The Wrong Red 12th June 2017
The sun's been out and it is hotting up - low 30's now at midday. We duly went over to Datça, mainly because it had the most fabulous market the last time we were here - fruit, veg & spices daily, then the full Monty on Saturdays with all the rugs and leather, bras & pants and pots & pans. We arrived on a Wednesday, hoping to go to the food market on Thursday. Sadly, either our memories failed us completely (not impossible!) or things have changed significantly since 2014 as there is now only the full Saturday market, and we would be leaving on Friday. Never mind, we'll make sure to catch it on our way back to Greece in July.
We enjoyed Datça nevertheless; it is a real place still as well as tourist destination. The harbour chaps are genial and helpful, around all the time except when you need them most. We had a policewoman walk past our boat, look up and down, consult her phone, and look again. She called out to us - Myrica - Captain, your flag. Yes, we have a flag. (Boats carry their national flag, in our case the British Ensign, and fly a courtesy flag of the country they are visiting.) She said - "your Turkish flag, please change it". We looked puzzled. "It is the wrong red. It is too old, it is faded, please buy a new one." Now it was slightly faded, from a bright red to a deep pink that we thought was quite attractive and showed a long visitation and experience. Not so, apparently this showed disrespect. Richard was despatched toute suite to buy and hoist a new one. Madame policewoman came by the next day on another matter, noticed the change and blew Richard a kiss of thanks. Worthwhile then…. You should see our tattered, faded Greek one. We ate out one evening at a locals' joint where you pointed and filled your plates with whatever on the set menu took your fancy. Some people were filling a side dish full of raw chillies and munching them like crudités. The next morning our harbour chap nipped off to get his breakfast. He returned to sit at his outside table with his plate of green chillies and two tomatoes - now that's breakfast.
We have been heading south and east. We stopped overnight at Ekinçik, not particularly noteworthy in itself, but it is a safe place to leave the boat and take an excursion past Turtle Beach and up the Dalyan River to the ruins at Caunus and the rock tombs of the Caryan people. We had a flat bottomed boat and driver to ourselves, a bit expensive but we talked him down on price. Normally it is so much per boat, so the more people the cheaper it is. There were so few visitors and no takers, so we were it. But much nicer for us. He took us to some caves on the way. It is now turtle breeding season and it is the beach at the mouth of the Dalyan river where turtles come back to the place of their birth to lay their eggs. It was made famous by David Bellamy who campaigned to prevent developments on the site and now it has protected status. The beach is closed from 8pm so as not to disturb the turtles' nocturnal egg-laying. On up the river to see river fisherman plying their nets. The river has a gate between two huts, red & green roofed for port and starboard, manned by a gentleman in the starboard hut. This is to keep the lake and river fish from swimming out to sea. In the river are prized blue crab, a favourite of the turtles. We bought a couple off one of the fishermen; he prepared and cooked them to be ready for us on the return journey.
Caunus is a remarkable site, in use from 9th C BC through to 6th AD. It used to be an important trading port before silting up and was eventually abandoned due to mosquitoes and malaria taking its toll. It covers a vast area with a good amphitheatre, agora or marketplace in the Greek style (with ancient Greek text on some of the marble slabs), shrines, etc. Apparently only about a quarter has been excavated, so the entire must have been a huge city. Now it is overrun with tortoises, everywhere. Further up the river we could see the rock tombs - here they are of the Caryan peoples, further along the coast towards Kas and Kalkan, there are very similar Lycian rock tombs. Their remains were interred in the rock caves with windows to the outside world. They didn't want their dead to be lonely, but to be able to oversee their family and friends - nice. A quick tour round the town of Dalyan itself (very touristy now) and back to Ekinçik, our boat, a much needed swim and our crab.
Now we have been bay-hopping along the way - Castle Bay, No Name Cove, Gerbeske en-route to Ekinçik, and after, Sarasala Cove, Goçek (rich Turkish boat playground), and Boynuz Buku where we are now. Goçek also has a good market; we stocked up on beautiful fruit and vegetables as well as nuts and other sundries, but avoided the shoes, linens and leather. It also has good butchers and fish markets. The lamb here seems better than in Greece, but maybe we have just been lucky.
Boynuz Buku is really just a bay or inlet with nothing here except trees and one little establishment. We are on a little restaurant jetty - a free mooring with water and electricity, showers etc. ashore, so long as one visits the restaurant for a meal. This seems very fair. …..Few hours later, lovely meal in colourful gardens; with salads and 4 mezes thrown in, we were advised to share 1 dish between us and that was good advice - more than enough. Marble floor-to-ceiling loos and showers. Good end to the day. And our flag is still bright red.