A brief visit to Turkey
Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Mon 26 Jun 2006 22:33
From Chios we decided to head for the Turkish coast as strong northerly winds were forecast and we weren't sure how good the shelter would be after a longish trip south to Samos, the next Greek island to the south. The winds were generally Force 6 and we had a rewardingly fast sail east to a deep inlet on the Turkish coast where the shelter is reported to be good. We saw a few other yachts beating to windward up the coast (rather them than us!) and found two yachts (one German, the other South African) in the anchorage, Kirkdilim Limani, where the shelter was good but with strong downdrafts off the mountains. Although our anchor was well dug in, it's always unsettling when the boat is being buffeted intermittently so we were glad to be off again in the morning, sailing again in Force 6, with F7 gusts, southeast to Kusadasi.
Arriving at Kusadasi marina we experienced the usual sensation of moving into another world, where everything is easy, and after quite a lot of passage-making we were ready for some pampering (showers, laundry, etc). Our first concern was to sort out our Turkish documentation. A month ago we left Turkish waters without getting any exit stamps, and our cruising log expired over a week before. The marina staff warned us that we may have a problem with the authorities, so the next day we went to do the rounds of passport control, customs, harbour-master and customs once more seeking the necessary stamps so we could officially leave Turkey.
Kusadasi is a busy port with large cruise ships visiting daily and the area around the harbour could be anywhere in the world, with malls filled with jewellery shops, oriental carpet shops, Starbucks, Body Shop and Burger King. When it comes to selling, the Turks are very persistent, and we had to run the gauntlet of the harbour shopping centre four times before we had everything sorted. As luck would have it no one noticed that our cruising log had expired and we were given permission to leave for Greece.
Kusadasi town is not attractive, though there is an old part, crammed with shops, bars and restaurants. It must be popular with Irish visitors as there are numerous Irish bars and places selling Irish breakfast rather than English breakfast. This is the first place in Turkey we've come across where pork products are available, though at a price. The town is a very incongruous mix of traditional Turkey and package tourism. On Friday we found the fruit and vegetable market and made the most of the opportunity as Greece just can't compete on fresh produce.
The marina is also very good, with a swimming pool and tennis courts among the facilities. We've been making use of the free internet access to book ferries and flights home for the end of July. The book exchange is another boon, but the problem is that the crew get lazy in such an environment so we have to move on as soon as possible. Yesterday we sailed west again, towards Samos, sailing much of the way, although the wind was quite variable and the seas increasingly lumpy as we approached the very narrow strait between Samos and the Turkish mainland.
We anchored last night in a small bay called Poseidoni, on the southeast tip of Samos:
Today we motored just a short distance west to a new marina at Pythagoria. It's been in the process of being built for the last few years and we were not sure what to expect but it seems nearly ready to open and we're told it will be fully functional in 10 days. For us it's a convenient place to leave the boat to spend a day touring Samos as the town quay at Pythagoria is very full.