As it is every time we need to set an alarm for an ‘early’ start, it was a struggle to be up and ready for a 8AM breakfast and a 8:30 departure. We were up early to make to the nearby town of Fethiye to catch a scenic Twelve Island all day boat cruise. It was an easy 90 minute drive to Fethiye from Dalyan. The main roads are generally pretty good in Turkey, they just degrade pretty quickly once you start leaving them.
Arriving at the marina in Fethiye and we were overwhelmed for choices of tour operators. They were all offering essentially the same Twelve Island tour visiting the same islands with more or less the same route and timeline, however some had their own little niche, like luxury food, or it being a sailboat, or built in waterslides. In the end, unsurprisingly, we opted for the cheapest one 35TL ($18) each, though not because of the waterslide. The brochures didn’t have very nice photos, and almost decided not to go at all, as it didn’t look that impressive.
Our budget boat was a mid-sized diesel boat. No sails. Some shade on the top deck, but not much. I thought it was going to be a quiet cruise, but not long after we left, we stopped at another marina and picked up twenty or so teenagers, and then the ‘DJ’ started with the music, which alternated between Led Zeppelin and Bob Marley, to Turkish pop, and then back to Western pop, all played at full volume from their giant treble heavy PA system. Risa actually put earplugs in.
We cruised for a while past some small rocky islands then stopped at a tiny cove for a swim. The water was nice, but not as good as yesterday. Surprisingly this small island had goats living on it. There didn’t seem to be much for them to eat here (other than rocks), so we pulled the branches of the trees down lower so the goats could eat them. It felt like our act of charity for the day.
As mentioned earlier, our boat had a slippery slide built in to it! And, surprisingly it was actually pretty long and fun! The entrance was at the front, and the exit was at the rear of the boat, some 20m away. I had no idea what to expect, but I certainly didn’t expect the sudden steep drop followed by a long flat traverse of the boat in the darkness. I had to make it more extreme the second time, entering with more speed, but the only thing that succeeded in doing was knocking the breath out of me, and shaking the GoPro from my head (which caused a nervous wait for the next person to come and flush it out with them).
It was yet another perfect day – warm, sunny, and gentle breezes. I wanted to sun bake, but my pasty white genes won’t let me, so I had to try and confine myself to the small amount of shade that was available on the top floor of the boat, looking out in jealousy at all the Turkish teenagers lounging without a care in the sun.
It was also one of those days that the pictures look better than I remember it.
The boat stopped at a few more islands, one of them was quite large. Don’t be fooled by the beauty, because while it might be a beautiful island, it was also crawling with all the other tourists on all the other Twelve Island tours that also take the same route at the same time.
The food… The food was pretty average, with a choice (before we left) of fish or chicken. To maximise our chances, we ordered one of each. Risa had a dried out looking fish (which she said wasn’t too bad) and I ended with an especially dry chicken schnitzel.
On the last island Risa found more sea urchins. This though, she cracked a few open and snacked on their delicate insides. To me it tastes like mushy seawater, but she, like many Japanese, love the spiky little guys. Her report – one was very sweet and the other was red inside (not orange) and not so tasty. It was all very caveman like, cracking it open with rocks.
That island also had some rabbits, which Risa generally loves. But, after sneaking up to them for a closer look, they weren’t the cute little rabbits that we were expecting. They were large and frankly a little intimidating. It seems that the tour boats feed them fruit scraps, but they don’t seem to have become domesticated.
Coming back in to town we had a beautiful view of the barren mountains in the area. Today was another day that I forgot that we were in Turkey.
We also saw the Lycian tombs on the cliffs just above the city. It was still early, so we decided to check in to the hotel, have a quick rest and come back in to town to view the tombs at sunset, when they would be directly illuminated by the setting sun. However, the hotel was a little out of town. Truva Hotel was an older resort-style hotel, but it was nice enough and clean, if a little sad looking.
Returning to the tombs, there were no staff at the ticket office, saving us 10TL ($5) each. Doubly lucky because I had only coins in my wallet! The tombs were really beautiful to see up close, with incredible amounts of detail, like the carving of the bolts in the doors.
However, it was so sad to see all the graffiti, both outside and especially inside. To make it worse, the crypt stank of piss…
Still, it was cool to see the tombs above the modern city. Quite a unique view I’d dare say.
For dinner Risa wanted a roast chicken. Since it’s hard to get a definite dinner request from her, I did all that I could to fulfil it. We drove around and around trying to find a shop selling whole roast chickens (it’s quite unusual here in Turkey), but she had seen one earlier that we managed to find again. And, it was worth the effort! Charcoal grilled whole chicken. Mmmmmm….