28th, 2009: Leaving for Istanbul
from Canada on board of Snow White
Tied to fishing
boats at Babakale
We decided to go to
Istanbul at the first weather break. It has been
blowing hard for the last 20 days.
We got our break
suddenly on a Friday morning. The wind stopped
down to zero level, sunny sky, warm, and the
outlook was even better with light winds. We
looked at each other and decided to leave within
2 hours (11 am).
We re-fueled another 20 gallons of diesel, got
necessary food and water and left the marina. 4
hours later, we crossed Edremit bay across from Mittillini (Lesvos island) on to Bozcaada. Just
as soon as we turned the tip, wind was blowing
about 25-30 knots with high waves, We turned
around and entered a fishing harbour, Babakale
located right at the nose.
It is an all weather protected harbour with lots
of fishing boats. We hailed one of them to
board, they greeted us and helped to tie our
boat to theirs. We chatted about who we were,
what we were doing, etc. They were very
friendly but told us that they would have to
leave by 5 am in the morning. We said it would
be ok so we could leave as well. Then
another boat came up and they boarded our boat. By
two am, we had a knock on the boat that the
fishermen were leaving. So, we untied and let
them go. After a few minutes deciding what to
do, we anchored and backed into the rocky side
with a line. The other boat wanted to board us
again but we declined and asked them to anchor
themselves, so they did inside the harbour.
In the morning,
we had breakfast, the wind calmed down a bit,
took Daisy out for her business and headed for
Bozcaada. The wind and waves were down from
yesterday, it was motor sail all the way.
Saturday, August 29th, 2009: Bozcaada
Very peaceful city marina with crystal clear
Bozcaada turned out to be a great place for
tourists, wine and sightseeing. The boats would
back into a high wall by the pier, which was
the most pristine harbour we have ever seen.
Lots of people were swimming inside the harbour
by the boats.
The whole island seemingly turned into
tea/coffee shops, hotels and restaurants. wine
producers, lots of fish, and plenty of food. It has
specialty wines that are known worldwide. We
purchased several bottles. Harbour is
overshadowed by a large protective fortress
overlooking the area.. People
freely walk by the boats all evening and night under clear
sky. We saw lots of romantic couples strolling
by the pier..
Leaving beautiful Bozcaada
Monday, August 31th, 2009: Dardanelle strait to Canakkale
(Canakkale) strait from Bozcaada
Next day on Monday, we sailed across the Aegean
into Dardanelle strait. We knew that it would be
about 2-3 knots of current against us but did
not know that current went up to 4 knots with
strong winds. So, as we pushed the engine over
2000 rpm expecting to make 4-5 knots overall, we
were pushed back by wind and current making
about 2.5-3.5 knots. Our destination to
Canakkale seemed to take forever to get to.
Finally, by 6:30 pm we arrived at the city
marina right inside the city after an 8 hour
ride. Same distance took us little less than 4
hours on the way back while we sailed 50% of the
Canakkale port was located in the middle
of town with good service and security. There
was a coffee shop facing the boats so we
provided a lot entertainment for patrons there.
It was a national holiday with thousands of
people walking on the boardwalk by the sea, lots
of city vendors, kids games, shows, even a rock
concert was going on in the evening. We took
kids and did some shopping, eat ice cream, walk
along the park there. In the morning, we added
some fuel at 2.65 TL/liter and took off North.
Leaving Canakkale in
the morning. Notice the remake of Horse of Troy
on top of outboard motor
Tuesday, September 1st, 2009: Lapseki waiting
out storm at Dardanelle strait
headed out to Gelibolu (Gallipoli), the wind
subsided but weather reports indicated rain the
next day. In a few hours, we arrived at
Gallipoli but could not find a place to dock
safely. I hailed the port, there was no answer.
We decided to cross the strait to Lapseki
fishing port. It was a well protected port but
was not deep. Not taking any risk, we stayed in
middle and anchored at 2 m deep. Our keel height
sits at 1.88 m so not much room to play if there
is any change. Then we dingied to the marine
safety station there and talked to the fishing
boats while I checked the depth by the boats.
One fisherman suggested that we tie into this
old fishing boat which was not going anywhere
soon. The depth was 2.5m but we had to approach
it via the trench that was recently excavated.
All was good and secured in no time.
The next day was uneventful as we watched the dark clouds pass by.
In the afternoon, we locked the boat with Daisy inside and went for
food supply in downtown, in a walking distance.
After buying a ton of local vegetables and
fruits at incredibly low prices, we had lunch in
town, then hired a taxi-cab for 5TL to the port.
During the evening I visited the marine safety
unit station and chatted with folks there. They
let me use their internet, checked my emails and
weather condition meanwhile some fisherman were
moving our boat forward along with the old boat
by rope to open up some space. Becky was
frantically trying to get my attention without
success. I had to hear about how scared she that
night :). These were local
fishermen, actually they were very helpful than
Had a good night sleep with no problem.
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009: Avsa and
Next morning, we reached one of the Marmara Sea islands, Avsa,
from Lapseki after 8 hours of motor sailing. We
found this small section of the island called
Yigitler village on Avsa island located on the
east side of the island opposite from the main town. There were no boats in
the harbour. It was a huge place, practically
empty, deep and very clean, just next to the
village. After docking, we strolled the streets of
the town, got some fresh bread and walked back
for agood evening meal. It was a beautiful day.
We arranged a taxi-cab for 20TL to take us to
the main town and back for the evening. The town
was half empty, most holiday people were gone,
shops were discounting their goods, we bought a
few more bottles of wine, had a good time eating
ice cream, 4 scoops for 1TL. When we came back
there were for more sail boats docked alongside
us. Late that evening, I went to the town's
internet cafe, found out that in three days
time, a weather storm was likely to hit the
area. After talking about it that night, we
decided to cut the trip to Istanbul short and
return back to Ayvalik.
The next morning we left to explore the area
other islands and ports. It was a pleasant
cruising on absolutely flat water in between the
islands. Finally, we decided to cross Marmara
see to Murefte for the night.
Thursday, September 3rd, 2009: Murefte
Murefte port seemed as another huge fishing
marina with tons of investment but not properly
maintained nor secured. There was a coffee shop,
lots of stray dogs, an co-op organization that
looked after it. The head (Baskan) collected
50TL from us for tying and electricity, and we
could use the washrooms at the cafeteria. Stray
dogs proved to be biggest challenge because we
could not take Daisy out, for the fear of
attacks. So, we had long sticks and wood pieces
shooing away other dogs while taking Daisy out
for her business. Nothing dangerous happened but
it was disturbing seeing the size of those dogs.
We hired a taxicab for 10TL (less then $8) to go
downtown shopping and back.
As we settled into the night, four young persons
arrived in a car with a case of beer and hoped
into the boat ahead of us. They partied until 3
am keeping us awake and concerned but again
We left the next day to Canakkale. Canakkale
strait is divided into three sectors, Gelibolu,
Nara, Kumkale where all ships had to report in and
out. The control towers line up ships passing
through the channel in an orderly manner. We reported our
little boat just in case one of them hit us.
Friday, September 4th, 2009: Back to Canakkale
We left Murefte early in the morning for
Canakkale. With favorable current and
cooperating winds, arrived in the same city
marina in about 4.5 hours which was
approximately 40 miles passage. We listened to
the zone radio monitoring ships passing by on
It was exciting to see such huge boats passing
by. Fortunately, they are restricted to 14 knots
of speed. Even with that speed, one has to be careful not to
be in their way and watch out the wave they
Saturday, September 5th, 2009: Bozcaada Festival
We arrived at the same pristine marina and
docked easily after 4 hours from Canakkale. We
arrived early, so we had time to go swimming
just by the boat. It was a festival weekend so
we watched bands, concerts, selection of the
wine harvesting queen, dances, etc.
On the way back, the next day Sunday, we had strong winds and
waves (downwind) all the way to Babakale doing
8+ knots. Just as soon as we turned the tip,
there was nothing, no waves no winds. We crossed
the bay into Ayvalik, wind picked up, did some
sailing until the marina entrance. We docked
about 5pm that evening. The storm hit the area
by 6 pm and continued for 3 days. We learned
that it was coupled by thunderstorms and
torrential rain up North of Marmara sea and
Istanbul. All told about 30 people tied in flash
floods. We were ever so glad to return to safety
Sunday, September 10th, 2009: Enjoying Ayvalik
on Snow White
Happy 1st Birthday Bertun! Notice the finger on
the right, he was showing that this was his
first birthday. He would constantly repeat one!,
one!, one!. And o boy! o boy! Did he ever
like that cake!
By September 13, we had
settled into an apartment of Becky's distance
relatives, two days later, I left for Istanbul
only to fly to Toronto on 17th. We decided to
leave the boat in water until the next season.
Hopefully, we will catch a few days of sailing
for this voyage