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FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF TURKEY

Approaching Turkey

Approaching Turkey

 We arrived on the Bodrum Peninsula on June 23rd after a passage of less than 4 NM from Kos, Greece and checked into Turgutreis Marina, a very upscale marina at the eastern end of the peninsula. 

The land entrance to Turgutreis Marina

The land entrance to Turgutreis Marina

The marina was a Port of Entry into Turkey, and offered to process paperwork which made it very convenient, although expensive at 69 euros per night (plus an extra 20 euros for the paperwork)—we felt like we were back in Croatia at that price.  It did have a supermarket, swimming pool, and shopping center–also very pricey.

The marina is ultra modern and parklike--with great security.

The marina is ultra modern and parklike--with great security.

For those that prefer the ocean there is a beach adjacent to the marina

For those that prefer the ocean there is a beach adjacent to the marina

Modern sculpture at entrance to fishing harbor

Modern sculpture at entrance to fishing harbor

Since the marina did all the paperwork necessary for our Transit Log and the officials—all FOUR of them who needed to sign off on the paperwork are located adjacent to the marina we managed to clear into the country without too much hassle.  However, they do require that the paperwork be processed in a particular order and as luck would have it the second of the necessary stamps (yes, ink stamping is done here just as in Greece) was by passport control and no one was in the office.  The harbormaster took pity on me and called the official who said “come back at 5 p.m.”  OK, we can do that. 

C Dock at Turgutreis

C Dock at Turgutreis

In the meantime, a thunderstorm came charging through the marina with lightning strikes very close by.  Kent was happy to have the boat washed in the torrential downpour that accompanied the storm, which fortunately cleared through before 5 p.m. in time for me to tend to the paperwork. 

Thunderstorm Downpour

Thunderstorm Downpour

Arriving back at the customs/immigration offices I was sent to get a visa which was 15 euros per person­­–euros, mind you, not Turkish lira.  It struck me as strange that the Turkish government would not accept Turkish lira which was all the cash I had since the marina office had taken all my euros.  I was sent to the nearby duty free shop to change Turkish lira back into euros so I could pay for the visas.  Are you as confused as I am?

Finally, I have all four stamps and we are legal, except for Jolie, but no one seems to care that she is here.  Jolie was seen by a vet in Kos to sign off on her EU pet passport, but as usual no one cared to see it.

We were rewarded for the turmoil of the day with a beautiful sunset. 

After the rain a beautiful sunset

After the rain a beautiful sunset

The next day we couldn’t help but notice that there were many more US flag vessels on our dock than we have seen anywhere else.  It seems that there is a tax advantage to registering your vessel in Delaware, which is rather amusing since none of these boats will ever see the US.  When the US flag is smaller than the Turkish “courtesy flag” we are quite sure it is NOT a US boat–although we did meet one US citizen (naturalized and Turkish citizen as well) who actually lived in Chicago.

"Delaware". . .not in this new life!

"Delaware". . .not in this new life!

Another pretender

Another pretender

Big yacht. . .small USA flag. . .get the picture?

Big yacht. . .small USA flag. . .get the picture?

The piece 'd resistance!

The piece 'd resistance!

Our first full day in Turkey was spent doing what we always do first—get sim cards for our cell phones and an internet connection.  We were pleasantly surprised that both were accomplished with enough time left to tour the local market and mosque. 

Kent samples tea and candy

Kent samples tea and candy

The market has spice stands

The market has spice stands

Mosque

Mosque

Mosque has an elaborate wall-to-wall rug and is bathed in light

Mosque has an elaborate wall-to-wall rug and is bathed in light

 

. . .and a massive chandelier that hangs from the tome

. . .and a massive chandelier that hangs from the tome

Kent got a whopper of a shiner, and he didn’t even know he had hurt himself until I told him to look in a mirror–apparently he ran into a shroud while taking down the sun cover–at least he is sticking to that story. 

What a shiner!

What a shiner!

At 69 euros a day, we were equally anxious to get out of the marina and find a quiet nearby anchorage.  The seaside village of Akyarlar less than 5 NM away seemed perfect.

Beach clubs line the shore at Akyarlar

Beach clubs line the shore at Akyarlar

It is a family friendly spot. . .

It is a family friendly spot. . .

with a touch of sophistication.

with a touch of sophistication.

 

Destiny anchored off Akyarlar

Not to mention large resorts such as the one behind Destiny

The town has its own mosque—we are getting accustomed to the amplified chanting that emanates from the mosques calling the faithful to prayers several times a day.  It has replaced ringing church bells as a reminder that we are in a Muslim country with Eastern traditions. 

Mosque at Akyarlar

Mosque at Akyarlar

However, we haven’t noticed a rush of sun worshipers from the beach when the mosque announces prayers.   

Kent took Jolie ashore for her evening walk in the inflatable kayak as he often does when we are anchored close to shore.  While shoving off from the landing at a nearby restaurant a large wake hit, toppling them both into the drink.  They arrived back to the boat soaking wet, and Jolie got an unplanned bath to de-salt her. 

Before the unexpected swim

Before the unexpected swim

 We decided to make it a “vacation day” and hang here another night after taking a walk ashore—despite the fact that the waiters at the restaurant were still laughing about the kayak incident when we walked by today.

Full Moon over Akyarlar

Full Moon over Akyarlar

So what are our first impressions of Turkey?

The people are friendly although fewer speak English and those who do are not as fluent as in other countries–on the other hand, we speak no Turkish, so we have found that “Universal hand signs” are effective.

The government officials are as “officious” as in Greece, and the paperwork still seems mindless, but at least we don’t have to check in at every port, only entering and leaving the country.

Kent was able to find Schweppe’s tonic water in the supermarket, although the meat selections are minimal.

The country is greener than most of the Greek islands we have just left, probably due to the greater rainfall.  There is wind, but less than in Greece and the temperature drops to a comfortable level at night.

All in all, we think we will enjoy Turkey.  More adventure to follow.

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