The warm sun beats down as we paddle our double kayak across the glassy Mediterranean Sea to the island of Kekova. The now uninhabited island houses the remains of Simena, and ancient Lycian sea-side trading city. On shore pieces of homes, tombs, an early church and a staircase down into the water are still visible after a series of earthquakes destroyed the city in the 2nd Century causing it to sink beneath the water. Kayaking over the turquoise clear water, large pillars from the city long ago pass by beneath the boat of this now specialty protected area of Turkey's past.
Bright blue and aqua water, fresh seafood and a laid back vibe makes the Turquoise Coast a peaceful place to kick back for a few days. Basing ourselves is the seaside town of Kaş, we took a few days to just relax, wander the quaint town, sip an Efes beer on the beach and enjoy wine on the rooftop as the sun went down over the Mediterranean Sea. Once we were feeling rested and ready to explore again we jumped on board a ferry headed to the Greek island Kastellorizo also known as Meis one of Greece's smallest and most distant islands visible from the Turkish coast. The highlight of this island was taking a small boat to Galazio Spilaio (Blue Cave), where once inside the sun rays coming in from the mouth of the cave, reflect off the water and illuminate the stalactites a bright blue color making it feel as if we had entered a scene from the movie Avatar. While so close to Turkey, Kastellorizo, feels like you have entered another country with it's brightly colored buildings, cobble stone streets and uniquely Greek wine. We spent the afternoon sipping wine on the rocks, diving off rocks, wandering through an old castle and enjoying grilled octopus, fresh fish and of course more wine at one of the local restaurants. Taking the ferry back late afternoon to our peaceful room in Kas at The Hideway Hotel, and returning to our rooftop terrace to watch the sun go down as we looked back across the sea to the island we had just spent the day on in Greece.
Malapascua, an island paradise in the Philippines for scuba diving, white sand beaches and friendly locals eager to share their laid back lifestyle and beautiful home.
It only took a few very long flights across the Pacific ocean, a four hour bus trip and a short taxi boat ride to get to paradise, but once in Malapascua the long journey was instantly justified with a smile that could not be wiped off my face and a lingering sense of peace. A small island in the Philippines north of Cebu, Malapascua is known for its scuba diving, but the above water attractions are just as stunning. Days begin with a sunrise boat trip to an outer reef, just as the sun is peaking over the horizon we jump into the ocean and slowly descend to see the famous Thresher shark, with its long fan like tail feeding on small cleaning fish. Emerging to the surface of the water the warm sun now shines brightly illuminating the clear blue and aqua water, some of the most stunning colors I have ever seen. Sipping hot coffee on the boat, it's only 7:30am and already I feel like everything I had hoped for has been surpassed. Back on the small island we call home for a few days, breakfast is a fresh mango smoothie and banana pancakes. Sunscreen is reapplied for some island hoping adventures, followed by reading in the hammock and an afternoon nap. A fresh seafood dinner eaten by candlelight with toes in the sand and we are off to meet new friends for karaoke and disco night where locals and tourists meet on the basketball court to drink rum and dance under the stars.
A quick escape to Puerto Rico, might just have been a life changing experience. While I have traveled to many (39) countries, Puerto Rico struck a chord in my heart. The ease of traveling to a tropical island, that still has the convenience of being a US Territory makes a trip to Puerto Rico an extremely approachable destination. Amazing surf, white sand beaches, a tropical rain forest and incredible snorkeling and diving topped off with beautiful smiles and welcoming people. While this trip was part work and part pleasure, the soothing sunsets and warm sea water made it an experience of reconnection to all that which is important to me.