The main river boat excursion is a half day trip including breakfast (although dusk, and probably other on demand trips are available).
The boats used are fairly small river boats, and have a capacity of about 10 people - you can squeeze more in but it could get tight, and difficult to move around.
You normally meet the boat on the Azmak river, 200 metres or so upstream of the Ottoman Residence, Villas Vali, etc, at 8am. Once embarked, the boat makes its way down the river to the harbour. Keep a good look out, along the banks you can see turtles, and, if you are lucky, the occasional kingfisher. The waters are incredibly clear, as well as freezing cold, and many fish can be seen in the deep waters.
Once through the harbour, the boat makes its way south across the bay (past the conservation beach and the deserted nightclub) to the mouth of the Akcapinar river. This river is very different from the Azmak. As well as being tidal, it is much wider, and frequented by many small fishing boats.
Approximately 2 km upstream, the boat will moor up, and breakfast will be cooked and served. Obviously, this will be a fairly simple Turkish breakfast, with bread, cheese, tomatoes, honey, etc, but will also include fried eggs, cay, and Nescafe. Note that you can go ashore here if you want, and wander around the conservation area.
Once you have eaten your fill, the boat makes its way a short distance further upstream, to the remnants of an ancient bridge (the precursor to the Marmaris road?), before turning round and making its way back to the mouth of the river, and then across the bay to Cinar beach (this is why the trips start so early – later in the day, the sea gets too choppy for a boat designed for use on rivers). Keep an eye out for the yellow ‘blobs’ beneath the water, these are jellyfish, but as long as you don’t fall out of the boat, you are perfectly safe!
The z-shaped Cinar beach, some 2 km west along the coast from Akayaka, is famous from many of the scenic photographs of the area, and has recently been tidied up, and a wooden bridge and walkway built. This has created a small ‘pond’ in the river, in which can be found frogs, eels, turtles, etc. Watch out for people like my son pushing you off the walkway. Although the water is less than waist deep, it is freezing cold, and the challenge here is to see how long (if at all) you can stay immersed in the water.
Some friendly advice – Cinar beach is very stony. To walk along the beach with nothing on your feet is very painful. If you intend to go swimming, you will find that you need something on your feet just to wade in the water, so a pair of plastic (waterproof) sandals or similar is the ideal footwear for the day, rather than flip-flops.
Cinar also has a café and toilets (the first ones of the day!). The boat normally stays here an hour or so (very much your choice as to how long), giving you plenty of time to swim in the sea, snorkel (occasionally you may see a baby octopus), fish from the rocks, or just chill, before making its way back along the coast to Akyaka, and the mouth of the Azmak.
With the current state of the rickety bridge, if the tide is high you may end up finishing the trip here. However, if the conditions allow, and the boat can get under the bridge, then the trip continues back up the Azmak, past where you embarked, to a deep pool set to one side of the river. This is an opportunity for the (very) brave to dive in, or creep in slowly, as this is probably the coldest water you will ever swim in. You can easily believe that this water is straight off the mountains (as it is), and that it was snow and ice about 5 minutes before you were daft enough to leap in!
Nevertheless, it is extremely refreshing, and an ideal end to the trip, serving both to cool you down, and wash off any salt left over from Cinar. Once everyone is back on board (you will find you get out a lot quicker than you get in), then the boat returns to the starting point, arriving at around 1pm.
The cost of the trip is around £10 per adult, children half price or free, depending on age and numbers.