Oludeniz

Trip Start Sep 12, 2013
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Trip End Sep 29, 2013


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Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Sunday, September 22, 2013

We lie in our bunk in the forward of the gulet listening to the water lapping against the outer hull. Then at 4 am we hear Ali bring up the anchor and the engines roar to life as we set out for open water. The seas continue to be rough so we stay in bed as our ship fights its way across the rolling waves. Up, down, left and right we sway in all directions. For the next 4 hours we try to get some rest but even as we drift between sleep and consciousness, we are always aware of the motion of the water.

Due to the rough water in the morning, we are unable to visit Butterfly Valley, as its a beach landing with the dingy would not be up to the journey. The few of us that have ventured above deck quickly glance the majestic valley which stretches all the way to the beach, as we make our way to the safe harbour of Oludeniz instead. Sheltered in the calm waters of the natural inlet we spend the morning swimming, reading and chatting. Followed by some more swimming reading and chatting. Then it's time for some lunch and tea before we venture off to St. Nicholas Island. En route we watched para-sailers drifting down from the mountains surrounding Oludeniz beach.

Once we arrive at St. Nicholas Island, some of our fellow passages disembark, leaving only 7 of us on board. And what a lucky seven we were. Soon we head calls of "Pancake Lady" coming at us from a small dingy. Sure enough it was a water-bourne pancake shop, serving all varieties of Turkish pancakes, both savoury and sweet. Alex & I shared a chocolate banana one while the others watched & drooled. The island is believed to be the birth place of St. Nicholas, a 4th century Byzantine monk, better known to most of us as Santa Claus. The ruins of the monastic island include 5 churches, numerous tombs and the remnants of a tunnel that climbs the side of the island. All of which we are free to explore on our own.

While we were out exploring, our captain (who we latter found out had spent 4 yeas studying as a chef) sent ashore for some freshly butchered lamb as a final treat for us. Once we got back on board, we gathered on the front deck and shared a few drinks and a few stories. With a smaller group the crew became more at ease mixing with us and we all started speaking freely. As the sun began to set Ali brought out a bottle of anise-flavoured Raki, the local fire-water, and we shared a few toasts while Mustafa worked his magic in the kitchen. With a few shots of Raki under our belt conversation with Ali grew more liberal with, not that any of us understood much of what he was saying. That however proved to be of little hindrance as we joked, laughed an made what sense of what we could.

As the large harvest moon rose into the evening sky we made our way to the table which was laid out with a magnificent spread of food. Salad, rice, fresh fish and lamb stew. The crew joined us for the meal and we ate, drank and laughed into the night. When we all had our fill, we helped clean up before retiring to bed. As the weather had calmed down, Alex and I set out our blankets on deck and got coy for another nights sleep under the stars.
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