Sinop: The half-way point of our voyage on the Turkish Black Sea coast

Photo: Sinop, Turkey on the Black Sea. Credit: Lisa Borre.
The view from Gyatso’s cockpit of Sinop’s fishing harbor and fortress walls. Photo by Lisa Borre.

Black Sea Logbook Entry

Dates: 6/17-6/19/2010
Distance: 14 nm
Sailed from: Akliman
Lat: 41° 01.4’N
Long: 35° 08.9’E

On the short passage through the swell left behind from three days of strong northwesterly winds, we rolled out the Yankee and kept the engine on to help provide additional stability. As we rounded Boztepe Burnu, a large, rocky promontory, and headed for Sinop’s fishing harbor, the engine alarm began to sound. We checked the other gauges and the engine itself but couldn’t find any obvious problem, so we crossed our fingers, made for the harbor and tied up among the fishing boats as quickly as we could.

We had come to Sinop the day before to make arrangements for our arrival and set-up some appointments.  Professor Levent Bat, a marine biologist who is Vice Chancellor of Sinop University and one of the key people we wanted to meet, was at the dock with his car and driver shortly after we arrived.  Engine troubles would have to wait because he had made time for us in his busy schedule. He took us for kebab lunch at Antep Sofrasi, a local favorite for Turkish-style food, where we learned about his research on the Black Sea and shared our observations with him.  We wished we had more time to visit with him but were glad to make his acquaintance.

Photo: Habes Kaptan in Sinop, Turkey. Credit: Lisa Borre.
“Habes Kaptan” has been serving as the self-appointed yacht greeter of Sinop for years. Photo by Lisa Borre.

Later in the afternoon, we met-up with Sükrü Gümüs who is better known as “Habes Kaptan” and has been serving as the self-appointed yacht greeter of Sinop for years.  We explained our problem with the engine alarm, and he immediately began working his cell phone to arrange a mechanic, to order a diesel fuel delivery and to order up a taxi to take Lisa and two weeks worth of laundry to the laundromat service in town.  He’s been helping the crews of visiting foreign yachts in this way since he was first written-up in a cruising guide 17 years ago. He loves to tell stories about his life as a sponge diver and sea captain, but now at the age of 83, he lives a quieter life as a tour boat captain.

It took two different mechanics to help us sort out the problem with our engine alarm, and lucky for us, it was just a bad connection with the alarm itself which was causing it to sound. Both mechanics insisted that our Yanmar engine was in excellent working condition. We changed the fan belt, the oil filter and the oil just for good measure.

The day we arrived (Thursday) is the big market day in Sinop. We found the town center busy with shoppers and the cafes full with people drinking tea. Along the harbor, several cafes cater to people playing cards and board games.  They start in the morning and the places stay busy late into the evening.

We spent an enjoyable three days in Sinop visiting the archeological museum, climbing the fortress walls, eating at the waterfront fish restaurants and attending to our boat maintenance tasks at the half-way point of our voyage along the Turkish Black Sea coast. Just as we were getting ready to leave our berth, the German-flagged yacht Cherokee arrived in the harbor. We’d last seen them in Eregli so we caught-up briefly and then vacated our spot so that they could have it.

First, we had to top-up our water tank which we decided to do by jerry cans after the fisherman’s son on the big yellow trawlers wanted to charge us 60 TL for the use of his hose — our first and only experience of this sort on the Black Sea. We also didn’t leave without sampling manti, a meat dumpling-like dish covered in yogurt and crushed hazelnuts, and katlana, a thin, savory pastry, both of which are local specialties at the Örnek Manti Börek Nokul Salonu. Normally, 4:30 p.m. is a late start by anyone’s standards, but with great weather, we pointed our bow towards Gerze only15 miles away.