28 February 2011
Marmaris We anchored off the old castle built in1522 in Marmaris at 5 PM Friday 25 Feb. The 4,938 mile passage from Phuket took 36 days 13 hours including a total of 9 1/2 days in port along the way (Maldives, Port Sudan, Suez). We ran the engine 335 hours (14 days). The majority of that was 500 miles across the IRTC (pirate alley) and up the Red Sea and Suez Canal when there was either no wind or it was on the nose.
Marmaris is located inside a two mile by two mile almost land locked bay which makes it very well protected. It is a charming pretty low key Mediterranean small city with a waterfront old town packed with small restaurants and watering holes. The rest of the city has mid rise buildings, a relief to see no high rises here. Turkey is a very popular tourist destination for Russians, Germans and other Europeans from May through October. The latitude at 37 degrees North is similar to Santa Cruz Ca. but there is no cold Pacific Ocean to keep it cool in the summer when the air gets hot and the water very warm.
The Greek island Rhodes and many other Greek Islands are only a few miles away as are many interesting Greek and Turkish coves and bays to tuck one¬'s boat into. That and because Turkey is not a member of the EU and a much less expensive place for a European to visit or to keep one¬'s boat makes Marmaris and several other harbor towns in Turkey very popular locations for Europeans to keep their boats. There are lots of charter boats and companies located in Marmaris and other cities nearby. We are currently stern tied in Netsel Marina along with 700 other boats, 150 of them charter boats. There are lots of 50 to 80 foot motor yachts as well as sailboats here too.
There is another 700 slip marina in the bay making Marmaris a key center for boating in this part of the Med and a great place for West Marine¬'s Turkish partner to locate their third West Marine store which was opened last fall. I visited the store which looks super a couple of days ago, met 5 very positive associates, had a brief tour and will be back with my shopping list tomorrow!
Turkey is a largely Muslim country but the form of Muslim religion here is quite different, a lot less conservative, than in Egypt or Sudan (or from what we understand other Middle Eastern countries) where virtually all of the women wear burkas covering their hair and in some cases their whole face except for a slit for the eyes. Many Muslims here partake in some alcoholic beverages and act European. The Mosques do call devotees to prayer 5 times a day but the calls here last only a minute or two vs a quarter to half an hour or more in some Muslim countries. The melodic calls are nice to hear but too much of almost anything is too much. . .
While not interested myself, there are lots of very well made in Turkey ¬"copy¬" designer apparel and watches for sale here. But ironically some of the once ubiquitous rug merchants have been put out of business by inexpensive Chinese imports of oriental rugs!
The food and restaurant service is excellent. Joseph, Kelly and I ended up having a wonderful Turkish dinner in what we were told later was the best waterfront restaurant here. Last night we celebrated our last dinner of this passage with excellent pasta in another super restaurant located right in the marina.
Having left the boat for the airport at 5:30 AM, Kelly and Joseph are on a Turkish Airlines flight to Chicago. They will be home later today, Monday, assuming on time flights.
I spent the day interviewing boat managers and refining the list of projects to be completed before Sally-Christine, Kent-Harris and I return here for some local cruising this summer. I am looking forward to flying home later this week to Sally-Christine and Kent-Harris leaving Convergence in competent hands and in a very nice place to cruise.
Signing off until the next adventure!