Read an interesting interview with our lead guide Borut Strel on how the new Turkey Swim and Sail trip went and what his future plans are.
What is so special about Turkey?
I think that the country has a rich history. It has always been a boundary between Europe and Asia. For some people Istanbul is in the middle of the world. The Turkish islands and coast offer an incredible venue for swimming and cruising adventures; warm sea, crystal clear water and interesting marine life. Cuisine is incredibly prepared in a traditional Turkish style, great for everyone, whether a vegetarian or a meat lover. Local boat pilots have incredible knowledge and expertise on how to pilot and navigate such vessels.
What inspired you to run a Swim and Sail trip?
Living on the sea offers an incredible experience and adventure. Being away from the mainland gives you a special feeling and freedom. For us as swimmers, it also means that we have a chance to swim pretty much where we like, so my inspiration was to organise such trips that offer a bit of everything. A bit of sailing, a bit of swimming, cultural specialties such as the food on the boat and some hiking. Plus, Turkey is know to be one of the top countries in the world for cruises on the sea.
How did you choose the boat?
I was looking for a very high quality boat that had lots of space and was comfortable. I was referred by other friends who have used this boat in the past which meant that the boat owners knew me straight away.
The boat is 37 m long and 9.5m wide, it has two masts and there is a big front and back deck area where we spent most of the time during the day. Most of the boat interior was made from a beautiful mahogany wood and had a luxurious feel. The inside of the boat has a large lounge which served as a dining room and bar. There are eight cabins for guests, all cabins have ensuites, comfortable beds, electricity sockets and lights for reading. We had five crew members looking after us. The boat also has two kayaks and a windsurfer, which were used sometimes by non swimmers to accompany their partners.
How was this different from your hotel based trips?
The biggest difference is that you are in direct contact with the sea at any moment, non stop. As swimmers, we have the chance to swim whenever we like. We can move the boat according to the current weather and have a lot more flexibility than going back to our hotel base every day. The boat is spacious, the rooms were big enough to have your private space whenever you liked. Non of us lacked in privacy. We had 3 main meals a day and snacks twice a day. All of these meals were prepared on board by our own Turkish chef who surprised us everyday with new and delicious cuisine.
Did your guests get on well?
Guests who join such an exclusive trip must accept a certain amount of flexibility when living on a boat with other people. People expressed interest in each other and in fact everyone became very good friends. We had guests from all over the world so it was great to share stories and cultural experiences.
How much swimming did you do?
Most days we swam three times a day from 2-2.5 km per swim. Some days we were travelling and cruising with the boat and we did two swims. Guests always had extra time to do their own refreshing dip around the boat. The best swimming was in the morning before breakfast and in the later afternoon before dinner.
What was the atmosphere like on the boat?
I think that the activities were well spread out through the day including swimming, cruising and hiking. We visited Fetiye town on one of our stops. Part of the week programme is also doing a video stroke analysis which everyone enjoyed very much. Most swimmers believed they improved their swimming technique in open water. It was also quite common that guests spent time book reading and relaxing between activities. For those who wanted to be connected we also had wireless internet on the boat.
Are you doing more trips in the future?
Yes, definitely. We are planning 3-4 trips in 2016 and more plans are in development for future years.