Log #29d Back to Turkey

May 15, 2003 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 29 Greek Aegean to Istanbul, The Logs

Canakkale, Dardanelles, Turkey

May 15, 2003

Hi Folks,

We are here in the historic and strategic Dardanelles at Canakkale on the Asian side, ready to proceed up to Gelibolu (also known as Gallipoli) on the European side, in the next day or so. We have been immersed in the Gallipoli campaign of WW I for the past two days and will tell you about it, and our pilgrimage through the Anzac battlefields and the Royal Navy’s defeat here, in my next log. Also, tomorrow we are going down to the classical battlefield of Troy.

It is good to be back in Turkey. All is well with us. We were informed that Dr Atkins, whose diet plans we are still following, was killed in an accident last month. I hope to be able to tell you more about our success with that plan, and include some of the delicious recipes  we have been eating while on it, and a bit more about shipboard life as a cruising couple in my next log or two. Actually, I am becoming more decrepit with an ingrown toenail that I will have to have fixed in Istanbul, as well as that finger I sprained a month ago in Symi which is still swollen, uncomfortable, and of limited dexterity.

We got much appreciated feedback from several of you, thank you. It is like summer here now, bright sunny warm days, but cool nights. Wild flowers are in extravagant bloom in all the fields. I brought Judy a couple of lovely wild Irises from the fields below the French war graves at Anis Limani on Gallipoli. I am taking many pictures of these audacious blooms and of the many ships that ply the Dardanelles. We will bore you to death with them next winter when we return for a while.

We also enjoy a Fugawi plot charting system we bought in Toronto last February, and used it yesterday coming up the first part of the Dardanelles. We call it a seamap and I hope to describe it in my next log as well. It is going to be a very detailed log. I hope you can bear with and follow my wide range meanderings of travel, navigational, sailing, historical and opinionated observations. If not, send me some E-mails asking for clarification, or expressing your queries or viewpoints. Cruising is a wonderful life, and more of you should take it up.

I hope you can follow this log which is wide ranging, from bureaucracy and currency concerns to heavy weather motoring against the wind.


All the best,


Log #29d Back to Turkey

Canakkale, Turkey

May15, 2003

We were relieved to be finally off from Mytilini after that frustrating 1½ hour backing and forthing from customs to port authority to legitimately check out of Greece. Many cruisers do not bother, and cross over between Greece to Turkey without checking in or out. They will have current legitimate papers for both countries if ever checked, so they can go back and forth from Greek islands to Turkish mainland ports and anchorages without checking in or out. To go into a Greek port after leaving Greece and returning again within a 30 day period results in a higher Greek cruising charge, as Greece wants to discourage such transits. In Turkey, one has to buy a new visa on each entry from Greece, or anywhere else, as the Turkish visa is cancelled when checking out of Turkey to another country.

For example, to sail 10 miles across from mainland Turkey at Kas over to Kastellorizo, an adjacent Greek island, and back in a few days would involve: checking out of Turkey (customs, passport control to cancel visa, and harbour master  to verify all marina or other check out charges {between €5.00 to €15.00} have been paid, and cruising log cancelled); and checking in to Greece (customs, passport control and port authorities {usually a coast guard office} and paying a variety of fees, which for us is 3 or 4 receipts for about € 80.00, none of which have ever been satisfactorily explained and which are illegal under EU law {as no such charges are made in other EU countries}. However we found out our cruising log from last year is still valid as they just stamped it in the next spot for a Greek port. Then when ready to return to Kas, we would have to check out of Greece, indicating our next destination in Turkey, checking again through passport control, customs, and port authority, and paying a more nominal check-out fee of between €5.00 to €15.00 (it has never been the same at any two Greek ports). Then back in Turkey the check-in procedure involves new visas ($45.00 U.S. each), and new transit log (about €45.00, although the price may vary a bit from port to port). So a two day trip from Kas in Turkey to a Greek island and back would cost at least €230.00 in extra fees, visas, cruising permits and transit logs to do legitimately! In addition there would be the extra bureaucracy, and tromping all over town to the different agencies (they are never close together) with their inefficiencies. Thus many cruisers don’t bother and just change courtesy flags when crossing over, and if asked just say they are coming up from a local port, and have the current papers if checked.

Judy is too straight to be able to be bureaucratically deceptive and so we do it by the book. We plan our passages so we are in Greek waters for an extended period of time, then in Turkish waters for another extended period of time. For example we entered Turkey at Ayvalik on May 8th and will be in Turkish waters from there up to Istanbul, and across the Black Sea coast of Turkey until mid July.

Regarding currencies, now the Euro (€) is common throughout Europe and used in Turkey in many places. At present the Euro is worth about $1.10 U.S. The Canadian dollar is worth about $ .67 U.S., and is improving. What is happening to the US economy? In Turkey I would rather pay in Turkish Lira, although many tourist places here charge in Euros. When you see Euros charged you know the prices are going to be higher (for tourists) than if charged in local currency. At present $1.00 Canadian is worth about 1,010,000 Turkish Lira (TL), and $1.00 U.S. is worth about 1,590,000 TL. So my financial configurations fluctuate between all four currencies, but for rapid calculations, I equate the Euro and the U.S. $ as about equal, and the Canadian $ as a bit better than 1,000,000 TL. There were a couple of unfortunate incidents with one hairdresser in Kemer where the price for a cut and colour was quoted as 40,000,000 TL, but when it came time to pay was found to be € 40.00. So we have to be careful, and determine the price before getting any service or product, otherwise as tourists (which we are not) we may be charged a higher amount or in a higher currency than would locals.

When we arrived in Ayvalik in Turkey, the Setur Marina took care of all the running around to check in for our visas and transit log, a much appreciated service. It was nice to be back in Turkey with their friendly co-operative people. We feel more comfortable here. It was nice to be in a full service marina, with showers and laundry facilities although we found it not as nice as Kemer in small details such as minimal hot water pressure in the showers, and the clothes dryer left the clothes quite damp, forcing us to hang the clothes on a line in order to completely dry them. The cost was OK at € 12.00 a day for our 10 metre boat, but the water and electricity were extra at € 3.00 a day for a total of € 30.00 for two days. However, we have such a high regard for Kemer Park Marina where we stayed for two winters that other marinas will have a difficult time to come up to its standards.

Shortly after arriving in Ayvalik, Judy left on an overnight bus for Istanbul, to go to Atakoy Marina to start the processing for our visas to the Ukraine. Visas to Romania and Bulgaria are no longer required. After hanging out the laundry, I enjoyed having Veleda to myself for 36 hours.

Upon her return we then went into town and enjoyed the fresh produce and butcher shops. We were favourably impressed with Ayvalik, a pleasant economical Turkish community, not too touristy. However we did notice one anti-American banner across a walkway advocating boycott of US and British products. We enjoyed strolling the back streets seeing old Ottoman houses with overhanging balconies, mixed in with both new and decrepit buildings along the rough cobblestone streets. As this is an olive growing area, we got a 5 litre can of high quality, extra virgin, first press, olive oil, as the last top quality olive oil we got last year at Datca is almost finished.

Judy was pleased with the assistance she got from Atakoy Marina in Istanbul. We will be up there in a few weeks and will spend some more time touring Istanbul. Our visas should be ready by the time we get there.

After leaving Ayvalik Setur Marina, we just motored 3 miles to anchor in Camluk Koyu (39 17.4N, 026 39.5E), one of several wide sheltered bays in the Ayvalik archipelago. We hope to return to this area after the Black Sea as there are many other pleasant anchorages and ruins to see. Heading north gain into the prevailing winds we motored to an anchorage in Sivrice Limani (39 20.1N, 026 12.6E), off a small community there, a few miles from Baba Burnu, the cape at the southern tip of this final peninsula before the Dardanelles. Leaving at 0540 next day hoping to avoid strong northerlies we rounded Baba Burnu to head into light northerly winds and a heavy slop from the north. As we passed Babakale, we saw the sheltered harbour beneath the castle walls and wished we had stayed there overnight as a more interesting location. Perhaps on our way back from the Black Sea in September?

Slogging north along this long peninsula was heavy going. By 0900 we were going into 25 to 30 knots of wind and 1½ metre waves in a whitecapped sea. To sail or even motorsail we would have had to go 45˚ off course. We tried going inshore hoping to get a bit of a lee from the waves and wind. No luck! Off shore was just as bad, so we reversed course and headed back to Baba Burnu. Going “downhill” we put out a reefed genoa and shut the engine off for a half hour. I didn’t want to lose the 7 miles we clawed northwards and so thought of alternatives to going all the way back to Baba Burnu. The wind seemed to have lightened, but it always does when you are going down wind.  So at 0945 we started the engine, furled the genoa and reversed course to see how bad the wind and waves really were. They seemed a bit lighter; we had only 20 knots over deck, but we were still pounding into 1½ metre waves with our speed down to less than 3 knots. Rather than pound directly into them we went off at an angle to tack back and forth under motor and reefed genoa.  I pondered whether to turn back, and whether we could “heave to” under genoa only, without the main, to more accurately assess the wind strength. So I came across the wind, and let the reefed genoa back. No luck; we were not in a “heave to” situation without the counter effects of the main, and continued to move forward.

I thought that motorsailing with a reefed genoa would stabilize us a bit, and so headed back into the wind under engine and reefed genoa. But, I tried leaving the genoa backed and motoring into the wind. It worked! I was actually able to motorsail directly into the 25 knot wind over deck with the genoa backed to port, and the engine on at cruising revs allowing our speed to go up to 4½ to 5 knots, dead into the wind! (The genoa was reefed with both sheets tight, to hold the clew about 8” just forward and slightly inboard of the windward shrouds.) Every once in a while we would be hit by a series of 2 metre waves which would slow us dramatically, but veering off a bit we would pick up speed again, and so we proceeded. We had to hand steer, but at least we were making good speed in a northerly direction, and so we continued on up to Bozcaada (39 50.7N, 026 04.5E), arriving at 1450, after 9 ½ hours and 40 nautical miles of hard slogging.

The docks have been modified since the current Turkish Waters pilot, and it is now possible to actually go alongside or Med moor without problems on the northern breakwater. When we took two jerry cans over to the fuel station by the town square, the attendant filled them and then put them into his van and delivered them back to Veleda for us. Turkish hospitality! Thanks!

The Genoese fortress overlooking the harbour was open, but the inner keep with the museum was closed. The fortress is quite imposing and in good repair. Bozcaada is the ancient Tenedos which was used as the Greek base for the attack on Troy, less than 15 miles away on the mainland.  The cost for overnight was 15,000,000 TL. We left early next day for our entry into the historic and strategic Dardanelles and the Gallipoli peninsula to be described in my next log.