KNIDOS … a wonderful ancient city up close and personal … not without drama!

Knidos - with Scolamanzi anchored in clear blue water
Knidos – with Scolamanzi anchored in clear blue water

Leaving the bright lights of Bodrum behind, we were keen to hit the waves again. Light conditions made for an enjoyable smooth almost 4 hour motoring trip across to Knidos – We have chosen to do this crossing (where we had to leave the coast line) on a day with light winds…seeing that the wind will start picking up again the next day and will increase towards the night. We arrived at 9:30am and the anchorage looked pretty full. Well, Johann has the ability to find a perfect spot in even a full anchorage and this was no exception! Right underneath the old amphitheater of the ancient city and close enough to the shore for me to snorkel without worrying about boats whizzing up and down! A double bonus! By about lunch time, there was hardly a boat left in the anchorage. It amazes us how they always leave it till just before lunch to up anchor and leave. It was only mid afternoon and even into the late afternoon that the bay filled with boats.

What a surprise it was to enter the bay of Knidos! I was stunned by the ruins that is just there – right in front of us!… no walking for hours … I could sit on the deck and stare at the ancient ruins of the old city of Knidos from our anchorage! That was quite something!The entrance to the bay/ harbour was tricky because of the ancient wall that is pretty shallow and hidden under the water level on the one side of the entrance. It was easy enough to spot it during the day with the water in such a pristine condition! I remember thinking : You would not like to attempt that at night! I was just happy to be there!

KNIDOS the Ancient City:

By 300BC Knidos was a very prosperous city, well situated with two harbours to catch the passing trade and near to Kos and Rhodos which were the main cities in that area. Knidos was attacked by pirates and destroyed extensively by a sequence of earthquakes between the late 335 AD and 558 AD. It is amazing to see how the columns are still lying in the same tumbled-over way as it was left for thousands of years after the earthquakes.

Knidos was renowned for two things: The statue of Aphrodite (by the one of the most famous Greek sculptors, Praxiteles) and the scientist Eudoxos (astronomer and mathematician who lived in the 4th century in Knidos, famous for his sky mapping)
In the 4th century, their statue of Aphrodite was the first statue of a naked women. She was believed to bring good fortune to seafarers – it certainly brought large numbers of tourist to Knidos to see it! Several stories was told about this statue of which one is of an admirer that crept into the shrine and passionately kissed it on the thigh!-from there the black stain on the statues thigh! 🙂

The size of the columns and blocks are mind-blowing
The size of the columns and blocks are mind-blowing
The Ruins at Knidos
The Ruins at Knidos
A wonderful example of a Sun dial of over 2500 years old!
A wonderful example of a Sun dial of over 2500 years old!
Detail
Detail
Streets of Knidos
Streets of Knidos
Beautiful detail
Beautiful detail
Excavation team
Excavation team
The Market / Agora of ancient Knidos
The Market / Agora of ancient Knidos
The Market / Agora of ancient Knidos
The Market / Agora of ancient Knidos
Tumbled Columns after earthquakes from 2500 yrs ago
Tumbled Columns after earthquakes from 2500 yrs ago
Mosaic
Mosaic
Detail is amazing
Detail is amazing
Knidos the ancient city - devastated by an earthquake
Knidos the ancient city – devastated by an earthquake

Much of the ruins still need to be excavated (it seems like the Turkish is in no hurry anywhere to get this job done!) but what is there already gives you a great idea of what the city must have looked like. The harbour, normally packed with gullets and fishing boats, is very popular with cruising yachts. Unfortunately the holding is poor and not always a good place to be in wild winds or foul weather!

We anchored in light conditions when we arrived. After lunch we needed a nap because we still suffered from “the Kalymnos side-effects”. I later thought it might be refreshing to go for a swim (I always go with flippers and snorkel just in case I want to stay longer than intended). I did not even think of taking my camera with me! Well… what a shame! I have been hanging on the surface for hours looking at parts of the ancient city that has tumbled into the sea thousands of years ago as a result of the earthquakes! Massive columns, big marble blocks, pieces of pottery and pieces of old oil amphorae could clearly been identified! Johann later joined me after his excursion ashore. It was absolutely amazing to see all these wonderful ancient pieces scattered all over the ocean floor! It was shallow enough that I could stand on them or dive down to pick up some of the pieces (which we did for the sake of a picture later on!) We had to get out after 2 hours, due to hypothermia kicking in!! I just did not have the energy to go back and take pictures! I should have. 🙁 At least I have the amphora piece to show you!

A handle of an amphora dived out of the bay
A handle of an amphora dived out of the bay

The wind started picking up slightly in the late afternoon (as expected) with a slight change in direction as well. Johann felt we were too close to some massive rocks just under the surface to stay there if the wind changed. So we have decided to rather re-anchor further into the bay. (We were still cold and just had a shower and got dressed and decided not to dive on the anchor. We should be OK??)

The beautiful clear water with so much ancient secrets on the bottom  of the ocean!
The beautiful clear water with so much ancient secrets on the bottom of the ocean!
Scolamanzi on the left hand side ... and the dock at Knidos...
Scolamanzi on the left hand side … and the dock at Knidos…
The Gullet that Scolamanzi fancied that disastrous night!
The Gullet that Scolamanzi fancied that disastrous night!

The food was delicious … but the restaurants monopoly is certainly reflected in the prices of the dishes! We ended being about €20 short. ( no cash machine available ) Johann decided that he will take me back to the boat, as the wind was pretty blowy by then, get money from the boat and then go back to pay the restaurant.

As we got into the dinghy, a sickening feeling suddenly engulfed us like a massive rolling wave! We’ve suddenly realised that Scolamanzi is not where we left her! It was an exceptionally dark night (no moon or city lights!). We got the fright of our lives when we got to Scolamanzi! She dragged her anchor for about 100 meters and was only 2 meters away from a huge gullet! It was now all damage control! Engines were started to try and re-anchor … well the hardest thing to do is to keep your bearings when it is pitch dark and unknown territory! We knew there were rocks but have no idea exactly where we were in relation to them! We tried to anchor 3 times but the anchor would not hold. The fourth time seemed successful but we were not quite convinced. We decided that Johann will take the dinghy, pay the restaurant, rush back and we will then just up anchor and leave for the next protected bay (about 6 hours away straight into 29 knots of wind!)

Johann left for the restaurant and sensibly took the VHF with him. He had just left, when I realised that we are again dragging at a heck of a speed onto the same gullet! By now the crew of the gullet were all on deck getting ready manage the collision. They luckily realised the conditions are not going to improve any time soon and started to get ready to leave themselves!

I radioed Johann to get back ASAP (whoever has overheard my call that night … I apologize .. that was more yelling him than calling him!) I started the engines thinking that all I will focus on now is to prevent an accident or any damage! Johann turned around immediately (without paying the restaurant!). I pulled the dinghy up all by myself while Johann was concentrating on positioning Scolamanzi to prevent her hitting anything. By now people at the dock were whistling for us to come alongside and raft up to one of the docked vessels. We couldn’t be bothered and we just left the harbour.
Strange that leaving Knidos, into a dark night with rough water and open seas plus winds of about 30 knots on the nose, suddenly felt so safe! Perception is a strange thing!

Luckily Palamutbuku bay came to our rescue (only 4 hours away instead of 6 )! We initially were unsure if it would offer us enough protection or anchorage opportunities and we thought it would be packed with boats – especially in this weather and the direction of wind.
Palmutbuku bay was luckily fairly big with hardly any boats there! We easily found our way into a shallow sandy area and dropped anchor. The bashing into the wind and the adrenaline rush at Knidos took it out of us. Luckily we had only 2 other boats as company. Sleep could not have come sooner! I felt sorry for the restaurateur …. we hope we get an opportunity later to pay him his last 20 Euro!

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