After two days and a Sabbath I still hadn’t replaced my broken phone, camera, or Nalgene bottle. I did, however, find glasses goofy enough that they were cheap, and a sponge, and I had time to repair my boat, paddle float, vhf, and winged paddle. I was ready to leave. I also charged my batteries and checked all my gear for the upcoming crossing to Cyprus, I was in the resor town of Alanya.
A Canadian couple living on a boat near mine invited me over for fruit smoothies every morning and a Dutch couple let me use their computer to stay in touch with my family and plan my next few days. They all came to see me off, take pictures, and wish me luck.
A peninsula protrudes from the center of Alanya. It meets the sea with sharp red cliffs mounted by ancient fortifications and a long ruined Roman city.
Triple masted hotel party boats swarmed the scenic headland blasting pop music interrupted by announcements in a spread of languages.
One of the boats was heading straight at me, hugging the cliffs almost as closely as I was. I could cut out and around, but with all the traffic, I felt safer where only I could go, even if the hotel sea monster was trying to cut into my space.
The giant stopped and tourists began throwing pieces of bread over the gunwales from the deck and upper two stories.
A crewman minion saw me about to squeeze between the stationary boat and the cliffs. There was enough room for me to proceed safely, but he yelled at me not to anyways. The minions may control the beaches, but here at sea I have the right of way.
Halfway up the cliff face aligned with the gulet’s upper stories a van-sized cave mouth caught my attention. Above precipice stood a young shirtless man in a red bathing suit. I paddled past and wondered what the minions were up to.
I turned the corner of the peninsula and squeezed between a smaller gulet and the wall, and then past another large one. Towards the end of the lineup, now on the opposite side of the peninsula, a man in red shorts dived off of a moving gulet. I watched, wondering if I was about to participate in a rescue, but with trained monkey agility he scaled the rock face and vanished.
I closed in to get a closer look. Three small holes above four meters of rocks pierced into the earth. Maybe a fellow on his belly could squeeze through.
I explored a large colorful cave. I wound between shallow rocks and others that cut above the surface and sported bright orange and red growths. Under the surface lichen shouted out with more fantastic contrasting colors.
The walls were covered with yellow and green oozing goo turned to stone over millenia.
Water dripped from the ceiling and I lay my head onto my back deck and gazed. The cavern did not smell fresh like running water as they often do, but rather like Harvey T’s gerbil home. Something was chirping or squeaking in the darkness above and I looked for bats. I didn’t see any, but there was another chamber that had a ground floor; maybe they were in there.
I passed crenulations and a large intact red stone tower before I cut out to sea to avoid downtown Alanya.
I’m running out of Chia seeds and what I have left is reserved for my Turkey / Cyprus crossing. Paddling on low grade fuel is less fun.
I left the last of the hotel fortresses of evil and motorboat turtle-slaying oil-leaking sea beasts behind. The beaches were public and the mountains free. Some folk invited me to stop for beer, I rolled in gratitude and moved on.
I looked up at the cliffs and admired the wild beauty of the place when something just ahead of me in the water caught my attention. A turtle surfaced and I was on a collision course. I didn’t want to startle it with and abrupt stroke, and I didn’t want to hit. So I froze and glode. I hoped it would see me. Maybe at the last moment it did and dived, or maybe I did hit it. I’m not sure, but I hope and believe it was okay.
I explored one last radon red rock cave with two entrances separated by a pillar. The setting sun illuminated the native stone and the colorful water stones that grew in the corners.
My upcoming 37.5 mile crossing will be three halves of what I did today. I hope I’m up for it. I hope the weather is good. As with my other long crossings, it’ll be where the distance is shortest and the bottleneck can make for rough conditions.
Many years ago someone half built a marina in Gazipasa. The outer sea walls were solid, but inside there were no pontoons or sidewalks beyond the concrete edges of the harbor, just dirt, weeds, and a handful* of half finished buildings.
Folk passed me making camp on the dock and to the friendly ones I told my story. I could answer some of the frequent questions across the language barrier, but mostly communication was an uphill battle.
I’m approaching Eastern Turkey, past the edge of the earth.
Nautical miles paddled: 25
Current location: North corner of Gazipasa marina