After leaving Port Alacati in Turkey on Monday 16th July 2018, we passed the Greek island of Khios to port, and then saw a NATO warship patrolling the strait between Greece and Turkey. We were now entering the Aeolian coast as we sailed past Cesme. The wind was in our favour and with main and jib up, we averaged 7 – 8 knots to take us to Foca bay for a 52 nm day. Foca is at the mouth of the Bay of Izmir, but we decided not to sail into Izmir as it is now a huge commercial harbour – also my brothers and I travelled overland from Istanbul to Izmir in 1975 and we didn’t find much of interest on the Anatolian plain, or in Izmir.
Our next stop was Dikili harbour where we planned to clear out of Turkey, before sailing the 11 nm across to the Greek island of Lesvos. The harbour was chockers, so we tied up next to a number of big fishing vessels at the harbour entrance, requiring an interesting climbing/walking trip over 5 vessels to shore. Tuesdays are the big fresh fruit and vegie market day in Dikili, when the farmers bring their produce to town. Annie was in her element buying fresh produce at a smidgen of Sydney prices. A pain getting this all back on board.
In the afternoon we set off to find the harbourmaster which is your first stop in clearing out. Dikili not being a tourist town, had very few English speakers, resulting in us crisscrossing town before we eventually tracked his office down. He had decided to take the afternoon off, so his secretary called him on his mobile to ask what to do. His English was passable and he told us to call around at 8am the next morning to process our documents. So we spent the afternoon sightseeing and shopping at Migros for food, wine and beer.
Next morning at 8am, we were back at the harbourmaster’s office – his secretary serving us tea until he arrived at 9:10am. From here on, things picked up – he only took 45 minutes to complete all the documentation, before giving us instructions of how to get to customs and the harbour police, who processes passports. This was completed in 15 minutes and then we had to return to the harbourmaster to drop off his stamped copies. He then wished us a speedy return and we took our leave without having to pay a Turkish lira.
This then completed our 8-week cruise from Anamur in the east of Turkey, to Dikili in the north west, during which time we covered 768 nm (1,422 km) and enjoyed the hospitality of the friendly Turkish people, saw some amazing historical sites and made many new friends.
As an aside, I had completed Andrew Mango’s definitive biography of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, which strips away the myth to show the complexities of the man beneath. Ataturk was a man who enjoyed his tipple – when his secretary Hasan Riza Soyak urged him to cut down on his drinking, he replied: “I’ve got to drink, my mind keeps on working hard and fast to the point of suffering. I have to slow down and rest at times. When I don’t drink, I can’t sleep and the distress stupefies me” …… On hearing this, Annie decided to call me Atadurk!
Our next post will start in Lesvos, Greece, from where it will be downwind sailing through the Eastern Sporades and Dodecanese islands – we will catch up in due course.