Our final destination was a gorgeous white sand beach and blue lagoon known as Oludeniz. We had been enticed by postcards of the place and had decided to relax there on the last day of our holiday. After several hours of swimming and snorkelling and lying in the sun, my boyfriend decided to have a last dip in the sea before we drove to Fethiye to find a hotel for the night. I waited on the beach guarding my bag, which contained our money, passports and plane tickets. All of our luggage was locked in the back of the car.
He returned from his swim looking distressed “I think I’ve lost the car keys!” “What?” “I think”, he repeated slowly, “I’ve…lost…the…car…keys”. The horror didn’t sink in initially. I rummaged around in the soft, fine sand and checked my bag, but he was convinced he had put them in the pocket of his shorts and that they must have fallen out when he was snorkelling. We took it in turns, using the mask and snorkel, to search the water’s edge, trying to cover the region where we’d been swimming. The sea was crystal clear and so calm that we hoped we might spot the keys under the water. We hunted, fruitlessly, in the area next to the car, thinking that maybe one of us had dropped them when we first arrived, praying that they might be on the ground beside the driver’s door, or still in the ignition. We even tried to break into the car, but without the appropriate tools it was impossible. The absolute dreadfulness of our situation gradually began to register. It was 5.30 p.m., we were on an almost deserted beach, twelve kilometres from the nearest village. We had a car but no keys. All of our clothes and worldly goods, apart from our money and passports and plane tickets, were locked in the boot of the car. I was dressed in a bikini and a see-thru sundress, covered in sand and sun oil. He was dressed in swimming shorts, wet T-shirt, mask, snorkel and fins. We didn’t even have a comb between us. The next morning we had arranged to be at Dalaman airport – two hours’ drive away – at 11.30 a.m., to return the rental car and fly back to Istanbul. The car had been rented in Istanbul so that was where the spare set of car keys would be. If we missed our plane the next morning, we would have to wait three days for another flight and would subsequently miss our flight back to London.