Monday, August 10, 2009
The Blue Cruise: Installment #3
The Blue Cruise was one of my top ten favorite times. Our small yacht was manned by Erhan and his two nephews.
The posse consisted of my BUPS friends and their visiting friends from far-off places. Strangely, the breakdown ended up being American women and New Zealand men.
The crew cooked us amazing spreads of freshly caught seabass (cooked via a grill hanging off the deck) and each day, they'd pull up anchor and motor to a different cove, usually by Lycean ruins. We'd have the afternoon to eat lunch aboard, swim (and hold diving and backflip contests), explore the ruins via bare feet and swimsuits, and sunbathe, read, play checkers and guitar.
Then we’d pull up anchor again and motor to our night spot: one last chilly swim, dinner, a charades tournament, guitar sing-alongs, and sleeping aboard the deck on mattresses under the stars.
We were on the Blue Cruise for 4 days and 3 nights, and I could have stayed on another five. It felt decadent!
The ruins we explored included Cleopatra’s Baths, and St. Nicholas’ island. Unbeknownst to me, I was swimming and scaling the Baths Marc Antony built for Cleopatra for their honeymoon spot when a tourguide arrived on land explaining to his guests the history of this ruin. Then they all saw me swimming alone in the cove, and he was able to incorporate me in his tour: “And there’s Cleopatra swimming in her bath!”
St. Nick’s island was our last night's adventure. Our Captain strongly urged us to take a bottle or two of wine, hike to the top and watch the sunset. He delivered us to the trailhead via a little motorboat attached to the yacht. Supposedly, St. Nick spent some time on this island (We weren’t sure why he would have left beachfront property on the Med for the North Pole), but of course ruins in Turkey are never explicitly curated. We saw an old monastery, church, courtyard, etc.
The sunset viewing yielded some cozy-orange pictures of our group.
Our last breakfast:
After the Blue Cruise, Rachel and I drove north all the way to Ankara in one 12-hour push.
We stopped only to take sunset pictures (I finally saw my storks!), and to eat dinner at a shady gas station restaurant in a Podunk town—before which we pulled our long sleeves and skirts in the car. We spent a couple of days in Ankara to do laundry, and visit a hammam and Ulus, and then we took off for Italy.