We left Bozburun on Monday 15 and this time the start boat was Lana, rumored to be Bill Gates boat and 107m long. Qi, with its superior upwind pointing, pulled away. A cunning move by Epicurios to stay closer to shore meant that by the time we reached the end of the peninsular, Epicurios had a slight lead. When we turned the corner, with the wind behind us, the boats we neck and neck until we reach Ciftlik when there was only a half boat length separating us after 32 nm. It was a fun day and both crews tried their darndest to knock off the other. We berthed at Mehmet’s taverna and enjoyed a swim and a delightful meal.
A couple of days later and we were berthed at Yat Marin, Marmaris. Along the way we were berthed next to a boat full of young Lebanese folk, and lo and behold, one couple decided to get engaged on the forward deck! So we celebrated too and Jane presented them with a packet of Tim Tams. We said our farewells to the Qi crew and flew to Istanbul for six days. We initially stayed 2 nights at Hammamhane, Beyoglu, in their new apartments that they had just finished. While there, we indulged in a hamman next door and listened to music into the night. We ate at a wine bar around the corner and also at Number 19, returning after several years. Istanbul was crowded as we walked about, shopping and reacquainting ourselves with the neighbourhood. The wharf area of Karakoy has undergone a major redevelopment and given the name Galataport. All nice but soulless, as is usual with such developments.
The following two nights we visited our friends Lale and Serhat on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. It’s always great to catch up with them and they are so generous with their time. We took a road trip up to the Black Sea and ate at a fabulous fish restaurant in a port town Sile. The port is for fishing, and it was quite refreshing not seeing yachts and power boats. Driving in Istanbul is challenging at the best of time but on a Sunday when everyone is out and about, it is insane. The beach was packed and the carparks chockers. Some Istanbulians took to picnicking on the side of the road or in vacant blocks completely void of any aesthetics or shade!
The last two nights we returned to Hammamhane and walked to the spice market to stock up and up the hill to the Grand Bazaar where Jane bought a bag and Stuart a wallet. We dined at Karakoy Lokantasi, a past favourite, which had moved to a new premises. Unfortunately, we missed the old tiling and ambiance of the old premises and the food didn’t seem so special. Our last dinner was at a kebab place called Kevok Ocakbasi, recommended by Lale and Serhat’s eldest daughter. The meat was sensational, tender and smoky, and we will visit again when we return.
Epicurios was waiting for us on our return to Marmaris and the following day, Thursday 25th, we set off to retrace our steps to Datca to check out at the end of the month. We brought a present for Epicurios, a wind sock made by Serhat. The number of Turkish boats has dramatically increased since 2019. Some anchorages are so packed we could not squeeze in. We stayed two nights in Kuruca bay and were joined by a flotilla of Turkish yachts who were flying flags and images of Ataturk to celebrate the 100 years anniversary of Victory Day, when the Turkish army defeated the Greeks and allies. This was the birth of modern Turkey and Ataturk is still revered in these parts.
Inflation in Turkey is rife. Thankfully for us the exchange rate has tripled since 2019 and we enjoyed a rate of $1 to TL12.7. For the Turkish people, though, they have no such relief, and it is said that the rural folk, Erdogan’s base, are not happy as the price of potatoes etc, has gone through the roof. Many Turkish people hope that this will be the end of Erdogan at next year’s election, but many also think that he will not give up power. We will wait and see.
Our last night was at Knidos having spent time with an English couple, Boyd and Debra, who sail an Oyster 49. We watched a guy sail his 6 m yacht into the anchorage with his cat sitting on the boom surveying the scene and anchoring where a 60 m gullet just left. Talk about contrasts and who was enjoying themselves more?
On the first day of September we arrived at Kos marina to greet Anne and Terry who are joining us for three weeks. Fortunately, the weather is cooling, particularly at night, which allows for a good sleep. We headed off to Palionnisou, Kalymnos, where we ate at Kalidonis taverna and had a wonderful and peaceful night. The next morning Stuart went up the mast to fix new spreader boots and remove the broken wind indicator. We are now anchored at Xirokampos on the southern end of Leros, sitting out, and you guessed it, a meltimi! We have had quite a good time on yachtie TV, watching charter boats arrive, anchor and then drag their anchor. Well, it is reality TV! We intend to motor to Lakki tomorrow to provision before setting off to who knows where!