Log #33a Zonguldak to Istanbul

August 15, 2004 in Log Series 30-39, Logs by Series, Series 33 Turkey - Greece to Rome, The Logs

Enroute to Kusadasi

August 15, 2004

Hi Folks,

We are having a pleasant motor sail around the Karaburun Yarmidasi peninsula. The Gulf of Izmir is on the west side, and we are going down the Khios Strait on the east side. Glorious weather, and sparkling clear waters!

This log gets us back into Turkey and along the north coast from Zonguldak to Istanbul.

My thanks to Fay who sent me the poem by Tennyson, The Charge of the Light Brigade. If any of you would like a copy, let me know and I will forward it to you.

All is well with us, and we are looking forward to arriving in Kusadasi in the next couple of days, to go to the Biblical ruins of Ephesus. This will be our last port in Turkey before we head into the Greek Aegean and down to Crete. We heard on BBC that the opening ceremonies of the Olympics were quite spectacular. Athens is about 130 miles WSW of our present position. We don’t want to go near their crowded harbours.

All the best,


Log #33a Zonguldak to Istanbul

Enroute from Badlemani

August 14, 2004

Considering we left the Russian Navy Yacht Club at 1540 on July 26th for an appointment to be checked out by the authorities at 1600, we did not depart their docks until 2000, and it was sunset at 2018 as we motored past the yacht club and through the massive breakwaters of Sevastopol and headed with relief for Zonguldak in Turkey. We did enjoy Sevastopol and the Russian Navy Yacht Club, now called International Yacht Club Admiral, but were very glad to be rid of the oppressive inconsistent bureaucracy without getting thrown in jail, fined, or having to pay their exorbitant port fees (or the 60% hull deposit which may now be demanded). Actually, we paid nothing for all the entry, transit and exit bureaucracy, including the services of two understanding agents who acted for us in Ismail and Sevastopol and did not charge us anything for their help. The only actual cost of entering Ukraine, which we paid when in Canada to the Ukrainian Consulate in Toronto, was for our visas and health insurance (which was never asked for). Similarly we did not pay anything for our entry into Bulgaria and Romania. However, we were happy to be headed for Turkey.

We faced a two day trip south across the Black Sea, enjoying the opportunity for an open passage. We motored or motor sailed all night, close hauled with the wind, a light force 2, from our port bow (SSE and our course was SSW). By 0730 next morning, it had shifted eastward and increased to force 3, allowing us to turn off the engine and have a quiet sail all day long. Loverly!

However just before sunset the wind picked up to force 6 (22 to 27 knots) and swung east. We double reefed the main and genoa, a precaution we often take for night sailing if there is any risk of high winds, and carried on with a fast sail on a broad reach. We even saw some dolphins who came and played around in our bow wave for a while. Because the wind was from the east, it had a couple of hundred miles of fetch to work up heavy two metre swells, causing considerable wallowing as we raced through the beam sea at 6 knots. Judy was not feeling well. At about 0100 in heavy swells, too much strain was put on our Simrad autopilot, and the belt broke and jammed in the housing. We had no self steering, and had to hand steer hour on and hour off, the next 11 hours to Zonguldak.

The wind lessened, and by 0430 we shook out the reefs and started the engine to motor sail again. By 0830 the wind had shifted to SSW and increased to a brisk force 3. With the engine off, I was able to lock the wheel with a bit of weather helm, and Veleda steered herself for a couple of hours close hauled, until the wind died at 1030. We had a quiet motor for the next hour and a half, anchoring in the fishing harbor at Zonguldak (41˚ 27.54’ N, 031˚ 47.18’ E) by 1200, completing a 40 hour passage of 214 nautical miles.

Initially we were planning on going to Istanbul from Sevastopol, but changed our minds because of the cost and inconvenience of entry procedures. In Istanbul it would have cost about $250.00 US to have an agent go to the three or four different authorities in widely separated parts of the city to complete the documentation. We thought that in Zonguldak, a smaller port of entry, we could do the running around ourselves, and so called the port control on VHF to indicate our request to enter Turkey. Language was a problem as few people speak English along this Black Sea coast of Turkey. We were quite happy to wait a few hours until they had us sorted out, during which time we had lunch and repaired the Simrad autopilot.

The Simrad is a wheel pilot, with a base attached to the binnacle post, and a doughnut rim attached to the spokes of the helm. Inside the rim, the belt had broken. It should not have done so, as it is a heavy duty autopilot designed for boats up to 42 feet (Veleda remember is only 32 feet)! However we noticed that the solid plastic band inside the rim had worn, fractured, and separated, probably causing the tearing of the belt. This was the second time we had this happen, and we have replaced the belt three times and the actual housing rim once before. As we had the old housing rim, and had epoxied the inner band, we used it until Istanbul where there is a Simrad dealer. (More about our autopilots when we get to Istanbul.)

By midafternoon we were called on the VHF by Zonguldak Agent who attempted to direct us to an inner dock, the directions for which we could not understand. We indicated we could launch our dinghy and come ashore with all our papers. We were directed to a “green building” where they would be waiting for us. When we went to what we thought was the building indicated, it was a military accommodation block, and so we returned to Veleda to try again. Finally they appeared on the dock astern of the coast guard vessel, and we went over with Sprite to meet a young woman and two men who were agents to take us to the necessary authorities. Very friendly, they took us to the main harbor offices and explained to the various officials what we wanted. The officials had some difficulty in figuring out what to do as they had not had another foreign yacht seek entry there this year. We had purchased a blank cruising permit from Istanbul, as we thought this smaller port might not have any. (The agent’s office did have some.) With the exception of medical clearance, all the offices were in the one location at the main industrial terminal, and after an hour’s sitting in various offices, with the agents trying to explain to the officials what was needed, we finally had the visa stamps in our passports ($45.00 US for Judy’s Canadian passport and $20.00 US for my British passport), with mine double stamped with two $10.00 stamps as they did not have any $20.00 stamps. That evening an agent returned our cruising permit all signed and stamped, including the medical clearance. We paid $50.00 for their services.

It was strongly suggested we bring Veleda alongside the little used industrial dock opposite the main docks for security reasons, as the agents felt the fishermen were too rowdy, and that we might be bothered anchored in their part of the harbor. We relocated Veleda, and were glad (?) we did as it was only 100 meters from the main market and downtown area, as well as having a security gate for added protection. Actually we have not had any security problems in Turkey, and have not felt threatened at any time. However it was a coal dock and coal dust covered our shoes and messed up the deck a bit. The only other down side was that at the outer end of the dock a pile driver thumped away until 2300, and started again at 0730! Fortunately it did so for only an hour at a time and gave us quiet for most of the time.

It was good to be back amongst the friendly and familiar sights of Turkey, the minarets and calls to worship, the use of Turkish Lira, the ability to use some Turkish phrases, the Turk Cell SIM card and Hazir Cart top up cards for our mobile (We now can send E-mail from the boat using our Bluetooth connection!), the ability to get our Turkish gas bottles refilled, a rented DVD movie in English, the rich honey-soaked baklava, the busy small crowded streets and alleys, and the friendly, helpful people. Next evening we had Hasan and Sadat, two locals who worked on the docks, come over with some beer and chips for a couple of hours of confused conversation as they knew no English, but enjoyed talking with us and exchanging information about our families and voyages.

We left at 1020 July 30 for the 23 mile trip to Eregli, motoring all the way. At least the little wind there was was not against us, and we had a comfortable passage, entertained by a couple of dolphins for a while. We anchored in Eregli off the sailing club where we had anchored last year when we came this way. However there was an uncomfortable ground swell in this part of the large harbor and so we went around to anchor at the entrance to the smaller fishing harbor for a quieter night’s sleep. We didn’t bother going ashore, although Eregli is a very pretty city with a well planned artistic harbor-front promenade lined with pleasant parks, sculptures, fountains, observation decks, street sellers, and restaurants, with a small fishing boat community ensconced beneath part of the embankment by the fishing harbor. It is a prosperous city with one of the largest harbors in Turkey, a thriving state supported steel industry (close to the coal mines at Zonguldak,) a navy base (a Turkish cruiser, submarine and supply ship were in port), good agriculture (we loved their strawberries when here last time), and historical sites (a cave that Heracles descended to encounter Cerberus, the three headed dog guarding the entry to Hades, and another that was converted to a church by St. Andrew, one of the Apostles, in the 1st Century).

Next day after passing the dolphins feeding off Eregli (they seem to thrive in the waters off this city; we saw many of them here last year), we did another long run of 55 miles to anchor at Kefken Adasi, one of the few islands on the Black Sea. We actually sailed for half the trip, with light beam winds, and unfortunately beam seas. Kefken Adasi has a large well protected harbor, but not much else. Leaving early again next day we had a good sail most of the 53 miles to Poyrazkoy, (41˚ 12.30’ N, 029˚ 07.72’ E), our last port on the Black Sea. We have done more sailing this year in the Black Sea than we have done the past 3 years in the Med and Aegean. Poyraz is the place we were last April when we had to go back to Istanbul by bus to get the parcel we mailed ourselves from Canada. At that time there were only a couple of fishing trawlers and Veleda in port sheltering from a cold early spring storm. This time the harbour was crowded with pleasure boats at anchor, ferries coming and going, and the shore lined with dozens of trawlers and smaller fishing boats. Several shoreside bars were doing a great business with weekenders from Istanbul enjoying the sandy beach. Quite a contrast from our last visit to Poyraz, here at the entrance to the Bosphorus!

We enjoyed a swim that evening and next morning. This is the weather Judy loves where getting dressed in the morning involves nothing more than putting on a bathing suit. Most of the boats left in the evening as it was a Sunday and they returned to Istanbul just down the Bosphorus.By morning there were only a half dozen boats left at anchor. Judy swam over to a French cruising yacht Teva, to find out they were returning from Sinop where we were last year when we turned around for Istanbul and headed back to Canada. Then leaving the Black Sea, down the Bosphorus we went (our fourth transit of this waterway) the last 18 miles to Fenerbahce (a suburb of Istanbul), the marina where we left Veleda last winter while back in Canada. It was good to see Tuncay and Jamal and several other friends we made while there last spring.

This marks the end of our Black Sea circumnavigation, an interesting adventure into this part of the world, giving us fond memories of the people we met in Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and of course, Turkey. We left April 14 and returned August 2. We have sailed 1678 nautical miles since leaving Fenerbahce last spring, and counting our cruising along the north coast of Turkey last year, we have put on over 2500 miles in the Black Sea.