Dance with water: Kayaking tours in Turkey
Yes, I was absolutely sure now. Kayaking tours have enriched my life. Actually I was a typical hiking enthusiast. Over time, I began to wonder about coasts, reed beds, rock coves and sea caves I could not reach on foot. I guess this curiosity introduced me to kayaking. Later I found out that the history of kayaking, the oldest of boat sports, goes back to prehistoric ages. In the early ages, boats were built by carving tree trunks, and later the Indians started building boats from beech barks. These primitive vessels used in rapid and turbulent waters by the Indians have been transformed in time and become the instrument used for kayaking today. In addition to the cockpit in the middle, two cabins were added to the front and back as deck compartments. Paddles with single handles and double sides were produced, and offered to water sports enthusiasts with a special aerodynamic structure. With this instrument, you can easily paddle amid rocks, visit one-person beaches, pristine bays and unexplored ancient ruins on coasts you row.
So who can go on a kayak excursion? Simply anyone who is fit enough to go hiking. Kayaks available for one, two and three people have a form which provides easy control even to people with no experience and they can be navigated at every flow rate. Of course, on the condition that all security precautions are taken and key points are kept in mind... Above all, you are required to wear a life jacket incase the kayak capsizes. Once you are seated in the kayak, you put a waterproof skirt around your waist and hang over your shoulders with straps. The kayak does not sink unless it is broken. The only risk is to overturn with the kayak. There are two things to do in such a rare case: First is to keep a level head. Second is to disengage from the kayak, swim to the surface, return to your kayak, and take a proper position. Once you place the food and goods wrapped in waterproof bags in the front and back compartments of your kayak, there are no more obstacles for you to begin your adventure. If you are kayaking for the first time, it is a good idea to gain some experience with a guided group. A few hours of experience usually suffices to learn how to balance kayaks that resemble colorful paper boats sailing in deep blue waters, against the current. Listening to the peaceful sound of water, the rustling of reeds, the song of birds while paddling is an unparalleled delight. You must paddle away from the shore in shallow waters with a depth of 20-25 centimeters so the bottom of the kayak does not graze. One of the privileges kayak offers is that it allows the kayakers to walk, swim and sunbathe at will. You will surely get a bit tired at the kayaking tour that promises unforgettable hours in nature and water’s embrace, but you will definitely be satisfied. Here are three wonderful kayaking routes in different regions of Turkey:
What would you say to discover Kekova with a sea canoe, a neighborhood of Kaş district which hosts a sunken civilization, mysterious islands, Lycian ancient ruins, and single Mediterranean village that cannot be reached from land? You can trace the Lycian civilization by paddling in Turkey’s first national underwater park in Kekova. The 60-kilometer-long parkour commences at Üçağız Cove, and after paddling the shores of Karaloz Bay, Tersane Bay, Sıçak Cape, Kekova Island and Kaleköy (Symena) respectively, you return to the starting point. Üçağız- Kekova-Symena route takes at least two days to complete on kayak, and requires an average of four hours of paddling a day. Is it worth it? It’s not even enough! You can either camp in the sheltered bays that are natural harbors in the area, or stay in a hotel or a hostel. The bays around Kekova are generally calm and sheltered. However, the periphery of Kekova Island may be wavy and rough at times. Next to the Sunken City, Tersane Bay on the western shore of Kekova Island, and partially sunken Lycian tombs are the most exciting stops on the route. Don’t forget to look for the sunken civilization.
Looking for the sunken civilization
Our two-day trip starts in Üçağız village. The village’s antique name is Theimiussa, the white-painted Mediterranean architecture has been preserved, walls decorated with pink, red and white bougainvillea. The village square is surrounded by carpet and souvenir shops, hotels, hostels, cafes, restaurants and bars. Fish restaurants are standing across the boats lined on the dock. It looks like a mysterious oasis decorated with the green hills that the village is leaning against, Lycian graves you can see everywhere, castle ruins, monk caves and rooms carved inside the rocks.
Bafa Lake, Muğla
The mysterious shores of Lake Bafa, which appears as a giant, blue lollipop among the olive trees on Söke-Bodrum highway, are an interesting choice for kayaking. There is a kayaking track of approximately 5 kilometers in the largest lake of the Aegean region near Milas, through rocky shores and isles. Spring months without the scorching Aegean sun are ideal for kayaking tours as well as the September–October period. Kayaking enthusiasts can comfortably row for at least three hours without getting tired due to calm waters and light wind. Navigating over the ruins of the ancient sunken port of Herakleia, the magnificent Karian city, is a truly unique experience.
The dancers of Latmos
Did you know that the oldest rock paintings in Anatolia are found in caves in the Beşparmak (Latmos) Mountains, whose rock formations are reminiscent of an alien planet? Rather than scenes of war and the hunt, these 9,000-year-old wall paintings in a large rock cove with a narrow entrance hidden in a rocky terrain surrounded by olive trees depict the members of a happy family dancing.
Kemaliye Valley, Erzincan
In the eastern province of Erzincan, Kemaliye (formerly Eğin) is very suitable for kayaking as well as all nature sports with its unique geographical characteristics and climate. One of the two branches of the Euphrates River, Karasu has eroded limestone rocks for millions of years, and formed the Kemaliye Valley that is home to a rich habitat and climate diversity. The altitude in Kemaliye Valley changes in a short distance. At mountain steppes at altitudes exceeding 1000 meters, Alpine ecology can be observed due to harsh continental climate, and Mediterranean climate can be observed around the valley. Moreover, the district located on the Silk Road that connects Anatolia to Central Asia, hosts a rich historical and cultural accumulation as well as attracting kayaking enthusiasts with its rare wildlife. It is worth a try, isn’t it?
A village over there…
Apçağa village is 5 kilometers from Kemaliye. The characteristic houses, market place, library, and guesthouses draw interest to the village. After visiting the village, you can stop by Taşdibi Mosque, which dates back to 1635. Next stop is the roar of the Kadıoğlu Falls, streaming down from the Sarıçiçek Mountains. A massive rock called Zincirlikaya was chained to the mountain during the Ottoman era to protect against the possibility of it tumbling down on the district. What’s more, Kemaliye is connected to the Silk Road, built during the Roman period and is around 3 meters wide.