I always get excited before travelling and returning to Turkey was no exception. Turkey was the first place I ever went abroad and it was the starting point of my love affair with travel. During my time there, I came to admire the kind-hearted spirit of the Turkish people and left the country with many fond memories. However, this trip was going to differ greatly from the last. For the first time ever, I was going sailing.
As a generally nervy person, I was a tad apprehensive before embarking on the journey. Whilst I can swim, it would be a vast exaggeration to describe me as a strong swimmer. Seasickness was another concern of mine; just the previous year I had found myself vomiting on board a boat in Cambodia. Despite this and never one to shy away from a new opportunity, I was sure I could adapt to life on the water.
I expected sailing to be strenuous and physical but I was pleasantly surprised to see that with a group of us and a good teacher, it was a manageable task. During my time around the Aegean, the sea was generally calm meaning that owing to a lack of wind, sailing opportunities were somewhat limited. There was only one occasion on our trip when the ocean was particularly rough and even though I was left feeling queasy, it was nothing a Lipton ice tea lolly couldn’t sort.
The highlight of sailing around Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast is undoubtedly the opportunity to relax in some largely untouched beauty spots. We visited a number of charming bays which proved to be great locations in which to snorkel. We were able to see a whole manner of marine life during these underwater escapades, including sea centipedes. During our time exploring the Aegean Sea, I was able to develop my confidence on the water, improving my swimming and beginning to learn how to dive.
Sailing trips don’t mean you spend all of your time in the water though. Exploring the ruins in Bozukkale made for an enjoyable afternoon and offered some truly fabulous views. The more popular tourist islands also feature small family run restaurants where you are able to sample some delicious authentic Turkish cuisine. I would highly recommend Ali Baba in Bozukkale and Deniz Restaurant in Çiftlik.
It is not necessary to eat out all of the time though. Many locals make their business by selling food to those on sailing holidays. No sooner do you think you fancy an ice-cream and a jolly Turkish man speeds past selling them. The beauty of buying from these resident salespeople means that all of your food is fresh. One night we enjoyed a mouth-watering fish platter, all of which had been caught and purchased that very morning from a friendly local.
The downside to this kind of vacation is that it is difficult to stay entertained when there is not enough wind to sail. It is easy to pass the time lying in the sun on the deck, to begin with, but I don’t think anyone has skin resilient enough to do this for five hours straight. (I definitely don’t!) I found the best way to kill time was by working my way through a stock of podcasts and handful of different books.
My first sailing experience was not as I had imagined at all. Generally, the sea was much kinder than I had expected which meant there was plenty of time to relax. When you have finished unwinding there is also plenty to keep you occupied. Not only is the Turkish coast littered with sites dripping in historical value but when you need to cool off, the translucent waters are some of the most inviting I’ve seen. You might even be lucky and end up swimming alongside a Loggerhead sea turtle or even a pod of dolphins!
Are you a fan of sailing holidays?
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