Day 20: Ruins of Aperlae to Kamilik Burun (including the ruins of Simena)

Calm waters to start the hike

Last night was just cool enough to snuggle up under a heavy blanket on the deck, and the stars were again abundant. The boat hardly  moved all night, and we went to sleep to the sound of wild pigs foraging and the sound of laughter from a house at the far side of the lagoon. It was just about perfect. As we were getting ready to leave for the day we had one final turtle sighting. Do you think they are as curious about us as we are about them?

We met up with Andreas at the shore and he told us the pigs came sniffing around at 2 a.m. he had to yell to scare them off. Boy, would those pigs be disappointed if they knew he was only packing muesli, dried fruit, and chocolate! Osman told us the wild pigs are such a problem for the shepherds that they invite hunters to shoot them. Some hunting parties can kill dozens of these pigs in a day, and we haven’t met anyone in this area yet who doesn’t admit to eating wild pig if offered. It might be the only time you can actually get pork in this country.

We left the area around the Purple House at 7:15 and began walking for another short day. The way the land is situated, this route is actually across a small isthmus. Today might be the only one where Osman has to travel further than we do to meet up.

Walking to the water

We’re getting pretty used to walking without a pack, having meals prepared for us, and sleeping on the boat. It will be a rude awakening when we go back to camping…yet I think we’re ready for it.

The walk today was good – easy but through narrow rocky paths. Sherry was a bit slower due to her full pack and the heat, so we took longer than expected. We’re hopeful she will become comfortable with the pack before we get to the mountain portion…she certainly is trying! We’re glad we took the prep walk on The West Highland Way in Scotland a couple of months ago. That experience really helped us be ready for this walk and carrying a pack for days at a time.

Hiking through the rocks

Today we got our first glimpse of the mountain we’ll be climbing in the next few days. It looks so harmless from this vantage point…

We arrived at the village of Üçagiz around 10:30 a.m. and found Andreas, who had walked ahead, sitting in the shade near the water. Üçagiz is a cute little town with plenty of pansiyons, restaurants, and shops. After a short break, we began walking toward the castle (Simena) via the road, which took about 30 minutes. The ruins are incredible and look out over the water on the other side. This was some prime ancient real estate! We arrived at midday when the sun was high, but we can see where early morning or evening photographs would be stunning from the top.

Fishing nets and the castle

We walked down the other side of the fortress via steps and found Captain Osman tied up to the pier waiting for us. We invited Andreas to stay on the boat with us overnight since the last suitable camping spots we found were about 1-1/2 hours after Aperlae when we first saw Üçagiz in the distance. He gladly joined us and we had a great lunch after Osman showed us the sunken city across the water from the fortress. So strange to see steps leading into the water and the tops of buildings below!

The Sunken City

Osman recommended a better stop for the night, so we laced up our shoes, motored over to the shore, and took a 45-minute walk from Simena to the boathouse restaurant at Kamilik Burun. There is plenty of flat ground here if you want to camp, though you may have to clear some rocks.

We met Osman again and loaded up on the boat to swim, lounge with books, maps and journals. It was a great last night on the boat, and we’re happy to share it with our new friend Andreas. We spent some time haggling over where to stop tomorrow, and Osman gave us an idea for an interesting detour on the way to Myra.

A final night on the boat awaits

And the surprise of the night was a peek inside Andreas’ 33-kg backpack, which contains a brick of high-quality chocolate bars from Colombia. We devoured a good chunk of it with coffee and enjoyed fish for dinner that Osman caught this morning.

The last treat before our final night of sleeping under the stars was watching a wet-suited snorkeler with a strong light swim near our boat looking for fish. Osman says nighttime fishing is common, but to us it looked like Jason Bourne or James Bond on a secret mission! The greenish glow from the light in the water and the occasional sound of breathing from his tube was hypnotic and a perfect end to the night.

We’re going to miss this boat, but alas even the fantastic Captain Osman can’t steer a boat inland!

Daily Stats

Where We Stayed

On Captain Osman’s boat, the Selin-3!

Hours Walked

4:30

Perks

The fortress of Simena, old Roman walls on our walk, the sunken city, Colombian chocolate, and nighttime divers.

Problems

Problems, what problems? :)