Tuesday, 28th July 2020
We got up at 6 am in the morning and prepared out exit from Greece. We had strong winds to start with, but luckily the waves where pushing us along rather than beating into them. Once we reached Turkey it got too calm to sail and we had to motor the rest of the journey. It took us 6 hours to get to Datca, it was a 37 nm journey and we where doing at times 8-9 knots, which is the fastest Polly has been going since we had her.
When we crossed the Greek boarder Tim changed the Greek flag for the Turkish flag and put our yellow quarantine flag up, which is required until you are checked into a new country.
When we arrived we parked at Datca port as advised by our agent, as they charge extra to see you at anchor. The agent was super efficient. We had to fill in a form for Covid records and he took off with our passports and papers to get our transit log, register our boat and get our passports stamped. He also organised for a diesel truck to top our tank and we plugged into shore power, we took Lucy to do her business and had to stay on the boat otherwise until the police did our face check and our check in was complete.
After a couple of hours the port police did our face check, we thanked our agent and where free to be in Turkey. The whole procedure cost us about 140 Euros and there is no cruising tax here either. So we where really happy with all of that. We decided to stay in port for the night, as we needed to wash the boat, fill up the water tanks, stock up groceries and get a Turkish sim card and data. So off we went to town to buy a sim card first of all, so we could transfer some money to our account. We went to get some Turkish Lira out and figured out the exchange rate. We bought some ice creams for the kids – it is sooo hot here. Much to our surprise it was only a portion of the cost for ice creams in Greece. In Greece at times we paid 15 NZD for 3 ice creams, here it was 5 NZD.
Next stop was a super market to stock up on some things we needed and Tim’s and my heart did a little sigh of relief. Everything is so much cheaper here, it will be such a welcome break for our budget. So straight away, with the effectiveness of checking in and the cheaper lifestyle here we felt good about things. The water is still stunning, the people friendly, the food yummy and the nearby destinations sound promising.
The best surprise of all was that another boat called Sunday from the youtube channel “Sailing Sunday” was anchored up in Datca as well. They have been sailing for 1 year and we had been following their journey on youtube ever since. They felt like long lost friends to us, which was a bit weird since they didn’t know much of us. While we where waiting for the port police to come we saw Brittney and Ryan stroll past and we waved to them and met for the first time personally.
It was definitely one of my highlights to far, as we really liked their videos, because they where so relatable to us, sailing in the same area, having a dog as well. They are even nicer than they show in the videos so we had such a good time getting to know them personally. We got invited onto their boat for some drinks and the kids could finally pet the adorable Jackson german Sheperd dog and their rescue kitten Finn.
We also met the family from the boat Coastline with 2 boys who had been sailing with Sunday for many months during the quarantine and the kids had 2 days of fun and games together, which was a relief to both families, as all the children had been deprived of contact with other children due to lock down and because there are not all that many kid boats around. Unfortunately all 3 boats that had been travelling together in Turkey during lock down had been overstaying their visas here. They had been here for 5 months, instead of 3 and needed to get out. With Greece still not being open to Turkey, because the Covid numbers being high they had to exit to Malta, which is a 7 day sail. They all had more experience under their belt, but to us 7 days still sounds a bit scary.
So we where very sad to wave them all goodbye after only 2 days of connecting and exchanging stories and experiences, but glad that we met them in the first place. We where ready to move on from Datca as well, as every night the several nightclubs and restaurants where competing against each other until 12 am or later and we already had all that noise for 2 nights in Kos.
But then Tim decided he needed to look at the slimy thing he saw in our diesel filter. It turns out it was most likely a diesel bug. Since he isn’t a born mechanic, he needed to watch a couple of youtube videos and a lot of swearing later the filters where clean and the motor was working again. We had to borrow a tool from another boat to take the filter apart, which once again is a testament for the kindness in the boating community. The kids and I did some schooling in the morning, which always involves arguing and negotiating and a lot of deep breathing.
In the afternoon we all went to have another walk into town to let Luca spend an hour by himself in a “Gaming Parlor” while Nina, Tim and I waited opposite for him having a coffee and cake with a lot less guilt than in Greece, as everything is so much more reasonable here.
Luca went to have a glass of milk today that we bought in our grocery shop in Turkey and spat it out saying it was off. After a bit of google investigation and taste testing by Tim and I, we figured out that “Ayran” looks like milk in the bottle, but is in actually buttermilk. Its yogurt mixed with water and salt that is national drink here, especially in summer. The salt helps to make up for all that sweat and its really healthy and is served in restaurants and eateries with your food. So I volunteered to drink the 3 litres we acquired and we researched the word for milk, which is “Sut”. There is not much milk being consumed by Turkish people apparently, which is probably why we didn’t find it the first time around.
We agreed to move to a hopefully quieter bay tomorrow. For now we are “enjoying” several competing nightclubs / restaurants with their eclectic mix of DJ beats and live music until about midnight.