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Over the past few years we have discovered some wonderful places in the Aegean. Some shown below.

In 2013 Calypso left Istanbul in the spring to sail accross the sea of Marmara through the Dardenelles and back into the Aegean. Then zig-zagged southwards with the prevailing NW wind, taking in the Sporades, Cyclades and Dodecanese islands and ending up in Marmaris southern Turkey,

Here are some of the places around our current cruising area:


Istanbul... We've done a few of these trips and now know it well. A great format is a couple of days in the Princes Islands, (7 miles south of the city), then up the Bosphoros to sail past all the fabulous palaces. Equally magnificent day or night; with the sun setting or the city lights all around. End the day with a night on the town anchored on the Bosphoros at Ortakoy. Then sail down the Bosphoros in the morning to Atakoy, for a day in the old city. Istanbul is on a high right now, even James Bond can't keep away! With its mix of history and east-meets- west, it offers highbrow ancient culture and proper underground fun! I can point you in the direction of either. Or both...

Followed by a two day passage across the sea of Marmara, past ancient Troy and out through the Dardenelles.

Marmara Island is where the white marble for all the ancient temples came from. As you pass the island you can see that a huge chunk of it is missing!









BBQ sea bass in the late afternoon sun (Princes Islands), then head up the Bosphoros to catch the sunset over the Golden Horn...


Bosphorous by night
A night trip down the Bosphorous is just as spectacular as a day trip. Istanbul sound and light show: the suspension bridges are illuminated with changing patterns... then the call to prayer ripples across the city from east to west.

  Blue Mosque  



Bozkaada. Overlooked by its Genoese fort... buzzing town below. Supposedly where the Greek fleet hid after leaving the horse at Troy


magic blue
Back to the Aegean blue...

Samos, Greece. Home of Pythagorus... PS: no photoshop, the water really is this colour!

Roman Bath
Imagine our surprise when we discovered a Roman bath fed by a natural hot spring in the middle of nowhere. Boiling hot. In what looked like a goat shed by the shore! Secret location.

Spring and Autumn are great times to visit Pergamon... it's cool and there is virtually no one else there... In April we had the 11,000 seat amphitheatre all to ourselves.



Once into the northern Aegean there are many options: Here are some of the best that I have discovered so far:

Bozkaada: A wonderfully 'away from it' little island with a very funky town by the same name. Waterside bars and restaurants overlooked by a Genoese castle. The island has a real buzz, popular with Istanbulites for long weekends and famous for its food and wine festival.

Limnos: Very remote... not much seems to have happened here since the island was famous for making the best bronze age swords... (apart from when it was the staging post for the British fleet during the Gallipoli landings). We found a fabulous reggae bar when we passed through in 2011. Built into a beached boat up in the dunes surrounded by a large bay on the southern side of the island. Well worth a night when in the area.

Ayvalik: A charming town, still very un-touristy. Famous for its olive oil. The town is set in a lagoon withing the Ayvalik archipelago. Lots of deserted bays around. A great place to make a day trip to Pergamon (40 minutes by car/taxi).

Pergamon: The 2,300 year old city built on top of a mountain by Alexander the Great's decendants, to house his treasure. Reputedly one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. Unlike Ephesus it is not crowded. My favourite part is an hour and a half amble down the mountain into the city of Berbama below. As you leave the ruins of the ancient middle city you enter the backstreets and alley ways of Bergama eventually reaching the heart of the modern city, which still has horse and carts trotting around.

Limani Baldemli: A sensational anchorage, between two islands, shallow clear water over white sand. The water is often like glass, great to waterski outside the wake. You feel like you are floating two metres above the seabed, looking down at the fish, starfish and shells.

Foca: The mythical locations of the sirens... apparently the wind whistles through the rocks making a sound irresistable to sailors... Never had to use the wax ear plugs ourselves though! It has a charming buzzy seafront with great fish restaurants. I always try to drop in when passing. We normally anchor in one of the peaceful bays a mile or so away and RIB in to town for a lively evening.

Khios: Worth making a trip for at Easter, just to see the annual firework festival. Words cannot explain how fab this is... see this Youtube clip: Khios easter firework battle.

Alicati: A little Turkish town on the Ceseme peninsular, a short day's sail from Khios. 150 year old houses, narrow streets and bustling squares packed with excellent restaurants. Famous for its night life and boutique hotels. Favoured by the smart Istanbulites. When we've been there over a weekend, in season, the streets and squares were still filling up at 1am. Great to sit outside, in the balmy night air and watch the people go by. Nearby are a series of very cool waterside Ibiza-style nightclubs for the dance crowd.





Full moon BBQ on uninhabited Kiera (Cyclops Island). Northern Sporadese




A camping trip with my kids and a few families on the uninhabited island of Kiera (Cyclops Island). It is part of the island chain of Skiathos, Skopolos, Alonisons and Kiera, known as the Northern Sporadese. We spent the summer there a couple of years ago and found some wonderful places.

Skiathos: Has an airport. Lots of nightlife. Good for teenagers I guess... but not in the same league as Alicati or Istanbul. Apart from the town, which is charming, we generally prefer to sail on to the less developed, wilder Islands in the chain. There are some nice villas on Skiathos though, We had a good week combining a villa/boat holiday, with the boat anchored in a bay below the villa.

Skopolos: Where they filmed part of Mama Mia... you can see why. It's charming. Skopolos is the typical vision of a bustling whitewashed Greek town. A town allegedly with 120 churches although we found it impossible to count them!

Alonisos: In my mind, even better...

Kiera: Penisteira, Adelphi: All uninhabited and all wonderful.



Fabulous Fourni. So out of the way. This is a little bar built onto the side of somone's house. Charmingly ramshackle. You have to walk through the family's kitchen / sitting room, with grandma and grandpa watching telly to use their loo or help yourself to a beer from their fridge!




Picnic time, could be anywhere in the Aegean...

Leros, Dodecanese. One of many out of the way places in this area. Perched hilltop forts and monasteries seem to come as standard.


Calypso forges onwards... in search of new places to discover..



A broad reach back across the Aegean - glory sailing - towards the Ceseme peninsular (Turkey) and the Greek Dodecanese islands.

This is the most remote part of the Aegean that I have yet discovered. In many of the places tourism seems to be a low-key add-on to people's daily lives, rather than the main economic activity. I think it's this that makes the place incredibly charming and 'real'. Wind in July and August is very reliable and there is plenty of it. We cruised at 7 knots in this area last summer and hardly used the engine.

Fourni: Hard to get to, given the typical wind patterns. Incredibly chilled. My favourite Island in this area. It really feels a million miles away from the hectic world around.

Ikera: I haven't made it there yet but I've heard good things. The people are famously laid back. One journalist went on a trip to find out if the Greek Island hopping experience of the 1970s still existed... His conclusion was that it didn't... except on Ikera. The island is a huge slab of rock... good to jump off with a pair of wings, but not good for anchoring a yacht, so you need very settled weather to visit, but its high on my list of places to go when the opportunity presents.

Arkoi, Agathonisos, Lipsos, Patmos and Leros: Blue water, lovely towns, bays and tavernas. Very unspoilt and few tourists. Fabulous food too... No, really!... I'm a bit of a foodie and so notice these things. When travelling between Greece and Turkey, I usually can't help but be disappointed by the Greek fare... but not here. I've had dishes such as carpaccio of tuna with home made pesto, fried feta; gooey inside, coated with a crispy shell of honey and sesame seeds, fabulous thick-cut, home made marmalade served with Greek yoghurt, wild rabbit casserole and home made sausages, best baby calamari and baby shrimps that I've ever had. Sea Bass, Snapper and Dorado all good but also at reasonable prices...all in tiny local tavernas.

Tilos. Dramatic and barren volcanic island. Red veins of iron and green veins of copper scarring the almost treeless mountains. Very few people visit. I think its a great stop-off en route to Symi.

Symi. At risk of giving away secrets, this island is fantastic. A big island with large population but few cruising boats and very few if any flotillas. The town of Symi is great as are the dramatic bays littered around.


Cliff Jumping



From western Turkey we can broad reach out into the Cyclades and back. Thiera (Santorini) would be an ideal turning point. On the way there are lots of options for uninhabited islands or busy islands with whitewashed towns. Very good winds in the Cyclades. One for the sailors. Planning to explore here more fully in 2015.






Datca and Bozburun peninsulars, Gulf of Gokova, Bodrum, Marmaris, Fetiye, Gocek, Kalkun, Kas, Kekova. I could go on for pages about this area. 500 miles of mostly unspoilt, wooded coastline with lots of bays offering ideal anchorages. Clear, very warm water (30 degrees+ in summer). The climate here is sensational. 9 months of sun. May - December and gloriously quiet at beginning and end of season. Stacks of ancient history, fabulous towns and great food too!

Drying small Octopae, bought from a fisherman in Southern Turkey.
A couple of hours in the sun makes them easier to skin.
Then half an hour of tenderising with a winch handle.


Another little chap, this time caught by my son on the walk up to a derelict castle on an uninhabited island south of Datcha. Needless to say, we didnt eat this one.

FishermanStocking up from a local fisherman.


FlyingFishThis little chap flew onto our deck one morning off the Bozburn peninsular... . We put him back unscathed. The colour in the photo does't do justice to its beauty. Electric blue.


Lunch! This one caught by us,,, 5ft across tip to tip... enough to feed a hungry crew of twelve. (BBQ tentacles, black ink risotto and octopus salad. Yum!)

blue crabBlue crab is another delicacy of the southern Turkish estuaries. We catch them in the deltas of Gokova and Dalyan with string and chicken bones, my daughter is an expert. But beware! vicious clippers.



A typical anchorage on the wooded southern shore of the Datca Peninsula.

English Harbour

Great little taverna, in the lush, densely wooded bay at English Harbour, on the northern shore of Datcha/Bozburun. Our base when we stay in the Gulf of Gokova. It gets its name because the SBS used it as a secret base in the second world war.

Bozburun and Datcha peninsulas. Still remarkably unspoilt. Much of them being national park. There is no coast road, and in many places no road at all. You have to go by boat. So there are many isolated bays, big mountains, little towns and tavernas.


The strategic position of Knidos, between Aegean and Mediterranean seas, means that we find ourselves regularly passing by, and so have taken many groups here. The drama of this ancient and remote site comes across strongly. Although now it feels so out of the way, so far from the bustle of the modern world, so unimportant and forgotten. One is struck by how important it must have once been, in ancient times, when sail was the main method of trade. Being positioned right in the middle of one of the most important sea routes.

And then you think, what an incredibly beautiful spot for a city. What a place to live!


Look out! The Knidos Massive! Not to be trifled with, afloat or ashore.. here, overlooking the ancient western harbour, the Greek island of Kos in the far distance, where Mediterranean meets Aegean. We always have fun here. Ali who runs the taverna at Knidos is a great host and famous backgammon player. Apparently people travel to the end of this remote 30-mile peninsular especially to play him.




Knidos Massive



Three typical tavernas around the Bozburun peninsular. Bozburin town itself used to be one of the main centers for Aegean sponge fishing, along with the greek island of Symi. Now they make Gulets. I'm glad to report that it is still fabulously sleepy, even in August.


TavernaBay Bozburn

LorymerLoryma, my favourite. Beyond the roads, surrounded by ancient ruins and run by friends. We had a Halloween party here in 2014. (big thanks to Hamza, Bekir, Musti, Ali and everyone else, for letting us share your amazing home).



Haloween LorymerFooling about, by day and night, around Loryma.




Gokova anchorage

Taking a charter with a group of kite surfers inspired us to do a fabulous week, anchored off the kitesurf beach at Gokova. Every day at 11am a thermic breeze picks up and then blows consistently at 20 knots untill 4pm. The beach is 3 miles long, sandy bottomed and shallow. Perfect for beginners, and the regular wind also attracts the experts who put on a constant display of loops, spins, somersaults and wipeouts!. Its great fun just to watch. The two younger members of our crew spent their days playing on the beach and catching blue crab for the evenings BBQ and cooling off in the icy river that runs behind the marshes.

Massive thanks to Hussain (who set up the original kite school at Gokova). You really looked after us Hussain and next time we will definitely take you up on your offer to take us white water rafting! http://kiteboardgokova.com/en/

Gokova Kitesurf



Gokova Kiteschool

Gokova Kite surf

Up river at Akyaka, a charming all-Turkish town at the northern end of the kite beach.

Gokova river


Akyaka river


The very definition of a "Cool lunch stop". We would go up the river past Akyaka, to swim and cool off in the deliciously icy, crystal clear water that flows down from the mountain that towers over Akyaka to the north.

Our favourite restaurant puts tables in the water. Equally magical in the evening, iluminated by hanging lanterns and with mist coming off the marshes at dusk.

Quite fun driving the rib against the strong current, at almost planing speed, but hardly moving, in some of the almost white-water stretches of the river.

Cool lunch

Akyaka Restarant


CAMPING, secret location, Dalyan region

Dalyan Camping


Out of season, no one around, this place is heaven. 20 of us recently visited in late October and camped on the beach.

Above is the sunrise view from my pillow! You can just see the kids preferred accommodation, sleeping under the stars on blue tarpaulins by the waters edge (right hand side of picture above).

You might make out Calypso's masts (picture below, against the mountain in the middle), the only boat anchored off our beach for the whole of our four-day stay.


Dalyan Camping



Dalyan river

Dalyan Delta





It's a 5-mile journey, from the sea, up-river through the Dalyan delta, to visit the ancient city of Kaunas, Dalyan Town and the mud baths beyond. Too many of us on that occasion to make one journey in our RIB so we hired a local boat for a day of exporing inland.

Dalyan Delta

Dalyan Rock Tombs
As you approach Dalyan town by boat, the tombs of the dead kings of Kaunas tower above you. Second from the right, unfinished, because the people abandoned their city, driven out by malaria. The people of Kaunas were apparently known as "The green people" because of their sickly complexion.


Mud bathFurther up river we had a lot of fun in the thermal springs and mud baths.



The 5000-seat amphitheatre at Kaunas has an incredible setting, looking out to sea over the delta. Even higher, from the Acropolis above, you get a commanding view up-river to Dalyan and across the delta to the estuary and sea beyond. When visiting places like Pergamon, Kaunas and Knidos I can't help wondering whether the ancients sited their cities as much for the drama of view as for commercial and defensive practicalities.