Most people will do some sort of road trip in their lifetime. Some will do a road trip across their province or state and the lucky ones might drive across an entire country. If you work for Water By Nature, however, road trip takes on a whole new meaning. We don’t just traverse states and provinces and countries but entire continents. The latest WBN adventure was a road trip of epic proportions, a drive from Africa to Asia across the European land mass.
Water By Nature runs a rafting and kayaking season in Morocco. It also operates a rafting season in eastern Turkey on a river called the Coruh. The seasons are back to back and the same equipment and guides are usually used for both seasons. Now, in order to get gear and people from Morocco to Turkey we drive our van and trailer across Europe. The exact route varies from year to year depending on whose driving and the intentional or unintentional detours those drivers take. But, in general, the drive starts in Morocco and crosses the Straits of Gibraltar into Spain. From Spain the crew drives along the Mediterranean coast across France and Italy to the Adriatic coast. From there, a ferry service is used to cross the Adriatic Ocean to Greece. New motorways facilitate the crossing of that country to the edge of the European Union. Once past the Turkish border its smooth sailing all the way to Istanbul. Istanbul marks the end of Europe and the beginning of Asia all in one city. Once on the other side of the Bosporus, it’s still another 24 hours to Erzurum in the far eastern part of the country. In total, this 3600-mile journey usually takes about 8-10 days.
This year, Sven, Ethan, and Bob left Morocco on May 5th and arrived in Istanbul on May 12th. Along the way they spent a night near Marseilles, France and Pisa, Italy. Then in Greece, plagued with a little road weariness, they opted for two days of rest and relaxation on the beaches of the Kassandra Peninsula. The crew left Istanbul on the morning of the 14th and arrived safely in Erzurum on the morning of the 15th.
The Coruh season starts this weekend. The excitement level amongst the guides and clients for the first trip is tremendous. Everyone knows that this river is incredible. Unfortunately, this is the last season for this river as well. A damming project has already started and after this season the river will no longer be raftable. This whitewater classic, which has served countless numbers of rafters so well, will be lost forever. We’re here to enjoy it one last time!
So, after 3600 miles, 6 countries, 3 continents, countless hours, 17 Red Bulls, 87 coffees (between Bob an Sven), several hundred liters of fuel, too many truck stop meals, too many Cokes, not enough sleep, and way too much European dance music, the road trip is over. Mission accomplished. Next step: run the Coruh, enjoy the Coruh, and remember the Coruh. If you think that this road trip was a bit excessive just to get to a river, then you haven’t paddled the Coruh yet!
by Hamish McMaster
Hamish McMaster is the Water By Nature owner. He has spent the past 25 years exploring and playing on the world's great rivers. He still loves nothing more than getting out there and sharing adventures.
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