Holy procrastination, Batman! I just accept the fact that I am terrible at keeping a blog. Anyway!
Before I delve into the depth of this current blog, I will update you all with info that I would have normally blogged straight away if it wasn’t for this horrible monster looming over me called
He put a ring on it!
Yay! So yeah, that happened in Turkey. We got a lovely heirloom ring from his grandmother, and we sneaked a peak at it early in the holiday from Mummy Bones. I knew it was going to happen on the trip, I just didn’t know when. So when he asked a stranger to take a photo of us, I should have known better, but I was happily surprised when he got down on one knee (and almost freaked because just before this he almost slipped and fell!) The ring is a beautiful sapphire surrounded by diamonds. When we received it, it was in dire need of TLC (a slight chip in the sapphire) and the band was yellow gold, and about 8x too big. Once back in Dubai, we ventured to the Gold & Diamond Park, and at Gem Mart they lovingly fixed up my ring and made a matching band, as well as creating a band for Alan (he doesn’t get to wear it yet though!)
Okay, so back to the topic at hand! Alan’s parents retired from cold life in the United Kingdom (yes, Alan is British, and I’m a Yank…) to sail the turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean. They predominantly stay around Turkey because it’s the most affordable, but sometimes venture into Greece and Spain. In July, we spent an amazing 10 days on their boat, The Wild One, and explored the various bays and fishing towns off the western coast of Turkey.
Our travels included a flight from Dubai to Istanbul, and then a domestic flight from Istanbul to Antalya. We flew low cost carrier, Onur Air, with delays and little information, we were not impressed. But we eventually made it into Antalya, and after some worry and about an hour later (and a squatting toilet in the airport later) we found our ground transport and took a private taxi for an hour’s ride to Kemer Marina. Kemer is quite the tourist spot – which we later learn is mostly visited by Russians (Russian night at the local club, anyone?) It’s quite a popular spot for boaters, so Alan’s parents only stay the night to pick us up. Docking often can get expensive, but the payoff is of course the amenities (a real toilet and shower?!) and of course, electricity. After waking up the first morning on the boat, we shower in the grounds facilities, take a short tour of the marina, and then head off into the great blue sea.
Sailing was definitely something new to me. I’d been on boats and yachts before, but only a few hours at a time, and usually drunk (hey, I said I like to party). I did go on a cruise back in high school, but I know there is a huge difference between large ships and boats. For me, I’m much more at home on a tiny metal tube 40,000 feet in the air, so spending a lengthy time at sea was something I knew nothing about. In preparation, I took some Stugeron (motion sickness prevention pills) but unfortunately was so affected by the drug that I spent most of the day dozing in and out of consciousness. Of course, snoozing under the sun to the sound of rushing waves is pretty soothing, so it wasn’t all that bad. After that day, I never took another Stugeron and was perfectly fine the rest of the trip.
One of our first stops was Kekova, a tiny fishing village only accessible by boat. We docked in the bay and took the dingy to shore as the sun came down to feast on our first full night of holiday. The town was quaint and cute, and at night the only main restaurant there was bustling with visitors surrounded by the local strays of cats and dogs waiting for a handout. We sat upstairs and was greeted by the owner, who spoke fairly decent English, but was more than happy to see us. Remember how much I love food? I was excited about the prospects of a fresh fish dinner..
The next day, we got up bright and early to take a tour around the nearby city called Kalekoy and castle ruins. Kalekoy castle is situated just next to Kekova, but still only accessible by boat. These and surrounding islands display many ruins and sarcophagi dating as far back to the ancient Lycian era (around 1200-500 BC). A massive earthquake devastated the area, causing much of the city to sink underwater. The ancient Lycian city of Simena can be seen on glass-bottomed boat tours and is protected by the government from snorkeling to preserve it. Many places you can see steps leading into the water and doorways going nowhere. The sarcophagi are said to have housed the bodies of important people of the city, but have since all been pilfered and ransacked (don’t worry, any bodies inside have been long disintegrated and gone). At the top of this small town lies what used to be a castle and for a few Turkish lira, you can hike your way up and get amazing views of the islands.
After Kekova, we stopped off at a popular snorkeling spot called “The Aquarium”, water so crystal clear it was a must-see for all the touring and party boats (much to Alan’s dad’s dismay). Unfortunately there wasn’t too much fish to see but it was a lovely opportunity to play with Daddy Bone’s new underwater camera!
After a few nights of docking in random (but beautiful and serene) bays, was off to Nuri’s Beach, probably my favorite destination on the whole trip. While I absolutely loved this new adventure of sailing the ocean blue, the only downside was sleeping in our sauna of a cabin. Since it was the middle of summer, and using electricity while in a bay sucked the battery power, we went without any fans or a windsock, causing the little cabin to get hot during the night and especially as soon as the sun came up. It wasn’t all that bad though, because apparently yachties (as Alan’s parents affectionately describe themselves and their friends as) incorporate many naps into their every day schedules. Spending all day in a bikini and randomly napping in the sun? I could get used to this!
Nuri’s Beach is a tiny (and I mean tiny) town (wait, can it even be classified as a town?!) comprising of one restaurant, a handful of bungalows and a beach bar. It’s owned by one family, and sees many visitors, particularly from the much bigger town of Kas across the sea. Ferries filled with beachgoers cross the sea in droves as Kas lacks any kind of traditional beach. But I’ll get to Kas in a minute. First, Nuri’s Beach!
This little gem reminded me a bit of my favorite spot in Dubai, Barasti Beach, where you can enter for free and drink on the beach to your heart’s content, only this place was like our little secret. The small marina is occupied by tourists and yachties alike, and with no docking fee, it’s no surprise people tend to stay for long periods of time. But who can argue? The beach is cozy and the drinks are free flowing, and the food in the restaurant is SIMPLY AMAZING – Alan’s parents swear by the shrimps casserole, which I can testify is super yummy. We caved in for one night and rented a bungalow – hey, we needed some private time, and, well, air conditioning – which got us a discount on all our food and drinks.
The next day, we hopped on one of the water taxis and shuffled over to Kas. As we approach the city, we can see the city has no real beach, mostly just cliffs dotted with umbrellas and chairs where lots of the locals jump off into the sea near some big scary rocks – yikes. We have a stroll to an ancient amphitheater, and then have a nice lunch with a beautiful view.
After picking up some necessities and scouting out a bit more of the city (aka SHOPPING!) we hopped back onto the boat to our beloved Nuri’s beach. The next day, we sailed onto a few more bays before making our way across to Greece.
The island of Castellorizo is a tiny Greek island just about 2 km off the southern coast of Turkey and was once owned under the Turkish government. We set out for St. George’s bay for a quick snorkel and swim before heading to the main island.
Finally, our last stop before our departure back to Dubai via Dalaman airport was a nightstop in a neighboring bay with one single restaurant. (Though throughout the trip I learn that this is quite a common site, as many people find that setting up shop in a lonely bay attracts many boaters and ends up being very fruitful). The next morning, we load up the dingy (yes, the dingy!) with our luggages, say good by to Mummy Bones, and hitch a ride with Daddy Bones to the neighboring marina where our taxi driver dutifully awaits. So our journey home consisted of a boat ride, car ride, and finally a plane ride. Who can say that?! Okay, probably a lot of you…
Here’s the last bit of random pics I couldn’t find places to fit in throughout the blog: