Close encounter of the first kind
20 June 2014
Friday 20 June 2014: Close encounter of the first kind
We arrived the night before in Sarsala Bay in two boats: Clio and Tolga's boat with Tolga, his girl-friend Gülcan, her niece Melisa and Güçlü and his wife Yukari. We were formally introduced to Güçlü and Yukari while in the water and had a long chat while treading water, both keen go-players and Güçlü a fellow aikido-practitioner (be it in the past for me). It started to get dark by the time we decided that there must be a better way to talk then trying to not drown in the process so we got out, used our super-duper warm shower on Clio's swim platform (talking sheer luxury here) and went to dinner. The dinner came in the form of a large number of different (vegetarian) dishes and the customary mini-pools of wine. It was one of those evenings with great company, conversation, wine and food you know you will remember as a highlight.
The next morning we got up around 7:30 and went for a swim around 8. The water was still warm enough to enjoy a long session of turning stones and shooting some underwater video footage. I was struggling to turn a biggie when I saw something from the corner of my eye that was bigger than what you expect. As it turned out, it was a medium-size sea turtle swimming calmly towards the boats.
There are three marine turtles in the Meds: the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), green turtle (Chelonia mydas), leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). Two have important nesting sites in Turkey, the green and loggerhead (1). Its shell was pretty much overgrown with algae so no clearly visible patterns, but I can find only one claw on the front flippers so I guess I met with a green turtle, but I would be happy to hear from someone who knows their sea turtles better than I do.
Then Tolga got a phone call from the stainless-steel man saying that they would be on the pontoon in Gocek in an hour to measure the boat for the solar panels arch. That meant that we had to be there, so stop enjoying yourselves and all hands on deck. We sailed back in a quickly increasing wind, and got in just before a thunderstorm hit, we got lucky
The stainless-steel men came and we had a longish discussion about position and form of the arch, the absence of a mutually shared language being a bit of a stumbling block. But eventually we sorted it all out (we hope) and were told we had to get a bag of TLs to them as a down payment before they could order the 32 mm round, 3mm thick stainless tubing. Unfortunately we would not be able to see the finished product installed on the boat before we were leaving for Oz. Such is life.
1. Sea turtles in the Mediterranean : Distribution, threats and conservation priorities, (2010). Casale P., Margaritoulis, D. (Eds.). Gland, Switzerland: IUCN