Log #29h Istanbul

June 21, 2003 in Log Series 20 - 29, Logs by Series, Series 29 Greek Aegean to Istanbul, The Logs

Doğanyurt, Black Sea, Turkey

42 00.5N, 033 27.6E

June 21, 2003

Hi Folks,

We’re at anchor in the small harbour at Doğanyurt here on the Black Sea north coast of Turkey. I may not be able to send this off for a day or two, but wanted to get it saved on floppy disc so it can be sent as soon as we reach a community with an internet café. All is well with us. There are many anchorages and harbours along the coast, and the people are very friendly, typical of Turkey. We have been motoring ever since we entered the Black Sea three weeks ago. We have either no wind or north east winds against us!

This log gets us into Istanbul and our departure up the Bosphorus. My next log will start series Logs #30 in the Black Sea as we will be going up the Bosphorus into the Black Sea at Poyraz.


All the best,


Log #29h Istanbul

June 13, 2003

On May 26th we finally arrived in Fenerbahce (40 58.6N, 029 b2.3E), a suburb of Istanbul across the channel on the south side. There are two large marinas located there in a large shoreline park area. We went into Setur Kalamis Marina, paying $17.00 US per day with water and electricity extra. The price was the same at both marinas. Kalamis is a modern marina with very co-operative staff. However their showers and toilets leave much to be desired. There were several repair shops and chandleries in the marina and nearby streets. We had our Simrad wheel pilot repaired by a Simrad dealership mechanic who came to Veleda. He assessed the difficulty as a faulty clutch assembly, and replaced it next day, for only $100.00 US including a one year warranty. We also had a mechanic rebuild our Yanmar water pump and replace the impellor and hoses.

I took a trip into Istanbul (taxi, bus and ferry) to go to the American Hastanesi (Hospital) to have my ingrown toenail assessed and to have some blood work done. It is a modern, efficient, clean hospital not unlike any good North American one. The toenail had no infection and could wait until our returning to Canada in the winter. I didn’t want it done (not that I mistrust Turkish hospitals, but I am chicken and prefer to put off unpleasant procedures), and so was relieved to be able to put it off. I wanted to have my cholesterol, triglycerides and PSA checked, as I have been on this Dr. Atkins low carbohydrate diet for nine weeks, with high levels of meat, fat and eggs. I was concerned that my cholesterol would shoot up. However the readings were not elevated beyond those taken in January and my “good” cholesterol and triglycerides were in a very healthy range. I have lost 25 pounds (14 kilo) and taken 6 inches (15 cm) off my waist since mid March.

I am quite happy with the diet and its results. Both Judy and I hope to stay with it down to our goal weights, then we will modify it to maintain a healthy level. By low carbohydrates, it means no breads, potatoes, rice, pasta, cereals, sweets, sugars, milk, ice cream, candies, cakes, pies, and restricted fruits. It permits all meats, many vegetables, diet beverages, sugar substitutes, tea, coffee, heavy cream and many alcoholic beverages (not including beer and most sweet liqueurs). Breakfasts can be boring with nothing but eggs (no toast of course). But we have enjoyed several recipes from the Dr. Atkins cookbook, and can do many things with crustless quiches. Starting out at less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, we have not been hungry, and are eating less than 50 % of what we used to eat at mealtimes. We like it, and do not feel deprived.

Two days later we made our way across the southern end of the Bosphorus over to Atakoy Marina (40 58.3N, 028 52.6E) on the western outskirts of Istanbul on the European side. The trip was interesting as we had to avoid many ferries, pilot boats, and ships under way and at anchor in the large roadstead. At one point we counted over 40 large ships at anchor as we threaded our way through them. Atakoy Marina is an excellent marina. There are finger docks, with water and electricity included for $20.00 US a day for our 9.75 metre (32 foot) boat. The staff were extremely helpful, providing maps of the marina and surrounding area, making arrangements for a service laundry (unfortunately their laundry room in the marina was not operational), giving us mail that had arrived for us, and our passports that Judy had left for our Ukrainian visas. Burçin Bayli was exceptionally helpful to Judy earlier when she came by bus from Avalik to arrange the visas, and again when we arrived here at Atakoy.When enquiring about other boats in the marina we might know, we discovered Cache Cache, a Swedish boat that we met on the EMYR last year was here, as well as Prima, a German boat we met in Canakkale. We also introduced ourselves to Danish Delight, a Danish boat belonging to Finn and Charlotte, a couple with two young children who have been living in Istanbul for a few years and are now leaving, embarking on a year’s sail back to Denmark. Finn was a representative for a Danish pharmaceutical company here in Istanbul for the last few years. We felt very comfortable here at Atakoy Marina.

We had a good reunion with Anders and Brigitte on Cache Cache. Small world department; Anders is the individual whose nephew’s fiancé we met in Toronto last winter, as she was staying with Judy’s parents while on a medical exchange from Sweden to the University of Toronto Medical School. We enjoyed drinks with them on Cache Cache, and next day on Veleda, as well as jointly touring the marine museum beside the Dolmabahce Palace.

After the museum they explored the palace, but we stayed in the museum to see the small (29 ft / 9 m) first Turkish yacht to circumnavigate the globe, and then the excellent display of Ottoman caiques. We were awed by the large opulent 30 oared vessels, ornately prowed with gold curlicues, rich Turkish tapestries adorning the stern bowers, and 60 erect mannequins sitting at their oars, festooned in their gold and purple waistcoats, green cummerbunds, white peasant blouses and fez headgear.  In addition to several of these large sultans’ and caliphs’ caiques the museum also had the small double oared boat rowed by Ataturk as one of his forms of recreation and encouragement for sports in the new republic he established.

We went to the museum via ferry from Atakoy, but upon returning we wanted to use local bus and train transport as well as to walk across the Galata Bridge which spans the Golden Horn. The bridge was occupied by hundreds of fishermen on the upper level, and restaurants and tourist shops on the lower level. On the Istanbul side was the Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar, a crowded hurly-burly of humanity selling and buying exotic spices, fresh fruits and vegetables, entire animal carcasses or individual portions of lamb, beef or chicken, shoes and sandals, ornate gold and silver medallions, trays, crescent spouted  copper coffee pots, cheap watches, iridescent mobile phones, embroidered silks, rich Turkish delight, döners and kebabs of spicy beef, lamb or chicken, primitive scythes and axes, the latest Black and Decker power tools, North American and European cigarettes, lottery tickets, and almost anything else one could want. After wending our way through and buying only some spices, meat and vegetables, as well as a lamb döner, we took the train from Sirkeci station, once the Istanbul terminal for the Orient Express, back to Atakoy for only 1,000,000 TL ($1.00 Canadian).

However one of our days was used up in a SNAFU (Situation Normal-All Fouled Up), in that our passports we picked up at Atakoy had the Ukrainian visas, except the dates were wrong! So, off to the Ukrainian consulate we went, hoping that we would not have to pay another $96.00 US each, and not have to wait for another week or two for them to be corrected. We were pleasantly surprised that after only an hour’s wait we got in and they accepted that it was their error, and asked us to come back in a half hour to get our new visas. Fine, but then we had to go to the travel bureau to get the dates on our health insurance changed as well. No problem there either, and by noon hour we were finished. Rather than return to the marina, since we were near the airport we went to the Turkish Air Force Museum which had displays of early Turkish flights from the 13th century through to high tech jets and manned space flights, with texts in Turkish and English. There were dozens of aircraft on display in the building, as well outside on the runway aprons. It was almost as good as the aircraft museums we have been to at Elgin Air Force Base and Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida.

Another day we visited the Sunken Palace, an extravagant cistern built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century AD, with 336 ornate columns 8 metres high supporting the roof of this water reservoir 140m by 70m that supplied Topkapi and Istanbul until the 19th century. Then by tramway and local bus we went to the Military Museum, housed in the old military college in which Ataturk was trained. The museum is excellent, worth a full day’s visit. The displays featuring text in Turkish and English were extremely well done with motion sensitive illumination showing artifacts from the Ottoman plan of attack on Constantinople up to the Gallipoli campaign of WW I, the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1923), the Korean War, the Cyprus Intervention of 1974, and Turkey’s NATO and UN contributions. We enjoyed the colourful musical procession of the military band of the Janissaries (the original Ottoman professional army) and the Imperial Tents set up in large display halls. We wished we had more time to stroll though the courtyards and other outside displays of that historic military college.

We had spent a few days in Istanbul before going back to Canada last December. At that time we stayed in Sultanahmet, and visited the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), the Hippodrome (think of the chariot scene in Spartacus) and the Topkapi Palace (Remember the movie Topkapi? We saw the Topkapi dagger). We still have a few places to see in Istanbul, which we will visit when we return in early September on our way out of the Black Sea.

Finn and Charlotte of Danish Delight invited us to their office going away party at the Yacht Club. The clubhouse is ideally situated at the entrance of the outer breakwater, with a panoramic view of the marina and roadstead. A delicious buffet was spread out. We met Finn’s replacement and several other sailors and locals. Klaus, a “Danish” local entrepreneur, was quite interested in our adventure and came to visit us next day on Veleda, bringing a case of Argentinean red wine. Thank you Klaus.

Another purchase and installation we made while at Atakoy was a new heads. Merry Christmas JUDY! (After all, she wanted to replace our old one just because it leaked on us every time we pumped it!) It is a Jabsco, regular bowl toilet for 432,736,344 TL ($307.00 US or $412.00 CDN). The West Marine catalogue of 2001 had it listed for $309.00 US plus tax, and a Toronto supplier for $450.00 CDN plus tax at current Canadian prices, so we didn’t think the price was out of line. However, we have not replaced the hoses yet.

We left Atakoy in company with Cache Cache and Danish Delight on June 2nd to head up the Bosphorus. We exchanged cameras with Anders so we could have some pictures of Veleda and take some of Cache Cache. Even though Danish Delight was local for four years, we were the only boat with charts, a good computer chart plotting system, and local knowledge gained from the harbourmaster, of this busy waterway, and so we led the way before crossing the Golden Horn. More about this trip up the Bosphorus in my next log.