Sunday, September 04, 2011

From Greece to Turkey

Castle guarding the entrance to Kusadasi

[Kyle]As soon as it was light enough to leave, we departed Pythagorion harbour for a long leg in light headwinds, expecting to motor all the way to Kuşadasi our first Turkish port. We’d heard little attractive about Kuşadasi from any source (including our lonely planet guide), but it was the most convenient port of entry for us from Samos and required only a slight detour to the North to complete our arrival formalities. The journey from Pythagorion to Kuşadasi had us going in and out of Turkish waters several times as the ownership of the islands on route swap between the two countries.

At the large marina a RIB was sent out to direct us to our dock and assist with the laid lines. We pulled up bow-to the dock (our preferred method with laid lines) and the guy in the rib handed me a laid line insisting I attach it in the middle of the boat. We have no suitable cleat in the middle of the stern of the boat, and worse still this is where a prop is – not a good place to be working with lines at any time. We were expecting two laid lines, one for each side, but with only one presented, I wanted to make a bridle to the cleats at each stern. The “Help” didn’t understand this and insisted I attach his line somewhere in the center of our boat; frustrated he and his partner (now climbed aboard) started to setup the bridle themselves, exactly what I wanted so I left them to do it. We have quite small horns on the factory installed cleats and In the French canals we found cleated lines sometimes slip off so our four dock lines are attached to the cleats with a loop through the center of the each cleat and a bowline, giving more space on the horns for the line to return and be over-cleated. The ‘helper’ wanted to attach their very thick line to our small horned cleat (normally we would tie our existing dock line to their mooring line). When he could not untie our bowline with one had, he just reached for his knife and cut off our dockline before I could even yell “don’t do that”. This was completely un-called for, there was no emergency, the boat was under control and in no danger, he didn’t even ask for help or permission. The “helpers” kept wanting to hang around as they could see I was unhappy, but we could not wait for them to leave so we could adjust the boat our own way, and undo the damage they had done. I guess they may have been waiting for a tip. Once they did finally leave us alone, our Marina experience improved dramatically after that.

The immigration procedure was handled entirely by the friendly crew at the office (quick and painless), they were very helpful with all of Maryanne’s questions about the town. The marina itself is very well equipped (showers, laundry, repair facilities of all types, restaurants and even a supermarket alongside – boater heaven).

We had been told that the one thing we didn’t want to miss at any cost was a trip to nearby Ephesus, apparently the best-preserved Greco-Roman ruins in Europe and just 20km away. Maryanne had been pushing for us to make time for the visit for months. The problem was that in such a well equipped marina, and with so much that could be done for Footprint (opportunities not to be missed). With fresh water, laundry, and repair facilities so convenient it seemed foolish to pass them up. (We had the same problem in Piraeus). I was of the view that we should essentially drop everything and head directly to Ephesus during the remainder of the day so as to make sure it was done; in the morning we could do as many jobs as we could in the time we had before sailing, leaving the least important jobs undone. Maryanne liked the idea except for the excellent point that some of our jobs needed lead time. (Laundry could be dropped off but might not be available same day?, and a steel bracket needed welding and might take some time). She thought it better to get all these jobs started today (but still wanted to go to Ephesus).

I had to concede it was a very important and critical point, but I was worried that any attempt to get to Ephesus and back in the morning would be foiled by inefficiencies in bus schedules and us not knowing where to wait; potentially getting us back to the boat much later than we wanted and arriving at the next unknown anchorage in the dark. This is when Maryanne came up with the gold star, all-time best idea of the day. Rent a scooter. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. A couple of blocks from the Marina we find a place that let us have one for €20 for 24 hours. The rental staff were especially impressed with Maryanne’s UK driving license which allows her to be the driver of cars, trucks, buses, trailers and motorbikes (about 7 different categories), the whole staff seemed to want to ask her questions about her great driving skills, and were little impressed with my single category USA license.

Now we could get to Ephesus in time for when they opened, and come directly back once we’d finished without regard for bus schedules or expensive cab fares. The problem was now we had our own cheap and reliable transportation there were more jobs to add to the list. The first was to fill the scooter tanks that were nearly empty when we rented it. As the light faded out of the day I made four round trips with a jerry can each time to replenish Footprint’s fuel supplies and reserves, and another trip with a propane cylinder to the auto-gas station with our trusty adaptor. Once again I got to go through the process of being told “no-way” before they reluctantly agreed to fill our cylinder. At the laundry our choices were self-service wash only at about $4 a load (and then find somewhere to hang our laundry to dry), or they could wash, dry, iron and fold for just under $8 a load. We selected the latter and after a few hours the laundry was returned to us in fresh smelling blocks, neatly folded and stacked. The boat was hosed down and clean again of the weeks of salt acretion, all felt clean and good.

On the terrible passage to Tinos, one of the welds on our check-stay attachment points failed. This is not a critical part, but we were pleased to have the opportunity to fix it so quickly. We removed the bracket and I took it to the shop where the guy had the fix finished with reinforcements as I watched for just $10 (we happily gave him a big tip).

After officially arriving in Turkey, and with a host of boat jobs, we were able to enjoy a fantastic meal at the harbour

By the end of a long afternoon of jobs we were both grubby and exhausted, so we made good use of the marina’s large, clean, powerful showers and then went out for a really nice dinner at one of the many restaurants around the Marina. The food was more continental than Turkish but it was delicious and beautifully presented, and cost about half of what it might in the USA. We did ensure one Turkish item was ordered, a tip from Kate, the Turkish yogurt drink of Ayran (also called laban), the waiter seemed confused when we ordered it, and it was made especially for us (only later did we discover that it was not even on the menu). The only downside was the waiter who, while not unfriendly, didn’t seem to be available much to take or order for food or drinks (a great job in avoiding eye contact) – maybe he was worried Maryanne would try to order something not on the menu again!

1 comment:

kate said...

yay! i'm glad you were able to order ayran (though this is not how Serif pronounced it... very strange, but I know I remember it sounding like "judg-ik"?) - but you don't say if you liked it! that's funny it wasn't on the menu & the waiter was confused by your request. perhaps it's not considered menu-worthy :)