18 July, 2008

Current Cruise 8 - Istanbul

After passing north up the Dardanelles we sailed across the Sea of Marmara and finally arrived in Istanbul.
The Challenge is to find a safe inexpensive place to leave Malua.
We found an ideal spot for our style of cruising. It is in a small swimming bay just at the mouth of the Yesilkoy harbour. The holding is good although there is not much room. I put two anchors down to restrict our swing and as a precaution. We take the RIB into the harbour and leave it along side a yacht. The train station is only ten minutes walk up the road through a rather upmarket suburb. We purchased an Akbil travel taken which is like an Oyster card so we could ride all the public transport without paying each time. The trains are on their last legs, not full but do they rattle. The metro on the other hand is air conditioned, new and crowded.
We criss crossed the city to get to the different sights and had a great time.
Images of the anchorage Yesilkoy
The different mosques are rather grand but dull compared to the catholic churches but used. The Mullah's singing at the prayers is just wonderful. Looking someway like a Turk I can get into the prayer sessions so I have an opprtunity to hear them in full unamplified voice along with all the movement of the believers. An experience to rememeber.
The Topkapi Palace is also grand but not very well presented. The Topkapi dagger with its three emerald stones in the handle is just in a hole in the wall while the Spoonmaker's diamond is very poorly lit. The best pieces are without a doubt the Chinese porcelain especially the green, white and of cource the blue ming bowls. The best collection in the world they say.
The archaelogical Museum leaves a lot to be desired but most of the best pieces are in someone else's possestion.
We visited a number of carpet shops who gave us a different spiel every time as to why they are better than the rest. One was married to a very Australian lady and their daughter came right out of Sydney until she started to try to sell you something and you realised that trading is in your blood. They were a bit put out when I told them my son worked for a dealer in Canberra. Well we all agreed that the carpets were not of the quality they use to be and it is getting more difficult to get good value. The tea and orange juise is always good and we didn't purchase anything!
The trip up the Bosphorus is a must especially on the TDI (IDO) ferry 17.50YTL pier three at 10:35. One can get off at Anadolu Kavagi to walk up the hill to the Byzantine fortress and to look into the Black Sea. The Mussels and Calamari at the fish restaurants are very good. Having done the tour I dont think it now requires us to sail up the crowded, choppy and dirty waterway just to be in the Black Sea.
Images of Istanbul

Current Cruise 7 - Sea of Marmara

The Marble sea: well it sure is not as flat as a piece of marble. We entered it via the Dardanelles and the wind and current were against us most of the way.
Sea of Marmara
We entered from the Asean side of the Dardanelles and started to sail again after motoring for two long days.
It was great. The sea was choppy but the wind direction did not make the sailing easy.
We deceided to skip the island of Avsa Adasi due to the lack of good places to stay and headed for Pasalimani Adasi.
The pilot notes that the western entrace should be negociated with care and someone on the bow because Rod Heikell put his boat on top a charted reef!
Entering the area we could see the shallows and the south cardinal mark but no dangers. The port mark was obvious but a lone black mark seemed in the wrong place until
I relised the cone on the top was a starboard mark so we soon changed course and entered a wide shallow bay lined with a few houses set in to hamlets Parsalimani and Harmanlis.
The former has a very stunted spire to the mosque. We anchoed in 9m to the west of the hamlet which turned out not to be such a great idea because
the swell enteres the bay, hits you on the beam. Not an uncoumfortable night but enough to make one move opposite the mosque the next day. We went ashore and found the bakery but no baker.
A young girl let us in and we purchased two great loaves. Hope they were not designated for one of the local families.
Marmara Adasi
We left Pasalimini the next day and shot down wind towards Port Marmara which has a narrow entrance and very little room. We anchored out next to a German boat who had returned from sailing round the world via Oz and SA. The town has a great feel about it. The harbour undertakes repairs to local vessels by dragging them up the hard on two sledges. We saw no mavna vessels just ferries, fishing boats and the odd local yacht. The Thursday market is good although small.
The marble quarries dominate the mountainside above the town and the bay has many empty freighters waiting to be loaded with large blocks of marble. We anchored in a bay NE of the town. It is sheltered but the swell rolls round the point and we had to put out a sterm anchor to settle the boat. The town is creating a swimming beach in the bay with a roped off area, a diving platfoem, shows and fresh water all fringed by a marble faced wall.
Images of the Sea of Marmara are at Marmara
Current Cruise 6 - Dardanelles & ANZAC Cove
After a hard days slog into the wind we stopped at Gokceada at about 1500 wherepon the wind dropped. We should have kept going and found an anchorage on the Turkish coast but we did not. We left the next day at 5:00 before it was light and motored into a light breeze towards the entrance to the Dardanelles. Give the SE Kumkale point a very wide berth because it is very shallow with a strong current flowing onto it.
The Dardanelles is like a large deep river flowing from the Black and Marmara seas into the Mediterranean Sea. It has the classic shape of a meandering stream with the deep sides at the inside of the bends and the shallows at the outside of the bends. It can get very shallow in these wide bends so look out. The stream flows down the middle but there are many counter currents in the bays. Stay just outside the current line which you can see by the sea grass and rubbish. The recommended route north is to take the starboad or Asian side however if the wind is strong the local yachties seek the shelter of the European side which requires more vigilance, the pace is slower but the chop is less. We entered the Dardenelles with a local yacht who took the port side. We were ahead of him most of the way but as the wind rose and the chop increased we were under full power but only making 2 knots SOG and he arrived at Canakkale just ahead of us. We did not follow his advice the next day and struggled into the wind and waves on the starboard side. The wind was in excess of 20 knots most of the time.
Well we made the first days run into Canakkale Marina and put the bow to the wall. The 20mm mooring line was straining under the wind but we stayed away from the wall. We took a quick walk around the town which is dominated by the military with off duty conscrips aimlessly stroling around the town. It reminded me of my weekends in Walvis Bay in the 60's. We visited ANZAC House, a marketing location for Hassle Free Tours. We signed up for their half day tour of the Gallipoli peninsula. E60/p
Gallipoli Peninsula Tour
The tour is well organised with a very well spoken (english) and educated turkish guide. We took their ferry across the Dardanelles to a small hotel for lunch and then joined their bus from Istanbul on the tour of the northern battle fields. I met an ex ACTEW employee from Canberra at the hotel.
What can one say about the Gallipoli campaign, the organisation, the decisions, the people and the thousands who died there - one is left speachless. Having heard from people who have walked on the soil, through the trenches and up the hills and gullies I was surprised at how rugged the ravines and terrain actually is. I can understand how the two forces were able to be so close yet move men and supplies right up to the front line. For the British navy to think that they could blast their way up the waterways of the Daedanelles can only indicate that the First Lord of the Admiralty must have had whisky not salt water in his veins. Complete madness. It was a great tour and worth the time and money.
The day was a moving experience, thankfull that I am now too old to carry a weapon ever again.
The next day we set off at dawn before the wind rose and made a few miles before the full 20knots came right into our face. We were able at times to raise the staysail and get 20 degrees off the wind which did help but most of the time it was into the wind and chop. On the bends the stream gets quite strong and north of Lapseki the shipping lane is quite close to the shore. We had to take evasive action to get out of the way of a Turkish ship who wanted to cut the corner at full speed. On the first day we saw 31 ships and on the second more than 53 - all at close quarters, not dangerious if everything goes well. I was pleased to get into the relatively open waters of the Sea of Marmara.
Images of the Gallipoli Peninsula

Current Cruise 5- Ayvalik & Lesvos

We left Candarli with it's well restored Genoese Castle and save anchorage and sailed north into a northerly wind. By early morning it had got up to more than 20 knots with a short chop but the sailing was good. We tacked back and forth for most of the morning.
On the port beam was Lesvos while on the starboard was Turkey. As with a number of these large bays the wind can change direction and you can get a good lift but on the other hand in the corner of the bay the wind drops away altogether
and you are left with no wind with white horses not two chains away. In the end we switched on the engine and motored the last few miles through the islands and into the channel which is clearly marked with two south cardinals and three sets of channel marks.
It is reassuring when my waypoints which I set between the channel marks arrive on time and in the right place.
When in Ayvalik Limani known as "The lake" we turned south past the Marina towards Carnlik Koyu for a safe anchorage in a bay much larger than it appears in the pilot.
The Carnlik Koyu bay is close by a major road which get quite busy in the early evening as the workers go home but the head of the bay
is next to the southern suburb of the town and is served by a municipal bus which turn off the main road into the back streets and return to the centre of the town. It is one YTL, pay as you enter into a large steel box which took two strong men to off load when we stopped en route to Ayvalik. In other parts of the world there would have been a highjacking but not in Turkey.
The town has some old greek style buildings and a distinct Greek feel because that community only left in 1923 when they were exchanged with the turks on Lesvos.
The Thursday market is the high point of the week when the out of towners come to set up stalls and purchase the goods from the stalls on either side of the narrow back streets.
It amazes me that people can buy all the goods - generally cheap and nasty. The tomatoes ranged in price from 1 YTL to 12.50 YTL a kg. What the difference is we could not establish. I purchased a range of tasty black olives which are quite unlike the greek Calamata olives having been processed in salt rather than brine.
While at anchor a Swiss vessel Octopus 1 anchored in the same bay so on returning from the market we stopped by to say Hello to Gerry & Brigitte. A delightful couple who accompanied us on Sunday up the adjacent hill Kucuk Koy to take in the view. We could see the full extent of the archipelago and the many anchorages. On the Monday we motored into the Setur Ayvalik Marina along side Bonito - Sandra & Merv. That evening we boarded the ferry for Lesvos on a visa run to update our 90 day Turkish visa. 100YTL per person return plus the E15 for the turkish visa - well it had to be done and this was the easiest route.
The ferry left at 1800 in the evening and passed out through the channel across the wide bay we had struggled up and into the Greek town of Mitilini. We arrived just after 2000 and raced to the the nearest supermarket to buy up big on wine and breakfast cereal.
The wine is always a hit and miss affair because you cant taste it and have to go on the Greek description on the label. We were able to fit 12 one and a half litre bottles in my bag with wheels which I could only drag but not lift. What is the legal Turkish limit on the duty free?
Immediatly we arrived at Mitilini we realised we were not in a Muslim country. The street were alive at 10 in the evening with families and people eating and drinking in the sidewalk cafe and restaurants. We stopped in at a little place to have some stewed beef and lamb with a half litre of red. Great meal.
Gerry and Brigitte had offered us their quater berth for the night having cleared out of Turkey on their way to the Greek Islands. They were tied up along side of the town wharf. It was great to rest our heads in a bunk rather than a park bench which was our other option. At six the following morning we sliped out and walked to the ferry dock to board the 8:30 ferry back to Ayvalik Turkey. Well who said a Greek ferry left on time if there was a large tour group to join you and they had not yet arrived. At about 10:30 after a good shoving scrum we passed through the immigration and was on the ferry to Turkey. On arrival the locals walk through the greek day trippers entrance and put their ID cards in a box and receive a ticket while the others have to wait for the visa offical to be summonsed. After the usual boarder delay we paid our money, reeceived our visa stamp and now we have another 90 days in Turkey - great.
I finish reinstalling Linus on my eeePC with a new distro having again lost the content by fiddeling without adequate knowledge. Hopefully this will be more stable and I learnt a lesson. Thank goodness for the backup.
We fill the tanks with water and headed out to anchor opposite the old town of Alibey. Late in the afternoon I saw in the distance a Halberg Rassie and a stars and stripes ensign. Could it be Meg my neighbours from Marmaris. With no answer on the VHF I jumped into the RIB and race after the dissapearing vessel. A supprised Susan greeted me from Meg
Susan and Bob had sailed more than 40 miles that day on their way north before entering Greece to sail west to the Greek Islands. We agreed to anchor in a nearby bay Kumru Koyu to catch up on the news. They arrived first and I came up along side and dropped the anchor they had given me. It took first time with a perfect set. We had them over for a roast chicken and potatoe dinner. A great evening. I hope we cross wakes again soon.
The following morning we set off north to Sivrice for an overnight stop on out way north. Look out for the reef off the beach - it comes up very quickly. Holding is good in the area but a very narrow area shallow enough to drop the anchor.
The following day we were off at dawn to round Baba Burnu where the wind rose to more than 25 knots all on the nose. A nasty chop so we set the furled genoa and tacked towards the Isalnd of Bozcaaada. We saw 14 ships in our vicinity all converging on the Dardanelles.
It is a nice harbour with helpfull people but not worth the 40YTL. The restored castle is worth a visit as is the local winery where you can purchase some over-priced wine which we did.
We left at dawn for the long slog up the Dardanelles.
Images of Ayvalik and Lesvos

Current Cruise 4 - Pergamon

We visited Pergamon while at anchor in Candarli - a very safe anchorage in a large bay with sand in shallow water.
This site was started in 399 BC and gained recognition under Alexander the Great. The Temple of Athena and the Library received wide recognition. It is larger than Priene andon a steeper hillside.
The library lays clain to be the largest in the world at the time. It grew it's collection to more tha 200,000 by borrowing volumes and not returning them. The Alexandria Libray did not like this rivalry and cut off the supply of papyrus.
The local went back to using parchment or pergamene made from animal skins. The sheets could be written on both side but could not be rolled up so they invented the current paged book which is easier to read. Like many libraries I hve known it was closed or down sized and Mark Anthony gave some volumes to Cleopatra as a wedding gift in 41 BC.
The Theatre is very impressiveoverlooking the valley however the Library had the best view and location. The Temple of Trajan has some good carvings but most of the best pieces have gone having been robbed by a german engineer Carl Humann who took the pieces to Berlin.
I found the site rather disappointing and difficult to get to at the top of a steep hill just out of town. Use at taxi but only pay E15.
Across town is the Asklepion in the middle of a miitary site. Again not very impressive especially the theatre which is
now used by the locals who have painted the row and seat numbers on the original marble blocks.
Images of Pergamum

Current Cruise 3 - Iassus, Didyma and Priene

Current Cruise 3 - Iassus, Didyma and Priene
We visited Iassus while at anchor in Asin Limani. The trip to Didyma we made from Altinkum and the day trip to Priene was made after Ephesus from Kusadasi. The images contain some text.

Images of Iassus

Images of Didyma

Images of Priene

Current Cruise 2 - Ephesus

While Malua was still on the hard I took a trip with some other cruisers to Ephesus, Hieropolis and Pamukkale. It very easy and great fun. On Malua's trip north we stopped at Kusadasi and then revisited Ephesus. Here are Denny and my notes.
We caught the minibus near the top of town and were dropped off at the road entrance into Ephesus which was just 150m up a small incline.
We spent more than four hour wandering around the site. The highlight was the villas under cover. Not only are they interesting but there are no crowds and it is cool.
The Library entrance dominates the area. It is imposing with the four statues of the then virtues between the columns. Not much is known about the library except it was burnt at one point so the scrolls were lost!
When we were finished with the site we went into the Selcuk Museum to see the finer pieces uncovered at the site. The famous statue of Artemis in three form is on display. Just around the corner is the Byzantine gateway into the Temple of St John - the same fellow who wrote Revelations on Patmos whose cave we saw on that island.
The next day we took at trip to Priene which we had seen against the mountainside when we sailed up the coast. It is huge with little restoration but the temple of Athena has some interesting interlocking stone slabs. The I gave my special speech at the well preserved bouleuterion -council chamber. Ther was only 1 of the possible 640 deligates present who as usual made some irrelivant objections - but that is normal! We returned to Sokok to get the bus back to Kusadasi after purchasing some fresh fish from a local merchant who cleaned and fillited it for us. Great taste and value.
Images of Ephesus
Current Cruise 1 - Marmaris to Kusadasi

Let go the lines - Malua is off on its 2008 expedition through the clear waters of the Turkish Coast. I am alone on the way north to collect Denny from Bodrum in a few days time. This will give me time to settle down and ensure that everything is shipshape and Bristol!

Malua soon fell into the cruising routine and things again worked like clockwork. While in Marmaris I had installed a remote anchor windlass switch at the steering console so I could raise and lower the new anchor without leaving the wheel. While alone this was a great help but will be redundant when Denny arrives.

The first days sail was only a short hop along the coast westwards to Bozuk Buku where I tested the anchor switch. During the night the wind changed direction and I had to beat a hasty retreat raising the anchor while moving Malua away from pending distaste at the hands of the every closing rocks. The new switch paid for itself on the first day out.

From there it was a short trip around the point across the strait south of Simi where we had cruised the previous season and north to the shelter of the coast west of Kos but on rounding Cape Krio the wind was behind me and I was making good progress so I set off for the Bodrum Coast and the bay of Godiva Korfezi. The wind decided to give Malua a test and before long it was on the nose with gusts well over 25 knots. Thankfully this did not last but the destination had to be changed so I did not need to tack to make the coast. I sailed into Cokertme and dropped the anchor well away from the recommended spot in the lee of the headland some distance off an American HR yacht.

The next day the wind changed and we both upped anchor and moved to the usual overnight spot in deep mud.

The short sail to Bodrum was again into the wind but on this occasion every light and I dropped anchor in the lee of the St Peters Castle which was built by the Knights of St John.

Denny arrived and we spent three night in the Bodrum Marina E49 a night. We soon left and anchored back in the bay.

Here are a few photos of Bodrum

Turkey Trip 0 2008

Malua was shipped from Australia to Palma in Majorca in Spain. From April 2007 to November 2007 we sailed eastwards

through the Mediterranean. Our adventure is chronicled in a

series of post on my blog. This web contains some observations, photos and parts of my log.

I arrived in Marmaris in mid April 2008. Malua was at home under the gum trees in Marmaris Marina when I arrived back in Turkey after the northern winter. The preparation prior to our leaving had paid off with no water ingress down below and no mould in the cupboards. The deck was covered in dust but I soon washed that off and set about running the halyards, sheets and lines. Ian from Remedy helped me replace the clevis pin on the forestay at the top of the mast and inspected the realignment of the engine shaft with the longer bolts. Hopefully this will be the last of these niggling problems left over from the days of construction at Cardiff.

Waiting to go in the water I took a tour to Ephesus, Hierapolis and the white limestones of Pamukkale with a group from the Marina. Great value and good fun.

Malua was launched late in the day after a long wait while the travellift crew made sufficient room between the refurbished power boat and the gum trees to get the travellift positioned over Malua to left her off the blocks. The compensation for being the last in the water at 7:30 at night was I got allocated a berth right next to the launch dock on G pontoon, only a stone's throw away from the shops and shower rooms. Here are some photos Launch

Malua felt much cleaner once she was in the water and I set about bending on the sails and inflating the rib. I was next to an American HR 42 with Bob and Susan. Very gracious neighbours who kindly gave me a 35kg Bugel anchor which is reputed to set quicker than any other here in the Med.

Wendy on Remedy had some dental work undertaken and recommended a fellow to put some caps on the two molars implants I had in my jaw. The fellow convinced me he had the experience and was about a third of the Oz procedure. It turned out the dentist had at least seen the type of implants and had the spanners to tighten the teeth. As is always the case in these situations something was lost in the translations and a vital part was not sent with the teeth so I had to wait a few days for it to arrive. The impressions taken, the teeth made and duly fitted in place with the help of a tiny torque wrench, some minor adjustments and I now have two new teeth to fill the caverns at the back of my mouth - all for about 1/3 of the Australian price.

Time had now passed and Denny had arrived in London and I was expected up the coast at Bodrum.

We are on our way north along the Turkish coast to Istanbul. Thereafter it is anyone's guess where the wind will take us - To Athens or back to Turkey.