Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cyprus to Turkey May 28

Mersin, Turkey

The sail to Mersin was unfortunately mostly motoring. The issue is that given our late-afternoon departure schedule, the wind has already died by 6:00PM, plus the fact that we are now heading north to Turkey, against the prevailing wind, so whatever wind there was, it was dead on our nose. So we kept the engine running for most of the 100 mile course. As night fell, a sea mist came over us, decreasing visibility to only a couple of miles. With 68 boats sailing together, there was a real danger of collision. We turned on our radar and every 15 minutes did both a visual and electronic 360 scan. Finally the sun came up, and with it the mist cleared along with a light breeze. We raised our sails and motored the rest of the way into the large Mersin harbor which was busy with commercial traffic. This city does not have an existing harbour for yachts (there is one in construction), but the fishermen graciously gave up their slips for our 5-day stay. So the EMYR yachts were able to dock side-to, only one boat-deep, right at down town Mersin.

The evening on our arrival, we were treated by the city to cocktail party at the city convention center. Mersin is a large city with over 1 million people, and the water front is very well developed. Within 15 minutes one can walk to the old-town, where all kinds of things are being sold, very inexpensively, including fresh produce, fish, meat, bakeries, etc. A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice can be had for 70 cents! The old town became our favorite place for meals whenever we didn’t feel like cooking. But it was hot! The air temperature was 28C, but in mid-day, under the sun, without any breeze, it felt like 35C. And this is only early June, their spring time!

On the day of departure to our next stop, the city of Iskenderun, there were bad news. The Turkey navy there had been attacked by terrorists and seven sailors were killed. The city was in mourning and not in the mood to receive us. So last-minute changes had to be made to go directly to Lattakia in Syria instead.

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