14th October 2020
The day after our exhilarating Paragliding experience we started the process of applying for a longer tourist visa in Turkey– its a residency permit for 1 year for tourists. I had been dreading starting the process of entering another countries bureaucracy channels to attain a stamp to say we can stay longer. While we seem to be in the flow of cruising a bit more – Corona virus is still very much present. The numbers are on the rise again in most European Countries and the talk of lockdowns in the daily news. The boarders to Greece are still closed and Malta is a 5 day sail away, for which I don’t feel ready since we haven’t even done an overnight sail.
While we have been told its way easier to obtain a visa extension in Turkey than it is in Greece its still this feeling of not knowing that is unsettling. The website for the application was very glitchy and I had to start each application several times using different computers and browsers until finally they where all done and in the system.
On the 16th October we left to visit Butterfly Valley, which is names after the many butterflies who are supposed to be there. I think we saw one. The bay was pretty, but with a swell, which rocks our mono hull side to side. We already had so much of that in Oludeniz, that we decided we would go for a walk and leave the next day. The bay had huge cliffs either side and we had heard that in past times it was apparently a Turkish / Australian Hippie commune. There is now still a campsite and restaurant, all pretty hippie looking, just without the hippies and some ramshackle sheds that might have been bars at some stage.
Paul and Lori also came to the bay and joined us on a walk. Lucy following us with her wagging tail, excited about the outing. After paying a small fee at the beginning of the walk we started a relatively easy climb up to the waterfall, which was very small as there was barely any rain recently. There where big boulders, some of them slippery and hard to climb at the end of the walk. The walk was lined by beautiful trees. Paul identified a stunning cedar tree and the dripping resin very distinctly smelling like my cedarwood oil confirmed the diagnosis. We also found a patch of beautiful looking flowers without leaves growing in the stony ground looking like crocuses. And I found a fern that looks like one we have in New Zealand. All surrounded by the towering big cliffs. In a little rock pool we found a tiny crab on our way back. There where gardens with pomegranate and citrus trees, a family of chickens scratching looking for edible things and a couple of cute looking goats.
The next day we left with Paul and Lori to find somewhere on the way back to Fethiye with no swell. After about 2 hours we found a tiny little cove with 2 biggish caves that looked like we could anchor in it. We checked the depth and decided it was all go with just enough space for our 2 boats in the tiny cove with a small beach and towering big cliffs all around. I just can’t get enough of the beautiful and breathtaking landscapes here in Turkey. How has this country never been on my radar before?
As soon as we where all safely tucked up we went for a swim and snorkel and took the dinghy to have a look at the 2 caves. Both caves had big openings from the ocean. It looked like a huge bolder must have fallen out of the cliff to create the hole. Once in the caves they both had a tiny beach and an opening to the sky. I must say I felt quite vulnerable standing there. Both had signs of landslides coming down from the cliffs. The kids loved it and threw stones in the water enjoying the sounds they where making. We decided once back to make a campfire on the bigger beach where our boats where. So while I and Lori prepared dinner the kids and men went to find some wood on the smallish beach with bugger all vegetation. But they where successful equipped with saws and knifes they built a beautiful little fire and once we had dinner we all met at the beach with our bag of Marshmallows, our drinks and the kids had prepared apples and cheese toasties in tin foil to put in the fire. Moments like this are so special, seeing the kids so excited about something so simple – a fire by the beach, apples, toasties, marshmallows. We all went to bed happily that night with full tummies, smelling slightly smoky.
The next morning on the 18th October we sailed further towards Fethiye and stopped at Kizil Island. We managed to tie up on a good rock stern to but Paul had trouble finding one that wasn’t moving. He found one under water, but wasn’t too happy with it. We saw straight away that the beach was in a terrible state with all the rubbish lying around clearly visible from the boat. Luca stayed at the beach to colour code the cigarette lighters, straws and bottle caps he found all over the beach. Once we where sorted on the boat the 2 of us went to the beach manned with our big back rubbish sacks to collect the rubbish. Pretty much as we boarded our dinghy for our collection a big gulet with tourists came in next to us, nearly taking out our stern line.
I felt a bit cross towards them, thinking that they pull up on a regular basis on those beaches loaded with all their tourists, yet it seemed none of them seemed bothered to send their patrons off swimming on those filthy beaches. They all had several staff on and I know from previous collections how quickly its done with a few hands.
So our our rubbish sacks came out and Luca and I started collecting at opposite ends of the beach working ourselves towards the middle. The people from the gulets curiously watched us, but me being cross about all the mess and humanity in general, every time I collect the mess created by humanity, I just went about my business. Suddenly I saw out of the corner of my eye, that one of the tourist ladies in her pretty black dress grabbed a plastic bucket and also started collecting rubbish and then to my even bigger surprise 2 young boys, staff from the gulet, joined Luca in collecting and then another Turkish lady joined it as well. Soon the beach was looking like new and we had collected 3.5 big back rubbish sacks.
Its always a problem for us with our small boats to store that much rubbish until we found bins big enough to dispose of them. Our boats are so small with every square millimeter prime property, that we only have a small nook on our boat for our own rubbish in our anchor locker. I was just starting plucking up the courage to ask the gulet staff of they could take the sacks back to land, when I saw one of the young lads grab 2 of the sacks and taking them to the gulet. I quickly brought him the other 2 too and thanked him and they thanked us. The lady in the black dress gifted me a pummus stone she found and said some thing in Russian that I didn’t understand, but she gave me a high five – I got that.
Well what do you think, after just talking myself into an upsetting mood over the state of the humanity it was just as quickly restored. The beach looked sparkling, we didn’t have to deal with the rubbish aftermath and everyone felt happy. It made me realise that role modelling gives not only children, but also other adults permission and encouragement. Sometimes we just need a little push of encouragement and see the difference a small action can make to take responsibility ourselves to change something little for the better that is within our reach.
As we rowed back to the boat we saw Lostura and Adventurous where also just arriving and rafting up all together. We met for sundowners on Imagine that evening enjoying a bit of community time with our little floatilla. We went to bed happily and woke up to thunder and lightning. While we enjoyed the beginning of the storm, since we where all tucked up safely things soon turned to custard when Imagine & Lostura’s lines broke. We where closest to the rocks and with their lines in the other direction gone the 3 other boats where now pushing us closer to the rocks, since we where all rafted up together. Luckily Paul and Freddie took quick action and left in a bit of a panic taking the pressure off Adventurous and us and bit. Adventurous is a catamaran, so they can go in really shallow water, but we have a keel and we only had 800 mm between us and the rocks on the seafloor, so we quickly handed our sternline to Adventurous, who decided would stay and left as well motoring for Fethiye with Lostura and Imagine. The bay in Fethiye is really protected. That little incident showed us an example of how quickly things can go wrong on the water and we where glad that we all got away without any damage done.
The next couple of days where dedicated to domestic chores. Tuesday is market day in Fethiye and I love it, because there are stalls and stalls of fresh fruit and vegetables, spices, nuts, dried fruit, cheeses, yogurt and butter and olives and other pickles. Next to it is a market with everything genuine fake you can imagine, clothes, shoes, socks, pants, shirts, bags etc. I got some much needed new undies – the others had suffered a terrible fate from the handwashing in the beginning and Tim got some warm slippers for the colder months to come. Then we threw ourselves into the busyness of the market and tried to handle all the bags, paying the vendors, making sure not to squish anything and trying to choose the right things. Its quite overwhelming with all those people and all those stalls, many of whom barely speak any English, trying to keep all the family together, while trying not to suffocate under the masks. On the way out there yet more stalls with food offerings for the shoppers to fill their tummies and recover from the scramble. We thankfully sat down in one, dropped our bags and ordered some tea, drinks for the kids and some Goezleme, the Turkish pancakes. After that we felt ready to make the way back to the dinghy. Our stores where really low on the boat, so we decided that while Tim and Luca waited in the dinghy I would quickly go with Nina to the supermarket to buy everything drinks – milk, sparkly water, some beer for Tim, some juice and some Tonic. Once everything was stored in the dinghy we made our way back to the boat. It almost takes an hour to wash everything and store everything in its rightful places. Every time we go shopping I have to clean the fridge too, as is has condensation and always had a puddle it in the bottom of it, which needs dealing to. Its such a small fridge too, so I always check for expiry dates, what we have left and sort everything in sensible places.
The following morning started with thunder once more, but soon cleared up and we all went to town to go to the supermarket to stock up on grocery foods. Nina wanted to stock up on wool again and Tim needed to go to the chandlery. So we split up – Tim and Luca went to the chandlery and Nina and I disappeared into wool wonderland. One of the male shopkeepers in the wool shop said that Nina was like an old lady stating exactly what she needed examining everything with expertise and filling her basket with confidence. In actual fact it was overflowing, so we reduced it by about half. Afterwards we all went to the supermarket and stocked up on dry foods.
Our afternoons and mornings are often filled with either schooling, crochet and audiobooks for me and Nina, writing blogs, editing videos, drawing or playing guitar for Luca and cooking and baking for the crew.
On the 22nd October we where almost out of water and had a huge heap of washing. While the bay in Fethiye is calm, the water is dirty and we can’t make water here with our water-maker as it would wreck our filters in a minute. So we decided to go back to Kizil island after getting a pump out of our waste, top up on diesel and petrol and fill up with water from the dock if available. After all of that was done we sailed over to Kizil and settled in for the night. This time we anchored at a different bay and we saw that the beach we cleaned up the other time plus the other 2 bays where full of rubbish, so made a pledge to clean it up once more once the washing was done.
The next day I woke up with a headache, had a rare shower, which is always followed by cleaning our tiny bathroom, as everything is wet anyway. Then I tackled our approx. 6 wash loads and converted our oat into a giant coat hanger to dry all our washing. It usually takes at least half a day with all the handling of buckets, water and washing, hanging and folding, but its so satisfying to get it done. I really hope the washing will still dry in winter. With 4 people there is always a pile to do and the bigger items like sheets and towels take quite a few wash loads as we have such a tiny washing machine.
On the 24th October Tim and I got up early and took Lucy and the dinghy and our black rubbish sacks to the beaches to clean them up. It always breaks my heart to see all the litter, especially the little items that are so dangerous for turtles and other sea creatures. There are tangles of fishing likes with rusty hooks too and I can’t stop thinking of some beachgoer standing in those terrible things. There is always plenty of plastic of course, soft plastic from wrapping, polystyrene, plastic cups, drink cans, plastic bottles, plastic bags, straws, cigarette lighters, bottle caps, masks, lines and strings, food packaging and some people just tie up their picnic rubbish and leave it at the each for someone else to deal with. It took us about 2 hours to clean all 3 beaches and we left the 3 sacks we collected at the bigger beach where we knew the gulets come to with their tourists. We intended to ask them to take it away. Soon enough a gulet arrived and Tim dinghied over to ask them to take the sacks. They where happy to do so and he thanked them and they thanked him and everybody was happy until the next load of rubbish lands on the beautiful beaches….
The rest of the day and the next where spend homely – doing schooling, baking, walking on the island, writing a German article, watching a movie, baking a cake. I cleaned the other bathroom, tidied our seat, which is our pantry and checked the bilges – 2 of them had a bit of liquid in them, so I cleaned them and sorted our food in a nice way. With 4 people rummaging through fridge and pantry on a regular basis – all with a different sense of order or lack thereof its a daily battle to keep our tiny home tidy.