We left Sailor’s House late morning, after a couple of teas and the payment of a greatly reduced bill “for friends”. They know we’ll be back.
Buzborun was our next destination. We had been told by Danielle that it is the kind of village that Marmaris and Bodrum were decades ago and that it was well worth visiting. There is a harbour there too, and as we needed to re-charge batteries and top up the water tanks this seemed like a good plan.
We set off with absolutely no wind whatsoever and Osman gleefully telling us that the forecast was 43º C. Hmmm, it is only June now, so what will it be like in August? It looked as though there would be no sailing, so we left the awning up over the main boom, with the thought that we could use the mizzen and foresails if needs be, without the main. As it turned out we had no chance to use the sails at all with the water looking more like a pond than the sea, pretty much all the way till the very end.
So we talked and drank water and watched boats go past us the other way. We waved at them and they waved back (apart from the French), all equally as bored as us, but glad to be in a boat on the ocean. We watched a very slow going fishing vessel apparently towing nets… but at noon this seemed an odd time. As we got closer we realized that he was actually towing a fish farm! Not sure if there were any fish in there at the time, but if so I hope they were keeping up with him, otherwise they’d be fish paste by the time they arrived at their new home!
Eventually we turned our nose towards the harbour of Bozburun. Just as I was tucking into a mish mash of all the leftovers in our fridge, which Jamie after one mouthful politely declined, we noticed a slight disturbance on the otherwise glass-like water. Jamie spotted it first and then up appeared two dolphins, shortly followed by another couple. They were only about 10 metres from the boat, and as the sea was so still we were able to get a really good look at them. We could hear them breathing. They swam to the bow and underneath Esper, but didn’t seem too interested in staying with us. Jamie turned the boat to follow them and for a while they did come back and have a look at us, but eventually they went on their way. I was breathless with excitement as I had given up hope of seeing dolphins in these parts. Apparently they are less frequent these days. Still, at last, I’ve seen dolphins from Esper. A special moment to remember.
As we neared our destination Jamie noticed another disturbance in the sea (I was still chomping through the admittedly rather poor lunch offering) and at first we thought it was a turtle. On closer inspection we could see a fin appearing now and then, but it was too small for a dolphin. It turned out to be a magnificent ray right on the surface of the water. Jamie put the helm on full lock and we went round in circles. The ray stayed with us and for about 15 minutes, with Esper on a full lock, the ray and we circled each other. It was absolutely stunning. The water was so clear we managed to see it very well. It looked around 4 feet across, with a grey-purplish hue, white horns at the front, an open mouth (presumably to pick up plankton) and a long tail. It seemed to be mesmerised by the boat. We wondered if the prop was throwing up food for it – hard to know. Unfortunately our library is short of a really good illustrated book of fish, so we were unable to identify it. As soon as we get net access, though, I’m going to find out what it was.
After the excitement of these aquatic encounters we went about the humdrum business of finding a mooring in what was proving to be a very pretty harbour. Bozburun is idyllic, tranquil and more like a pretty French port than our idea of a Turkish town. It is lovely. We had a beer and some meze in a nearby restaurant and it turned out the waiter was best friend’s with Mustafa, who had told him to look out for us.
The friendliness and hospitality of this country never ceases to impress me.
I would like reiterate the beauty of Bozburun. Gone are the sugar-cubed, white-washed houses of Bodrum, replaced by colonial-style buildings that make this place look more like the Italian Lakes or, as Liz alludes to, a French town. Up until recently Bozburun was cut off from the rest of the world so the inhabitants used small boats to get around. Despite a new road that now connects Bozburun to Marmaris many of the locals still own their small boats with little canopies and make day trips out into the bay.
NB. After research in Turkey, in the UK and on the net we discovered that we had seen a manta ray, perhaps not fully grown, but it couldn’t have been anything else.