Mediterranean 2008 / 5- Ayvalik & Lesvos

We left Candarli with it's well restored Genoese Castle and safe anchorage and sailed north into a northerly wind. By early morning it had got up to more than 20 knots with a short chop but the sailing was good. We tacked back and forth for most of the morning. On the port beam was Lesvos while on the starboard was Turkey.
As with a number of these large bays the wind can change direction and you can get a good lift but on the other hand in the corner of the bay the wind drops away altogether and you are left with no wind with white horses not two chains away. In the end we switched on the engine and motored the last few miles through the islands and into the channel which is clearly marked with two south cardinals and three sets of channel marks.
It is reassuring when my waypoints which I set between the channel marks arrive on time and in the right place. When in Ayvalik Limani known as "The lake" we turned south past the Marina towards Carnlik Koyu for a safe anchorage in a bay much larger than it appears in the pilot.


The Carnlik Koyu bay is close by a major road which get quite busy in the early evening as the workers go home but the head of the bay is next to the southern suburb of the town and is served by a municipal bus which turn off the main road into the back streets and return to the centre of the town. It is one YTL, pay as you enter into a large steel box which took two strong men to off load when we stopped en route to Ayvalik. In other parts of the world there would have been a highjacking but not in Turkey.
The town has some old greek style buildings and a distinct Greek feel because that community only left in 1923 when they were exchanged with the Turks on Lesvos.
The Thursday market is the high point of the week when the out of towners come to set up stalls and purchase the goods from the stalls on either side of the narrow back streets. It amazes me that people can buy all the goods - generally cheap and nasty. The tomatoes ranged in price from 1 YTL to 12.50 YTL a kg. What the difference is we could not establish. I purchased a range of tasty black olives which are quite unlike the greek Calamata olives having been processed in salt rather than brine.
While at anchor a Swiss vessel Octopus 1 anchored in the same bay so on returning from the market we stopped by to say Hello to Gerry & Brigitte. A delightful couple who accompanied us on Sunday up the adjacent hill Kucuk Koy to take in the view. We could see the full extent of the archipelago and the many anchorages.
On the Monday we motored into the Setur Ayvalik Marina along side Bonito - Sandra & Merv. That evening we boarded the ferry for Lesvos on a visa run to update our 90 day Turkish visa. 100YTL per person return plus the E15 for the turkish visa - well it had to be done and this was the easiest route.


The ferry left at 1800 in the evening and passed out through the channel across the wide bay we had struggled up and into the Greek town of Mitilini. We arrived just after 2000 and raced to the the nearest supermarket to buy up big on wine and breakfast cereal. The wine is always a hit and miss affair because you cant taste it and have to go on the Greek description on the label. We were able to fit 12 one and a half litre bottles in my bag with wheels which I could only drag but not lift. What is the legal Turkish limit on the duty free?
Immediatly we arrived at Mitilini we realised we were not in a Muslim country. The street were alive at 10 in the evening with families and people eating and drinking in the sidewalk cafe and restaurants. We stopped in at a little place to have some stewed beef and lamb with a half litre of red. Great meal.
Gerry and Brigitte had offered us their quater berth for the night having cleared out of Turkey on their way to the Greek Islands. They were tied up along side of the town wharf. It was great to rest our heads in a bunk rather than a park bench which was our other option.
At six the following morning we slipped out and walked to the ferry dock to board the 8:30 ferry back to Ayvalik Turkey. Well who said a Greek ferry left on time if there was a large tour group to join you and they had not yet arrived. At about 10:30 after a good shoving scrum we passed through the immigration and was on the ferry to Turkey. On arrival the locals walk through the greek day trippers entrance and put their ID cards in a box and receive a ticket while the others have to wait for the visa offical to be summonsed.
After the usual boarder delay we paid our money, reeceived our visa stamp and now we have another 90 days in Turkey - great. I finish reinstalling Linux on my eeePC with a new distro having again lost the content by fiddeling without adequate knowledge. Hopefully this will be more stable and I learnt a lesson. Thank goodness for the backup.
We fill the tanks with water and headed out to anchor opposite the old town of Alibey. Late in the afternoon I saw in the distance a Halberg Rassie and a stars and stripes ensign. Could it be Meg my neighbours from Marmaris. With no answer on the VHF I jumped into the RIB and race after the dissapearing vessel. A supprised Susan greeted me from Meg

Susan and Bob had sailed more than 40 miles that day on their way north before entering Greece to sail west to the Greek Islands. We agreed to anchor in a nearby bay Kumru Koyu to catch up on the news. They arrived first and I came up along side and dropped the anchor they had given me. It took first time with a perfect set. We had them over for a roast chicken and potatoe dinner. A great evening. I hope we cross wakes again soon.
The following morning we set off north to Sivrice for an overnight stop on out way north. Look out for the reef off the beach - it comes up very quickly. Holding is good in the area but a very narrow area shallow enough to drop the anchor. The following day we were off at dawn to round Baba Burnu where the wind rose to more than 25 knots all on the nose. A nasty chop so we set the furled genoa and tacked towards the Isalnd of Bozcaaada. We saw 14 ships in our vicinity all converging on the Dardanelles.
It is a nice harbour with helpfull people but not worth the 40YTL. The restored castle is worth a visit as is the local winery where you can purchase some over-priced wine which we did. We left at dawn for the long slog up the Dardanelles.

Images of Ayvalik and Lesvos are at Ayvalik

The next pages documents our trip in Turkey.  We then set sail for the Dardanelles.