Sunday, 30 January 2011

Travels with Li Dongni – Fethiye, Turkey (September 2010)

Tombs and Turtles in Turkey

Whilst travelling in Turkey (the same trip that saw our hot air balloon trip), we spent a few days in the southern town of Fethiye.  Fethiye is a little harbour town which, although having a few too many sunburned European tourists for our liking, did have a number of things to recommend it.  One was the boat trip we went on out into the clear and beautiful Mediterranean, another our climb up to the hills above the town to visit the ramshackle Crusader castle and the Lycian rock tombs.

The highlight of Fethiye for me, however, was the fortunate chance meeting we had in the harbour – with a pair of wild loggerhead turtles.  We had read before we got there that turtles came ashore to lay eggs on nearby beaches, but we didn’t have any particular expectations of seeing any ourselves.  However, as we were walking by the edge of the harbour one afternoon we noticed a flicker in the water that caught our eye.  It wasn’t immediately obvious what had caused the surface to be disturbed, and we got a glimpse of something that looked like a flipper, but it was difficult to tell.  As we looked harder we noticed a pair of turtles swimming around, but they soon vanished from sight.  We thought that this briefest of glimpses was all we were to get, but as we began walking again, we realised that one of the turtles was swimming level with us along the harbour wall, occasionally coming up to the surface for air.  We kept walking with him (or her) alongside us for a good 15 minutes until he finally decided he’d had enough and swam away.  It was a brief and chance encounter, but I’m certain it’s one that the turtle will remember forever...

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