You cannot really visit any of the resorts on Turkey’s southern coasts without at least once hopping on board a boat and exploring the coves and little beaches that hide away from the madding crowds of the main resorts of Fethiye, Calis, Marmaris and Bodrum. In fact it is a must.
The trick is finding one that doesn’t turn into a nightmare.
Luckily we didn’t have any of these worries as we spent a magical day aboard a Calis Cooperative Boatmen’s boat with a group made up mainly of expats and local friends. The boat was chartered and we paid 35 Lira each for a day at sea that started at 9.00 am and didn’t see us pulling back into the canal at Calis until almost 5pm. A whole day out filled with wonderful company, fine Turkish food, swimming and snorkelling in azure blue bays with no other boats around and, of course, a few beers or glasses of wine to help us get into the sunbathing mood. Where we went was up to us, as the captain and his crew were at our beckon call and music provided by our organiser via a USB full of carefully selected tunes. .
The day really was a great trip, in the morning we managed to squeeze into two mostly deserted bays, the boat crew dropped the anchor, steadied the boat and we all had plenty of time to enjoy the crystal clear waters and the cooling of the water. We were asked where we would like to eat lunch and decided a new venue was in order. A quick trip around to another cove and the boat was tied and wonderful food started appearing from the galley below along with the charming mother who had prepared it all for us.
A barbecue was set up on the rear of the boat and fresh koftes and chicken breasts were cooked. To accompany them we had a feast of salads, vegetables including a carrot and onion herb mash topped with yoghurt, firey spiced aubergine and pepper salads, some of our favourite cumin chicken livers and of course lashings of fresh Turkish bread.
The rest of the afternoon was spent chatting and sunbathing allowing us to digest all the wonderful grub, For the final hour at sea the music was ramped up and a little dancing performance by some of the women completed a great day as the sun made its way behind the distant mountains.
We left the boat at around five and as we didn’t want the day to end we watched the sun set fully having far too many ‘last drinks’ on Calis seafront. If you want your day to be as magical as ours check through our list to make sure you get the day you want and not some disappointing trip instead.
Do’s and Don’ts for Turkey Boat Trips
Don’t buy your tour form the holiday reps, you will most probably be overcharged and end up on a packed boat. Make a day out to wander the harbour and use this checklist to get your ideal trip
How to make sure you get a great Boat Trip.
Check how many are going to be on the boat – this is important not only from a safety point of view (check the number of lifejackets) but will you have space to spread out with your group on cushions on deck and enjoy a spot of sunbathing
What food will be served? Is it prepared on board or hauled on and sat in the hull for hours until served. Pay more, and like us you should get a traditional Turkish Mamma in the hold making everything fresh as you enjoy the morning cruise, swim and snorkel.
What drinks, if any, are included, if not what are the costs of a beer or glass of wine (very few will allow you to bring your own tipple on board)?
What will be the music of choice? The peace and tranquillity of the bay may be shattered with the boat’s over enthusiastic captain showing off his new sound system to the beat of some foul mouthed rap artist
What is the boat like that you will be travelling on? – Get to the harbour and see it, make sure it is not some uncomfortable tiny barge that you are going to be elbow to elbow with forty other people with little chance of getting more than your head and shoulders tanned.
Does the boat provide equipment – snorkelling equipment or floats and buoyancy aids for the children or those that don’t swim very well, is there any extra charge for it?
How much should you pay? Answers to the some of the questions above will often determine how much you pay. You can get a trip for 20 – 30 Lira (11-18 US$) which may make the journey acceptable, but pay a little more and get a much better trip with more space, comfort and at least some say in where you go.