There is a moment in the early morning, as the blood-red sun comes round the towering bulk of Babadag mountain and sucks up the mist, turning the sea to beaten pewter, when Cold Water Bay seems like the most beautiful place on earth.
It’s a small cove, a nick in the rugged, pine-clad range of capes in southern Turkey that make up what the tourist board people call the Turquoise Coast.
It’s near the town of Fethiye (about 45 minutes from Dalaman airport) and it’s Ali Tuna’s kingdom. My wife and I have been coming here since Ali was little more than a lad doing barbecues on the beach.
Comely cove: Azure waters greet visitors in southern Turkey also known as the Turquoise Coast
Now he and Pavarotti, the singing donkey who does all the fetching and carrying, have built an alfresco restaurant up the hillside, decked with bowers of bougainvillea and Maltese plums.
There’s a snake in this paradise. In the late morning the tourist boats arrive, with their music and their hordes from the honeypots of Oludeniz and Hisaronu. They come for the beauty and, for a time, ruin it.
In the heat of the day, they jump off the cliffs into water that pulses with icy currents from the freshwater springs that give the place its name…