|Supper at Erdek|
Erdek was a great place. No sooner were we stern to the town quay than a helpful local was connecting us to power and supplying us with water! From here we set off ashore to research a place for a cold draft beer and a meal for the evening. The former was soon found, the latter took a bit more research and even then was good but not great. The town and waterfront more than made up for the mediocre food though. Next morning we set about doing some victualling in the local supermarket and then sailed after lunch for the Pasalimani Islands again.
|Anchored at Pasalimani|
This time we entered the anchorage at Pasalimani, via the western entrance, under sail and dropped anchor off the hamlet of Pasalimani. A very small collection of houses with a single restaurant (where we had lunch the following day), a bakery and a tiny general store; plus of course the mandatory mosque! As we anchored on the verge of sunset it was supper onboard and then a trip ashore next day to research the locality. During our stroll we were given cucumbers by a lady in a burqa, who just happened to be walking in the opposite direction, and almost not allowed to pass the local bakery without entering to inspect their bread, which we of course felt obliged to buy!
|Waterfront at Pasalimani|
We concluded our visit with lunch in the only restaurant and a promise to the owner to visit again on the return passage.
|Quarries at Saraylar, north coast of Marmara Island|
From here we sailed off the anchor and headed for the north shore of the island of Marmara, a desolated place with horrendous (if impressive) marble quarries adorning most of its north coast, rather reminiscent of the china clay quarries of Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor. En route we had a close encounter with a 750 ton Turkish ferry who, on meeting us “head to head” at a headland, insisted on altering course to port (contrary to international regulations) and squeezing between us and the land, 50ft clearance either side, all at 15 knots, amazing what risks some of these supposedly professional seafarers will run just to avoid an extra 20 – 30 yards of distance run. That night we anchored in Saraylar, on the eastern side of the harbour, with supper onboard and then Mike and Melvin went for a brief walk ashore. They described it as a mining town full of immigrant workers from the south of Turkey. Not a great run ashore.
|Marina at Guzelce|
Next morning it was off, northwards, across the shipping separation scheme, to Marmara Eregli; an oil port on the north shore of the Sea of Marmara. The bay was dominated by a large oil terminal and a storage / refining facility ashore. In the NNW corner we found a suitable place to anchor, and went ashore for a beer and supper in a rather temporary looking wooden bar/café behind the adjacent beach. The food was better than expected though and we finally returned onboard well after sunset. Not a scenic place but welcoming all the same.
|Naval Academy in the Princes Islands|
Next day we made a passage to Guzelce Marina, described as being on the outskirts of Istanbul but in reality 20 miles to the west. A rather desolate place with little to recommend it other than its price, 65TFL (£26) an night as opposed to the €66 (£60) .a night we were later to pay in Atakoy Marina nearer the city. From here we decided to visit the Princes Islands; these are just outside the southern end of the Bosphorus. The islands are evidently the millionaires playground for Istanbul. We ghosted in at around sunset and anchored in a bay on the south coast of Heybeliada, in the shadow of the Turkish Naval Academy, between several super yachts. We were subsequently to spent the night listening to their generators, after all, how else do you keep all your upper-deck and under-water lighting on all night? Not great but the water was clean enough to swim and the anchorage well protected.
|Fantastic houses on the Asian side of the Bosphorus|
The following morning we set sail early, cruised between the islands and finally entered the Bosphorus. After the first two miles we were forced to resort to the engine, lack of space outside the shipping separation scheme, foul current and contrary winds all led to slow progress but we did get halfway to the Black Sea before turning back and a very enjoyable trip it was too.
|The Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia|
We attempted to anchor at Bebek, on the west bank, for lunch but almost as soon as we had convinced ourselves that the anchorage was tight but tenable in amongst all the other boats moored there, the current changed direction and we found ourselves far too close to adjacent boats so it was a delayed lunch and a rapid departure. That evening we arrived in Atakoy Marina where we were to meet up again with Camilla and her crew, although our paths were not to cross before the next morning. This had something to do with their mid evening return from the city centre, 2 hours after our departure, and our return at 0600. Istanbul is an all night city and full of life but................. when will I ever learn that all night runs ashore are for 16 year old's not 61 year old's! Needless to say the hangover wore off a few hours into the next day.
|Panorama of Bebek|
We have now been in Atakoy, doing the tourist bit, for four days; Mike and Melvin have now departed for UK and Steve Keley has joined; he is now in Kurukulla for the next three months having taken a sabbatical from work. The plan is to leave tomorrow and revisit the Princess Islands before returning on the 1st / 2nd to pick up the Croziers (a friend from school days and his family) from Atakoy.
|Istanbul by night|
|Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque|
|Supper at the local fish market|
More once they are onboard.