Friday, May 4, 2012

Far southeastern coast of Turkey

Clearing out of Cyprus was a breeze at Karpaz Gate Marina.  One must clear out with 4 different officials.  The marina handled clearance with 3 of those officials on Wednesday, and the Immigration/Police arrived early Thursday morning for the final clearance.  We disconnected from shore power and paid the tab, and were out of the marina before 09:30.  Perfect!  That meant we could reach Turkey during daylight.

Aga Limani, Turkey
Weather was cloudy and dreary all day and the predicted little bit of wind never materialized.  So we motored the entire 44 NM to Aga Limani and dropped anchor at 36.16.141N  033.49.084E.  A fellow Amel Super Maramu, S/V EXCALIBUR with owners Jorge and Isabel aboard, departed at the same time.  EXCALIBUR made much better time than we did.  They had just splashed and had a spanking clean bottom and prop.  We had a diver check our prop about 3 weeks ago and he said the prop was clean.  Respectfully beg to disagree.  We should have checked it ourselves.  Our prop is definitely dirty.  

S/V BeBe normally motors at 6 kts or 6.25 kts at 1800 rpm, assuming no adverse current.  On this day it required 2100 rpms to get 6 kts SOG.  So that prop definitely needs cleaning.  We have an AutoProp and these are very sensitive to any marine growth whatsoever.  Guess we will be getting awful mileage until we get somewhere and Bill can kit-up and dive to clean the prop himself.  EXCALIBUR was getting 6.8 kts at 1800 rpm.  They have the same engine and same prop that we do, and exactly the same boat.   What a difference a clean bottom and clean prop can make!  Instead of burning 3.8 liters of diesel per hour to get 6 kts at 1800 rpm, we burned 5.1 liters of diesel per hour to get 6 kts at 2100 rpm.  At $1.91 USD per liter that additional 1.3 liter per hour will add up while we motor all summer.......after all, we know there is no sailing in the Med.

Aga Limani.  Nice place to stop.

The next morning we motored 5 NM to Tasucu at 36.18.86N  033.52.52E.  We anchored outside the harbor because we planned to simply clear in, buy new sim cards for our phone and 3G modem, and then boogie out of there to the nearest anchorage.  That shouldn't take long; right?  Little did we know.  EXCALIBUR had difficulty getting their anchor to set and they went into the harbor and found a spot on the town quay.  We took the dinghy in and found that there was another space available on the quay, nestled between the big gulets.  So, what the heck; let's dock too and spend the night here.  And we did. 
Nestled in among the big gulets in Tasucu

 Clearing in takes a few hours.  First walk to the harbor master's office and fill out a form (with 5 copies).  Pay 55 Turkish Lira for the required transit log, plus a small bunkering fee if the boat is longer than 11 meters.  The harbor master did not have change, so we paid 70 TL since that was the closest we had to the 61.40 TL requested.  The harbor master stamped all 5 copies of the form and sent us to the next clearance step......a 15-20 minute walk (mostly uphill) towards the hospital to have the Quarantine doctor stamp us in saying our boat is 'healthy.'  Stamp, stamp, stamp, stamp, fee.    

Immigration policeman also became a Texas Sheriff
Back down the hills to the port police/Immigration at the ferry dock.  Where we purchased the required stamp to allow us to have a visa;  $20 USD---same price as last year when we arrived at the Istanbul airport.  (Jorge and Isabel are lucky; they did not have to pay a stamp fee because they are from Chile and Turkey forgot to put that country on the fee list.)  Took the stamp to the police/Immigration officials; they affixed it to our passport and stamped in the 90-day visa.  And stamped our remaining 4 copies of the clearance form; and kept one copy.  Now we only have 4 copies remaining.

Then to Customs, which is in front office of the same building at the ferry dock.  Stamp, stamp, stamp, fee.  Customs kept one copy and we now have 3 copies remaining.

Walk back to the harbor master's office and give him 2 of the copies with all the appropriate stamps.  We keep the original, as well as 2 multi-copy change forms in case we take on or discharge any crew during our time in Turkey.  We are now officially cleared into Turkey.

Next we jumped into a dolmus (small bus) to the nearby town of Silifke.  There are no Turkcell stores or kiosks in Tasucu.  To purchase new sim cards for the phone and 3G requires a trip to Silifke.  And here our problems began.  If this is someone's first time in Turkey then they would have no problem.  But for those foreign tourists who have previously visited Turkey, be prepared for problems.  Turkey requires each communication device owned by foreign tourists to be passport registered.  In Marmaris last year Turkcell insisted that only one device per tourist could be registered.  We registered the cell phone to my passport and the 3G modem to Bill's passport.

In Silifke we quickly found a Turkcell store; just a small store; we should have walked farther to find a real Turkcell store where the employees wear Turkcell uniforms.  We still would have encountered problems, but maybe the problems would have been easier to solve.  There is very little English spoken in this region of Turkey.  Communication is very limited unless one speaks Turkish.

We got them to understand that we wanted to purchase sim cards for both the phone and the 3G.  We gave them both our passports and copies of the registrations from last year in Marmaris.  Their first mistake was to attempt to register the phone in Bill's name (remember; last year it was registered to my passport).  Different name and passport --that instantly put a passport lock on the phone.  After much discussion and numerous trips to the larger Turkcell store, it is our understanding that the phone will be unlocked sometime in the next 1 to 3 weeks.  It should then work with the new sim card we purchased last Friday.  I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

The 3G presented an entirely different problem.  Last year's registration is too old to allow us to purchase new time for that sim card.  If a phone or 3G is not used for 90 days, then it is closed ----- but the registration remains in effect.  We cannot purchase more time on last year's sim card; NOR can we purchase a new sim card and register it with this 3G.......because this 3G is already passport registered.  Doesn't matter that both last year's registration and this year's registration are to the same passport.  They simply cannot allow us to purchase a new sim and register it to our 3G.  

We were now into the second day of going back and forth between Turkcell offices.  And carrying on conversations using Google translate; which is not all that accurate.  Finally we said we would just buy a new 3G that is locked to Turkey only.  That simple purchase took 3 hours to accomplish.  It still did not work on our laptop when we got disgusted with this mess and headed back to the boat.  Bill figured he could solve the problems if we could get the Turkish guys who thought they were experts to leave well enough alone.  Sure enough, within an hour Bill had it working on the boat computer.  We also discovered that the shop guys had kept our neat little ultra-thin sticky/slick mouse pad that I liked so much and used with my laptop.  Oh well, back to using a book as a mouse pad until we get to civilization again.

But the new Turkcell 3G modem had sharing blocked, which meant only 1 computer could access the internet.  We have both an ethernet network on the boat and a wifi network.  Not to be able to share would be a major annoyance.  Bill shut it off so he would stop thinking about it overnight.  Sure enough, on Sunday morning he finally figured out a way around the sharing block.  Now our little interior-boat networks again share internet access either via ethernet or wifi.

But....but, but, but, BUT...... this new 3G modem must be passport registered within 15 days or it automatically will be shut off.  Hoping to get that accomplished when we get to Alanya.  Also hoping that our original 3G modem has the passport block removed by the time we get to Alanya.  It is probably too much to also hope that the passport block on the phone is removed and re-registered with the new sim card by the time we get to Alanya.

Oh, the joys of international travel.

There are other things to write about.  And photos to upload.  But that can wait until later.  

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