I woke up early again this morning, though not quite like the night before, this time because Morning Prayer was called by the mosque right down the street at 4:30 in the morning. It must be hard to be dedicated enough to get up for that one… I found it hard to get back to sleep but eventually managed.
Today we start our 4 days boating adventure. But first breakfast! Minu Hotel where we’re staying had breakfast as part of the room, but it wasn’t especially good, though quite Turkish it seems with sliced meats, cheeses and tomatoes. I stuck to a hardboiled egg and some cheese and toast with eggs, note quite a caprese sandwich.
We had a bit of time in the morning so I quickly put together my journal entry for the day before and posted before our long absence from internet. This though almost made us late for our 10:30am send off. We had to swing by the bank because we didn’t quite have enough cash for the trip, but I couldn’t take any out since less than 24hs before I’d withdrawn money. Frustrating. Hopefully the cruise company will be able to work with us since the banks are closed and I can’t even exchange dollars for lira today.
Jenn needed a hat and a journal book so we walked around the market for a bit looking for ones she’d like and found them pretty quickly. Jenn did her best to barter down the price, but it’s always hard to know if you got a good deal or not. She might have been able to get more out of the hat seller, but we didn’t really have the time to do the whole walk away routine. So it might have cost us a few lira extra.
We had walked past our boat the day before and so we were able to make a bee line directly there. Ros the part owner and person who organizes everything met us on the ramp and showed us to our little tiny cabin. We explained the money situation and she said that its pretty common problem and we’re probably not the only ones onboard who’ll need to hit the ATM after we’re back. I gave her about 3/4ths the total though with the promise of the rest later. She wasn’t stressed about it.
After a quick briefing about the rules we set off for our first harbor. We’re also shown a map of our planned route and it sounds really nice. The first day we go just around the corner for a quick swim and then lunch before heading off to our final destination, an island on the other side of the Gulf of Fethiye, a large well protected bay.
We also meet the others on board. There is John, Anne, and their adult son John. We also have Jim and Kim from Seattle with their son Abe and their niece Clara. And we have Miguel and Maria 5 months pregnant from Spain. They all seem pleasant enough which is good because we have 4 days we these folks.
The weather is perfect, a light breeze with no fetch to form any swell of significance, and bright sunny sky.
At our first stop we all don snorkels and masks and jump into the warm Med water. As it turns out most of the guests like us are Scuba certified. There isn’t a whole lot to see, the bottom is mostly dead with glass every once in a while, with few fish. It’s nice to be out in the water all the same. On our way back to the boat Miguel finds an octopus. He tries to tease it out of its hide under the rock but is un successful, so he clears out some of the pebbles in front of it for a good view. Meanwhile the octopus is doing its best to scoop the pebbles back in front of its little hide. I get what little of a picture I can and we head back to the boat.
Getting out of the water is harder for most than getting in, though this ladder is much easier than what we had on Aquavit, it’s still harder than what you’d find on a dive boat. It’s kinda fun to watch. The boat has a lot of freeboard and its good fun to dive off of. The water is warm and inviting. This reminds me a lot of my time on Aquavit as a kid in port. The fun part of cruising. Though there are a whole lot more people.
Lunch was amazing. It’s done buffet style, all Turkish food. We had some kind of meat stew, Tsatziki, bread, salad, and some kind of steamed vegetable mix. Delicious. And one of the reasons all of us appear to have chosen to join this cruise.
We had just finished lunch when the last our party Damion and Kate from New Zealand. Damion is originally from England, but they live together in Christchuch now. Damion as it turns out is quite the sailor, having raced fireballs and RS skiffs, and all sorts of fun things. It was fun to talk about sailing with someone else. The pair are on their honeymoon together.
It turns out about everyone on the boat is on the same route, just going in different directions. Some have just come from Cappadocia, others from Istanbul heading there next. We’re leaving Istanbul for the end. On one side it makes me feel pretty touristy because we’re doing all the same things as everyone else, but we also are with travelers that are doing things slightly off the beaten path and everyone has great travel stories. Damien for example cycled around China for 6 months! Even one is nice to talk to, though it’s harder to get traction with stories with the older crowd.
After lunch we moved onto our last stop of the way which meant an hour long crossing over the mouth of the gulf. Even then the swell was not hardly a foot. We arrived at our last stop close to 4pm.
We went for another swim, but the water was much colder. Not as much to spot, though there was a strange looking sea worm of some kind. The water was much cleared, maybe 60 ft of visibility.
Back on the boat we were served warm Turkish tea, which I might like even better than Persian tea, though they’re very similar. I’m going to have to bring back a big bag to last me a long while. Doll some out to family and friends.
Dinner like lunch, was spectacular. Fresh caught sea bass, fried calamari, spiced potatoes, pan seared shrimp in a delicious tomato spice blend, and salad. Wow. Just wow. I had to go back for more shrimp. Sonny said that tomorrow’s dinner would be even better, there is no way.
We chatted and chatted until slowly one by one everyone left for bed, some sleeping on deck. We worked on our journals a bit before heading down ourselves. One of these nights, maybe tomorrow night we’re going to sleep on deck too. It sounds very pleasant.