A Few Tender Mercis

Coming outA quick post to acknowledge a few debts after the 2016 Kalkan (Mouse) Island Swim which is the sixth one I have organised and participated in. It was distinguished by a great turn out on the beach and very warm support from everybody despite an evident drop in visitor numbers. Much of the town seems to be closing early. Why?

Kalkan in October is so lovely, with day after day of blue skies, perfect temperatures and warm seas. Time to stop building more and more villas and start developing visitor attractions. What happened to that Likya Food Festival? Well the swim next year will be bigger and better. But more of that later

This year we had the pleasure of being taken out to the Island and escorted in by AKUT the Turkish search and rescue voluntary organisation who established a local Kaş Kalkan branch last year helped by funds from a very successful 2015 Swim. They did a great job and it was a relief to me to be able to hand over responsibility for safety and logistics to Bircan Tolunay, AKUT’s head honcho.

A nod at this point to the elegantly named John Fedrryxxzwictz, whose vision and dynamism it was that got AKUT off the ground in the first place before handing over the reins to Bircan. John and his organ are a great asset to the town.

OnbaordLet me also thank our Esteemed Sawbones Dr Cem, who leant his excellent boat Carpe Diem (the medical profession love a bit of Latin) to transport all the swimmers out to the rock. He is also a great asset to the town, particularly if you do not know the Turkish for “My haemorrhoids are giving me hell” as his English is genu prima (it’s not just medics who like a bit of Latin).

Diverting briefly, the other half of the Antalya Rhythm Snakes, my bass player friend Cengiz, told me a great story; In France a couple of decades ago they mounted a publicity campaign for a haemorrhoid cream using Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire. Initially thay played a large chunk of the song but eventually as the campaign gathered momentum they only showed the tube of medicine and played the opening notes Daah du du dah du daah! Instant recognition and it spawned a whole raft of gags.

Thanks also to The Lovely Alicia and Colonial Ken who paddled their own canoe, as it were, tried to keep us in the right direction and handed out water, honey and flapjack (when Ken was not sampling himself that is: a bit like giving Bunter the key to the larder).

IMG-20160901-WA0000Thanks are definitely due to Ahmet who allowed us to train from Indigo Beach Club and use their facilities throughout the season and even discounted the price of his excellent coffee for us. Adam gibi adamsin, Ahmet and you run a great beach club.

Thank you the Kaş Kaymakam for giving permission and arranging for the coastguard to pass and ensure no complications with outgoing tour boats.

Thank you to Peripatetic Pete for wandering around and photographing every aspect of the swim and posting it as an album which, when I last looked, had attracted 171 views, which is 170 more than I got when I posted a picture of myself posing over the bonnet of the Dacia Duster in my Speedos .

I have sprinkled this post with some of his work. May his lens grow ever longer.

Thanks to our partners for helping out on the day and being there to welcome us in and putting up with the disruption of our training schedule.

A nod to Joules whose idea it was to swim the distance in the first place and who recruited me to swim it with her for the first time in 2011.


Thank you and well done to our swimmers: Jim, Devrim, Mustafa, Amanda, Stephen, Fliss, Jackie, Ergün, Solihin, Alex along with Selin and Eşref swimming for AKUT and regret for the one that got away after doing all the training too; we hope the move to Cyprus is a success Ilkay.

A BIG thank you to all who have sponsored us with contributions from £10 to our largest single contribution of £500. I do not have an exact figure but I am confident that we will reach 24,000 Turkish Lira including 4,000 from the stalls and beach collection and the rest from individuals’ sponsor money.

The money will go to Kaş4kids to be used to provide support for needy families in Kalkan, Kaş and surrounding areas.

Every dog has its day and every idea its moment. It is over two years since I had an initial discussion with Gwen and Richard of Kaş4Kids about establishing a Kalkan branch. Then Kalkan’s Princess Chris Williams, recovering from an affair of the heart with Venetian heart throb Paulo and looking for a new purpose, stepped up to take on the executive role. It took a while for the right premises opportunity to emerge but thanks to her energy and commitment and the support of a small band of helpers, we now have a thriving shop under the otogar (making it possible to get kitted out for less than 40 Tl then step out and marry your beau in the forecourt without straying more than 50 yards) and a campaigning organisation that can translate cash in to practical help where it is needed.

One of the joys of this year was to see the smile on the face (or faciem as she is a doctor too and probably likes a bit of Latin) of the tireless Chair of Kaş4Kids, Munise, when she spoke at the swim reception.

Like so many places we have our divisions; cliques within the foreigner community, rivalries within the business communities, Turks by ethnicity, Turks from Foreigners, Kaş people from Kalkan people, Kaş ıncomers from Kaş born and bred and so on. But there was a great atmosphere on the beach and we are demonstrating that Kaş and Kalkan can work together.

Our swimmers are a mix too, Turkish and foreign residents, as well as those coming from abroad and we now have a club page run by the tireless Devrim, who is urging us to enter the Datcha Swim Marathon in FEBRUARY (warm then!) and the Dalyan one in APRIL (just as cold)  before having a crack at the Meis-Kaş swim in June!

And then of course we will be back for next Autumn. I will be posting the date soon so that those who need to book holiday to participate or just come and support can do that. We are considering raising a substantial sum for a very exciting project for the town so more of that..later

In the meantime remember that old Latin oxymoron Festina lente  or “Make haste slowly!”


All ready    Coming out 2   Solihin   Mustafa and Jim

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One Response to A Few Tender Mercis

  1. Richard Gill says:

    Simple thanks seems inadequate alongside the heroic efforts of all the swimmers.
    To see them come ashore together was a moving sight and reminded us all of what people can achieve singly and in co-operation.
    Life will be made a little easier for many children in need from their exertions.

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