No matter where you live, it’s easy to get sucked into a routine.
You get up, have breakfast – and so it begins. You may not do exactly the same every day, but there’s still probably a pattern which feels comfortable.
It’s not that you don’t want to do anything different. It’s just doing the “normal” stuff is usually enough to fill your day. Sometimes you’ll make the effort of course, perhaps to accommodate time with friends and family. But, generally, we tend to be creatures of habit and a break from the usual routine requires planning or effort and, let’s face it, it’s often easier not to bother.
Take the trip from Fethiye to Çalış as an example. There are plenty of ways to complete it; by car, by bicycle or electric buggy, on foot along the Kordon, or even by dolmuş. Each is a practical method and usually a simple A-to-B exercise – although the views across the bay make it a little more enjoyable than your average plod through a grey cityscape.
But devotees will already be indignantly demanding the inclusion of another option – the water taxi.
It’s true, it’s by no means the speediest. At the moment, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, boats are only running every hour so, if you miss one, there’s a while to wait for the next. The trip itself is also a little over half an hour so a round trip is going to take up the best part of a morning or afternoon.
That’s probably not great if you’re a fan of routine who feels that squandering so much time is an extravagance.
But then perhaps that’s the point. Maybe the water taxi shouldn’t be viewed simply as a method of transport but more an experience to be relished.
It’s not about getting there but being there. It’s an opportunity to sit back, soak up the sounds of the gentle chug of the engine, the water hissing along the keel, a chance to witness cormorants performing their disappearing acts, to watch kingfishers darting among the reed beds, the sunlight dancing on the sea… In other words, all the things many of us probably left our native shores to enjoy.
Admittedly, it’ll cost a bit more than a dolmuş; currently, a one-way ticket is 13TL, purchased in advance from the ticket office at either end.
But then, in a currency many like to use as a yardstick, it’s less than the price of bottle of Efes – a small price to pay for an opportunity to touch base with the Mediterranean, perhaps peer into yachts owned by affluent Russian oligarchs and wave awkwardly at passengers aboard other water taxis heading on the return trip.
Something else to bear in mind is that each vessel and its captain are members of the Çalış Co-operative, which also operates the day boats which run the trips out into Fethiye Bay. In other words, your 13TL isn’t just going into an individual’s pocket but helping to cover the costs of an operation which provides jobs for dozens of people through the summer.
As a result of a proper management structure, current precautions against the spread of COVID-19 are also being taken seriously. Passengers can expect to have their temperatures taken with remote sensors, facemasks are required (at least on boarding), boats are disinfected regularly while the Çalış embarkation point even includes a decontamination cubicle which gently sprays a fine mist of disinfectant which each passenger must walk through.
If you’re visiting Fethiye, a water taxi trip is certainly something to add to the itinerary – perhaps supplemented by a stroll along the Kordon or Çalış prom and lunch or dinner at one of the many cafes and restaurants.
But, even if you’re a resident – new or long-term – the water taxi still provides the opportunity for a little indulgence in the sort of life everyone back at home probably thinks you enjoy on a daily basis anyway. So, why not enjoy it – at least once in a while?