Thank you Turkey! (Teşekkür ederim Türkiye!)

Anxiety levels during the time of Covid are high even amongst the most fortunate of us.

Jonathan and I feel exceptionally blessed to be on our boat in beautiful and fascinating Turkey. This week we feel doubly so, thanks to some generous and warmly given assistance we have received here in Finike with our application for a 12-month temporary residents visa.

“Sunday” tied up at Finike marina

Thanks first to Samet of Finike Yachting Shipping Agency who, after our unsuccessful attempt at making the initial on-line application, efficiently executed the process in just a few minutes and then magically had an appointment booked with the Turkish Immigration Department organised for just a few days later.

The online application form we filled in unsuccessfully

Samet then took us to Tarik’s car hire office and organised our transport. He also accompanied us to the Finike Marina Office to request an original copy of our marina contract.

To be honest after hearing from other yachties about having to get documents translated and the need to move between government departments in different parts of town, I felt quite anxious and wasn’t looking forward to this process at all.

It was therefore so helpful to have Samut’s advice and knowledge of exactly what the Immigration Office required. He just took all the stress away from getting everything organised!

View from the harbour wall
Finike from the marina

The day before we were to travel to Kemer for our appointment we heard that we would need to take a pink file to Immigration for all our documentation. We were reminded instantly of our disastrous attempts to find pink files on the island of Belitung in Indonesia when we were trying to extend our visas there. There wasn’t a pink folder to to be had anywhere on the island! In the end, we and our friends from S/V Yantara arrived with orange ones (being the nearest to pink we could find!) and despite their protests, the Immigration officials did allow us to use them!

Just before we started to head for the shops in Finike to search for pink files we received a visit from Seda who works at Tarik’s car hire/tourism company.

Tarik’s details

She asked us to bring our passports and a list of other documents to the office just outside the marina so Tarik, the owner, could check we had everything required. I went to the office with Seda and was surprised but delighted to see that they had very thoughtfully provided us with the necessary pink files.

The hardstanding at Finike marina

They checked all of our documents, took photo copies and arranged each one in the correct order in the file. Finally Tarik reminded me to bring the originals of all our documents and to be at the end of our dock at 8.40am where he would be waiting to drive us to Kemer – just over an hour’s drive along the coast from Finike.

The drive to Kemer was very pleasant

The whole process on the day went extremely smoothly thanks to Tarik who drove us there and walked us to the Immigration Office from the car park. He then drove us on to the Taxation Office and even went in to pay the fees on our behalf.

Lovely mountain views on the way to Kemer
In the very comfortable mini bus on the way to the Immigration Office in Kemer

We were driven back to the Immigration office to show the proof of payment and were issued with a receipt and even given our Visa numbers so we could organise (after a six-day wait) our Covid vaccinations without waiting for our official “Ikamet” (residency) cards to arrive.

There was loads of room!

We feel so grateful to Turkey for allowing us to stay as temporary residents in the country during these difficult times, especially as it’s virtually impossible to go back to our “home” country of Australia.

Waiting to be seen at Immigration

Flights to Australia are prohibitively expensive (think many thousands of dollars) if you can get on one that is. This, combined with the strong likelihood of flight cancellations and with two-weeks quarantine in a hotel at your own cost, has made our return problematical to say the least.

The tax office where we had to pay the visa fees

It is so comforting knowing that we have the certainty of having somewhere we can stay in our floating home for the immediate future.

The resident cat at the tax office

Huge thanks to Samet, Tarik (and Seda) for all their assistance. Other than paying for the car hire we were given all this invaluable help and support without any charge. We are so grateful!

That isn’t snow in the distance, the blanket of white is from the hundreds of plastic roofs of green houses – ubiquitous in Antalya

Another highlight of the week was a lovely pot luck dinner with Catie and Michael from S/V Alyse and Giles and Julia from S/V Elisabeth.

Enjoying a Covid safe pot luck dinner
Time to go home, it was getting chilly!

A visit from the beautiful (and massive) resident turtle in the marina was also exciting . What a magnificent creature!

A big old Loggerhead Turtle lives at the marina
Such a beautiful creature

We have explored Finike a little more, watched the snow slowly beginning to melt on distant mountains, and had more encounters with the friendly marina dogs.

Lots of snow on the mountains in the distance
The snow is gradually disappearing
Pas Pas (Mop) the most elderly canine marina resident
This handsome doggie loves lying in the sun
In the meantime, young Emma is always on the move

Cemal (Jamal), the technical manager at the marina and the hydraulic engineer came to look at our passarelle (gangplank) which is leaking hydraulic fluid.

Looking into our leak
Luckily despite the leak it still works

We also enjoyed going to the massive Tuesday market with Heather and Robert from S/V Amorgos Blue and Cate. We bought lots of delicious things to enjoy through the week.

The massive covered market
So much wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables (even the bananas are grown in Turkey)
Lots of wonderful nuts and dried fruits
Nuts anyone?
Buying some gorgeous dried apricots

Thank you Turkey for making us so welcome!

Ducks paddling furiously upstream

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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