Brenden drove us to the V-Go office Tuesday morning where we checked in, and then waited with an ever increasing number of people and bags. After looking at booklets of all their offered tours and thinking we might never leave, it was time to go to our boat. Our boat was Ömer Kapatan 1, and the captain's name was indeed Ömer. The rest of the crew included his wife and his 12 year old son Ismail. There was also their 5 year old son Hasan and 13 year old Osman, a friend of the family who would be going with us as far as Kaş. After being instructed by the V-Go representative that there were no shoes to be worn on board, no toilet paper to be put in the toilets, and that we should shower off when getting back on the boat after swimming. And then we were off! Although the boat was a sail boat, the sails never went up. We didn't have enough crew to sail anyways.
We motored to a small bay near Fehtiye where we went for our first swim. The water was crystal clear and oh so lovely. When lunch was ready the bell rang and we all sat down at a large and very solid wooden table at the back of the boat for salad, green beens, bulgur pilav and yogurt. The other people on the boat - there was an Iraqi family with two daughters - one in medical school and one hoping to start medical school in a year or two, a brazilian girl, and four candians - a mother and daughter, as well as the mother's best friend from highschool and the daughter's best friend.
After lunch Ismail pulled up the anchor and we departed. The water was a bit rough and the boat rocked a bit and I got a bit sick. And then realized I had motion sickness medication in my bag. We went around a large point, past Ölüdeniz, saw a bunch of paragliders, and went accross the bay to kelebek vadesi (butterfly valley). The water was incredibly blue - like the color of a blue crayola crayon. We anchored there and swam ashore. Brenden told us that the famous waterfall had no water in it and was a waste of time and money, and we didnt't have time to walk there anyway, so we just walked around the little hippi tent village. And didn't see a single butterfly. Back on the boat we went back the way we had come and stoped next to St Nicholas's Island for the night. As soon as we were anchored among about 15 other boats, a boat came by with ice cream and Gözleme (like crepes). And old lady was sitting there in the boat with a big cast iron griddle rolling out and filling the Gözleme. Mark and I were sharing a lovely chocolate and banana one when the bell rang for tea time. By this I mean tea the drink, not tea the meal. So very civilized having tea, coffee, and buscuits on a boat.
After our tea, the captain took us over to the island in the little dinghy. St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) spent some time on the island, and as a result it's completely full of ruined churches, which are amazing. There's the long remains of a tunnel which used to be a procesional way connecting the palace at the top of the island and the church at the bottom. Mark also found a bat cave with hundreds of bats inside. They freaked out a bit as we looked in and started to fly out just past our faces. We reached the top as the sun was setting and then returned back to the little peir where the three kids came to pick us up in the dinghy. As soon as we got back it was dinner time - I guess they had been waiting for us. We had grilled fish, eggplant salad, salad and fruit for dessert. The mother of this family is an amazing amazing cook! I was exhausted as soon as it was dark. We all slept on beds at the front of the boat, bringing our pillows and blankets up from the cabin as it was much much to hot to sleep inside.
We were awoken at 5am the next day by the sound of the anchor chain and the motor starting. Soon we were yawing from side to side and, with my bed at the edge, I was feeling I might slide off. Switching with Mark I had a bed on the inside, and managed to sleep a bit more over the next 4 hours as we went along. Finally, we stoped at Firnaz bay where we immediatly got in to swim and then had breakfast and swam some more. The bay is also named Aquarium bay, and after breakfast we went snorkeling. It was amazing! The water was crystal clear, and visibility was great. Paddling around we found lots of plants growing on the rocks, fish and more fish, and then I spotted an octopus in a rounded hollow in a rock. Two fish next to it seemed to escort it to another rocky outcrop where it dissapeared. And Mark found a small moray eel. I felt like I was doing well with my go-fish with real fish on the cards game tally. Have you got an octopus? Yes!
After leaving the bay we went towards Kaş. We stopped a bit outside the town to have lunch, then went into the harbor. We had about an hour to explore the town, but it was very hot, and I had adjusted to the boat so well that the ground seemed to be rocking if I sat down anywere, and especially if I went into a small space like a bathroom. We wandered around, sat in a tea garden, looked at lots of tourist stuff and earrings and then got back on the boat. Osman left us to go back to his family. Happily back on the boat we left for another bay, more swimming, more snorkeling, and a lovely dinner with barbequed chicken once again falling asleep just after sunset.
Day 3 fortunatly did not start with the sound of the anchor chain at 5am. Instead, we all slept as late as we could with the sun up and blazing, and then swam and had breakfast. After breakfast we motored to a small cove filled with daytrip boats. Told we were only going to stay here 2 hours, but instead staying about 4, we didn't actually go into the cove until the very end as we kept thinking we were leaving. Grrr. When we did leave, we went past and over the partly sunken city of Kekova, which was cool, but not as impressive as the name sunken city would lead one to believe, and were going to the village of simena we spotted a huge amount of smoke. Heading back we saw that one of the day trip boats was on fire. We think everyone jumped overboard and was safely rescued, but there was no hope for the boat. We all stood and watched as it burned and part sunk. The family stood at the prow with horrified looks on their faces. The mom said she had never seen a boat on fire before. We could tell they were thinking about their family - what if this had happened to them, their family livelyhood could be gone just like that.
Turning away we went to Simena. With no room to dock we dropped anchor and went ashore in the dinghy, 4 at a time. The Iraqi family choose to stay on board. They hadn't swum either, most likely because they didn't know how. The village is very cute. We followed a group of obnoxious astralians from another boat up up and up to the castle, which has amazing views out over the water and the rest of the village. The views would have been better though if there hadn't been three girls sitting in the place with the best view and complaining about everyone on their boat. Back down again we explored a bit, visited the sarcophogus in the harbor and then got back on the boat to go into a bay with a small enterance and many branches - perfect they said for pirates. We snorkeled more, but visability was not great as cold water and warm water kept mixing. We could see the density waves in the water. The evening passed the same as the others - swimming, snorkeling, dinner and bed. I now have quite an impressive tan (for me). Hasan, the 5 year old has just warmed up to all of us, and has discovered he has a lot of new playmates.
The last day we woke up latest of all and were still in the same place long after the other boats had departed. All a bit confused I asked the captain, who told us that we were waiting for the place to become a bit less crowded. Good to know, the problem was that the family spoke very little English and I found myself translating quite a bit. Not that I mind, and maybe they would have spoken more English if I hadn't been there to translate. We went past the pirate's cave and had 10 minutes to swim around inside it before heading off to Demre where we pulled in, had a last lunch and most delicious lunch, filled out evaluation forms and got a small boat to a small bus. There was supposed to be an opportunity to visit the ruins of Myra and St. Nicholas's church in Demre, but in reality there was time for neither. Just time to get a popsicle, look at the outside of the church and go to the bankmachine. And then we were off on the bus to Olympos to stay in a tree house.