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Here, there, everywhere... A modest attempt at chronicling my around the world adventure over the next year (or so).

The Blue Cruise

TURKEY | Thursday, 18 September 2008 | Views [685]

There is nothing about Turkey that I was prepared for except perhaps the Doner Kebabs that are eaten all over the country. It is a country of surprising diversity in its landscape, people and culture. Probably the most interesting aspect of our entire time in Turkey was the east meets west phenomenon that exists and is most obvious in the city of Istanbul, more on Istanbul later. First, Fethiye and the blue cruise.

We stepped off the hydrofoil from Rhodes at the port in Fethiye without hostel or cruise booked. After paying our $40 worth of visas we ran into Rasheed or Reggie as he was known. Rasheed of course gave us directions to the hostel we were looking for but of course had his own hostel we could look at it if we did not like the other. He offered a free ride to his and we took the offer for 20 Lires a night per person, about 18 dollars. The hostel was new so it looked nice and had a pool, a bit of rarity on the hostel circuit. We were met in the van by a couple of Aussie women and one Kiwi who were renewing their visas at the port. Turns out they work at Rasheed’s hostel and they were more then happy to give us good information about Fethiye and the blue cruise. Of course Rasheed worked for a travel company that booked blue cruises so we inquired with Ned his assistant when we arrived about booking a cruise. The blue cruise for those who do not know are typically 4 day/3 night cruises up the Mediterranean coast of Turkey on a boat called a gullet. A gullet can motor with anywhere from about 8-25 people depending on its size with a crew of three and food. It was a bit pricey for us but Jess really wanted to take a cruise so we signed up. It was Thursday and there was not one leaving until Saturday so we booked a few nights at the hostel and settled in.

The Aussie girls turned out to be really nice and fun to hang out with. They had been working at the hostel for several months and liked to talk with other guests about their experiences. One in particular named Laura, we took a liking to and proceeded to talk with her about many things including Australia. She had been living and working in London for a few years and decided to try her luck in Turkey. Turns out the coast is littered with Aussies and Kiwis who are working in London and who take holiday in Turkey. The first night we also went to the main town center where you can buy a fish from the fish mongers situated in the same area as some restaurants, they will clean the fish and send it over to the restaurant where they will cook it, serve some bread and salad for about $30. Not bad but I bought the sea bass which was a bit more expensive, my stomach was in charge by then so my brain was left behind. Jess scolded me and I learned my lesson; choose your fish wisely and not on an empty stomach. Before leaving for our cruise, we booked another tour for Cappadocia, our next destination in central Turkey. Because Rasheed’s travel agency was doing both the cruise and tour for us we decided to negotiate a better price. It was not going well until Jess brought it back around and got us about $15 off per person. She is master negotiator!  

Saturday morning we caught a ride to the port, loaded our gullet and met all of our shipmates. There were 14 of us in all plus 3 Turkish crew. We motored off for our first destination for lunch. The sea was a bit rough so we all got a little sea sick but after we anchored for a few hours and had lunch felt much better.

Essentially the cruise was basically just that. Wake up, eat breakfast, motor to a bay, swim, eat, nap, motor to new bay, eat, nap, go to bed and repeat for four days. Not bad we thought.

The first day ended with us sleeping on the deck under the canopy after visiting beautiful Butterfly Valley and swimming in the most turquoise blue water you can imagine.

The second day we took a morning swim before breakfast, had breakfast, tanned on top of the boat, motored to the city of Kas where we stopped for a few hours to wander. It was almost like a guilty pleasure and as we sat on the boat in the harbor at Kas and the call to prayer came over the load speakers I had an interesting feeling of how juxtaposed this experience was for two people raised in the west. We were listening to the sacred and ancient call to prayer while lounging on a boat cruising up the coast. Turkey is truly a country of contrasts; one foot in Europe and one foot in asia/middle east.

The third day of cruising we stopped at a very small fishing village for an hour. Most of the shipmates did a little shopping for Turkish items while the rest just walked the village. We then motored out for another bay where we swam, napped and ate. Our final night on the water our shipmates were treated to a water taxi ride to an awaiting disco nearby on shore. Jess and I opted to stay on board and sleep under the stars. During this time she confided to me that the captain of our vessel was always leering at her and I must confess he did like to say her name even though his English was not strong. We nicknamed him Captain Creepy after one of the Aussie girls told us the next day that the captain had told her one morning he had a dream about her. Captain Creepy indeed! Our shipmates returned from the disco drunk and loud, and one of the Kiwis jumped into the water naked to “steal” the dingy from the boat anchored next to us. We slept through most of it and were quite pleased when most had hangovers the next morning.

The final day we had breakfast and did some more swimming before motoring into our final port. Jess and I were catching two bus connections to Anatalya so we could get to Cappadocia by morning. Things were tight but we made it to the bus station in Anatalya where we met two of the Aussie girls also traveling to Goreme. They were really sick and it seemed more than just a hangover. About that same time as we boarded the over night bus Jess became really sick as well. She crashed in the back of the bus and I tried to return the favor of aid that she bestowed on me back on Crete. A Canadian girl who worked in Africa and was on our bus gave Jess some meds she had. We arrived into Goreme at 6:30am the next morning with Jess still sick. We could at least check into our hotel early and Jess could sleep for a few hours before our tour began. Jess rallied and we were off to see Cappadocia.

Tags: blue cruise, turkey

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