Turkey 2020 – Day 6

Tuesday 21st April 2020

written by Alison Ure

Good morning everyone,

Another lovely day in the Land of Light with a predicted high of 22 degrees, and not the clouds that were predicted yesterday.  I try and alternate active days with less active days where possible so as not wear you out too much.  Are you enjoying the Turkish breakfast? so much choice to choose from.  A variety of fruit, cheeses, bread jam, honey, olives, nuts, cucumber, tomatoes, eggs, it certainly sets you up well for the day. – see HERE

Don’t forget to top up your water bottle, put on that sunscreen and bring your swimsuits, as there is an opportunity for a dip later in the clear turquoise sea. This morning we are off to the crystal walk. This is not on the tourist route but Mike and Karen showed me this interesting site in 2011 thinking it would be a nice inclusion in the trip, to which I readily agreed. We again set off east on the D 400 back towards Antalya, past our turning from yesterday then shortly after a turn right towards Üçağız (3 mouths).

We stop the bus on the side of the road, I can’t say exactly where but I know it when we get there and walk in land. It is on a farm track so I suggest walking boots for this morning, and a stick if you need a fifth leg, as the ground can be uneven. The walk is about 2.5 km up a gentle slope passing typically karstic outcrops en route. If you look up to the pine trees you will see what looks like large silk cocoons. Look a little closer and you will see lots of caterpillars. This is the caterpillar of the processionary moth, so named as the caterpillars walk nose to tail. They absolutely decimate the trees they are in and are a real pest but there is plenty of room for them out here, so they are unlikely to kill off all the trees.

Caterpillars of the processionary moth

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_processionary

If you hear a rustle in the undergrowth, it may well be a tortoise, we often see them along here. One thing we have to be cautious about, are the herders sheep dogs. These canines are semi wild and very large, bigger than an Alsatian, and here to protect their master and herd. So far we have never come across any on this walk but if we do just stand still, stay quiet and let Tolga deal with them. 

Tortoise
Some of the crystals. You can see more photos of them HERE.

After about 45 mins we’ll reach our destination. This is an area in the middle of this otherwise karstic countryside about 10 m x 10 m full of crystals. The ground looks like someone has broken glass on it as the sun glints on the calcite and aragonite fragments. It comes in small pieces and large boulders. The crystals grow in different formations, fans, which I’m told are aragonite, & straight, parallel leaves or blobs of calcite. Why? I’ve never really understood. We discussed that this area could have been buried and cave like at some time giving the crystals the opportunity to grow, but there is no sign of a collapse and once you walk past there is no crystal either, it is a really bizarre phenomenon but lovely to look at. If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them. What we need is a soil scientist that specialises in mineralogy? Time to walk back to the bus, downhill all the way and just look at that view, isn’t it stunning! Again you can see the snow-capped Taurus mountains in the far distance.

View of the Taurus Mountains

We are now off to Üçağız but on the way we will drive over a normal fault, see if you can spot it? The map might give you a hint? It’s where the road has 3 sharp bends. As with the rest of the area, on the map you can see all the geomorphology is SW NE alignment including the islands of Kekova  and the bay between it and Üçağız. We will join the boat for a trip over the sunken city of Kekova and a BBQ lunch on board. I can’t wait.

https://www.alaturkaturkey.com/destinations/ucagiz-village.html

Swimming in Shipyard Bay

All aboard. Our first stop will be to Tersane (shipyard) bay where will stop for lunch and while this is cooking those of you who fancy it can have a swim. Here there are some sunken ruins in very shallow water you can swim over. It is forbidden to swim over the main sunken city as it is a protected area. If you don’t have jelly shoes or something else to wear on your feet be careful of sea urchins. They are pretty obvious as big black and very spikey but standing on them is not a recommended pastime.

Wasn’t lunch tasty, I just love the salads they make in Turkey and along with the BBQ’d chicken and their special rice, perfect! Now we’ll set off over the sunken city cruising along beside Kekova island which is only inhabited by a few goats. The boat is glass bottomed so you can see the ruins well, but the water is so clear you can see a lot from the surface. Note also how the sea bed suddenly falls away and the water is a darker blue where it is deep. You can see pictures of the sunken city HERE.

http://www.lycianturkey.com/lycian_sites/kekova_simena.htm

The two earthquakes that broke this city apart allegedly occurred in 400 BC and 2nd century AD, not 100 years apart as stated in the handout. As a result like many other ancient sites there are Lycian, Roman and Byzantine ruins here. Strangely no theatre has ever been found but it would need a robotic submarine to search for one and they cost money

Our next stop is Simena Kaleköyü a peninsula from the mainland which has road access but is mostly accessed from the sea. This old historic village has wonderful narrow streets but it’s difficult to get lost as it’s so small. If you want to climb up to the castle to see the great views, Tolga will take you up, look out for nummulites on the way up, in the rock.  Alternatively walk along through the town and see the sarcophagus in the water or do both. Me, I’m going for a beer and to put my feet up for half an hour or so in an ottoman seated area with low tables, no shoes allowed.

https://www.triphistoric.com/historic-sites/simena

We need to be back on the boat for 3.30 to get back to Üçağız and the bus. Hopefully the weather will stay fair. In 2014 it was very choppy on the way back and we nearly lost Dave and Rob overboard as there were sitting on unsecured chairs!

We’ll be back in Kaş around 5pm and for those that want to take a look at the theatre, Tolga will meet you in the foyer at 7pm. You can see photos of the theatre HERE

It’s a relatively small theatre which looks out to sea. It was restored a few years ago and is regularly used for music, plays, films, dancing etc. Some people viewed the solar eclipse from here a few years ago, I lay on a sun lounger in my garden on the peninsula, more support for the neck.

Again it’s not compulsory for everyone to join us, but I have booked a table at Smileys which is excellent for fish. If you do come take a look at the 2000 year old cistern beneath the restaurant, see photos HERE.

Tomorrow we leave Kaş and move further west round the Teke peninsula. See you at Smileys later, shall I have bass or bream? Decisions, decisions!