Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Further North to Ayvalik ..... May 2009

04-10 May 2009

***lazying on a sunny afternoon***the marble columns at Pergamum***more lazying on another sunny afternoon in Cleopatra's hottub***the poppies, pillar and ampitheatre at Pergamum***

Our unplanned stop in Eski Foca was most enjoyable. It was a safe place to sit out over 30knots that piped up shortly after we anchored, despite being buzzed by an unlit Navy helicopter doing low flying exercises for a good part of the evening, we sincerely hoped our new anchor light was easy for them to see!! The winds finally eased early afternoon so we went ashore for a tasty late lunch, a look around this traditional Turkish town and a quick stop at the weekly market for a top-up of excellent produce at very reasonable prices. Strawberries are in season and at 2Lira a kilo they are just a must have, yummy.
Primarily a fishing town, there was some evidence of low key tourism in summer, a laid back pleasant place. After our two nights there and with a more promising weather forecast we did 'take 2' on heading north. We had light northerlies and calm seas, oh what a difference a day or two makes!!

We had a lovely gentle sail to Bademli Liman, a sheltered anchorage tucked in behind a couple of close off shore islands. Very scenic, almost looked like a spot we would encounter cruising around the Hauraki Gulf at home. There were some other yachts at anchor also, the skies were blue, winds light, temperature warming up - finally feel like summer might be coming and the cruising season is getting into full swing.

There were more ancient cities to be discovered, Pergamum, and although the cruising guide didn't suggest attempting it from here we thought it was worth the effort and spent a successful day walking to the local village, catching a dolmus to Dikili, a bus to Bergama and hiring a taxi for a couple of hours. The ancient site of Pergamum has been around since 1100BC, the Acropolis sits high above the surrounding landscape in a strategic position. It was overrun and occupied by many rulers over its long interesting history. Its library was world renown and threatened to overtake Alexandria's library in Egypt. This caused the Egyptians to cease supplying papyrus outside Egypt, but then led to 'peragmen' (latin for parchment) being discovered by the local scientists. Later, Mark Anthony is said to have had over 200,000 scrolls removed from the library and given as a gift to Cleopatra. I certainly hope she enjoyed reading!! The ruins included some marble columns of the Temple of Trajan, an intact structure set into the hill underneath the main Temple area and a very steep to theatre with quite some view as it is build into the side of the hill. Currently the ruins are awash with wild daisies and poppies, the spring wildflowers are outstanding, and after the rains of winter all the colours of the landscape are so vivid. Back down in the modern day town of Bergama is the Red Basilica from 2AD, we enjoyed a quick look around it as well but skipped Asclepion, an ancient world renown medical centre also there. The return trip back to Balvenie involved a little more waiting time but we made it back by 6pm, a good effort we thought.

We stayed another day in Bademli, more ancient stuctures to discover but this time much closer and more leisurely. We took the dinghy along the coastline to a couple of rock pools, built who knows when, set slightly back and above sea level and continously filled with fresh underground spring hotwater at just the right temperature for this time of year, absolute bliss, what a setting to while away a couple of hours soaking in a hot tub on a friday afternoon. Maybe Mark Anthony and Cleopatra had done just the same thing once upon a time. We ended the day having 'sundowners' with a couple of the other yachts in the anchorage, Roger and Suzie off Tinker Bell from England and David and Kate off Bora Scoura from Australia, a most enjoyable night was had by all, and the 3 of us all set sail the following morning, again in very light winds and flat seas. Ayvalik here we come.

Ayvalik is an interesting area, it is surrounded by islands then entered by a well marked channel, into what they call Ayvalik Lake, a large sheltered bay totally enclosed with more little shallow bays off it. We went down to the southernmost bay of Camlik Koyu, and tucked up in there with 6 others. We went off the following morning to investigate the marina, costs of hiring a car and/or buses to Gallipoli, and check the internet. After all this information had been gathered we had a 'board meeting' over a couple of cold drinks in a cafe overlooking the bay. The marina was expensive, €40 a night for us, a car was 75Lira a day plus petrol and the ferry across from Canakkale to the Gallipoli Peninsular. The bus was 25Lira pp each way to Canakkale then we would need to do a tour from there, oh so many options to look at. Then there was the weather, a very very settled period for at least 5 days with 10-15knots NE forecast the following day. The descision was made, we will sail Balvenie to Gallipoli and land by dinghy at Anzac Cove, 94 years after our forefathers tried to take this land for the Allied Forces.

Cruising Info:
Anchorages -

Eski Foca - 38 40.52N 26 44.80E 7m very good holding. This was a couple of km's from the town but had better protection for the strong NE winds. Took dinghy ashore, several little jetties - some with signs forbidding usage (big navy/army presence here)
Bademli Liman - 39 00.92N 26 48.33E 9m Superglue mud - excellent holding. Tried anchoring off small beach to north first but would not hold there. Had SW afternoon seabreezes 10-15knots and NE landbreezes overnight 10-15knots but flat water. Longish dinghy ride into small boat harbour. There were a couple of smaller yachts inside the "breakwater" looked shallow though.
Ayvalik @ Camlik Koyu - 39 17.46N 26 39.85E 3.6m holding good. Dinghy ashore to beach or small jetty by closed restaurant. Long pleasant walk to town or bus
Money - ATM's in Eski Foca and Ayvalik, closest to Bademli is at Dikili a dolmus ride away
Provisions - Eski Foca Tuesday Market Day, small Tansas at the harbour. Bademli water tap at fishing dock, not always turned on. About 10mins walk to village with a couple of small shops with fruit, veg, bread. Ayvalik, nothing at anchorage but Migros and Tansas in town
Sightseeing - Trip to Pergamum Walk to Bademli Village (tie up dinghy and go inland about 10mins) Dolmus to Dikili hourly at half past 2.50L pp. Stay on till end at otogar. Bus to Bergama on the hour (so only about 10mins wait) 4L pp. Otogar apprx 7kms out of town. We got an (almost)English speaking taxi driver and negotiated 50L to do the sights, stop for lunch and back to otogar. There was a council bus that would have go us into town but then another few km's (all uphill) to Acropolis - entry 20L pp, Red Basilica - entry 5L pp
Internet - Eski Foca, from boat if we had been closer as cafe with wifi on shorefront. Internet cafes in backstreet 1.50L p/h. Nothing in Bademli. Ayvalik nothing at anchor, on walk into town we stopped at a cafe with free wifi for lunch and internet cafes in town 1.50L p/h
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