Fethiye and the Blue Cruise
Sep 29, 2007
Turkey really is amazing. Or, I should say, Turkish friends really are amazing. When we arrived in Fethiye we had only a name and a phone number of Aysel's friend, Ozcan. No boat cruise, no reservation, no hostel - nothing. We walked to the pension the Lonely Planet had recommended, and headed down to the port to hook up with Ozcan. He ran a day boat, doing tours of the 12 Islands (Aphrodit-3, for those who are interested), and was going to help us find a good Blue Cruise; a cruise along Turkey's coast for 4 days of snorkelling, swimming, drinking, and laying out in the sun. And it seemed to work well right away - Ozcan said he knew a captain of a good company that was sailing the next day. He called, there was two spots left, and just like that everyting was set. The captain would meet us later that night to confirm. Except, he didn't show. And didn't show the next morning. 10:30 am was coming quick, which is when most of the cruises departed. A hasty trip down around 9 am to see Ozcan (who we woke up - sorry!), and another call to the captain, who was now not actually leaving that day. Oh. Ozcan started calling around for us, and found another cruise ready to depart. He drove us over, checked out the boat with us, and basically held our hand through the process. All for two people he had met the night before.
We wound up getting the last spots on the Erkan 4 (though our friends on board Tim and Nicola were also told the day before that they had the last spots, so "please hurry and make a decision".) The boat was amazing.
People waving on boats.
This struck me as odd. When you are on a boat, and you pass another boat, with people who you will never see again, with people that could, for all you know, be drug smugglers, or child slavers, or even possibly Americans (just kidding! just joking!), you wave. And jauntily, they wave back.
Does this happen in subways? On the freeway? Walking down a busy street? Never. In fact, in many places, waving to someone on the subway would be an invitation to get punched, or at least quietly sneezed on.
But boats are a different world. On a boat, you all belong to some exclusive society of "people on boats". It doesn't take much to join, but once you do, you feel the need to wave to others and basically say "We're on a boat! You're on a boat! Hurray for us!".
This has to get a little tiresome for people who actually own boats. Their wrists must get tired of acknowledging the waves of the "noveau boat" people, who simply bought a ticket and joined the society for four days.
The boat trip from Fethiye to Olympos will be one of the highlights of our trip. Not just for the sights, the swimming, the snorkelling, the food, but for the people we met, and just the experience of being on a sailing ship along deserted coastlines, staring at different blues and greens that you never thought existed.
The captain of the Erkan 4 was Matt, who was a fantastic captain and soon became a good friend. Six other couples joined us in Fethiye, and got to know each other so quickly that I was often shocked that people hadn't known each other before the trip. Seven Australians (four transplanted to London), four Canadians, one Italian, one American, and one transplanted South African made up the group. We spent our time exploring ruins on the shore, drinking heaps of Efes beer, marvelling at the napping abilities of the crew of 3, scarfing down pounds of good, healthy food, and shaking the dancefloor one evening at the Smuggler's Inn bar.
And after the bar, we got a nighttime personal tour of the local haunted pirate's cave from Captain Matt in the boat's small motor launch. It helped that Matt looked very much like Captain Jack Sparrow, but it didn't help that it was night, and one of the group was deathly afraid of bats. (Constant reassurances of "Bats are friendly! The bats have left the cave for the night! Bats are an important part of this wonderful ecosystem!" didn't have their desired effect when an actual bat squeaked and flew past.) The next morning, we took the big boat back to the cave, and snorkelled in - those of us who had gone the night before became more amazed that we actually returned in one piece.
The late night trip through choppy water, and actually into the cave system (with the bottom of the boat occasionally scraping against the rocks) narrowly beat out the rock jump many of us did on the first day as the "event most likely to cause death that would be written up unfavourably by international press". We were told we could jump off a very high rock in a bay that we anchored in. What we weren't told was that, once at the top, getting back down was really only feasible by jumping. And that perspective is a funny thing, and the rocks at the bottom looked really close. And that the jump was a looong way down. The kind of "long" where halfway you wonder why you haven't hit the water yet.
But we survived the jump (with a few bruises), and decided that it was the coolest jump ever, but that, just now, none of us really felt like going back up, because ... lunch was coming up soon, and you know, maybe we'd head back and shower off ... but not because we were scared to do it again. Not at all.
Other moments we will always try and remember: walking up the nearly butterfly-free Butterfly valley, and learning that it was most likely butterfly free because of stupid tourists like ourselves being loud (at least that's what the sign implied - an early guilt trip on the walk); scrambling up rocks in my Adventure Flip-flops, and deciding that Tyrone and I had found the remains of an ancient Lycian firepit, simply so that we could say we saw something other than "more rocks"; morning swims before and after breakfast; and sleeping out on deck, under a huge moon, with stars swirling, and the ocean like a sheet of ice.
We'll probably try and forget Kyla's sea sickness on the first morning.