Türkiye Diaries (1)

I caught a bus up to the main highway outside of Antalya. After being dropped off I started walking west, trying to hitch-hike. Nobody stopped for almost two hours! But then again, barely anyone was on the roads on the Ramadan weekend. A guy in a rusty old Volkswagen stopped for me around noon. In rough Turkish I tried explaining to him that I was trying to get to the next town and he happily invited me to hop on.

His name was Cagatay (pronounced Cha-tha-ay) and he lived in Kas. He knew a little English and with whatever little Turkish I’d picked up over the last six weeks we managed a fairly decent conversation. Once I told him about my backpacking stint over the last couple of days he immediately lit up.

“You have to go to this place I know. Its on-way. I show you!”
So we’re passing these mountains and right at the top he stops the car suddenly and points to a dirt track going downhill. He tells me to follow that path all the way to the bottom till I reach the beach.
“It’s worth it. Trust me.”

The last couple of days had been absolutely YOLO so I decided what the heck. I took me about an hour to trek down to the bottom and Cagatay was absolutely right! This place was insane! The mountains melted away into the sea. There was absolutely nobody around on the beach. The cove in front of me was crystal blue. The beach was made of pebbles instead of sand for some reason. The wind was blowing wisps of clouds into the mountains. It was the perfect Mediterranean setting.

I didn’t have much money and I was really just saving up what little I had left for scuba diving whenever I ended up in Antalya next so I decided to just sleep on the beach that night. The nearest place to stay was a campsite about two kilometers uphill and I honestly didn’t have the energy left for that. So I dug myself a pit of sorts, put my backpack under my head and used a jacket as a makeshift blanket.

At around sunset this one boat pulls up. The man inside jumps out with two large fish on hooks and sets about making a campfire. We get talking, and after a while he offers to share his dinner with me. We chatted late into the night while he roasted the fish he’d caught earlier. Told me about another place nearby called the Chimera Mountain where fire burns spontaneously from under the mountain as well as some sea caves along the coast. I decided to check them out the next day. Eventually he retired to his boat and me to my trench-bed.

The next day I realised that a friend I’d made from Kazakhstan on my project in Istanbul was holidaying with her parents nearby, in the south of Turkey. She decided to ditch her parents for a few days and come meet me at this beach. The next afternoon she reached the beach, where I was and we relaxed for the rest of the evening, eventually passing out under the stars, on the beach.

At about three in the morning this random guy shakes me awake jabbering away in Turkish. When I spluttered a few words he switches to English. “You can’t sleep here! The eggs are hatching!” I was utterly confused at this point. It turns out that this strip of beach was a protected area because a very specific species of loggerhead turtles would come lay their eggs here every year and they were an endangered species so it was a really big deal. So from three to six in the morning we sat and watched these tiny little turtle hatch-lings, break open their eggs and waddle their way to the surf. Environmentalists would come and make sure all hatch-lings made it to the water and not get eaten by the seagulls nearby. It was absolutely surreal. My phone was dead already so I couldn’t get any pictures. My friend has them all and for some reason she refuses to send them to me.

The next day’s plan was to get some breakfast and check out some sea caves that a lot of people kept mentioning. Apparently it’s a four hour long trek.

More later.

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