to the Dardanelles, Turkey
August 23-29, 2001
August 23, 2001. We are in Ayvalik
after a few days in the south. We stayed in Cesme for a few days
and made contact with the fabricator of our bimini and some final
warranty work on the boat. Pepe, the local Bavaria and sailing
expert in Cesme had some words about our bottom paint. We have
had troubles in that the paint has been in the water less than
5 months and is growing a solid base of white growth. It sort
of looks like white Velcro and is very difficult to remove. I
told him I had applied Henkle paint, from the Netherlands. It
is supposed to be great and available worldwide. I would have
preferred Pettit Trinidad but that is not available over here.
Pepe said I should use a Turkish paint, once a year and nothing
grows on it. You just paint before you launch in the spring.
It appears to work very well but is not available anywhere but
Turkey. Probably wouldn't be too welcome in California in that
anything that swims within 50 feet of it drops dead, almost.
We left Cesme and followed the
Turkish coast around the tip of the peninsula, crossed a small
bay to Foca, phonetically it is Focha the c has a tail under
it and is pronounced as ch. This is a very old town where our
canvas man lives. He had some modifications to do to our bimini
and it was easier for him to reinstall the bimini in Foca than
to come back to Cesme from Izmir. Izmir is where the canvas shop
is located. He makes sails under the name of Q Sails.
At one time he was assembling North Sails for North in Turkey.
They moved their operations so he kept his skills and opened
a sail shop. Tahsin and his wife Semra had us in their home for
a genuine home cooked Turkish meal. There were many courses and
it was all good. We were sitting on their second floor patio,
looking out on Traumerei sitting quietly in the bay. We left
there yesterday and motor sailed north to Ayvalik, which means
lake. This is a medium sized town that sits on the eastern shore
of an enclosed bay. It is very well protected from all winds.
The weather forecast is that we shall have some additional winds
tonight and to be different from the past three days of no wind.
We will see. This is another Setur Marina and has a Blue Flag
designation, whatever that means. It is very nice with all of
the facilities that one would need. It is also about two blocks
from the center of town.
As you all know I am not from
snow country and I have never ridden on a snow sled. I can only
speculate what effort it must entail to pull a snow sled up a
long hill anticipating the free ride down the hill. The ride
down is to be exciting and semi free of labor but full of enjoyment.
That is sort of what I visualize this part of our trip. It is
all against the wind or uphill so to speak. Surely it is fun,
entertaining and educational, but it is work because the wind
is always against you. It really isn't all work; we have had
several sails where we got the feel of the helm and are satisfied
that Traumerei can really sail when there is a wind. It is a
labor that will have rewards in going south. We have also enjoyed
the many sites and museums that are in our locale. Nothing is
to be taken as a complaint; it is just a difference in the pleasures
of a trip. The ride down the hill starts soon as there will be
someone, read Mark and Keri, waiting at the bottom of our south
bound ride in Marmaris. This part of the trip will come down
the center of the Aegean, with visits to as many of the following
islands as possible. Clearly we don't expect to be able to visit
all of them for some will be so great that we will extend our
visit and some have seen before so might not visit again. We
will come down the Aegean routing through the following islands
in Greece: Lesvos, Khios, Tinos, Mikonos, Delos, Paros, Ios,
Thira then turning East through Anari, Astipalaia, Nisoros, Nisos
and Rodos. From there we will leave Greece and go to Marmaris
in Turkey. I would scarcely name which of you I think of when
I think of sharing that part of the trip but many of you come
to mind frequently. It is an awful long way to Istanbul on a
very short notice for anyone to join us. Our route south retraces
some of the miles we made with the Johnsons, Renneckars and Kocherts
in 1998. The distances between the islands is for the most part
very short, say less than 20 miles so it is not one of overnight
sails, but day sails to a different Greek port and taverna each
day. We will just not go to Lavrion where the sweetheart in the
customs office is.
Today, August 24, 2001, we went
to Bergama, site of Pergamon and its Aesclepion. Not household
words nor places that make the news every day but several thousand
years ago Pergamon was a rival city of Alexandria and in fact
the books that were burned in the library in Alexandria went
to Alexandria from Pergamon. The contents of the Pergamon library
were a gift of Mark Anthony to Cleopatra. It seem like we keep
running across references to Cleopatra from Nicopolis thru Delos
and into Pergamon. One of the great early, real early medical
schools was in Aesclepion. We toured the acropolis at Pergamon
and found it to be in a state of restoration as great as any
we have seen. It was a large city with a fantastic theatre overlooking
a wide and deep valley. There are piles, organized piles, of
rubble everywhere. I believe that it would be easier to reconstruct
a Mexican Omelet in to its original pieces and serve a hard-boiled
egg than put the pieces of Pergamon together.
I am attempting to record this
trip on a new digital camera. Every time I take a photo I think
of Gary Morris, Peter Johnson and Scott Cherba. Each of them
is a professional photographer and should be with us. We are
in the richest area of photography that I have ever seen. In
some instances there has been very little change from the days
of 3000 years ago and today. When you see a couple, each with
their own donkey, riding down the highway, and see the mud and
straw lean-tos that they live in; only the white centerline has
been added. We were walking to the center of Bergama when we
passed a farrier's shop. He was on the main street and seated
in an open window that was about 5 feet square. He was in stocking
feet sitting on a table that held his anvil, workbench, tools
and parts. Certainly interesting enough to stop for a visit.
There was a horse tied inside waiting for new shoes. He was crafting
an insert that goes between the shoe and the hoof. I have a picture
to show some of it. Later we were in the Bergama museum where
there are sculptures from 1000 BC right up through 500 or 600AD.
Also there is a picture of this same farrier doing what I photographed.
We have been trapped in Ayvalik
for 6 days. There are four major named winds in the Med. The
Mistrals are in southern France. The Boras are winter winds in
the upper Adriatic, the Sirocco which blows from Africa to Europe
and there is the Meltimis in the Aegean. These winds are the
result of the close proximity of a Persia low pressure, which
is present in the summer, and a high over the Balkans. The cumulative
wind from these two systems frequently blow for 5 to 8 days,
non-stop. We have just come through one that lasted 4 days. The
wind is from the N NE and blows 24 hours a day in a range from
14 to 35 kts. You really are forced to stay where you are. We
met a few people and connected with a Turkish fellow that we
met in Giebelstadt. He also bought a Bavaria 42 from Horst. He
has a slip and a captain in a small town SE of Istanbul, Trile.
We are invited to visit and have a meal. He is a textile manufacturer
and is currently in a joint venture with an American thread manufacturer
in North Carolina.
This is the 28 of August and
we are out of Ayvalik sailing north toward Istanbul. We have
passed between the Greek island of Lesbos and a cape in Turkey.
We are currently at anchor in a bay on Bozcaada Island. We are
12 miles from the entrance to the Dardanelles We will pass through
the Dardanelles tomorrow and stop at a place that got its fame
as a World War I battleground. More than 100,000 Australian,
New Zealand, British and Turkish men lost their lives in a single
battle. As I write this we are in Gallipoli, currently called
Gelibolu. We left Bozcaada this morning before sunrise. Last
night we were at anchor and it was pure delight as you sailors
know. It was calm of wind and no seas. We traveled up the coast
of Turkey headed for the mouth of the Dardanelles. It took three
hours to get to the entrance. The closer we got to the entrance
the more obvious it became that this was indeed a major shipping
route. When we passed through the straits it was about a mile
to the north to Europe and about a half mile to the south to
Asia. Clearly this is one of the places where an enormous amount
of history has occurred. The strait is so very important in that
it is the sea route to all of the countries that surround the
Black Sea, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Georgia. It
is also where the water from several major European rivers join
the seas and eventually the ocean. The Donau, Danube, is amongst
the better known of these rivers. We decided to count the ships
that passed by us today. We counted 48 and they include bulk
carriers, LPG carriers, heating oil carriers, container ships
and a ferry.
The radio traffic on channel
16 was very interesting. Each of the ships had to check in with
traffic control. When they checked in the official would ask
(English is the international language of ships as well as it
is airlines) for last port, next port, type of cargo and the
flag of the vessel. They were hauling everything from grain to
lumber and LPG. They were from Israel, Russia, Bulgaria, Greece,
Norway Romania and so on. The Straits of Cannakale which are
better known as the Hellespont are a mere 1500 meters wide. We
went through alone and the current was significant. All of the
fresh water flowing into the Black Sea flows past this point
and it is known to be very turbulent. There are some of you who
will appreciate the thrill we got in passing this strait and
traversing the Dardanelles. Tomorrow we enter the Sea of Marmara
and thence to Istanbul.
This concludes this Travelogue.
Thanks for your interest.