When I took this photo I was annoyed because the camera kept loosing focus – but the more I looked at it the more I loved it. I think the blurry effect actually makes it look a lot better and it certainly stands out among the other thousands of Calis Beach sunset photos on my memory card! The island in the centre is Red Island/Kızılada and the sun was setting right behind it, but the perfectly-timed shot made it look like the sun was actually melting away the island!
This time 4 years ago I was here in Turkey. I had flown here to spend a week with Berkay. Even though we’d only spent a few hours together before, we had been speaking on MSN messenger and via text messages everyday since I’d returned from Turkey in July, when I first met him while on holiday with a friend. Looking back now, it seems like a crazy thing to have done, and was totally out of character for me. I know friends and family were concerned as I’d spent so little time with him and didn’t know him very well, but I was confident and knew it was what I wanted to do – so I did.
It was the first time I’d ever flown alone, but surprisingly I wasn’t worried about that at all! Initally I had planned to stay in the hotel Berkay worked in, but by the time I arrived it was getting ready to close for the season so his boss gave him the week off and we stayed together in a nearby hotel instead.
When I had met him previously he spoke very little English, so there was a language barrier, but through speaking on MSN daily for 3 months, he had improved. It was weird being together in person! We spent the week doing the usual touristy things, boat trips, going to bars and swimming in the hotel pool. Actually I’d say that this was my last real ‘holiday’ as everytime I’ve visited or lived in Turkey since, has been for totally different purposes and a totally different experience. I love how I’m holding roses in one of the photos – how cheesy! He never buys me flowers anymore haha.
I remember the weather was particularly bad for that week in October, we had a few sunny days but also a lot of rainy days. I remember going for a swim in the hotel pool in the rain, the water was freezing and we had onlookers laughing and cheering us as we jumped in, it was fun! I also remember going on a couple of boat trips and on one of them it was pouring with rain and very cold, they had to pull the plastic sides of the boat down to close up the ‘windows’. They made us all get off at one of the islands with the promise of there being a ‘nice’ restuarant at the top, we all walked up the island, getting soaking wet from the rain, and all we were greeted with at the top was a smashed up, empty, old building – of course they knew all along and it was a joke, but we were cold and wet so it wasn’t very amusing!
Of course Fethiye was as beautiful as ever 4 years ago, look how peaceful it looks.
When searching through our old photos, I came across an abundance of cat and dog photos, anyone who knows me knows how much I love animals, so I found that quite funny. I love this photo of Berkay surrounded by little bunny rabbits on one of the islands the boat stopped at. It seems animals are always drawn to us, a cat has currently adopted us and regularly pops by our balcony for dinner.
We look a lot younger in the photos
and thinner… especially Berkay, he has a lot more hair too, he blames me for him going bald… too much stress apparently, haha! I can’t believe it was only 4 years ago, it seems a lot longer, but then again sometimes it feels like it was only yesterday too!
This post is long overdue! 10 days ago we went on a boat trip to the islands around Fethiye. We went along for free with one of the tour groups that visit the hotel Berkay works in – the perks of the job!
The tour group we went with is calls ETS, they go traveling around on excursions from Istanbul and stay in the hotel for 3-4 days, using it as a base while they see the sites of the surrounding areas. We hopped on their coach and headed to Fethiye where we boarded the boat.
The boat’s name was Grand Baris. We set off around 10.30 and went on a different route to most of the other ’12 islands’ trips, which I quite liked, although we seemed to be sailing forever until our first stop, it must have been over an hour.
The first stop was called Olive Island and was near Gocek I think, we had a swim and stopped there for 45 minutes. It was all going well until my foot touched a sea urchin, those things really hurt. I didn’t even step on it, just brushed it with my foot and it hurt for the entire day! I could see a really tiny black dot which I removed, but my foot felt like it had painful pins and needles until the following day – it was so weird, thank goodness I didn’t step on one completely and get the entire spike embedded in my foot, because that would definitely have ruined our day!
After that, we moved onto the next stop, I’ve forgotten the name but it was lovely there, turquoise water and really pretty. This is where lunch was served. Everyone else on the boat had to pay 15tl for their dinner (I assume because they didn’t pay for the boat trip individually, it was just part of the tour group’s excursions) but we got it for free as we knew them. It was fish, chicken or meatballs with spaghetti, salad and bread. It was a big plate full too, I couldn’t eat all mine, but it was lovely. I found the price of the drinks/food on board more expensive than usual. We had a small glass of Turkish tea which were 2tl each, and I noticed the 5tl Cola and Fanta were smaller glass bottles, rather than 33 cl cans. We also paid 5tl for a tiny plate of about 20 chips… I know we can’t really complain as we got everything else for free, but everyone else who were paying customers still had to pay those prices.
After another swim, the next stop was Flat Island. It was a lot busier here but really beautiful. We got off the island and had a walk around, it looks even better from photos above (google search ‘flat island fethiye’ to see some!). The flat part of the island is shaped almost like a number ‘6’ with a calm, shallow area of water in the middle which you can walk through. We walked along the flat strip until we reached the hill and then turned back, it was so hot we didn’t fancy hill climbing! There were some ducks and chickens present on the island hiding in the shade of the bushes – cute. After another quick swim we got back on the boat and headed off to our last stop – Red Island.
Red Island is the name of the island you can see from Calis and which forms the backdrop of most of my sunset photos! Berkay had had no sleep and had been working all night, so he was napping on the boat, but I went for a swim and took my goggles so I could look for some fish. The boat moored near a corner of the island and I was able to swim to it, there were alot of beautiful fish there, I wish I’d taken my iPod in with me to get some good underwater photos, but I forgot! I’m so glad I took my goggles, because towards the side of the island the water became shallow and I could see and feel the rocks underneath – I peeked through my goggles to see if it was safe to step down and there were so many black, spikey sea urchins waiting for my feet… Definitely learned my lesson the first time and kept my feet firmly off the ground! More boats starting arriving at the island so I swam back towards ours and after 45 minutes they pulled the anchor up and set off back towards Fethiye.
This is always my favourite part of the journey, it was around 5pm so the sun wasn’t directly overhead, making it slightly cooler. I love sitting at the back of the boat with my feet dangling in the water watching people fishing – they caught 2 fish and a starfish – Berkay was jealous, wishing he had bought his fishing rod! The sight as you come into Fethiye marina is beautiful, with the mountains and rock tombs in full view – lovely.
The boat itself was nice, clean and well-kept. The women’s toilets were large, clean and well-lit but Berkay said the men’s weren’t so nice – so much so that he actually used the women’s one instead! The staff were really friendly and it was a good day out, but we probably wouldn’t chose to use this boat again ourselves, we preferred the one we were on back in July. (click HERE to read the post about that trip)
Also, I always cringe when British people complain about the lack of fellow Brits in their hotel or on boat trips etc, we are in Turkey afterall… but there was one small family of English people on the boat who booked separately to the huge (over 100 people) entirely Turkish tour group that we went with and I can understand that they may have felt a little awkward mixed in amongst them. I do wonder if they were informed when they booked that a large tour group was booked on the boat for the same day? That being said, the staff made sure everything was announced in Turkish and English and were equally as welcoming to both groups of people from what I saw.
We had a great day and I’m grateful we got the opportunity to go for free (apart from extras like drinks). I recommend the boat, we had nothing but a good experience, but I would suggest making sure there are no large tour group bookings on the day you plan to go if that bothers you.
One of my favourite things to do here in Calis is go for a walk. I love walking. Often after dinner we have some spare time before Berkay goes to work and we always end up just going for a stroll, although it’s a lot more enjoyable in the winter when you can step outside the front door without sweat dripping off your face! The views are amazing, there’s just something so special about all the mountains in the background – it makes a perfect backdrop for our day-to-day life and sometimes it’s just nice to appreciate it all a bit more. Apart from that, it’s free entertainment, I like wandering along people-watching, seeing couples walking hand in hand or children playing on the beach.
Calis beach is never really busy, there’s always sunbeds avaiblable and plenty of space to lay out – it’s not like the cramped and compact beaches I’ve seen in other resorts. These photos were taken around 6pm so anyone at the beach had probably already gone home – you can see how empty it is! It was a particulary clear and slightly cooler day and without the normal haze from the heat, the mountains and view over to Fethiye were so clear – beautiful.
We normally stop at the junction and turn back but sometimes we go the longer route and walk down across the bridge where the Calis water-taxi’s are. The canal looks totally different than it did a year ago – click HERE for comparison photos – the reeds, plants and wildlife that were once lining the canal have been removed and replaced with bricks, weeds and a bright blue fence – it still looks pretty but it’s definitely not the same.
Calis is at it’s most beautiful just before sundown. In summer the sun goes down behind the mountains on the right, but in winter the sunsets are more spectacular with the sun going down almost exactly centre on the horizon. I love sitting alone on the beach and watching the sunset – it’s just so beautiful. On this particular day a big wave caught me unexpectedly and soaked the whole bottom half of my body – I had stones in places there shouldn’t be stones – it was quite amusing though, luckily there was nobody around to witness my little mishap!
Isn’t it just a beautiful place?
If you haven’t already, please like my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/livingtheturkishdream – I’m nearly at 1000 likes – I post updates on there daily and lots more photos. I’ve just posted a short video made from clips walking through Calis, and I really enjoyed making it so I think I might make some more – I’ve always got my camera with me so I’m going to take the opportunity to film more of the area and see how it turns out.
We had planned to join a tour group from Berkay’s hotel and go on a free boat trip on Tuesday, but Berkay had to spend the day in his hometown in Denizli as a member of his family died suddenly, so we missed it. Instead, we went to Fethiye on Wednesday and booked a boat trip ourselves. We spent ages wandering around the marina trying to chose one, some were smaller and more expensive, others were cheaper but the food on offer wasn’t as good etc. Eventually we settled on one of the biggest boats in the marina area, Hanedan 2. I’d never been on a boat that big before, it holds up to 380 people at maximum capacity which is a lot! I usually prefer the smaller, more personal boats but they are often more expensive. The trip was advertised at 35tl including pick up and drop off’s, but we decided to make our own way to Fethiye and back and got the price down to 30tl each, which is around £8.50 each – a good deal I think.
We got to Fethiye at 10.15am, after a quick stop off at the fishing shop so that Berkay could buy some bait – he’s got his own rod and used to go fishing for his dinner most days in the winter. I was pleasantly suprised at how empty the boat was – there were around 70 people on board in total but it was so large it didn’t seem like there were that many at all. I was worried we wouldn’t be able to get a sun cushion on the top deck but we did manage to grab the last two – obviously they do not have anywhere near enough for the maximum capacity of people. While we were grabbing our spaces Berkay realised that four guests from the hotel he works at were also on board – they’re Turkish and he’s known them for years, they return to the hotel every year and have become good friends of his, what a coincidence that we ended up on the same boat!
At 10.30am the engine started, and the boat headed out of the marina, along with many more others – it was quite funny to see boats of all shapes and sizes headed off in the same direction towards the islands.
The boat itself was really nice, although it could do with a repaint. The bottom of the boat was entirely shaded with lots of tables to sit at and a bar in the middle. Underneath were the toilets which were actually a lot nicer than any boat toilets I’d come across in the past – 6 individual cubicals, one shower and 3 changing rooms for the girls, and the same I assume for the boys. The top deck of the boat was mainly open and in direct sunlight, with lots of soft sun cushions to lay on. The best part about the boat for me was the built in water slide – it ran through the whole boat and into the sea – it was great fun. There was music playing while sailing but it wasn’t too loud and it certainly wasn’t a ‘party boat’.
There was a man walking around the boat dressed up like a pirate with his pet parrot – weird. He went up to random unsuspecting sunbathers and put this parrot on their feet, hands, head… if he had come near me I would have jumped out of my skin! It was a beautiful parrot and really well behaved, but I’m not a bird fan, when he started flapping his wings I couldn’t even watch, it made me go all cold, eugh. I did want to have a photo done with it, but after a while he disappeared downstairs into the cabin and I didn’t see him again. There was a photographer walking around the boat taking photos of everyone, sunbathing, jumping in the sea, etc, but we know from experience that these photos are very expensive – they charge around 50tl for a copy of the CD of your photos – they were good quality, but not worth it for us. If you were worried about taking a camera on board and leaving it there whilst you were swimming etc, and felt more comfortable with having someone else take your photos instead it’s a good idea, I guess.
We stopped off at an island for 45 minutes before lunch and Berkay done some fishing, then we both went in for a swim – the water was fairly warm and so calm. He managed to catch a couple of fish – the first was a really pretty multi-coloured fish, which he threw back in, and the second was some kind of flat fish which we planned to take home to eat. On later inspection and confirmation from the man at the fish market, we realised that it didn’t have much meat on it and wouldn’t be worth it, so we took it home, cooked it and gave it to our dog instead, at least it wasn’t wasted!
After the first stop, we sailed for another 35 minutes and done some sunbathing (resulting in sunburn, ouch!). It was then time to make another stop at another island and have some lunch. Lunch was included in the ticket price, but all drinks and other snacks were extra. We were all asked when boarding what we wanted for lunch: fish, kofte or chicken, and given little cards with our choice on. The staff came around the tables and asked for our cards which they exchanged for a plate of food – I’d have prefered an open buffet with more choices, but the food was nice regardless. It consisted of our choice of meat, pasta, salad and a bread roll, followed by watermelon. After letting our food go down for a while, I had another quick swim, and Berkay carried on fishing.
An hour later, it was time to sail to our next stop – Pig Island. By this point I was finally feeling brave enough to try out the waterslide and was so glad I did because it was great fun! You can’t tell from the photos, but the first part of the slide was a really steep drop, I don’t think my bum even touched the slide it was like free-falling! Then it leveled out and went through to the other side of the boat and ended up splashing into the sea, I loved it! The photos of me tying it out are pretty amusing, check out the goggles, oh the joys of wearing contact lenses! I went on this slide about 30 times in total, Berkay was fishing and I was bored so I just kept going down the slide, swimming to the steps, climbing back up and going again – such a big kid!
For the braver people, there was a step on the top deck that you could dive or jump off from – it was terrifying, it must have been around 25-30ft high. I’d jumped off one on a smaller boat before, but this was just too high, I didn’t even attempt it. Berkay dived from it though! I couldn’t even bring myself to jump in from the lowest deck – Berkay got a photo of me attempting it, I was holding my nose and about to jump off but just couldn’t. It was only around 10ft, what a wuss!
I can’t remember if we made another one, or two stops after that, but the final stop was rabbit Island, appropriately named because there are hundreds of rabbits resident there, if you’re lucky you can sometimes see them all come out when the boats leave them some leftover salad – cute. We didn’t see any this time though. Berkay was asleep at this point as he’d been at work all night and was tired, so I spent most of the time alone. The boat had anchored close enough that we could walk off the ramp onto the island and I went exploring on my own – it was really pretty and so peaceful as there were no other boats around.
After stopping there for around 45minutes and going down the slide a few more times, it was time to head back to Fethiye. Berkay was asleep in the shade on the lower deck and I’d had enough of the sun so I sat down there and joined him. We got back to Fethiye around 6.20pm, so it was a whole 8 hours we had on the boat – but it always goes so quickly!
I had a really lovely day, I just love being out at sea, it’s so relaxing, I definitely have sea legs! I love the swaying of the boat and all the beautiful scenery, there are so many beautiful islands and bays around the area. I’d go on a boat trip every day if I could! Just look how beautiful and calm the sea is? Nature at it’s finest.
If anyone is in the area and wants to check out the Hanedan 2 boat, you can visit it’s website here, or pay it a visit along the marina, just past Address restaurant in Fethiye.