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UP A LAZY RIVER AND INTO THE PAST

Just east of Marmaris lies the Dalyan River, once the site of the ancient Carian city of Caunos.  The harbor at Caunos, once a thriving port, is now silted in and surrounded by marshy grasslands.

Approaching the river from Ekincik where we had anchored Destiny there is a small island and a barrier beach.  The bar that runs from the beach to shore leaves a narrow passage for shallow draught boats to pass.  Off the island, large tour boats and some private yachts, anchor with a line to shore and are ferried by the cooperative boats up river.

A long spit of sand nearly blocks the river entrance

A long spit of sand nearly blocks the river entrance

Day trip boats line the river waiting for beach goers as we enter the narrow channel

Day trip boats line the river waiting for beach goers as we enter the narrow channel

To reach Caunos, you charter a boat run by a cooperative that is licensed to provide tours up the Dalyan River.  Our new friends Dave and Lindsay on S/V Rosa di Venti had made the arrangements and invited us to join them.

We're on our way up the Dalyan River. . .

We're on our way up the Dalyan River. . .

with new Brit friends, Dave & Lindsay

with new Brit friends, Dave & Lindsay

Kent would have preferred to take the dinghy, but was dissuaded by the fact that there is a fish trap—in this case one that spans the entire river and requires passage through a manned gate. 

The gate at fish trap keeps unauthorized people out and fish in

The gate at fish trap keeps unauthorized people out and fish in

There is other wild life to see on the river.

Turtles and. . .

Turtles and. . .

blue crabs (just like in Maryland where Kent grew up) inhabit the river.

blue crabs (just like in Maryland where Kent grew up) inhabit the river.

Once on the river, we realized what folly that would have been in any event since the river meanders maze-like through tall grass.  Within minutes we were totally disoriented and glad that we had an experienced boat man to guide us to our destination. 

The river is a maze of grassy channels

The river is a maze of grassy channels

Our first stop on the river tour was Caunos, a short walk from the river.  While the ruins of the city are not as dramatic as some we have seen, the setting along the river with steep cliffs in the background and the remnants of a fort are impressive.

Caunos Amphitheater

Caunos Amphitheater

Foundation of a Temple overlooking Ancient Caunos Harbor

Foundation of a Temple overlooking Ancient Caunos Harbor

Remnants of a Roman Bath

Remnants of a Roman Bath

Caunos is slowly being reconstructed into an archeological park and signs of the restoration are everywhere.

Restoration work underway

Restoration work underway

Some parts of this ancient city’s past are much the same, while other aspects can never be reconstructed.

Footpath through time virtually the same. . .

Footpath through time virtually the same. . .

 

but the Ancient harbor has been claimed by silt and grasses

but the Ancient harbor has been claimed by silt and grasses

 There are ruins that span a large area, but the main sites can be seen in a little more than an hour—since the mid-day heat was oppressive we were glad to return to the boat, where Jolie had found a nice spot in the shade. 

Jolie found her favorite wedge spot under a seat

Jolie found her favorite wedge spot under a seat

Our next stop was lunch in Dalyan just across the river from one of the most photographed sites in Turkey—the rock tombs on the cliffs of the Dalyan River. 

The tombs are visible from the river

The tombs are visible from the river

The tombs are thought to be of Lycian origin.  Having seen pictures of the tombs in guide books, I had some notion of what to expect, but what is lost in the pictures is the size of the tombs and the sheer rock cliffs into which they are carved.

Lycian Tombs. . .

Lycian Tombs. . .

and more tombs!

and more tombs!

I took picture after picture hoping to capture their majesty, but pictures can’t match the experience of seeing them in person.

 

The scale is hard to capture

The scale is hard to capture. . .

but the intricate detail carved into the face of the cliff is not.

but the intricate detail carved into the face of the cliff is not.

The boat traffic on the river gets downright crazy late in the afternoon, as boats leave the river to return people to their starting point at the mouth of the river at the same time that boats from up river are returning beach goers to the many hotels that line the river.

 

The river is filled with boats carrying people to see the tombs and to the beach

The river is filled with boats carrying people to see the tombs and to the beach

We had one final stop on our lazy river adventure.  The mud baths.  Yes, mud baths.  There are hot springs adjacent to the river with clay deposits that are reputedly therapeutic.  

Up river from the town of Dalyan are mud baths

Up river from the town of Dalyan are mud baths

Kent was happy in the hot springs. . .

Kent was happy in the hot springs. . .

while Dave and Carol got down and dirty.

while Dave and Carol got down and dirty.

I don't care if it is therapeutic. . .enough mud!

I don't care if it is therapeutic. . .enough mud!

We watched with some amusement as these parents and teenage children gently covered one another with mud. . .they didn’t miss an exposed inch, including Dad’s bald head.

They got their monies worth

They got their monies worth

Leaving the river we had a very rolly ride back to our anchorage, but it was a wonderful day filled with memorable sights.

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