Monday, 20 August 2012

The earth beneath our feet

Sometimes, when your world is closing in on you, you need to walk away. Get a bit of perspective. Or drive away, in this case. I've rarely been so happy to be on the road as I was this past weekend.

The hothouses of Demre
From the road above Kas, looking west
There was no mutiny. Alex was at the wheel of our rental car as we headed towards the south-western corner of Turkey. The troublesome charger had been fixed with a minimum of fuss, and we'd both decided that a road trip to look at marinas in the small towns of Kas and Finike would help us decide where to park Enki and ourselves during the winter months. If that seems like forward planning gone mad, it's not. There are too many cruising yachts in Turkey to leave such matters to the last moment and given that marinas and me are not generally a happy combination, there seemed to be a lot hanging on this particular decision.

On the promenade in Marmaris

Today we signed up to keep Enki for the six months from the end of October at the Netsel Marmaris marina, which is right in the town, and I've binned my heavily pencilled spreadsheet. The wisdom of our decision will be revealed in time, but I don't think either of us realised how important it was to get off the boat for a few days in order to make it.

Hoyran Wedre - small hotel between Finike and Kas

The soothing properties of a fine chutney are well known
We've been in Turkey such a short time that my impressions are surface ones only, but they're strong.  I like the way people treat us, at least here, on the coast in the summer. We are welcome. We are not suspect. Naturally, commerce is our link, but it does not have to be our only link. People seem prepared to give us a little more of themselves than we expect. This charms us. It is also therapeutic. There are more smiles and warm handshakes than I am used to after four months in the Med. My baby steps in the language  - I can say hello, thank you, please -  are noticed by people who themselves speak much better than average English.

Boys in Kas

Saturday market in Finike

This is a country in which ATMs dispense euros, English pounds and sometimes US dollars as well as Turkish lira. People could feel resentful of foreign intrusion, but they seem not to.  They seem to be realists, to be sure in themselves and of themselves. The Turkish flag is everywhere - on huge poles, wrapped around cars, in shop windows.  Its presence doesn't feel overbearing, but joyous. I'm not particularly fond of flags, nor of nationalism, but I don't feel threatened at all by this bright red flag. I saw red satin hanging over a balcony and it took me a second to register that it was not a flag but sheets, or perhaps curtains, hung out to air.

Newspaper stand in Kas

On the way home - home being Enki - we stopped at the ruins of Xanthos and Letoon. I get a real charge out of walking in these ancient places, and even more so when they are not crowded, as these were not. I'm crazily thrilled to think that people who lived two thousand years ago, and more, felt it important to build amphitheatres, that drama and story-telling was that central to their existence, an existence that in Xanthos, for example, was threatened not once, but twice to the point where citizens committed suicide en masse rather than allow themselves to be taken by invading forces.

Amphitheatre at Letoon

Most of Letoon is in pieces

Fragments of a great city - Xanthos
Tomorrow we are going cruising. Truly. If the wind permits, we'll go back to some of the places we missed in our hurry to get here from Bodrum.  It will be enough just to be at ease on Enki for a few days. Then we come back into Marmaris to pick up sister Barb and the Rear-Commodore....or is Vice-Commodore now? These things matter. We want everything to be shipshape when they join us. Enki is on notice, but even she seems to be feeling better in her skin in Turkey. A few of her sister ships are tied up here at Yacht Marina....Sea Cloud, also from Sydney, and Destiny of Scarborough, the HR48 we sailed on last summer when we passed through Marmaris on our boat hunt. They're fine-looking boats, with perspective.

Waiting for the dolmus back to Yacht Marina

Mice security patrol  in a Marmaris chandlery


  1. I see Po's Turkish cousins share the same loungin' genes!

  2. We've got quite a collection of cat photos now.... every cat reminds us of the one we left behind, but none have got her star quality. x