This post is a kind of “back to the past” story. Almost a year ago I was able to organize my first trip in a “new” format. That means I didn’t have to bother about going to the doctor and for the numerous time listen to the verdict and face a difficult choice. That time the choice had already been made and I planned this trip according to what my body allowed me to.
Taking into consideration the fact that I had completed a skipper’s course I managed to make an exciting and challenging travel plan. I had no difficulty finding five friends who agreed to sail with me as a captain along the Turkey coast and among some Greek isles. With the help of some primarily German online booking services I managed to hire a good yacht comparatively inexpensive. Then there appeared some other people wishing to join me so I decide to prolong the voyage for one more week. For that I have divided all the people into two crews.
But from my skipper’s course I knew very well that simple, undiversified yachting can be a bore or turn to be plain dangerous. So I decided to combine yachting among the Greek isles with one of my other hobbies which I can do while being very careful with my leg. The crew was for the idea, so some of the sea miles were sacrificed in favour of some crags of the rock-climbing “Mekka” of Europe – the Greek island of Kalymnos.
We set off from the Turkish city of Bodrum by a 36-feet yacht from the “Bavaria” series. It was made in 2006 and it was named Malou.
It was the first time when I got aboard of a yacht which I was going to be the captain of and the crew of which I was going to be responsible for. Six months before I had got really a lot of knowledge and skills in RYA, so the process of becoming a yacht’s captain was smooth and pleasant. Nothing had been forgotten.
I successfully taught the crew some basics of yachting (otherwise we could have gotten nowhere!), and they taught me some Russian yachting terms in return! During those teaching sessions we, persistently fighting with 30-knot head wind, were almost run over by some rushing regatta that completely ignored all possible rules of sailing.
At that time in Turkey there was a fire on a mountain near the coast. The only plane trying to put the fire out was working for hours trying to complete its mission and taking the water for the fire from the sea just next to us.
On the third day of the voyage all the members of the crew managed to put up with the seasickness and with the fact that I am quite tough as a skipper. I made my crew go on working even if the wind was strong and also made them work for several hours after sunset.
This paradise island welcomed us with the most picturesque views and the best rock-climbing atmosphere ever. Having left the yacht in a marina, we hired some scooters and rode around the whole island. We also had a chance to climb in the shadow sector of The beach. Having totally fallen in love with the island, we decided to go around it by sea. The wind was not very pleasing but on the other hand the sea granted us access to some unique shadow sectors of the islands otherwise inaccessible without a yacht. That was the way we lived – we slept anchored in a harbor under a pock-climbing sector, swam and dived in the crystal clean water before breakfast, climbed rocks and had dinner under the stars on the deck of our lovely yacht.
The plans were being made on the go. When the weather forecast predicted a good wind we made a long leap and dropped ourselves at an active volcano. That was one more magic Greek island of Nisyros.
Here, in the sea among the islands of the Aegean sea the nature reigns in its primeval beauty. It has got robust colours and emotions showing us, the people, its breath and its depths. All the volcanic islands, both active and sleeping, are huge lava lumps sticking out of the 500-meter deep sea now and then. And the people living there who many years ago started our modern civilization feel this grace and mightiness and live in harmony with nature in their balanced lifestyle. It can be easily seen on the islands of Nisyros and Kalymnos with a dozen-hundred-thousand inhabitants rather than on Kos – always crowded and touristy.
But it was time to go to the land, send part of my crew home and pick up the members of the new crew.
On the way back to Turkey we tried to find some underwater wrecks and dive down to them. But it seems that the thoughtful Turkish guys had already picked up all of them.
The new crew set out from Bordum with the sole purpose of sightseeing without spending any time on rock-climbing.
The wind was weak and we didn’t always manage to maintain a stable speed. Some people got tired from it, but some were really happy that we had a chance of a “true-non-stop-sailing” with night watches, eating and sleeping on the go.
The historical landmarks of the region are beautiful and breathtaking but too crowded and touristy in this time of the year.
Having visited Kos, Knidos and so beloved Kalymnos we set out to Rhodes in order to finish our travel in a tourist resort of Marmaris.
So, we have completed a voyage of 320 miles. Almost all the way under the sail – we have hardly used half of the fuel tank. I want to thank the RYA School in general and Oliver Korolija from Croatia in particular for the thorough theoretical knowledge and practical skills they provided. All the things I had learned from them allowed me to sail and park the yacht much safer and under much more dangerous conditions than many other skippers. Great thanks to my crew! Though having no sailing experience at all, they all turned out to be great learners whose help in managing the yacht was tremendous and who even were able to substitute me in some moments by the end of our adventure.
On average for 1 person the yacht cost 600 Euros for two and a half weeks. One should also add stopping in marinas – 35 Euros each, expenses on the countries’ borders – about 20 Euros and food.
Having slept the night in Marmaris and having said good bye to the crew, I and Katya Korovina took the bus to Antalia in order to go rock-climbing in the iconic rock-climbing region Geyikbayiri with an old friend of mine who had already started to get bored there alone… But it is a beginning of a completely different story!
Photographs by: Nadya Sharova, Katya Korovina, Moritz Bard, Mish Krutyansky
I’d like to make such voyages annual, every time with a different twist. I am completely open for your ideas for the 2015 season! One of the ideas is the Canary Islands in October… So write to me, please!