A taste of Turkish hospitality in Dikili, Turkey

Photo: Dikili, Turkey. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Gyatso rafted five deep with fishing trawlers in Dikili. Photo by Lisa Borre.

Logbook Entry

Dates: 4/25/10
Distance: 55.6 nm
Sailed from: Dalyankoy
Lat: 39°04.2’N
Long: 26°53.2’E

Tonight Gyatso is rafted five-deep off some large fishing trawlers in Dikili. Just when we thought that it was safe to make dinner onboard, there was commotion among the crew on the trawlers inside of us. Before we knew it, the entire raft began to move. Our 19-ton yacht and the fishing boat inside of us were riding “piggy-back” into the harbor tied to one of the big trawlers in order to let another one out. David calmed Lisa by saying, “Don’t worry, they do this all the time.” When the fisherman agreed to have us tie-up, they indicated (mostly in Turkish and with arm waving) that one of the boats had to go fishing, but that it was no problem for us to stay where we were. Lisa replied, “So that’s what they meant.”

A little while later, we had Tandoori chicken in the oven and were relaxing over a glass of wine when we sensed another commotion outside. We went up to find that the other two big trawlers were going out, so we needed to move again. This time, it was a more nerve-wracking experience tied to the smaller fishing boat which moved us to a new spot behind the big trawlers. We wanted to cast-off and move ourselves, but the fisherman insisted we stay tied up.

Once we were settled for good, Kemal, one of the friendly fisherman offered us some fish. Rather than explain that dinner was already in the oven, we accepted his kind offer and gave him a Gyatso t-shirt as thanks. He ordered another one of the crew over to clean the fish for us while David chatted with them and learned how they suggested we prepare it. Lisa went below, took the finished chicken out of the oven and set it aside for another meal. At 9:00 p.m., we started dinner all over again: Turkish catch-of-the-day pan-fried in olive oil which we served with freshly ground black pepper, sea salt, fresh lemon and with basmati rice on the side. It was delicious — another small taste of the famous Turkish hospitality.

We were expecting to raft-up off fishing trawlers this summer but just not so soon. (We understand that this will be a common practice on the Turkish coast of the Black Sea this summer.) Today was one of those days where we have to run through several scenarios to decide where is the best place to wait out a forecast gale. Our planned itinerary included possible stops in Eskiföca, the site of ancient Phocaea (Phocaeans were known in the ancient Greek world as navigators who founded colonies in the Black Sea among other places), and here in Dikili, described in the cruising guide as a crowded fishing harbor with regular dolmus (minibus) service to the ancient site of Pergam. Neither was the ideal place to wait out a gale, so we decided to skip Eskiföca and come directly here since it would put us just 25 miles from Ayvalik Setur Marina which would be a very good place to be during a gale. According to the forecast, the wind won’t start building until mid-day tomorrow, so if it looks good in the morning, we’ll make an early morning run up to Ayvalik.

Finding a mooring in a fishing harbor is not free, at least not in this part of Turkey anyway. Shortly after we arrived, David was asked to register at the Fisherman’s Cooperative office located at the end of the pier where the harbormaster explained, “Usually it’s 50 TL, but for you it’s 30 TL.” So, in our ship’s log, we recorded the price of spending the night in Dikili as 30 TL and one t-shirt (fresh fish and trawler rides included).