7 years ago i spent some time in Indonesia during a university break. Volcanoes dot the islands landscape and i climbed a few whilst there. Ever since climbing Gunung Merapi i’ve used climbing volcanoes as an analogy linking it nicely with other activities. To put it simply; climbing the volcano was not much fun, sitting in the freezing cold at the top wasn’t fun and walking back down the slope turned out to not be that much fun either. Basically not a lot of fun – but i loved it.
This feeling doesn’t come around often, they save it for the big occasions. Running a marathon is another prime example (i still need sponsors for my next one….lots of sponsors! please consider clicking here to donate). The marathon requires months of training which i don’t really enjoy, followed by the race which again isn’t much fun – but is great.
This volcano analogy hit me hard yesterday and gave me plenty of thinking time to consider just how little fun i was having whilst trying to assure myself that, once all over, it would have been great. I finally delved into the world of ocean boat racing. Having been more of a tourist on my earlier races, i’d only actually been involved in the sailing on one occasion – basically 7 hours bobbing along with virtually no wind. This left me feeling a little anticipation at the prospect of a full day race where breakfast would turn into lunch which itself would turn into dinner before many dark hours later would turn into breakfast again. It was going to be an attempt for the sea to break me, just to see how much of a roller coaster i could take without being allowed to get off.
The race was in the Sea of Marmara going from Istanbul to a south Island and then back again. The first 7 hours were all downwind with the spinnaker doing much of the hard work. The strong breeze made it important to try and rest up during the southerly trip as coming upwind we could tell was going to be exciting. Reaching the island at 5pm on Saturday we were now ready to attack the upwind leg which was one of the craziest experiences i’ve ever felt. As we crested waves as big as houses the whole boat literally fell from the sky to an enormous bang and a drenching for us sat dangling over the sides. This continued well into the evening just making it more extreme as you couldn’t see the approaching waves. The swell died down at around midnight where salvation could be taken in your 1m squared area to try and close your eyes even for ten minutes.
We finally crossed the line after 19hours and 35 minutes of racing. At 5.35am the finish whistle sounded and i rushed for my camera below the deck. 5.38am brought us this images as the sun rose over Istanbul and a group of dolphins escorted the boat back to the mariner. Did i enjoy the first leg – not really. Did i enjoy the upward leg – honestly, no. Now i’m back home having showered, slept and eaten can i say i enjoyed it? Yeah i loved it…..it’s that volcano analogy.
The last few days have been a beehive of activity with events looming out at me from every direction. These included the Bosphorus Cup sailing race, which i’ll post up afterwards and the Turkish Junior show jumping championships – horses again!
Yesterday afternoon was the time for Red Bull to bring its carnival to town. Last year in Istanbul they arranged a flugtag but this year was the turn of the Soapbox Derby; where 60 home-made go karts attempt to make their way down a 550m course with some being successful while lots of others were not so lucky. There are too many photos to put up here so as usual just click on the image below and it will take you through to a gallery.
The events of this week made it an inspiring one if not rather unusual for my life. It started on Sunday where i attended the polling for the Turkish local elections. The amount of flags that were strung up over the city made me expect big things but in reality polling just isn’t that interesting, 1 hour of waiting with nothing to show for it. As far as i’m aware the party which eventually won the election was covered in corruption with all sorts of tricks being pulled so they won. Democracy in theory for the Turkish people but in reality it wasn’t that simple.
Within a day of being home i’d left again and headed southward to attend the G20 protests in London. I’d initially been enticed by the scenes of mini riots from April 1st and the thought of capturing this on film appealed greatly. Predictions were made on the amount of protesters compared with the Police, who had bigger numbers. Well they both appeared to be outnumbered by the amount of photographers and filmers who had descended on mass all with similar intentions the those of mine. How could the police handle the 10 fps of the hungry photographers?!
The day passed by with little incident and i’d been left reflecting on everyones reasons for participating and the reasoning behind the violence the day before. There was talk of the protest heating up but nothing came of it – probably for the best considering i’d overheard two policemen discussing which protesters they’d hit with a baton first should the opportunity arise…….
If you want to check out more images from the day itself just click on the below image.
I’m picking up my computer after a couple of weeks more or less off the radar. I relish any time i can have away from the computer just giving me the opportunity to get out more, see new and interesting things and, in this instance, learn to play and become completely addicted to backgammon.
This last mission has been a cross continental affair. I jump at any chances i get to go snowboarding somewhere new and an invite to Turkey for some springtime powder was too good an opportunity to pass by. With no schedule, no work and no real plan to follow the trip was on. For those who are interested, the resort was called Kartalkaya. Its roughly 300kms from Istanbul with pretty mellow terrain. The resorts are all inclusive with Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, midnight soup and all day long drinks included. Luckily they also have various additions for ways to try and burn all those calories including a kicker with an air bag for you to practice those elusive double corks, or in my case, a simple backflip.
The Spice Bazar, Istanbul
Inside the Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Election fever as Istanbul went to the polls on Sunday.
“The Chain Men” These guys work tirelessly throughout the night shovelling snow onto the road so that you have to rent chains from them in the morning. What great business vision they have.
Canon EOS 1D strapped as tight to my hand as possible
This is where i called home whilst in Istanbul, Fenerbahce Marina
The descent back into England
All images © Tim Lloyd, 2009.