Eregli to Guzelkent
Sail from Eregli SC with company of Erdinc and once outside harbour am alone in the light fog. Paddle into earshot of the lighthouse and then beyond until its lonely call sounds faint. Wind comes in on the nose for some miles sailed. By landing time am well positioned to slip into a previously identified cove. A truly beautiful spot. Many wild birds, whose songs do not appear dulled by the abundant plastic trash. My spirits though are slightly dimmed: awe for nature accompanied by regret for the lost pristine-ness of natural spaces. But fuck melancholy: that won't provoke change in how we live and how we consume. Better clear signals like these.
Kozlu / Zonguldak
The 6nm to Kozlu, which has become part of the wider Zonguldak sprawl, is a pleasure to paddle. Glassy water and light fog. Dolphins abundant. At the small sailing club in the port meet Ferruh, family and friends - who are lovely. We do breakfast together. Turks take breakfast seriously and the picnic table is a riot of colour, taste and vitamins. It's arranged that I am to stay in a 5 star hotel, and when we get there I get bumped to a top floor executive suite. I guess this is like a slightly toned down version of Trump Tower. The hotel itself is next to an artificial Niagara falls, where gravity is overcome by coal-generated electricity, so that water can cascade down an orphaned spike of rock. It couldn't look or be more wrong. The other side of the 'waterfall' is landfill where waste spills into the sea. Facades are not solutions.
Fog. Visibility from the altitude of the executive suite is nil. There is something quite awful about being locked away in the clouds, in this inert capsule, detached from the living planet. If decision makers spend their time in places like this no wonder they make poor decisions. Ferruh and pal take me back to the club and we have a relaxed time rigging the gear. The first miles are paddled. The water quality is poor. The landfill is being eaten into by the waves. Drains discharge foul-smelling water.
Beyond Zonguldak the water quality rapidly improves, as does the wind. There is some good upwind sailing to reach Filyos, for a nice beach camp beneath the castle.
Thank you Ferruh and family and sailing club friends. I enjoyed and appreciate the time that our paths crossed, and of course the hotel was welcome despite not being my usual thing.
There is a good following wind for most of the 20nm to Amazra. Taskin and friends from the sailing club guide me in through the islands to the larger of the two harbours. Upon landing there is a little crowd and TV interview and the mayor to meet. The hotel (I don't need hotels!) is more simply comfortable; the fish restaurant excellent. I love this little town. It is the sort I would draw on the pretend islands I imagined as a kid. Amazra's fortunate geography means that it is steeped in history too: Roman, Hellenic, Ottoman.
Kapisuyu (beach to east of)
An on-off headwind makes for slow going to a wild camp east of Kapisuyu. Downpour at end of day. Wild camp beach is bouldery and not great for sleeping. Lots of trash.
Another slow day. Paddle most of the way to Cide before a headwind chops up the sea: the slap and juddering vibration of the bow is as painful to bear as the scrape of nails on chalkboard. A long beach, then town, and a beach-front supermarket where I stop for supplies. Picnic on the pebbles. Am ready to sail when Erdin shows up. He's founder of the fledgling sailing club here. I am easily convinced to take a quick coffee. Out the window more rain. The pause becomes a stop. Hotel again. Even get some washing done. The Turkish sailing clubs are often quite amateur setups run by real enthusiasts. I applaud them!
Sun and warmth. The dolphins are happy too and today come say hello. Then some decent wind! Nautical miles 15 to 30 fly by before the wind stops. Then an hour is needed to reach land as white horses break around me and the wind goes in circles. I allow the sea to calm down then paddle to Inebolu in the last hour of light. The coastguard have tracked me here and we eat Kofta together. Nice pebbles to sleep on.
Tired after yesterday and no wind AM, but nice coffee and cake shop. Return to gear and local kids are keen to see something happen, so eventually decide to make an attempt. Paddle. Then some nice offshore wind with the inevitable rain allowing for some miles 'cheated'. Drone shows up before landing. Meet Semih the journalist on the beach at Abana. More good pebbles.
Breakfast with Semih and friends. Paddle. Semih gets some nice drone shots. Rain and OK wind for a few hours. Land at Guzelkent. Heavy rain. Horrific amount of plastic on beach. Landfill / waste dump on other side of river. Hoping to sleep on terrace of bar where I am writing this.
Turkey is beautiful: the coastline and the people. But I can't report that without also highlighting the environmental neglect. Better is so easily possible. These are mostly issues of priority.
Thanks to Semih for the video.