TURKEY 2001 TWO-WEEK TRIP

Saturday, June 30. Day 6 of 15. MEDITERRANEAN FISHING PARTY. EVENING AT AUNTIES'.

I don't take my cassette recorder, so all of today's words are from memory, said memory being jogged by a large number of digital photos taken during the day.

I'm up at 6 am or so, and a friend of the Agacayak family picks me and Bob Ross up at our hotel. Cihan, as well as Kemal, is out there to introduce us. Cihan goes back to the hotel. He has tour guide duty today with the ladies. Kemal will go in his car to the boat, so Bob and I go with Tufan (pronounced TOO-fon, but called too-fuh-NOB-ee by Cihan, which I believe means something like "my big brother."

Tufan stops at least once to buy the yem (bait). It is tiny live shrimps. We get to the waterfront and get our first look at the boat. It's quite different from the picture I had in mind, which was a large, open-top boat with an outboard motor. This is going to be FUN.

Breakfast is already laid out on the table in the center of the boat deck, under the canvas shade, stretched as a canopy on support piping attached to the boat. Kemal is already on board with a backpack and fishing gear. Bob Ross, whom we call Ross, has a backpack and his own fishing rod and reel. I come on with a backpack containing my digital camera, swim trunks, batteries and a change of clothes.

Kemal puts my fishing rig together. The captain and Tufan discuss the day. After breakfast, eaten during the ride out to the fishing spot, we stop and Tufan puts his line into the water. His "line" is typical of most Turks' fishing gear. It is fishing line on a spool about five inches in diameter. This line has three hooks, each on about a six inch leader, and terminates in a weight. He puts a shrimp on each of the three hooks, and lets the line go out till the weight hits the bottom. I'd estimate it's 100-200 feet, but I'm terrible at such estimates. The key missing ingredient is the rod. No rod, just the line on its nylon spool.

In no time at all, he pulls up a small fish about 3-4 inches long and the captain gets a small bowl to put the fish in. "Yem (bait)?" I ask Tufan. "No, we will eat!" he says. Ross had told me the story of a fishing trip he took out of San Francisco Bay in which the captain stopped just out of the bay, and fished about fifteen minutes, catching the actual bait that they used farther out, during the actual fishing. "What kind of a fish is it?" I ask. "Barmunya," he says. I'm not sure of the spelling, but it's pronounced bar-MOON-yuh.

"We're going to eat THAT?" I thought. He motions for us all to start fishing, and we all bait up and drop out lines. I love Ross's hat, as I see him and Kemal fishing. I like how these little shrimps look huge, under the macro-mode of my digital camera.

I look at the ramp on which we walked onto the boat, and wonder if we'll go into the water swimming off this plank. I suddenly realize that the captain and his mate are both sleeping, the captain down below and the mate above, leaning against the cabin wall. Ross and Kemal keep fishing and the four fishermen manage the trip without a nap.

I catch a dark fish, and I think they told me it was a sole. I look at our catch so far, in the bowl, and wonder how we are going to make a meal out of fish like this. I catch another one and hold it up proudly. Ross finally catches his first fish, and he holds it up for all to admire.

After moving to four or five different locations, and catching maybe 30-35 fish, Tufan announces, "Now. Swimming!" He strips down to his swimsuit and dives in off the side, where a rotating ladder is now in the "up" configuration. The first mate lowers it after Ross dives in. I go over next and the salty Mediterranean is extremely buoyant.

While we're swimming the captain cleans the fish, then sets the whole lot aside for the first mate to cook. Tufan climbs out and starts fixing his "famous Tufan sea salad." We drink beer and wine, eat fish and salad till we're stuffed (not a lot on each fish, but you can make it up in volume), then we head in.

The seas are smooth, and I had gambled on this, not applying any seasick patch.

Kemal has been on the phone, both outgong and incoming calls, off and on since we left the dock, talking with Cihan or Tara at different times. The tour party has finished and will meet us at the dock where we pull in. Then they'll come on board and they'll have lunch.

We make it to dock, and Sharon is the first one on. Then the others come on. Carrie and Tara get a kick out of the Simit (pretzel, loosely) Man. We decide what-the-heck, and Kemal arranges for us to go on a scenic cruise along the coast. Tufan leaves us, and off we go. The winds have come up and are in our face. That's no big deal, but the waves are choppy and we are bang bang banging our way eastward. We pass an old fortress along the way. Tara and Cihan share some tomatoes as we pass our Falcon Hotel. We can see its position on the cliff edge, as well as the swimming and sunbathing platform at the bottom of the staircase descending from the clifftop.

We reverse directions, and going with the wind, things are much smoother. We arrive back in port, and go back to our hotel and our room. I have taken a special photo on the boat, and I'm going to create a digital photograph to entertain and amaze tonight.

After a rest, we go down to dinner, but I'm not feeling so good for some unknown reason, so I don't eat much. Sharon seems OK though, so that's good. After dinner, Kemal (who with Aysel, is not staying at the hotel, but somewhere else) asks if it would be OK if we went over to where Aunties Fethiye and Sidukuh share a house. We would call this an apartment or condo in America. We all say OK and off we go.

The first thing we see in the aunties' house is the cake, which we were to have here tonight, for the "asking" ceremony. But since we did that last night, we simply have the cake tonight. It's delicious, with little tasty bits of something in it.

Nedim and daughter Sena make a delightful pair. Tara fits right in with the four sisters. Canan and Metin are looking especially attractive in the corner. I break out my photo of this huge fish we caught and are holding, and almost everyone is amazed. Then I click one button, and the place shakes with laughter, as they figure out what I've done. And the thing I've done is blow up one of the four inch fish we caught to be about seven feet long and placed it on the special picture I took on the boat.

Heh heh heh (You have to go to the website to see it).

We enjoy water, tea and the great cake. Everybody trades hugs and kisses and then take off for home.

No birding today.

Life Birds Today: 0
Life Birds for the Trip: Remains at 8.

Upgrades Today: 0
Upgrades for the Trip: Remains at 4.

Trip Birds Today: 0
Trip Birds Total: Remains at 49.

NOTE to Birders: No birding or bird reports till Wednesday, July 4th.

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