Frank Klaus Jordan
Patara - beach with magic healing powers
as far as the eye can see
We take a sharp turn west before the road between the hills reaches Gelemiş. Soon the asphalt pavement changes into dusty gravel, the farmland disappears and a dry wilderness of bushes forms the new landscape. After two kilometers we turn south-west when a small path opens into the bushes. A couple of minutes later we stop our SUV close to the sand dunes. Climbing the soft sand hills we can't wait to see what's behind. Finally, there it is - Patara Beach, the most natural form of beach culture.
Unspoiled beach and sand dunes as far as the eye can see. The beautiful, white fine sand and the turquoise sea dazzle under the late afternoon sun. From where we entered the beach, there is nothing man-made in sight. Patara is Turkey's longest beach, about 16 km, and has escaped the development of many other beaches around the Mediterranean. Except for a small public beach set-up at the south end, which one can reach through the archaeological site of ancient Patara, there is nothing but unsheltered lonely beach, shallow waters, wind and waves. In addition, It is also the perfect training environment for extensive open water swims along the shore.
There is a reason why this beach is still so pristine. The whole area is a national park, environmentally protected because of the resident loggerhead sea turtles "caretta-caretta". The beach is closed after sunset from May to October to give the turtles peace to build nests and lay their eggs in the warm beach sand. Later, after incubating for around 80 days, hatchlings dig through the sand to the surface, usually at night and enter the ocean by navigating toward the brighter horizon created by the reflection of the moon and starlight off the water's surface. Once in the ocean, these mini turtles swim for about 20 hours, taking them far offshore. An iron compound, magnetite, in their brains allows the turtles to perceive the Earth's magnetic field for navigation. About 20 years later they will come back to Patara for the first time to build their own nests.
taking a dip before sunset
However, we didn't come here for the sea turtles. There is still plenty of time for a dip into the water before the sun goes down. We drop our clothes in the beach sand and jump right into the waves. No need for swim trunks or bikini, we are all alone as far as the beach goes.
Sometime later we are stretched out in the warm dunes and enjoy the approaching sunset. Legend has it that the sands of Patara beach have magic healing powers. We do agree, sitting here, watching the sea, listening to the sound of the waves and enjoying this breathtaking sunset really has some magical healing powers.