I can't give you an exact figure of how many years it's been since I last encountered snow. My best guess would be somewhere around the 30+ year mark, when I was probably spending a few days passing through England during the winter months on my way to some other much warmer country.
It's no secret that I'm not a fan of cold weather and as I write this blog sitting on board A B Sea in Kaş , Turkey in mid January the midday temperature is 12C (53.6F). Night time it drops down to 1C (33.8F). The only form of heating on board is an electric fan heater and whilst it does do a good job at raising the internal temperature of the saloon and cabins, it's terribly expensive to run and sucks through shore power credit faster than a pickpocket at Piccadilly Circus.
With all that being said, when we recently had a hire car for a week to see the local attractions of the Lycian Way in Turkey, the snow capped higher peaks of the Turkish mountains called to us and like many sailors before us we succumbed to the sirens call. So armed with a map and a rough plan we made reaching the snow one of our day trip mission destinations.
A quick check in with Smiley, before we set off, informed us that if we headed for the inland town of Gömbe that should put us pretty close to the snow. It took us an hour and a half to drive the 68 kilometres (42 miles) to Gömbe and we marvelled at the majestic vistas that greeted us at almost every twist and turn along the way.
Raising goats is a common occupation in Turkey and we saw many goats grazing along the roadsides, but only once did we encounter a goatherd with his flock and we were quite surprised as noticed the sunlight glinting off of a rifle slung over his shoulder. It made us wonder what the rifle was for. Did he use it to hunt rabbits for his dinner? Or was it for protecting his herd of goats from something that may want to hunt them? Wolves? Bears? We found out later that the answer was both.
Getting to Gömbe was easy, getting to the snow proved difficult and it took a further hour and a half and many u-turns and dead ends before we reached our goal. It was freezing and we were thankful that there was no wind at all to further reduce the temperature. Aannsha attempted to make a snow angel but the snow had fallen a few days previously and had formed a slightly thick crust so it was no longer powdery.
Some of the more interesting things we saw at the snowline where animal footprints. We instantly recognised rabbit prints and what looked like small cat prints, but the biggest surprise were the bear prints! Research back at the boat told us that there are still 3,000 brown bears wandering around in the wilds of Turkey and we'd been lucky enough to see the prints of one of them. You can see them too in tomorrow's YouTube video.
Ships that pass in the night
Rob, the 61 and three quarter year old 'overlander', who I introduced you to in Barry's Blog # 60 - Older, wiser and richer, departed Kaş this morning to continue his adventure. He has finally decided that he's taking the 12,000km (7,455 mile) African option and will drive from Turkey to South Africa in his 11 tonne MAN truck.