Turkey: Setting the Stage

Here is both a physical and metaphorical stage set for Turkey today.

blog 75-Phaesalis anchorageBali Ha’i III at anchor at Phaesalis, Turkish Lycian coast.

“Between Antalya and Fethiye on the southwest coast of Turkey is a magical area referred to as the Lycian coast for the ancient people who lived there. It has a dramatic look with steep, rugged mountains rising above ten thousand feet, impressive ancient ruins, and the Mediterranean Sea clear and turquoise-blue.”

blog 75-Turlish landscape from the water

Turkish landscape from the sea.

“Although they also occur elsewhere, there were two types of wind that caught my attention at our Turkish anchorages. The first is what I call “slack wind.” During the day the land heats up because land absorbs the heat from the sun more efficiently than water. Because heat rises, the cool air from the sea moves in to fill the void creating an on-shore breeze. Conversely at night, the land loses its heat much more quickly than the sea, so the cool air from the land moves off shore to fill the void created by the warmer air rising off the sea. That’s the physical explanation, but there is also the time during the transition when miraculously nothing happens.”

“I loved this dusk, in-between time, when it was calm between the on-shore and the off-shore breezes. This gentle, soft, barely perceptible wind was not unlike the water when there was a slack tide between the water’s rush to get in and then its rush to get out. In this slack-wind time, all was calm, so quiet I could hear my own heartbeat. I imagined I could hear the whispered murmurs of fish beneath the sea, the rocks cooling off after a hot day in the sun, softly droning on to each other. And there in the pine woods were the stones of time, some still standing in ancient agoras, the Roman city walls, the benches of Grecian theaters, quietly breathing their history. But so quiet and hushed. Everything was whispered in this slack wind. It was one of those magical times when only at anchor would I experience this muted sound of life: a time to listen to soft, murmuring sounds of land and sea, of life not usually heard. This way of quiet sound was yet another gift from this voyage.”


“Then there was the meltemi, this was a wind to drive one mad. It was harsh, full of grit from the land, quick blasts sounding like staccato taxi horns in a traffic jam. I watched it race across the water, wind waves and whitecaps churned up as it came, quickly rushing to me as a new, ardent lover, wanting to grab me and twist me in his arms. But this lover overstayed his welcome and soon familiarity became tedious with sand on my tongue, my clothes, and everything I touched. But still it came, occasionally hiding, a tease as it always returned bringing its harsh, pulsating sound and sand.”  [Excerpts from Voice of a Voyage]

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