Why Not Turkey? It's Delightful!
The ancient land by a turquoise sea offers a perfect getaway for the bareboat charterer with an appetite for bigger adventures.
The voice came out of a confusing swarm of line handlers. The words were familiar, but the overall effect was as different to my ears as the muezzin’s frequent call to prayer. We were in Turkey, and two tasks so familiar—docking and dinner—made me, an experienced charterer, confused, tense, and anxious.
“Lady! Lady! You dine with us tonight!” the smartly uniformed marina worker called to me. “Your table is set. We have the best restaurant, best bar, best swimming pool, best spa.”
He then plopped menus and rate cards for the local hamam, the renowned Turkish variant on the steam bath that also offers massages, in my hands.
Dinner and a bath and a massage?
I looked around. We’d scrambled to get our double-wide load, the Moorings 4600 cat Therapy, into a spot. It was a delicate dance of line handling and deft helmsmanship. All were handled flawlessly by our crewmates, friends I’d asked to join my other half, Rick Martell, and me on this adventure because of their fun-loving attitude, energy, and expert ways with sailboats.
The place we picked was Yacht Classic Hotel on the waterfront of Fethiye, our destination after a daylong downwind reach from Ecinçik, some 32 miles west on Turkey’s Lycian coast. We chose Fethiye after a few days of sailing the islands and coastal anchorages during the hot eastern Mediterranean summer of 2011 for several reasons. We needed water, had trash to toss, and one member, yours truly, needed an Internet connection—bad.
My crew was easygoing, but I was hot, sweaty, and trying to meet a deadline. And I probably wasn’t thinking too clearly, because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to spend the money and stay the night.
That’s where the cross-cultural exchange hit the pothole of miscommunication.
Me: “How much does it cost to stay? What if we don’t stay overnight?”
He: “Lady, of course you stay. Look at our restaurant.”
Me: “But we don’t want the restaurant.”
He: “Lady, you pay the same, whether you stay four hours or you stay overnight.”
Somehow that translated into 50 Turkish lira (about $28) to me and, a few hours later, 150 TL (about $84) to them. The drift from our hosts was either you’re here, tied to our dock, and dining with us, like sultans and pashas, nibbling on eggplant and yogurt dip and grilled lamb kebobs. Or not.
After much to and fro and a few more words, “Lady” learned a lesson about “the system” (you dine, they forgo dockage fees) and paid my bill.