Black Sea Logbook Entry
Distance: 22.3 nm
Sailed from: Akçacoka
Lat: 41° 17.1’N
Long: 31° 24.5’E
Looking out over the fishing harbor in Ereğli, you would never know that the largest steelworks in Turkey occupies the southern portion of the same port. With the prevailing northerly wind, the tidy town and beautifully landscaped waterfront seem quite removed from all of the industrial activity, except that it reflects the relative prosperity of this city on the Black Sea coast compared to others we have visited.
Known in antiquity as Herculea, this was an important stop for our historical research project. We stopped by the local sailing club and met the commodore and some of their enthusiastic young club members who helped us tie-up our dinghy and offered to assist us in any way. Inside the club house, we found the French couple on Aquarelle, the schooner that spent a week at the same marina as us in Istanbul. They departed before us and only had limited time to visit the Black Sea, so our paths crossed on their return trip to Istanbul. Like some of the other yacht crews we’ve talked to, they also had a bad time during the storm a few days ago. “It was a nightmare for us in Amasra,” said Sofia shaking her head. It made us feel even more lucky than we already do that we rode out the same storm in the protection of Kefken’s fishing harbor.
That evening, we strolled along the waterfront where local people were sipping Turkish tea in the tea gardens, playing backgammon or cards at one of the many harborfront bars, or enjoying the day’s catch near the fishing harbor. We chose the latter activity and ate a delicious grilled fish dinner with fresh salad, fruit, cheese and raki. Returning to Gyatso, we lingered in the cockpit and listened to the traditional Turkish music being played at a wedding reception onshore — judging by the number of flash cameras and loud clapping, they were having a fabulous party.
On our passage from Akçacoka today, we took a slight detour to get a closer look at three offshore oil and gas exploratory rigs. When we finished gathering the location information we needed for updating the cruising guide, we put up our sails and a nice breeze filled in to carry us to Ereğli.
We spent a very enjoyable night anchored near the sailing club in the northern harbor, but when we found traces of coal dust on our decks the following day, it snapped us back into the reality that this is a town with multiple personalities.