Tuesday 23rd June 2009
We set off for Kemer, a small port on the south coast of the Dardanelles, with the wind blowing lightly on the nose. By the time we reached there, however, the wind had strengthened and was still on the nose, blowing against us and the current that should have been carrying us down the Dardanelles. It was blowing strongly into the harbour, and we decided that it was untenable in the current conditions, so had either to turn back and run with the wind back to Marmara Adasi, or motor-sail into the wind and sea for 35 miles to Çanakkale. Not ones for taking the easy option, we decided to press on. Thinking that our friends from Serafina, Rob and Sarah would be at Çanakkale we sent them a text to say we were on our way. It was just our luck that they didn't answer until later that evening, to say that they had left Çanakkale earlier in the day, had passed us on the way (though didn't realise it was us at the time!) and were now tucked up in Karabiga which we had passed on the way to Kemer! What a cock-up! If we had known we could have made for there in the first place, thereby missing out on a lumpy ride and spending an evening in their company. Oh well, c'est la vie...
We eventually arrived at Çanakkale at 22:00 and were relieved to find, not only a space, but some guys there to guide us in and take our lines.
The next morning, knowing we would be staying at least one day to get our paperwork sorted out and check out of Turkey, we asked to move to the other quay, as the boat next door to us was playing loud music till late and from early, and looked like a local boat that wasn't going anywhere for a while. We decided in fact to spend two days here, so spent the first day just chilling out, doing jobs and shopping. We went for a look around the Naval museum which has nice gardens, but didn't venture inside.
The second day we set off to do the paperwork to check out. First we found the Harbour Master who said there would be no problem getting our VAT refund form stamped, and said first we needed to go to Passport control which is 8km away. No mention of needing an agent to do it for us so that was good news. We got into a taxi and went to get our passports stamped out and the Transit Log stamped. This was easy enough but a little costly as the taxi cost 55TL. Then we went back to the Harbour Master who stamped the Transit Log and last of all we had to go to Customs. Again this was simple enough and the guy stamped the transit log happily, but then came the problem - he refused to stamp the VAT claim form, saying he could not as it would not be legal. We argued the toss for some time, but he was adamant he would not stamp it. In the end we rang the customs agent from Marmaris Yacht Marine and asked him to speak to them and then explain to us what the problem was. Eventually, after several phone calls with several people, he explained that the VAT form could only be stamped in certain ports of entry/exit, and Çanakkale is not one of them. So we were really fed up about this but there seemed nothing we could do. With hindsight we should have done it in Marmaris before leaving, and certainly would have done if we had known, but we were held up so long by the winch we just wanted to get going. Oh well, c'est la vie...
The Trojan horse in Çanakkale, from the film starring Brad Pitt (the site of Troy is nearby) ...and Scott-Free's very own Brad Pitt, full of Iskender Kebab