September, 2011 browsing by month


Thursday Sept 15. On the way to Eastern Aegean Sea

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Other than the marble quarries there did not seem to be much to see on the Marmara Adasi island when I had a better look at day light. The hotel wi-fi was not showing up and then I did find that my broadband Vodafone stick worked. But at snail’s pace. So, everyone, hold your pictures, in your e-mail for the next couple weeks till I am back in the world. A friend sent me pictures today and it took for ever to grind into my mail box.

I am now anchored at 40 deg 25 min N /27.04 E. This is the kind of anchorage I expect in Paradise. A beautiful little bay in a village of which I do not know the name. I have no paper charts and my electronic charts do not give the names. It was a beautiful sunset. The water is flat. I rowed ashore and found a store that sold me two beers and a bottle of wine and I managed to find a few groceries.

It was about a 40 mile sail. I left too late to make it to my next option but I am now out of the Sea of Marmara and entering the last narrows before I get into the Eastern Aegean Sea.  It was a perfect day. I had the spinnaker up for a while but then the wind died and I motor sailed the rest of the way.

I will try to post this on the awful broad band service but I may have to add the pictures at a later date.

Tuesday and Wednesday Sep13 and 14. Goodbye Istanbul.

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011


On the road again.
Going south. I left just after noon, when the finish paint on the hull damages had dried enough from the second coat I applied early this morning. There was plenty of wind between 15 and 20 knots, a perfect reach under main only on flat water of the Sea of Marmara. I am in a small cove on one of the Princess Islands, which is just 8 miles from Istanbul. 40-52- N 29-06-E. Tomorrow I have a long haul, 66 nautical miles to the next anchorage. There is a full moon so I’ll haul anchor before sun up to try make it to the next anchorage before dark.

I had intended to get together with a friend arriving on the cruise liner “Quest”, see below picture, taken Monday morning from my anchorage on the Istanbul Asian side. But as it turned out it would have been too rushed since she was flying back to New York that same afternoon. There will be another opportunity, next month.

I went back to the Vodafone office and managed to get my wireless broadband modem issues resolved.
It comes in handy here in this anchorage because I would have no other access.
Sunday evening I met Rick and Mary of “Orca”. You’ll be reading about them more often from now on because we are on a similar path. They have their own blog at check it out because you’ll be getting another view on a similar adventure as mine. They purchased “Orca” a 31 foot twin bilge keeled sloop in Stavoren, Friesland. They sailed Holland last summer and then left the boat in Ipswich, England, for the winter, and then continued their voyage in April across the English Channel into France and ended up upstream of Mainz on the Rhine near Strassbourg and then followed the same route as I did down to the Black Sea. So for any Americans considering taking this route be sure to read up on their blog. This way they avoided the challenge of the strong Rhine current from the Dutch border to the Main River. They have lived most of their lives in California, in Southern California and the South Bay area of San Francisco. Mary cantored in a Catholic parish in Mountain View or Sunnyvale, or both (I should have taken notes) anyway you can understand why we are thick friends now…. Rick is an engineer and still works on his software development business while underway. They were sailing, and earning a living at it, in the Caribbean already back in the seventies. They are heading the same direction as I am for a winter’s stay.

I rowed to shore to get a cold beer. My neighbors, four young men between 18 and 20, asked me to row one of the guys to shore to get bread for the crew. Very nice young man, studies interior architecture in Istanbul. They asked me over for a glass of Raki. They themselves did not drink alcohol, as good Muslims. There were 4 very nice ladies from Algeria on the beach where I tied the dinghy. They are on this remote quiet island for a vacation. They are Kabilya from a Berber tribe  and speak their own language, besides Arabic and French. I had a wonderful conversation with them in French. I hope to stay in touch with them and look them up when I stop in Algeria and Morocco. I took the below picture against the setting sun and to get Fleetwood in it I compromised the quality.

The vegetation and atmosphere here in the Princess Islands remind me of the San Juan Islands, in the North West. As it turned out the new Vodafone modem did not get any reception in the anchorage.

I got out of the bay at 6.30 a.m. and fortunately made it in my anchorage here just at sunset, 7.30 p.m. 68 sea miles. I motor sailed the whole way. There was not enough wind to stay at an average of 5 1/2 knots. Fortunately I do have one of the two Autopilots working again, otherwise this would have been very difficult without the use of the wind vane. I am on the Island of Marmara Adasi. It has been used to quary marble for centuries, before Christ. And that is where our marble got its name. I certainly would much rather have my place of birth be used for a beautiful raw material than the place where my twin brother lives, ground meat. The next decent anchorage for the night is another long 60 mile haul. But I’d like to look around here in the morning and might stay another night. I have a good wireless reception from a hotel on the beach.

Sunday 9/11. An appropriate gospel theme.

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

The question Jesus was asked in today’s gospel of St. Matthew, which is used this day in all Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran churches the world over, “How often do I forgive my brother?”

I ended up going to the same church as last Sunday. The same Nigerian priest. It turned out that the pastor is Romanian. He had answered me in  Italian, last week. Today is much cooler. Fall is on its way. The city, spread over the hills, bridges, ferry boats, sea breeze and pastel colors remind me so much of San Francisco. This was a great stop. I am anxious to get on the road again.

Saturday Sept 10. Istanbul not Constantinople

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

I managed to get my propane on Wednesday evening. But why is it so difficult for the world to decide on a universal valve? The Dutch could not fill my South African Bottle, in Romania I had to have a reducer machined to fit the Dutch bottle and now the Dutch bottle had to be junked and a Turkish bottle bought…. Anyway I have propane for the next 6 months at the cost of about $40, including the appropriate pressure valve. This one, silver color, is not as ugly as the dark red Dutch bottle. On the way out of the river with my rowing dinghy I stopped to say hello to Hans Tilly, the German I met in Rousse on the Danube. He was moored in the river. I’d seen him last in Varna on the Black Sea.

On Tuesday I sanded out a spot on the hull where I had collided with a hard object. The 1 1/2″ spot grew to 10 x 12″ before I had a firm base to the old epoxy coating. Somehow the epoxy had separated from the hull and spread to this large an area. I had no evidence of it when I resanded the hull last May. There was a smaller spot on the port side. I expoxied it on Tuesday and put a two part urethane primer on today, another coat tomorrow, then the finish on Monday.  Yesterday I started on the last of my teak trim finish projects, the cockpit coaming and put the second layer of Cetol on today.

My other project was to make up a 31 minute slide show of my best pictures of the trip from Amsterdam to Sulina, on the Black Sea. You can find it at  It took for ever to find a a half way decent wireless connection to upload this. The wireless connections here are atrocious. I bought a Vodafone USB modem for a hundred bucks including a month or so service. This should give me cellphone coverage acces to the internet when I am anchored or moored in remote spots. But I alreasdy have a problem with it since the instructions are in Turkish and the pass word failed. Got to find myself a Turkish speaking boat waif.

Today “Orca” an American sailing yacht is to arrive here from the Black Sea. I plan to take the ferry across the Bosphorus tomorrow morning and go to mass. This time I’d like to spend it with the French brothers and sisters at 11 0’clock near where I went to the English mass, last Sunday. Then I plan to head south towards the Turkish South coast in Anatolia, and check out my wintering options.



Wednesday Sept 7. Sightseeing in Istanbul.

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Monday evening I had a message from Hilmi Baran, a Turkish American friend I had made through the Seattle sailing rag “48 North”. He lives in North Gate and keeps his sailboat in the Edmonds Marina. He is here in the home he grew up in before moving to England and then to the North West, just 10 minutes away from the Kalamis Marina, near which I am anchored. He is here with his brother who lives on Warren Drive in Gig Harbor. That is also where his mother had moved and she is being buried here tomorrow. His cousin, nephew and niece are here as well for the funeral.

He came to meet me here at the marina this morning, we had coffee at Starbucks and then I met his family members at their apartment and Hilmi,  his cousin Sevgi (pronounce Safeyee), nephew Dincer who has just his degree in geology at Western in Bellingham, and his niece Elif who lives here and studies medicine, she took a semester at U.W. the five of us went sightseeing in Istanbul. His brother stayed on the Asian side. He made me familiar with the transportation system, the ferry, mini bus, etc. They were spending the whole day in Istanbul and I wanted to just visit the Blue Mosque and the Top Kapi Sultan’s palace.

The Blue Mosque was a bit of a disappointment to the expectations I had built up on the frequent references. It is a fabulous structure but it lacked the history and the sphere of the Sophia Basilica. The Top Kapi palace was gorgeous, the main attraction is the size and location overlooking both the Sea of Marmara and the Boshporus. And it must be one of the most elaborate palace structures and layout of gardens any where in the world. It also has beautiful displays of the clothing, jewelry, armor, etc. of the bloom period of the Ottoman empire.

I ran out of propane this morning. I thought I had another couple months left. I have no gauge. And it was a coincidence that Keith pointed out to me a place where I could fill my bottle when we went shopping on Monday at MIGROS. I did not give it much thought. At first I thought he was talking about gas, which is odd for an Englishman, I thought me meant petrol. So, when I get that done later today or tomorrow I will do a little cruising on the Sea of Marmara and then either return by boat ( this is usual an uphill slug against the Northerlies) or take public transportation to meet a friend for a coffee who is flying back to New York on the 12th after arriving from a cruise. And I am still waiting to hear from Son # 1 if he is coming to Istanbul.

Sunday Sept 4. A walk through Ancient and contemporary church celebrations

Monday, September 5th, 2011

The strong wind from shore at my Kumkapi anchorage worried me and I did not go into town Saturday late afternoon, as I had intended. In the morning it had calmed down and I set out early; climbed over the hill. Shopkeepers in the bazaar where just rolling up their blinds and dusting their wares, having tea on the sidewalk. I stopped to have a bowl of lentil soup with pita bread and coffee. Across the Golden Horn inlet and up the hill from the Katakoy district where the Galata Kulesi tower towers over Istanbul.
I made it in plenty of time for the 10 o’clock service at St. Anthony. The church was built around the turn of the 19th to the 20thcentury. Neo Gothic and, as most of those period churches, not particularly attractive. Italian Franciscans run the parish. At this particular English mass about 30 percent of the women were Filipinas, the choir 100%. The men were dominated by the Nigerians who live here and the priest who served at mass and his altar servers were all Nigerians. The acoustics were bad and the Nigerian accent made it difficult to follow the sermon. But it was such a treat to be able to finally participate at mass again after the scarce opportunities in Romania and Bulgaria.

On the way back I just happened to run into Wolfgang and Inge on the Galata Bridge. They came to town from the Asian side to take pictures of the main Istanbul sites. They had lost their camera and pictures on the North Turkey coast at the start of their Black Sea cruise. We visited the Hagia Sophia Museum.

The church was inaugurated on December 27th in 537 AD; built in the time when we North Europeans ran around in animal skins and lived in mud plastered huts.

You all know that I have an obsession with visiting churches and temples. The Sophia Church has made the biggest emotional impressions on me. It is awesome to stand there in the middle of this enormous building where the pillars and columns soar to incredible heights. The Hagia Sophia dome has a diameter of 31-33 meters (100/108 feet) and a height of 54 meters (177 feet), supported by just 4 pillars. Only recently with laser technique and computer programs have men been able to discover the engineering feat that has baffled architects for centuries. Even though the floor was filled with tourists from the four corners of the earth, there was a hush, no one dared to raise their voice. It was an experience that happens just occasionally in a lifetime.

When the Christians were chased out of this part of Europe by the Muslim Turks, in 1453, the building was converted to a mosque. The mosaics of the Christian origins are the sole/soul
survivors. Just think of what it would be like for a Christian to worship in a former Mosque, with a mosaic of Mohamed high up over the sacristy.

When I got back to the boat she had dragged anchor. It looked like someone had moved the boat back once. I had left the key in the ignition. Thank you, whoever you are. A piece of steel cable was lodged in the anchor blades, which prevented it from digging in properly. Not feeling safe there any longer, I moved back to Asia, where I trust the bottom better. I also switched to the much heavier anchor. The light anchor works fine in sand and mud but I suspect that there is sea grass/weed on the bottom.  I have not decided yet what I’ll do in the next days. Continue sightseeing, there is still a list of places I like to see, or cruise the Sea of Marmara for a while and return. “Kirsten Jayne” left earlier this afternoon (Monday) after they let me ride along up the creek here in their dinghy to the Migros market where they provisioned and I took advantage to stock up on some of my staples. If any of you was wanting to meet me in the area here, speak up.

Saturday Sep 3rd. Kastje naar de Muur en weer terug naar het Kastje

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

It’s what the Dutch say when you get the Royal Run Around. Literaly meaning from the cupboard to the wall. And I was tempted to use the “what a difference a day makes”. Two bad days one good one, so far. But let me start at the end. I am now legal and cleared in. But of all the fourty odd countries I have done this on this voyage Turkey deserves the highest mark for how to make a cruisers clearing in an unforgettable experience. They have traded the top spot long re(- and de-)served for American Samoa.  The easiest clearing in  I ever did was coming back into the USA. France is next for a reward, when I finally got a hold of a custom official on the telephone on landing in Bretagne, he told me that I did not need to bother. Except for pictures I have no proof that “Fleetwood” was ever there.

I walked up over the hill from Kumkapi through the old part of Istanbul, through the Kashba/Bazaar. Early in the morning, great experience, narrow cool shaded alleys. Men drinking their tea or smoking a water pipe. Shopkeepers opening up for business, smells of all the different spices and sweets. My first stop was at the Chamber of Shipping to get my Transit Log, $ 60. This document needed the stamps, of the Health Department, Police, Customs and the Harbor Master. The last was just a block from where I got the log but, no, that had to be the last stop. The next one was about 10 blocks away at Health. Lots of questions to fill out again on their form. The only one that had something to do with health was, if any body had died aboard on the way in or if any crew/passenger had a contagious disease. No physical exams. Then for Police, or was it Customs, they insisted that I was moored in either the Atakoy Marina, where it was just too dear for me, or across on the Asian side  where “Stella Maris” paid 30 Euroes for their 32 foot boat. I told them that I was anchored at Kumkapi and they told me to get a letter from the nearby marina that I was actually there. That just was no option to try find someone to write a letter for a boat anchored outside who is not paying them any moorage. There happened to be an Englsih couple, Andy and Louise who were going through the same agony and parked at the Atakoy Marina. So, I ended up tagging along with them and acting as if I was still moored at Atakoy. There was a customs office and a border police office right next to the Health department and I was hoping to avoid having to go the 7 odd miles back to Atakoy by asking them to stamp the transit log. But after a lot of back and forth they told us to go back to Atakoy. Then we get some poor country boy taxi driver who probably arrived in Istanbul when I did. He  gets totally lost. Then wqhen we finally get to the Border Police station near Atakoy he tells us he cannot help us without having a visa in our passports. So guess where he send us back to? Back downtown to the same customs/immigration officers whohad sent us to Atakoy…. An hour and a half and $30 taxi fares wasted. Then we sit and wait for the officer to come off the large cruise ship. $ 20 for the visa stamp, good for 90 days. Back to Atakoy. First Police then another taxi ride into the marina. More papers. Fortunately the sweet desk lady at the Marina has mercy on me.  Now we get a race car driver who does know his way around Istanbul, back just in time at the Harbor Master. Dandy, dressed in Navy whites, pressed slacks. But he just wanted to see if he could get me angry. He succeeded. I was to have a operator’s license. I showed him in my passport the forty countries I had been and then had fortunately also enough clearing papers on me to show that “Fleetwood” tagged along. Where no one had ever hassled me on a drivers license. Most EEC boaters have one. Then I wished I would have had a video camera along. The Taxi driver deceided to wait for us two, Andy and I, Louise had stayed behind at Atakoy. We needed to have a photocopy of our vessel registration and of the drivers license. Dandy Dude decided that UI use my passport instead. But he did not want to use his copy machine, so out the door we go down the street to the shop he directed us to, the taxi driver marching along. The copy shop keeper sits there next to his two machines and tells us, sorry, they are out of order and points us to the next shop, a block away. The taxi meter is ticking… We get to this shop and the very same scene is repeated, the machines do not work. As if they have rehearsed this just for us. The third try is a charm and we get our four copies for 60 cents. Back to the white mariner. So, after all this agony and hassle, $90 worth of fees and $60 in taxi fares, I am a legal resident for the next 90 days.

I decided to leave my European anchorage at Kumkapi and cross over to the Asian side where “Stella Maris” and Kirsten Jayne” are in Fenerbhace Bay. It is less rolly but I like it better here back at Kumkapi. I can put up with the incoming purse seiners and be just a short walk from the old Istanbul and could not get any wireless connection there last night. And it is a long row and then a half hour walk to the ferry terminal to get to old Istanbul. Keith and I got together with Inge and Wolfgang. We had run into each other during the day at the health department.  Inge and Wolfgang had to still finish up with the Harbor Master back on the European side and Keith had only done the Health department and is trying to wrestle through the remainder today.

There is a very well stocked fresh fish market here on shore and a number of fish restaurants. I bought Calamari and stir fried them for dinner. That’s another advantage here, the shops are all just across the waterfront causeway. There are a number of old Roman Catholic churches here and I plan to attend mass at one of them, tomorrow. This evening I will do some more explorations, the Blue Mosque and the Sultans Palace are all up on the hill here, near me.



September 1, Thursday Evening. Here it goes: What a Difference a Day Makes!

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

As anticipated. I am anchored right off the Malecon/Board Walk on the southern tip of the city of Istanbul’s peninsula. And it so happens that I am again in good company, right next to Keith and Carol the English couple on “Kirsten Jayne” who I met in Varna and later again in Nessebar. They have a visiting friend, Jane, from England and an Australian couple from Sidney who are staying at the Atakoy Marina, Patty and Carolyn Mitchell on “Kristian” came to join them and we all went for dinner on shore here next to the anchorage. Just across the Malecon boulevard is a district lined with restaurants. Kind of like the Left Bank in Paris near the Sorbonne.

Tomorrow it is a short walk or tram ride into town to do my paper work. Keith was very helpful in pointing me to the right places. The sweet front desk receptionist, at the Atakoy Marina, also typed out for me all the 4 offices I have to visit. “Kirsten Jayne” is moving across to the same bay where “Stella Maris” is, early in the morning. And I expect to move there after I am done in Istanbul.

For any body coming this way my anchorage coordinates are : 41.00 N 28.58 E it is a bit rolly from the passing tour boats but protected from North and West winds. And closer to down town than any marinas. One of the tram lines stops right on the Malecon. And it is Free…. My bicycle tire patch job, in Nessebar, on the leaking dingy seems to have worked.


September 1. Istanbul

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

I probably will have my, by now, common heading on tomorrow’s post: “What a difference a day makes” because the first day’s impression of Istanbul fell far short of my high expectations. Much of it had to do with my state of mind after a sleepless night sail.

Apart of a few old fortifications the shores of the Bosphorus were not that interesting. Residential and commercial architecture is the least attractive I have seen on my travels. Worse than the former British colonies. Square boxes with identical windows. You’d better never forget your house number otherwise you’d be trying the key forever on your neighbors homes. Even the minarets are out of a Turkish Sears and Roebuck catalogue. The 15 mile passage was rough. I had a fairly strong southerly on the nose, against the favorable current. The water is forever in turmoil, passing freighters, ferry and tour boats. Good thing that there is just one way traffic for the large ships. Must be on an odd and even day that the traffic moves north or south. So, I did not constantly have to look over my shoulders. There are few marinas in or near Istanbul. I had several suggestions and even though I was forewarned that the Atakoy Marina was expensive I decided to pick it for my first stop in order to make my entry formalities. But little could I have expected that the moorage for one day is EIGHTY bucks…. Just for comparison, here are a few other moorage fees I have paid recently, as you see they are all over the map but Atakoy has outdone them all. On the Intra Coastal Waterway I paid from $ 1.00 to $2.00 per foot ($30 to $60 for my 30 ft boat)  depending on the location, facility and season. In Holland most of the public overnight moorage was 1 Euro per meter or $ 12.50 for my 9 meter boat. In Nessebar I paid $ 10, Tulcea $ 14, Varna $ 9, Sozopol ( a much better facility than Atakoy) $30. And then my reason for coming here turns out to be totally useless since the Shipping Authority office is closed till tomorrow for Bayrami. It is a two holiday after the completion of the Ramadan obligation. I believe it is the same as the Arabic “Sid”, but could not confirm this on Google. Help me.  The Shipping authority is the only place I can get my Transit Log. And I need this to get the Health clearance, police, customs, etc. The latter places are staffed. I cannot afford another $ 80 so I will find an anchorage near by and find the shipping office on Friday and all the other places. I am not going to spend 500 Euros to have an “agent” do this for me. You Turkeys better put on a better face for me from here on.

Us, Three Musketeers, took of from Sozopol on Tuesday morning. I sailed the whole way to Tzarevo, they motored. One advantage of a light boat with a huge main sail. The last half of the 20 mile trip I set my spinnaker. It became a hard reach and just a thrill. I have had some of my very best sailing on the Black Sea. The downwind sailing on the oceans just does not have much of a thrill to it. We all three cleared out with the Bulgarians and took off at 4.30 p.m. on Tuesday. I tried very hard to get the customs to stamp my engine invoice and two equipment bills to recover my $ 1,500 worth of Value Added Tax. They did have a directive on this but since I do not read Bulgarian I could not argue my point. They told me that I had 3 month from Invoice date to recover my tax. I am convinced that the rule is that I need file for recovery within 3 months from the export of them from the EEC. He refused to give me a photo copy of the directive. My only encounter with a Bulgarian jerk. So, here is hoping that the stamp that I managed to put on my engine invoice in Constanta will do the trick for my $1,250 engine taxes.

The 80 mile night sail from Tzarevo to the entrance of the Bosphorus took about 16 1/2 hours. That was half the time of the 32 hours I spent tacking against the wind on the same distance from Sulina to Constanta. Another terrific sail. About half way we lost the faster Canadian friends but “Stella Maris” and I stayed the whole way near by. They continued a way further south of Istanbul to anchor for the night. I will take a bus into the city, about 8 miles from here.