Sunrise boat ride + turtles = a perfect day in Dalyan.

Dalyan Travel Blog

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Headed out.

DAY FOUR of the Beaches & Ruins Road Trip:DALYAN

We stumbled sleepily down to the hotel’s pier at 5:45am and found our boat waiting at the dock. It was a large boat and we had it all to ourselves for the morning (for 100YTL). Our captain Hasan didn’t speak English, which proved to be difficult over the course of the morning, but we had an INCREDIBLE day watching turtles nonetheless.  

The light was gaining strength as we boated slowly inland on the river. We kept our eyes peeled for turtles, not knowing when and where they would make their appearance, but saw nothing in the black water except our own reflections. After awhile Hasan pulled over to a rock and hopped out of the boat. We didn’t know what was going on, but soon figured it out as he started laying chicken pieces onto the rock.
Nile Turtles are carnivores and apparently love chicken.
He was putting out turtle bait! And they apparently were expecting him, as very soon some very odd looking creatures starting appearing under the water, then popping their heads up, then tentatively grabbing at the chicken (see video). I have never seen such crazy looking turtles! They look like long-nosed otters wearing turtle shells. They can reach their heads waaaaay out of their shells, and they used clawed flippers to climb up on the rock. We were completely fascinated.

We had the turtles to ourselves for a good long time before a couple other boats appeared. It usually makes me feel bad to have a group of tourists surrounding animals like that (it happens all the time diving), but everyone was quiet and the turtles seem unphased by all the attention. I later found research saying these Nile Turtles are “critically endangered,” with fewer than 1,000 left.
Sunrise on Dalyan Delta.
They only exist in this area, called the Dalyan Delta. Are these feedings good or bad? I am not sure honestly. It is not good to interfere with the natural cycle of things, but if they are endangered, don’t they need a little help? Right or wrong, I feel very privileged to have seen these bizarre creatures.

Hasan then took the boat further up the river and into a large lake area. We watched an incredible sunrise and thoroughly enjoyed the silence and cool air that surrounded us. We then cruised slowly, flanked by reeds, and saw many birds and some fish that jumped right out of the water and landed with a FLOP. It made us all laugh out loud. The light was so beautiful, and it was peaceful and perfect. What an excellent morning.

Hasan then brought us back to our hotel, where we gulped down some breakfast before going back to the pier.
Why, yes, I'd love some crab, thank you very much.
We had a miscommunication and ended up waiting for Hasan for 30 minutes. He arrived at 8:30am, then we jumped in and headed the other way down the river, to the sea.  

We arrived at a natural harbor and saw fishing boats around the perimeter of the area. We parked next to one of them, where the captain was busy cleaning crab. He gave a crab to Hasan, who put it on a string and started dragging it through the water. We watched expectantly, but…nothing. More dragging the crab, more watching. Nothing. We heard some squealing tourists across the water and could see a turtle popping its head up near their boat! We became impatient as Hasan dragged the desperate crab over and over through the water.

Finally, we saw a shadow, and then…a turtle! This was a Loggerhead Turtle, much different from the freshwater Nile Turtles we had seen earlier.
That crab has no chance.
He was huge! What followed was a cat and mouse game with two very interested but shy turtles. One turtle kept chasing the other turtle away. It was AMAZING to watch. We saw several other boats feeding turtles as well. There are many turtles in the area, as it’s their nesting season and they come to the nearby protected beach to lay eggs.  

The next stop was this beach, called Iztuzu. It is a natural reserve, and is closed from 10pm to 8am so as not to disturb the nocturnal activities of the turtles. A section of the beach has been reserved for sunbathing, and the other side, which is favored by the turtles, appeared to be off limits.  

It was a pretty beach, but we had no interest in sunbathing so we didn’t stay long.
Beautiful Iztuzu beach.
We still had one more activity planned: a visit to Kaunos, Dalyan’s ancient Greek city. It was just up the river, and Hasan let us out to explore on our own. By 10am things are steaming hot here, and today was no exception. Shade was hard to come by, but we were cooled by an ocassional breeze as we explored the sprawling mountainside ruins. When we had had enough, we headed back down to the boat, but through a miscommunication, Hasan had moved the boat to the other side of the site and was expecting us there!  Another driver let us wait in his boat as they called Hasan to come back for us. We waited 45 minutes, chatting with the other driver. He wasted no time getting a marriage proposal out to Lisa for consideration! Very funny.
The theater ruins at Kaunos.


Finally, Hasan showed up, but without the boat…he had made the long WALK from the other side of the mountain. Oh, we were not thrilled by this, as that meant WE had to walk back as well. He took us through a pasture, over rocks, on a dubious route to his boat. It was so hot and seemed to take forever. It was not a fun hike at all.

We eventually got back to our hotel where we enjoyed some R & R. The hotel served an excellent dinner once again, with completely different dishes than last night. A good wrap up to an excellent, excellent day.  

 
 
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Headed out.
Headed out.
Nile Turtles are carnivores and ap…
Nile Turtles are carnivores and a…
Sunrise on Dalyan Delta.
Sunrise on Dalyan Delta.
Why, yes, Id love some crab, than…
Why, yes, I'd love some crab, tha…
That crab has no chance.
That crab has no chance.
Beautiful Iztuzu beach.
Beautiful Iztuzu beach.
The theater ruins at Kaunos.
The theater ruins at Kaunos.
On board and ready for turtles.
On board and ready for turtles.
Mountain reflections.
Mountain reflections.
Double image.
Double image.
Turtle takes the bait.
Turtle takes the bait.
Nile Turtle takes the bait.
Nile Turtle takes the bait.
We had the turtles to ourselves fo…
We had the turtles to ourselves f…
Their sharp claws allow them to cl…
Their sharp claws allow them to c…
Little guy waits in the wings.
Little guy waits in the wings.
Tree reflections.
Tree reflections.
Lisa and Hasan.
Lisa and Hasan.
Sunrise on the delta.
Sunrise on the delta.
Sunrise on the delta.
Sunrise on the delta.
Sunrise on the reeds.
Sunrise on the reeds.
River traffic.
River traffic.
Early morning on Dalyan Delta.
Early morning on Dalyan Delta.
Happy travelers.
Happy travelers.
Goosebumps! I am actually COLD! Fa…
Goosebumps! I am actually COLD! F…
Morning sun on the reeds.
Morning sun on the reeds.
Birds nest hidden in the reeds.
Bird's nest hidden in the reeds.
Delta bird.
Delta bird.
Someones ride.
Someone's ride.
Water bird.
Water bird.
This area has about 180 species of…
This area has about 180 species o…
River scene.
River scene.
River scene.
River scene.
Can you spot the bird in this phot…
Can you spot the bird in this pho…
Ready to go.
Ready to go.
The Carian Tombs carved in rock an…
The Carian Tombs carved in rock a…
The Carian Tombs lit by sunrise.
The Carian Tombs lit by sunrise.
Boating through the delta.
Boating through the delta.
Were not the ONLY ones out at thi…
We're not the ONLY ones out at th…
Not today, thanks.
Not today, thanks.
View of Kaunos ruins from the rive…
View of Kaunos ruins from the riv…
Heeeere, turtle turtle turtle!
"Heeeere, turtle turtle turtle!"
Hey, whered that crab go? Anyone …
Hey, where'd that crab go? Anyone…
Swooping in for a snack.
Swooping in for a snack.
I think he was watching me as he s…
I think he was watching me as he …
Me, shooting turtles.
Me, shooting turtles.
Waiting for the Loggerhead turtles…
Waiting for the Loggerhead turtle…
Lisa is turtle watching.
Lisa is turtle watching.
Who ARE these people watching me e…
Who ARE these people watching me …
Iztuzu beach walk.
Iztuzu beach walk.
Turtle education. Iztuzu is a  Log…
Turtle education. Iztuzu is a Lo…
Iztuzu beach. The turtles lay thei…
Iztuzu beach. The turtles lay the…
Lisa in the sea.
Lisa in the sea.
Got my feet wet.
Got my feet wet.
Didnt want to get his feet wet.
Didn't want to get his feet wet.
Empty beach chairs at Iztuzu .. th…
Empty beach chairs at Iztuzu .. t…
The ruins of Kaunos.
The ruins of Kaunos.
View from Kaunos.
View from Kaunos.
At some point, all these sites sta…
At some point, all these sites st…
Reconstructed wall at Kaunos.
Reconstructed wall at Kaunos.
They built a nest in the ticket bo…
They built a nest in the ticket b…
Taking the secret route to the boa…
Taking the secret route to the bo…
Nile Turtles at Dalyan Delta, Tur…
Dalyan
photo by: ZoeCaitlin