The next place we visited was Samsun, which is the largest Turkish city on the Black Sea. We were a little way out of town in a place called Canik. The start of the trip was definitely not my sort of sailing, big seas which got bigger and it was grey but the waves did settle down eventually.
We had another full day visiting various museums in the town. One stop was the Bandirma Steamer which was built in Scotland. The Bandirma arrived in Samsun on 19th May 1925 with Atatürk on board. This was a very significant and important day as Samsun was where the bid for Turkish’s independence began.
There is a very large monument in honour of Atatürk on his horse. I was going to say most, but I think all the places we’ve been to, have some kind of monument to Ataturk. We were asked to gather in a ring around the monument as a sign to protect it. Last year some people put ropes around the feet of the horse and attempted to pull it down.
The following day we had a break from museums and had a day with nature. We first visited the Kızılırmak Delta, which is the biggest wetland in the Black Sea region, stopping at the bird sanctuary first. There are 420 bird species in Turkey and 340 of them have been identified in the delta, 140 of these species breed in this area. There was various wildlife, plant life and animals in particular lots of water buffalos.
After a visit to a Tobacco museum, we were taken to a hazelnut farm where we had dinner. We discovered that Turkey provides 80% of the world’s hazelnuts.
We went from Samsun to Kumbasi, 75nm up the coast, which was just a stopover and then on to Tirebolu. Half way between Kumbasi and Tirebolu was a very small island called Giresun where we were asked to complete a Circle of Love. There was a slight difference to this Circle of Love though as we were accompanied by a fighter jet on a training exercise, who circled above us several times, as well as doing some loop the loops and other stuff. It was amazing and the sound was so loud.
After all this excitement we carried on with our journey. On entering the harbour at Tirebolu we found that the starboard engine (the righthand one to you landlubbers) had no drive, we were near to the rocks at the entrance to the harbour so it was getting a bit worrying. We came out of the harbour back into clearer water, Ian stuck his snorkel on then head down into the water as we thought something may have caught around the propellor, no much worse than that the propellor was gone! We came in and rafted (tied along side) Dusk. This was a disaster, or so we thought. Would you believe, one of the boats in the Rally had a spare propellor, a little big, but it would do us for now until we could get a replacement.
Tirebolu brought a few days of overcast weather with rain and wind. Just to remind us of good ole blighty although Britain was sweltering at the time.
We were provided with another Turkish breakfast. The one is Gerze was good but this was something else. Ian was delighted as the eggs were fried. As well as all the usual bits for a Turkish breakfast we also had kuymak which is basically a cheese dip, which is a specialty of the region and then when we thought we couldn’t eat another thing up came some pide. The food was never ending and plenty of tea. The local mayor presented us “yabancilar” (foreigners to you and me) with a memorial plate which Tracey from Dusk accepted on our behalf.
After such a hearty breakfast we needed to burn off some of those calories so we were taken on a walking tour of the old town. One part had been painted by the residents and local artists and was very colourful.
We next visited a hazelnut factory which showed the process from the hazelnuts arriving at the factory, how they cracked the shells without breaking the nuts and a machine which picked out those within certain dimensions.
Our final visit of the day was to the Amber Tea factory which is a local co-operative established in 1988. Seeing the process of how the leaves from a tree become tea leaves for your cuppa made me appreciate the effort that has gone into it. Ian always appreciates his tea!