WHERE TO GO
Dave Stanley and Dina Street of Southern Cross Blue Cruising are based at Bodrum, Turkey, and are another couple of stalwart ONBOARD advisors.
According to Dina, the best anchorages for cruising in Turkish waters lie between Bodrum and Gocek, occasionally going as far as Antalya. The reason for this is due to the natural anchorages formed by the coastline, allowing for many nooks and crannies to anchor with privacy. The drop off from land to seabed is also extremely deep, meaning that yachts can be extremely close to the mainland at anchor with very deep, clear waters. Once beyond Antalya, these natural anchorages are not to be found. North of Bodrum, the waters are rougher and there are commercial shipping channels which prevent leisurely cruising.
Personal favourites of Captain Melih Cankurt, Managing Director at Nautica Yachting, include English Harbour of Gökova, Meis Island, Karacasöğüt Bay and Yalıkavak Bay. Birkan Ata of AND Yachting & Concierge recommends the coast line from Bodrum to Fethiye where the Pine Hills meet the water. She also loves English Harbour and Boynuzbuku in the Bay of Gocek.
WHAT TO KNOW
Says Dina, “The changes in legislation for 2019 which can potentially affect chartering concern the fact that yachts registered in Turkey cannot pick up or drop off guests in the Greek Islands, as they used to be able to do. Thus, even if the cruise itinerary is based in the Greek Dodecanese Islands, the guests must embark and disembark in
Turkey.” She adds that some booking agents and charterers still have the misconception that the yacht can ‘island hop’ – that is to cruise between Greece and Turkey at will. The truth is that the embarkation must take place in Turkey, and that an official exit is made by the yacht with an official entry to Greece. The formalities take a couple of hours, and it is important to arrange for the timing in order to avoid the commercial ferryboats, as customs can become busy.
Again, the exit from Greece back to Turkey involves a similar procedure and timing is important for a seamless cruise. Some people are surprised at the cost which can vary widely for an entry/exit/re-entry from Turkey-Greece-Turkey, depending on the size of the yacht and the number of Greek Islands visited.
Birkan Ata of AND Yachting & Concierge and others are working to convince the Ministry of Transport to allow commercial yachts to be able to pick up and drop off charters in Turkey with less procedures, beneficial for both sides, she believes. Islamic holidays are very popular with the Middle Eastern charterers and it’s wise to book early for charters around these dates. Try to avoid booking the Saturday to Saturday schedule will mean a much easier transition with domestic flights and airport transfers.
Captain Melih Cankurt regrets people’s tendency to stereotype anything beyond the Mediterranean Sea as something to be cautious about. But you can’t apply a generalised racial or religious profile to such a vast expanse. He sees Turkey as being misunderstood and is in fact, one of the most friendly and peaceful countries in the world.
He reminds us that discharge of waste within Turkish waters is prohibited. A new law ‘Blue Card’ has been introduced where black and grey tanks must be pumped out at port stations. On arrival, any yacht coming from abroad must fly the Q flag and complete formalities at an official port of entry. All yachts must obtain a Cruising Permit. The Transit Log is a permit to sail in Turkish Territorial Waters and to enter Turkish ports. “Officials are particular about the Turkish courtesy flag, which must be flown at all times when cruising Turkish Waters,” advises the Captain.
ENVIRONMENTAL DOS AND DON’TS
The current infrastructures in Turkey and Greece do not yet encourage an environmentally friendly scheme to be green. Dina suggests guests and crew ban plastic straws on board, and to use the now available green-friendly trash bags for refuse. “Personally, I also suggest that chefs cease over supplying food at meals in order to appear ‘generous’. True generosity is to serve only as much as is needed, with the willingness to create more upon demand instead of wasting food for presentation purposes.’
“Segregating the garbage is a good start!” says Birkan. In addition to this, there is little tidal movement in the East Mediterranean, and whatever goes overboard goes straight to the sea bed most of the year, so crew should pay extra attention to local regulations in addition to Marpol 5.
“We need to be a game-changer in ocean conservation,” says Melih Cankurt. “As a captain and a sailor I learned first-hand how fragile the ecosystem of the oceans has become due to human abuse. At Nautica Yachting we put a strong focus on renewable energy.”
WORTH HANGING AROUND FOR
Dina recommends TYBA Yacht Show in Yalikavak in May as a major event for brokers and owners. Not an event exactly but Birkan gives thumbs up to a visit to Istanbul in September. “It’s not too hot and there’s lots to see, from coastal cruising to visiting museums and ancient sites in the city, that stretches over two continents. We highly recommend visiting Turkey in September, in the south. It’s still warm enough for water activities, and in Istanbul it’s a beautiful time to spend few days tied up under the bridge at the Bosphorus.”
Captain Cankurt chooses Sound of Sails, Marmaris International Race Week, TYBA Yacht Charter Show, Sail Break Sailing Festivals, CNR Eurasia Boat Show, The Bodrum Cup Nautical Festival & Regatta and D-Marin Classical Music Festival as major events for anyone who loves the open sea.
Although nothing is ever too complicated, annoying or impossible for the Superyacht Agent, there are some things that are more complicated and annoying than others. For Paz it’s a change of crew or registration, which is very time-consuming. The most challenging for Maja at MYS Yachting are those emergency calls regarding crew or guests and technical problems when guests are onboard. She adds, “Also, the provisioning of food and drinks can still be challenging in Croatia. Even though, due to the rise of high quality restaurants and hotels with first class Chefs the offer of international products is getting better.”
One of the least favourite requests for Mourat Bourinakis at Mouratti Marine was when he was asked to supply twelve flowering garden plants. The call came in at 24h00 and they had to be delivered by 08h00 the next day.
“Uhhh!” says Paola Musumeci at Elite Yacht Service. “For sure the spare parts they urgently require or a technician to repair something…. this request is my least favourite. It’s Murphy’s Law that this will normally happen on the weekend, or in August when everything takes longer and it is more difficult to get… but we make some small miracles in our jobs so one way or another we manage to get what they need.” Dina’s ‘don’t say it’ list includes; picking up friends in Mykonos with stiletto heels who have a list of food allergies.
Asking crew to babysit children. Assuming the yacht’s internet access is akin to one’s own domestic speed. Thinking that an inch on a map should be a couple of hours in real time. Not respecting the July and August meltemi winds.
Birkan Ata, CEO of AND Yachting & Concierge says, “It can be a struggle if there are requests for fresh Tuna or Salmon during high season, because of a fishing ban in the Turkish region, it can be very hard to find quality fish that a chef will be happy with.”
Miles and miles of deep blue sea and only a few short holiday weeks to enjoy it, superyacht agents come into their own for their incomparable tips of where to go to get what you truly want from a cruise. And they are of course not only there for the ‘where to go see’, they are are also there night and day to ‘go get’ for you too. Perfect.