May 16 & 17
Today will be spent on a smaller boat that will take us up the Dalyan Estuary which is too shallow for our deep draft gulet. As we head out from the dock, we encounter an enterprising crab fisherman who has the attention of a giant sea turtle which surfaces to grab at the crab bait suspended from a string. Of course, the fisherman's intent is to hook the tourists into buying a steamed crab that, "..will be ready for you when you return this afternoon. Only five Lira."
The estuary winds among the reeds in channels and as we come to the dock and ascend a hilly path, we see the ruins of Caunos. Many civilizations are scattered here, from Roman to Byzantine to Ottoman. A Roman theater still stands and we walk from stage to seating. The long silted harbor is protected by Byzantine ruins off at a distance. An Ottoman fortress guards the crests of the hills. So many layers make the walk seem like a living history suspended in time. But in the present, we see current agriculture in the form of lemon and pomegranate groves with a farmer and his wife plodding along on their tractor. Turkey has gone from an 80% agricultural country to less than 60% in the last 30 years. The government is trying to promote "factory farms" and much of the population that had done family farms has been displaced into the cities where their lack of skills has forced them into low-level service jobs.
We re-board our boat and venture back to explore the estuary and observe the 4th Century Lycian tombs that are carved into the hillsides' sheer cliffs. As we wind our way back through the snake-like channels, we emerge into the cove where our gulet crew serves up a good Turkish lunch with a few hours left to swim and kayak. The shore of our cove reminds us of an Adirondack Lake.
After dinner, we pose for a final group picture on the aft deck. After a good night's sleep our captain guides us into the port of Marmaris and we bid farewell to the crew and the boat that has been our home for the last four enchanted days.