I can't believe that it's been over a month since my trip to Turkey... I started to write a post while I was out there and never finished it but it was definitely a trip worth remembering so here goes!
The sole purpose of this visit was to relax and unwind, sometimes we all just need a little time out… and what better place to go.
Oludeniz is absolutely stunning- beautiful beaches, a lagoon with giant turtles, clear blue seas and surrounded by mountains bursting with colour. You could lounge around all week and relax, or you could indulge in multiple adventure sports and trips, the perfect travel destination.
For me, my only task was to find a company called MaviTribe who I’d come across thanks to Instagram. I was instantly mesmerised by their photos and had fallen in love at first sight. They are the only company to hire out Stand Up Paddleboards at Oludeniz and I felt a huge desire to find out more.
To keep this from turning into an enormous essay I’ll keep things short, suffice to say I found MaviTribe and had more fun with them then I ever could have imagined. Fabi took me out on a couple trips and guided me in the ways of paddle boarding. We laughed, played and talked about all the kinds of adventures and places you could explore on the SUP in Oludeniz… I think SUP and Turkey hypnotised me- I was hooked!!
I’d forgotten to mention earlier but this was a trip I took by myself. Something I would advise everyone to do at some point. You will speak to people and discover things you never would have done if you came with other people. Freedom is the greatest gift we have- to be completely and utterly content in your surroundings no matter how unfamiliar they are is a very special feeling.
Fabi and I had discussed paddleboarding to Butterfly Valley. If we worked it out right then I'd SUP there, have some lunch and SUP back, around a 5 hour day. Conditions looked to be good pre-trip so I was super excited.
With all the essentials packed I picked up the SUP from MaviTribe and headed to the beach. Just as I was about to set off I noticed how the sea looked more unsettled then on any of my previous trips but keen for the adventure I carried on regardless. I normally like to keep my feet on dry land, exploring mountains, woodland and beaches, but being on the sea gave me a whole new perspective.
Some of you may be familiar with paddle boarding and others not, but one of the most difficult parts for me was getting the board in and out of the water at the beach! On a calm day its pretty easy but the beach at Oludeniz has quite a quick drop and the waves can be pretty big and powerful! After a few attempts and some humiliation I’d made it in and started off on my travels- only to realise later that I had lost one of my snorkelling fins trying to get the board in… Sea 1- Jenna 0!
Paddling to Butterfly Valley took around an hour and a half. After the first few minutes I found my body just went into auto pilot, paddle left for a few strokes, paddle right for a few strokes and repeat. A beautifully mindless exercise that keeps your body busy and lets your mind drift… exploring the coastline, the jagged rocks and caves, the sound of the waves thundering against them. As a climber I could gaze at the coastline for eternity, its like watching the flames from a fire. With every glance I would see something new, searching for lines and routes through the rock, honing in on potential holds and particular shapes. Perhaps this is the reason I stayed out for so long as by the time I got to Butterfly Valley I stopped off for around 15 minutes, enough time to reapply my sunscreen and quench my thirst and before I knew I was back on the sea.
The locals had told me about a small waterfall that was beyond the valley and I couldn't contain my excitement to find it… I was off for part 2! With the same content as before letting my body drift into autopilot and my mind switch off from everything other than awe I continued to discover mile by mile of Turkish Coastline. I remember thinking at one point how terrifying this could be, I mean I was on my own, miles from anyone, the sea was moving and rolling, high and low, side to side, forward and back. At a guess maybe 5ft waves would come rolling towards me, looking at them they were huge and unfamiliar, but at the same time sat on the board we just drifted with them and they didn't interrupt anything. As long as they didn't break I knew I was safe and I could continue… and it actually felt quite cool moving in such a natural way knowing there was nothing I could do, just ride it out!!
Before long I found the Waterfall. Hands down I think this is probably the most beautiful experience of my life! It felt like a gift, a present for being brave, for going to Turkey alone, for finding MaviTribe and stepping out of my comfort zone. Up until this point the coastline was an array of different shapes and types of rock, mini caves high and low, tufa’s, slabs, incredible aretes, all very appealing but all shades of greys, oranges and browns… until now… This waterfall literally EXPLODED with colour and life!
Ive never seen green look so green! And the shapes that formed in the rock as the water trickled down made me never want to leave, I could have stayed forever exploring every inch of this beautiful waterfall. I paddled directly underneath it feeling the force of the water fall down and hit my body, this water much colder and fresher than the sea. I’m not sure how many times I did that, it was awesome!
When I finally left I continued along the same path, my new destination was to head to the very tip, the farthest point you can see when you're sat on the beach at Oludeniz. This point was Kabak. Once again I felt gifted as I paddled around this point to the best view of the mountains. I had never felt so peaceful and content. Miles away from anyone, just the SUP, the sea, and the sun. The most perfect combination…. and I did it! I had just paddle boarded to beyond KABAK! A huge sense of triumph and admiration for myself struck in as I just sat and floated on the board. This was a local record and no one had ever SUPed out here before, let alone by themselves.
…and then it was time to head back to Oludeniz. I found a spot to pull the board in quickly before the long haul, a chance to rehydrate, top up with more sunscreen and eat some lunch. With temperatures of over 40 degrees I couldn't afford to get burnt by the sun or dehydrated with a 4 hour paddle ahead of me. I also took this opportunity to jump in for a snorkel since the sea seemed to become clearer and clearer the further I had headed out. This was almost a complete disaster as I almost couldn't get back out of the water because of the speed and force of the waves, but this a story for another time!
Eventually I got out and back to my board. I gathered my things and set off for the journey home. It felt harder to paddle back, maybe because my exploration was over and my time in Turkey nearly up, or maybe the conditions were simply against me. Its quite ironic really because although I was on a Stand Up Paddleboard I spent nearly the whole time sat down on this trip because the sea was just too wavy! I made one more stop on the last beach before Oludeniz for some climbing and a play. On approaching and leaving this beach I lost my sunglasses and my hat from some huge waves wiping me out!!! I’ve never laughed so much on my own, and luckily this wasn't humiliating because there was no one around to see it!
After approximately 8 hours and 12 miles of paddling I landed back on familiar ground. I had a quick search for the snorkelling fin I’d lost and sure enough it was there waiting for me! I picked up my things and returned to MaviTribe to tell them all about my story and at that point Fabi suggested I write this little post, she was absolutely right!
The biggest thank you in the World to Fabi, my new found friend! You made my visit truly remarkable, one that I will never forget and now I have to come back!
See you soon Turkey!! Thanks for having me x x x