Merhaba from Turkey


Off to Turkey

It was a flat calm morning as we set off for Turkey and it stayed that way all the way across. We saw only one other ship leaving us wondering where everyone else was. As we approached Bozburun the silver domed roof of the mosque was unmistakable. As were all the huge gullets laid up along the walls and quays, so many of them, hopefully they all disperse across a wide area when they leave their winter quarters.

Changing the courtesy flag

We’re always nervous when arriving in a new harbour even though through skill or just luck we’ve never hit anything yet. The pilot book and information we’d got from other cruisers was that we could go alongside at the head of the harbour in Bozburun and so we were pleased to see an empty space big enough for us. We motored in slowly aiming for the space, then realised someone was blowing a whistle to get our attention along the side section of harbour wall. With no wind I felt comfortable manoeuvring around so headed for where they indicated. Now they were saying no alongside, we must go stern to. We explained we weren’t set up for it at the moment so could we go alongside instead whilst we checked in. The manager was called for, we explained and were given permission to go where we originally wanted. A tight turn to get from one wall to the other but all went well. It turns out that the head of the bay is now reserved for catamarans to go alongside rather than them take up lots of stern to space. İt was a little on the shallow side however – our depth gauge flickered between 0.1m and 0.2m under the keel. We were given until 5pm to complete our check in and move off. Over the next few days we saw plenty of other boats alongside in that spot, so either the harbour master has relented or relaxed the rule which made sense as only one other cat came in whilst we were there.

Check In For Turkey

An agent was there to meet us, we took up his services and went off to his office to do the paperwork. Gurkan Demirtas of Pera Yachting was a very pleasant young man and check in was completed within a few hours (it was Sunday and the customs office wasn’t open until later) for €100. The wait meant we had time for a hangover aiding full English at Osmans. It did the job, Saturday evening’s fun having left us feeling a little fuzzy this morning.

Next was our Blue Card which we bought from the cabin at the west corner of the harbour. It’s managed by the same people who organise the harbour berthing.

All formalities complete, we headed out to the anchorage and slept off the rest of the fuzzy head in the warm sunshine.

The Carian Trail

The Carian trail is a 800km walking route through south west Turkey, part of it running along the coast and through Bozburun. Walking out of the town past restaurants, hotels and ranks of gullets we spotted the red and white stripes marking the trail. We only walked a few km but there were lovely views across the islands and peninsulas.

The view from the Carian trail looking across to Symi

It’s My Birthday!

Tuesday was my birthday which kicked off with another cooked breakfast, this time a Colin cooked Ulster fry complete with potato bread which we’d found in the Corner Shop in Ag. Nik. A few hours of resting was needed to let that settle before going out to walk the Carian trail heading north. We were soon out in the countryside, being greeted with waves and merhabas by the people we passed. Life seemed quite rural with sheep and chickens wandering freely around and allotments growing veg. The trail headed up and became a rocky track, following a dry river bed in places with pink oleander growing in bright clumps along the rivers course.

A walk into the hills

Pink oleander lined the dried riverbed

Fabulous views looking back towards Bozburun

We climbed on up, a gentle breeze keeping us cool until we reached a plateau. Here we turned back as the afternoon was getting on and Prosecco was calling me.

On Wednesday night something woke me at around 1am. I couldn’t hear anything but the occasional flashes of light showing through the deck hatch meant a thunder storm was somewhere close. My nerves began a jangling. The flashes became more regular but still no sound. By holding my phone up towards the hatch I managed to get enough of an internet signal to load the DHMZ site – a Croatian weather site whose page showing lightning strikes across the Med I find useful. I relaxed a lot when I saw the strikes were north of us, heading for Bodrum. I few low rumbles of sound did eventually reach my ears and as the flashes began to reduce in number I dropped off back to sleep. Colin slept through it all!

Another day, another walk, this one heading out of town on the road in the direction of Marmaris. Here we found gullets under construction, at least 10 of them, and all huge, workshops set up in fields alongside the road with rickety sheds containing tools and machines. Sheeps, goats and chickens completed the picture.

An unusual balcony in Bozburun

New huge gullets under construction

More Flash, Bang

Friday we planned to move on but the dark clouds rolling in from the east looked a little boding of bad weather. Sure enough, on our way from a quick trip ashore, the sky shouting started and big, fat plops of rain began to puncture the water as we dingied back as quick as we could go. The flashes and bangs got closer, the rain got heavier and we were glad we hadn’t set off.

Dramatic skies over Bozburun

We sat out the day of storms and a day of strong winds before we managed to break away. To pass the time we practised our instruments, did some sketching and began to learn some more Turkish words. Unfortunately we hadn’t learnt the word for milk (sut) when we went to buy some, but there were plenty of plastic bottles in the fridge containing what looked like milk so we bought one of them. We now know that buttermilk (ayran) is nice on breakfast but doesn’t go so well in our morning cuppa! It looks like a lot of buttermilk is consumed in Turkey given the numbers of bottles of ayran on sale.

Useful Info

Bozburun is a pleasant town, cafes, restaurants and shops lining the quay along with a few hotels further out of town. Several times a day the haunting sound of the call to prayer is heard, I slept through the dawn call.

Butchers, bakers and supermarkets are there as well as several hardware stores.

Dolmus to Marmaris several times a day.

We tried to buy a SİM from the mobile phone shop but they’d run out of them and didn’t get anymore in whilst we were there. The wifi from a couple of bars reached us out in the anchorage so we made do with that.

Gullets lined up in their winter berths

Sailing Info

14th May: Symi, Greece to Bozburun, Turkey – 19nm travelled
Weather – dry and warm. Very light winds and calm sea
Anchored in position: 36 41.43’N 28 02.43’E
Holding was good in gusts up to 35kts and the anchor came up with thick mud on it.

Check in was handled by Gurkan Demirtas of Pera Yachting (perayachting@gmail.com)
Check in fees: 100 euro
Blue card: 12TL
Harbour fees: 30TL

Emerald in the anchorage at Bozburun

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