Glen and I were thrilled to be invited onto this private, all-day boat trip organised by our friends Lea and Jobey. With just ten people, most of whom knew each other, it promised to be a great relaxing day out in what was unusually hot September weather.
The start is not auspicious! Two of our number fail to show at the agreed meeting place and we almost have to leave without them. Fortunately, just as we are casting off, they appear on the harbour-side and we get them on-board. Then, three young Turkish teenage girls decide to join us. Lea tries to explain to them in her best Turkish that this is a private trip and maybe they are in the wrong place. Seemingly this is our 'crew' for the day! Vedat (our skipper) normally has his wife along to help but she had just given birth so he'd roped in his nieces to help. I'm not sure how much help they really were to Vedat but they certainly kept us amused with their boundless energy all day - dancing and diving off the boat.
Our boat was similar in size to the taxi boats that ply between Turunç and Marmaris. So, for just ten of us, there was heaps of room to spread. For sun-lovers comfortable cushions at the front and back, and four loungers on the cabin roof but also plenty of cover for shade bugs. We headed south out of Turunç, past Amos and Kumlubük and, after about 30-45 minutes made out first stop at beautiful Kardiga bay. Down goes the anchor, out comes the ladder and into the clear and incredibly warm sea we go. This was to become the pattern for the day - sail for a bit, spot a nice quiet bay or cove, pull in and enjoy the sea. In between, the girls kept us entertained with Turkish dancing - and got most of our female party to join them.
We sailed on past Çiftlik and dropped anchor in another remote bay where we intended to have lunch. However, Vedat decided it was too crowded (there were two other boats there!) so he repositioned the boat at another part of the bay where we were completely isolated. Lunch was just fantastic and huge! Grilled chicken and meatballs, fresh bread and pasta, typical Turkish mezes and salad.
More swimming follows and then we start the journey home. Suddenly Vedat cries out, cuts the boat engine and points out a sea turtle just off our left side. We grab cameras and Jobey just about manages to get a picture before it dives. It was huge - at least a metre long - and looked quite pre-historic: an amazing sight.
Our last stop is Kumlubük and, despite the fact that it's now nearly 6pm, and the sun has gone behind the mountains, most of us can't resist a last swim. As a final surprise, Vedat serves up slices of water melon for us to share. Finally, we arrive back at Turunc harbour at about 6.30pm - tired, wind and sun-burned, but with some fantastic memories.
Vedat was a great host - nothing was too much trouble. He stopped for ad-hoc coffee and drink breaks when we looked thirsty and took the boat in to shallow water when he found out one of our number was uncomfortable swimming in water over her depth. Along with his impromptu 'crew', he did everything he could to make sure everyone had a really memorable day - which we all did. Thanks to Steve, Sharon, Eileen, John, Gwen, Eve and of course Lea and Jobey for your great company - we look forward to the next one!
Of course, you don't have to organise a private hire to experience the beauty of the coastline around Turunç - there are many public day trips available that follow a similar route. These can be booked at the harbour or through any of the travel agencies in the village. At 40TL per person (including lunch but not drinks) ours was a little more expensive than ordinary day trips, and ten is probably the minimum number needed to make it work. However, now we've experienced this, I doubt Glen and I will do it any other way in future.