Star Gazing With Patrick Moore

Local fisherman. A very familiar sight

Local fisherman. A very familiar sight


Woke up in the foulest of moods, having had a terrible night’s sleep. I’m not known for being an early-bird and today was certainly proof of that. I was so overtired even the ever tolerant Liz claimed she would not sail with me if my mood persisted. Unfortunately for her it did and this was evident in my patience with anchoring. A boring motor from Marmaris to Gerbekse Cove was only made interesting by the turtle we spotted, bobbing around in Marmaris bay. As we passed him he poked one side of his head up out the water, as if to say ‘chill, man, chill’.


Ciftlik, the nice side of the beach

Ciftlik, the nice side of the beach

This was the second time we attempted to anchor in Gerbekse Cove. Liz was keen to seek it out as it boasted an ancient church ruin and she wanted to take some snaps to email to her father, a professor of archaeology. Unfortunately my patience was wearing thin and this small bay gives little room for error when it comes to anchoring. With only 20m of chain out (any more and we would have been knocking against the rocks) the anchor soon dragged, so I insisted we move out, with Liz a little annoyed that she did not get to see her church. ‘Damn it, I don’t care whether it’s ancient Hellenistic or built yesterday out of glass, if I don’t feel comfortable at anchor we are not staying here’, I seem to remember grumbling.


We motored half a mile back up the coast to Ciftlik, an anchorage that suffers from severe gusts off the mountains and whose beauty is spoiled somewhat by the monstrous holiday resort. That said it’s a great anchorage in terms of holding on the pick and actually, despite the holiday resort it’s still a pretty bay.


Ciftlik, the rubbish side of the beach

Ciftlik, the rubbish side of the beach

The highlight, however, has to be star gazing that evening. With a copy of Patrick Moore’s ‘Stargazing Without A Telescope’ in one hand, and ‘RedShift 4’ running on the laptop in the other (an excellent real-time map of the stars), we were able to educate ourselves on the constellations. The first highlight was seeing Venus, Regulus (of Leo), the moon and Saturn, all in a straight line. Despite the crescent, waxing moon, the whole thing could be seen with the bins quite clearly. Even better than this, however, was spotting Jupiter, sitting next to Liz’s favourite star, Antares of Scorpius. With the aid of the bins we could see that not only was Jupiter planet shaped, (as in not a twinkling star but crescent shaped) it was clearly accompanied by three of its four moons! I have never seen Jupiter’s moons before now but to see them, each a different colour, with my own eyes, really threw me!


Western aspect of the straight line made up of Regulus, The Moon, Saturn and Venus. Source: Redshift4

Western aspect of the straight line made up of Regulus, The Moon, Saturn and Venus. Source: Redshift4


SE aspect of Jupiter, with a close-up of the moons Source: Redshift4

SE aspect of Jupiter, with a close-up of the moons Source: Redshift4





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