Trip Start Sep 29, 2010
Trip End Nov 30, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Turkey  , Antalya,
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Saturday morning we enjoyed a relaxing Turkish breakfast on our guesthouse verandah before heading down to our cruise company's office. After we checked in we had to wait before being taken to the boat, during which time we got talking to Sarah and Kevin, a young Canadian couple, who we found out would be joining us on the boat. On arriving at the yacht, which was much bigger than I had expected, we met the rest of our fellow passengers. There were 16 people in all – five Turks, one Italian, two Spaniards, Tiffanie, Marjorie and the two Davids all from France, Kevin and Sarah, and us.

The initial briefing was done in Turkish, so we had to wait on deck for the English version before being shown to our cabins. While we were sitting there I was lucky enough to see a large green sea turtle swimming gracefully by. Unfortunately the wait meant that Andrew and I were one of the last to be allocated a cabin, and ended up with one at the back of the boat – not an ideal position as it was small and cramped, but unfortunately there was nothing we could do about it.

After solving the small organisational challenge of fitting our bags into our cabin whilst still giving us room to move, we went up on deck to lie out and relax. All of the mattresses on the front deck had been taken, so we had to settle for the ones at the back. This worked out well in the end though because as soon as we cast off the awning at the front came down, and if I had been lying up there I’m sure I would have ended up looking like a lobster!

Our first visit was to Butterfly Valley where we stopped for a short while and were able to dive into the warm blue waters and cool off. From there we headed to Oludeniz and moored just off the Blue Lagoon, where we had lunch and were once again able to go for a swim. We got a great view of the paragliders too, and it made me realise just how far up we had been floating in the sky! Our last stop of the day was to watch the sunset from St Nicholas Island, where it is said the saint lived in the 4th century and is the site of his original resting place. The island was riddled with religious ruins, which were interesting to explore, and included a long ceremonial passageway which was surprisingly still largely intact. From the highest vantage point there was a beautiful view of the bay below, where we were moored overnight.

Sunday morning we left St Nicholas Island at 5am, but fortunately were not expected to be up for breakfast until 9am. It turned out that we weren’t quite as unlucky as we thought having the rear cabin. All of the other passengers had slept up on deck as their cabins were too hot, but as we had two windows, one on the side and one on the stern, we had a nice cool breeze flowing through. I’m sure it would have been fun to sleep on deck, but they did all look like they were packed in like sardines.

We moored in one of the many bays along the coastline for a morning swim followed by lunch, and then headed into Kas for the afternoon. It’s a lovely little town surrounding a small port, and full of narrow winding streets lined with shops and jewelers - apparently it’s the best place in Turkey to buy silver. Unfortunately that was beyond our budget, so we settled instead for an ice-cream!

After our stop in Kas we motored to the night’s anchorage, where we were able to enjoy another swim - although this time the warm water was interspersed with some very cold patches. It could be described as invigorating rather than refreshing! Once everyone was out of the water, we gathered around the table for pre – dinner drinks, and after eating another delicious meal we settled down to an evening of playing cards and backgammon. While the conversation might not have flown as easily as if we had all spoken the same language, at least card games seem to be universal.

Monday morning dawned bright and sunny once again, and after breakfast we headed towards the sunken city of Simena. Although we weren’t allowed to stop or swim here, we were able to get close enough on the boat to look at the underwater ruins. We moored off Kalekoy, the neighbouring village, for a couple of hours during which time Andrew and I walked up to the castle, providing a wonderful vantage point of the bay and the surrounding islands. It was a steep climb to the top, with no respite from the burning sun, although once at the top there was a nice cooling breeze and a fantastic view. We had time to wander through the maze of streets in the village - too narrow for anything but people – and found our way to one of the many tombs dotted about the island. The difference with this one was that it was sitting in the shallow waters of the bay which made for a somewhat strange sight.

With everyone back onboard we motored to a nearby bay for a refreshing dip followed by lunch. Unbeknownst to the crew, the Spanish men decided to go for another swim after lunch, and we had already pulled up the anchor when we realised they were not on deck. They had a rather long swim to catch us up before we headed to Gokkaya Bay for our last night.

We had started our cruise with four crew members, but had lost one the chef after dinner the previous evening as he went to visit his family. After our visit to Kalekoy we had lost the first officer for a similar reason, so we were now down to two. Fortunately it transpired that the captain was also an excellent chef so we enjoyed another fantastic meal that night.

After a relaxing few days on the gulet and having got into the mindset of doing nothing, Tuesday morning was a little chaotic. It was the first time that the fact that the captain spoke little English became an issue. He did not explain to us what the plan for the day was with regards to leaving the boat. Our itinerary was supposed to take us to the Blue Cave where we were expecting to stop and have a swim. However, we ended up motoring past, and before we knew it we had arrived at Demre port and our bags were being loaded on to a smaller boat. No time for a swim, no lunch and a very quick goodbye!

We had a wonderful few days on the gulet relaxing, reading and playing games. It was a much better experience than I had anticipated after reading some online reviews. It was a lovely way to unwind but sadly time went too quickly and I just wish we could have stayed a little bit longer.

Our next stop is Cirali, famous for its flaming chimera.

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