As Daylight Savings time started, and the sun starts heating up the air, the flowers are in full blossom in the park and people are out trying to enjoy the weather. We decided to join them, and headed to the shore. The Marmara Sea was filled with sail boats, also enjoying the weather.
Everything seemed normal, up until this point. But as we walked towards Moda, a specific boat caught our attention.
Next to the boat, there was this little sign.
The yacht made by hand with wood and other materials needed money to continue on the journey.
The yacht, owned by an artist, had a lot of spirit.
The owner of the Russian boat, Helon, Evgeny Solodkiy, designed and built the boat with his own hands. It’s actually a mistake to categorize the Helon as simply a boat.
While listening to Evgeny talk, we learned that material to build the boat was found and purchased cheaply in Russia. As you will see when you venture inside, not everything is what you would expect to find on a sea worthy sailing vessel.
The ship left Russia, and arrived in Istanbul in December 2012.
When we discovered the Helon, the crew was just Evgeny Solodkiy and his wife. The crew was larger when they arrived here, but now it is just the two of them. The Helon is currently anchored in Istanbul, at the canal separating Moda and Fenerbahçe. Evgeny is an artist. Throughout their journey, Evgeny paints, and then when they drop anchor, the boat is open to the public to tour and look at the artwork. The sailors are hoping to earn enough money at every stop to realize their dreams and continue their tour, one day travelling around the world.
The Helon’s next stop is Marmaris. To pay for gas an incidentals during their journey, Evgeny sells his beautiful oil paintings.
One might be surprised to learn that Evgeny’s original profession was architecture. However, once you tour the magnificent yacht, it becomes quite believable. Every detail of the yacht was carefully designed and executed. (By the way, Evgeny’s English is very good, however his gravelly voice might make it a little hard to understand, but certainly adds to the image of a ship captain… or even a pirateJ)
Evgeny and his wife, Lina
We consider ourselves lucky to have had a tour of the boat, and highly recommend you ask for one too! But the highlight of the architecture and furnishing is certainly the dining table. A round world map has been sketched on the table, drawn by Evgeny’s own hand. He can show you the route already taken as well as their planned future voyages.
Every part of the yacht is a piece of art. You can see lots of pictures of the interior and rooms on the Helon’s website, but we highly recommend you see it in person. You can also see what the table looked like before the map was drawn, but the final version is really worth seeing!
Hung on the ropes outside, and laid on tables you can see some of Evgeny’s oil paints that are for sale. You can also check them out on the Helon’s website. (There were a few paintings we really liked).
You can see some of the paintings here, but if you have time, please go to the canal near the Fenerbahçe Stadium, and find the Helon anchored there, you can’t miss it! (at the end of Yoğurtçu Park, across from the new children’s playground).
Their story impressed us, and we were really interested in what they are trying to do. All we can do is share their story on our blog. Maybe someone will read this, and become interested and visit the Helon. We hope that in this small way, we can help them.
In the meanwhile, I stood at the helm for a bit…
To the Helon and her crew, we say to you “May you always have fair wind and following seas.”
As an added note: If anyone among you knows Russian and English, and would be interested in translating…. Evgeny wrote the story of their journey on his website, and he would like to have it translated in English so that more people can be aware of what they are doing… Have a look and consider it.