July 17, 2011
J July 7 Said our farewells and a huge thankyou to David and Kath who have been so kind to us both and made this little interlude ashore ad great pleasure for me. Waved off Brian and Carole on Endeavour who left mid afternoon for an overnight passage directly back to Anlays. We have decided to explore 100 nm of east to the east of there that we haven’t visited before.
Checked out of North Cyprus and left Delta marine but just dropped the anchor in a quiet bay round the corner before an early start back to Turkey tomorrow.
It was an easy 65nm daytime passage. The highlight of the trip was a school of dophins paying along with us. Dropped the pick in the beautiful wooded bay of Aglialimani, where the last slopes of the Taurus mountain range, the spectaular backdrop to so many miles of this coast, drop into the sea.
We decided not to go east beyond here as this is where the land flattens and the only real anchorages are the huge commercial ports of Mersin and Iskenderun, before the Turkish coastline turns south for Syria. It is effectively the armpit of the Mediterranean.
The little town of Tasucu, just across the bay is a Port of Entry so we went there to check in. This process is often tortuous in Turkey but this was a collectors’ item. It being Saturday didn’t help.
Went to Immigration. They said go to the Harbourmaster first
Harbourmaster’s office closed. No indication of opening hours or a phone nimber. An upstairs balco ny door was open so we shouted and a neighbour opposite came out to say we would need to go the the port and get a phone number from a captain
Fishing boat skipper, who knew the number phoned for us and got the message that it would be open at midday
Couple of hours later back to the Harbourmaster. Laborious process with many forms and the computer. 55 Turkish lire for the transit log, 8 for harbour dues and a mysterious, unreceipted 25 lire for him “to take a taxi to the bank”!! He also said we would need to take a taxi to a doctor to get a health certificate. Alarm. We have never been asked to this before.
Back to Immigration who said go to the Port Police
Port police said we needed a visa
Visa office closed.
Customs. Kind woman made calls and found out no need for doctor and visaman “back in ten minutes”
One and a half hour wait before a lad arrived with two 20 dollar visa stamps (We normally get them for £10 each in Sterling) Had no dollars. Offered Euros. More phone calls.
Customs boss turned up in shorts and T-shirt, eating popcorn (Saturday) and after much consulting of exchange sites we paid 25 euros for two.
Back to Port Police. Visa stamped about to leave when
Visaman, who had been at a long lunch, arrived. He was quivering with rage and tried to snatch our passports. Demanded more money. Gave an extra 5 euros. Despite showing numerous old £10 stamps in our passports turned out it was not recognised at this port of entry. (Depressingly for the state of Sterling, no one seemed to have even heard of it.
The whole process took six and a half hours. Would not recomment Tasucu to check in.
It’s an attractive , very Turkish little town but we wanted out of there after all that. So, despite a big wind and sea, we unsshipped and returned to our lovely bay. Finished the day with skinny-dipping by moon-light. This is more like it.
12nm to another lovely bay in which to drop the pick, Ovacik. There is a Turkish holiday village here ut it was all very quiet until about 3pm when an armada of 12 large galleons packed with Turkish trippers and local musicians and belly dancers rounded the headland.
The sea boiled with swimmers and divers, while others danced on the decks for about an hour and a half and then they all left in convoy – to he relief of us and the turtles we kept seeing. Went for a lovely walk ashore. It a very picturesque area with an isthmus to a large bluff with the ruins of a villa with mosaic floors.
22nm to Soguksu, where a rushing river runs into the sea making fresh cool currents in the water. The slopes are covered in greenhouses. Walking, swimming. The boat rolled all night as a swell crept round the headland
On to Bozyazi. 18 mn. This is an attractive Turkish holiday town with a huge empty harbour. It has been built for military purposes, as this is the closest point to Cyprus, and also as a potential ferry port which has never been developed. We came alongside as we had the place to ourselves, apart from the coastguard boat. The only other vessels were a couple of unoccupied fishing boats and three boats that seemed to have been left to rot. They inculded a Benneteau in a very bad state, chained, but not fendered, to the harbour wall. The “harbourmaster”, who was dressed in flowery swimmers, told us it belonged to a smuggler and had been there seven years. It’s Turkish owner, who was picked up coming from Cyprus with cigarettes, alcohol and mobile phones, is still in gaol.
The harbourmaster, who was very under-occupied drove us to the local sites, after much jockeying over the fare. We went to Mamure Castle, which sits with one foot in the Med. It’s next to a turtle nesting beach, and its moat, which is filled by the sea is crowded with baby turtles. The castle is the most impressive maze of crenalated walls and towers. Tthere’s been a fortress on the site since Roman times and the present 13th century structure is in a very good state of repair having been maintained by the Ottoman empire right up to when it ended after the First World War. We were able to walk the walls, at guardsman level, climb up the towers. A UK Health and Safety nightmare.
The Byzantine city of Anamurium is also next to the beach. It’s a huge ghost town with dozens of standing buildings. Its location has saved it from the stone pillaging so many ofthese sites suffered from later settlers. Our driver would have taken us to town to shop or to a restaurant but we went straight back to the pristine harbour where we swam alongside the local turtles.
25 TL harbour dues, inc. water and electricity. Very reasonable. No receipt. Straight into the pocket of the flowery shorts, no doubt.
An early start for the 36 nm to Gazipaca. Empty seas. We have not seen another yacht or non-Turkish tourist since we entered this part of Turkey. And another empty harbour. Unattended. Dropped the pick in the middle and swam. This is another pleasant Turkish resort. However the music, late into the evening, though local and live was LOUD.
25 nm on to Alanya marina. It felt like we had stepped into the known world. Suddenly there were other boats about. It was from here that we left for Cyprus on the Rally. Had a few days enjoying the excellent facilities here – beautiful pool, beach, free laundry, free marina bus to local produce markets twice a week, pub with Happy Hour. There’s an interesting crowd of live-aboards here and we joined them for a DIYBBQ and blow-out brunch at a local restaurant. Makes us feel quite timid talking to American octagenarians planning “one more Atlantic crossing while I’ve still got it in me.”