September 1. Istanbul

Written by Jack van Ommen on 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.



2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Rick says:

    Thanks for the tip about Atakoy. Does it look possible to stop at Karakoy where the offices are? Any place else?

    I will be there in about ten days.


  2. jackvanommen says:

    Dear Rick,
    Follow my log tomorrow. Yes, you should be able to do the formalities on the Asian side. “Stella Maris” reported the following :Hallo Jack,
    wir sind in der Setur Marina Kalamis auf dem asiatischen Ufer. Im Office sagte man uns, dass wir vor Montag nicht einklarieren können, weil das Bayram-Fest so ausgiebig gefeiert wird. Nach ein wenig handeln im Office zahlen wir einen etwas reduzierten Preis von 30 Euro pro Tag, immer noch zu viel.
    Wo bist Du untergekommen. Hast Du gestern noch einklariert?
    Grüße von der Stella Maris
    Inge und Wolfgang
    They tell me you understand German.
    I am currently anchored at 41.00 N 28.58 E and this is close to town. So, I will try do everything tomorrow and then go across to the Asian side in a quieter anchorage near the Setus Marina.