Monday, 17 February 2014

Kayaking in Kas

The trip through Turkey had been busy until now so we were all looking forward to a couple of days relaxation in the gorgeous seaside town of Kas.  Kas (pronounced "cash") is synonymous with bougainvillea in Turkish and the town certainly lives up to it - long, trailing, delicate fronds of pink and white bougainvillea adorn many of the buildings in town, including our hotel.  The idyllic view from our hotel was of a ridiculously blue bay with boats anchored inshore and a lonely Greek island just off shore.  Apparently the Greek government pays its handful of residents to live on this island in order to keep it in Greek hands. Our sumptuous breakfast on the top floor, open sided restaurant, watching as the golden sun rose to bathe the town, was certainly a wow moment.

View from our hotel restaurant

Looking at the sunken city

But, no time to linger, we were off for a kayaking adventure.  I love kayaking so was excited about this, especially the part where we were to kayak over a sunken city.  A short drive from Kas, a quick kayaking lesson for beginners and we were off.  Ok, well the sunken city was a bit of a non event.  There was nothing to see apart from a couple of large underwater rocks which, we were told, were masonry, but the 3 and a half kilometre trip on flat, crystal clear water, to our destination, a small island, was everything I hoped it would be.

"Zorba" and our guides
We were trailed by an old put-put boat skippered by a rotund, jolly old man in a captain's hat.   His role was to make sure we were safe and with his weathered face and missing teeth he looked like a character in a movie so we nicknamed him Zorba.  We pulled up on the tiny, rocky island for lunch.  I couldn't help thinking that it was the sort of place you see on postcards and wish you were there - and, well, we were! It had all the necessary postcard requirements - a sheltered cove, clear aqua green sea and a white stony beach with  the
                                                                                       occasional stone ruin here and there

Tired after our long kayak we dived into the delicious sea for a swim while our kayak guides prepared a picnic lunch of dolmas, olives, stuffed peppers, fat, juicy tomatoes, cold meat, cheeses and bread.  There was just time for another swim and then we were off kayaking again to Simena, about 1 kilometre away. 
Simena castle, overlooking the bay

Simena, with a ruined castle on top of the hill, dates from the 4th century BC.  It was quite a climb to the castle in the searing heat but worth it for the view which looks out over Lycian tombs on one side and has panoramic views of the bay and coastline on the other.  Then it was back down again for welcome ice creams before starting out to kayak home.


We circled a partly submerged Lycian tomb close to shore and then made our way out into the bay.  By now the wind had come up and the sea was choppy.  It was hard, exhausting work with waves breaking over our kayaks - a bit scary really, but because I was the only one in a single kayak a guide stayed with me all the way back.  This was an unexpected bonus because he led me to a secret spot to view sea turtles swimming happily in a sheltered cove.

Setting off from Simena, unaware of the hard work ahead.

I was thrilled to finally make it to shore, albeit well behind the others.  We had kayaked for over 7 kilometres - not bad, not bad at all!  Zorba celebrated our safe return with an impromptu waltz along the beach with one of our group, much to our amusement. So, not exactly a rest day but a wonderful day all the same.  Back to the hotel to hot showers, a stunning sunset and a romantic dinner overlooking the bay at The Sultan's Garden, an open air restaurant bedecked with floating panels of fine white cotton and softly lit Turkish lanterns.  This is the life!  I decided there and then I could stay in Kas a week, or a month, or maybe even a year!

                                             The town of Kas with a Greek Island in the bay.