When we booked the all day boat cruise around Bodrum Bay I suppose that we were hoping to reprise the boat trip day with Captain Ben at Antiparos the previous year because it had been a wonderful day and we rather liked the idea of doing it again. The full day trip was reasonably priced at only thirty Turkish Lira so we happily signed up and handed over our cash.
As it was end of season the boat wasn’t overcrowded and we selected our positions for the day on the top deck and waited for the time when the skipper was ready to raise the gang plank, started the engine and carefully manoeuvre the wooden boat out of the crowded harbour. It slipped past the rows of swanky yachts, beneath the shadow of St. Peter’s castle and into the bay where the sun was dancing like dainty fairies on the water ballroom dance floor.
There were to be a number of stops for swimming and after thirty minutes or do the boat dropped anchor in a secluded bay where the water was crystal clear but so deep I could barely see the seabed. I was ready for a swim and like Tom Daley from the ten metre Olympic diving platform I dived from the boat like a kingfisher and speared the water as though I was a stiletto dagger splintering the water like glass and sending silver shards splintering like a kaleidoscope. The water was soft and warm and I fell through a shoal of small fish scattering them in all directions and then I stopped falling and started to rise up and surfaced inelegantly in an explosion of white foam and bubbles. It was an exhilarating experience so I did it several more times until I had jumped enough and it was time to swim to swim to the deserted shingle beach to look for driftwood.
At the next stop there was an invitation to jump for thrills from a twenty metre high cliff top into a pool of appropriately deep water. Miles from home and unsure of standards of medical care in a non-EU country or even if my travel insurance would cover me in the event of an accident this would have been a seriously crazy thing to do and nothing would have persuaded me to jump from that ledge.
Some young people on another boat however had no such cares and a couple of them leapt from the top and pierced the water at what looked to me like a terrifying speed and impact. A third member of the group, a young girl, was not so confident and took several looks over the precipice and was clearly having doubts but cheered on by those who had already taken the plunge she stood back and finally ran for the edge and the jump. At the last moment she had second thoughts and tried to stop but it was far too late and although she decelerated her momentum carried over the edge but was now insufficient for her to clear the cliff face below and she landed heavily on her bottom and slid and bounced into the sea. Suddenly everything went quiet as everyone feared a serious accident but she returned to the surface and I am willing to wager that she was now minus several layers of skin on her legs and back. No one else seemed to have the inclination to attempt the jump after that!
After a good lunch which was worth the cost of the trip by itself the next stop was Cleopatra’s cave, so called because the Egyptian Queen is said to have hid there at some time and had discovered a cave with hot springs and warm copper coloured mud that she used for bathing because she discovered that it had a range of medicinal benefits including keeping her skin soft and youth like. Some people were trying it for themselves but I thought it all looked a bit messy and there was an entrance fee which put me off. Actually, I have done this sort of thing before on Santorini in 2003 and I am convinced that you only need to do this thing once to achieve everlasting good looks so I declined to do it again here.
There was still a full afternoon ahead but this trip was clearly not going to be as much fun as Captain Ben’s the previous year because almost all of our travelling companions on the top deck slept throughout most of the voyage and we guessed that they were most likely clubbers sleeping off the previous night’s excesses. Only Kim, me and Paul from Fort Lauderdale in the USA stayed awake and I even have a suspicion that Kim dropped off for a short while behind her dark glasses.
It had been a good day but after seven hours I was ready for a return to dry land and was pleased when we returned to the harbour and were entertained by a forest fire on the hills above the city that was being tackled by helicopters scooping up water and dropping it on the flames. Very efficiently as it happened because it was all over very quickly once the water started to drop out of the sky.
This was our last evening and night in Turkey and we had enjoyed it, so much in fact that we thought we might like to return and see some more of the country and after a meal and a walk and some time watching live music on the harbour as part of the annual Bodrum Festival on the walk back to the hotel we debated potential itineraries for next year.
Some more of my boat journeys recorded in the journal:
boat trip day with Captain Ben at Antiparos