Butterfly Cove October 23

Whenever I'm having a bad day at work, I close my eyes and retreat to my happy place: Butterfly Cove.
4 hours after I had gone to sleep with the rising sun, I heard the silver tones of the breakfast bell and hurried to get dressed (i.e. put on my swimsuit). When I stepped onto the deck I saw we were bobbing in a bay with rich indigo water, apricot coloured cliffs and dark green vegetation. There were grey plumes of smoke acsending lazily into the sky from within the greenery.
"OK," Zafir leaned on an empty chair as we munched on breakfast. "This is Butterfly Cove. We will be here one and half hours to walk around. You can walk the trail to the waterfall and then to the pools."
Kirsty and I looked at each other; heck yeah!
"But it costs 10 Lira," Zafir finished.
"That puts me out of the hike," Mark declared, sipping his coffee. Since his dream-shattering e-mail from UIB, Mark had whittled his travel expenses down to the essentials (mostly beer). There was no cost, however, for exploring the beach.
Ali shuttled me, Marcus, Syrah, Jonah, and Kirsty to the shore. Only a tiny patch of the water was bathed in sunlight, but the water was warm on our feet nonetheless. We dried off our feet, put our shoes on and walked up the pebble beach, following signs that said, "butterfly trail."
By a shack with flowers and piles of dried leaves a lone Turk sat at a wooden table. It was to him we forked out our 10 Lira and continued on our way. This landscape was like nothing I had experienced in Turkey, so far. While most of the country had been very arid, the palm fronds and dark green tree folliage reminded forcibly of The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. When we saw Turks burning plant matter in piles in the fields, I did jump a little bit. But they just smiled and waved. No guns.
We were provided with a guide, actually, though I never found out his name. He was very energetic, constantly running back and forth between Kirsty, at the front of the line, and Jonah, at the back. He wore a beautiful leather colour studded with the eye talismans (like I said, they are everywhere). He was a dog, if you're not getting my meaning, and he stayed with us the entire time.
Along the path way were signs that asked us to be quiet so as not to disturb the butterflies. Butterflies, it seems to me, are delicate creatures; on this earth only to remind us of beauty and to pollinate flowers for 6 weeks. Almost anything can disturb them: Shouting, walking to heavily, touching plants. I just imagine them in butterfly therapy, sniffling into a handkerchief and crying about the lack of personal space, the callous carelessness of human beings.
The trail started out as a clearly marked strip of gravel cutting through the jungle. 15 minutes later it had relaxed into a line of bedrock that the trees and vines could not get a grip on. It began to incline steadily upwards, and we found ourselves seeking out handholds, using our calf muscles to push ourselves further into the valley.
Our guide had quickly lost interest in this hike at the first experience of difficulty. He had some trouble gaining purchase with his paws. I was also not having such a good time with my shoes. There were streams of watrer slipping down the rock, and the towel traped over my shoulder was starting to get in the way. So I deposited them by a tree and climbed on barefoot. When my bare toes first were washed by the fresh water I gasped with delight. At a certain point, swimming endlessly in the salty sea, you forget the luxury of fresh water, the cleanliness of it and just how refreshing it is. Kirsty and I clambered further over the boulders, climbing up a bonafied, if rather small, stream before looking down and realising that if we went further we might have some difficulty getting down.
Kirsty paused at one level, finding some fresh water that tumbled down in a mild little waterfall. She ducked under, savouring the lack of salt content and the clarifying bite to the water.
"You should try it," she said, shaking out her head.
I grinned and shook my head. "Nah. I dipped my feet in it, that was enough."
Syrah, Marcus and Jonah climbed down from their perch, dripping water and flushed with exhiliration at bathing in a waterfall that we had to climb, barefoot to, accessible only by boat.
You have to admit, that is a pretty singular experience.
When we came down from the rock face, the little dog raced out of the underbrush, ecstatic at having found us again. He rushed back and forth between each of us, to make sure we were all there.
At the beach, we stood surveying the boat bobbing in the water, feeling the sea breeze. "You know," Kirsty said, "I think I'm going to swim back to the boat." She went up to Veronica and Nathan and asked if they wouldn't mind taking her shorts, shoes and towel back in the skiff.
"That sounds like a really good idea," Syrah nodded and surveyed the remaining people available who could look after her belongings. Katherine and James were wandering, examining stones and shells on the beach. "Hmm, maybe." She went up to talk with them, Marcus and Jonah following her.
"Veronica," I said.
"Would you mind taking my stuff with you in the skiff?" I gave her my sweetest, most golden, and hardest to refuse smile.
"Now, hold on," Veronica shifted the bundle of Kirsty's clothes from one arm to the other. "I've got your sister's things, and Jonah has just asked me to take his things too."
"Oh, well, then nevermind," I backed off.
"I don't mind, but I am only one person with only two hands."
I took another step back. "It's not problem, I'll take the skiff."
"I can take your things," Nathan offered.
All the while the dog was prancing back and forth on the beach, clearly excited and impatient for the next adventure facing him. When Kirsty went into the water, he jumped in also, doggy-paddling furiously to keep up with her.
"No," Kirsty cooed to him, "you have to stay there, we can't take you with us." The dog swam in a few circles, clearly confused by the sudden halt and Kirsty pointing to whence he had just come. When Ali zoomed by with the skiff motor growling loudly in the cove, the dog decided the cove did indeed need his guard services from these terrible, noisy beings.
Jonah and I jumped in the water, both intending to beat Ali back to the gulet. It was so warm, so blue and kept us so bouyant. If you ever need a confidence boost in your swimming abilities, do all your swimming excersises in salt water. You can slice through the water with a front crawl for half an hour and not feel remotely tired.
Jonah and I treaded water, bobbing up and down, as we waited for Kirsty and Syrah to finnish washing themselves off on the stairway. "Even in the shade, the water's still amazing," I remarked to him.
"I know,it's great."
Number of butteflies seen at Butterfly Cove: 3
Fruit and Vegetable Servings: 3 at breakfast.


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