We arrived by bicycle to Simena, the ancient Lycian sunken city of Turkey. Often referred to as Kekova, this picturesque region of Turkey encompasses the island of Kekova, the villages of Kalekoy and Ucagiz and three ancient towns including Simena.
Trading in our biking gear for life jackets and sea kayaks we headed to the sea. Prior to departure our cycling guide, now turned kayaking instructor, suggested that couples not share a kayak.
It had been her experience that unless people were experienced at paddling together, the partnership of paddles was a recipe for relationship disaster.
We all smiled and got into the kayaks with our spouses. She rolled her eyes and braced for the worst.
Within 15 minutes of paddling we arrived at Kalekoy (“castle village”), a tiny habitation of rock that is only accessible by boat. As we came around the edge of an island hiding the ruins of ancient Simena and a Crusader fortress standing guard over the hamlet, a sarcophagus tomb greeted us from the turquoise waters.
Our experience in Turkey had been wherever we turned; the road side, the edge of an island or out at sea, ruins often more than a thousand years old lay before us.
No big deal apparently if you live in Turkey. These Canadians squealed with delight. (All right truth be told I was doing the squealing and Dave was snapping photos.)
We headed to more open sea and the marital test for couples in double kayaks began in earnest. Dave and I have some kayaking experiencing together so we were ahead of the game in having worked out conflicts. Accidental paddle wounds to the head have healed beautifully.
Thankfully no audio exists of those preliminary outings.
Not mentioning any names, one twosome were quickly into a serious paddle predicament. With the kayak rocking precariously and much arguing about who should paddle when, they made their way zig zagging across the water.
Our guide just sat back in her kayak with the ” I told you so” grin written all over her face.
Turkey’s Sunken City Ruins of Simena
With muttering echoing across the Turkish waters behind us, we came to the shore of the next island were the remains of ‘Batik Sehir’ or ‘sunken city’ lay. Today above water is the remnant of a Byzantine city, hit by a series of catastrophic earthquakes in the second century AD.
Below the water in the sunken city, lie walls and mosaics of buildings, so protected from destruction that the only way one can get close is by sea kayak. The downshift of the earth caused by the earthquakes has left stairs descending into the water where half submerged houses now lay, gone but not forgotten.
Following a break on shore, the prospect of divorce at sea was remedied with switching of partners for the return paddle back.
All the time our guide wore the grin of quiet satisfaction.
Have you found any activities that are challenging for you and your partner?