Slippery Poles

kidsDatca. Funny place Datca. Last time I came here a couple of years ago I wasn’t particularly impressed with the loud bars that stayed open late and the tourist shops selling tat. They seemed to contradict what could have been a chilled and relaxing town. On this visit, however, we did more than just see the rubbish bars. In fact this trip coincided with some marvellous local entertainment that had been arranged for the young people of the area. I’ll hand over to Liz to explain in more detail:

Racing

Racing


datcamapLiz: To be honest, as everyone else we met said how pretty Datça is I nagged poor Jamie into giving it another go. After motoring around the harbour area, putting Esper’s nose into the North Bay and passing the Town Quay, we decided to anchor in the South Bay. It was nicely sheltered from the prevailing wind and not too busy. We anchored quickly and efficiently in plenty of space and soon felt right at home. Some of the other yachts seemed to know each other and we noticed plenty of smiling faces and generally contented liveaboards near us.


Source: Liz Cleere This candid shot involved Liz pretending she was taking a pic of Jamie, who was sitting in front of this interesting old boy.

Source: Liz Cleere This candid shot involved Liz pretending she was taking a pic of Jamie, who was sitting in front of this interesting old boy.

Naturally, when everything is this perfect flies tend to start sticking in the proverbial ointment. While passing a few hours reading and watching other boats turning up we noticed a rather Cavalier Turk in a small gulet dropping his hook in front of us. He reversed and ended up with his stern about 10 feet from our bow. We tried to persuade him in English, Turkish and finally French that he was too close. Any change of wind direction or the slightest drag of his anchor could cause him to collide with us. He was having none of it and off he went to shore with his fat – over – made – up – dyed – blonde – tinselly – bit – of stuff. We remained aboard Esper muttering oaths. Some time later, while I was below bumbling around, doing whatever it is I do when there’s nothing major to do, I heard a shriek from Jamie for me to come on deck. Sure enough, the Turk’s bowsprit was now over Esper’s guardrail and threatening to rip through our awning. We had to take it down fast whilst manually fending off the other boat. Grins of wonderment and shrugs of the shoulders from our neighbours assured us of their sympathy. Within minutes we spotted said Turk in his dinghy urging his Mrs to row like fury back to the boat. Jamie and I sat on deck staring at them with “we told you so” expressions all over our faces. They climbed on board their boat without making eye contact and hastily sailed out of the anchorage.

Congratulatory applause after the tug o'war

Congratulatory applause after the tug o'war

The following day our neighbours on “Gin Rummy”, a really pretty Nicholson, had a run-in with some flashy Italians. They zoomed into the anchorage; men all macho, oily and flexed pectorals; women all jewelleried-up and teeny-weeny bikini-clad. They were all talking and gesticulating as they anchored and failed to notice that not only had they dropped their hook over our neighbours’ chain, but they were now only feet from him. Simon (as we later discovered he was named) helpfully suggested that they move to one side where there was plenty of room and where they would not be on top of Gin Rummy or over his chain. The Italians immediately pulled up the anchor, turned round and zoomed back out of the anchorage shouting what Simon took to be “thanks, but we think we may move along the coast a bit further. Have a nice day!”. Katie (Simon’s wife, as we later discovered) although American is from Italian extraction. Apparently she was able to just out between the expletives that the Italians were not happy with Simon and wished him far from a nice day. Hey ho.


Source: Liz Cleere Jamie pretending to look cool

Source: Liz Cleere Jamie pretending to look cool

However, I’m digressing from Datça. It is a pretty place. There are some “touristy” bars, but not half so many as you find in Bodrum, Bitez, Ortakent, Marmaris or any of the other places one could mention along the Turkish coast. They don’t play banging music until dawn and they are quite laid back. We had one of the best meals we have ever had so far in Turkey whilst in Datça. If you go there we can thoroughly recommend a place called Küçük Ev (Small House). The food is tasty, home-cooked and reasonable, while the service is friendly. The town is scenic, the setting picturesque and the locals very friendly.


trumpetWe spent all afternoon on the second day watching a local kids event, which seemed to involve lots of daft swimming races to and from boats, along the quayside. There was much shouting and merriment as the kids (from around 7 to 17) hurled themselves with great abandon into the proceedings. Proud parents stood by with worry beads, frowns, smiles, tears and laughter as brave little Mehmet or pretty little Nilgun attempted the path to glory. We rowed the dinghy over to the quay and joined Simon and Katie, with their friends Bunny and Bill, who clung to the mooring rope of a big gulet right next to the action. After a while a huge slippery pole, covered in red grease was unveiled over the sea and it was clear that this would be the climax of the proceedings. We went ashore to mingle with the throng (and have a beer).

Who wins the cup?

Who wins the cup?


The MC incited the crowd into hysteria as the local youths prepared to exhibit their skill and bravery in front of friends and family. The object of the exercise was to get to the Turkish flag at the end of the pole first and proudly claim it as one’s own. Sounds simple, but when you’re wet, knackered and full of bravado whilst trying to run up a greased up pole it’s probably a bit daunting. One after the other they tried and failed. Each attempt garnered oohs, aahs, cheers, scoffs and wild laughter from the crowd. It looked rather dangerous to me as chins, temples, ankles, thighs and knees cracked loudly against the wood as the contenders fell into the sea. Finally the flag was successfully plucked from the pole and a wild cheer went up. We had another beer and spent the rest of the evening enjoying the aftermath of the excitement in town.


Yep, we like Datça


How does this guy fall? Check where his feet are pointing. You just know that's gonna hurt!

How does this guy fall? Check where his feet are pointing. You just know that's gonna hurt!

My fave shot but clearly this guy isn't even close

My fave shot but clearly this guy isn't even close

Pretty close

Pretty close

Fat cigar for this fella. The moment of glory

Fat cigar for this fella. The moment of glory

The winner, Celal, with his parents. His mum was so proud she was in tears! We emailed these shots to Celal and received a very polite response. Such nice people!

The winner, Celal, with his parents. His mum was so proud she was in tears! We emailed these shots to Celal and received a very polite response. Such nice people!

And then it was all over....

And then it was all over....







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