Chartering in Turkey
My personal experience
Since being a young child, I had always wanted to go to the country named after a bird that we eat each Christmas. I had built up a huge expectation. But Turkey certainly didn’t disappoint me. 9 hours, 45 Minutes flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to Istanbul, Turkey + 1 hour flight to Bodrum, Turkey + 2-hour drive to Marmaris = roughly 12 hours of traveling excluding lay overs and delays (of which we experienced a few)
But was the travelling worth it? DEFINITELY
We had some beautiful days with some incredible sailing, ate full to the brim each meal and experienced a very different culture which really did enrich me.
Our first two nights were spent in Marmaris exploring the town. For me this was my opportunity to do a lot of my shopping as I’d been told we were going to quite remote destinations thus my shopping experience would be limited. Each night I left the folks to their “Meze’s” (the local equivalent of starter platters) and Wine by the jug as I set off to shop.
The prices in Istanbul had been hugely inflated however in the less commercialised areas of Bodrum and Marmaris the prices were very fair. The quality of the clothes from the malls is very good. If you do go into the smaller stalls be aware that the authenticity of the clothes or goodies you are buying may be questionable. I bought some Nike sneakers – Nike AirForce One’s – that I am certain Nike has never released in a luminous pink before however I do love them!
Beneteau Oceanis 46ft
We had organised a week’s charter of an Oceanis Beneteau 46ft along with 4 other boats of a similar size departing and returning to Marmaris. We’ve become accustomed to that whilst the boats are being cleaned; we go do our grocery shopping so we can pack it all directly into the yacht.
We also know that the hottest day of the year will always be the day we decide to move into our chartered yacht. Once we’ve done our checks of the boat we’re ready to go. The yacht charter companies are great as they escort you out of and into the harbour in Marmaris.
A free night’s stay, water and electricity included
Having sailed Mallorca twice as well as Greece, I have found the Turkish to be the most helpful when it comes to coming in to dock as the minute they see a boat coming into the harbour they come running to help you with the lines. Not once did our Flotilla of five yachts pay to dock in the harbour which we considered particularly great as previously we have paid up to 100€’s a night per boat.
The Freshest of Foods
What I found interesting about Turkey is that the government has made an agreement with all the locals that seeds (for all sorts of food) will be provided for free so long as the locals themselves grow the food. This results in the freshest greens being served at all restaurants regardless of it being a small family business or a fancy restaurant. One certainly eats very well in Turkey.
Something for all ages
Turkey is a lot more third world and desolate than I had expected, although we did visit the smaller, more traditional towns. Many of the locals have come up with intuitive ways to make money. One particular way is to come, on small boats, with clothes and jewellery up to the yachts thus enabling us to stay on our boats but do some shopping. Obviously I loved this.
In each little settlement we visited there was some historical significance portrayed either through a fort or small castle. Each morning before breakfast we would climb up to these historical sights to go view them. This was a thoroughly enriching experience.
A very Happy Birthday
By far the most memorable day in Turkey was my Dad’s birthday. One of our flotilla members mentioned to our hosts (I call them hosts as they welcomed us into the harbour, cooked for us in their small restaurant and allowed us to use their showers) that it was Dad’s birthday.
After breakfast they all came out of the kitchen with a cake and some candles singing Happy Birthday in Turkish. Prior to leaving they advised us to go to a restaurant called ‘Octopus’ at our next destination.
We promptly ate at Octopus that night. But before dinner was over the waiters at that restaurant came out with another cake singing Happy Birthday again. This demonstrated to me and my family what kind-hearted people the Turks are and how appreciative they are of business in these trying times.
Thank You Turkey
Since being a young child, I had always wanted to go to the country named after a bird that we eat each Christmas. I had built up a huge expectation. But Turkey certainly didn’t disappoint me. We had some beautiful days with some incredible sailing, ate full to the brim each meal and experienced a very different culture which really did enrich me. I am so grateful to have been able to sail in Turkey and I would jump to the opportunity to go back there one day
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