As I'm sure you remember as if it was just yesterday, in my last entry on the subject we had just had our first day at sea on the "Turquoise Coast," seeing many neat things already.
Tuesday, August 27th
In the morning we spent another few hours cruising through yet another fine day on the water, until we came to the town of Kaş (pronounced "Cash") draped precariously on the steep hillsides around the sea. I think our main purpose here was actually just so the boat could resupply, but we were all turned loose upon the little town.
It had a very cute and touristy little downtown area. We strolled up the steep narrow streets in search of some tombs but soon decided it was just way too hot for a trek to these tombs which were mostly way up the slope. So we came back down to the cute downtown area.
Here you can see a tomb in the background, but the tombs up on the slope were supposed to be huge and carved into the cliff.
Instead we struck off in search of an ancient Roman amphitheatre, which we duly found atop a nearby sunbaked hill (that's Kaş in the background). The amphitheatre had /has a fine view out to sea, I can easily imagine how pleasant it must have been to sit there on a warm summer evening, watching some entertainment with the view to sea out beyond it.
Then we returned to the boat and we proceeded westward along the coast for several more hours. We anchored off some cove which I don't recall as being particularly noteworthy. We all went to sleep early (after another no doubt sumptuous dinner, the dinner were all just delicious), because we knew we'd be getting underway early in the morning.
Tuesday, August 27th
Most of us were asleep on the foredeck when the vessel got underway around 0300 in the morning. Soon we were bucking and galloping over large swells at a pretty good clip. It reminded me of many a high sea I've been in and I smiled and rolled over. Several passengers I believe got up and went below, hah, fools! -- that never makes seasickness better!
We arrived at "Butterfly Valley" early in the morning (maybe 0700?). The valley consists of a narrow valley with a lush floor full of vegetation surrounded on both sides by extremely tall steep cliffs. The captain seemed intent on just serving breakfast hear and moving on, talking kind of dismissively about the valley, saying they wouldn't run a boat to shore so we'd have to swim, and basically "you can go ashore if you really want to or we could get underway for Oludeniz immediately and have more time at that beach." Fortunately a few of us looked at eachother and said well no we definitely want to go ashore here.
Its a bit of a hike to the back end of the valley, so I swam ashore holding my hiking boots above my head. Also didn't get any pictures here, due to the precarious landing, but here's a video of some bro with a stupid hat doing some kind of travel report on the place that pretty much shows what it looks like.
Several tents were pitched just off the beach, and there were already some campers strolling about. Contrary to what the abovementioned bro says in his video, there is actually an overland trail down some crevasse into the gorge. Was also annoyed to discovered you had to pay a nominal fee (5 lira) to leave the beach, which the captain hadn't advised us of. Fortunately, one of my companions happened to have enough money on him to cover himself and I. Up at the back end of the canyon another trail leads who knows how far back, up a series of waterfalls. I climbed a few places where one had to climb up an old battered rope, but decided not to continue past a point where one would have to cross through a waterfall itself, over slimey rocks, hanging onto the decrepid decaying rope for dear life. Only saw a few butterflies. And soon we needed to return!
Our next stop, after several more hours travel, was the famous Oludeniz beach. We anchored where you see those boats in the bottom center in that picture I just linked, and I swam around the point to the beach. It had been described as a "world famous" amazing beach. Well the water was warm and crystal clear, it sure had that going for it, but there weren't any waves and the beach was all a-pebbly. Maybe I'm spoiled because I've lived all my life by the "world famous" southern California beaches and then lived right on a gorgeous beautiful beach in Australia. But worst of all, I don't know how they managed to get the beach looking so empty in that last pic, here's another one that's still very optimistic compared to what I actually experienced there --- it was a thriving rookery of pale, pasty bulgey Russian walruses in speedoes, packing every square foot of the gravelly strand!
There's a boardwalk all along the beach and some shops so I walked up and down a bit in search of raki, since we'd run out aboardship, but was ultimately unsuccessful.
Returned to the boat, we had lunch -- if I wasn't writing this five months later I'd probably be able to tell you what delicious things we ate ;) and then we cast off and set off for our next destination, "St Nicholas Island!"
St Nick's, AKA Gemiler_Island, is a small island not far from Oludeniz, and it is completely covered with monastic ruins. It is believed to be the original resting place of St Nicholas (AKA Santa Claus) -- but then his remains were pilfered away by other churches eager to have such holy relics, naturally.
I spent the afternoon snorkeling -- there were many underwater ruins here. Other boats packed with tourists (who looked mainly Turkish) from nearby Fethiye or Oludeniz would come up lower long ramps to the shore to disgorge their hordes onto the island or the shallow waters of the shore, and motorboats pulling inflated tubes would come by plying the area for customers -- several of my fellow passengers went on several of these tubing adventures. Most remarkably, a husband and wife team came rowing up in a boat completely lacking an engine, but with a stove to make sort of pancakes on, the pancakes sold like, well, hotcakes!
Seen here, Nick the Canadian hurries aboard for pancakes while the Australians bob about in the water.
We also played backgammon while on breaks from swimming. While in Kas we had looked for a chess set, all being more familiar with that, but failing to find an affordable one we ended up making due with backgammon, which was probably for the best, since its an important Turkish cultural thing -- practically a national past time. The captain was very patient when playing with us and would explain why we didn't want to make the move we did, and/or why he was making the move he did. He also had an uncanny ability to roll the die and get exactly what he wanted -- I chalked that up to the magical abilities all captains have. Marta, one of cute Spanish girls, got very good at backgammon herself.
That evening around sunset several of us went ashore (via smallboat) because we'd been advised that was the best time to see the ruins. Fortunately this time I thought to ask if there was a fee to go on the island and was told there was. Almost fell for it again! And personally I think the "wait till sunset" was terrible advice -- the sun sets behind a hill and you're left just trying to look at the ruins in the gathering dimness and hurry before its too dark!! There were a lot of cool ruins though, I think I even found where they wouldn't let Rudolph play in the reindeer games! Also there was a neat long processional hall.
That night I remember we had the biggest most delicious dinner of all. I don't know how he did it, the one cook in the little galley just had dish after dish rolling out of there. At one end of the table people were telling stories of drunken adventures, while at the end I was at we were discussing current events. Then we played drinking games, notably that counting to fifteen one from Olympos. Soon we'd finished all the beer (and the raki was still gone) and the captain had to break into his personal stash to keep everyone supplied. Yet another lovely warm summer evening on the water stretched merrily into the night!
Next: the Faraway Land & City of Light! In which I photograph a tortoise.