Waiting out the north wind in Ayvalik

Photo: harbor in Ayvali, Turkey. Credit: Lisa Borre.
The wind blew from the north for days while we waited in Ayvalik. Photo by Lisa Borre.

Logbook Entry

Dates: 4/26/10 – 5/2/10
Distance: 24.7 nm
Sailed from: Dikili
Lat: 39°18.7’N
Long: 26°41’E

We left Dikili at 6:40 a.m. to reach Ayvalik before noon and a forecast northerly gale. We arrived before 11:00 a.m. and only an hour or so after the wind started blowing 25-30+ knots on the nose. Luckily, we were already in the lee of the peninsula and archipelago of islands surrounding Ayvalik, but it still made for an exciting docking experience. We were sure glad to be snugged-in at a nice marina when the wind continued to build during the day. Despite our warnings about the building wind and seas, a French-flagged catamaran left the marina a few hours after we arrived. A few days later, we learned that they experienced 40-45 knots of wind on their passage to Lesvos, Greece that same day.

It continued to blow hard enough for two more days that the ferry to Lesvos was cancelled on the day we had hoped to make a visa run. The easiest way to renew our tourists visas in Turkey is to leave and re-enter the country by taking a ferry to Greece. This way, we can avoid the expenses and bureaucratic procedures involved with taking our American-flagged yacht to Greece just to renew our visas. After inquiring at the office about the ferry schedule, David explained, “The only fly in the ointment is that at this time of year, the ferry leaves Ayvalik at 6:00 p.m. and doesn’t return from Greece until 9:00 a.m.” To which Lisa replied, “Oh darn, you mean we have to spend a night on the third largest Greek Island known for its olive oil, ouzo, artists and poets?”

On Weds (4/28), we made an overnight visa run by ferry to Lesvos, a visit we would have extended by a few days if we weren’t so anxious about taking advantage of the earliest possible weather window to continue north through the Dardanelles, the narrow stretch of water that connects the North Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara.

Our wait continued with the winds still being stronger than we would like from the northerly direction. This was a perfect opportunity for us to visit Pergamon and to catch-up on our preparations for the Black Sea cruise this summer. Another French-flagged yacht is waiting for the same weather window, and while comparing notes, we all hope we’ll find it on Sunday. With a large Migros supermarket in the marina, a low-key yachting community, and a nice town ashore, this is a good place to wait for a few days.