Team Stella upset the Customs man.

We’d dropped the Seadogs off at the airport and were on our way back to Antalya, when I had a bit of a brainwave that was going to turn into a bit of a headache for us. 

We had to buy a new transit log for Stella (Turkish boat papers that allow you to sail in Turkish waters). The marina in Antalya wanted 80 euros to get the paper work for us. But we knew that in Fethiye it was cheaper because you can actually get the papers yourself rather than use an agent, which bumps the cost up. 

As we were passing by Fethiye it seemed a logical step to stop off there and try and get the papers sorted. Oh how wrong can you be!

First we visited the harbourmasters office to explain what we were trying to do. She directed us to the Chamber of Shipping to buy the new transit log, which we duly did. 

Then it was back to the harbourmaster for her to fill in the transit log and register it. For this there was a charge of about £6, not a problem we thought. Until we realised that the harbourmaster won’t take cash. You have to go to a specific bank pay the money in there then take your receipt and go back to the harbourmaster. 

They were queuing out the door to get into the bank and the ‘take a ticket and wait system’ seemed completely random. One and a half hours later we’d paid our £6 and had our receipt. So we hot tailed it back to the harbourmaster. We waited our turn in the queue there then she started to complete our transit log. Now at no point, did she actually ask us where the boat was and it has to be said we didn’t volunteer the information. Once she’d completed her bit she gave us the transit log and told us to go to Customs, we thought this was a bit strange and the boat hadn’t been out of Turkey (officially) we were merely renewing the papers. But we did as we were told and toodled off to Customs. The time was getting on and we knew the office shut at 5.30pm. 

The Customs man had possibly been having a bad day then we turned up. He asked us where the boat was and after some vagueness on my part. I told him it was in Antalya. At this point he went Turkish bananas, he took all our papers and our passports. He was ranting and raving in Turkish (gestures were made to handcuffs). The gist of it appeared to be that the boat had to be in Fethiye if we wanted to renew papers there. He gave us back our passports and the old transit log (which had a week left on it) and told us (through an interpreter) if we bought the boat up to Fethiye he would let us have the new transit log back. So that hadn’t gone quite as well as I’d hoped. 

We still had the 4 hour drive back to Antalya and didn’t get back to the boat until 9pm minus our new transit log. We had a week left on the old log and thought that’d be plenty of time to get back up to Fethiye, we were heading there anyway to help chums Ian and Mandy celebrate their recent wedding Turkey stylie.

The day after the Seadogs Seniors left the heavens opened up and the rain came and it came and it came and with it it brought it’s mate Mr Thunder & Mrs Lightening. So we stayed another night in   the marina. 

The day after that we left and spent a night at anchor in Cinevis bay. Then we did a 53 mile jump to Kas as we knew there was more bad weather coming. We planned to hold up there for a couple of days then do another big hop straight to Fethiye and our transit log.

After 2 days held up in Kas bay, Ian and Mandy arrived in the rain they were on their ‘Molimoon’ and had been on route to Kastellorizon for a pork chop but the rain was so bad they couldn’t see the island!
We all spent a further 3 days held up in Kas waiting for a weather window.

On the 14th September (day the transit log ran out) the weather window still hadn’t arrived but the coastguard did! Doing ‘boat paper checks’ it never rains but it pours matey’s.

They checked on Moli Mols first, Ian had had to put us on their crew list when we did the East Med Mini rally. The marina in Finike had told him it didn’t really matter that we were no longer on the boat. The Coastguard didn’t have the same view, there was talk of fines but luckily after a call to the marina the situation got sorted. On the upside Ian did get a ride in the coastguard rib to get his papers amended. 

Then they pulled up alongside Stella, we handed over our papers (due to run out that day) and our passports. Within 2 minutes they’d handed them back and said everything was in order. We nearly fell overboard. 

Glad they didn’t make the connection that the 2 extra names on Moli’s crew list were in fact the people on the boat next door in the bay. That could have been an awkward one to explain!

That night at midnight the wind dropped so we legged it. We arrived in Fethiye on the 15th. Went straight to the Customs office (he remembered us) and got our papers sorted. Luckily there was no fine just lots of very stern looks and heavy stamping with his official customs stamp. 

Team Stella are legit and waiting for some other chums to arrive for the 2nd wedding celebration that Ian and Mandy are having here in Fethiye. The first one was in the UK and we missed it. So very excited, will let you know how it went. 

Love and Lessons learnt The Desperados XX
Friday, 18 September 2009