The south-western part of Anatolia, or Asia Minor, is fairly mountainous, so the way the mountains meet the sea makes the coastline extremely interesting, consisting of bays, coves, smaller and larger creeks and islands. This is the basic reason why sailing this coast can be so delightful. As the mountains which run the length of most of this coast block your view, every time you round a headland you are met with a cove or a bay which you were not expecting; no matter how marvelous an anchorage you may find in one cove, you may always find a better one just behind the next hill.
It is difficult for the traveler to believe that any coastline can create such a complex embroidery of topographical features. Most of these coves and bays are wooded. However even the ones that are relatively barren have a beauty of their own. Following a course around this coast, you will pass by areas like the Gökova Gulf, the Hisarönü Gulf and the Fethiye Gulf, which while having much in common, demonstrate distinct features, as when you look at the works of painters who belong to a certain school while also displaying individual qualities. And then some places are quite unique in themselves.
The sea itself is phenomenal in its coloring. The open sea is a dark indigo. Towards evening this turns to purple. At that time of day you can understand why Homer used the expression "the wine-colored sea". As you approach land the color becomes blue with variances towards turquoise and green, and these colors change according to the nature of the seabed.
The water is extremely transparent and at some places, when the light is right, you can clearly see objects lying on the seabed more than 10m deep. There is a price to be paid for this clarity. The sea owes its clearness to the lack of plankton; which means that the marine life here is sparser than in other seas. Mussels, for example, are not found on this coast, whereas in the sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, there are mussel beds round every rock, together with a richer marine flora living in a more turbid sea. The water of the Mediterranean has "aged". Its only interaction with the oceans is through the straits of Gibraltar and this does little to refresh the sea. Apart from the Nile, the large rivers of Europe and Africa run into other seas. True, the Dnieper, Don and Danube flow into the Black Sea, but their connection with the Mediterranean is indirect. The only way the sea can "breathe" is throughout the straits of Gibraltar, but the surface currents that run into the Mediterranean here are poor in nutrients, and marine fauna and flora. As evaporation is high in the Mediterranean, so too is the density of salt, increasing towards the eastern Mediterranean, and you can feel it burning your eyes when you swim.
In the seasons of the year and during the hours of the day when sailing takes place off this coast, the seas are usually calm. The Mediterranean surfers from thunderstorms during the winter but looks upon its long summer with a benign countenance. This does not mean, however, that the sea is always as smooth as a sheet. Imagine that you are anchored one night in one of the quite coves to be found in the Gulf of Gökova. You may feel a certain surging in the water. You will imagine that the water is quite choppy within the gulf, and then try to imagine what it may be like on the open sea. In the morning, however, everything is tranquil as you set out for another harbor.