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Date: 22 Jun 2009 07:50:18
Title: Dardanelles

40:09.1N 26:24.2E

Sunday 21st June
Quite why so many parents chose to send their very noisy children to play on
the yacht quay at 10.00pm last night is a mystery, but such is life.

No wind first thing today as forecast, so we got away at 8.00am heading for
the entrance to the Dardanelles, which lead up to the Sea of Marmara and
Istanbul. There is a strong current that flows from the Black Sea down
through the straits and out into the Aegean and we were going to be battling
against it today and stopping at the narrowest part (The Hellespont) where
it is just 1 mile across.

We were expecting a lot of traffic as the usual flow of ships is pretty
impressive but today we had a few cargo ships and one super tanker only
travelling with us and in the opposite direction there was almost nothing
apart from a remarkable cruise ship with four masts which came down under
full sail. Sadly we only saw this last ship as they emerged from the
entrance before we had arrived and being hazy and far off the photos are not
too clear.

Two dolphins joined us very briefly just as we reached the narrows and by
then we had the wonderful benefit of a 15 knot southerly breeze as well so
we hoisted the head sail and sailed serenely along making a comfortable 4
knots headway against the flow. In fact we were enjoying it all so much that
Sarah just noticed in time that we were sailing straight past the town we
wanted to stop at! What also was holding our attention were the huge
memorials built by the various nations involved commemorating the fallen at
Gallipoli.

We moored up in the tiny 'marina' at Canakkale and went off to get some
lunch and book on to a tour of the Gallipoli battlefields and cemeteries
which are just across the straits from here for tomorrow. We then went for a
stroll around the town and found a navel museum dedicated, not surprisingly,
to the defeat of the Allied naval forces in March 1915 when we tried to sail
up the Dardenelles and take Istanbul. It was this defeat that precipitated
the fateful landings at Gallipoli and it is a little sobering to be the only
English in the museum full of Turks, knowing that we were the aggressor in
this instance. Very well presented museum and gardens with full explanation
of the entire event and the timeline all given in English as well as
Turkish.

Canakkale is also the ideal spot for a visit to Troy, which we will not be
doing (the marina is a bit expensive for yet another night) but just 100
metres from where we are moored is a very large wooden horse which it
transpires is the one made for the film starring Brad Pitt, which was given
to Canakkle to display on the quay.

In the evening we went across to Anzac Hotel and sat in their bar and
watched the film 'Gallipoli' with Mel Gibson (by way of background for
tomorrow) although we have been reading all about it in various guide books
and the like.

Town packed in the evening, which is the first time we have really come
across crowds all summer.

More photos added today at http://www.rhbell.com


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