After breakfast we were tendered ashore to pay a visit to the ancient city of Simena, but called Kaleköy today. Thought to have been continuously settled since the 4th century BC, the steep climb up to the Simena castle ruins was made even more exciting by a herd of goats charging down past us the other way. Having restarted Linda's heart, we continued to the top and our efforts were rewarded by the most magnificent views of Kekova Island and the surrounding waters. Evidence of a Roman theatre are easy to see, plus the many house like tombs from Lycian times. Do you recognise that pirate (picture) who had the canon trained on our ship, sitting majestically in the bay? Do you think he is trying to replace the Blue Cruise flag with the Jolly Roger?
This is probably a good point to say that there are many steps to negotiate on the ship, including those used to get into and out of the sea for swimming and access to the tender. Also the gangplank to the dock is often at a steep angle and getting to many of the ruins involves some steep climbs. Linda, with her knee problems to consider, managed all of this with just the help of the odd Ibuprofen but if you have mobility issues I suggest you discuss these with Blue Cruise to make sure they can be accommodated.
Now the last thing I expected to hear on a wooden ship was that "we will be having a BBQ tonight". They had thought it through though and barbecued the most delicious Sea Bass right out on the pointy bit of the ship (I'm not very nautical). This was a nice addition to the delicious food we had been enjoying from our cook Fatma (Captain's wife). Levent & Yuksel wielded a mean pair of tongs on the BBQ and with Yilmaz were a very pleasant and helpful crew. Our culinary fare was further supplemented by a very nice meal at the Captain’s brother's restaurant (Ibrahim) in Kekova.
It's hard to know quite where the time goes. An afternoon spent swimming in the crystal clear sea, snorkelling by the rocks and watching tiny pale blue fish dart this way and that. Relaxing in the warm sunshine and cooling sea breeze, gazing out at the blue hues of the sea, listening to music or reading, lulled by the gentle rocking of the boat, zzzzzzzz. I surfaced from the depths of my novel to hear the put put put of a small outboard. "It's the ice cream boat" someone shouted, wow now that's service. So one double chocolate Magnum later my blissful contentment meter was reading 100%. Then, just when you didn't think it could get any better, your shipmates tell you that the Pancake Boat will be here for breakfast. One hand rolled banana and honey pancake later, I thought paradise can't be much different from this.
What I wasn't expecting to do on this trip was meet Santa. Alright so I didn't actually meet Santa but we did go to Gemiler Island and see the church dedicated to St Nicholas, said to be the origin of Father Christmas. After an interesting hike around the ruins I sneaked my Christmas list under a rock, just in case!
The ancient city of Telmessos was our next port of call. Renamed Fethiye in 1934 after the pilot Fethiye Bey and we saw his commemorative statue by the marina. I took advantage of a very rigorous massage at an Old Turkish Bath, while Linda enjoyed some retail therapy. We then took a stroll around the most beautiful harbour and visited the Lycian Sarcophagus.
Captain Yusuf steered the ship with quiet assuredness and I love the fact that, whilst we had an outline plan of the route we would be taking, each day was a discovery of exactly where we would be. He would have a brief chat with us to agree what we would include in our day but was willing to change itinerary based on majority view. He even let Captain Bag (picture) take over the helm for a brief spell.
We were sad when the last day of our cruise arrived. Sad to leave the turtles and dolphins that had played by the ship and entertained us at parts of our journey. Sad to leave behind the Captain and crew that had looked after us so well for the last week. Sad to not be moving on to the next part of our travels with our shipmates. Without doubt their tales and friendship, sense of humour and fun had made our Blue Cruise so special.
• Read Blue Cruise – Chapter 1: The Oesophagus and the Wood
• Read Blue Cruise – Chapter 3: The Marina and the Queen