Encountering new friends during our travels has delightfully taken us on unexpected adventures around the world. It’s funny how one small decision can domino effect your travel plans. Our decision to go to the Pearl Jam show in Prague lead us to meet Lauren & Dave in the 10 Club line…… while they were wondering why they weren’t getting buzzed from drinking non-alcoholic beer. It took a local Czech person to point out that the label read “Non-Alcoholic Beer”.
Instant friendship is what made our decision easy to continue on following Pearl Jam to Berlin. Fast-forward one month later and all our paths crossed once again while in Turkey. Dave is so generous and offered for us to stay with him in Istanbul. And, Lauren invited us on an unforgettable Blue Cruise sailing trip around the Turkish Meditterrean Sea.
I was extremely reluctant about living on a sail boat with 16 other people for four days. Having never been on a boat for more than a few hours, I thought I might feel trapped at sea. Troubling thoughts about where I would sleep and shower, and what if I got sea sick…. ran through my head. The initiation process was just like before on our three day jungle trek in Ratanakiri, Cambodia. I had to overcome any fears or reservations and just go with it. It turned out just like the jungle trek, the Blue Cruise was one of the most unforgettable experiences during our year of travel.
There is something spectacular about being out in the sea away from civilization and being really forced to completely relax. No Internet, no phone, no TV…. just you, your companions and the open seas. I never felt more relaxed in my life. Well, maybe on my wedding day?
We embarked on the boat in Fethyie, where we spent the previous two nights. One night, we chilled in the little port town while enjoying a fabulous fish dinner with our new friends Erin & Jason. The local fish market was setup quite interestingly. Tourists haggle it out with several fish salesmen in the middle stalls. Then, you choose a surrounding restuarant to grill your fish and serve appetizers for a fee. After some debate, we shared grouper, shrimps and sea bream. The next morning we met our captain, crew and sailing companions that we would be with for the next four days. We only knew Lauren, but quickly became buddies with her International School teacher friends who also lived in Istanbul. The other half were from various parts of the world; a couple from Georgia (the country), Chloe & Estelle (from Sydney), David & Ipen (UK/Ankara), a Spanish couple (Catalunya, Spain), Ramin (UAE/Iran) and Brandon (Edmonton).
The first day had somewhat of a feeling of uneasyness. I think everyone was getting used to the open water environment. For example, we kept our things in the cabin but only used it for showers and changing. The cabins got very hot at night and most people slept up top on the deck. During the day, the boat would sway at times. We had to hold on tight just to keep the bathroom clean. Luckily, Lara offered us some medicine to ease our stomachs. Unfortunately, the Spanish couple had to abort the boat just a few hours into the voyage. They were feeling sea sick. We now had 16 total passengers.
Captain Elias gathered everyone around to relay our itinerary. We would skip “Butterfly Valley” due to rough waters and stay the first night at St. Nicolas Island. Then, we planned to spend a few hours at Kas village the next day after breakfast and our morning swim. The news about Butterfly Valley was somewhat disappointing. We had heard from friends in the States that the valley was beautiful. Contrarily, Lauren’s friends weren’t very impressed the previous years during the cruise.
• Leave Fethiye harbour around 11:00am and destined for Butterfly Valley Bay for swimming & lunch and an optional hike up to the waterfall.
• Anchor at St. Nicholas Island for the night. Optional walk up through the island’s ruins to witness the spectacular sunset.
• Cruise to Kalkan (Aquarium Bay) for breakfast & swimming
• Cruise to Kas harbour for lunch. Time to explore this small Turkish town for shopping and yummy Mojitos.
• Cruise to one of secluded bay’s between Kas and Kekova for the night.
• Cruise to Sunken City – cruise over the ancient ruins of this World Heritage site.
• Cruise to Simena Castle – walk up to the top & witness a magical view over the Bay, taking in the underwater Lycian Tombs and across to the Sunken City.
• Gokkaya Bay for the night
– After Breakfast we continue to Pirates Cave or nearby Bay for snorkeling than disembark from Cayagzi (Andriake) Harbour before lunch time 10:30 – 11:00 am.
– Disembark at Demre to catch shuttle bus to Olympos.
The days’ consisted of a morning swims, then breakfast before our first land stop. We would then swim again before settling in for the night. On day three, a boat pulled up with parasail equipment onboard. Monique and Lara were brave and adventurous enough to give it a try. Kevin and I joined and captured video of their ride.
Our last evening offered the opporutnity to party with other sea cruisers at the island disco bar called “Smuggler’s Inn”. Captain Elias apparently helped build the bar over 20 years prior. We decided that we were old and wanted to chill back at the boat. About half of our group went and a few never returned!
The post-cruise plan for Turkey was flexible. We had almost 2 1/2 weeks to explore Antalya, historical Cappadocia and possibly Izmir or the Eastern (Asian) part of Turkey. It turned out that our cruise coincided with the joyous three-day celebration at the end of Ramadan called “Eid al-Fitr”. Virtually all Turkish Muslims were away for their summer vacation. So, we decided to skip more of Antalya and visit Cappadocia before Cesme, Izmir and Chios, Greece.
See our Photo Album:
Sailing Cruise on the Mediterranean, Turkey