Wednesday 9th October
We woke up this morning to a beautiful blue sky, not a cloud in sight and the temperature rising. We invited yacht Bravo over for a coffee morning and a nice selection of biscuits to eat. It was lovely catching up with old friends and to get to know the new people I had never met before.
We left Gocek at 12pm and set off to have lunch in a bay on the way to our next overnight stay. Once we had reached our lunchtime spot, lunch was served and after 5 minutes of eating invaders approached. I am not talking about Pirates, or other crews from the other four yachts, no these had two wings, buzzed and were drawn to the sweet stuff. WASPS! These were bigger than the average UK size, I had a hard-enough job swatting flies inside the galley, but these waspy buggers were just annoying. I ended up calling this Bay “Waspy Bay”. It didn’t deter us from finishing lunch though and then at 2pm we set off again. Our afternoon consisted off practicing our sailing skills, jibing and tacking. The weather was perfect, and we got to 12-20 knots whilst circumnavigating our way to our overnight stay at Ruin Bay. Our yacht had to be tied up to a strong tree branch and then tied with rope to two yachts, so we were safe for the night. I had a swim with Dawn Fletcher, which as it was late the sea was cold and still very salty, but an enjoyable experience. Liz cooked a beautiful pasta dish washed down with beer, wine and chocolate. The day was ended on full stomachs, happy memories and the feeling off being rocked off to sleep by the sea and quiet nightlife.
Thursday 10th October
Today Debbie and I cooked pancakes for breakfast, we lost a crew member (Debbie) who went to visit another yacht for the day, and Nicky Young stepped in to be skipper for the day, giving Jackie a rest. Due to the fact we had all been working hard the day before sailing we felt tired so it was agreed we would just sail straight to our overnight destination “Heaven”. I steered the yacht most of the way and when we arrived the whole place did look like Heaven! It was beautiful. We arrived at 2pm, and spent the afternoon chilling out, swimming and relaxing. Debbie Boo and I went for a swim and then sat in the water and witnessed beautiful fish approaching us in the sea. This is not something you would see in UK waters and the fish looked like the type you get in the aquarium. Poor Liz was stung by some anomie and as she got out of the sea onto the pontoon it looked sore. Thankfully it was a common issue and with the owners onshore who helped, Liz had some cream to help with the pain and antihistamines so she was fine a few hours later. Our evening meal was ashore and the setting was perfect. It’s an ideal date night place if you have a boat and can sail. The romance is there if you look hard enough and I am sure many people have found it in this place over time and many more will in years to come.
Friday 11th October
Today was our last day at sea and a mixture of emotions was going through me at this point. I was looking forward to going home yet I knew I would miss the people I have been sharing a yacht with the last 6 days. I knew I had to make this day one to remember and get as much sailing experience as possible. We left Heaven around 10.30am and set sail to Fethiye as the yacht needed filling up with diesel. All through this week I had wanted to see some Sea Turtles but had not seen any. I was disappointed and accepted I was not going to see any, but the disappointment faded. As we were getting closer to Fethiye marina I saw something sticking up in the water and after thinking it was just driftwood it appeared to be moving and flapping. I could then see a sea turtle that was looking at us, flipped on its back and flapping its flippers at Debbie Boo and me. I like to think he was waving as he then turned onto his front and swam off into the sea. I was so elated to see a sea turtle in its natural habitat and not at a sea life centre. I like to believe my dad sent him to see me and wave.
At lunchtime we were in a bay and after eating I decided I wanted to paddle my feet in the sea as it was 30 degrees and very muggy. The temptation was there to jump in but I couldn’t. Liz and Nicky Young went to the bow and got ready to pull the anchor in so we could enjoy our last afternoon at sea, but the anchor had other ideas. Something had snagged on it and speculation set in. Was it a haul of drugs someone had dropped in the sea? A dead body? Holey old boot? Big fish to eat for dinner? After much deliberation and laughing it was a piece of tarpaulin caught up in a net and with team effort and help from a female stranger from another boat, were soon on our way again. With an afternoon of sailing, jibing and tacking we set off for our destination, ECE Marina at Fethiye. A Turkish Photographer was snapping away as we came in, took pictures of us mooring up and then out comes a Turkish television news crew… I started to feel like a celebrity until I missed the group shot on the yacht next door - damn overhead cover. Still a party was held in the local MOD Café, where we ate, drank, laughed, cried, hugged and voted for the best dressed fender. Bollo … sorry I mean Pollux won it hands down. I read a piece of writing to the Oceans of Hope team from the heart and I hope it touched a lot of people.
Our last night on the yacht I spent time on my own looking at the stars in the night sky. Thoughts were running through my head and I was wondering what my next big adventure would be? I arrived on this trip knowing what to expect but I have learnt that every sailing adventure is different - the only thing that stays the same is the companionship, MS support, new friends and building on the old friendships. I am proud and honoured to be a part of this beautiful organisation, and although we are not blood related, it’s the compassion, love and friendship that binds us altogether. Friendships last and every day we move forward in life, but one thing that can never be taken from us are memories, memories which I will treasure forever.
As written by Trish Smith