We've been back in Turkey for 2 weeks now but were busy with guests on board so did not have the chance to post this before now.
We have cleared the trash from 2 bay's since being back and want to share the locations.
After leaving Fethiye towards Gocek where we were to fetch our friends, we motored along the coast looking for a suitable anchorage. We anchored and secured 2 lines ashore on the western shore against a small cliff in the bay of Kucuk Kargi Koyu. It's a lovely anchorage which feels very lush with trees cascading down the steep mountainsides all around.
What surprised and disappointed us was that in the 2 days we were anchored there, none of the day trip boats or gulets which stopped by there made any effort to clean up the long beach which was about 100 metres away off our port side. We watched as they came in and left, stopping to allow their passengers off to swim or walk on the beach for an hour or two and we could see that no-one did anything to pick up the very visible trash on the beach.
On our last afternoon there, before leaving for Gocek, I paddled to shore on the SUP with bin bags and cleaned the beach from end to end. Two monohulls were anchored just off the beach and the English man on board the first called out "Well done, old chap" as I made my way back along the beach towards the SUP. A Turkish lady on the second monohull called out "Thank you" as I passed her. Neither of them did a thing to get up and help and I can only hope that my cleaning the beach, which made an immediate and direct improvement to their experience, somehow stuck in their minds and they will do something about it when anchored in future.
The second bay cleaned of trash is another absolutely beautiful spot just outside of Gocek. As you head out with the island Gocek Adasi on your port side, turn in towards the bay Atbuku Koyu. There are usually lots of yachts and gulets anchored in the cove. Instead of heading in towards all the others, turn to starboard and anchor off the beach as you enter the bay. It is another wonderful anchorage with thick wooded slopes. However, the beach has probably never been cleaned and is directly against the prevailing wind. Consequently, it's a trash magnet.
So it is thanks to our guests Ian & Jenny, who together with Cath and me spent over an hour combing the beach and picking up hundreds and hundreds of pieces of small microplastics - short lengths of fishing rope, plastic straws, plastic bottle tops, plastic candy wrappers, plastic drinking cups and various other plastic trash, including lots and lots of plastic water bottles.
The local Turkish authorities are excellent and have rubbish skips in many of the coves, including this one, so it amazes me that so much trash could pile up there and remain uncleared.
Sometimes on this trash clearing journey I feel as though I am going mad and without sounding like I am on a soapbox, I have to ask the questions:
1. Are we the only ones seeing trash on the beaches and in the bays? - I do know that once you start seeing it, you can't unsee it. While we do often find coves and beaches which are pristine, we usually can see or find trash in almost every cove or anchorage we stop at.
2. Are other sailors picking up trash but just not telling anyone about it? In the few weeks we were away from the boat to go home, I noticed very few Trash Tuesday contributions on the Facebook Med Sailing Group. I have no idea how many people in the group are actually on the water and sailing verses those planning to or just interested in sailing.
What I can say with certainty is that we are drowning in plastic both above and below the water. Unless we all start doing something about it, it is only going to get worse.
To all of our Turkish and Greek friends on Facebook, please look at your beautiful coastline with new eyes and stop to pick up trash whenever you can. If you have any influence, please canvas to have the day trip boats and gulets forced into picking up all trash off the beaches and coves they visit.
To those of you in the business of chartering yachts or managing marinas please start thinking of imaginative ways to encourage your charter guests to pick up trash while they are on holiday - perhaps you could offer a discount off their next holiday or stay in your marina of EURO 5 per bag of trash picked up and photographed and posted to your website or Instagram account while they are on holiday. That way they are doing good and cleaning the environment for others while on holiday as well as being incentivised to book with you again and use their discount.
It is very easy to become immune or despondent when we see all the trash ashore, but I believe that if we all make an effort to clean the anchorages we stop at, we make the stay more pleasant for ourselves while "paying it forward" for others who will visit there after us.
It's a virtuous circle, what benefits me benefits my fellow man.