We are now is Ayvalik, Turkey. We will formally check out of Turkey in a few days and head over to the island of Lesbos (Lesvos), Greece and check into the European Union. (We will return to Turkey in October. ) So now is a good time to map some of the places that we have been.
The icon letters indicate the chronological order of our visits. The places mapped are:
We arrived in Bademli Limani two days ago from Kara Ada Island. It boasts a nice, protected anchorage and a small Turkish town unaltered by tourism. We will remain a couple of more days before heading up to Ayvalik.
Since we arrived in Turkey, we have been eating a particular brand of breakfast cereal — Granola Balli Müsli by Doğa. We were under the impression that it is a healthy cereal. Yesterday, I finally looked at the English language side panel of the box and discovered that the Doğa people themselves view it as unhealthy, writing that their cereal “is a delicious alternative to healthy eating.” Maybe we can find some Cocoa Puffs in a store somewhere.
We spent 6 days in Agathonisi, a delightful Greek island with friends Bill and Janet from AirStream. One big southerly storm chased all the other boats away, but we had good holding and stayed put. The day after the storm lots of boats started coming in and every evening the place was filled with charter boats with everyone pushing to anchor where there wasn’t room. Boats were tied up together two and three deep on the quay and then had to move because they were taking up dock space reserved for fishing boats or the daily ferry. It was pretty crazy and it seemed that just when we thought that everyone was settled away and that there was just no room for anyone else, another boat would arrive and try to wedge in. I guess this is what is to be expected in the Med in the summer.
Despite the chaos in the harbor, we enjoyed the place and had lovely walks on the island and enjoyed daily meals at the two small friendly tavernas. The water was clean and clear for swimming.
Our last day there we witnessed a terrible incident… the death of a German man who had come in on a sailing charter boat with three friends. He must have had a heart attack while swimming and despite the efforts of his friends to revive him, he died on the beach just in front of us. Just an hour after he died the daily ferry boat from Samos came in, and within a few minutes some of the men from the village had moved his body onto the ferry and it was taken away, accompanied by two of his sailing friends. Very distressing event.
June 5, 2013 – June 11, 2013 Kuşadasi, Turkey
Our next stop was in Kuşadasi, at a very nice marina where we spent another week. We took a tour bus with our friends Bill and Janet to see the ancient ruins of Ephesus. The tour threw in a couple of extras like a “free” stop at a rug factory (anyone want to buy a Turkish rug? ) and a leather factory (fashion show included)… which we could have done without, but it was all kind of fun. We spent a lot of time replacing the membranes on the water-maker which is a real pain in the butt, but it seemed to be the next necessary step in getting our water maker fully operational. Met some new friends on the dock (Ichi Feet) , and checked out lots of the local restaurants.
June 11, 2013 – June 13, 2013 Kirkdilim Limani, Turkey
We stopped for 3 nights in this very quiet and very pleasant anchorage on our way up the coast. The clearest water we have seen yet and lovely weather to enjoy swimming. There is no coral here, and almost nothing in terms of sea life, but it was still nice to swim there. We saw huge, beautiful thunderclouds in the distance a few nights in a row, but got no storms . Some friends of ours who were further north said they had violent thunder-storms with hail and strong winds, so I guess we were lucky. Good holding in the anchorage. Only one or two other boats there, plus a couple of small fishing boats in the evening. No internet or phone access, so we didn’t stay too long as we don’t like to be out of touch with family for too long and it is not safe to go without weather updates for so long either. We left just in time as the winds started picking up from the north on June 13th, and it looked like we were about to get our first taste of the infamous Meltemi winds.
June 13, 2013 – June 20, 2013 Çeşme Marina, Turkey
We met up with our friends Dave and Melinda on Sassoon here and ended up spending a full week in the marina. It is a very upscale town, and the marina area is very pretty. We didn’t plan on spending a full week there (it’s a very pricey marina) , but the strong northerly winds, the first meltemi winds of the season, just would not stop. Winds were between 20 and 26 knots from the north with much higher gusts all week. The Çeşme marina is right in the middle of a bay which really amplifies the winds so it was difficult to leave there. The marina area is surrounded by dozens of restaurants and bars which, unfortunately, meant a lot of loud music at night. Between that music and the extremely loud calls to prayer from the nearby mosque it was not the most restful place. We did have fun celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary there one day, and the wedding anniversary of our friends (on Sassoon) the next day.
June 20, 2013 – June 23, 2013 Kara Ada anchorage, Turkey
We left Çeşme Marina yesterday. Our current anchorage is only about 10 miles further north and when we had a lull in the winds yesterday morning we decided to get out of the marina. It was a slow slog upwind to get to our current anchorage, but we are glad we did it. It is quite pretty and is well protected from the northerly winds which continue to blow strongly. The holding is good and we are feeling safe and secure. The island here is unpopulated, except by donkeys and pigs, which has the unfortunate side effect of creating a breeding ground for flies. They seem to like the inside of our boat, so we have had to keep our mosquito/fly screens on all the hatches while we are here. It’s nice and restful here and we are getting lots of reading done. Plenty of food on board and we will probably stay here a couple more days until the winds finally abate enough for us to head further north.
When we brought Sabbatical III into the marina in Marmaris after unloading her from the freighter, we were struck by how many of the boats were flying the American flag off of their stern – perhaps 10 to 20 percent of the boats in Yacht Marina.In the marina in Fethiye, at least one-third of the boats flew the Star and Stripes.And here in Cesme, three-quarters of the boats have Old Glory flying.But there do not seem to be any Americans around.Why is that?
The first thing we noticed is that almost all of these US flagged vessels have Delaware as their home port, although some list “Delware” or “Deleware.”About half of the Delaware vessels also list their homeport city on their transoms and it is always Wilmington, although on occasion “Willmington” or “Wilmigton” or something similar is displayed.It must certainly be the case that there are more recreational vessels in Turkey listing Wilmington, DE (or sometimes “DL”) as their home port as there are boats in all of Delaware.
Second, almost all of these vessels fly a small, cheaply printed toy version of the US flag rather than a beefier sewn version.These flags are commonly tattered.
Third, none of the people on these Delaware flagged boats speak English.In Fethiye, it was either Russian or Turkish.In Cesme, it seems to be almost all Turkish.We have yet to meet anyone from the Blue Hen State in Turkey even though Delaware boats are in such abundance.In the marina at Fethiye, the receptionist at the front desk is Russian, and as I waited in line to check out of the marina, I watched and listened as she assisted Russians check in a set of sail boats, all of which had US certificates of registration with homeports in Delaware.
This is obviously a tax dodge.Delaware is an easy state in which to set up a corporation, and taxes on boats are apparently high in Turkey and Russia.That does not bother us.Our issue is what to do with our US flag?If we fly it off of our stern as we typically do, we are basically signaling that we are Turkish or Russian tax avoiders.Although this group of people may be very nice folk and this registration offshore via a dummy corporation may be perfectly legal, it is not how we think of ourselves. Of course if someone came up to the boat and read “Jamestown, RI” on our transom, or listened to us converse, they would realize that we might really be Americans.But more likely, they would only look at our beefy, sewn US flag and conclude that we are just non-American tax evaders without any subtlety.
Here in Cesme, there are more US flags fluttering than in most 4th of July parades. So in Cesme at least, where the US flag can only mean Turkish owners, our US flag is off.We are the real deal and if anyone wants to find that out, they can just ask or look at the non-Delaware homeport written on our transom.