Day 8 – Lazy Boat Day

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Picture the scene if you can. It's pitch black in the sky with a billion pin-pricks of light twinkling like diamonds. In the dark shadows between them I can just make out the lines that connect the mast to the rest of the boat. Beyond my sight I know there is a single Turkish flag with its bright red background and striking white crescent moon and star on it, fluttering softly on the Mediterranean island which is only about 20 metres away to the right. Just beyond that island you can see (when it is light) the tip of a hill on a Greek island. On the left the lights of Kas and Kalkan are just visible beyond more islands.

Only two noises can be heard as I lay writing this blog, only half awake on the deck of the guilet we have hired for the day and night - the gentle lapping of the sea against the boat on either side and the occasional stirring if Kate, Callum and Tom, all sleeping on deck with me on blue mats (about 10 cm deep), covered with blankets and a sleeping bag insert (its still way too hot for a real sleeping bags). The scent is, of course, salty sea water but mixed with the gentle aroma of insect repellant! This is our first real day of relaxing - our LBD (Lazy Boat Day, not as Mrs Harris thinks, Little Black Dress!) according to Tim, our guide during our trip through the ancient eastern sites. I am not the most relaxing person on holiday - I like to be seeing the sights and not missing out on anything but this day has ticked both boxes. We arrived at our boat, which was a 2-3 minute walk from the hotel, at 10am with the co-owner of the tour operating company, Karen, who has very patiently been dealing with all my many requests while I was researching, booking and the taking our Turkish holiday.

20130804-100559.jpgThere was a lot apprehension from everyone as we strode along the long line of boats moored at the Kas harbour. Eventually we stop at a large vessel with attractive brown wooden railings around a deck upon which is a wooden table. The rest of the boat also has a natural wooden construction and there are two large white masts, one flying the flag of Turkey which is fluttering in the wind. At the front is a large area with 9 sleeping mats under a blue canvas cover. Below deck there is a large galley, two toilets and 4 cabins. It looks well cared for and easily big enough to accommodate us comfortably as there will only be us and 2 members of crew on board. This does seem to relax everyone a little - I think they were imagining a tiny outboard motorboat!

Karen introduces us to Osman, our captain, a tall dark skinned Turkish man with short, dark hair and a wide toothy smile that immediately sets us at ease. After buying some drinks for the trip we put our overnight aboard and set sail (metaphorically, its powered by diesel!) into the Mediterranean. We've spent the day in 'active relaxation'. Mainly swimming, diving, jumping and snorkelling at 3 separate sites that Osman chooses. At first the kids are nervous about getting into the water which at the first stop I would have thought must have been around 5 metres deep. There is a ladder down from the side of the boat and gradually each of us make our way down with various squeals and shouts as we reach the cool water.

But soon everyone is jumping from the side if the boat. Tom and Callum trade ever more expansive leaps. Each time Tom completes a new method of jumping or diving he shouts 'oh yeah baby' and then proceeds to hone his technique - leaping from the boat, diving from the steps, jumping backwards, pencil jumping through a round float, bombing into the water to create as much of a splash as possible and leaping hand in hand with me. Osman helps him with his diving technique which looks a little painful on the tummy at first but soon improves.

20130804-100938.jpg I can see now that my children are clearly repressed! I won't let them swear (and try hard not to myself although it is sometimes difficult) but now they've invented a game whereby they pick a swear word and try and say it as many times as they can while I am submerged after a jump or dive. Oh well. What I can't hear won't hurt me I suppose. At our second stop we have got the snorkels out and have been using them to look around the boat at the wildlife - here it is only a few small fish and sea weed deep on the floor of the sea, when suddenly a head pops up from below, about 6-7 metres from the boat. Not sure we saw it properly, Kate and I scan the sea again and sure enough a turtle's head pops up again. At this point we are all rushing to get masks and snorkels on and soon we are in the water searching for this elusive sea turtle which we finally locate, pottering around on the seabed.

If you can imagine the moment when you see something amazing and want your children to see it too and you're desperately pointing at it but they can't seem to see what you're pointing at even though it seems completely obvious to you and then imagine trying to do it in the water with a mask and snorkel on, then you can understand the scene. Kate spots it quite quickly but Tom is diving under but keeps saying 'I can't see it, I can't see it'. Callum's initial reaction from the boat is 'yeah, and look over there it's a flying pig'. But eventually after realising that Tom couldn't see anything through the condensation on his mask (!) and Callum being persuaded to take a look we all get to see this wonderful turtle in its real habitat. Later Tom and Kate see another after much searching. This one they manage to spot just as it is coming to the surface for water just a metre in front of them! If only we'd got a waterproof camera!

Much of the rest of the time when we are not in the water is spent reading or playing motormouth (basically Taboo but on a little electric device rather than with cards). Kate is reading a John Stuart Mills essays on Liberty which is her first attempt at reading philosophy. 20130804-100538.jpgBut it is actually quite fund picking the text apart together although it does take quite a bit of tim! Finally watching the sun set over the surrounding hills. The food on the boat is excellent. At lunch we site down to a wonderful salad with a cooked mushroom salad and pasta. For dinner we've got BBQ chicken, rice and salad.

Then finally we start putting our beds together and settling down to sleep. Amazingly Osman has gone out to fish Seabream buy snorkelling in the dark with just a spear and a green light. We watch a little to start with and he shows us his first catch. Later as we are almost ready for bed his light can be seen far out towards one of the islands. How he can see I don't know but eventually he's back with his catch and the lights go off on the boat. Which leaves me laying here listening to the sea and enjoying the shooting stars and mulling over a very happy day!