Distance: 10.2 nm
Sailed from: Heybeliada, Princess Islands
We arrived in Istanbul today — a magnificent sight to see after 26 days, 14 passages and 562 miles since setting sail from Marmaris. It was a short hop from the Princess Islands to the Kalamis & Fenerbache Marina this morning where we found Gyatso a berth for the next two weeks.
After much research into where to stay in Istanbul, we decided that this location would be the most appropriate for our preparations for this summer’s voyage on the Black Sea and the most convenient for trips into Istanbul. We chose this marina even though the Turkish Waters Pilot says that it caters to local yachts and does not have some of the usual amenities for visiting foreign yachts. The pilot is partially correct on the latter point, but this is not as important to us.
In the past, we’ve enjoyed finding a berth among local sailors, and since learning as much as we can about the Black Sea is our priority here, it seemed like a good idea. Although it is more expensive than some of the other options further away from the city, it is not as expensive as Atakoy Marina on the European side. It turns out that we made a good choice.
Gyatso’s home in Istanbul is on one of the outer pontoons of the Fenerbache portion of the large marina. From the outer jetty, we have a view of old Istanbul. The sun sets over a distant skyline which includes the Blue Mosque and Haghia Sophia on the other side of the Bosphorus. It’s a bit of a hike to the security gate, but once outside the marina, we are in the midst of an upscale Istanbul suburb. Small cafes line the marina quay with fancy cars double-parked along the street. People enjoy Turkish breakfast or mezes overlooking the harbor and sip cay (tea) or raki depending on the time of day. The ferry port to Istanbul is just a short taxi ride away.
Soon after we arrived, we began to meet some of the other berth holders on this pontoon, all of whom are very friendly and have helped us to get oriented in such a large city. Two days later we hosted an impromptu gathering on Gyatso with some of them, including one of the key people we’d hoped to meet in Istanbul (more on that later). For now, we are just happy to be here and are looking forward to the next two weeks in Istanbul.