Turgay Kaya is a local man, born in Köyceğiz and living in Dalyan since the age of two. One of the most sociable people in Dalyan, he has used this personality trait to build a career in tourism having done bar jobs since the age of 21. But it is the water that is his life. Being a local, it is not surprising that he has learned to love the water as the town is surrounded by it, but over the years, Turgay has taken his interest in all things related to the sea and the river to the next level, using it to build a life for himself.
Life on the Lake
The system with newborns in Turkey was a little different to the way it works at home in the UK. It is tradition in Turkey that a newborn shouldn’t leave the house, set its feet on the ground or see visitors for 40 days as it is said to bring bad luck to the child. This being so, when Turgay was born the council would travel out to the homes of locals who had just had a baby in order to register the child. As a result, Turgay was registered on the 17th of May 1985, but he is unsure of exactly how old he is. He jokes that he could actually be ten years older, but suspects that his birthday could be a couple of years out. Whatever the case, he thinks of himself as a 31 year old man, living in Dalyan and in love with the water.
Beautiful Waters of Dalyan
When Turgay was two years old, his family moved to a farm in Dalyan and that is where they all live to this day. The family now own 10,000 square metres of land where they farm pomegranates and animals such as sheep, goats and chickens. They also own a greenhouse which measures at 2,000 square metres where they grow vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, garlic, cucumbers, spinach and beans. The family sell their fresh and sunshine grown produce to various companies in Turkey and they are then exported to countries inside of the EU and Russia.
Turgay went to school in nearby village Eskiköy close to his family home but didn’t go to high school. At the age of 12 he started to work on the family farm and after two years decided to work for a local business as a welder, a job which he still does today in the winter time. At the young and vibrant age of 21, Turgay was lured into the world of tourism and found work during the summer time as a barman. He first worked at Delta Bar and then at Viva, neither of which exist today but were prominently placed on the main street in town just behind the river. Soon enough however, Turgay’s love of the water was temptation too much and he decided to follow his dream of being a boat captain.
Turgay’s working relationship with the water didn’t just begin in 2013 when he decided to own a boat, at the age of just 20, he was taken under the wing of an older fisherman who taught him how to free dive to catch fish. Initially, he saw it as an opportunity to be on and in the water with friends, but soon he was learning how to control his breath to stay under the water for longer and as each year passed, he would find himself being able to dive deeper and deeper. He can now hold his breath for one and a half minutes and can dive 20 metres without a breathing aid. Turgay says that there are 13kg of weights attached to his diving suit and initially when he enters the water he lets his body sink naturally as this takes up less energy and saves his oxygen. He does swim the last few metres however and using a spear gun, catches fish which he then sells to local restaurants and families. His usual catches include White Grouper, Red Snapper, Octopus, Squid, Sea Bass, Sea Bream, Cray Fish and Grey Mullet, all from the Mediterranean Sea that surrounds the shores of Iztuzu and the Dalyan Delta. Turgay’s proudest fishing achievement was being able to catch a Baracuda which he said was the same size as him.
Watch our short film about Turgay here!
In 2013, Turgay Kaya decided that he wanted to become a boat captain and invested 65,000 lira (approx. £15,000) in materials to build his own boat. From scratch, he build the hull from wood, with fibre glass on the top and did the surrounding chrome welding himself. He sanded, he painted and he crafted day and night to get the boat ready. They had a bad winter that year with an unusual amount of rain and so the boat was a little late getting onto the water, but despite these setbacks, Turgay has become the busiest boat captain in Dalyan and he has many more plans for this year.
Building his Boat From Scratch
Turgay’s boat looks beautiful and already has some fantastic features like an on board toilet, kitchen, barbecue and diving platform, along with comfortable cushioned seats that are more like sofas once you are sat on them and sun beds at the front of the boat. This year, he is fitting solar panels to the roof of the boat so that he can have mobile electricity which will mean he can run a fridge freezer and sell ice creams to his customers. In the next few weeks he will also be the first boat owner in Dalyan to have onboard wifi.
The Barbaerousse as a Shell
I have personally experienced one of Turgay’s boat trips and I have spoken to many others who have too, and I can attest that the main priority for Turgay is that his guests have the best day possible on his boat. He is also a fantastic judge of character, mood and style and perfectly adapts his boat trips to suit the customer. If you are a group of young adults, you’ll get the loud music and the dancing, the swimming in the lake and endless supplies of booze. If you are a on a family holiday with children, he will spend time pointing out places of interest, the natural environment and animals and birds while cooking you a fantastic meal. If you are couple, he will provide for you the most romantic experience you could ever imagine under the stars. With Captain Turgay, there is something for everyone.
Family and Friends
Special Custom Made Events
Turgay can custom build your boat trip to meet your needs and desires and will take you wherever the water will allow him to go should you make a request, but there are two standard boat trips that he offers. Both trips include food and Turgay barbecues homemade burgers and marinated chicken with stuffed mushrooms, salad, rice and the world’s best homemade chips. Drinks are not included but are very reasonably priced.
Daily Boat Trips
Daily Boat Trip: 10am - 5/6pm
Dalyan Rock Tombs, Crab Fishing, Time and the Beach, Lunch on Board, Swimming in Köyceğiz Lake, Private Mud Baths.
2 People - 400TL
4 People - 500TL
6 People - 600TL
8 People - 700TL
Moonlight Boat Trips
Moonlight Trip: Swimming in Köyceğiz Lake, Watch the Sunset, Private Mud Baths, Dinner Under the Stars.
2 People - 300TL
4 People - 400 TL
6 People - 500 TL
8 People - 600 TL
Drinks Price List:
Water - 2TL
Soft Drinks - 5TL
Beer - 10TL
Wine - 10TL per glass
Ice Creams - 10TL (Magnum)
Ice Lollies - 7TL
When asked what he saw for the future of Dalyan, he said that he would never leave Dalyan, he loves it so much. He said that the town is much, much quieter this year and believes that there are too many restaurants (over 100) and too many boats (594) for such a small town, especially with a dwindling number of tourists, but that he is not worried. Turgay believes that Dalyan is like heaven, such a relaxing places with lots to do, which is why people keep coming back and so Dalyan will always survive. One thing that he impressed upon was that the local people love the tourists and they love to show off their beautiful town to whoever comes to visit.
Really, once you are on the water, there is no better person in Dalyan to show the town off. Turgay Kaya is one of the friendliest and fun tour guides in the area and is incredibly knowledgable about local history, architecture and nature. If you are looking for a fun day out on the water, Turgay and his boat ‘The Barbaerousse’. You can contact him by phone on 0090 531 203 8968.
The Dalyan exposé has begun! The project will run until the 23rd of May and will include a lot of exciting articles and videos on our YouTube channel with interesting interviews with business owners and those who work in tourism in Turkey. We'll also be tackling safety issues and what terrorism means for Turkey and the beautiful riverside town of Dalyan.