July 29, 2009
(The one and only photo worth uploading of the trip has to be that of the fabulous fully horsepowered tender to Kasim’s mighty fishing boat. Suleyman is taken to shore by his trusty “Kaptan Kasim” on the right.)
I was having a lovely day with my Australian friend Julie and her son Teo, who had come to visit me in Marmaris for 2 days. My Turkish friend Kasim had invited us all out on his boat for a fishing expedition. We took off at midday and was promised a day of heavy catches and blissful swimming, including a seafood feast in the evening and an arrival time back in Marmaris by 8pm.
It was Julie and Teo’s last evening and I really wanted to show them the nightlife of Marmaris and most importantly Barlar Sokak (Bar Street) where one nightclub is piled upon another, with not an inch to spare and each disco competes with the next. Loud music pumps out of each place and it is incredibly hard to believe at all that someone can enter the premises voluntarily and choose to stay there. All of them have flashing lights, strobes, huge plasma flat screens with a variety of dancing videos or mesmerising fluoro patterns to take you into your trance. This is where you arrive in town feeling a little younger than your age and leave feeling decades older!
A vast array of coloured cocktails in shot glasses were displayed in more than 10 of these night clubs and it wasn’t long before we worked out why. One of the well known Brit package holiday companies had it’s routine Pub Crawl this night. These are more entertaining than the actual places they are visiting. It is far better to watch this group when they first take off as by the 4th or 5th port of call it starts getting ugly. These pub crawls are no small event, and tonight’s was no exception with around 60 people rounded up. We watched them being trawled down to their first destination by 2 very overweight young girls proudly sporting their company T shirts and obligatory navy blue shorts, clipboard in raised hands, well above their heads, misguiding these young Brits into a night of liberal imbibing. One rep heading up the group and one at the back rounding the laggers behind so to speak, as if they were off for a foot and mouth dip in the corral. 95% of the participants were girls, 98% of them were under 24 and 100% of them had the sole ambition to get completely wiped out. The success rate on this statistic is incredibly high and the trail left in their wake is purely disgusting. This is Brit packaged holidaymakers at their best. Anyway, the reason I mention this is because we wished to get back from our Fish Feast on Kasim’s boat in time to truly appreciate Marmaris’ nightlife having no idea at the time that we would be clashing with this abovementioned cultural experience.
Kasim (61 yo) and his 2 mates spent hour upon hour trying to bribe the fish onto their hooks. This was no simple feat and I had never really appreciated how difficult it was before. Firstly, it entailed breaking up loaves of bread into small chunks and throwing them overboard whilst slowly motoring forward. The lines were strung out and the bread continued to flow. The actual lines had a small hook which had no eye. The lines had to be knotted very carefully onto these 1 cm long eyeless hooks. The hooks were just that, with no barbs at all. On the end of the hooks a lump of bread was threaded and you prayed you could catch these really stupid fish. I mean they had to be dumb to get caught on this as there was no barb and there was tons of bread floating around without hooks!
The guys struggled and struggled but never seemed to either lose patience or run out of bread. Within 2 hours of our journey they were into their 8th loaf of bread and we realised they must have been in on some heavy black market racketeering in the baking industry, as these guys only had enough to survive on watermelon, cay (pronounced chai) and sardine sized fish in normal circumstances. They were being outrageously generous when it came to this clever fishing system.
Kasim’s boat had a 10 horsepower engine on it. It was a heavy little wooden thing with an all in one saloon, galley, sink and potty. It was quite possible to sit on the loo, brush your teeth, boil a cupper and have your feet up on the bunk all at the same time. Comfortably seating 6 in the wheelhouse/cockpit, it could rocket along at around 4 knots. At the pace they were pulling the fish in we didn’t like our chances of dinner that night nor of ever getting back in time for the action down Bar Street.
After anchoring in about our 5th location, each one supposedly ultimately luckier than the last for catching fish, our Turkish hosts chatted about 3 sentences to the boat beside us, a similar version but slightly larger and the next thing we were on our way. They were going to tow us to this very secret location where one could just look at the fish and they jumped on the line. When we enquired why we were being towed they explained that diesel was expensive. So ?? What about the other guys? They were going to have to pay twice as much as normal to get us there, with the weight of 2 boats. Well, we got towed, and towed and towed and we started wondering if we would ever be able to get back in time for nightfall. We seemed to be going so far away and it was a good hour before we finally pulled into this very pretty secluded bay. Another 5 loaves were broken and distributed all over the top of the water. Any chance of a clean swim was dashed, besides, you could scare away dinner! I gave up and decided to have a sleep on top of the wheelhouse and another few hours later, our friends finally decided to call it a day. I came back down to have a look at their mighty catch and they opened up their little cockpit fish tank where they had 5 fish that white bait would call prey.
The larger boat had fared no better and called out they were going home and thank Allah, they offered to tow us back. We arrived in Marmaris by 7.30 and by the time we desalted ourselves we weren’t far off our schedule.