to Turgutreis, Turkey
April 18-28, 2003
Travelogue #4 Spring 2003
April 18, 2003. This morning
we left Datcha. Yesterday we attended a birthday party for Stella,
the carpet lady. She has friends all over the world, actually.
There were about 20 people in attendance and at least 5 languages.
We had a great experience.
The wind changed directions last
night and we found ourselves on anchor watch starting at 4:30
this am. At about 9 am we decided that it would be best to move
rather than spend another night like last night. We departed
and went to Palamut which is halfway between Datcha and the end
of the Datcha peninsula at Knidos. Everything was ok for awhile
then it turned to crap.
We left Datcha going into a SE wind of 18 Kts and by the end
of the trip we were going downwind in winds as high as 35 Kts.
The small harbor Palamut was built on a long beach, something
like Chivato. They put very large boulders in the water to make
that has an inside measurement of 200 feet by 300 feet., this
is not very large. The arm of the breakwater, which is parallel
to the beach, overlaps the NE finger that comes straight out
from the beach. To enter it you actually must come to running
parallel to the beach about 150 feet off of the beach for perhaps
150 feet. This is almost in the breakers and absolutely uncomfortable.
As you enter, the beach (sand) is 150 feet to your right and
a jetty with underwater obstructions is only 15 feet to your
left. The wind is blowing at 35 Kts directly onto the beach and
once you commit to enter there is no second chance. It was over
with very fast and we are in a bit of calm water. There is only
one other boat here but later we are joined by a gullet.
As the rare traveling Americans,
at this time and place, we have found that occasionally people
who are living in some of these tiny remote villages who are
also from the USA approach us. They seem delighted to speak to
someone from home. The reasons to be here are varied and make
interesting stories. While walking the village I noticed that
one of small farm plots had a sizable stand of Calla Lilies,
so I asked the lady if I might have one. She pulled the lily
up by the long stem, 40 inches, and gave it to me. It will grace
our table and cabin
for the Easter holidays. We took her a gift in appreciation and
for that she gave us another one.
The weather has been very disturbed
with one low after another and this has thrown a series of 5
days where the wind was blowing 35 kts or better in this area.
We have been rather secure in the harbor. A German arrived here
yesterday after being stuck in an anchorage about 5 miles from
here for 4 days. He said the winds were as high as force 10.
That is about 50 kts. We had a delightful surprise yesterday.
Our friend Horst
Anklam, our German boat broker, sailed into this same tiny
remote harbor. What a coincidence. He was accompanied by another
boat of German charterers. So again last night we found ourselves
eating with a table full of Germans.
Tuesday, April 22. This morning
it is overcast but the wind is not as great as it has been. We
leave in a three boat flotilla and will stop in either Bodrum
or Gumusluk. As we are making our passage we pass the Greek Island
of Kos. With Turkish papers we should not enter Greek waters
so this would entail a small diversion of about 3 miles. I am
following Horst and see that he just changes his Turkish flag
for a Greek flag and proceeds through the area. It worked and
saved a bit of time. We have a good passage so we end up in Gumusluk for the
evening. It is raining slightly. For the whole time we have been
here it seems to either have been raining or cold or very windy.
It is now the last of April and it still feels like early spring.
The natives are also complaining that it has been the worst winter
in as many as 45 years. This is a very small anchorage that will
accommodate approximately 15 boats on the town quay. We do get
in a short visit with Horst and his friends prior to turning
in for what will be a comfortable night. This place with shops,
restaurants, trees and the small bay reminds me of the San Juans.
Wednesday. We are going to Leros,
a Greek Island that is about 18 miles west of Gumusluk today
and Horst is to continue up the Turkish coast to Kusadasi. He
is on the way to Cesme and to put his boat away. The wind is
20 kts from the east so we have a very pleasant sail. We sailed
between the Greek Island of Kalimnos and Leros thence northwest
for 3 miles to a small bay on Leros. This bay was the primary
bay used by Italy in WWII. It is a rather large and well protected
bay. We feel real comfortable here. We are going to have PORK
of some kind for supper. There was a Greek Coast Guard boat prowling
the area just east of Kalimnos and he followed us through the
narrow separation, then turned SE. I thought he was going away
until I looked again and saw that he was again following us.
He just followed us into the bay then separated and berthed on
the S side while we went to the N side.
We are sailing in the Dodecanese
Islands, Greek for 12 islands. We have visited several and when
this visit is finished we will have visited about 5 of them.
Leros has a very protected bay
and in fact was the place where Mussolini stationed his ships
in the eastern Mediterranean. It has since become a place of
hospitals. There are several hospitals in the village of Lakki
where we are. The primary one is an asylum where there are people
with mental disorders and also some additional residents who
are there for political dissent activities. This hospital has
a lovely view of the bay and was probably one of the Italian
administrative offices. It is a grand 3 story building. When
walking to town one passes directly in front of the hospital
and one would be able to converse with an inmate if he desired.
There are inmates looking over the bay and quite a few inmates
on the roof also looking out, most likely wondering how to get
out of the situation. There are no bars on the windows and no
inmates on the first floor. It would be a very long drop to jump
from the second floor, perhaps 20 feet or more. As we were going
to bed Kathy heard someone scream, and was startled at the sound.
I couldn't hear the screaming until I stepped outside and then
it was very clear. We are about 2 or 3 blocks from the hospital
but the noise was so great that it could keep you awake. It seems
that the inmates begin a nightly screaming session after sundown
and it continues beyond the time when we both fell asleep.
One of the highlights of this
place is that it is Greece and they serve PORK. We had a great
meal that included pork chops, for the first time in awhile.
The night was calm and we were ready to depart on Thursday morning
for the island of Patmos.
Thursday, April 25, 2003. The
wind is from the starboard and we have a glorious reach to Patmos.
When we arrived we were immediately visited by the Coast Guard
and given a sheet of instructions as to how to check into the
port. When we tried to check in, the passport control and customs
offices were closed. The police said that we should do all of
our paperwork including check in and checkout on the day we leave,
so much for instructions. The town is small and concentrated
along the waterfront.
Good Friday (Orthodox), April
25, 2003. Patmos has an operating monastery
at the top of the mountain. The structure was built as a Byzantine
monastic fortress in 1088 in memory of St. John the Theologian.
We walked the 2 miles on a Byzantine road to the top and ended
up following a family to a very small church where they were
having Easter services. It was a nunnery
where all chanting and all songs were female. As we walked back
down the hill we passed the cave
of the Apocalypse where St John lived while he dictated the
Revelation to his scribe. To be in the room where the book of
Revelations was written is rather awesome. This is clearly one
of the main places for the tourists and pilgrims to visit. The
Easter service is different here than at home. Here it is a 3
day vigil where each church has a service going almost continually.
There are chanters and singers who stand and chant for hours
on end. We have gone to the church several times each day and
never found it to be different. At 8 PM we are downtown for the
Good Friday services, which culminate at 11 PM when each of the
two churches in Patmos begin the procession of carrying the decorated
bier on a procession through town. It ends when both groups arrive
at the town center where another round of chanting and the final
Good Friday service is conducted. We have met a Canadian couple,
Aubry and Judy, who are traveling this area also. They have a
guest, David, who is an Anglican Priest and he is spending a
little time in Patmos. I have asked him if he would like to have
Easter Services, minus the firecrackers, on Traumerei. He was
very glad for the offer and accepted immediately. The services
here are like a town meeting, everyone comes in and out of the
church as the service is in progress, visits a neighbor and kiss
each of the icons. The chanting lasts for several hours and we
stay for an extended time at each of the two churches.
A note about the fact that Easter
is later here than in the USA. The difference can be traced to
when Pope Gregory made the changes to the calendar, the Gregorian
calendar. His spiritual beliefs were counter to the Orthodox
views and they disregarded anything that was proclaimed by him.
They were not about to change the timing of Easter to accommodate
the new calendar. And so it continues. This coastline is rather
dense with good anchorages and small towns where one can stop.
In Biblical times the travelers would stop at many of the places
where we have been stopping. The anchorages/bays are about every
15 or 20 miles. A great many of the temples and castles are built
along this coast and among the islands that are but a few miles
to sea. Simi and Kos are 4 miles seaward of Turkey, while Rhodes,
Patmos, Samos, Kalimnos and Leros are but 15 to 20 miles off
of the mainland. Along the coast of Turkey there are many places
to find coverage and we do as the travelers of old did, we find
a coastal anchorage each day. In reading the history of the place
you read of how the coastal cities were built to accommodate
the trade. As I am writing this, the same story can be told of
current commerce. There are numerous merchant ships passing through
here. After transiting the Suez Canal or from the far eastern
Mediterranean the direct route for sea transport to the Black
Sea is along this coast. Even Cleopatra used this route when
traveling from Alexandria to Delos.
Saturday, April 26, 2003. This
is a day to really stock up on items that are hard to find in
Turkey. The stores all close tomorrow and we leave. It is a day
of seeing the town and napping in preparation for a long evening
of worship. We are in the town at 9 PM for the beginning and
find that the real processional doesn't start until 10; it really
started at 10:30. The town gets crowded and some of the younger
people bring their firecrackers to the event. They are throwing
firecrackers all over the place, into crowds, under cars and
so forth. I dont like fireworks, so I leave.
Easter Sunday, April 27, 2003.
David and Aubrey come over for the Easter service, Judy is Jewish
so she stays home. We have a glorious full service that will
be remembered by all three of us. David
provides a service that is as if there were a full church of
After the service Kathy and I
go to clear out of Greece and the short of it is that we should
not have been here without going through a port of entry (the
Pilot guide indicated that Patmos was). Having figured that out,
the officer told me I was free to leave with no paperwork, because
as far as they were concerned we never came to Patmos. We had
a great sail to Turkey and are now at anchor preparing Easter
supper, which will be young lamb and vegetables..
Monday, April 28, 2003; Turgutreis,
Turkey. We stopped at the place that we saw on our way to Gumusluk
. The installation was not on our charts but had two towers indicating
an opening to a marina or the end of a breakwater. We are in
a brand new marina,
scheduled to open in May. I don't think they will make it. It
is the nicest one we have ever been in. There will be more than
100 shops, including
an Armani store. There are about 250 slips where there are finger
piers between each pair of boats, first we have seen like this
in Europe. There are Med tie moorings for about 150 boats of
up to 80 feet long. There is a very long side wall where 6 to
8 100 foot boats could tie up and there are about 185 storage
rooms. When we arrived we were met by a fellow who asked me to
go to the office. There I was told that they were not open but
I could stay, we were the first ever to get a slip. It is calm
and you can play Willie Nelson or Ray Cocker as loud as you want
to, there are no neighbors.
We caught a dolmush to Bodrum,
which is the ancient city of Halicarnassus. It is an old town
that is very comfortable with the tourist business. There is
a lot of activity on what seems to be the first real day of spring.
It is a very clean town and we will visit the Underwater Archeological
Museum. It is the largest such museum in the world and is located
within the castle walls. As I was walking to the boat I passed
the local doctors office. He has a menu
posted on the front door that identifies his specialties. The
list made for good reading and is enclose. We will go to Budrum
tomorrow, in Traumerei.