Saturday, July 7, 2012

Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming....

Today we had an awesome “down day” with lots of swimming, reading, board games, and more. Our captain found some beautiful anchorages in turquoise bays with dramatic limestone cliffs above. The green pine trees made a gorgeous contrast to the turquoise waters. One of the highlights of the day was snorkeling and some of the younger kids had their first taste of life under the sea. Sightings included black sea cucumbers, striped wrasse, needle fish, horn back rock fish, yellow sponges, and a solitary squid that came very close to the boat. The squid was bright orange and over a foot long. It was fairly shy of the swimmers but those who approached by kayak were treated to good views.

The other highlight was another banana boat ride at high speed.  The smiles on the  kids faces were visible from almost a half mile away!  The driver dumped the kids right on front of our gulet and laughs were had all around.  The only kid to stay on was Sam who apparently is a master at hanging on to high speed water toys like tubes.  Of course the day would not be complete without a visit from the ice cream boat which was a big hit.  The kids seemed to have an inner radar because they started shouting for joy when the boat was just a speck on the horizon...our chef treated us to more amazing meals including fresh “dolmas” (stuffed peppers) and pasta at lunch, “borek” (filo pastry stuffed with feta and greens) at tea time, and a grand feast of grilled lamb and chicken at dinner...yum!

Kayakoy, Fethiye, Turkish Shave

Today we had a relaxing breakfast followed by a nice swim before we went to shore and boarded our waiting mini bus for a 20 minute drive to Kayakoy Village. This village figures prominently in Luis de Berniers excellent book entitled Birds Without Wings which chronicles the devastating forced population exchange of Greeks and Turks after WW1 made mandatory by the peace treaty that both countries signed.  Over 100,000 people we uprooted and forced to return to their native country even though many had no knowledge of the language of customs because they had been born and raised in a foreign land.  
19th Century mosque at Kayakoy village
Kayakoy village stands as a lonely ghost town because the Turks that were repatriated from Greece refused to live in the "Greek houses" on the hill so they took all the salvageable timbers and rebuilt here own houses down in the valley where the farming land was better.  The result was that a city of 10,000 was left as a shell of its former self and all the building were raided for their usable material.  Only the walls and roofs remained standing.  The group spent an hour walking through these strange ghost houses and then gathered at a nice cafe in the valley floor for some cold drinks and local gozleme (savory crepes).

The kids in our group had a grand time riding two local camels and lots of laughs were had by all as these comical creatures rose and trotted down the dirt path. We then went into the bustling town of Fethiye for a nice lunch in the old quarter after visiting the lively fish market and provisioning our gulet for tonight's meal. 
The guys headed to Perry's favorite barber shop for a traditional Turkish shave which involves a double shave with a straight edge razor followed by a quick trim of all ear and nose hair by scissors and then a real flame is whacked against the ears and cheeks to burn off all remaining hair.  The shave finishes with a great massage and a bracing lemon cologne face wash. The shave takes about 20 minutes and costs only $10... Several people decided to get hair cuts as well and the results were great. The women joined in by getting pedicures and massages so the whole group ended up getting into the act..good fun for all. 
Jeff, getting a Turkish shave 
Our gulet came to pick us up in the picturesque harbor and we went to anchor in a beautiful bay were we all jumped into the earn waters and the enjoyed a fabulous cocktail hour as the sun set on another great day.  Tonight we ate fresh fish, shrimp, grilled octopus and calamari.. all served on a magnificent platter with potatoes and greens...

Then we celebrated our son Jordan's 9th birthday with fresh baklava and a cake that we bought in town today.