Datça Peninsula and Gulf of Hisarönü

The ancient city of Knidos is situated at the extreme end of the Datca Peninsula. There are harbors on both sides of Deveboynu cape. The smaller one on the northern side is silted in and for that reason is not suitable as an anchorage and one should anchor in the larger harbor on the southern side. This harbor contains two breakwaters lying opposite one another. The one on the southwest is still in good condition, but the one on the northeast is now sunken. At one time there was a statue of a lion set on each breakwater but in 1857 an Englishman by the name of C. Newton visited Knidos and carried off a statue of Demeter and some other statues including the lions, which are all now at the British Museum (except for one of the lions that got broken in transit). The harbor entrance is 160 m wide and one should approach the dock keeping clear of the ancient breakwaters. Knidos was renowned as the city of the goddess of love. After raising a toast to Aphrodite in the sunset and enjoying the delicious local fish we set sail for new horizons and Datca. Knidos can be reached by road from Marmaris by way of Datca. The first stopping place after Knidos is Palamut Buku. Rounding the Cape of Divan, one enters Palamut Harbor located before it. The Triopium, the religious center of the Dorian Confederation, was located here. One may anchor off the island and along shore. After leaving Palamut harbor and passing Cape Adatepe, we enter Adatepe Bay which should be approached keeping clear of the rocks at the end of the eastern cape and of the cliffs that divide the beach. There is a shelter here that is used by fishing vessels. One may anchor before the beach. If we leave this lovely bay and continue on our way we pass Cape Kargili Buk and Cape Parmak and arrive at the forest encircled Magara (“Cave”) Bay whose name is derived from the sea cave at the eastern entrance Passing Inceburun, we enter Kargi Bay just before Datca. One approaches Datca jetty from here through the channel passing Toparca Island.

Datca is a county seat and the name given to the entire peninsula. One may find whatever one needs here. Datca is the original site of the city of Knidos, which was relocated in 540 B.C. during the Persian invasions. Old Knidos is located 1.5 km north of modern Datca on a hill where there is an acropolis. On the southern side are the remains of an ancient harbor. After Datca we come to broad Ciftlik Harbor, which is located between the Adatepe peninsula and Ciftlik Island. Leaving Ciftlik Bay where there is a holiday village, we pass Adatepe Cape and arrive at Kuruca Cove. From here we pass Kuruca Island and Bozan Cape reaching Bencik, at the narrowest part of the peninsula. Bencik stretches inland 3 km, almost as if attempting to break through to the other side. It is a great pleasure to wander about these coves and inlets drinking in the loveliness of their blues and greens. The beauty of the scenery cannot be adequately told and must be experienced to be appreciated. At the entrance to this bay is Dislice Island. During the Persian invasions in 540 B.C., the Knidians sought to dig a canal between Bencik and Kucukcati on the other side as a defensive measure against the Persian armies and turn their city into an island. An oracle was consulted who reportedly said “If the gods had wanted, they would have made your city an island. Do not pierce the isthmus. “Whereupon they surrendered to the Persians-After leaving Bencik, we enter Hisaronu harbor where the ruins of Bybasos are to be found. On the southeastern side of the gulf is Kecibuku Bay, inside of which there is an island. Kecibuku is the best anchorage. On the island are the ruins of a fort. A bit inland from this bay is the village of Orhaniye and the ruins of Bybasos are located on a hill above the village. The ruins of city walls, some from medieval, some from Hellenistic times can be seen here and there within the forest on this steep and rocky hill. At a place called Pazarcik on Eren mountain south of the village of Hisaronu was the ancient city of Kastabos.

There was a temple here to Hemitheia, the goddess of health, where rites called Kestabeia were held. According to mythology, Molpadia and Parthenos, daughters of Staphylos, King of Rhodes, and Chrysothemis were charged with protecting a newly-discovered sacred wine. Just when they had fallen asleep, the pigs in the house overturned the wine barrels and spilled the wine. Awakened by the ruckus, the girls fled towards the sea in fear of their father and attempted to commit suicide by leaping off a cliff. Apollo however rescued them. Molpadia he carried off to this place now called Pazarcik. When the local inhabitants saw that this girl that the god had brought could cure people in their sleep, they gave her the name Hemitheia and erected a temple to her. This 4th century B.C. structure is of the Ionic order and surrounded by 11×6 columns on a platform. In addition to this temple, there is also a temple to the south. There were three theaters in all on these shores: the one here, one on Kedreai Island, and one at Amos. After leaving Hisaronu Harbor, we enter Delikliyol Harbor and Selimiye Bay. In the bay is a section called Buruncuk that is suitable as an anchorage. A bit inland from this bay near the village of Selimiye is the ancient city of Hyda. Leaving Selimiye Bay we sail pass a number of small islands Kameriya, Koca, Uzun, Topan, and Kargi after which we reach the last of the inlets in the Hisaronu gulf, Dirsek. To enter this one needs to sail round Kargi Island. On the southern side of Dirsek Cape are the underwater remains of an ancient quay. Leaving Dirsek and passing Agil Cape we reach Atabol Cape, the sea of which is full of rocks. Sailing carefully pass them one reaches the Sombeki (Yesilova) gulf. Passing between Kizilada and Zeytin Ada and leaving Kiseli Island to one’s port side, we enter Bozburun Harbor. Bozburun Is a famous for its boatyards and the ruins of ancient Tymnos are here. The eastern side of Kizil Island immediately before Bozburun as well as the southwestern side of Kiseli Island are both suitable as anchorages. One leaves here sailing pass Sogut Island and enters Sogut Harbor. There are many Islands here.

The presence of the ancient city of Tymnos is shown on many old maps where Sogut is now located. East of the harbor is a village called Saranda, where ancient Tyssonos used to be. From old records we learn that the ancient city of Ceresse was located opposite the Taclica Islands. Continuing on our Blue Voyage we fill our sails with wind and rounding Karaburun come to Bozukkale, some two and a half miles beyond. Every yacht is sure to call at Bozukkale. In ancient times there was a shipyard here. Entering the bay, the citadel walls of the ancient city of Loryma that used to be here can be seen on the western side. The walls facing the entrance to the bay are 2.24 m thick and 320 m long and they enclose an area measuring 274 sqm. At one time there were two projecting towers at the corners of the citadel and nine rectangular towers as well. Today only the projecting tower on the north remains. Four of the five gates in the wall faced north. There are two cisterns here carved partially into the rock, one on either side of the wall. On the acropolis hill east of the jetty is another wall built of rectangular and multi-angular stone.

An inscription on the wall of a cave at the foot of the hill extending along the seashore announces that it is prohibited to remove offerings that have been dedicated to a sacred place. On some maps this harbor is called OpIosika.The harbor is sheltered against severe weather conditions. During the Peloponnesian wars, Athenian ships concealed themselves here for a while. The Athenian commander also used the place as a rendezvous point before the battle of Knidos in 395 B.C. In 335 B.C., Demetrios, son of Antigonos, built up his fleet here. The harbor at Bozukkale was also used during Roman and Byzantine times and by the Knights of Rhodes as well. On the southern side of the Loryma peninsula there are heaps of stone consisting of four or five blocks set atop one another. They may have been the foundations of altars. Two miles after Bozukkale is Serce Harbor. The entrance to Serce Harbor is like a giant door made of huge boulders. The western side of the harbor consists of steep slopes and rough, rocky terrain. One should sail with the Catal Islands to one’s south or else between them: the passage between the mainland and Catal Island should not be used. Before the southern promontory of the bay is a small reef that is very dangerous and many ships have been lost throughout history on them. In 1025 A.D. in the month of September, a two masted ship measuring 15 m. in length and 5.13 m. abeam and displacing 30-40 tons set out with a cargo she took on at one of the harbors in the rich Fatimid countries. Just as she rounded Bozukkale however she was caught in a storm and tried to take refuge at Loryma but hit a rock and sank in 32 m. of water. Between 1977-79, Professor George Bass and a team of Turkish and American underwater archaeologists excavated the wreck. Besides a cargo of pottery, a large number of works of glass were brought up.

These 11th Century finds are in 200 different forms and are now on display at the Underwater Museum in Bodrum. In 1953, sponge divers brought up a bronze statue of Demeter that they found in a wreck off the Marmaris coast. This 4th Century B.C. statue is now on display at the Izmir Museum. After leaving Serce Harbor, we come to the lovely bay of Ince Island located north of the Ince Island Cape. Besides the extraordinarily beautiful scenery here one also notices medieval ruins. The olive covered hills afford protection against the winds. Leaving here, we come to the broad harbor of Ciftlik. One may pass along either side of the island before the harbor and drop anchor. There is a holiday village here. Setting sail from Ciftlik Harbor we pass Kadirga Cape with its light and enter Kadirga Harbor. There are possible anchorages southwest of Kadirga Harbor and also in the inlet to its northwest. This bay is quite close to Marmaris, and the daily tour boats leaving Marmaris also call here so the place is always quite active. After this bay comes Kumlubuk and we can tie up onto the jetty in this bay where the tour boats from Marmaris take out time for lunch.

In the crystal-clear waters you can swim together with those on a day’s excursion from Marmaris. On the hill immediately above the jetty are the ruins of the ancient city of Amos. After leaving Kumlubuk we come to Turunc cove, with its numerous motels. Turunc cove is thickly wooded and green. The blues of the water, the whites of the hotels, and the greens of the forest present a picture that is poetic. Turunc is also connected to Marmaris by road and is a built-up, thriving place. One may anchor in the southern and northern part of the bay and enjoy this exquisite spot. After leaving Turunc; we enter Marmaris Harbor. On the west is the district of lcmeler where there are more hotels and motels. Before lcmeler is Keci Island. There are other islands in the bay including Nimara, which is actually connected to the mainland by a low isthmus called Yalanci (“False”) channel, and the islands of Yildiz and Cennet. Before the peninsula is tiny Bedir Island. Mooring up in the Marmaris marina, surrounded by pine and storax trees, we enjoy the view of this lovely place, raising our glasses in the Marmaris evenings to our health and its beauty, greeting the world and happiness until at last we must set sail again. Having stayed here long enough and taken on all the provisions we need, we set sail again to see new places and discover new worlds in blue.