Turkey travel diary: Day 5 – swimtrek day 3

Just another day in paradise. Sigh. The holidays gods were truly upon us. Couldn’t have scripted a more perfect day.

From Swimtrek day 3

Another beautiful sunny day on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, and a buffet breakfast to wake up to. Breakfast – a la Turkish style:

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

This is what I ate every morning for the whole week:

From Swimtrek day 3

Lots of watermelon (needed the water and sugar content before braving the gulpfuls of saltwater I’d be consuming), omelette, and the savoury Turkish pastry thing that I could have eaten by the truckload, washed down with a couple cups of tea. I avoided cereal, yoghurt and cheese – can’t really handle dairy before swimming in the sea. Breakfast was served from 8am everyday and we often had to be ready to go before 9am, so we’d be up early every morning to get breakfast before our start time. I have to admit, that I had sore shoulders when I woke up this morning. Super tight back and shoulders from the previous days’ 6km swim. After breakfast today though, we had a video technique-analysis session. The videos that the guides had taken of us yesterday were going to be played back to us on a tv screen (argh, cringe). We all sat around and watched each other’s video (both the above water and underwater film) and critiqued each other’s stroke and technique. The guides gave us really helpful swimming tips and drills to improve our technique. I thought this session was great. Turns out I’ve been swimming wrong for the last 25 years (I’ve been swimming since I was about 5 years old)! Well, not necessarily that I had been swimming wrong, but my form could definitely be improved on. Got some great tips from this session. Swim guide Mr. D, was super helpful and knowledgeable with technique analysis. He does this professionally, as well as being a triathlon coach. Definitely gave me some areas to improve on and some things to address whilst swimming for the remainder of the week. Day 3 was back out at Ucagiz again, so on the bus and back out on the Turkish gulet we set asail. Map of the Lycian Way waters we were swimming in:

From Swimtrek day 3

Drink bottles – they were going to come in handy for the morning swim!

From Swimtrek day 3

First up was a 4km coastal swim which we did in about 1h 22min, with breaks for drinks etc. I was pretty beat after this 4km swim. I was changing my stroke though and I have to say, that this definitely prevented me from getting sore shoulders for the rest of the week! It really made a difference! Arms need to reach out straight, in line with my shoulders and not cross to the middle. Crossing the arms – a big no no. Reach. Roll. Relax. Glide. Get more distance with each stroke. Don’t drop the elbows under the water. Minimize underwater hand bubbles and roll the body more so your torso is also getting a work out. My main problem was the lack of roll in my stroke. I was too flat on the water. Super helpful for my stroke. But I think I was swimming slower as I was trying to focus on all this. Here are some scenic water photos. This one is of the pink group. They were the slowest group, so they always started first to get a bit of a head start:

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

The marine life wasn’t very exciting here (not compared to last year in Dahab, Egypt), nevertheless we saw plenty of somewhat small fish:

From Swimtrek day 3

The escort motor dinghy:

From Swimtrek day 3

Crystal clear water:

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

4km done. After each swim, there’d always be drinks and fuel ready for us – cookies, nuts, fruits and turkish cay (tea).

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

And then lunch on the boat and lazing around on the sunbeds. The swim was worth it for this.

From Swimtrek day 3

I should mention, that at any point during any of the swims, we were free to jump back on the boat at any time. It’s not compulsory to swim the complete distance if we’re not feeling up for it. There’s no shame in getting back on the boat and working on your tan. None at all.

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

My problem with saltwater ocean swimming (and just my personal experience) is that consuming saltwater makes me bloaty, not to mention dehydrated. Saltwater consumption (not intentional, mind you) also makes me poopy in the diarrhoea sense. Swimming, in general, also makes me need to pee a lot. The pressure of the water on my bladder gets to me. I lost about 2kg over the course of this week – I was peeing, pooping, and burning calories like nobody’s business. Anyway, too much information. Moving right along. Isn’t the scenery gorgeous?

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

After lunch, we did a bit of a flat hike through Aperlae to take in some local sights. It was a holiday after all. We walked a flat trail through a sandy track surrounded by mountains. Aperlae thatta way:

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

Saw some local wildlife:

From Swimtrek day 3

And rock art:

From Swimtrek day 3

Our mini-hike was rewarded with another leisure swim.

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

At our destination, we reached a body of water where we had a bit of a dip. Here we got a demonstration of some drills we could do to improve our stroke and we got a bit of play swim to practice some drills. It was also an opportune moment to play with my underwater digital camera (yes, another camera to my collection) which I had bought just prior to the trip. I hadn’t taken too many underwater shots until now, so here are some fun water pics:

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

SPLASH:

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

Watch and learn, folks. This is how you swim:

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

And this is how you relax:

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

Turkey has such an amazing landscape.

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

We then traipsed back to our gulet and then we went for a cruise over the Sunken City – ruins of Aperlae island. This was once an ancient city that was sunk after an earthquake hit. Turkey, like Japan, is prone to earthquakes. The only problem is that Turkey’s infrastructure isn’t built to withstand earthquakes. Just a few days after I got back from Turkey, a rather large earthquake hit the east side of the country.

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

The boat had bottomglass panels so we could kind of see (not really, sort of) the island that had sunk beneath.

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

You could tell just by looking at the water surface, that a city existed below the surface.

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

No afternoon swim today which was kind of nice. The 4km morning swim was enough, and it was nice to have a leisurely sightseeing afternoon. After our scenic sail, it was onwards back to Kas in the late arvo. The rest of the evenings for the week were at leisure with dinner arrangements totally up to us. I joined a handful of the others where we ate at Blue House and feasted on lots of mezze dishes and fresh seafood. And wine and beer. Liquids are important!

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

After dinner we took a stroll through the town – the first time I had been out to see the town of Kas. We windowshopped at the little boutique stores (some great shopping to be had here), and walked down Slippery Slope – which is indeed slippery. I slipped twice. I blame my thongs (of the flip-flop variety – not to be confused with some fabrically-challenged lingerie). Slippery Slope – so called, because the cobblestone ground is so smooth, and it’s quite a slope, so it’s easy to slip. Slippery Slope:

From Swimtrek day 3
From Swimtrek day 3

We got to the town square where a lot of the action is – restaurants, bars, the marina pier etc. We had ourselves some Turkish ice-cream, which is a must-try when in Turkey. Delicious flavours – chocolate and pistachio. Authentic Turkish ice cream is quite unique. Some kind of plant extract is used which makes the ice-cream somewhat chewy. It’s almost like mochi ice-cream. And before they serve it, they pound it and serve it with a long stick. Apparently they use mastic – which gives it its chewiness, and salep – a kind of flour (thickening agent) which prevents it from melting, hence they are able to churn and pound it with a long paddle (I recommend Youtubing “turkish ice cream” for a visual). Ice-cream in hand, we meandered back to our lodgings for another fitful night’s sleep. Lots of swimming and eating, was perfect inducement for sleep. I could totally get used to this life. Photo album link

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