Day 6: Return

It’s hard to believe this is our last morning on the boat. When we set out I was seriously worried it was going to be too long trapped with this group on a small boat. That we would be unhappy. But now it feels like our vacation is ending and we’re heading home. Even though we’re not really, we’re heading back from our vacation to our vacation, back to Fethiye.

We woke up as the day before and lay in bed waiting for everyone else to start moving.

Tea was served and we took long enough drinking tea and talking that breakfast was ready before we knew it. We had hoped to get Ahmed to feed his octopus for us so we could get a look at one outside of its hiding place, but no luck, Ahmed was still snoozing away.

Not a minute after breakfast was served and Sonny had our stern line untied from the rocks ashore, and we figured it was time to go. It’s an hour back to Fethiye, and some of our group does need to catch a flight post haste on to their next leg in Cappadocia, so I knew we had to leave no later than 9:30. But then Sonny and Gee dove overboard and swam around a bit, and Sonny started cleaning some fish so I asked if we had time to swim. 10 minutes. The last swim of our cruise. I hurriedly change and Jenn is right there with me. We do the whole “no you go first” like penguins before finally getting in the water. It’s warmer than I expect, and the saltiness always surprises me for some reason. Soon after most of the boat joins us. Kate jokes that were all arranged like a dance circle waiting for someone to swim into the middle and show their best break dance move, and she does a spin. Before we know it we’re called back on board, time to go.

I try to shower off the salt the best I can then change into more normal clothes. I’m going through shirts quicker than I’d like and I’m not going to make it to the end of the trip at my current rate. Instead of packing, I go on deck to watch the last hour of the Mediterranean slip by as we return to port. John Jr. has set up his family with a tmobile family plan for the month that has unlimited data which I borrow to book our room in Rhodes, a cute little place called Klimdt in the heart of old town.

The people we shared these days were if nothing else interesting. Jim and Kim both work in the medical field, Jim as a doctor trying to prevent chronic conditions and Kim at a non profit. Jim is a wealth of trivia. Kim spent time in her youth teaching in Papua New Guinea with the Peace Corp. Kate and Damien met in New Zealand after Damien, a sailor himself, got frustrated with the change in economy, bought a bike and road his way from England to China before running out of money and immigrating to New Zealand for work where they met. Kate does Iron Man competitions and has Damien doing halfs, the two of them having just been married and on their Honeymoon. John was in the Navy and knew a lot about larger boats. Anne, John’s wife, worked in mental health and we had a long conversation about autism, and various mental disorders. John Jnr. is a personal wealth expert, and he himself has traveled quite extensively, having come from a vacation in Croatia before this trip, his wife stuck in at home in the office sadly missing out on all the fun, though I’m sure she would have been quite fun to meet as well. Abe and Clara, the youngest of the group are both in College, this being Clara’s first trip abroad, and what start with Turkey, every so often reminding herself in amazement that she’s in Turkey (that is the correct response!). Abe had studied computer science for a bit, but didn’t find the work very fun, it’s so esoteric it’s impossible to know until you already can do it, and he had more than a passing interest in photography.

I’m feeling especially nostalgic with this part of the trip, it reminds me so much of sailing on Aquavit, and sailing in general. I’m more motivated than ever to find myself a cheap laser on Craigslist once I have a way to get it down to the water. Everywhere I look I see people with their rented charter yachts with no idea how to sail, but I see the appeal isn’t just to those who feel comfortable behind a tiller.

The cruise isn’t just nice for the time on the water but in it and around it too, it’s like all of the good parts. It’s like being in port without the long unpleasant crossings from island group to island group. It’s like the socializing with the other cruisers on other boats without the throngs of people. I miss these parts of it.

We’re back in Fethiye at the dock before we know it, and it’s time to pack. I have to run into town for yet more money from the ATM, and I leave Jenn on board to pack since there really isn’t enough room in our cabin for two people to pack at once. The one knock I have about Before Lunch Cruises is the lack of credit card as an option. I don’t understand why they don’t offer it as an option and any fees they have, they pass on to the customer, give them the option. For two people it’s about $900, carrying that around in cash just isn’t an option, and withdrawing from ATMs is significantly worse than charging for us, even if it was a 7% fee.

Jenn is packed when I’m back and I throw everything in a bag and settle up with Ros. She asks what we’re doing next and I tell her we’re off to Rhodes. She tells us to head down to the offices across from the ferry to buy our ticket, that as far as she knows you can’t buy a ticket at the ferry itself.

We follow her advice and walk into the first cool AC’d office and ask when the next ferry is are told tomorrow morning at 9… I had looked when I was planning a trip and they had two ferries a day, one in the afternoon and one in the morning. We later hear from another source, the big catamaran we’ve seen in port is the second ferry and it’s “kaput”. Well crud. Now we have a room we can’t get to, and an afternoon we have no idea what to do with. I borrow the office’s internet and email our hotel for the night asking if they will let me cancel. I’m unable to get them to respond, and booking.com wants 50% of the original room cost for the cancel… We now have to figure out our new plans, look at our schedule, and see how we’re going to fit this in, or if we want to bail and do something else. We feel like we’ve seen everything the nearby area has to see and still want to see Rhodes. I had wanted to visit 7 years ago when I was traveling abroad after college but had run out of money before making it to Rhodes. I’m so close again, perhaps too far though still. We try going to Rhodes tomorrow, and staying overnight and coming back a day later and leaving late for Pamukkale, it seems that would work, but no, the last bus leaves 30 minutes before the ferry returns. And it’s not like we could have ever made today’s. Alright, our only option is a day trip, out at 9, back around 6. We buy our tickets and head to our hotel from our previous night in Fethiye.

Minu Hotel is pretty empty, a lot of the tourists to the area are Turkish tourists, and they’re all back at work mid-week. We get a different room than before with two twins that she says push together without much of a seam. It works and we take it. We ask her what to do today and she suggests going to Kayaköy, a ruined town not too far where the wind blows cooler than Fethiye where it’s a stagnant 41C/106F. She tells us how to get to the mini bus station. We shower real quick, and put back on our previously worn clothes and are off.

We find our minibus easy enough, but the window blinds are closed and it’s hot like a sauna. I don’t understand why it’s so hot in Fethiye, even though it’s on the water, this time of years it feels like a Santa Ana but without the wind. It just bakes! Jenn is by the window and positively frying and slightly motion sick from the winding up and down mountain roads with closed windows, very unhappy but there isn’t much I can do but move back a row once some seats open up.

Kayaköy was an old Greek town, and after the establishment of the Turkish Republic, there was an exchange of Greeks living in Turkey for Turks living in Greece. There were however more Greek expats than Turk, and so inevitably there are now ghost towns where there was no one to resettle. No longer after the resettlement however a fire burned through town burning all of the wooden support beams and before long at all the ghost town became a set of ruins that look much older than their time. We wander for a time, but honestly it all looks very much the same, with the few re-habitated houses being the only thing breaking up the visual fatigue. It’s fun, but only provides so much entertainment. Back on the main road we find a little café with an amazing breeze and sit down for some drinks. We try Aryan (pronounced like Eye-Ran), a local Turkish drink made from watered down Yogurt. I half expected some sweetness added like honey making something like an Indian Lassi, but no luck, it’s tangy and on the sour side. Just as we’re finishing up a mini bus pulls up. We flag him down and quickly drop 5 TL for our drinks and barely get the bus stopped.

Back at our hotel and it was time for another shower. A shower and dinner. On go less stinky clothes and we hunt for a place to eat settling on a Turkish Pide place which roughly translates to Turkish Pizza, a bread pastry with meat in the crust topped with sour cream and spices. A bit too much sour cream. Not horrible, but not what I’d hoped. We had been having trouble with portions and only ordered 1 to not over order, so instead of ordering something else here we moved on to try our luck somewhere else. Near our hotel was a little hole in the wall (literally!) place with barely enough room to dice produce, but she had her produce up front and it all looked good, and the price was cheap unlike tourist food so we ordered a köfte wrap made with very tasty Turkish grilled meat balls. We retire to our room to get in make sure everyone back home that worries knows we’re safe, cool off for a bit and eventually head out for some tea.

The night winds down and I catch up a bit on my journal before heading off to sleep in our nice and cool room.

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