Wednesday 1 June 2011

Holiday Snaps: Dalyan, sea turtles and mud

Notes for a blog

A moment of forgetfulness caught me yesterday as strained myself to distraction trying to remember what I wanted to write about. When I started to blog, it all came back but it signified I needed an aide memoir to help keep record my thoughts for writing later on in the day, the use of patterns and connections might not suffice anymore.

For the first time, my blog will be crafted from handwritten notes I took on my journey out to Dalyan with my writing just as illegible as chicken scrawls – Dalyan [1] is about sea turtles, ancient tombs of kings hewn in rock and mud baths in sulphur and mineral rich yuck.

I got to the boat as one of the late pickups, all sunbeds on the upper decks seem to have been taken and then I chanced on an empty one where the oven of the sun baked me to crisp.

Dangers of a crowd

I had settled in when a push chair with a toddler strapped was placed at the foot of my sunbed restricting passage to others to my inconvenience considering I was one of the taller one with feet sticking out.

The family of three generations was from somewhere in England peaking with an almost indecipherable accent and they were defined by the fact that of all the newspapers on offer they took the Sun.

The first attraction was the Phosphor cave a hollow-through of an island hill and as the captain spoke of it the boat titled noticeably to one side because everyone wanted to have a look and take pictures.

Further on at Aquarium Bay a 30-minute swim break was announced where under supervision you could jump from the middle deck of the boat into the water, those who tried funny tricks simply got a nasty water slap.

For the safe harbour of turtles

The sun was hot that I had to cover my legs with my towel and my head with my hat as I fell into snoring sleep but by noon we were invited to lunch which was fusilli pasta, onion sauce, a salad, chicken nuggets and a meaty thing best forgotten. The drinks were extra and there was brisk business within a contrived monopoly since we were not allowed to bring drinks on-board and those who did had them seized on boarding.

We reached İztuzu Beach [2] or Turtle Beach as it is known to tourists and it is the nesting ground for two kinds of sea turtle that nest in Turkey one of which is the endangered loggerhead sea turtle [3]. We had to switch to river-boats because the water was quite shallow and the other journeys through the delta of streams could not float the bigger boats.

A fleeting glimpse of a sea turtle was caught but with all the boats moving there wasn’t enough time to take a picture. The waters were of the saltier Mediterranean Sea and the deeper fresh waters on the other side, skinny dipping in the cold water; I saw the basic principles of quick sand.

The nesting season of the turtles is in May and June with some places cordoned off identifying turtle nests. Visits to these protected islands are prohibited between 8 at night and 8 in the morning when the turtles come on shore to nest.

Mud, mud and smelly mud

We returned to the river boats for the long journey through the deltas of the Dalyan Çayı River towards the mud ponds for a bit of nature treatment. The reeking smell of rotten eggs was perceived from the banks, evidence of oxides of sulphur and many other minerals.

Digging into the base of the pool for lumps of clay, we battered ourselves up with mud then allowing it to dry-out for many to appear in temporary mummy disguise.

After washing off the mud and having a hose down of cold water, we took a soak in the naturally heated sulphur pool which had a temperature of 39 Celsius.

After the final shower, we departed to view the king’s tombs from afar, they are in fact Lycian [4] rock cut tombs in antiquity dating back over 2000 years ago and then we returned to the mother-ship for the journey back to Marmaris.

We, the circus acts

With no other site to excite us, the crew contrived a raffle draw to select 6 participants in a musical chairs game, the cacophony snuffing out every attempt to gain some sleep. Obviously, I had nothing commendable to say of situations where we are surreptitiously enrolled in mock entertainment like circus animals for the pleasure of others.

At least it was at the end interesting that a Bulgarian won and they all gathered in a folk dance as the boat reached Marmaris, I could not imagine what cringing display it would have to see fellow Englishmen make a fool of themselves.


[1] Dalyan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[2] İztuzu Beach - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[3] Loggerhead sea turtle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[4] Lycia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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