkish Coast, ready to assist visiting yachts with full service programs.
Through the head office in Kusadasi, BWA can provide support along the entire Turkish coast.
Interior and helicopter photossupplied by Edmiston