Overseas Adventure Travel’s Turkey’s Magical Hideaways Tour
September 17, 2021 through October 4, 2021 

 

Due to the length of the review, it is in four parts to help with the download time. The links to the other pages are at the top and bottom of each page.


Page 1:  Istanbul
Page 2: Cappadocia
Page 3: Antalya
Page 4:  Turkish Gulet Cruise
Page 5: Kusadasi

 

Day 11 - Overland to Marmaris • Embark ship
This would be another travel day, but shorter than the one to Antalya.  We left the hotel at 8:30 AM and would get to our Turkish gulet (yacht) before 3:00 PM.  On our way out of town we passed by the last golden film festival award statue.

A half hour out of the town we were in a totally different environment.  It was a drier climate with less trees.

   

   

We got a kick out of the sign for the town Dont.  Someone had added the apostrophe to make it Don’t.

We were coming into an area where marble is quarried.  I hadn’t seen this before.  Although the quarries provide jobs, the marble dust is very damaging to the environment and people’s health.  It also seriously defaces the mountains.

   

Ahmet had been pointing out the fields of sesame along the way.  We were curious about the teepee looking stacks in those fields.  We finally found a good place to pull over where we could walk out into the field.  The plants are harvested at just the right time before the seed pods open.  They are then stacked up in the field like teepees for the pods to dry.  At the appropriate time, field workers pull off the pods and shake out the seeds.  Who would have known?


   
 
As we were approaching the town of Marmaris, where our boat was docked, we passed by an interesting monument of a globe.

Shortly we were at the dock and getting to board our gulet for the next 4 nights.

The rich wooden interior was most attractive.  There were inside and outside eating/meeting areas.  With the great weather we would have, we only used the outside one.  The bar and inside controls were also in the inside eating area.

   

   

The galley was also pretty functional, but oh so small.

The foreword part of the boat was covered in thick pads to be able to comfortably sit or lay around outside.  With only the four of us on this cruise, we had more than enough room.  The boat has 8 cabins, so there is a 16-person capacity.  Since the tour director takes up one of the cabins, there is room for 14, but OAT limits the capacity to 12.  OAT uses many gulets, not just this one; but I do believe most have a similar arrangement.

   

   

My cabin was, how do you say it, compact.  But it was most functional with lots of storage space and my suitcase fit easily under the bed.  Please realize that the iPhone’s wide-angle lens does make the room appear larger than it actually is. My only complaint during the cruise, or for that matter the whole trip, was that these mattresses were extremely firm.  A memory foam topper would have made a world of difference for me.  I was able to sleep; but I did wake up frequently.  There were six cabins in the front of the, similar to mine that were accessed through the hallway, and two in the back.

   


   

The bathroom was most functional, at least for a single male.  I do want to mention for those, like me, who aren’t familiar with cruising on smaller boats that the bathroom protocol is a bit different than on a large cruise ship.  Nothing, including toilet paper, should go into the commode.  Which means that the used toilet paper is to be put into the trash container that is emptied every morning.  You get used to it and it is only for four nights.

   

Later in the cruise, I took some photos of the other cabin configurations.  The two in the front of the ship were slightly larger.  But not much.

There was also a split bed configuration for my size cabin.

It wasn’t long before we pulled away from the dock to begin the cruise.  The captain gave us the great news that his boat had WiFi.  The trip documents said to be prepared for limited cell phone access during the cruise, so this was a treat.  I have a T-Mobile plan that provides unlimited cellular data around the world, but at a reduced speed, if there were any towers around.  I had told my family that I might not be reachable if they needed me for anything. I had great coverage with the WIFI the whole cruise.  All the gulets don't have WiFi, so we were most fortunate.

It was a mountainous area with lots of islands.  We were enjoying being on the Mediterranean Sea.

After about an hour and 45 minutes of cruising, we were pulling into our protected cove for the night.  It was interesting to watch one of the crew get into the dinghy and search for two rocks to tie the boat to after we had anchored.  It was a chore we would see many times over the cruise.

   

Ahmet came out in his swimsuit and jumped into the water.  He said it felt great.  I was concerned that it would be much colder than the warm waters around south Florida.  After Cam and Derby jumped in and confirmed my assumption, I figured I might as well too; plus, I really wanted to jump into the beautiful clear water.  It was shocking at first, but it didn’t take long to feel great.  The temperature was in the mid 70’s.

We ate every night on the boat at 7:30 PM for dinner.  We had a very good chef who made something different and delicious for every meal.  The first night the main course was baked chicken, which after many different Mediterranean meals during the tour, it tasted great.  Dessert was always fruits, very sweet fruit at that.

We all went out on deck after dinner to see the night sky.  Wow! There were so many stars.  We could even see the Milky Way.  It is amazing how many stars can be seen when there is very little ambient light.  It was beautiful.  We were supposed to have a half moon; but it apparently didn’t come out until much later into the night.  Thank goodness.
As I would do every night on the boat, I would go to bed at around 9:30 PM.  Early for me, but there wasn’t any reason to stay up later.

 

Day 12 – On Ship
I woke up very early after more than enough sleep.  I laid around in the bed awhile until I decided to go up on deck around 6:00 AM and wait for sunrise.  The temperature was in the mid 60’s and the glow of the sun came up slowly.  The official sunrise was just after 7:00 AM.  A great way to start the day.

   

With the sun shining from the opposite direction from when we arrived, the cove looked nice with the golden hour lighting.

   

The captain had told us that the electric generator would be on from 6:30 to 10:00 AM and 5:00 to 9:00 PM so we could charge all our batteries.  The rest of the time there was no power in the rooms other than the lighting which operated on battery power.

Breakfast was served at 8:00 AM.  It was similar every morning, except for how the eggs were prepared and the fruits.

   

That morning we were going to be picked up by a different type of boat for a Dalyan River boat ride to the city of Kaunos.  It took a half hour to reach the mouth of the river.  I was able to get a better pic of our gulet.  Pretty nice boat!

   

   

It then took another half hour weaving through the river to get to the landing for our walk.  I was surprised at what great walkway we had.  Ahmet said that it is normally a very popular place and there are lots of people on the path.  Certainly not that day.

   

We continued down the path for about ten minutes before we reached a sign telling us that we had arrived at the ancient town.  There wasn’t much of a town right there, but there were some cave homes not far away.

   

It wasn’t long before we saw our destination on the hill ahead of us.

   

We continued down a dirt path where we came into a group of goats.  They were just grazing.  Some of them would let us pet them, so they were obviously owned by someone.

   

Close by were some ancient ruins.  A few minutes later we came to the Kaunos Roman theater.  The original theater was built in the 4th century BC and the Romans rebuilt it in the 3rd century AD.  It could seat an audience of 5,000.  Part of it had been badly damaged by earthquakes.

   

   

We left the theater and came out at the main entrance where there were stairways into the theater.

I was impressed with the first-class theater seats with backs that would have been in the front rows for the important people.

We continued our walk through the various ruins until we came to the Roman bath complex.  It was quite a place.  I’ll bet it was really something 1,800 years ago.

   

   


On our walk back down to the river boat we saw some fruit bearing trees.  The pomegranates were ready to pick.

While heading to the town of Dalyan we came to the rock cut Tombs of the Kings from the 4th century BC.  These tombs were used for the Lycian royalty.  They weren’t completed due to the invasion of Alexander the Great.

   

The only reason that I had brought my telephoto lens on this trip was to get closer photos of these amazing tombs.  They were just awesome.

   

   

As we pulled further up the river, we could get a different angle of the tombs.  More photos.

   

We pulled into the cute port town of Dalyan.  It is the drop off point for people coming to this area for exploring and going to beaches.  There were lots of river boats docked for tourists.  We walked into to town to do some shopping and sightseeing.  Once again there was a statue of the Father of the Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.  There are statues of him everywhere.  But for what he did for Turkey, he is most deserving of the glory.


   

Dalyan has many sea turtle nesting areas, which is why there was a large sea turtle statue in the town square, right next to the colorful Dalyan sign.

   

While in Dalyan, Cam wanted to buy a noodle for swimming.  With the water being so buoyant, I wasn’t going to get one; but when she said they were only $2, I figured what the heck.  It would make floating in the Med that much more relaxing, so I got one too.  Since we would leave them on the boat, the next group would appreciate them too.  I also got another Efes beer at a restaurant nearby.  They were so refreshing.

Back on the river boat heading back down the river, we came to a blockade.  Ahmet said that it was a movable netting that was designed to keep the fish in the area where they had been captured when they came upriver.  So, when they come upriver, they can’t return to the sea when the tide goes down.

 

I got a kick out of the boat with all the plants on it.  Very strange!

We finally got to where all the tourists would be going to the beach.  It wasn’t crowded like it was before Covid.

   

When we got back to our boat, we had lunch and then headed to our next cove, a 3-hour ride.  I almost hated to leave this beautiful cove with the rich turquoise water.

   

While lying on the front deck mats, I took some photos of the masts.  Kind of a relaxing way to spend the afternoon.

We pulled into our next cove around 5:45 PM.  Just in time to have a quick swim before dinner.  Cam and I both had to use the new noodles we had just purchased.  More beautiful clear water.

It had been a great first full day on the water.

 

Day 13 – On Ship

Once again, I was up early and once again another beautiful sunrise.

Today’s activity was a 3-hour hike over the mountain on our cove. Ahmet said it was much more difficult than the one we did in Cappadocia; especially going down the narrow rock paths. I chose to stay on the boat and cruise to where we would pick up the hikers at Cleopatra’s Bath.

The rest of the group loaded up on the dinghy and headed to shore.  I appreciated the beautiful setting I was in.

   

I pulled out my telephoto lens and watched the group climb up the mountain trail.  I was OK with missing that one.  Relaxing on the boat wasn’t all that bad.

   

The captain pulled up anchor shortly thereafter and headed for our next stop at Cleopatra’s Bath. In less than an hour we were pulling into another gorgeous cove.  This one was more crowded due to the popular tourist attraction there.  Not long after we tied up, I was in the dinghy headed to see the bath.  Hassan like to drive the dinghy fast. 

Although Cleopatra and Mark Anthony did honeymoon on the Turquoise Coast, this bath was built in the 3rd century AD, 300 years after she died. It sunk partially into the ocean after an earthquake.

   

I got out onto the dock taking lots of pics and then walked around to the other side to get different angles.

   

   

It is an interesting and pretty site; but I have a feeling it would be a lot less of a popular tourist attraction if Cleopatra’s name wasn’t associated with it.  I was there less than 15 minutes and returned to the boat.

The cove we were anchored in was really pretty, so I couldn’t resist jumping in for a swim while waiting for the group to return.  It wasn’t that long before the dinghy headed out to pick them up.  They were back quicker than I expected.  They all agreed that I had made the right choice not to go.  Derby was most appreciative that I had loaned him mywalking stick.  Ahmet took the below photos from their hike.  Yep, I made the right choice.

   

We hung out waiting for lunch when a small vendor boat approached us and asked if we wanted any ice cream or Starbucks drinks.  It was tempting, but lunch was about to happen.

After lunch a grocery store boat passed by.  They service boats that need supplies.

We left the cove to head to the one where we would spend the night.  It was less than an hour and a half cruise.  The captain put the boat under sail for a while. It is nice be moving without the sound of an engine.  I loved seeing the full sails.

   

When we got to the cove for the night, it was prettier than the last one.

   

A couple of women  came by in their boats trying to sell home goods.  They were very nice and cheerful, but no sale.

After we tied up, the dinghy motor quit.  The crew worked on it for a while with no success.  Fortunately, this gulet had a second dinghy.  They had a job getting it off the deck and into the water.  It hadn’t been used for a while, so we held our breath when they tried to start it.  There was a lot of sputtering and smoke from the engine, but in a few minutes it was fine.  That was a close call.  We would have to go to our disembarkation point to be able to dock otherwise.

We all went swimming in this gorgeous clear water.  Ahmet took photos.  It makes for a fond memory for me.

For dinner the captain prepared mixed grill.   It was interesting how the grill hung over the side to prevent fire in the boat.  The meal was delicious as usual.

One more full day on the gulet tomorrow. It should be a good one too.

 

Day 14 – On Ship
We left our cove at 6:00 AM to avoid rough waters that are frequently near our destination, Gemiler Island.  As we approached the area called Devil’s Point.  A place doesn’t get that name from calm waters.  Ahmet pointed out the area on the rocks near the water where nothing grows because of the high waves that come in.  They must really come crashing in at times.  Fortunately, not this time.

   

We could see our first destination for the day on Gemiler Island from the boat.  There was a church about a third of the way up where we were going to go.  On top of the mountain was another church and lighthouse that I was going to pass on.  Ahmet had warned me that it was also a rocky steep climb and descent.

   

The island, also known as St. Nicholas Island, is believed to be the original site of the tomb of St. Nicholas and where he lived for a time. Yep, the same one that Santa Claus came from since he was so generous to the people.

After breakfast the dinghy took us to the island.  The path to the first church was pretty rocky but not as steep as the one after the church would have been.  We passed by some house ruins on the way.  There were quite a few structures along the path.  Most of the churches and major structures were built between the 4th and 6th centuries.

   

   

   

   

The view down to the cove was pretty nice too.

At one place I lost track of where the rest of the group was.  Fortunately, Cam was behind me, and she told me that I took the wrong turn.  As I turned around, my foot hit a rock and I did a slow fall to the ground.  I scraped my knee and my side a bit.  I didn’t even need a Band-Aid, but I did end up with an ugly bruise on my side.  I felt so stupid for rushing to switch directions.  Ahmet had told us that people rarely fall when they are going up or down and incline.  Falls normally happen on flat surfaces when they aren’t being careful.  I confirmed his statement.

I continued to climb up the steeper than expected rock path until I reached my final destination, the Church of St. Nicholas #2, the largest of the 4 on the island. The church was in much better shape than the other structures we had passed while climbing the mountain.  The arched altar was the main attraction.  Ahmet told us about the church from a comfortable position.

   

   

   

We separated with me going down very carefully and the rest of the group going up to the top.  When I was back at the dock where we were to be picked up, I enjoyed looking at the beautiful clear water and rock formations. 

   

I had to wait about 20 minutes for them to return.  We then took the dinghy to a different pier where we met a van to take us to the ghost town of Kayakoy. This was mostly a Greek Orthodox village of 6,500 residents who were depopulated during WW1; and most residents moved to Greece in 1923 during a population exchange treaty. The very sad story is told in the book, Birds Without Wings. We first stopped at a restaurant next to the ghost town.  The owner was the son of one of the Greeks who were brought to Turkey.  We had some tea while Ahmet told us about what we would be seeing.  He then took us along the main road to the city and gave us free time to explore.  I had seen a TV show called Mysteries of the Abandoned on the Discovery Channel that had a segment on this ghost town several years ago, so I was really interested to see it in person. 

   

   

   

   

I walked up to a higher position to take better photos of this most unusual town.  It was like going through some of the 1,500+ year old ruins of the ancient cities we had previously visited; but these were mostly built between 1856 and 1923.  There are around 500 homes in Kayakoy.

   

It is a very sad place since it represents the many that were taken away from their homes and sent to a different country where they weren’t accepted.

When we returned to the boat, the sun was in the right position to bring out the beauty of the clear water.  Just gorgeous!

I took a photo of Gemiler Island to show the full profile.

   

After lunch, we were moving again.  We were heading to a cove that was closer to our disembarkation port, Fetiyah.  We passed by Devil’s Point again, but this time in the bright sunlight.  The cruise was a bit over an hour to another beautiful cove.  It did seem like there were a lot of them along the Turquoise Coast.

   

The afternoon was spent swimming in the beautiful turquoise waters. A nice way to spend our last day on the gulet before disembarking in Kusadasi for 2 nights before returning home. 

I took the opportunity after we were anchored to get a photo of the where the captain operated the boat from.

Since it was the last evening on the boat, we wanted to take photos of the crew.  From left to right, we had Hassan (mate), Mustaffa (chef), and Ugur (captain).

Ahmet also took a photo of all of us.  They had been a great crew who really tried to make our cruise as good as possible.

 

 

 

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