Posts Tagged ‘kayak’

Photo: Adam Grossberg/KQED
Ahmet Ustunel, who is blind, plans to kayak across the Bosphorus Strait in Turkey, like blind King Phineus of Greek mythology.

Never say studying Greek mythology fails to prepare a student for life. Laura Klivans’s story at Public Radio International will help you understand why it can be valuable.

“Ahmet Ustunel remembers his daily commute to high school well. He’d wake up at home, on the Asian side of Istanbul, Turkey, a city that straddles two continents. Then he would take a ferry across the Bosphorus Strait to the European side of the city. …

“Ustunel has been blind since he was three years old when he lost his sight because of eye cancer — but that never kept him away from the water. He spent afternoons fishing with his father and summers swimming in the Black Sea, where his grandmother had a house. …

“For the last 11 years, Ustunel has lived in the United States. … He plans to return to his homeland next summer to kayak solo across the Bosphorus Strait. …

“Ustunel first became inspired to captain his own boat in high school, while studying Greek mythology. …

” ‘There was this blind king called Phineus, and he used to live on the north side of the Bosphorus,’ he recalled. ‘His mission was guiding sailors in the dark safely to the Black Sea from the Mediterranean.’ …

“Earlier this year, Ustunel saw an opportunity … A nonprofit launched a new award to fund blind and visually impaired people undertaking adventures. The Holman Prize for Blind Ambition offers grants of up to $25,000 to accomplish a bold project. …

“LightHouse has been able to fund these creative projects after receiving an unexpected gift of $125 million from a Seattle businessman upon his death.

“For Ustunel, the money will help him buy the right kind of kayak and the instruments he will use to navigate. He’s documenting his training process on his website, where he calls himself ‘The Blind Captain.’

“So, how do you kayak if you can’t see? Ustunel says the first thing is to use your other senses, which can convey lots of information. …

“But to cross the Bosphorus, Ustunel will need more than just his senses. His journey will be just over 3 miles, but the strait is one of the busiest shipping channels in the world. The waters are dangerously crowded with huge freighters and tankers, alongside small ferries and fishing boats — and the currents are strong.”

At PRI, here, you can read about the many gadgets the kayaker is testing before he tackles the Bosphorous.

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A few recent shots. The beautiful Zakim Bridge, late summer flower in the Greenway, water bugs on the Sudbury River, four scenes from Boston’s North End (which can still feel a bit like stepping into Italy), mysterious “pasta” along the railroad track, and my selfie shadow.











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