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On Turkish Waters
I love Turkey, it is a country of differences. Turkey’s differences come from its size and location. Its 1600 KM long and 800 KM wide so its climate varies from a bone-chilling -30 degrees Celsius in the mountains to a blazing 40 degrees Celsius near the Mediterranean. It’s size also influences religion and belief because part of the country is located in Europe while the other part is in Asia. So when I learnt that we were going to Turkey my heart “thumped” with delight.
I woke up with the sun in my eyes its rays filling me with energy and delight, warm wind buffeted me through the open window, and the sky was semi-cloudless. Perfect weather for sailing. But before I get ahead of myself let me explain what happened over the last few days. First my father told us about the trip to Turkey. Then he dropped a bombshell we were going by bus. I do not like busses my history with busses is simple either I get off with my stomach on the verge of a “reaction” or the “reaction” happens. It takes thirty hours to get to Marmaris (I’ll explain later) by bus so I wasn’t very keen about the bus ride. Then he explained why we were going to Marmaris we were going on a cruise that certainly would be worth a thirty hour bus ride. Plus I love the sea and I never get sea sick. So after the bus ride which (thankfully) had stops along the road and a night at Pamukalae we arrived at Marmaris. And after a few days at Marmaris spending our time swimming and walking (also we went to the movies and mini-golf) I was ready for that cruise.
The walkway at the marina was wet with oil-slick. Probably from the gigantic boats. But other than that the marina was beautiful. It was like a little village with people walking through the area and people selling all sorts of things. When we reached our boat I felt a weight lift of my shoulders we were going in a sail boat not an enormous cruise ship that probably used more gasoline than the Concorde. Still however we used an engine if the wind died down. After loading up the bags and meeting the other passengers we set off. The first day on the sailboat was low-key it was just miles and miles of ocean. However I was allowed to steer the boat I was actually pretty good. Also we manned the sails and would pull them up and down on command. After a few hours we stopped at a little shoal for lunch. The water there was a clear shade of turquoise and after an invigorating swim we were all hungry. But it was getting late and the idea of staying there was unanimous.
I woke up the next day with an urge to swim but it was really early and the water was probably freezing. But when I found that someone was in the water I couldn’t help myself. I jumped into the water and so was answered my question. Water is very cold during the crack of dawn. I hated myself for listening to the other passenger but after a while the sun warmed the water and I was ready to conquer the second day. After breakfast at the shoal we got the news that we were going to dock at an island. The island was pretty cool we had gotten there at dusk after a day of running around the boat doing things and a few hours at a deserted island populated by goats and sea urchins. The sea urchins were pretty tasty given how they look and smell. They tasted great with the figs we had found on the island although a little earthy and wormy. On the island we ate a feast and we walked back to the boat with our stomachs bloated and there ends the second day on the cruise.
In the past two days we had swam, walked, made friends, worked the sails like pros, sailed, and (some of us) went spear fishing. But today was different we hiked towards the monastery located at the top of an island this island was remote perfect for praying and doing other religious acts. So after the one hour walk, which was really fun because we had to jump from rock to rock near the edge of a cliff we reached the monastery however we didn’t enter because they were praying. The view from the island was incredible the water shimmered as if it was a diamond made a fiery red by the sun. This was a scene that will never be duplicated. The captain of our ship was pointing towards the area we were heading for it was a cove made by rocks shaped like a “C”. And after reaching the cove we had a party we made mojitos which is an alcoholic drink made with gin, fizzy water, crushed ice, mint, and some lemon ( kids took out the gin) it was the best party ever with music, drinks, food, and stories all made on a small boat.
The fourth day on the cruise was exceptional. We actually began jumping or being thrown off the boat. Okay not everyone just me. After two cannon balls and a belly flop I landed in the water without hurting myself. Then we sailed to the next “port” a sandbar where we searched for sea urchins and even found some fossils. Now there is something’s you should know about sea urchins.
Only the females are edible. The males are poisonous.
The females have shorter spikes and are pink. The males have longer spikes and are black.
You eat the soft inner meat by cracking open the shell with a knife.
After stuffing ourselves with urchin we got onto the boat to head to our next destination. On the trip everyone suddenly developed at interest in the “gadget” that checks depth by bouncing sonar of the floor. Sometimes there would be a big spike and the disappear we figured out this was a fish swimming under the boat. That day we entered Grecian waters so we hoisted up the Greek flag and stopped to sleep in the shadow of an island completely covered by trees.
Sadly the fifth day was the end of our journey. The ride back was rough large waves pounded our boat. Salty water stung our eyes. Winds tossed the boat around like a toy. But it was fun to hang on to the mast. Suddenly the world went quiet. There was almost no noise. We had reached the "eye" of the storm. However the worst was still to come we weren’t out of the storm the water still churned around us. Then it hit us like a whirlwind: waves and the wind pummeled our small boat. Soon however the storm had passed a hushed silence fell over the landscape. I felt a silent cheer in my head but I knew I would miss the fun of launching off of a wave then landing in a bone-rattling manner. After a while everything was back to normal. No waves trying to sink our boat. No howling winds. Complete silence and then a splash followed by another. The sound was eerie in the silent surroundings. Then I saw something swimming towards our boat its large shell protected its age battered wrinkly scales. It was a sea turtle in all of its grace and beauty. Everyone stopped and stared in awe at the creature. Our chances of seeing a sea turtle were small so we savored every moment of looking at the turtle shortly after the sighting it had disappeared under the surface. And on that happy note we sailed towards the marina ending our cruise.
Turkey was everything it was supposed to be we had seen the beautiful Pamukalae Mountains white as snow. Seen the azure blue waters of the Turkish coast. We had even made a new group of friends. So while I sat in the back seats of the bus reminiscing all the good times we had I smiled and slowly drifted off to sleep happy because of all of the Turkish culture I had absorbed