Welcome to Shazam

30 July 2013 | Alanya
06 July 2013 | 36 33.547'N:031 56.881'E, Turkey
12 June 2013 | 36 46.204'N:034 34.170'E, Turkey
31 May 2013 | 36 46.204'N:034 34.170'E, Mersin
05 June 2011 | Cartegena
31 May 2011 | Gibraltar
02 May 2011
23 August 2010 | 37 06.6'N:008 40.5'W, Portugal
25 July 2010 | 38 31.9'N: 28 37.5'W, Azores
10 June 2010 | 32 22.45'N:64 40.05.0'W, Bermuda
04 May 2010 | 18 25.6'N:064 36.6'W, British Virgin Islands
30 April 2010 | 18 25.6'N:064 36.6'W, British Virgin Islands
28 March 2010 | 18 25.6'N:064 36.6'W, British Virgin Islands
13 March 2010 | 18 25.6'N:064 36.6'W, British Virgin Islands
13 December 2009 | 18 28.8'N:064 38.1'W, British Virgin Islands
02 December 2009 | 18 25.6'N:064 36.6'W, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
27 November 2009 | 37 1.7'N:076 20.6'W, Hampton VA
18 October 2009 | 44 17.9'N:068 16.9'W, Updated Itinerary
17 August 2009 | 44 17.9'N:068 16.9'W, Mount Desert
15 July 2009 | 41 11.1'N:071 34.8'W, Block Island

Our Month in Alanya

30 July 2013 | Alanya
John & Mary
The Old Harbour

After an early start from Gazipasa, we had a beautiful sail along the coast to Alanya, making it in just before the afternoon breeze died. So far this year we have seen mostly local fishing craft or shipping, but very few sail boats. However, coming into Alanya this was all starting to change. As we rounded the Alanya peninsula, we found ourselves surrounded by various pleasure boats and tour boats. Up until now, having enjoyed the solitude and hospitality of the local Turkish people, we weren't sure about being thrust into a major tourist resort. After maneuvering around the tour boats we found our way into Alanya marina and settled in for the night.

As we had now been in Turkey for over a month, we thought we should look into extending our 90-day visa. It seemed that the larger city of Alanya might be a good place to embark on the task. After many trips back and forth from the Marina, police station and the tax offices, collecting and submitting forms, we finally had submitted everything that we needed for our two year residency permit. We were told that we should come back in three weeks to get the final residency visa! As we now had some waiting time here in Alanya, we decided to arrange a one-month contract with the marina which was much cheaper than the normal daily rates. We thought it would also be a good use of time to have Shazam lifted out and the bottom painted.


Shazam up on the "hard" awaiting new bottom paint. We were very concerned when we first saw the boat supports as large logs cut to size and then supported by wooden cross members. This is evidently the norm in Turkey and they seem to work very well, but it took us a while to feel confident that Shazam was not going to end up on her side, especially as we were still living in her.

Alanya castle stands on top of a large peninsula with great views along the coast. The above view is taken from the castle wall looking down on the rocks below.

Some of the interesting rock formations that we pass on our coastal walk out of Alanya.

What is it they put in these Hookah's?

The entrance into the village of Side a few miles along the coast from Alanya.

The Amphitheatre at Side.

Turtles are very common in these parts of Turkey and they can often be seen resting on the river bank or swimming in the stream.

From Side we took a boat trip up the Manavgat river to the falls above.

Mary having a refreshing wash from a local spring during one of our mountain walks.

One of our favorite walks from the marina was up into the mountains. Although it was a tough uphill walk, there was some relief from the temperature in the town which was now regularly reaching 100F/38C. In the mountains there was usually a nice cooling breeze with temperatures several degrees lower.

Looking down the mountain to our marina.

Goat farming was very common in the mountains and we regularly passed farmers moving their herds along our tracks.

I know we keep mentioning about the hospitality of the Turkish people but it just keeps on amazing us. On one particular early morning walk when we were probably looking more tired than usual, a family at one of the farmhouses called us over and invited us in for breakfast. They laid out a large spread of bread, cheese, butter, olives as well as omelets and Turkish tea or coffee. It was so kind that they would invite complete strangers into their home and share their food with us. All the food turned out to be homemade

We were also shown around their small farm and cattle shed.

Although it has been extremly hot and not rained here since we arrived in Turkey in May, there seems to be no shortage of water. We find local springs everywhere and the countryside is very green with many flowers still in bloom in the hot July weather.

Another visitor that was interested in where we were going.

Alanya Dockyard and Arsenal was built in approximately 1228 and was the Seljuks Mediterranean naval base. It is now set up as a museum

Inside the Dockyard a replica of a vessel being built is on display.

The Red Tower is considered to be the symbol of the city and is used on the city's flag. It was built to protect the shipyard and was completed in 1226. It is one of the best examples of medieval military architecture and was used on some Turkish bank notes until 2005.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - 19th May 1881 to 10th November 1938. The first president of Turkey. He is credited with being the founder of the republic of Turkey. His surname, Atatürk (meaning "Father of the Turks"), was granted to him in 1934 and forbidden to any other person by the Turkish parliament. Every town that we have been to in Turkey has a statue of Ataturk and at least one road named after him.

This was the view outside our marina one Saturday morning. You almost had to pinch yourself to ensure that you were not dreaming. Are we being attacked by a fleet of 16th century war ships? These are actually Turkish Gulets which are traditional two or three masted wooden sailing vessels which are now used as tourist boats. This day they had all decided to turn up at the entrance to our marina.

Three weeks after submitting all our paperwork our Turkish Residency Visas were waiting at the police station for our collection. We are now legal residents of Turkey for up to two years. It's out for a celebration meal tonight.

Cruising Mersin to Alanya

06 July 2013 | 36 33.547'N:031 56.881'E, Turkey
John & Mary
One of the two castles at KizKalesi

We left Mersin marina just after sunrise and headed southwest along the Turkish coast. The coast from Mersin is very straight with no indentations for over 20 miles. It consists of one large sandy beach with high-rise holiday apartments for the complete length without a gap, and in the background, you can see the Taurus mountain range. It reminded us very much of the Spanish Costa Del Sol.

As we continued, the coast changed from sandy beaches to rocky indentations and we started to look for an anchorage for the night. We soon noticed the village of Kizkalesi which is protected by two large castles. One is built on a peninsula at one end of the town and the other is built on an island just off the shore.

After passing both castles, we headed inland to Narlikuyu, a small village at the end of an inlet. We tucked ourselves in close to the rocks for good shelter and dropped the anchor. The location was not as sheltered as we had hoped and the boat rolled all night long making for an uncomfortable sleep.

Our Anchorage at Narlikuyu

We lifted anchor at first light heading back out to sea towards Bagsak, our next planned stop. The good northerly wind gave us a great sail along the coast. We had to head well out to sea to avoid a large sand spit before passing Tasucu village. Once around the spit, we could head directly to Agalimani, a bay just west of Tasucu harbour . Once in the bay we anchored in the southern end just off the village of Bagsak. The bay was surrounded by mountains, and at one end was yet another castle. The whole setting was absolutely beautiful. We soon had our dinghy afloat and were off to explore Bagsak.

Shazam Anchored at Bagsak

The village consisted of a mosque, mini market, two restaurants and a small holiday camp. We finished our first day there with a wonderful fish meal on the water's edge watching Shazam slowly swing at anchor. The next day we set off for an 8 mile hike to the castle that had a great write-up in one of our cruising guides. However we soon found that the guide was out-of-date as the peninsula where the castle stands is now a military compound surrounded by 12-foot high barbwire. We felt very conspicuous as we walked past the fence, sensing we were being watched. Since we were enjoying this anchorage quite a lot, we decided to stay a few more days and did some more walking and swimming, as well as a few boat maintenance tasks.

The Castle at Bagsak which is now a Military Base

With good weather forcast for the next day, we decided to head off again towards Yesilovacik, the next harbour along the coast. After another beautiful sail along the mountainous coast and around the Ovacik peninsula, we headed into Yesilovacik harbour. We expected a small fishing harbor, so were rather amazed to find the harbour full of small ships, tugboats, pile driving equipment etc. It seemed like we had just sailed into an industrial work site. With no free spaces along the quay other than alongside a ship we decide to anchor in the centre of the harbour. We were a little concerned that evening after dark when they started to move some of their vessels around in the harbor, but things eventually went quiet for the night. After a good night's sleep we left first thing the next day for Aydincik.

Anchored in Yesilovacik with the Ships

The village of Yesilovacik

After a short sail along the coast we approached Aydincik harbour which was almost impossible to see from offshore, with the breakwater walls blending into the shoreline contours. We used the large mosque in the city center as our point of reference, and it was not until we were within a hundred yards of the shoreline rocks that we could finally see the small entrance into the harbour. Once through the entrance and into the relative calm of the harbour, we could look for a mooring spot. It was a small harbour full of fishing boats with no obvious free mooring spaces. However, the local fishermen soon called us over to the quay and created a gap about the same width as our boat. After dropping our anchor, ensuring that we had lots of fenders over the side, we reversed in between two fishing boats and made fast against the quay. After an initial check of the town and a great meal at a local fish restaurant we wandered back to the boat and noticed a large gathering on the harbour quay with chairs/stage set-up and a wedding party/guests arriving. The music and fireworks started up and lasted until midnight. There was lots of loud Turkish celebration music and dancing - it is understood that weddings here may be a 3 day celebration event! We watched for awhile and then on back to the boat. We had forgotten that we had moored just in front of a mosque, so we were rather surprised when we were woken at 04:30 AM by the loudest call to prayer we had yet experienced. It seemed to be followed by several announcements and then all was quite again until morning.

Shazam Squashed in amongst the Fishing Boats in front of the Mosque

Mary checking out the Workout Equipment. You see these Exercise Machines all over in Public Places/Parks in Every Town we have Visited.

Incredible Colours and Rock Formation of the Local Cliffs

We stayed at Aydincik for several days enjoying some great walking along the coast and through some pine forests. The friendliness of the Turkish people still continue to amaze us. We were walking through one of the pine forests when we met a family having a picnic. Despite not easily being able to communicate with each other, in no time they invited us to join in, sharing fresh cherries, strawberries and melons. Later on we were stopped by another family that wanted to know if we were the same couple that they had seen walking through Mersin a couple of weeks earlier. We are beginning to feel rather conspicuous - like we have "tourist" written on our foreheads or something. There were also some great ruins around the harbour, including a most amazing mosaic of the harbour 2000 years ago - in almost perfect condition.

The Local Market at Aydincik.

This time of the year along the Turkish Mediterranean coast, the prevailing winds are westerly's and seem to increase to around 20-30 knots every afternoon. Therefore, for any boat like us that is heading westerly along the coast, it will be a very uncomfortable ride. The way we got around this was to either wait until we got the occasional easterly wind to make a departure, or to leave at sunrise while the wind was still light and try to arrive at the next location before noon when strong westerly's usually start. As easterlies are quite rare at this time of the year, our normal plans were early morning departures in light winds. After a few days at Aydincik, we had the rare easterly wind forecast for the next day and decided to use it to continue to our next port of Bozyazi. Once entering the harbour at Bozyazi, we were directed to the quay and tied up alongside a Turkish gullet. It was a very large harbour with a small assortment of boats which ranged from a Turkish Coast Guard vessel, a gullet, a few yachts in transit, a dozen fishing boats and a few work boats. The harbour master was very kind and soon had water hoses and electric cables down to our boat should we need them. The harbour at Bozyazi was rather industrial and certainly not as pleasant as the previous harbour of Aydincik but was still a secure sheltered place to stay. The town of Bozyazi seemed to be a little run-down. It looked like it had been a great holiday resort back in the 1960's/70's but had since gone into decline. The old town square was surrounded by derelict buildings and the mosque at one end was in a very bad state of repair which is very unusual as nearly all mosques that we have so far seen in Turkey are in immaculate condition. We did, however, find a much nicer part of town when we walked alongside the river which winds through a very pleasant park and into the market square and main shopping centre. On the way back to the boat, we decided to walk via farm land and passed through large greenhouses of banana crops and strawberry fields. Bozyazi is a center for banana farming in Turkey and the town is very proud of it's bananas which are smaller and sweeter than typical bananas in the supermarket.

The Banana Crop at Bozyazi

After a couple of days' stay at Bozyazi and with another good weather forecast, we left Bozyazi harbour at sunrise and headed southwest along the coast. After a few miles we sailed past the castle at Anamur. The castle was built in the 12th century, was later restored by the Ottomans in 1840, and continued to be used well into the 20th century. It is the best preserved castle on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. As we continued southwest along the coast with the castle now out of sight behind us, we started to see the ancient town of Anemurium. This ancient town is still largely intact. The city was founded by the Phoenicians in the 12th century BC and was finally abandoned in the 12th century AD after damage from a major earthquake and continual raids by Arabs. A few more miles down the coast we rounded the Anamur peninsula heading northwest into Antalya Bay. The new northwesterly heading took us clear of the strong prevailing westerly winds making our sailing much easier.

Anamur Castle

Ancient Anemurium

Cape Anamur and into Antalya Bay

We continued along the coast, now without castles or ruins, but still with beautiful mountain scenery. As we closed in on Gazipasa we were able to pick out the river and then the entrance into the harbour. Although Gazipasa was under construction, we had been told that the quay heading had all been finished and it would be a good place to spend a night. As we motored around the harbour, we soon noticed that at one end there were a lot of rocks just below the surface. So rather than risk damaging the boat, we decided to anchor in the deep water in the middle of the harbour. After packing up the boat we took the dinghy ashore and found a small local restaurant. Later that night onboard the boat around 11-ish, we started to hear voices outside the boat which seemed a little surprising considering we were the only boat anchored in the harbour. Getting up on deck we could see a large rubber dinghy with three men holding the side of our boat. Their boat had no lights and we were a little concerned as to what they were doing here. It turned out that they were the Turkish Coast Guard and wanted to see our boat documentation and passports. After checking our documents and filling out all their forms they wished us good night and motored off into the night. We don't know whether it was the rocks, or the Coast Guard experience, or just that we did not take to Gazipasa but we headed off first thing the next day for the city of Alanya which would be our next stop and a marina visit.

Dusk in Gazipasa

Pearl of the Mediterranean - Mersin

12 June 2013 | 36 46.204'N:034 34.170'E, Turkey
John & Mary
Amsterdam? - No Mersin Turkey. It has a population (including provinces) of nearly 2 million and is Turkey's largest sea port.

We now have our 90-day visa. Umut, the marina manager, took us by car to the Mersin police department and talked them into updating our passport with a multi-entry, 90-day visa. So with our short term concerns now solved we can continue with renewed confidence. Our next concern will be when our 90- day visa runs out, but we will worry about that later.

Although Mersin is not a great tourist city we still found it a great place to spend some time. We were able to mix with the locals who we found very friendly. On every walk, locals stopped to talk with us. The young children wanted to try out a few words of English that they had learned at school, which they used to welcome us to their country. We would also try out a little Turkish on them although we have to admit that their English was normally much better than our Turkish.

Mersin will be the site of the 17th Mediterranean Games, to be held from June 20 to June 30, hosting 24 countries at a variety of venues. The Mediterranean Games is a multi-sport event, much like the Summer Olympics (on a much smaller scale), with participation exclusively from countries around the Mediterranean Sea where Europe, Africa and Asia meet. The Games started in 1951 and are held every four years. The program for the Games will feature a total of 27 different sports. Two disabled sports, athletics and swimming, will also be contested by the athletes with physical disabilities.The sailing competitions will be held next to the marina where we stayed. It would have been great to be there for the events, but we needed to continue our cruising westward along the Turkish coast well before the start of the games. It was fun to see all the preparations and excitement going on in advance for the host city.

In the last couple of years, the boat has tended to be located at fairly remote places so it has made quite a difference here to be in the centre of a large city. We have been able to easily provision the boat and even do a little house (i.e. boat) and clothes shopping. It also was quite a change to have so many restaurants within a short walk from the boat.

After a week of the big city, we decided that it was probably time to be back out exploring the small bays and harbours. We therefore checked over the boat and said our 'goodbyes' to the marina staff before heading west to our next anchorage.
Vessel Name: Shazam
Vessel Make/Model: J130
Hailing Port: Annapolis, MD USA
Crew: John & Mary Driver
About: Living the Dream
For many of us the call of the sea is always present. It may be a whisper or it may be a roar but it's calling us to put down our tools, climb aboard our boats, cast off the mooring lines and sail away. Over the horizon lies a big watery world filled with enchanting islands, amazing new countries, [...]
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General Information

Who: John & Mary Driver
Port: Annapolis, MD USA