Just like all of our other SwimVacation locations, Bodrum is on Island time. A slow pace, a late start, a nap, a late finish. Island time is great when you’re on vacation, but we are scouting a vacation. So we work 10-10. Fine.
Our first task today was to check out a local hotel, in case we need to put our guests up on land the night before a trip, which is the case on our BVI trips, as well. Marina Vista was a slam dunk. Right on the waterfront, spotless, trendy, lots of open air space, a fantastic pool. Done.
Checking out the Marina Vista hotel.
The keystone of this entire scouting trip is to find the right Gulet (traditional Turkish sailing yacht). Over the past few weeks, we had narrowed down our selection to two boats. This morning we toured them both. The Captains were warm and friendly, and the crews had the boats gleaming even early on their turnaround day. Everything is wooden. There’s tons of headroom, you can stand up and walk around in every stateroom. The galleys are massive by boat standards, the deck space is generous. Either one of these Gulets will make an excellent platform for us.
Checking out our top two Gulets.
Our local fixer Don had recommended a local restaurant for Mezzes (appetizers you can easily turn into a meal), and the food was excellent. The hour while we were eating gave me some time to examine some things about the refugee situation here. I observed these things:
– Several Syrian women walking restaurant to restaurant (there are dozens along the waterfront here), collecting pre-packaged meals to bring back to their families. They were greeted warmly by the restaurant staff. It was an obvious daily routine.
– Syrian families being granted use of the restroom at a photo shop, a gift store, and a marine parts store.
– A Turkish man at a taxi standing handing a glass of water and his cell phone to a Syrian man.
Back in Istanbul, our guide Koray told us about how Turkish people help others in distress as part of their culture. It’s often subtle, but when you look closely, you can see that refugees are being taken care of by the local population to the best of their ability. It’s not a permanent solution, but the people of Bodrum are doing much more than our world leaders to help the Syrians.
Don made us drink some wine and try the local firewater liquor before giving us a tour of the local underwater archaeological museum. It’s housed in a big restored crusades era castle that’s a treasure in its own right. But the stars of the show are the exhibits featuring the artifacts from a Bronze age shipwreck that Don helped recover. When we put these trips together, a theme often presents itself to us. Here in Turkey, it’s history. We might fold this museum tour into our trip to set the stage.
On our walk back, we bought some shrimp right on the waterfront and ate it atop a salad for dinner. Don has been a wonderful host, and is our crucial guy on the ground here. Tomorrow we’ll finally get out on the water for 2 days of swim scouting aboard a small Gulet. We may not have internet access, so we may not be able to post for a few days.