Thursday, July 31, 2014



While loading my boat in the morning to paddle to my launch point, a middle aged man who’d seen me around introduced himself. Once he heard my story he offered to help me with anything I needed, anything at all, he and his apartment were at my service.

I paddled about a mile to a beach just shy of the rocky outcropping that is the southernmost tip of Turkey. Three hooligans sat in the narrow sliver of shade thrown by rocky outcropping and smoked a bong. Outside of their small shelter the sand was undoubtedly foot-cooking hot.

The plan was to land and then make my way on foot to the hospitality of my new friend. Spend the day resting, and launch at midnight for the best weather window. I tried some hand rolls, some worked, some didn’t. When I was done with my training the hooligans were still there. Oh well, maybe they were friendly. I got out and began to carry my boat across the sand. The hooligans did not offer to help. My feet pressed into the fire and were scorched. I lay my boat down in the shade of a cliff and sprinted into the sea.

There I rested and floated. All my energy had been sucked out of me by the pain. I reposed in the shallow water and small waves cradled me back and forth. As I recovered the hooligans began to chat with me. Their English was limited, but once they learned of my exploits they were excited to hear more.

A young gaunt man with running sores asked if he could try my boat. Letting people try my boat usually worked out alright since they typically capsized before getting anywhere, but Running Sore Face was short and bone thin. There was a chance he wouldn’t capsize. More than that, communication across the language barrier was hard so I couldn’t give him instructions.

I tried. I explained how he must not let the boat touch the sand or rocks, and how he must stay within ten meters of me at all times. I needed to be able to pull him up if he got trapped in the cockpit.

He understood and agreed. I held the boat while he got in then let go. He almost capsized, but panic driven effort managed to stay upright. He was having too much trouble with the paddle, so he threw it away. I swam and recovered it while he used his hands to scoot the boat out to sea.

It’s a fast boat and he’s a fast scooter. With the wind at his back, Running Sore Face was a hundred meters out in no time. He realized he had gone too far, but turning Icarus, especially without a paddle or skills, is hard. Icarus however knew which way she wanted to face. She likes to face into the wind, and so, slowly but surely, Running Sore Face managed to reverse course.

With all the speed he could muster he headed back towards the beach. I saw what he planned “Stop! Stop! Stop!” I yelled, but it was too late. He rammed her into the beach. I inspected her hull and Running Sore Face insisted she was fine. Maybe she was. After I insisted he helped my carry Icarus back to her spot in the shade.

The hooligan who spoke a little more English apologized for his friend.

“No harm done, I hope he had fun.”

He did. I believed now that they wouldn’t steal from me if I walked away. I took pictures of the Roman ruins. The hooligans walked passed me and instructed me not to take pictures of them.

I found the house of my new friend. He welcomed me in and invited me to use his kitchen, spare bedroom, shower, and refrigerator as though they were my own. He put the Simpsons on the the TV and I settled into a day of deep pre-crossing relaxation.


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