Monday, October 20, 2008

Turkey Sailing Trip


Turkey Sailing


I just got back from a sailing trip in Turkey with Lisa and my parents. Short summary: It's gorgeous, take a look at the photos. Trip report:

Day 1: Got there, got settled on the boat. Found Turkish people and Marmaris sailing (the outfit) very friendly. The boat was provisioned as expected, and the boat very clean. The sight of the Meditereanean Moor filled my heart with joy --- since the meditereannean only has 30 centimeters of tide (1 foot), this type of mooring is unique to the area, and I was excited to get to know it.

Day 2: Met the skipper, Ibrahim, and after finishing our provisioning, took off. Our route was constrained because I had chosen a one way trip. We would mostly hug the coast. We left for a swimming bay, did some swimming and snorkeling, and then sailed on to our final destination for the night, where the local restaurant was happy to send a dinghy out to help us tie the stern line to shore. This was my first exposure to the typical mediteranean crowded moor. We chose to have dinner on the boat, and did a bit of swimming.

Day 3: More swimming in the morning, and then quite a bit of sailing, past Greece, and then back to another Turkish place. We then visited Ogun's place, a moor with a great place for dinner (Ogun's place), where we picked up water, recharged batteries, and got more provisions.

Day 4: We headed over to Knidos, where we docked and visited the famous ruins of Knidos, which once was part of Greece. (The Greek took all the islands between Greece and Turkey during world war 2, so don't feel sorry for them!) While there, we met the Backroads Cycling/Sailing Tour through Turkey, riding through on Backroads supplied Ti bikes. Their ground-only cost was $6000 a person for a 9 day trip (6 days cycling, 3 days sailing). The Piaw cost fot the same trip, $6000 (for all 4 of us, including plane tickets to and from Turkey fromn Munich!). Ah, the price you pay when you have to have a local guide. Oh wait, we had a local guide (Ibrahim)! Makes me wonder why anyone thinks there's a recession going on. We then headed into the Aegean sea, which was nice and quiet, where Ibrahim found a nice bay with just enough space for one more. I did a very salty thing, which was to tie a bowline around myself and swam out to rocks on shore to tie the boat down. Unfortunately, that did me in as well, since I immediately started coughing and sneezing that night and went to bed with no appetite.

Day 5: Ill, I spent most of the day in bed, glad that I hired a skipper for the trip. We ran out of gas, because of some error by the folks who set up the boat at the start of the trip, necessitating a backtrack, and an anchoring while the charter company sent out a mechanic, along with some gas because they were positive that there was gas on the boat. Well, turned out we were out of Diesel, so we refilled the boat and moved on. That night, my Dad swam for the shore instead.

Day 6: I felt slightly better, and asked Ibrahim to do more sailing and less motoring. Fortunately the weather was good enough and we did go sailing! The wind was nice and beautiful, and we ended up stopping for the night at a nice shelted cove, and with Ibrahim's help, I got to back the boat in to dock for the mediterranean Moor. It wasn't easy to control the boat backwards, and I feel like I need to practice like 10 more times, but I at least understood how it was done.

Day 7: A day trip to Cleopatra Beach, and the surrounding ruins. What a beautiful, gorgeous place Turkey is. Every new Bay took my breath away. The water was clear, and the place was very nice. We then brought the boat back to port at Karacasogut, and had one final dinner on board with Ibrahim.

Day 8: Taxi'd back to Marmaris Park hotel, where I had a deal from Expedia for $100 a night per couple all-inclusive (dinner, lunch, breakfast, all included). We wandered the Bazaar in town, enjoyed a final bit of swimming before the next morning's hectic rush to the airport.

Conclusion: Turkey is worth seeing, especially if you're based out of Europe. Everything's cheap. My prices weren't the best that can be found, I'm sure --- I bet a second or third trip and I could probably manage to arrange a 9 day vacation for $500/person including flights from Munich. On the other hand, it's not as nice as the Virgin Islands Trip, where the swimming and diving is much superior. I had planned to dive but didn't get to it because I got sick. On the flip side, Turkey is the only place where the charter companies care about your skipper's license (every other place doesn't care, and just wants you to do a checkout) --- so if you have your documentation, it's easy to fly in and just pick up the boat without a skipper. Nevertheless, I was glad I hired one this time, for the obvious reasons --- I learnt a lot, and it wouldn't be as cheap to do so anywhere else. Highly recommended
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