Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blue Cruise, Mediterranean Coast, Turkey

The Mediterranean coast of Turkey.

Big mountains I was happy not to be biking over.

The Blue Cruise is a four day trip between Fethiye and Olympos, Turkey. You take a gullet, a large boat with sails, though they never use them. They use the engines to mosey between various stops during the day. Some are for swimming. Some are to explore ruins. They almost never move the boat during meals or when we are sleeping. These are often billed as booze cruises which had me a little worried because that environment isn't conductive to my rest and relaxation. However, I did not need to worry. It was a very mellow crowd from almost all English speaking countries. There was one lone Turk, who ended up hanging out with the crew because he didn't speak any English.

Our first sunset.

Our first sunrise.

We had about 200km of beautiful coastline like this.

Most of the trip is a blur. I remember the good conversations more than I do the stops. A lot of the stops have blended together. The water was blue. There were gorgeous mountains behind it. There was a harbor, maybe a village, maybe some ruins. In the beginning, some people stressed about which stop was which or if we needed shoes or, or, or. I didn't care. I was elated to have someone else making all of my decisions for me for four days. I just had to sit there.

I think this was a mosque in Kas. It threw me that it had stores on the bottom floor. I didn't know that was allowed.

Find the looted ancient Lycian tomb in the rock face.

Butterfly Valley.

At the first port, Butterfly Valley, we anchored but had to swim to shore. We had a dinghy, but did not use it for whatever reason. I used an 'air mattress' floaty (no idea what the proper name is) to take my shoes and camera over. Butterfly valley is only supposed to be accessed from the water, but people make the difficult climb down from town to visit. A lot of people actually live there. It reminded me a little bit of the Kulaulau Valley. The butterflies only live high up. Luckily, we saw two.

The village under Simena Castle.

The view from Simean castle.

Herb and Judy were two of my fellow passengers. They are brilliant. I've resolved to invite them to my wedding if I ever have one. Judy will single handedly start the dance floor. They are a retired couple from New York now living in New Mexico. They raised two(?) boys. They are still active and 60 or 70 years old. I don't just mean mobile. They travel independently. They do hikes that young people struggle with. They are balls of energy. I can only hope to be that happy and energetic. I had a ton of great chats with them about wearing myself out on my trip, life journeys, happiness, parenting, and who knows what else.

Sarcophagi outside Simena Castle.

Sam and Kat on their honeymoon at . . . Simena castle

I am not sure what my favorite spot on the trip was. I seem to have taken a lot of pictures of Simena castle though. I think that had mostly to do with its location though. It is a Byzantine Castle with Lycian ruins over looking the great waters of the Mediterranean. You can't really go wrong with that. I also was able to fruitlessly search the fig trees for a free snack. The spoils of Croatia will continue to haunt me because none of the fig trees I have found since have fruit!!

I'm a little teacup short and stout. Here is my handle, here is my . . . other handle.

Simena village street.

Most of my fellow passengers on the Alaturka.

There were only four single people on the boat. They put us all in one room. The rest were double bunks. I slept on deck every night which let two of the singles who hooked up have a little more freedom, but there were still a few times I was locked out of the room. Ahh, to be in college living again.

The underwater city.

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.

Best swim of the trip was right after this sunrise.

We started the trip without a captain. He was off taking a test that he subsequently failed. When he finally got on board, he came on grumpy. Maybe it was because he failed his test. I don't know, but he tried to establish his authority in a way that put a huge damper on everything. The crew had been doing a great job before he got there and kept things fun. Afterward, they were tense and did not open up as much. It was amazing how drastic the transition was. At some point, the captain started yelling at a passenger. I think we collectively decided to ignore him and the next day, things were better. He got a good night's sleep and probably eased up. He wasn't good, but he was bearable. The chef, who we called Chef, carried the day. He was kept us smiling the entire trip. He even joined our impromptu boat dance party.

Dance party.

Pirate cave has no history of pirates using it.

There were a ton of amazing sun rises and sun sets. We saw the harvest moon. I relearned how to play backgammon. I got to chat with a Kiwi. We found a lot of small world connections. One couple had a vacation spot in Steamboat and had family that co-owns Knobels! Knobels is the local amusement park where I grow up. No one knows it unless you are from the area. They know it and they love it. We had a lot of hype to visit an underwater city. It's hype. Don't bother. You can't see anything and you can't snorkel there. We danced one night, but I was still in bed by midnight. Man, I love sleep even if I never get a lot of it. Being sleep deprived is making me appreciate good sleep more and more.

Me. Swimming.

I loved this trip. It was too short though. As I've written about it, there really wasn't much to it for me. Eat, swim, chat, read, eat, swim, eat, sleep, repeat. Though, I never actually slept in. I didn't get a nap either through I tried every day. It did not feel like four days of nothing. They went too quick which is why I suspect I could have used four more weeks of that. On the other hand, I think I would have begun to go stir crazy too. Four days was good. Go. Do it and enjoy it. Rather, go, do nothing, love it.

My bike. Sailing.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Beautiful collection. The blue cruise also known as the blue voyage is a term used for the recreational boating tours along the turkish riviera on turkey's southwestern coast, with connotations in tourism and literature. Thanks a lot...