Amasra, Turkey: It’s a small world

Photo: The colorful women's market in Amasra, Turkey. Credit: Lisa Borre.
The colorful women’s market in Amasra, Turkey. Photo by Lisa Borre.

Black Sea Logbook Entry

Dates: 6/6 – 6/8/2010
Distance: 26.5 nm
Sailed from: Filyos
Lat: 41° 44.8’N
Long: 32° 23.4’E

On passage from Filyos today, a thunderstorm with intense lightning chased us into the commercial and military harbor in Bartin which yachts are supposedly prohibited from entering. Thankfully, we weren’t chased away, and the authorities allowed us to tie-up alongside the commercial dock until the storm passed. Although we had to undergo careful scrutiny of our ship’s papers (everything was in order), it was much better than getting caught in a storm along this coast of the Black Sea.

We ate homemade soup for lunch and were underway again 1.5 hours later. We poked our nose into the mouth of the Bartin River, but heeded warnings not to enter the river when it’s raining. We decided to push on to Amasra instead, and just as the forecast predicted, a strong wind came up from NE, so we spent the final hour motoring into the wind and seas which built quickly just as everyone describes.

We spent two nights anchored in the historic and picturesque harbor of Amasra, a wonderful place for just wandering around. We especially liked shopping at the women’s market with its many colorful fruits and vegetables set against a sea of brightly-colored head scarves and skirts. Lisa made her traditional birthday outing to this market while David followed behind carrying her bags filled with mulberries, cherries, strawberries, dill, mint, parsley, peppers, a large “wreath” of lettuce and homemade butter and cheese.

In one of our walks through town, we stopped in to visit the local yacht club and pass-on greetings from their friends in Istanbul. Most cruisers take an inland trip from here to Safronbolu, a town famous for its Ottoman houses and protected as a World Heritage site. With a full itinerary of coastal sites to visit, we plan to visit some of these
inland sites later.

In Amasra, we met-up again with the same German- and Swiss-flagged yachts we’d seen earlier. Both are preparing to go to
Ukraine from Sinop, Turkey, so we shared our guidebooks and tips from other cruisers with them and they gave us contact information for another good English-speaking agent to help with difficult clearance formalities in Ukraine. They promised to write an email and let us know how they fared.

In the small world department, we anchored next to Tapestry, an American-flagged yacht from Asheville, NY. When returning from a run ashore, Lisa stopped by in the dinghy and found owners and retired teachers Henry and Julie onboard. It turns out that he was the commodore of the Dunkirk, NY Yacht Club, near Erie, PA, a place we visited on our cruise of the five Great Lakes in our previous boat in 2004-2005. We found Dunkirk after a very rough crossing of Lake Erie and the members of the club welcomed us to their Sunday afternoon potluck picnic, a gesture which earned David’s praise as the best yacht club in North America. We invited them aboard for a glass of wine and great conversation about many common interests and experiences, including Great Lakes cruising, the ARC Europe Rally, Annapolis, Marmaris and even the Peace Corps.  We parted ways knowing that our paths were sure to cross again in the future.