Turkish Coast Go!

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Boston Logan Airport, International Terminal, September 8, 2015, 11:07 pm

I'm at the gate. Heather is tapping away on her iphone. We are flying to Istanbul in a few minutes to begin our scouting trip of the Turkish coast. It's been a wild few weeks, during which time there were many hours I thought we'd scrap the whole idea. I'm going to take a shortcut here and paste 2 emails below that will explain how we got here.

From: Hopper

T0: Former SwimVacation Guests

Date: September 8, 2015

Dear SwimVacation Alums,

Several years ago, we began our plans to create a new SwimVacation trip somewhere in Europe/the Mediterranean. After lots of research (and lots of help from a SwimVacation alum), we decided on the Turkish coast as our next possible destination. We wanted a boat-based trip, and the traditional Turkish Gulet is a perfect sailing platform for what we do. The waters, the food, and the culture are outstanding, and it's relatively easy to travel there.

We booked the scouting trip this past May. Since then, the refugee situation in Turkey has escalated, and we've had some hard decisions to make. The best way I can describe what we are doing and why is to share the email I wrote to some former guests who have been interested in the trip:

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Heather and I have spent the last week poring over the news reports from Turkey and elsewhere in the Mediterranean. Our hearts are breaking as we see images of people desperately trying to reach places that provide the peace and stability we enjoy. There were several times that I decided that we would not do this scouting trip.  I thought: how can I ever put my guests in these waters? How could we enjoy ourselves, knowing that others have suffered here? I also thought: Why should we turn our backs on a place and a people so filled with cultural, historic, and oceanic riches? As we considered these things, we consulted with our families, our friends, and people we have gotten to know in Turkey. We've had long, hard, emotional discussions. In the end, one of the most important reasons we have decided to go is the faith you have had in us over the years.

Today we decided that we will do this scouting trip. We leave Tuesday at midnight.  We'll put our eyes on this place. Talk to people. Eat the food. Get the feel. Swim in the water. Heather will take images of what we see, and I will write about it. At some point, we will know if this is the right place for a SwimVacation. We'll share everything with you along the way.

If you have any thoughts about what we are about to experience, and why, please don't hesitate to contact either of us, by email or phone. I can be reached any time at (207) 975-5489. Heather can be reached at (207) 720-0540.

I can't wait to share more with you, in and out of the water.

Best, Hopper

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We'll be out of cell/internet range for much of this trip, but I will post here whenever possible.

We're off!