We visited Bulent’s grandmother in the small sitesi (housing development) near Sefirhisar. It was beautiful, craggy rocks and cliffs and turquoise waters. The Aegean was much colder than the Mediterranean, but was incredibly fun to swim in because the water was so clear and clean. You could actually see the bottom 30 feet down and make out the features of the sea floor. Everyone there swims. Many people take a dip before breakfast and then later go back to sun bathe. Well, the 2nd day we were there, we decided to go long distance swimming. Bulent used to swim to nearby islands as a kid, and it is still a popular pastime for the teens. I was a little hesitant, I can swim but was always a close to shore kind of kid. So as we were heading out, Bulet’s aunt decided to join us. We managed to get out to the island, but to get there you had to swim past the jetty that protects the bay, so the water was a little rougher. By the time we got to the island Bulent’s aunt was too tired and scared to try to swim all the way back, instead she wanted to swim to the other side of the bay, which was closer, and walk back. However, nobody swims there and we were not sure about rocks or Moray eels. Bulent’s 12 year old cousin was already at the island, so he said he would swim ahead to check for sea urchins and hidden rocks. So we manage to get almost all the way into the bay when there is a conference between Bulent, his aunt and his cousin. In Turkish. So I think, SHIT this can’t be good. And it wasn’t. The side of the bay were were swimming into was uninhabited, so the water was in its natural state. To get to shore we were going to have to swim though a big patch of seaweed. I said forget it, your aunt can’t swim back, but I will. Meet you at the other side of the bay. However, Bulent did not want me to swim a mile back by myself and could not leave his aunt, she needed help. So I started swimming. If I had to do it again and it was a 10 mile swim back, I would have done it, over swimming through that seaweed. Shit, I almost bit it, huge gulps of seawater down my throat, Bulent pushing me from behind. Only later did I discover that the conference had been about whether in swimming through the seaweed would we disturb the SEASNAKES that live there. After we made it through the gauntlet of seaweed and sea snakes we walked the mile back to the sitesi on the hot asphalt road, barefoot. If something like that ever happens again, I will let Bulent swim to shore, get a boat and come back for me. Not because I am a primadonna, but because I prefer certain death that swimming through slippery, grasping seaweed inhabited by sea snakes.
It was gorgeous though!