Now sailing Turkey wasn’t originally on the cards whilst I was planning this trip to Europe but an opportunity had arisen which I had hoped for years ago and I wasn’t about to let it slip. On my last trip to Europe I had made an after movie and posted it on Vimeo which is a video hosting website just like Youtube. I was contacted by a man named Rob, who is head of marketing for a company called Busabout. Now Busabout is one of the leaders in the travel industry competing along side Contiki and Topdeck. Rob had seen I had previously sailed with Busabout and seen my video and travel blog and contacted me in regards to doing some work for Busabout. This could not have come at a better time as I just so happened be in Europe at the time. Long story short Rob was able to get me on the Sail and I had to extended my trip just so I could make this specific date and make it home in time for a wedding. Now I almost didn’t go ahead with this because I had very little time to make it all work whilst I was in the Greek Island’s but I am so glad I did or else I would have regret it every single day. Now all the sail is said and done I have continued a good relationship with some of my work being published with Busabout and hopefully there are more future endeavours. Also having worked with Busabout meant I could use this in my folio piece for sourcing other companies to ultimately get me on more free tours in exchange for work is the ultimate dream job for me.
I arrived to the port of Fethiye reasonably early after my hectic thirteen hour overnight bus and check in wasn’t until the afternoon and I had arrived at around 9am. Seeing as though I had some time to burn I decided to get a fresh cut from a Turkish Barber nearby as my hair was getting a out of control. Now I didn’t have much expectations walking in there but was pleasantly surprised with the killer job i walked out of there with which cost me something like $10 which consisted of the cut, shave and a wash. It would have probably been a better idea to catch a bus to the port where I needed to be but I made my way on foot, this was a decision I would soon hate myself for as i pouring sweat for the whole 2km. The weather in Turkey is damn hot being close to the equator and I was still in the early hours of the morning. I waited at a restaurant and sucked the life out of the internet and downloaded the second last episode of Suits and a few movies to burn some time. After I finished my grilled fish I made my way to V Go office where they were organising all the people and boats, this was where I met what was to be my family for the week. There waiting were my two buddies from Ios both Jess and Brooke. I was given the heads up through Dean that they were coming to sail and fortunately were on my boat. Sailing was something I was familiar with previously sailing in Croatia with Busabout and I knew what was ahead of me, a week of kicking back hard tanning, eating and drinking. In total there were 15 people on our boat the ‘Sener Kaptan’, we were sailing along side a total of two other Busabout boats and one Topdeck. Depending on the time of the year you book it will vary and since we were coming towards end of season there was four. We all got paired up with people to share a cabin with my partner was Scotty aka Ken who was also from Melbourne. Everyone was assigned rooms with there partners for sleeping but was used more of a place of storage and showering as everybody sleeps above deck as it is too dam hot to sleep down stairs comfortably. The first night was more of a socialising aspect where we got to know our family for the week, all of us were Australian spread over most of the major cities the most being Melbourne and a group of girls who were living in London. We sailed for a brief amount of time in the sunset where we dropped the anchor for the night and shared our first family dinner. One thing I really love about sailing is the quality of food. We had the captains family on board helping out and their daughter who was only sixteen was the chef and man could she cook. After traveling for nearly three months it was so good to have food like rice and vegetables as well as some traditional Turkish food my body began loving me again after nearly abandoning me in Ibiza.
I awoke the next morning to the sound of the boat’s engine, we had set sail fairly early to get to our next destination before breakfast. Sleeping on top of the boat was really nice, a little damp but most nights we got to sleep under the stars which reminded me of the Sahara Desert and I flinging loved it. Due to the fact that we were sailing the coast there wasn’t to many lights or pollution providing a decent view at night. That feeling of the cool sea breeze in the morning was very refreshing and got me started for the day and I would usually go to the front of the boat Titanic style to bad there was no Kate. As soon as the anchor dropped I jumped straight into the coldish Mediterranean Sea which was an instant wake up that soon became a regular routine. It wasn’t long until we stopped at our next pit stop Butterfly Valley which was pretty amazing and there was the option of exploring the island which was filled with butterflies on it but I bailed because I didn’t want to risk getting my camera damaged in the water after all I was technically on the boat for work so I didn’t want to jeopardise it a day in. We stayed for a bit and made our way to the next stop where you could go on the donuts, most the girls all went on for the ride and the boys remained. This was my first proper introduction to Greg aka the Bogan Correspondent he was a very unique fella I’ll tell you that much. He was in charge of giving everyone nicknames on the boat and mine was Wong Fu and I think you can guess why. He was about three tabs of Lucy in and insisted I join him on his trip. I was reluctant to begin with but eventually came around I was on holidays and feeling good for anything to go wrong. We kicked back and soaked in some sunshine and enjoyed my mild hallucinations, they weren’t as strong as I have tried but enough to get on a good buzz whilst on the boat. We made our way to our stop for the night St Nicholas Island. It was there we docked and made our climb to the top I think there is a small fee like $5 upon entry. By the time we reached our viewing spot I was sweating bricks but luckily I had the marvellous view to enjoy. You could see our boats and far beyond because we were so high up. Up the top we chilled and drunk some wine with my new friends as we gradually watched the sunset. Everyone pulled out their cameras and snapped what was too be the most impressive view all sail. It was only day 2 and I was loving it hard.
Since I was on the boat technically for work I made sure I participated in all the extra curricular activities. I wanted to capture as much footage as possible to do a good job. One of the activities was Scuba Diving another thing that was on the list and definitely worth ticking off since I was here in Turkey. I was the only one from my boat keen on doing so and because we were on a bit of time schedule it was more of an introductory into scuba diving as a full course requires a license and time before you can go properly solo. I sat down and got the training on what I was to do with the breathing and hand signals, believe it or not this was the first time I’d actually put on a full wetsuit I’m still waiting for you Lee to take me surfing. I dived in with my instructor and at first it is a bit weird having all these tanks and tubes in your mouth but you get the hang of it. I dove to the bottom of the Coast and explored what ever marine life there the best I got was an octopus. It was pretty cool experience and when I have some more time I plan on getting my full license and dive solo. At this stop as well it gave us a chance to buy some inflatable lilos for the water for some extra comfort. Seeing as though we were pretty much in the water most the time it made sense to have a lounge suite in the water. Our boat offered three different types of alcoholic beverages: ciders, beers and bottles of wine for a reasonable price. They have a tab system there where you pay later which could prove disastrous for some who get carried away but you can monitor to see if you can afford it. Pretty much everyday everyone would be drinking, some more then others but with the climate a beer always went down a treat. Being in the sun this last leg of the trip was the best it felt almost as if I could finally relax after the massive trip this far. There was plenty of tanning and afternoon naps and a lot of people would find this boring but for me I am more then happy to kick back hard sip on a cider and soak in some sun rays. While I was there I finally learned how to play Backgammon which is pretty popular in Turkey. I had always wondered on how to play and our tour guide had showed me and beat me pretty badly. Later that night we were to dock at the smugglers cove. This was our first chance to party on land with a pirate party theme and all the boats slowly dropped us off one by one to the cove. Was seriously one of the most fun nights everyone pretty much let loose, no police to tell us off and everyone was getting shitfaced. We drunk and danced for most of the night and I ended up swimming back to the boat half pissed leaving my thongs at the cove, I made it back alive so it was all good and wound down with the rest of my crew.
During our visit to Gokkaya we got the chance to explore the Sunken City on kayaks. This was the most physical activity I was to have all trip fortunately for us the water was flat making it a nice scenic row. We cruised by the Sunken City in a big group and I took full advantage of the scenery with my waterproof Gopro there was no chance I was bringing my big camera I made that mistake in Croatia already. Unfortunately we were not allowed to stop and get off to explore due to vandal’s ruining the heritage site. We later stopped off in the city where we had a bit of free time to buy some buy any resources we might need. There is the Church of St Nicholas aka Santa Clause house which Shana and myself explored, I had no idea what we were looking at with no guide but we just took pictures for the memorabilia. On the following day we made our way to Saklikent Gorge and with no real idea on what this place really was we were told to simply wear shoes and something waterproof. We hopped off the boat and into a minibus to make our way to the Gorges. It was a lot busier and bigger then I was originally anticipatied and we were told to meet back at the start and a certain time. There was a couple of options you could choose from either go in a donut down the river or explore the Gorges. I decided to skip the rafting and do some exploring, joining me were my two buddies from Ios Jess and Brooke. We quickly got a feed seated right next to the water which was deceptively cold. It was a real nice spot tho a great escape from the scorching weather. After filling up our stomachs we slowly made our way through the Gorges. It reminded me of some like treasure hunt exploring caves pretty cool, along the way were areas that had wet mud which people were covering themselves in we decided to hold off until the way back. What our guide forgot to tell us that it gets pretty deep in some areas and since I was holding my camera and had my phones in the sling, you could imagine how cautious I was. We got further and further and the souls of my Nike’s were pretty worn so the surface was pretty slippery. We got to a point where there was a few people and it got deep to like my waist line was completely under, I decided to take another less crowded route and lost my footing. My heart stopped, I had my camera in one hand held in the air legs sliding for any traction. I could here the ooooooo’s and ahhhhhh’s from the people looking at me and I thought I was a goner. Thank goodness I managed to grip onto a rock after that moment it was time to turn back there was no photo ahead worth me losing my camera setup. We made our way back to the start and got mudded up, I was completely covered it was pretty fun, I hadn’t ever been to the mud baths before and when it was time to wash off proved difficult as the water was freezing and the mud was hard to wash up. I could only do short bursts as my whole buddy became numb but I eventually got most of it off. We dried off and waited for the rest of the group to finish. This was my favourite stop of the trip, the fact that my camera made it out of there unshaved and I had no idea we were going to be exploring Gorges like these something I have always wanted to do. Later that night the shisha came out and we had some fun smoking and drinking that while we jammed music on the boat. What was even better that later on a joint some how made it’s way onto our boat. I was rapt I hadn’t smoked since Norway and had the best sleep after raiding all the boats pantry.
On our last day together we had returned back to Fethiye, it was here we got the chance to go Paragliding. I had no idea before the sail that I would be going and was so excited to do so. I think it cost something like $70 and it was well worth it most of the people opted to take this opportunity to glide over Fethiye’s Blue Lagoon. The bus ride up was rough as we gradually climbed the long windy fail safe roads. One bad judgement from the driver and we were be tumbling to our deaths there is no road OHS here at all. We made it in one piece to the top which is 2km above sea level, my pilot was called Siko pronounced ‘psycho’ who strapped me up as I waited my turn to run off the cliff. There are a few instructions you need to follow pretty much run like hell until he says stop and lift you’re legs up so they don’t get caught in the trees. I waited anxiously until it was my turn, it didn’t help the fact that the person before me failed to follow instructions meaning they had to start all over. You always think that you could be that one person where shit goes wrong and you better hope that travel insurance covers you when gliding 2km high. It was my turn and I followed all my instructors advice and we had a smooth take off. The first initial glide is the best flying though the air and feeling as free as a bird while looking over the Blue Lagoon. While I was watching upwards from the beach I saw a few of the Paraglide’s doing backflips and some nifty tricks and I told my instructor give me the adrenalin edition, so I braced myself while we flipped and spiralled all the way to the bottom. We got closer and made our way over a hotels pool to the runway where everyone was to land. I made it back in one piece a great finish and a wonderful experience. I think they charged like $60 for the photos and videos which was something I just had to get for the memorabilia which I would add in the videos. Our last night together was spent watching a Turkish belly dancer and a couple of us participated in the Belly Dancer competitions I learnt that I would be a shit Twerker. After we were free to explore the town and spend the last night together over a few drinks.
I’m missing so many good things that happened during the sail but I just didn’t want to bore everyone with the finer details and included all the important bits. For anyone considering sailing Turkey I highly recommend it and Busabout do a great job with the activities leaving you with a mixture of relaxation and adventure all in the same tour. Turkey is slowly catching on as a popular destination by us Australians and is quite easier to book then Croatia which has gone tourist spec hard and is a fraction of the price. For what you pay with all meals inclusive and accommodation I’d say works out to be a really good deal and a fantastic tour. The last morning there was a sadness in the air knowing I had to leave my new family, friends that I will keep forever a bed for me if I were to ever visit. I had an early flight to catch and most of us were going different directions or staying an extra night. We got our last photo together as a group which was the fleet of Sener Kaptan!