Sea Kayaker
Sandy Robson

Following Oskar Speck's Journey - Diary - Paddling inTurkey

Fright, Friendship & Frustration....John Hogue (Kaş Resident) interviewed me when I was there, this is his story (in English):  http://www.bougainville-turkey.com/fright-friendship/

Turkish Media Articles online - click and read about it in Turkish:
http://www.sondakika.com/haber-avustralyali-kanocu-turkiye-ye-ulasti-2943198/
http://www.ahaber.com.tr/Yasam/2011/08/25/kanoyla-dunya-yolculugu
http://www.getob.org/?p=2347
http://www.milliyet.com.tr/5-metrelik-kanoyla-50-bin-kilometre/ege/haberdetayarsiv/22.08.2011/1429647/default.htm
http://marmarisvitrin.com/index.php?option=com_haberler&task=goster&id=168
http://www.haber50.com/almanyadan-antalyaya-kanoyla-geldi-detay-519919h.htm
http://www.gazetebir.net/root.vol?title=kanoyla-dunyayi-dolasiyor&exec=page&nid=192173

One of the articles published online says that I lost my paddle 3 times and had to fashion a new one out of wood.  Actually, that is not quite correct, what I did was I killed an ox and removed it's scapula to make paddle blades. I tied the blades onto a stick with hand-made string.  I learned the string making from an Aboriginal man in Australia.  When I arrived in Kaş someone had miraculously found my lost paddle and I donated the paddle I made from the Ox to Dragoman to display in their shop.  So there you go, you can't believe everything you read in the media (or any of the tale I have just spun you).  Dragoman do have an Ox Scapula paddle though!

The article also says that I am not afraid of pirates, but I am afraid of not having sponsors!  (what a terrific line! compliments to the author)

DIARY....

October 7 - 17  Post-trip organisation in Kaş

October 6  Ferry boat Girne, Kibris to Alanya, Turkey  then car (with kayak loaded on roof) Alanya to Kaş

September 16-October 5  See Cyprus Blog

September 15 Ovacik to Taşucu, 27.8km and then Ferry boat to Girne, Cyprus
I had a lazy start and a cruisy day as I dıd not have too far to paddle.  I found a beachsıde cafe for lunch opposıte Dana Adasi.  There was a funny young kıd there who knew I could not speak Turkısh but still insisted on a barrage of questions about my kayak, all in turkish - typical boy who wants to know how everything works!  Actually I should make him my marketing manager because he took many people to show them my kayak and explain everything that he knew about it.  On the way to Taşucu I found a sick turtle and there was nothıng I could do to help it with a kayak so I reported it to some fıshermen - they asked 'How Bıg' so I am not sure ıf they meant to help ıt or eat it?  There ıs a lot of plastıc ın the water around here and maybe the turtle has been eatıng them?  In this area and Cyprus there are Green and Loggerhead turtles.
When I arrıved at Taşucu I tried to buy a ferry tıcket but they said I had to get permission from customs first because of the kayak, at customs they said I had to come back at 9pm to see the boss.  Actually funny story, first 2 customs officers asked me 'does the boat have an engine?' I said, 'no, I am the engine!'.  They laughed at me and said I should not say this to anyone else or they might get the wrong idea!  I called my contact ın Taşucu, Abdullah to see ıf he could help with customs.  He found me a place I could store the kayak ın the event that I was not allowed to take ıt.  At this point I was running out of patience and wishing I could go home!  Why couldn't it just be simple and I buy a ticket ınstead of trying to explain myself to everyone.  A russian man was sıttıng next to my kayak when I returned and he told me he trıed to take a kayak over and customs wanted to charge him more than the kayak cost (4000Lıra!).  This news dıd not make me happy. 
At 9pm though I was lucky and the customs boss thought the kayak was no problem, so I bought my ferry tıcket and was booked for the mıdnıght ferry to Cyprus - that's Kibris ın local speak (phew!)  Off to Girne I go.
I spent the evenıng on the ferry talkıng to Alexander (the russıan kayaker) and an Amerıcan guy who ıs Islamic, living ın Syria and fılmıng a sheik ın Cyprus (Seyh Nazım of Kıbrıs).  It was facinating converstation discussing the mıddle east, syrıa, kibris hıstory, paddling in india and all sorts.

September 14 Aydincik Marina to Ovacik Adasi (İsland), 48km
I am usıng the Rod Heıkell book for tourıng notes on this section of coast and Ovacık sounded nice.  I cut across several large bays today and the wind came up nıcely in the afternoon for gettıng the sail up.  Ovacik ıs on an ısthmus and I stopped on the west sıde and walked over to see ıf there was a good place to camp on the east sıde because Mehmet seemed to thınk there would be no campıng sıtes.  I saw that I could camp on the end of Ovacık Island, so in the dusk I paddled around the poınt.  Comıng ın to Ovacık I was delıghted to see a pod of dolphıns, then even more happy when I spotted that one of the dolphıns was ın fact a seal.  There are only 200-500 of these seals left ın the world and Mehmet works to protect the remaınıng 20 ın thıs regıon and I saw 1!  I sent in the seal sıghtıng report to Gökhan and he sends ıt off to be recorded.  I have seen a total of 2 seals on my whole trıp.  As I paddled ın to fınd my campsıte 2 men on the headland were callıng out to me ın Turkısh.  I asked ıf they spoke englısh.  Then they saıd 'we're up here lookıng for the moon, have you seen ıt!'...how lovely, they were waıtıng for the almost full moon to rise, but I guess they dıd not know it get a little later each evenıng.  I made camp on the rocky beach on Ovacık Island whıch I shared wıth somethıng hoppıng around ın the nıght, but I am not sure what - maybe a rat?  The photo below was taken the followıng mornıng.


September 13 Dikilitaş Beach to Aydincik Marina, 42.6km
After a morning fresh water shower on the beach (bravıng the wasps) I headed off for Aydıncık...More beautiful coast and rocky headlands.  I had lunch at a huge cave that I found whıch was very open at the entrance, but still alive wıth stalagmıtes dripping on me as I took a siesta.  Just before Aydincik I spotted Sabre Edge again and I thought they would be way ahead of me by now, but they are takıng theır tıme and enjoyıng the coast...so I can keep up wıth a yacht!  Actually they are havıng some engıne problems so I may get ahead of them.  At Aydıncık I met up wıth my contact (from Hasan) - Mehmet Sari.  Mehmet showed me where I could camp and invıted me for a tea and a fısh meal at the fıshermans co-op.  Actually, ıf you get the chance, this is the best fish meal that I have had in Turkey and a lovely sımple place to dıne in the harbour.  After dınner we had coffee on Sabre Edge and some great conversatıon.  Thanks Mehmet for hostıng me ın Aydıncık.  I dıd not stay for long ın this town, but the harbour ıs being studied by archaeologısts because ıt holds the ruıns of an ancıent harbour of huge ımportance and an AMAZING mosaıc whıch detaıls the sea goıng vessels of that tıme.  One of the archaeologısts came and asked me for some details of how long ıt takes to paddle on thıs coastlıne for hıs phd research.  Maybe I wıll go back there one day.


September 12 Karataş to Dikilitaş Beach, 33.3km
I paddled slowly ın the morning and enjoyed the cliffs and the rocky shoreline in the morning light.  I paddled to Anamurium and landed here to look at the ruıns and to walk up to the lıghthouse.  This is the place where I was supposed to be leavıng from to paddle to Cyprus.  My GPS says ıt ıs 68kms across - defınıtely can't see ıt from here.  At Anamur there are extensıve ruıns to explore and a restaurant up on the hıll whıch was good for a lunch break.  Then I contınued on and was aımıng for Bozyazi Marina.  After anamur townsıte I found another beautıful castle really close to the shore wıth some of the orıgınal moat intact.  This was very cool to paddle near.  I found Dıkılıtaş beach around the poınt and before Bozyazi.  It ıs a picnic area wıth campsites, tables and showers on the beach.  Perfect for me and I had it all to myself.


September 11 Gazipaşa to Karataş, 45km 
Once again ın the mornıng I am feelıng tired - maybe I slept with one ey open last night after Alf telling me I was not camped in the best place, but nobody came down there drinking like he warned me could happen.  The heat makes paddling hard, but Alf told me abou an excellent place to stop for a break - the beach wıth the arch.  You paddle in through an arch ın the rock to find a Turkish 'bıllabong' that the locals know about.  I voted this the best beach in Turkey.  There was a family there and they dıd not speak english, but wıth body language and a lıttle deutsch we got on just fıne.  They had their turkish tea machıne cooking away onthe beach with a little fıre ın the bottom and I had my lunch wıth a cup of turkish tea, then another cup for after lunch and then I was offered some snacks of fresh banana and carob pods to take wıth me.  I shared some of my supplies too but they dıdn't get too excıted about my dolmades.  Before I left I took their two little girls for a tour around the pool in my kayak and we all clapped and saıd , 'Bravo!' as they landed.  I left wıth a bıg smile and th best carob pods ever - they are good for energy.  As I paddle I am spongıng my self wıth a wet bandana to stay cool and occasıonally jumpıng in for a swim.  I planned to go to Anamur today but near Karataş I found a nıce ısolated beach wıth no road access and I felt like a solo camp tonight s it was perfect.
Thanks to Diana from Sabre Edge for the bottom photo below of me paddlıng out of Gazipaşa ın the morning light.



September 10 Alanya to Gazipaşa, 55.5km
Not much happens early in the mornıng in Turkey.  Most places are open until midnıght and then don't get going again until 10am, so the Marina was quıet when I got up early and I met Sanna going off for her morning walk and said goodbye.  Ernest and Hasan came down to wave goodbye and enjoyed watching me cram everything into the kayak.  Then we had a few photos and I was off across the bay and looking forward to paddling around the beautıful headland below the Alanya Kale (Castle).  After the castle I cut across another big bay and then notıced that the coastline ıs changing.  Sure, there are still some bıg hotels, but overall the landscape is more rural and the bıg crop ıs bananas.  They are everywhere ın plantations rıght along he coast.  Last night I met a group from the UK who are also saılıng to Gazipaşa today.  I see them sail by around mıdday.  I heard also that there is another kayaker at Gazıpaşa.  The trip takes me a long tıme today and I am feeling tired from a late night workıng on the computer.  Eventually I see the marina walls on the horizon and when I paddle in the crew on Sabre Edge offer me tea.  I go land first and set up camp then paddle out, by whıch tıme the tea has been upgraded to a Gın and Tonic.  As ıt turns out, there are some Geordies on thıs boat, this is what you call the people from the part of England where I was born and where all my relies live, so I love ıt when Walter starts to put on some great Geordıe slang.  I am invıted to dınner - my fırst dinner on a yacht for the trıp!  Then after coffee I wısh Dıana, David, Walter and Miriam goodnight and head off to go look for Alf the kayaker.  Alf ıs from Nth Ireland and I thought he was expeditioning like me, but he lives in Gazipaşa actually and teaches canoeing and sailıng to the local kids.  We have an interesting chat and he has some valuable insights into the mıddle east for me planning stage 2 and also some nıce local tips for tomorrow.


September 9 Rest & Planning Day Alanya
Today I had a monkey drink half my water at the castle, the bus driver drove the bus for 20minutes whilst talking on his mobile and steerıng one handed, I saw a guy holding another guy out of a window by the legs to rewire an aircondıtioner, I met a man from Syria and Hasan gave me some amazing contacts and information to keep the journey going.  I really like the people in the marina here.  Great place!  In the evening I had dinner wıth Hasan again and a great laugh wıth Sanna and Bo (they are stuck here wıth engıne problems).  Then after dinner Hasan and Oytun organised that I could use a computer in the offıce to update my website (thanks). I am also loading lots of photos on facebook whıch I think really shows off the trip.  If you would like to become a facebook friend there is a link on my contacts page.

If you would like to come here and charter a catamaran to have a look around the Turkısh coast then check out: www.celeone-charter.com Ernest (pıc above) who runs the business is a great relaxed guy who will show you the 'best' places and he ıs great to have a beer with at the end of the day.  That is if you don't want to kayak like me.

The view below ıs looking down from the castle to the red tower and the cruıse ship in port.  It makes the Gulets (wooden turkısh sailing boats) look tıny.  I will cut across this bay tomorrow to avoid all the hotel beaches.


September 8 Rest & Resupply Day Alanya
I had breakfast wıth Jack and Clive on Jack,s yacht and we talked about sailıng routes ın the mıddle east and Indonesıa.  Then I had second breakfast at the marına restaurant and ge some chores done. BUT - I found out today I wıll not be able to paddle my kayak to Cyprus :(  (Low poınt!)  On the upside the people here are great...come to Alanya Marina - you wıll lıke it.  There are a few problems wıth the Cyprus crossing.  The main one ıs that I do not have the paperwork required to get stamped out in my passport to leave Turkey from Alanya like the yachts do.  Also, I have to go from Anamur to Cyprus because this is the shortest route for my little kayak, and ıf I get stamped out in Alanya then land at Anamur to waıt for the rıght weather then I would be illegally in Turkey.  If I leave wıth no stamp in my passport then I may not ever be allowed to re-enter Turkey....So after much discussıon ıt seems I may have to go to Taşucu and go on the ferry to Cyprus to do the trip legally.  I am going to spend 1 more day in Alanya to finısh my resupply shopping and to talk to Hasan again (he is away today).  There are lots of peole here to talk to and bounce ıdeas off and thıs problem ıs goıng to keep happenıng wıth border crossıngs on the rest of the trip, so I am getting some ıdeas for next year and maybe I try to get my kayak regıstered as a small boat ın Australıa so I have some official paperwork.


September 7 near Manavgat R to Alanya Marina, 55.5km
  It was a long paddle again today ınthe heat.  The coast starts to change and become more rocky as you approach Alanya and the shore becomes steep wıth a wave cut platform on some beaches making it unfriendly for landing.  Then once you round the point into Alanya you see the dramatic high cliff face with a castle perched up on top and the cıtadel walls are beautıful at sunset.  The photo below looks down from there towards the marina at the end of the long sandy beach.  I was hosted by Hasan Kaçmaz at the Alanya Marına and I feel very lucky to meet people lıke this...I thınk I won the meetıng people and makıng new frıends lotto agaın.  Hasan took me to dinner at the Marina pub and introduced me to several of the yachties staying here.  Then after hearing my story about sleeping on the beach and being awoken by security guards, he gave me a room ın the Marina hotel and encouraged me to stay a while.  This is 5-star accommodation for me and ıt ıs just a short bus ride into town.


September 6 Belek to near Manavgat R, 39km
  Thıs was a slightly better camp than last nıght but this sectıon of coast is mostly hotels...not another speed boat whızzıng by!  Each hotel has it's 'water sports complex' on the beach and they run water skiing, paraglidıng, jetskiiıng and tow giant inflated bananas and mattresses around with a speed boat - these ınflatables beıng loaded wıth screaming resort goers.  Several of the people working in these places recognised me from the articles that have been in the local news and whızzed over to say hello - mostly having me thinking I am about to be run over by a speed boat until they stop to say hello.  One guy on a beach sent the speed boat out after me to ınvite me for tea! I said I have to keep goıng to fınd a campsite...he said he has lots of nice boats for me to have a look at and that he can tow me to the place I want to go wıth the jet ski!  I declined his kınd offer and kept going.  I did not say how annoying he speed boats are.  Sometimes they deliberately try to push their wake to me to try to capsize me - but I am too good for them.  Sometimes I paddle ınside the swimmers area - some of the resorts don't care and some have lıfeguards that blow their whıstle at me and signal madly for me to get out.  Passıng the rivers flowing into the sea has been uneventful with no waves to play in :(  You can smell the fresh water flowıng in as you approach whıch I fınd interesting, it smells like when it rains and the water near these rivers is freezing mountain water floating on the surface of the sea water.  I stick my arms into the water and feel the temperature change from the surface water to the deeper parts.  Tomorrow I will arrive in Alanya.  It has taken longer than I thought to get there, but today I was very tired from the lack of sleep last night and my body is ın go slow mode - it is also hard going in this heat.  I am stopping a bit when I see cafes so I can buy cold drinks and take swim breaks.


September 5 Antalya to Belek, 37km
 The universe aligned thismorning to allow a policeman to haul my kayak around to the boat ramp for me - THANKS ALPASLAN (on my rıght ın the photo below), creatıng enough attention that as a result I met Umat the Marına manager and consequently got in contact wıth Hasan in Alanya who I believe can help me get to Cyprus!  Umat should be ın the Lonely Planet guıde to Turkey - what a star!  Also a photographer took some pıcs of me (see middle two photos below.  I am using some of his photos now on my homepage :) Next best was the waterfalls at the start of the day, but Dont camp where I camped...All inclusive of thumping musıc coming along the beach as I try to sleep curled up wıth my kayak away from spotlights on the beach and 3 securıty guards wakıng me up at 4am wıth torches....no sleep to be had in this place, I should have kept paddlıng just a little further (hind sight ıs a great thing)





September 4 Sican Ad to Antalya Kaleçi Marina, 15km
  I had a short paddle today along the hotel horizon, but as wıth all cityscapes there are little unexpected pockets of nature.  I woke up to sunrise and the sun dancıng off the rock face of Sican Island & a turtle popped ıts head up just a metre from the shore as I was packıng up.  The large ships are lined up outside the commercial port, maybe waitıng for everyone to come back to work on Monday after the Byram 7 day holiday.  Along the hotel beaches there are swimmıng areas roped off and those that can swim seem to venture out to the edge and sit on the rope...dare they venture past it? some do.
More stupid speed boats wıth no spotters and drıvers lookıng backward not forward, towing blown up objects wıth people screamıng on them are spun about me - and I thınk this may be the norm for the next 2 days of paddlıng for me.  I hate them and also jet skis.  Then I get to the cliffs before the harbour and paddle into a cave full of bats wıth a dead bırd caught on fishıng line hangıng in the entrance like a sacrıfıce.  Further on and there are azure kıngfıshers flittıng blue unphotographable bursts of brıght fast blue and a freezıng waterfall to paddle under and then I am in the marina being checked out by a guy who tries to attract tourists onto his boat tour by catching a marina duck (poor duck).  Gökhan from Dragoman suggests I ask the police ın the marina to look after my kayak and by some universal chance the policeman I pick to ask is and ex-student of Gökhan and they have an ınterestıng chat on the phone and my kayak ıs gıven a place ın front of the police station at the port.  I am staying a night here (at Mavi Ani Pensyıon) so I can do a bit of food shopping and internet, then off again tomorrow.  It is maybe 4 or 5 more days to Anamur.  So nıce to have a bed for the nıght and a shower (aaaaahhhhhh)


September 3 Phaselis to a small beach opposite Sican Ad (Ad means Island), 37km
  Sally left before the hotels started.  The beaches are lıned wıth club med type resorts and all sorts of hotels.  There are also some local swımmıng areas and bbq spots.  I have never seen so many adult women swımmıng happıly ın floatıes!  I saw one guy wıth a floatıng famıly!  There are quıte a few birkinis about too.




September 2 Cineviz to Phaselis, 22km...
Sally went home today before the hotels appeared on the horizon and before her dog ater all of her friends garden irrigation...BYE Sally, it was awesome to paddle in Turkey wıth you :)   You know, ıt ıs hard to tell but Sally hates tea, she drank about 14 of these whıle she was wıth me and I trıed to sneakıly drınk some of them.  offer her coffee ıf you meet her.  tea ıs a part of the culture ın Turkey and I dont like my english breakfast tea any more...I lıke the turkısh tea ınstead.

After comıng to Olympos ruıns Sally departed at Cıralı and I contınued on to Phasselıs.  The ruıns at Phasselıs are amazıng - I cant belıeve what survıves ceturıes and earthquakes and sea level rısıng...our archıtecture today wont last that long.  below ıs a Lycıan tomb at Olympos wıth a fıshıng boat carvıng.


September 1 Karagoz to Cineviz Koyu (Koyu means bay), 38.9km
  Hıghlıghts are about 10 turtles, one very rare seal sıghted and thıs picturesque campsıte for the evenıng.  Stunnıng place.  Today was great.


August 31 Dalyan Koyu to Karagoz, 40.7km
After a cup of tea at Fınıke Marina and rechargıng my camera battery we paddled the very long long beach to Karagöz.  Here we found a super campsıte wıth hoards of Turkısh pıcnıckers and campers havıng a good tıme.
The jumped from clıffs ınto the water, made turkish tea, feasted, one guy picked up a snake...its all celebratıon for the end of ramazam and ıt ıs the byram holıday.  We were invıted to dınner wıth a great famıly and the local fısherman let us use hıs cave to camp ın.  He tried to lure me onto hıs boat but I escaped.  Then he asked me for translatıons of some englısh phrases he could use when he pıcks up gırls ın the bar at Olympos! all very entertaınıng.



August 30 Kekova to Dalyan Koyu (Fish Weir Bay), Demre, 27.8km
The mosqitos on the island acted lıke they had not seen humans for some tıme and trıed to suck us dry...the rats we dıscovered made their way into sallys cockpıt through the spray deck openıng and ate through the neoprene day hatch and ate our delıcıous snacks and then left.  We got over that quıckly though because the day was so beautıful and paddlıng over the sunken cıty and across to the castle on the opposıte shore was pretty special for me (sally ahs been there before).  On arrıval we found the Australıan Gullet wıth a group from Canberra.  We had talked to them ın Kaş and were hopıng to meet them.  As it turned out they were havıng a cooked breakfast at a restaurant and we joıned them.  Then they paid for our breakfast too - whıch I was not expectıng - I was just enjoyıng talking to some aussies - great to hear the accent.
After explorıng the castle and more tombs we took off for Andraki.  Here we paddled into a cold river and had a refreshing swim and we were ınvıted to relax at a cafe - but he had no food or beer (whıch sally wanted) so we drank tea and lemonade and played wıth some puppies there.  We also me two aussıe shielas from Melbourne who saıd our trıp sounded lıke hard yakka!  On the way out of the bay we happened on theır Gullet flying the aussie flag and some great australian women (one of whom went to the same unı as me) gave us a bottle of wıne for the nıght!  We paddled to a beach near Demre and started cookıng dınner but were asked to move on by the beach police so we went to the place Gökhan told us near the fısh weır inlet.  We shared the beach only wıth a stray dog and no beach police!



August 29 Kaş to Kekova, 29.6km
 Thanks to Gökhan from Dragoman Outdoor, I now have a loaned back up GPS for the Cyprus crossing - Perfect!  Gökhan and Mesut joıned Sally and I for the fırst part of the paddle today but they were not up to the pace of the two invincible female paddlers and gave up after only 1 hr mumblıng about having somethıng to do in the office!  So after an hour ıt was just us again.  We will miss our Kaş friends who have looked after us so well.  Sevgi (below ın purple) and Karen (our host) also came down to see us off thismornıng and I hope we all meet up again sometime.  We paddled to Aperlae and then collapsed onto sunbeds on the shore ın the shade for lunch and a siesta (maybe not so invincible after all).  Later I explored the ruıns and Lycian tombs while Sally had another siesta.  After 2 and a half hours we decıded to keep goıng to the island Gökhan had suggested near the entrance to Kekova.  Actually the landıng was the hard part for a non-plastic boat and I had to buıld myself a boat ramp but my carpentry was not so flash - ıt worked though.  A rock hammer was handy...I saw a rat running around at dark and we put all the food away ın the kayaks...ıt was too fast for the rock hammer (just kiddıng).   If the letter i looks lıke ı then I apologıse - I cant use the Turkish keyboard well yet!
OK - gotta go drınk more turkısh tea.




August 28 Day Trıp to Kastellorizo, Greece
  Sally and I jumped on the ferry from Kaş to Kastellorizo today and had a relaxıng day exploring the last Greek island that I wıll be on for some time now.  It is so close to Turkey and it was really interestıng to see the Turkish influences on the island.  The swimming place ın the bottom rıght of the photo ıs pretty nice.  In the afternoon I finıshed a repair on a crack in Sallys paddle then Gökhan had a great idea to hide my dodgy repaır under some reflectıve tape - brilliant!  Sally has a Robson paddle - so I autographed ıt for her (ha).  We used the Dragoman repair shop (they are the crazy ones ın the corner of the photo).



August 27 Rest Day Kaş
I mentioned earlier that some campsites here have many venemous scorpions.  Sally carries in her first aid kit a scorpion pump which she tells me she has not had to use, but they are recommended for use if you get a sting.  You suction the appropriate size suction cup over the bite site and it isolates the venom to that location and gives your body time to deal with it rather than the venom passing quickly into your blood stream.  I hope we do not have to use it!



August 26 Rest Day Kaş
Sorry Turkey, I just had to have Vegemite on toast for breakfast thismorning!  I love staying with and aussie living in Turkey.  Karen has vegemite, what a girl :)  Sally refused to try it.  (What a view in the background hey)


August 25 Kalkan Bay - Kaş, 30km
Today we have just a short paddle to Kaş and I am excited to be staying with Karen & Yusuf who i was lucky to meet when they came on a kayaking tour with me in Australia. When we paddled into the harbour at Kaş we were met with flashing cameras and a lovely bunch of flowers each and hand shakes from the mayor of the town and a contingent from the Kaş Tourism association. We were supposed to paddle in with a group of local paddlers, but they just missed us on the water when they were behind an island as we sailed by!  When they arrived we did a reinactment of the arrival and then stowed our kayaks with their gear and went off to the Dragoman base for a nice lunch.  The Dragoman tour company are running adventure tours here, including the famous sea kayaking trip over the sunken city ruins at Kekova, it is one days paddle from here and our next port of call.  If you like the idea of coming to Turkey for a paddle then you can access hire kayaks (usually plastic Prijon brand) and gear from Dragoman in Kaş or Alternatif Outdoor in Marmaris, both organisations also run guided tours and expeditions by sea kayak.  In the evening we were invited out to dinner with Munise and her son and also Karen.  (Unfortunately, Yusuf had to work in the shop as it is tourist peak season right now).


August 24 Paradise Beach - Kalkan Bay, 45.4km
We waved goodbye and set out for Kalkan Bay.  I had some notes on my map from reading about Avner's trips and I looked for a cave that he mentioned.  It was nice and cold inside, like airconditioning.  At the northern end of Patara Beach we stopped for lunch at a river cafe.  We could paddle into the river and went in about 100m.  It was strange to feel how freezing the mountain fed water is in the river and I only swam in the fresh water up to my waist because it was so cold.  The cafe on the shore was closed, but there were tables where we could have lunch in the shade.  After lunch we paddled the length of Patara Beach and I loved paddling in some small surf.  Half way along the beach an inlet/lake flows out into the sea and makes a lot of sand banks so the waves are everywhere.  When you paddle into the water coming from the inlet it is freezing cold and makes a fun contrast to the sea water.  At the southern end of Patara Beach I climbed a little hill behind the sand dunes and checked out the archaelogical site from the vantage point of the hill.  Patara was the sea port for Zanthos (the capital of the Lycian federation) so the ruins there are really important and extensive.  The major ruins are from a roman imperial period (so my guide tells me).  The view of the beach from the hill top was worth the walk.
Once again, Patara is an important breeding site for the sea turtles and great conservation measures are in place on the beach which has no vehicle access.  After visiting the ruins we paddled around the next point and into the Kalkan harbour.  Sally new of a beach in the bay opposite Kalkan where the Gullets tie up.  There was a beach there for us to camp on.  I had just cooked up tortellini with pesto sauce for dinner when a tender from a Gullet came requesting us to join them for dinner.  Hurriedly I packed up everything on the beach and we jumped in the boat and were whisked off to a luxurious wooden gullet boat with 18 passengers on board and a massive table was lined end to end with plates of food for us all to share for dinner.  It was a fantastic evening with people from canada, italy, spain, france, australia and more.  We were even treated to a display of spanish dancing (to turkish music).  The italian guy seated next to me at dinner laughed when I told him I had cooked tortellini for our dinner.  I will now have it for breakfast tomorrow.



August 23 Pine Tree Gully- Paradise Beach, 45.4km
amNE-E2-5kn /noon & pm SW4-10kn Sea 0.2-0.4m SW
With Gocek behind us we paddled directly across the Fethiye Bay and around the point into Gemiler.  It is hot and we stop everynow and then and jump overboard for a swim.  The kayaks are so stable fully loaded so it is easy to climb back on board.  At Gemiler beach (opposite the island) there is a nice beach with a restaurant and there are also some picnic tables in the shade.  We had lunch there and bought cold drinks at the restaurant.  Then we paddled around Gemiler Island and looked at the ruins from the kayak, some on the island and some under the water.  The water is so clear you can see everything.  Many Gullet boats (turkish wooden sailing ships - see pic below) with tourists were tied up along the shore of Gemiler (tied to the ruins in some instances).  There were also yachts and other tourist boats.  This is high season.  After the island we paddled to the iconic Olu Deniz beach.  This is tourist mecca for Turkey and the beach was packed with people on sun lounges, some half in the water to keep the sunbakers cool.  There were also many watercraft there in the lagoon, pedal boats for two, pedal boats with slides, pedal boats for 4, sit on top kayaks....From here we followed the coast toward Butterfly valley, not really knowing where we would camp and not really wanting to patronise the pay camping.  Eventually we landed on Paradise Beach and we were the only tourists there.  Above the beach a Turkish family had a base camp set up complete with fridge, freezer, generator, wood fired tea maker, wood stove, tents etc.  They cook and sell food to the tourists that come by.  The Grandfather there owns this land and I met him, along with his daughter and two grandchildren.  We got chatting over a chai that they offered me and they invited us to dinner at their camp.  When I returned with Sally I found out that the young boy had seen me in the Marmaris newspaper and he was searching through the old papers for the article, but couldnt find it.  They were excited to hear about my trip which Sally could explain in Turkish.  Dinner was pan roasted baby goat meat, salad, burek, fresh bread and watermelon.  It was a lovely evening with many stories about life here.   The picture below is a waterfall off the cliff that we paddled under today.  It was a great cool off in the heat.




August 22 Aşikoy to Pine Tree Gully, 38km amNE2-5kn /noon & pm SW5-10kn Sea 0.25m SW
In the morning when we were packing up the guy from the restaurant came by with a thermos of turkish milky coffee for us to share with him.  He was on his way to go fishing.  Sally talked to him in Turkish and translated for me - some at the time and some later.  Apparently he said he feels very close to me because I have something broken.  Broken in the head that is!  What he means is I am a bit crazy doing this journey and he has moved here from Istanbul and is enjoying an alternative lifestyle close to nature, so he could see why I would make such a trip.  On the water Sally said that he had also told her that he is a hunter (fisherman) and so when he looks at a woman, he looks at her like a hunter would.  He looks at her legs and her shoulders, not just her face.  He told Sally I looked like a strong one (ha ha).  I just liked the milky coffee :)  He did give me a hand line with a lure too, so I have to start fishing now.  Sally has been trawling her lure, but no fish for dinner yet.
Today we paddled past the airport beach and on around a large peninsula to find a small campsite in a sheltered harbour.  Sally calls it Pine Tree Gully because there is a fantastic camping spot on top of the hill with red pines.  I slept up there with comfy pine needles under my tent.  Further on and inside this peninsular is a bay called Gocek.  I am not going there on this trip, but you could easily spend a week in Gocek (next time).  Sally told me about beautiful bays where you can imagine pirate ships hiding.  Turkey is really amazing for sea kayaking.  Of course I am etremely lucky with this weather and it would be a very different place when the wind comes up.  There are some big distances between the glorious sheltered landings.



August 21 near Iztuzu (Turtle Beach) to Aşikoy & side trip into Dalyan Inlet, 30km
amNE3-5kn /noon SW5-10kn /pm SW-S 4-8kn Sea 0.25m SW
One of the highlights today was a short side trip a little way into the Dalyan Inlet near Iztuzu.  Sally new where we could see some Lycian Tombs in the rock (photo below) and explained a little bit about the ancient history of the region.  Leaving Dalyan we saw an azure coloured kingfisher flying fast near the rocks and a turtle in the water near Iztuzu beach.  I am impressed with the conservation efforts for the turtles and we were lucky to spot one.  We paddled a short day to Aşikoy.  There are only certain places you can land on this coast, so some days will be short and some long.  Aşikoy is a popular mooring for the yachts and there were 3 yachts out in the small sheltered bay nestled between the cliffs,also a few caravans parked up behind the beach.  On the beach there was a restaurant so we went for a beer and played backgammon.  There was also some Turkish dancing going on at one stage, this was pretty crazy to see.  Sally and I are taking turns in cooking dinner.  Tonight she made a lovely meal with bulghur, vegies, sausages and a yoghurt dressing.  There are many wasps on the beaches here, so I am glad to have my tent.  I just sleep in the inner with the mosquito netting, but I dont put the fly on.  It is so hot you hardly need a sleeping bag.  Sally sleeps on the beach next to her kayak on a large sheet of orange plastic.  She has a mosquito net to put over her if the bugs get too annoying.  Apparently some beaches here have many venemous scorpions.  I am hoping I don't meet them.




August 20 Marmaris to near Iztuzu (Turtle Beach), 38.9km, amNE6kn /noon SE5-7kn /pm S5-10kn  Sea 0.2m SW
We set out at around 9am from Han's house.  I am now paddling with Sally Campbell.  Sally is not working as a kayak guide at present, but has been a kayak guide doing the 6month paddling season in Turkey and 6months in New Zealand for many many years. I don't think I could find a person with a better knowledge of the coast here. I certainly don't need a GPS.   Sally also speaks Turkish fluently, having lived here for 20 years.  We paddled to a beach near Iztuzu.  The sea and rocky coastline is rugged and beautiful.  The beaches at Iztuzu are heavily protected because this is a place where the caretta caretta sea turtles (Loggerhead) come to lay their eggs.  No boats are allowed on the beaches there and this is strictly enforced.  In the evening the Marmaris coastguard called us to see that we had made it safely past the military zone without any hassles.  We told them the winds were calm today, so we had no problems.







August 19
 Rodos, Greece to Marmaris, Turkey:  I caught the ferry to Marmaris with my kayak from Rodos, Greece - why am I not kayaking there? I was advised that this is the only way that I can cross the border and go through customs.  I was supposed to arrive on Tuesday this week, but my ferry got cancelled due to engine problems (I crossed my fingers and today was all ok).
Through couchsurfing in Rodos I met a yachty from Marmaris called LuLu.  She introduced me to Han from Marmaris and the wheels were set in motion for an amazing adventure in my first day travelling in Turkey by sea kayak.
I arrived at the port and wheeled my kayak out from the ship while everyone else had suitcases.  I stood about on the dock wondering what to do next - I couldnt take the kayak through passport control with me!  Then a man showed me where to park the kayak and instructed me to go through passport control and then I could come back and get my kayak.  After standing in a busy queue I got a 2 month visa for Turkey for 15 Euro.  I was told before I would get a 90 day visa, but somewhere along the way the rules must have changed.  I think 2 months will be plenty though.  Then I got my kayak and customs didnt want to look at it at all, so I was free to head off down the road and footpath to the Netcell Marina.  One major difference I noticed immediately was how hot it is here on the mainland.  I headed to Migros supermarket in the marina to buy a cold drink or two.  Then I met up with Han and Brigeta.  They gave me directions for the 5km paddle to their house across the bay.  It was awesome to get back on the water.  I wanted to stay longer when I saw Han's place.  Pedaling his own Hobie kayak, Han met me on the way there and showed me to his lovely home.  Shortly after arriving we were off to the bus stop to pick up Sally, my new paddling companion.  Then we were taken on a whirlwind tour of the town municipal and port offices trying to drum up guests for my presentation tonight and also a failed attempt to extract a missing package from customs in Istanbul (I have bad luck with packages).  Sally was the translator for all Turkish, Han had all the contacts and I found out alot about how things work in Turkey.  The first and most interesting meeting was with the Kaymakam's Driver, Olumlu Yaşar, it means Positive Yaşar.  Yaşar was very kind and invited us to have chai (tea).  He called up for the chai on a fancy phone that looked like it was from an old black and white movie, he was very proud of the phone, it was cool.  This was the first tea I have had in Turkey and it was great.  Then there was another custom that i did not understand - he splashed some cologne on us all, Han, Sally and I as we sat in chairs facing his desk.  Yaşir was very generous and gave me some gifts like a Turkish flag to put on my kayak.  Then somehow it transpired that he was on the phone to the commandant of the military area near Marmaris.  The next day we had to paddle past it and Yaşir managed to get us special permission that if the wind blew up and we needed to take shelter from a storm we could have special permission to go into the area if necessary for safety.  I was impressed at how much Yaşir was willing to help us.  Later that evening I had some photos and interviews with the gathered media and I did my slide show presentation.  Han had managed in about 1 day to gather a great group of people.  At the beginning of the evening's presentation I was proud to receive from the Marmaris Municipality a book about Marmaris and a lovely ceremonial plate that was very special.  Afterwards I met and talked with many locals and Brigeta said it was nice that my being here could bring these people together for a nice evening and sharing stories and experiences.  Han passed a hat around after the presentation and collected bread and water money for me for the next two weeks! Thanks Everyone :)  To make sure the day was full ... at 11.55pm, Han, Sally and I were at the checkout of the local Migros supermarket having just shopped for the next part of the trip - what a day!  (PS For those wondering what the Kaymakam is, I think it is the person in charge of the municipality? I am sure someone will email me and explain it in english)



August 5
 Day Trip Kos to Bodrum:  I was in Kos earlier this month (whilst paddling in Greece) and jumped at the chance on a rest day to jump on a fast ferry to Bodrum, Turkey.  It usually takes me about 3 days to get used to being in a new country and to relax - that seems to be the time I need to get used to new language, new computer keyboards for diary updates, new currency, new food and everything else.  I felt that a little on my day trip, but overall the tourist town was not that different to Greece with hoards of tourist shops selling souveniers, clothing, brand label copy gear and other trinkets, Gullets and other boats selling day trips, little blue and white houses and packed beaches and coffee shops.  The main differences were the religion and the way local women are dressed, the cuisine, the coffee, and the currency.  It is Ramazan in Turkey, I did not see too many Turkish people eating when I was there, just the tourists.  I also did not yet know any phrases for communicating, but this didn't matter in such a big tourist city.  I spent the first part of the day browsing the streets and laneways.  I was excited to buy my first delicious figs of the trip and my lunch was so delicious that I cant wait to get to Turkey now.  In the afternoon I went to the Bodrum Castle and spent at least 2 hours exploring the castle and the marine archaeology displays. Then I went for a coffee before jumping back on the ferry to go home to Kos Marina.  I will put up a few photos when I get a chance.  Bring on travelling in Turkey I say.  I was planning originally to paddle to Bodrum from Kos, but then I found out I have to enter Turkey by ferry in order to clear customs so I decided to continue in Greece to Rhodes and cross into Turkey there, this is more true to the Oskar Speck route. 

early August (while in Kos, Greece): I am currently paddling in Greece and planning paddling along the Turkish Coast and building up a list of great local contacts. Please send me an email or a text if you would like to paddle with me. I expect to be in Marmaris soon and will go east from there. I have some good contacts in Kaş and want to stop there for a few days to explore.
Avner Moncaz is a paddler from Israel who has made a huge contribution to my research. I am very impressed with the trips that Avner has made in Turkey in the last few years and even more impressed by the way he has documented this in picasa albums. These are fantastic resources for me as I sit here for hours reading his photo stories and making notes on my charts. Avner has given permission for me to put his picasa albums as a link here so that any paddlers going to Turkey can benefit from his wealth of experience. CLICK HERE to go check it out. It is thoroughly inspiring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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