Og it’s quite hot just now. Got to be 30 in this hotel room by Patara. I kind of wish I was on a boat in the mediteranean instead. That was yesterday though. We spent two days in Fethiye since it seemed like there was so much cool stuff around it. Fethiye is one of the Turkish cities that does a lot of boat tours. The tours are pretty cheap (like 50 bucks for both of us for a 8 hour cruise including lunch). The day looked like it was going to be rainy and we had some serious sun exposure to recover from so we decided to try out a cruise.
The proprietor of our pension arranged the tour for us over breakfast and the boat owner showed up at about 11:00 to whisk us off to the dock. The boat was quite nice. We ended up paying an extra 6 dollars to get on a sailboat instead of a power boat but there were definitely no sails put up that day (dispite a perfect breeze). Still, the boat was very nice. There were 20-30 people aboard and it swallowed us all up nicely into different corners and decks. Getting started was a little tricky as a half-dozen people had somehow boarded our boat by accident and had to be shuttled off, then the anchor chain fouled while we were leaving, and _then_ we had to motor back into our slip to pick up two late arrivals. But eventually we got going (the owner spent the next hour dealing with the fouled anchor chain).
The itinerary was up in the air. We knew there was a market on one of the islands, mud baths on another, roman ruins on another, and a bunch of remote swimming spots. It’s to the captain’s discretion to decide what ports to stop in. Turns out we only stopped in remote swimming spots. No culture. Just jumping off the boat and swimming around, then back on the boat to motor to the next swimming spot to jump off the boat some more. Sarah was less than impressed with this. I had a blast!
The cargo of the boat consisted of one german group of about 6, one turkish group of about 6 and mabey another 6 loose fish. The turkish group was the only one that was really into jumping off the boat. I think everyone else felt they had not quite gotten what they bragained for. They pretty much just lounged around on the boat for 8 hours. A few of them went for a swim. But that’s not a bad way to spend a day and I think for 50 bucks it’s hard to complain.
Me and the turks however had such a good time leaping off the boat all day. I quickly insinuated myself into their group when I charged up the stairs to the top deck on the first stop. There were two of them looking a little sheepishly at the water and when I looked at them with eyebrows raised they motioned that I was welcome to go first if I wanted to: Cannon Ball!
I have learned that few nations like swimming like Canadian’s do. In Canada I’m always one of the weakest swimmers and one of the least likely to set the bar for height-jumped. But in Turkey I’m the most water proficient guy on the boat! The other guys were either diving or jumping straight legged into the water. I was rocking front flips and back flips and big leaping dives. It’s pretty hard to hurt yourself jumping 3 meters into the water. Only once did another guy step over the railing and turn around backwards to do a back flip. He chickened out though, leaving me the undisputed king of leaping into the water which is a title I have never held before. Sarah did a jump off the boat’s high deck too! Which I was very impressed with! She stood at the edge and wavered, wrestling her extreme fear of heights. But when she did leap off into the sea all the Turks cheered and clapped for her when her head bobbed back to the surface. She had such a beaming smile it was a great moment for everyone. Luckily the water was warm and the rain didn’t darken our swimming.
The trip started pleasently rainy. Listening to the rain dab on the cloth covering and watching it ripple in the calm Mediteranean was calm and peacful. Very lovely. But it largely cleared up as the swimming started making the day a perfect mix of sun and shade, hot and cool. The boat also acted as a bit of a ferry. We would pick people up and odd spots. Those people would hang out on the boat, and then at the end we deposited them in a new port. Pretty interesting way to get around.
After we got back we made a trip into the hills behind the city to check out these tombs that are cut into the rock Petra-style. On the way a little girl ran up to us and offered us a branch with 4 perfect fruit on it. I didn’t believe she was so nice. Turkey has been chock a block with people playing angles and trying to get you to spend your money. I took the fruit and looked at her parents who were smiling and motioned to take it. We thanked her in English and Turkish and loved the fruit. It was so great to have such a genuinely kind experience. They have been generally missing in Turkey. I’ve offered a couple of rides to locals we’ve met so mabey I’ve just built up enough good karma.
Anyway, when We did get to the tombs it was back to good old Turkey: 8 lira each to make the short walk up (that’s like 6 CAD). These things are not that impressive, 8 lira was crazy. Luckily it was unmanned and the locals just motioned for us to walk up for free. Which is pretty damned lucky. They were like stage jewelry, very nice from a distance but not much to see up close. I did get to putter around on some of the limestone. The climbing in this country must be amazing! I think the summer heat and the winter cold makes it hard to really enjoy it though.
Curiosity satisfied we got into the touristy bit of Fethiye to find some food. Lonely Planet suggests a couple of places so we decided we were probably pretty safe with one of them. Turns out some of our australian pension-mates had picked the same restaurant. We ate with them, talking about traveling and Turkey, it was a very nice meal. When we got back we had a few back-gamon games, argued about gambling, and talked about Australian politics. It was a really nice evening. It’s great to chat occasionaly with people who aren’t us.
So one missrepresented boat trip, an unexpected act of kindness, and a good chat about John Major later: another pretty damned good day in Turkey.