Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blue Cruise on the Gorgeous Mediterranean and a Visit to St. Nick

Posted by Melissa

October 4 to 8, 2010

After many cruises with our friends from BN, we find ourselves preparing for a cruise without them. We'll miss them, but it should be fun being a passenger with no staff duties for a change! We arrived in the little coastal town of Fethiye the night before the cruise and met up with our soon to be boatmates for a seafood dinner. We enjoyed a beautiful view from our room.

This time we are heading out for a Blue Cruise on a Turkish gulet.  A Blue Cruise is generally a short cruise aboard a small sail boat with about 6 - 8 cabins and a crew of 3, including captain, cook, and general deck hand.  The cabins are quite small and not air conditioned, so that most people sleep on deck at night.  We are cruising rather late in the year, so the cabins are relatively comfortable.  I understand that during the heat of a Turkish summer, they are pretty much unbearable.  Good news for us then.

Day 1 - Depart Fethiye mid day. Stop at Butterfly Valley for a swim.  (note the light colored bluff on the left of the pic - we stayed at a small pension in the little village of Faralya located at the top of this bluff about a week or so after our cruise).
Butterfly Valley and beach - over 100 different types of butterflies and moths live in the valley
A little time for swimming before lunch.
The water is amazingly clear - and just a bit cooler than perfect
And a little hammock time with a self portrait by Thane!

And of course, there is always tavla!!  Looks like we both take this very seriously - no smiles at all.

We spend our first night tethered to St. Nicholaus island.  Turns out that ALL the gulets spend the night in the same place.  By the time it gets dark, the place is starting to look a little bit like a campground for motorhomes.  The other boats are so close that you can hear them and smell their food.  I don't much care for the parking lot vibe of this setting.  The sea is so beautiful with such a dark starry night - it would have been so much better to be in a quiet little cove with just our boat.

Day 2 - Off we go to more beautiful bays.

One of several small boats that approached our boat selling goodies such as ice cream, gözleme and pashminas.

Also on Day 2, we stop at Kaş.  Kaş is where we hoped to find an apartment to rent for the rest of October, so we were very excited to check things out.  We found an apartment within the first 20 minutes!  Our soon to be home has the little green balcony that you can see in about the middle of this pic.

Day 3 brings us to Sunken City of Kekova (this Lycian-Roman archaeological site is protected, so only looking!) Kekova was partially destroyed by an earthquake which left some of the city underwater. 

We stopped at the quaint village of Simena, a very small traditional fishing village accessible only by boat and located across from Kekova.  It is topped by a Byzantine/Ottoman castle.

We took off immediately for the top of the hill and passed this tiny school on the way up. It is the primary school in town. Five students, three grades, and one teacher.

Lycian tombs are scattered down the hillside from the castle to the water.  These olive oil trees are several hundred years old.  The tombs, much older!
As we walked up the hill, a local woman joined us.  She told us about the school, the tombs, the castle and was generally good company.  We liked chatting with her, but at some point would have enjoyed being alone for a while.  Try as we may, we were unable to get away.  As we walked back down to town, we found out why.  Of course!  She wanted to sell us something.  After having her as our unofficial "guide" I felt obliged to purchase one of her lace edged sarongs.  Although I have very little room in my backpack to add souvenirs and don't generally buy things, I'll now have a beautiful memento of this island when I use the sarong next summer!

One of just a few small walking streets in "downtown" Simena.

Day 3 also included a bus transfer to Demre for the St.Nicholas Church.  St. Nicholaus, the inspiration for Santa Claus, was born in this area .
Church of St. Nicholas - Interior fresco
Church of St. Nicholas - Interior fresco
Church of St. Nicholas - Interior
The Tomb of St. Nicholas
The cruise ended on day 4 with a bus transfer to Olympos. A very sweet place, and our next blog entry.

Overall the cruise had it's high and low spots. The scenery was great but it would have been much better in hot weather when the sea would have been much more inviting and refreshing.  It was also fairly expensive, the boat never sailed, it only used it's noisy diesel motor, and it had a bit of a motorhome caravan feel since each night was spent in view of adjacent gulets.  We don't think we'd do it again, although keep in mind that we do frequent cruises as our side "job."

Up next: A delightful stay in a little bungalow in Olympos, and a hike to the Chimera, an ever burning flame erupting from rock on the side of the mountain.


Stefani said...

Oh Melissa, how beautiful! So glad you are having this fabulous experience.

Blue Cruise said...

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samyeli Adnan said...


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