Destination Viaport Marina Istanbul: Inauspicious arrival

We (S/V Sunday and our buddy boat S/V Catabella) were finally arriving at our destination – Viaport Marina in Tuzla, Istanbul – which is going to be our base until the first half of 2023.

This research vessel is anchored close to Viaport Marina

With the promise of quite a few visitors arriving in the coming months – after a dearth of guests over the last two years due to Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions – we thought it would be a great idea to be somewhere easy to get to from anywhere in the world.

S/V Catabella is greeted at the entrance to Viaport Marina

Viaport Marina is a twenty minute taxi ride away from Istanbul’s second airport and has plenty of appeal for people coming on holiday: easy access by boat to the nearby Prince’s Archipelago and the Bosphorus Strait; a train line into centre of Istanbul for sightseeing, a shopping mall on the door step complete with water park, aquarium, funfair, lion park, bowling alley and cinema and some lovely sea food restaurants a stroll away.

Viaport Marina has plenty of appeal for people coming on holiday
There is even a massive water park

We were greeted by the marinaras, as is usual in Turkish marinas, who pick up the “slime lines” that are anchored to the seabed and to which you tie to your own lines at the bow. Monohulls only need one line but catamarans like ours require two – one for each hull.

Quite the welcoming committee!

Unfortunately they expected us to manage with one slime line each and then one to share between us. This effectively meant we were tied together and the result was that it was impossible for either boat to straighten up properly.

We requested that we have a second line for each boat but the head marinara seemed reluctant to do this. A young marinara, Mehmet, who spoke brilliant English translated for us and he told us that they needed permission to do this. In the meantime the wind started to blow up and our two boats started to act like kittens in a sack (or like cats on a shared line!). Both skippers lost the plot and demanded action before damage was caused “act now and ask permission afterwards” entreated Sunday’s skipper. Both skippers said if there was no action we would leave the marina immediately and not come back.

Mehmet translated for us

At this point our dinghy which hangs off the back of the boat was banging against the fire hydrant and hose on the dock which we pointed out as one urgent reason for action. In the end we were given our own lines and we were able to settle our boats properly. It was an inauspicious start to our stay.

Our dinghy which hangs off the back of the boat was banging against the fire hydrant

Things got better from then on fortunately. Mehmet was able to help organise a diver to scrub Sunday’s hull below the waterline to get rid of all the little sea snails, limpets and other sea life that had attached to her “bottom”.

The diver scrubbed Sunday’s bottom
Mehmet (right) and the diver

The following day we went to the office and signed the contract and paid the balance of the annual fee.

Kittens in the Viaport Marina office

We had a couple of days to get our bearings before heading off on a road trip with our guest Jack, Jonathan’s brother. Unfortunately he had come down with a very nasty chest cold and had been ill for about a week. We decided a road trip is what he needed!

It was strange being in a marina with so much going on – even robots for hire!
The children have a great time
driving these around!

After some difficulty (it was the school summer break and a public holiday) we managed to hire a car. The day we headed off Sue and John left for a canal barge holiday in England with two of their sons and their two youngest grandchildren.

S/V Catabella and S/V Sunday happily settled

We decided to head for the famous ancient site of Troy – we had been there previously in the campervan but had spent so long at the museum that we didn’t have time to go round the archeological site. This time we were going to do both!

Jack and Jonathan waiting for the taxi to take us to the car hire place
Crossing the Bosphorus Strait
We saw so many sunflowers
More gorgeous sunflowers
Time for lunch. Çay was served in a large flask
Another restaurant in the shell of
an old airplane

On the way there we drove over the new 1915 Çanakkale Bridge – the longest suspension bridge in the world – that we had sailed under just a few days earlier.

The longest suspension bridge in the world

There were hardly any vehicles crossing over it – not surprising really as it costs more than 200 Turkish Lira (about 12 Euros or $16 Australian) which would be prohibitive to the average Turkish resident.

There were hardly any vehicles crossing over it
The toll would be prohibitive to the
average Turkish resident

The Troy museum is fabulous but we feel it is utterly wrong and absolutely heartbreaking that all the best treasures from Troy are sitting in museums in other countries (mostly in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow) – having been looted by antiquities hunter Heinrich Schliemann in the nineteenth century.

The Troy museum is fabulous
Some of the treasures plundered
by Schliemann
Heinrich Schliemann’s wife wearing some of the Trojan gold

The Museum of Troy still has many treasures to boast about however, including a wealth of artefacts from nearby Tumuli and other sites close to Troy.

The Museum of Troy still has many treasures such as this gorgeous sculpture of Aphrodite wearing snakes as jewellery
Some lovely animal models
I always enjoy seeing beautiful glassware
These lovely models caught my eye
Some good examples of ceramic vessels

After a great wander round the museum we returned to our lodgings – a small bed and breakfast place over the road from the museum which also caters for campers and one or two vans.

Our home for the night
This is where dinner was served

We had a good set dinner and then settled in for a red wine or two in Jonathan’s and my bedroom!

The site of Troy was a pleasant surprise. We had somehow gathered that there wasn’t much left to see (Schliemann had destroyed layer upon layer of evidence of habitation in his frenzied search for treasure) but in reality the ruins were very interesting.

A big model of the famous Trojan horse
This is known as the Schliemann trench but there is some doubt as to whether this is where he discovered the historic treasure

There are a remarkable eleven layers and sub layers (each with sub divisions) containing the remains left behind by more than three millennia of human occupation.

This site contains remains left behind by more than three millennia of human occupation.
The Sanctuary of Athena
Some of the remains have been partially reconstructed
The bouleuterion (council meeting place)

It was fascinating for example, to see fortification walls built around 2920 BC, and then a partially restored ramp which dates back to the next incarnation of Troy, and built over the remains of the original city. Fascinating stuff.

Part of the fortification wall from the
original city of Troy
Later fortification walls
The walkways allowed us to get an excellent view of the remains
The partially restored ramp which dates back to the next incarnation of Troy
Another view of the ramp
An artist’s impression of the ramp
and the city entrance

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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.

3 thoughts on “Destination Viaport Marina Istanbul: Inauspicious arrival”

  1. Dear DottieHow are you? From your blog it sounds like everything is really good.Something weird happened earlier… I was reading your latest blog about Galipoli


    1. Hi Jackie, yes thank you everything is really good thanks. Still in Turkey but making a move to Greece and onwards early next year. How are things with you? Still waiting to hear what the weird thing was ha ha!! Any news from Sally? Lots of love xxx


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