Sahula Report 47: Istanbul to Bosphorus
04 April 2011 | Top of the Bosphorus
Sahula Report No: 47
Istanbul to Bosphorus
Crew (Nathan) arrives in board shorts, worn shoes and rucksack – a young Australian travelling light. He bears “gifts,” Skipper’s new camcorder adds to the photographic arsenal – Crew has a new digital SLR camera.
Crew (mountaineer, rockclimber, traveller) has taken three months from his finance management job at the Australian National University to join Sahula. “a trip of a lifetime.”
Black Sea weather (Poseidon weather) proves variable. Sahula will await another window at the end of the Bosphorus.
It is time to go. Predicting a Black Sea weather window requires being at the Black Sea entrance to the Bosphorus.
First, exiting requires salving friendly bureaucrats (Transit Log, Ship Registration, Passport). Four visits: Chamber of Shipping (issues and registers Transit Log), Harbour Master (Metro to Finikli near Kabatas – offices opposite each other). Chamber charges 30 TL – the only cost of the exit process); Port Police (Zeypor – commercial shipping harbour – taxi from Zeytinburu train station) and Customs (Atakoy Marina). Time taken: 5-6 hours including basic transport; 2-3 hours using a taxi.
Crew comments on a lesson in bureaucracy.
Next day, depart Yesilkoy – food, supplies aboard. Fuel, water at Atakoy Marina, and into the Bosphorus.
Seemingly a “million” ships at anchor off port; dolphins play “welcome” off the massive Blue and Ay Sofia mosques and Sultan’s huge Topkapi Palace – the heart of 500 years of the Ottoman empire. It is a moving, intensely historical place. Sahula will remain within the ancient empire till Vienna (twice sieged unsuccessfully, by Ottoman armies). Sahula entered the empires boundaries in Sudan.
Mingling with a mass of ferries and cruise boats, Sahula motors across the Golden Horn entrance, along the European shore (designated yacht “lane”). Magnificent Dolmabahce Palace – a Sultan’s legacy and Ataturk’s last home.
Volkan phones to wave from his university located on the shore.
Past lesser palaces and stately heritage wooden homes.
Sahula breasts a strong current (3-5 knots) evident in a boiling, swirling, Bosphorus. It seems the mighty Danube is reaching out.
Under the towering suspension bridge, traffic jammed – farewell Istanbul –city of history and mystique.
Past various bays full of ferries and pleasure craft, Sahula traverses the Bosphorus twenty kilometres. Cloud, fog like rain descends, visibility is poor, shipping horns raise tension, radar on, Sahula slowly wends north out of the shipping lanes to Poyaz, fishing port on Anatolian (Asian) side.
Sahula is berthed alongside with large fishing boats in winter recess (20 TL – three nights). A misty rain - lighthouse fog horn mournfully signals danger ashore.
“It is for young people.” A blank door signals an internet “café” – noisy, only boys – provided by the village. A Monday Black Sea weather window raises hopes.
Sahula awaits the weather window. Frequent checks on “Poseidon Weather” weekend storms and Monday an opportunity. It changes from departure early morning to evening. Evening darkness, fog and ships makes for a challenging crossing. Radar will be Sahula’s best friend.
Skipper and Crew prepare Sahula. Lee clothes on, all tied down securely. Dinner cooked for two nights. Genuflexion to the weather gods.
Next Report: Black Sea crossing to Romania.