Log #29g Sea of Marmara

June 1, 2003 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 29 Greek Aegean to Istanbul, The Logs

Atakoy Marina, Istanbul, Turkey

June 1, 2003

Hi Folks,

We’re here in ancient Byzantium, getting ready to head into the Black Sea. We have met up with Cash Cash, a Swedish boat with Anders and Brigitte whom we met last year on the EMYR. We had drinks with them, did some touring with them and will be heading up the Bosphorus with them and Danish Delight, a Danish sailboat, tomorrow.

Snux from Espanola indicated I left out a “/” on that map website mentioned in my last log. Let me try to write it out again properly this time: http://www.adiyamanli.org/MapofTurkey/turk_map.htm There may be some more typos sneaking into my logs, as I am using a Turkish keyboard and my Turkish server called Superonline. Would you use my Superonline address until further notice as AOL is notoriously slow and crash prone. That address is Veleda@superonline.com and I will use it while in Turkey until mid July.

The headscarf issue is still in the forefront of political concerns, as the EU sees it as religious suppression, whereas Turkey sees it as a symbol of Islamic intrusion in an effort to remain a secular state. I recently read some interesting statistics that about 70 % of women wear headscarves. Of those, over 80% live below the poverty line. Of those who wear headscarves 75% are married whereas only 25 % of the unmarried women wear them, an implication that the husbands are influential in their wives being covered. Something that we have noticed in the smaller towns away from the tourist areas, that more women are wearing scarves, but in many cases they are colourful and even stylistic.  Another term we have heard recently is to describe them as turbans, a term suggestive that they are a direct religious statement or even challenge. The government and military are always on guard against the forces that would have Turkey become an Islamist theocratic state.

I hope to be able to send this out tomorrow on Superonline if I can get the programming of the addresses correct.

All the best,


Log #29g Sea of Marmara

Atakoy Marina, Istanbul, Turkey

June 1, 2003

The Sea of Marmara is an oblong body of water a bit smaller than Lake Ontario, oriented southwest to northeast, and links the Dardanelles to Istanbul and the Bosphorus, which in turn wends its way up into the Black Sea. It is called Marmara, meaning marble, as the main island of Marmara Adasi is noted for its marble quarries. We had northeast winds most of the way across this body of water (What else?!).

As mentioned in my last log, we got to Karabiga, our first destination in the Sea of Marmara, after an enjoyable stay for a few hours in Kemer until the wind settled down a bit before resuming our trip. As we rounded the peninsula and Kale Burnu we saw the tall solid remains of the ancient wall that defended the cape in a long lost point of ancient history. Upon entering the camber we rafted alongside Eagle’s Nest, a British yawl, with Okaliptus and Prima astern. It was a crowded fishing harbour with just enough room for our four boats. It was a small community but we were able to get a few grocery supplies. However, during the night a heavy surge caused considerable and dangerous motion to the two of us rafted together, and shortly after midnight we slipped our moorings and anchored over in the northeast part of the harbour. That location was far more comfortable and safe. It seemed strange anchoring inside the harbour breakwater, but it was recommended by locals, and mentioned in Rod Heikell’s pilot.

Leaving at 0900 next day we motored (What else?!) the 23 miles to Erdek on the west coast of the Kapidag Peninsula (Yarimadasi) to find the harbour exceedingly crowded with local boats and ferries to the extent that we could only moor at the end of a pontoon while Judy went ashore for some fresh produce. As the winds were light we set off as soon as she returned and went up to anchor in the camber at Topağaç on the south coast of Marmara Adasi. We saw Eagle’s Nest at anchor outside the camber in the southern bay. This is one of the “rustic” towns with more tractors and heavy trucks hauling large blocks of marble than there were cars. We were able to take Sprite over to the fuel station on the shoreline for some diesel, but we didn’t bother to go into town.  Along the shoreline inside the camber were large blocks of marble used as shore defenses to prevent erosion. On the north coast of Marmara Adasi the harbour at Saraylar has the only breakwater constructed entirely of marble in the Med or possibly the world!

Dolphins cavorted around Veleda for two delightful prolonged visits next day on our 20 mile motor around Kapidag Yarimadasi to Cakilköy. We have seen more dolphins in a few days in the Sea of Marmara than our two years in the Med. Cakilköy was filled with over 70 large trawlers three and four abreast occupying all the dock space in the large harbour, except for the 40 foot end dock just inside the entrance. Rather than anchor out we took that only spot. A couple of hours later, Prima, a 10 metre German ketch we had first met a week earlier in Canakkale, came in and we had them raft outboard of us. On the dirt streets of this “rustic” hamlet there were more donkeys, and in the harbour more trawlers, than there were cars. The trawlers were laid up, apparently out of their fishing season, but considerable maintenance work was being done on them. We were plagued with young boys who wanted to try their English on us (“How are you” and “What is your name”), and a few curious men. One of the young men from one of the trawlers brought us over a few fish and a small bag of green plums. Later he brought a tray of large seashells and dried starfish which we tried to decline. Then he came onboard with a bag to show us and possibly tried to sell us a sea encrusted ancient amphora. It would have been a real collector’s item, except we did not have room for it and we know it is illegal to take antiquities out of the country.

Just before dark we were advised that a tanker was coming in later, and so we shifted moorings to an adjacent stretch of dock wall recently vacated by the trawlers, this time with Prima on the inside. When we awoke in the morning there was this gigantic steel wall of red tanker hull a few feet astern of us.

Crossing a wide stretch of calm water next day, we were visited by a couple of Coast Guardsmen in an   inflatable who checked us out for several minutes before coming alongside to advise us to change course to stay five miles off Imrali Adasi. It is a penal colony! We actually knew this detail and our sources said approaching or anchoring was prohibited, and to stay at least a mile off (which we were). The requirement for five miles clearance seems to be new.

After this little event, we motored over towards Prima who was going to the same port as we were, and took a couple of pictures of her with all her sails up (genoa, main and mizzen), even though she was motorsailing. I then copied them onto a floppy disc and gave it to Sepp when we arrived alongside, astern of them, in Katirli (40 37.2N, 028 57.2E). It has a good large harbour with water and electricity at the end and outer docks. The charge was a reasonable 10,000,000 TL without power or water. A new marina office is in process of being completed, and the marina/harbourmaster helped us alongside.

We wandered around the town which was adequately supplied with small stores and waterfront teahouses, but found no bank or operational internet café. Next day was a four hour motoring trip to the Princes’ Islands, so called as the Ottoman royalty used them as summer retreats, now used by “Stamboulites” ( a name for people from Istanbul) for weekend getaways. We anchored in Cam Limani, a well protected bay on the south side of Heybeliada. In the afternoon there were about 15 boats at anchor, but by dark we were the only boat left. These pine clad islands are a good retreat for the people of Istanbul as they are only 15 miles from the city, with good facilities for private boats and good ferry service. We put Sprite into the water and dinghied around two of the islands, but did not go ashore. The anchorage was secure, but the water was murky with plenty of algae, seaweed, and jellyfish, although we saw several people swimming from their boats and from shore. The seaweed clogged our chain and anchor quite heavily when we weighed anchor next morning and set off the 10 miles for Fenerbahçe, a suburb of Istanbul.