Log #30g Back to Istanbul

September 20, 2003 in Log Series 30-39, Logs by Series, Series 30 Bosporus & The Black Sea, The Logs

Toronto, Canada

Sept. 20, 2003

Hi Folks.

This is my last log of Turkey, getting us to Istanbul where we put Veleda up on the hard until we return next spring.

Ruth, Judy’s mother died on Sept. 9th. Judy’s dad, Henry, is coping quite well, planning to stay in this big house while he can handle it, and spending the winter months from Dec. to Feb. in an apartment down in Panama City where Judy’s sister Barbara and her family live. Judy was stressed out, with all the care we gave her mother, plus all the people who came to visit her the past two months and all the phone calls each day. We estimate we had 10 to 20 visitors, and fielded between 30 to 40 phone calls daily for the previous nine weeks. Judy walked around the house with the two extension phones tucked into her waist pockets like a western gunslinger. Ruth was very mentally alert right up to the last day or so, enjoying the friends with whom she shared her life. I am impressed with the palliative care available and all the medications covered by the Canadian and Ontario health benefits, providing the equipment (IV setup and pump and over 70 bags of saline and glucose solution; oxygen generator and lengths of tubing for nasal prongs as well as spare oxygen tanks which we had to use during the great power blackout last month; and a commode and catheter in the final stage), and all the medications necessary (Octreotide, Fentanyl, Hydromorphone, Nystatin, Stematil, and Endocet), allowing us to keep her quite comfortable and pain free right up to the end. The only medications we paid for were the over the counter Scopalamine patches and Imodium. With the three of us taking care of her, she could not have had better care in the best hospital in the world. It was a moving experience to be able to have such an intense relationship with Ruth these past two months, to love and care for her. We were with her the night she died. We had a good cry at her death and during the next couple of days until the funeral. However, we have come through OK and are getting on with a variety of activities as life goes on.

I will be leaving tomorrow to help a friend sail his 40 foot Jeanneau Odyssey from Halifax to Norfolk Virginia. We depart the middle of next week and hope to be in Norfolk by Oct. 1st. Of course we will have to keep a weather eye open, as the category 4 hurricane Isabel just went through Virginia and Washington, downgraded to a category 2 by the time it went through the Toronto area causing some storm damage last night. In October we hope to visit friends and family in northern Ontario, and spend some time at the family cottage on Lake Chemong near Peterborough. We will be going to Melbourne Florida in mid November for a Seven Seas Cruising Association conference, and will stay down that way visiting a few friends and family. In January we will be presenting a seminar at the Toronto Boat Show on liveaboard life and the East Mediterranean Yacht Rally. We will be making other presentations to yacht clubs and the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons, and hope to do some traveling around Canada and the US before returning to Veleda in March. On our return to Veleda we are going to spend some time in England and on the continent before going down to Istanbul. If there is a chance to visit with any of you on these travels, please let us know.

While the storm was going through Toronto yesterday, I went down to the lake to see the waves, and thought that if we were on board Veleda, we would be concerned and out checking all our lines frequently to make sure she was safe. Hopefully as she is on the hard, we don’t have to worry.

Enjoy this last log of Turkey. That has been our favorite country, and we are looking forward to getting back there next year. I may write up some summary logs or complete logs not yet written later. Drop me a line to let me know how your fall and winter plans are coming.

All the best,


Log #30g Back to Istanbul

Sept. 17, 2003

We departed Sinop at 1700 on June 27 to sail the 12 miles back to Akliman, the large sheltered bay we anchored in before getting to Sinop. As mentioned in my last log we attempted, unsuccessfully, to stem the fuel leak. With the second phone call from home, we knew we had to get back immediately and could not just casually make our way along the coast day sailing, as we did not know how long Judy’s mother had to live. We departed Akliman next morning at 0415, motoring into light west winds. The fuel was leaking worse than ever from the faulty bleed valve on the fuel pump, and we had to do something about it, as the leak would severely restrict our motoring distance.

Shutting the engine off, and drifting under a light west wind, we bypassed the fuel pump, going straight from the fuel line into the engine. Fortunately our fuel tank is higher than the engine, and fuel flowed with gravity. Had our engine been above the tank, such a bypass would not have worked. We wanted to keep at optimum cruising revs to get to Istanbul as soon as possible, and we decided to go straight through with no stopping except for fuel. However, our throttle kept backing off to reduced revs. This was fixed in a few minutes by tightening the throttle clamp. On we motored, being visited for a short time by a pod of dolphins, more intent on feeding than playing around us. There was no wind from noon hour until evening that day. We had to bleed air from the second Racor filter after the engine faltered to a stop. Fortunately we didn’t have to bleed the injectors after the engine stopped with a thunk. The procedure involved opening the top of the filter, and squeezing the fuel bulb we have inserted into the fuel line until the fuel comes to the top of the filter. We then seal the filter and restart the engine. We put the fuel bulb in the fuel line several years ago, as we found pressing the small lever on the fuel pump a tedious process of forcing fuel into the engine. It was a good thing we had this arrangement as, since we had bypassed the fuel pump, using it to force the fuel into the engine would have been impossible. We couldn’t readily identify where the air was getting in to the fuel line. Another maintenance task for after we return to Veleda next year. Right now we had to get back to Istanbul and to Toronto.

We anchored for a half hour in Doğanurt to get more fuel for our overnight motoring. I always keep the tanks and jerrycans filled, as fuel depots are few and far between. This was the town where we were so well treated by being given a ride from the fuel station into town for shopping and back to the boat a week earlier on our outward voyage. The same friendly reception was given us again, with local help to beach our dinghy, and a gentleman helping us carry our jerrycans to the fuel station, where the attendant arranged a small pick-up truck to bring us and our fuel cans back to Sprite. We were on our way within an hour. Thanks again friendly people of Doğanurt!

We motored all night into light southwesterly winds (our course was 245), at times being able to put up sail to motor sail a bit. Just before midnight the engine started to falter again, but this time we shut it off before it died, and then proceeded to bleed it before restarting. At sunrise we saw another pod of feeding dolphins. Later that morning the light wind started to swing to the south allowing us to motorsail a bit more efficiently. Late in the morning we were visited by a frisky pod of playful dolphins who cavorted around Veleda for over 15 minutes, allowing me to get some good pictures of them surfacing in groups and playing beneath our bow. My digital camera allows me to take short 20 second video clips, and I was able to get a good clip of a mother dolphin and her calf swimming over to Veleda, undulating and playing in our bow wave, then veering off to leap out of the water in a shameless display of their waterborne agility. We have seen more dolphins in the Black Sea than we saw in the Mediterranean. Perhaps small yachts such as ours are enough of a novelty that their interest is stimulated and they want to play with us?

We had to bleed the fuel line again. It seems to need clearing every 12 hours or so, an inconvenience, as it is best with both of us doing so, one at the engine opening the filter, and the other in the cockpit locker pumping the fuel bulb. That means that during the night watch, the sleeping partner has to be awakened to assist. We don’t mind night passages, and slip into our night routine quite easily. Judy goes to bed shortly after supper while I take the first watch until midnight or 0100 or 0200, or until I get tired. Judy then takes the middle watch until 0400 or 0500 or until she gets tired or I spontaneously wake up. She then crashes again until whenever she wakes up in the morning sometime between 0830 and 1030. I nap sometime during the day. This routine works well for us.

This second day of continuous sailing found the wind swinging from south to southeast, clocking around to northeast by late afternoon, allowing us to motorsail wing on wing downwind at 6.8 knots for a couple of hours until we reached Eriğli. We kept the engine on at reduced revs to keep up our speed. We could have comfortably drifted along at 4 or 5 knots with this pleasant force 5 wind, but we wanted to make as much speed as possible. Our new whisker pole works quite well. However when we sailed into the large Eriğli harbour the wind was still blowing force 5 (about 20 knots) the roller furling jammed again, and we had to putter around the harbour for 15 minutes, with the genoa flogging in the wind while we manually unrove the furling line from the drum to free it up. If not furled or unfurled very slowly and carefully, the line seems to jump out of the drum and bind on the outer guard. I think we will have to check the angle of the furling line as it comes from the forward block into the drum, but later, after we return to Veleda next year. (Our plans at present are to stay in Toronto taking care of Ruth until she dies, then staying on for the winter to help and see how Henry adjusts, hopefully returning in the spring of 2004 to resume our Black Sea circumnavigation.) After finally furling the genoa we made our way over to the fuel dock, and topped up the couple of jerrycans that were empty. While there, Judy went ashore for some money and supplies and upon her return talked to Zahit Uğurlu, a local Turk on board one of the few Turkish yachts we have seen on the Black Sea. He was a liveaboard too, and gave us another contact we could make in Istanbul if we needed any help. Friendly people!

Off to sea again about an hour before sunset with a light force 3 wind from the northeast, allowing us to motorsail along at 5.5 to 6.0 knots. This was a good speed, considering our bottom was badly fouled with weed and barnacles. We were having to bleed the fuel line every four hours now. We were hoping it would last until we got to Istanbul. It would be all we would need to have a major engine problem that would not allow us to make Istanbul to get back to Toronto.

We made good time that night and next day as we approached the entrance to the Bosphorus, with the wind strengthening to force 5, but at least it was now from the east helping us move along quite well. We initially planned to go into the fishing port of Rumeli Feneri on the west side of the entrance, and take a bus, taxi or dolmus down to Rumelikavangi, a Bosphorus port where we were told might be able to haul Veleda more economically. However, Judy was becoming quite concerned about the time it would take to go alongside and check it out, and was talking about leaving me to take care of Veleda while she taxied down to Istanbul and caught the first plane out to Toronto. We compromised and motored down into the Bosphorus to check out this port by water to see if it would be suitable for Veleda, and if not we would proceed down to Fenerbahce directly. That port and a couple of others we saw were not well suited for yachts, and even though probably far more economical, it would have been a couple of days to organize a crane to haul us out and put Veleda on a cradle in an unsecured fishing boat yard. Knowing we would be leaving Veleda for most of a year, and possibly longer, we did not want to risk it. And so we continued on to Fenerbahce. While motor sailing down the Bosphorus, we took pictures of the expensive real estate, the old Ottoman castles, luxury homes, and the Rumeli Fortress used by Mehmet the Conqueror in his final conquest of Constantinople in the 15th century. We had to bleed the air out of the Racor twice while going down the Bosphorus, drifting with a ¾ genoa out in the current of this heavily traveled waterway. Arriving in Fenerbahce at 1730 on June 30th, it was 72 hours and 330 nautical miles since leaving Sinop, with our only stop for sleeping the 8 hours we were at anchor in Akliman, and the two short fuel stops enroute.

We had been to Kalamis Marina at Fenerbahce a month ago and knew it was a good full service marina across the channel from Istanbul. Tuncay, the manager or assistant manager was most helpful. He remembered us from our earlier visit, and helped us with the myriad problems we had to deal with in order to leave Veleda for a year on the hard while we returned to Toronto. Within 18 hours of our arrival at the marina, we were on our way by cab to the airport, with all the arrangements facilitated by Tuncay. He arranged:

    • To have Veleda hauled out next day. We would not have to be on board, just have her ready to come out, the yard would take care of haulout and blocking on a cradle for the winter


    • An agent to process our papers to permit us to leave a foreign flagged vessel in Turkey beyond our visa limit of three months


    • A laundry service to pick up our bedding and laundry, clean it, and return it to Veleda so we would have clean clothes and bedding upon our return


    • To distribute our perishable foods to marina staff as we had to clean out the fridge.


    • To have a taxi at the marina for 1100 next day to take us to the airport.


    • To get very economical air tickets to Toronto via Lufthansa direct from Istanbul leaving next afternoon at 1400.

We had to work our buns off to get everything ready overnight and next morning. It included, after changing the engine and transmission oil, and topping up the fuel tank; winterizing the engine, the water system, and the heads. Then we had to lower the genoa from the roller furling as it gives too much windage when on the hard. We decided to leave the main on the boom, covered just by the sail cover. We then had to take the 10 horsepower engine off Sprite and stow it down in the main cabin, along with the whisker pole, bicycle, life ring, life sling, boat hooks, and spinnaker bag. We took down the dodger and bimini, folding the panels into a cockpit locker. Sprite was detached from the Dinghy-tow, hauled on board and laid, still inflated, across the cabin top and lashed down. We cleaned up below decks as much as possible, then propped up all the cushions to reduce mildew and ventilate the lockers. We turned off all electrical circuits and switched off the main batteries. With our bags packed, we caught the taxi at the marina office, with Tuncay giving the driver specific directions and assessing the cost for us. We were off by 1100, departed at 1400, and after a long but uneventful flight arrived in Toronto by 1930 Toronto time, the same day, July 1st, our Dominion Day holiday which now unfortunately, is called Canada Day.