The anchor was hauled at 8:30 on Tuesday 8th August and we left the bay on the island of Heybeliada. The day’s sailing went reasonably well, although we were shouted at on the radio as we were passing through a large ship waiting area. The radio operator from the traffic separation scheme in the area seemed to think we were on a collision course. The ship in question was purposely drifting (we were in a ‘drifting zone’, kinda like an anchorage but 1km deep..) and we were passing close to it, but it seemed a bit of an overreaction, we weren’t even sure which one he meant!
During the afternoon, we altered course around a peninsula heading for Narli. The change of direction made for quite difficult conditions with the wind and waves. Our Genoa sail came down (Kindly put Sarah. It broke because I was having too much fun and had too much sail up) but fortunately did not go overboard.
We tried to anchor in a small bay for a bit of shelter whilst the wind abated but the anchor dragged, so we turned tail and made for a small fishing harbour we had seen earlier.
It was after 7pm when we pulled into Fiskali. It is very much a commercial fishing harbour with just one small yacht. There was no space but we were directed to tie alongside a large fishing vessel. It was a great relief to be safe and secure and to have somewhere for Cy to replace the damaged sail with a smaller one (should’ve done that earlier and saved all the excitement!). It appeared to be run by a co-operative of fisherman who were very helpful. Within half an hour, a hosepipe had been found for us to fill our water tanks and a plate of fresh watermelon had been delivered to us by Murat, who is the cook for the co-operative. On the downside, it was quite smelly and there were lots of flies. I guess this is inevitable in this type of port.
The next morning Cy went for tea with Murat, who couldn’t do enough for us. He is from Izmir and sails up to work for a while and then sails back again. He gave Cy a couple of boiled eggs for us to have for breakfast – Fiskali had been a wonderful refuge and once again we were delighted by the warmth and friendliness we experienced.
Our next stop was Calkikoy, around 40 nautical miles away. It was a reasonably uneventful sail across but a bit choppy at times. We arrived into the harbour during mid-afternoon. Once again, it was primarily a fishing harbour, so a bit dusty and smelly, but there was quayside available to tie to.
We were invited for vodka on the boat behind us, which was owned by Cako and his brother Sabri from Istanbul. They showed us the weather forecast and the next day was pretty strong winds, so it looked like we were staying put for another day.
Calkikoy is a small, traditional fishing village. Male and female society seemed very separate and much to our dismay it was impossible to purchase alcohol in any of the small shops. I was really amused to see the women of the village driving up and down the quay in unusual transportation.
Sometimes there were kids on the trailer, sometimes rubbish, sometimes branches and even a cow being led along
We spent Thursday 10th doing a few jobs and providing entertainment for the kids in the village.
Our destination for the 11th was Port Marmara, the main town on Marmara Island. It wasn’t too far, around 25 nm and with a prompt start we managed to get there in the early afternoon. It was a stern-to mooring using the anchor, our first time mooring in this way. Port Marmara is a bustling, lively little place with plenty of cafes and restaurants. A bit of a change from our previous stop. We had a bit of an explore during the afternoon and made use of the petrol station and supermarket that were close.
From Port Marmara we planned to go to Erdek. As this was another short-ish hop, we decided to go out for an early morning walk before departing on the 12th.
The style of mooring means that the back of the boat is a little way from the quay and in this case the quay was quite high. I am still unsure what possesed me but rather than wait for Cy to tie the wooden plank in place to get ashore, I thought I could jump across. The result was predictable. I didn’t quite make it, crashed into the rough concrete quay and slid into the water. By the time Cy was alerted to my predicament, my shoes had floated away and the contents of my bag were well soaked (camera, phone and passports included). I was pretty shaken by this and only realised once back on the boat that I had hurt my leg quite badly with deep gashes and significant bruising. The early morning walk was cancelled. Despite our efforts with rinsing and a bowl of rice, the electronics did not survive their immersion.
After all the excitement, we left at around 10am. The winds were light and the sea calm which was beautiful but did require motoring at times. We had a lovely visit from a small pod of dolphins during the trip.
Erdek has quite a large harbour and ferry port. On arrival we were directed, by a couple of nice young men (still no idea if they were official), to tie alongside on the old ferry pier.
As soon as we were secure and tidy, we headed off to explore the town. It is described in our pilot book as being a popular resort but not yet discovered by international tourists and this description matched our experience. We loved it, there was loads going on and a vibrant feel but still with a local vibe. The summer visitors are mainly from Istanbul. We had a good old mooch around visiting a few shops and Cy even managed a much needed visit to the barber.
Later on we had a great meal in a restaurant and were particularly pleased with how inexpensive it was.
During our exploration of the town, we had seen a nice looking place on the waterfront that did a cheap breakfast platter, so we made a beeline for it in the morning (Sunday 13th). We weren’t in a hurry as we had quite a short sail planned, back to the Marmara Islands to an anchorage on Pasalimani Adasi.
The breakfast was wonderful – tea, cheese, eggs, bread, chips, tomatoes, olives, jams, honey, melon and a bit of salami for Cy, all beautifully presented for the equivalent of £10. Even between the two of us we couldn’t eat all the cheese…
The sail across to the island took around three hours and with our leisurely departure, we arrived at around 16:30. The anchorage was beautiful – still and calm. We were a bit concerned that we might be in the way of the ferry that comes in but our presence seemed to cause no problem so a swim seemed a good idea (planned this time).
The night proved to be quite windy, but our anchor held firm. We started early on the 14th as we wanted to get to the start of the Dardanelles.
We maintained reasonable speed under sail and entered the Dardanelles at around 15:30. It is quite a narrow passage and it is necessary to keep to the edge and clear of the shipping lane. We had been told by the harbour master in the marina at Istanbul that it is not permitted to sail through (although we have not seen this written anywhere!), so we dropped sail and proceeded with the engines (not a happy skipper).
There were a couple of options for stopping points – an anchorage at Cardak. On arrival, this didn’t look great as there were a lot of ferries passing by and it looked quite open. The other option was the harbour at Lapseki, a couple of miles further on. We turned in at 16:30. It is quite a small harbour and no place for us to tie. We had approximately four hours of daylight left, so decided to push on for Canakkale. This would be the last port of call in Turkey and where we would complete the exit formalities. We ran both engines to keep the speed up as we wanted to be sure of arriving in the daylight. Just before we arrived, at around 7pm we were approached by a Coastguard boat for a routine check of paperwork. I asked nicely but they said I couldn’t take a photo, maybe it was something to do with the Turkish navy in the background!
We managed to get to Canakkale before nightfall and were all secure by 8pm. We had covered 65 nautical miles to get there and were pretty knackered. We did manage a quick look at the town, quite a major one, and I noted quite a few shops where a second hand phone could be purchased in the morning. After such a long day, it was an early night for us; our last one in Turkey.