A year or so ago we would have told you ‘We are not beach people.’ Both of us enjoy swimming, but beaches, we considered boring. We’d been to a couple during our various trips to Turkey but we’d never actually sat on one or taken anything more than a very quick dip in the sea. We’d jump into a hotel pool (if there was one handy) after a day trekking round dusty countryside or ruins but we wouldn’t spend time sitting on a beach.
This year has been different. Since we got back from Ayvalik in early July the weather has been hot, hot, hot. And we have the Harley. All we need to do to get to the beach is pack a bag and jump on the bike. No worries about getting the dolmuş back with shoes and hair full of sand and salt (getting the dolmuş back from Pamucak is no joke at the best of times – some of them don’t stop and they are often full).
What we tend to do now is to get the evening meal mostly ready then go the beach mid to late afternoon, stay a couple of hours and do any necessary shopping on the way home.
Mostly we go to Pamucak which is a long, Westward facing stretch of soft sand backed by a wetland nature preserve. There area couple of cafes which hire out beach umbrellas and sun loungers. Hired shade is a necessity for us as we can’t carry an umbrella on the bike. The sea at Pamucak can be quite turbulent with strong undercurrents. It rarely looks clean because it’s so sandy – the sand gets all stirred up. It is clean in the sea though as, when it is calm, you can see your feet. It slopes very gently so you have to go a long way out to get out of your depth. We think this is the reason that it’s warming up so much, last time we went it was like stepping into a warm bath. It’s also quite crowded where the umbrellas are and, increasingly the sand is full of people’s rubbish. Cigarette butts everywhere, drinks cans, mussel shells and, probably, worse. There are bins but no one seems to bother to use them. Away from the umbrellas the beach is uncluttered, but there is no shade…
We have tried other beaches, slightly further afield. Claros beach is gorgeous and clean though so stony that you need to wear shoes whilst swimming. The seating is in under proper shade away from the actual shore, which might help to keep things clean – we haven’t been there in high season… yet. At Ahmetbeyli beach the sea is clear, cool and clean, the beach is pebbly rather than stony. It was very crowded when we went. The man who collects money for the umbrellas and loungers was a bit worried about approaching us for money and waited till his friend who spoke some English appeared. It was 10 lira, same as Pamucak and not unreasonable. Sadly, the area around the parasols was almost as dirty as at Pamucak.