Once again, Turkey has played a big part in my life this year. For the past two years, ever since we sailed from Panama to Colombia, I have been determined to learn to sail and travel the world on the wind. I got a taste of the boat life; sailing from one beach to another, catching fish and swimming every day, I was hooked! When I finally made the decision to start learning to sail, there was only really one place on my list of choices, the Turkish Mediterranean coast! With a little research and some advice from friends I settled on Marmaris, from where I joined several others training to become certified sailors. For a week we sailed a 41 foot yacht through unpredictable seas, stopping in small harbours with crystal clear water, rustic marinas and incredible local food. Turkish hospitality speaking for itself once again as the marinas welcomed us free of charge, including electric and showers, all included with the cost of a meal in the restaurant! This part of the Mediterranean has been at the centre of sailing history for over one thousand years, the many coves and rocky bays littered with stories of battles, ancient shipwrecks and Venetian gold. The complex arrangements of islands, headlands and mountains had the ability to change the wind from one minute to the next, never allowing us to get too comfortable, always ready to challenge any move we made. Day by day we learned how to chase the wind and make it work for us. From Marmaris we headed for Ciftlik, a two hour upwind battle in 20 knot gusts and waves breaking across the bow. The next days brought more challenges as we criss-crossed the waters between Greece and Turkey, stopping in the ancient port of Bozburun, the secluded cove of Koca Koy, the buzzing town of Datcha.

It was a challenging week, exhausting even, but by the end I knew I was one step closer to sailing life that I had set my sights on. Perhaps the next time I sail in Turkey, it will be as skipper of my very own boat!

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