The World is an amazing place .... go and be in it

Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Turquoise Coast..... Kas - part 2

The next day we’re up early and in the square to catch the shuttle for our boat trip. It’s another dazzling blue sky day with a sun that’s belting down and our spirits are high. We board the bus, smiles bright and wish everyone a cheery “Morning all!” Various Hi’s and hellos pop back, but what resonates loudest to my ears is a dry “oh don’t you hate it when you’re stuck on a tour with loud people,” from a woman who then proceeds to discuss at length at her neighbour in a strident voice how she thinks tours are for people who can’t organise their own lives or don’t have imagination. I try hard not to take her comment personally, telling myself I’ve probably stepped into the bus in the middle of her conversation and turn to the woman next to me and smile. She picks up her book and proceeds to bury her head into it and doesn’t resurface for the full 45minuets of the bus trip (or for that matter, the next 7hours - obviously a good book!)

We’re taken high into the hills then back down through small shanty like villages (we’re told by the guide they are nomads) to the port at Ucagiz where we board a beautiful timber double-decker boat and head out into a glorious blue on blue on absolute blue bay. The water is so clear you can see metres into it. Straight down it is the prettiest palest aquamarine, look outwards a few meters and it’s the most luminous blue.
Our first stop is the ancient sunken shipyard where we bob for an hour to enjoy a swim and sunbake. I dip my toe into the Med and pull it out in an instant. The water is like ice. The guide laughs and tells us it is sitting at about 20degrees which doesn’t sound all that cold. M dives in and gives a gasp. It’s freezing he tells me. I retreat to the top deck and enjoy an hour of clicking the scenery and chatting with fellow passengers who are also too chicken to face the water.

An hour later we pull up anchor just as another boat is approaching and I begin to understand the comment of the “no music”. It’s not about having pleasant chill-out beachy music playing in the back ground. It’s obvious some of the boats are full on party boats and this boat is one with it’s fast pace beats and lots of raucous voices emanating across the bay.
Out of earshot we glide past the sunken city of Kalekoy, the captain taking the boat as close to the city's watery edge as possibly allowed. It’s beautiful and mesmerising as we stare down into what was once houses and streets. A set of stairs goes to nowhere in the deep, further along the curved outline of a church can be seen. Above the waters line, crumbling ruins cascade down the steep mountain side. Kalekoy was once the bustling town of Simena until a series of destructive earthquakes sunk her six meters into the sea way back in the 2nd century AD.

I stare at it trying to get a grasp of the enormity of something so old. In Australia the oldest building we have wouldn’t even be close to 250years old yet. As much as it is glorious to drift close to the ruins, I would have loved to have kayak over the very top of it and be able to look directly down and see what once was. The sun flickers across the waves blurring the lines of history and shrouding it in a glaze of mystery.
The motor switches on and we leave the sunken ruins for a pirate’s cave which doesn’t look like much from the outside but is pretty impressive inside, then it’s to a small cove for another swim. This time I jump in, loose breath and grab the under side of the ladder to heave myself out of the water. I’ve lost all feeling! The water is unbearably cold. I’m back on deck within a minuet of entering the water and spend the next 10 wrapped in a towel with teeth chattering on the top deck.
M toughs it out and swims for a while. When he reboards, he is a strange two-toned colour, the tips of his fingers and toes are a brilliant white, the rest of his body is a funny shade of purple. It takes awhile for his normal colour to return. It’s embarrassing to admit we live near the beach, one of the best beaches in Australia, if not the world and we’re finding the Med too cold.
As the boat continues on we watch large green turtles bob up and down and swim along, they are so majestic to watch and I’ve not seen turtles this large so close before. Lunch is a delicious chicken sis with an array of salads that are very moreish and it’s all washed down with a pale ale. The party boat catches up to us and it sends both us and the turtles scuttling for somewhere quieter, another cove with more ruins perched on a hill close by. If we want to explore these ruins we must swim to the land. I can’t bring myself to even put my little toe in the water. The castle on the hill goes unexplored. How I wished the boat had a dingy attached for shore excursions.
I’m keen to get off the boat and explore the area and am delighted to hear that our last stop will be a tiny rock hugging hamlet which has a striking fortress perched high above it and an array of Lycian Tombs scattered across the ridge top.
We have only an hour on land, no where near enough time to explore the village, the tombs, the ancient city walls or the Crusader Fortress and as soon as the boat docks at the flower filled wharf, M and I sprint past the restaurant spruikers and scramble up the hundreds of steps to the fortress that was built back in the middle ages to protect the village and area from pirates who nested in the waters of Kekova.

We’re awarded with the most incredible views of the surrounding countryside and endless blue sea, it’s stunning. By time we do a quick look the fortress, take in its turrets, small theatre and spy a beautiful mosaic floor from a distance, we have less than 15minutes to walk the ridge line to the Lycian Tombs of Teimiussa. This miniscule timeframe confirms to us the reasons we’ve always been so reluctant to undertake tours ourselves and this last stop makes us feel like we’re running through a ‘tick it off your list’ process. Thinking of the words of the opinionated woman from this morning, I find myself wondering aloud, “just imagine what an extra hour in this landscape could unfold.” 

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