James, Cessi and Edward
Me scaring the fish !
........that was Cessi's (in between James and Edward in above pic) opinion of Catherine after having spent a week watching her fighting and wrestling and standing up for herself with her much bigger brothers. I know what you mean Cessi - if I was a bloke I would be 'scared she' too - but we ALL know you fancied her really !!
We arrived in Fethiye late in the evening when it was dark, but we could still see what a pretty little harbour it was. Our gulet was docked right at the end of the jetty - along side dozens of others !
We were shown into our cabins, small but functional - very small actually for 2 big adults to share, Catherine was alright having one to herself but James and Edward struggled - and then we went on deck to have dinner and meet the people we would be spending the next week with.
There were 2 couples - Les and Margaret (Les is a retired DCI so as you can imagine Martin and he spent many a happy hour taking about the 'old days') Roger and Mary (both teachers and with infinite patience with the kids) and another family - Tracey and Mark and their children Jake (15) and Gabriella (13). And sitting down to dinner with them that night it was apparent we had really struck lucky with this company - they were all lovely and friendly with a great sense of humour.
It was hot that first night, very hot in fact so everyone (except me) decided to sleep on deck under the stars. It was a lovely idea but for me being in the 2nd week of Sutent a toilet close at hand was more important !
There were 4 members in the crew - the Captain (and owner of the boat) who spoke excellentEnglish but flitted on and off the boat throughout the trip - it seems he has 5 other boats he was keeping an eye on - Cessi who was the second in command, again with excellent English and a great sense of fun - Mehmet, no English but so sweet and helpful, he was in charge of the dinghey - and the cook, definitely the strong and silent type but his food was simply wonderful.
So that was the complete cast list for the next week and early next morning straight after breakfast we set sail - or rather chugged out of the harbour as there wasnt enough wind for the sails !
It has to be the most relaxing thing on earth - lying on deck sunbathing, a gentle sea breeze ruffling your hair and sailing past the most spectacular scenery, the Turkish coast. Its quite rugged and not really as I imagined it. Thick pine forests running down almost into the sea itself, very few beaches, but lots of little bays and coves and it was in one of these we anchored for the morning. The sea was turquoise and crystal clear, full of fish and sea urchins and tiny hermit crabs.
Very soon we were all swimming and snorkling and canoeing and exploring the little cove. Until the bell rang for lunch.
The food was really good - goodness how the cook managed to prepare it all in that tiny kitchen. Breakfast was bread and cheese and ham and honey and jam and usually a boiled egg. Lunch was salad and rice and usually a vegetable casserole and dinner was salad and rice and either chicken or fish - but always cooked in a different way. And a big platter of fruit for dessert. Simple, healthy and very tasty and after a days swimming we were all ravenous. The children were happily tucking into food they would have turned their noses up at home - typical !
We all soon settled into a pattern of sailing to a new cove in the morning, and then to another after lunch where we would stay for the night. The days were very hot - over 36 degrees - and when the air conditioning came on in the evenings we all dived to our cabins for a bit of relief ! Still everyone, except me, slept on deck at night.
The one thing that surprised us all was the number of gulets sailing around that area of the Turkish coast - we must have seen hundreds ! Most of them were just day trips and disappeared late evening leaving just a few of us to spend the night out there. We also saw a few very nice, very big, and VERY expensive boats - Ive put one on my Christmas list but Im not holding out any hope !
On Friday we stepped on dry land again, a little shakily, and visited Govek which is a pretty little town with some really nice shops. We spent an afternoon wandering round there in the blistering heat (38 that day) and Catherine and I did some shopping, mainly pretty little pots and jewellrey. Turkey is one of the main countries to buy fake goods and we saw loads of Gucci and Prada handbags for about 10 quid !
The first few days simply flew by and by the weekend we were due to make the long sail in open sea to Marmaris. The Captain has rejoined the gulet by then to take charge as this involves going out into open sea and needs a very experienced hand at the wheel. We started off at 5.30am but after an hour had to turn back as the sea was just too rough - and it sure was. The boat was lurching around and Martin had turned a lovely shade of pea green. So we headed back to another little sheltered bay to wait for the sea to settle a bit.
The next morning it was much calmer and after yet another early start, I think its the first time ever James has been up before the dawn 2 days in a row, we made the 3 hour long sail to Marmaris. On the way we stopped off at the Turkish mud baths which James and Edward couldnt resist.
And so finally to Marmaris where our holiday was due to finish. The harbour there is HUGE and was packed with gulets and yachts and boats of every description. The town is big too and very busy - much busierthan I expected - it was quite a culture shock after our peaceful week sailing.
After a final dinner on board we tried to sleep ready for our very early pick up for the airport - 5am - yes, thats 3 days in a row James was up before dawn ! Sleep was fairly impossible though, the noise from the town and the heat kept us all awake most of the night so we were all a bit groggy as we left in the morning.
All in all this was definitely one of the best family holidays we have had - the kids had a whale of a time and behaved themselves beautifully - the company was perfect - the gorgeous Turkish coastline and sea was our playground - and to top it off I caught a fish !!
(Although I felt really well all week and managed to do everything Ive just noticed you can clearly see the tumour under my right arm pit in this picture - its no bigger but its no smaller either)