Sea of Marmara
Canakalle to Gelibolu
Following wind that builds, 35+ knots for the final 8nm. Friendly shoreline where no industry to get past, and big lake conditions rather than open sea, so push on despite the beating. Can only hold rig for a few seconds at a time. A few hundred metres out waist-high chop to angle down, both hands up by boom clamp to dump all power, but too much to go far like this. Seek flatter water inshore, but snag a rock. Not a big snag - but the straw that breaks the donkey's back - and the fin tip is opened up like a blossomed flower. Many falls, soaking inside (great!) but now worn-out-and-no-longer-dry drysuit, board and sail separate due to (excellent but!) worn-out-and-no-longer-reliable mast extension...
Make it to Gelibou. First landfall I realise is inside a military compound. Head out for another 600m. More difficult landing with that chop crunching onto boulders every 2 seconds, crash land straight in at cost of some minor hull damage. Oh well. Reasonable result!
Not great camping here, but there is a patch of grass, and am overlooked by a hotel which adds to sense of security. Lots of rain overnight and wind switches to north, with corresponding temperature plummet.
In morning hotel people bring out coffee and some breakfast pastries. In north wind this is the protected side of peninsula. Howling windy and no question of sailing. So find a bar and borrow a fridge to stand on the fin as repair cures.
Sea of Marmara
Those nice hotel people bring breakfast again. Superficial tidying up of repairs. Upwind sailing. Within a few miles am out of The Dardanelles - which is(are?) lovely - and into the Sea of Marmara. The snow capped island of Marmara distant but visible. Sailing past barren and empty farmland. Bright sun turns bleak into beautiful. Occasional snowdrifts nestled into the hollows. First camp is by a small village south of Sarkoy.
There are a few souls here. None speak any English but the offer of tea by a morning passer-by is universally understood and welcome. Another good although cold day. Upwind sailing - but of the more profitable long tack then short tack variant. Reach Hoskoy, a fishing town. Haul board ashore next to a closed-up restaurant terrace. Inside the building are people: Memet, with sons and friends, all around a wood stove. There's a bit of floor allocated to me to sleep on. After a first dinner in town, I return to their shelter and share in fried fish and wine before bed, warm for the first time in days.
Following wind next day. The scenery changes to gentle mountains. Easy miles. Beyond the geological barrier is a more developed coastline with industrial ports. Beyond those, stop on a closed campsite just short of Yenice. Don't explore. Benefit of cold is butter in my supplies.
Yesterday half-paddle half-sail to reach Marmara Ereğlisi. A proper town. Can recharge batteries, sit in warmth with wifi. This morning return to same bar to write this update, with an eye on the clock, and another on the sea, that is rippled by a gentle headwind that will limit today's progress.
Istanbul now about 50nm. Have been considering strategy and been in contact with local windsurfers from Mimarsinan Windsurf Club. Will update in a future post.