Doğanyurt, Turkey: A big welcome in a tiny village

Photo: Market day in the small village of Doğanyurt. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Market day in the small village of Doğanyurt. Photo by Lisa Borre.

Black Sea Logbook Entry

Date: 6/10/2010
Distance: 13.7 nm
Sailed from: Cide
Lat: 42° 00.7’N
Long: 33° 27.3’E

Today we made the short passage from Cide around Kerempe Burun, admiring the steep coastline, deeply cut valleys, and coves backed by sandy beaches and small villages scattered along the way. We also filmed a large brown plume of sediment-laden water from the river just west of Cide. The distinct area of brown water emptied into the sea and stretched for nearly two miles past Kopekkay Burnu. Eventually it was diluted and the water returned to its normal greenish-blue color. Dolphins and harbor porpoises continue to make regular appearances alongside Gyatso, although the latter remain shy and keep their distance.

Not long after setting anchor in small harbor of Doğanyurt, we watched the occasional fishing boat pass by with a welcoming wave
and were greeted by a row boat with young boys who wanted to practice their English-language skills with the now familiar “hello” and “welcome” and “where are you from?”

We decided to delay a trip ashore until the next day, and spent the afternoon enjoying the scenic surroundings from onboard. A pretty beach lies at the base of rocky cliffs on the western side of the harbor and a dozen or so fishing boats occupy the small cove and quay area on the south and east sides of the harbor.  The outer breakwater has visible signs of winter storm damage — huge blocks of cement have been pushed off the breakwater and onto the cement quay. Like many other harbors, silting has occurred around the inner breakwater, the depth of which we could easily determine by the boys swimming in this area. In one area it was chest-deep and then quickly dropped off in depth over their heads half-way across the cement quay where a small coastal freighter and dredger used to moor. No sign of either nowadays — with the improvement of roads in this area, harbors such as this are mainly used by small and medium-sized fishing boats.

In the evening, another rowboat approached Gyatso with two men onboard. It turns out that it was the district governor and the head of local police security. They had borrowed one of the fisherman’s boats to officially welcome us to their village and invite us ashore. Soon we were sipping Turkish tea and eating homemade birthday cake in the young governor’s home (his birthday was the day before) with him and his lovely wife whose birthday was the following day.

We spent an extra day in this pleasant harbor so that we could visit the weekly market. The tiny village was bustling with activity on market day. When approaching the main square from the harbor, a variety of different farm trucks and mini tractors were parked along the riverside road. The most popular in these parts is a sort of Turkish version of the Apein Italy — it resembles a cross between a tractor and an all-terrain vehicle. Just 10 years ago, these would have been donkey carts. The market itself was not very large but had the usual assortment of vendors selling fruits, vegetables, olives, fresh bread, tools and household items set amidst the old wooden buildings in the main square.

After purchasing some fresh food, we wandered along the main shopping street and noticed that the Kismet Lokantasi was doing a booming lunch business. There are no menus in these local establishments, just carefully prepared Turkish food which can be viewed in the pot or pan it was cooked in as you walk in the door. We couldn’t resist and soon found ourselves peering into these big pots and selecting lamb stew with rice pilaf for Lisa and a baked egg and ground meat hash for David. We were seated at a table for four across from an older couple who were clearly in town for market day. They did not speak a word to us or each other, so we didn’t take it personally. We shared a basket of bread and helped ourselves to cold water from the pitcher on the table. We usually find a good meal at these informal restaurants, and this one was no exception.

We returned to the harbor and the friendly fisherman offered to prepare us some fish.  As politely as we could, we declined their offer and rowed back to Gyatso feeling appreciative for having received such a big welcome in this tiny village on the Black Sea coast.