Immigration office, discoveries and being dinosaurs

While our boat guest, Jonathan’s brother Jack, had a few days stay in Istanbul to see the sights, we stayed on the boat and started the application process to extend our Turkish temporary residency visas.

Sunday moored at Viaport Marina

My tourist visa had almost run out and Jonathan’s three month extension of his temporary resident’s visa was also about to expire. The reason why we had different visas was that he had arrived in Turkey a few days ahead of me back in April when our year-long resident’s visas were still (only just) valid. He had to then renew his after his arrival in Turkey but was only allowed three months because our marina contract at Didim was about to run out.

Soon after we had applied on line (with the assistance of Attilla, our agent in Didim) we received a date for our interview which happened to be the day Jack was leaving Istanbul.

In the meantime there was of course, lots of boat jobs to do, one in particular that took up a fair amount of time for Jonathan – researching how to replace the window that had dropped out (

The empty space where the window was!

He found out that to obtain one from the manufacturer of our boat, a Lagoon 420, would cost almost 1,000 Euros (excluding shipping ) around $1500 Australian and would have had to come from the Netherlands. That was for one window – and we wanted to replace all four of our large cabin windows!

Apart from the cost, we were aware that there could be a hefty import tax to pay on top of that. We had also heard that getting items through customs was difficult and there were often long delays. So it was decided that we should try and get one made locally.

Jonathan’s excellent temporary repair

Jonathan used the Lagoon Owner’s Facebook site to find out whether other people had experienced the same problem and if so, what their solutions had been.

Surprisingly and rather worryingly, it seems to be a regular issue with Lagoons and we discovered that it is advisable to have Lagoon windows reseated after ten years!

We decided to have all of ours replaced and after quite a bit of research Jonathan found someone locally who could manufacture our windows from 15 mm thick Plexiglas. We also received some great advice from the adhesive manufacturer Sikaflex (the factory actually happens to be in Tuzla!) on exactly which adhesives should be used, in what sequence and exact timings. It was much more complicated than you’d expect.

Getting our new windows on board

Using computer aided design technology Evren, who was introduced to us by one of the marina’s helpful dock assistants, produced a perfect three dimensional plan for the windows. A week or two afterwards the finished windows were delivered – at the cost of roughly $850 Australian for all four!

Jonathan examining his new window

With more guests visiting soon we really needed to buy a bar fridge to replace the old one which no longer worked. So we found a very well priced locally made one on-line and then discovered a nearby store that stocked the one we had picked.

We found a shop that sells marine fridges

After a long hot walk we not only found the store and ordered the bar fridge but also discovered a brand new chandlery shop not far from the marina and a great hardware store owned by the British retail chain B&Q which sells supplies for home maintenance and gardening projects. A successful day of discovery!

Ours is actually smaller than this one but at least we have icy cold drinks
We discovered a good hardware store

We spent other days discovering everything about Tuzla – the suburb of Istanbul in which Viaport Marina sits.

The local Hamam (bath house)

We found some charming back streets with decaying Greek-style houses which looked as though were about to be renovated.

A charming but decaying Greek style house
A very elderly and dilapidated house
An ancient water fountain in Tuzla
Another house waiting to be renovated

On our walks we also discovered where the best fish and meze restaurants, shops and places of interest were located.

On our walks we founds the best places to eat
One of the excellent fish restaurants in Tuzla
As well as excellent fruit and vegetables this shop sells home made mezes, Branston Pickle and baked beans!
The population exchange museum was closed but we will visit it one day
The roller coaster is terrifying judging by the cries of “Allah Akbar” (equivalent of OMG in English) from the teenagers as they fly by

We enjoyed people-watching along the promenade – a lively place at night with people dancing, picnicking, riding bikes and scooters, busking and generally having fun.

We love people watching on the promenade
There’s often people dancing or singing
The younger children love this
mobile merry-go-round
You can try your hand at popping balloons
with a pellet gun (health and safety is rather more relaxed in Turkey)
Night drawing in
There’s even a a little train that on occasions runs along the promenade

One of the delights of Turkey is the care lavished on street cats and dogs. Along the seafront there are numerous “cat hotels” with food and water topped up each day by volunteers. The cats particularly get lots of cuddles too from young and old and really seem to enjoy the affection they receive.

A mumma cat and one of her babies
Big old street dogs are always very docile
One of the many cat “hotels” along
the promenade
A pale ginger cat saying “hello”
One of the many fine and healthy street cats
This one was waiting for a titbit
from a fisherman

We had a good few days with Jack after his Istanbul adventures and on his last night he treated us to a night at the movies – the latest in the Jurassic Park series. Three old dinosaurs watching a whole load of theropods like Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptors scrap with each other and meeting unpleasant ends at the hands of humans. An edifying experience!

Three dinosaurs watching a movie
about – dinosaurs!

Jack’s plane was scheduled to take off in the morning and our appointment at the Immigration office was at 9am and as the airport was very close to the office we were able to share a taxi. As always it was sad to say goodbye but will be meeting again in Australia before too long.

Our meeting at Immigration went very well although initially we had to queue up with hoards of people. I think they might have been seeking refugee protection status as they were guided to a different part of the building. Turkey hosts the world’s largest refugee population with 3.7 million Syrians under temporary protection and over 320,000 refugees and asylum-seekers under international protection. Take note other countries – you are not doing enough!

Queuing up to get into the Immigration building – there were several lines of people behind these barriers
Our queue for temporary residency
visas was the shortest

We were treated very courteously and embarrassingly, were moved to the head of the queue. When we questioned this someone in the line explained that in Turkey older people are treated with the utmost respect and this is why we had been given precedence. I suppose there are some advantages to growing older but really? Do we look that decrepit?!

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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.

2 thoughts on “Immigration office, discoveries and being dinosaurs”

  1. Ahoy there me hearties!

    Just to let you know, the two slow decrepit (used this word from time to time Dot, but never knew how to spell it! You may remember I was a bad speller at school?…) dinosaurs have just caught up on all your blogs!!

    The female dinosaur is booked in for a hip replacement on Friday 7th October!! 🙃
    Any tips?

    We enjoyed this light hearted trip around where you are staying and so many of the Greek influences there.
    In fact George and I were halfheartedly looking at a dilapidated property on Skopelos, looking much the same as some of the houses in your photos!

    Do you remember the families promenading along the seafront at weekends and all the stray cats?

    Jack and Talita have adopted two tabby strays from Rio, which they’ve had about two years and the Parry family have just adopted two three month old half Burmese black cats. This was very lucky for them as they come housetrained, but unlucky that the’ve been landed with a very expensive vets bill!!

    We always enjoy reading your mostly! jolly blogs and almost being there and tasting the food from your atmospheric photos!

    Bon Voyage! And hope the new windows are pukka !!

    Lots of love Sally&George x 😘x🤗x


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