One of the windiest spots in this part of the world – Alaçatı – didn’t disappoint. After a great sail from Sığacak we arrived at Turkey’s windsurfing capital to find a good breeze blowing.
Alaçatı is in the province of Çeşme, located in Western Turkey and a short ride from the country’s third largest city of Izmir.
The protected bay is a windsurfer’s paradise (apparently the wind blows consistently for more than 300 days a year) but there is more to this place than wind and holiday resorts.
A short taxi ride away was the delightful old town of Alaçatı with its cobblestone streets, colourful laneways, brightly painted stone houses that have been turned into boutique hotels and boarding houses.
There were many, many restaurants but also little shops selling art, jewellery and all kinds of bric a brac.
We found one little workshop/store which was making and selling beautiful pens made from blown glass. Such an unusual product that would make a unique gift.
We noticed that the graceful Alacati Market Mosque had a plaque with Greek writing on it and discovered that it was originally built as a Greek church in 1874 but became a mosque immediately after the proclamation of the republic of Turkey in 1923.
In the centre of Alaçatı there are many houses from the Ottoman period and the ones that belonged to the Greeks are distinguishable by their enclosed balcony areas, that are often painted lilac or a shade of pale blue.
The wind was blowing quite strongly and we were just a little concerned about our boats (Catabella and Sunday) so we decided to go back to check them out.
All was well so we the Sunday crew (us and our Australian guest Jackie) had a meal at the resort where we left the dinghy.
The next day we went to fill up with diesel at the bowser in the marina – carefully avoiding the many wind surfers ( beginners and experts!) as we motored in. We were amazed to see the speed at which the new style “foiling” windsurfers travelled. Even more amazing was to see how they travelled completely off the water except for the foil underneath the board.
Then we were off headed for Çeşme, a resort town famous for its restored Ottoman castle built as a precaution against further attacks after it was invaded in 1472 and again in 1501.
On the way we encountered a NATO warship which announced its presence on our chart plotter’s AIS (automatic identification system) in no uncertain terms.
It was only a quick hop to Çeşme where we anchored round the corner from the town in sheltered Dalyan Koyu as Cesme Bay was too open to swell and wind.
We were surprised to receive a visit from our friends Liz and Steve from Liberte who, we found out, were anchored in the same bay as Sunday and Catabella, although we hadn’t noticed their boat when we first anchored.
The following day we decided to walk into Çeşme town as we hadn’t given our legs a good stretch for a while.
It was well worth the hike as the castle was very interesting and had a great little museum which had a display about the 1770, Ottoman-Russian Naval War, of which I knew nothing about previously (I have to confess that I hadn’t even heard of it!)
We had a few lovely get togethers on board with the crews of Catabella and Liberte before leaving for our next destination – Foca.