The Dardanelles is a narrow natural channel of water (3/4 to 4 miles wide) which leads from the Aegean Sea through to the Sea of Marmara and connects to the Black Sea via the Bosporus Strait which we would later sail along.
There are many ships to navigate between whilst sailing along here. We were headed to Çanakkale but it was too far in one hit so we stopped at quite an open bay, which you can only anchor in if the wind is in the right direction and thankfully it was. We thought we would get a swell from the ships going backwards and forwards but surprisingly we didn’t. Standing imposingly overlooking Morto bay is the Çanakkale Martyrs’ Memorial, which stands 137 ft high and is dedicated to the Turkish soldiers who participated in the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915.
We saw the biggest group, in one place, of jelly fish. It was like they were streaming along off for a day out.
We arrived at the marina in Çanakkale which was right in the centre of town. More sightseeing here. Someone had recommended that we should have a tour guide for our visit to Gallipoli. We were their first customers of the season. We arranged our tour guide and we left at 9.15am on the ferry to Eceabat where we picked up the minibus to start our tour around the Peninsula.
We visited a number of War Grave Cemeteries, including 57th Infantry Regiment (Turkish), Lone Pine (Anzac) Lone Pine Memorial (Anzac and British), Helles Memorial (Commonwealth) and Çanakkale (Turkish). The Helles Memorial commemorates more than 20,000 servicemen of the British Empire who died during the campaign and have no known grave. Each of the graves at the Çanakkale Cemetery has 36 names and the background of the headstone depicts the Turkish flag.
Alongside the 57th Infantry Regiment Cemetery is a large statue of a Turkish Soldier carrying a rifle. The guide asked us if we knew what was wrong with the statue. Clever Clogs Ian, had the answer. The soldier was holding a Lee Enfield rifle, which was you probably know, a British rifle.
Part of our tour included the Gallipoli War Museum. They had various British notices encouraging men to enlist. Also there was a museum set up as a field hospital.
We visited where the Anzac front line trenches were, there wasn’t much to see but the tour guide told us some interesting stories. He then suggested that we might like to have a wander about. I was OK until he said “beware of the snakes”. “There are vipers and they are vicious”. Well that was it for me. I was back the minibus like a shot. A major phobia of mine. We then went to Walkers Ridge, which was mostly eroded now. We followed the guide who stamped his feet as he walked along. I looked Ian and said “is he doing what I think he is?” Yep! He was just warning the slithery things that we were there. Lost my concentration at that stage and kept looking about just in case!
Included in the tour was a three course lunch which was very nice. I would definitely recommend visiting with a guide to give you the history and our guide certainly knew his stuff. We arrive back in Çanakkale at 6.30pm, it had been a long day but worth it. So we thought we’d finish off with a couple of beers.
The other sight to see here is the ancient city of Troy. It is not your typical ancient ruins, or as some would say – pile of rocks. It is very incomplete but there are nine layers of Troy dating back as far as 5,000 years ago to 3,000BC.
Made famous by the legend Helen of Troy and the Trojan Horse. The original Trojan Horse used in the film “Troy”, is outside the marina in Çanakkale.
The landscape in this part of Turkey is surprising as it looks very much like parts of the English countryside.