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Old 19-10-2005, 08:52   #1
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Help, Please - Greece and Turkey

I am planning to do a bit of a quick trip next April from Mallorca to Istanbul and the advice given so far indicates I may be able to complete this in 10 days provided the weather and officialdom hold up.

I plan to do a E'ly run across to Sicily - then onward via the Corinth Canal - inside Evia heading N'ly as far as I can get, then E across to the Dardanelles.

Has any one reading this cleared into Patras (Greece) and can share an opinion on facilities / ease with officials etc?

Patra is shown as a port of entry in the pilot books and it is conveniently en-route for Corinth Canal - but I hear one can waste lots of time clearing in.

And clearing also into Turkey itself.
Any practical advice on the best Turkish port of entry (best means easiest paperwork) along my route from Evia to Istambul?

Thanks in anticipation.

JOHN
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Old 20-10-2005, 10:56   #2
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Got some answers to share......

It seems I can clear into Patras with few problems - but to get a Greek Cruising Permit I will need to visit the authorities in the town centre as opposed to just dockside.
It seems the easiest Turkish port of entry from the Aegean is at Ayvalik where the marina has offered local assistance in getting the needed Turkish Permits promptly.

Passing this on just in case another has a similar future need......

JOHN
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Old 20-10-2005, 14:04   #3
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IIRC there is no problem going from Greece to Turkey, but Greece has been difficult with boats going in the other direction. furthermore they appear to continually coming up with new ways to be difficult so make sure the you get the latest advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
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Old 21-10-2005, 03:26   #4
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Thanks Talbot

It seems unlikely I'm going to be entering Greece from Turkey - at least not next year - so maybe by 2007 the ongoing diplomatic issues might be closer to a solution.
I'll keep me fingers crossed.
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Old 21-10-2005, 04:49   #5
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Clearing in and clearing out of a country is far less problematic as led to believe; difficulties are mostly self-inflicted:

1. Inform yourself about required documents, this is usually an internationally recognized ship-document, proof of insurance (the European "blue card"), crewlist, passports of all crew with valid visas if required and (if required by home-country of the vessel) license of the skipper, including VHF/shortwave-license if you have radio... you are set. Europeans do not carry guns, preferably do not bring any, if you think you must: declare them and have proof that you carry them legally, most likely they will be confiscated for your stay in the given country.

Some Americans find all this complicated... ever thought of what a foreign national has to go through to enter American waters...

2. Some countries (Croatia, Montenegro, Greece and others) charge for the right to use their waters, be aware of it, accept it and pay the fee or sail elsewhere.

3. Read handbooks, use official port of entries, know where the customs-dock is, where the police and the harbor-captain's office are. I had sailors complaining about "harsh treatment" after making landfall in a harbor that was not port of entry, this is like crossing a border illegaly, do not complain about problems after that.

3. Have all documents well organized when clearing in/out.

4. Treat officials with courtesy and respect; YOU are the guest here. If they give you a hard time... being rude in return will only make it worse. If they do not speak English, ask yourself, how much of their language do you speak...

5. Clearing in/out between Turkey and Greece is just like any other transition as long as you follow the rules. There are hundreds of yachts transiting between the two countries, particularly the Greek islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Kos and even Rhodos are so close to Turkey that even Charter boats frequently leave Greece for Turkey and vice versa.

6. Patras would likely not be your port of entry; by international maritime law the skipper should use the first port of entry after entering territorial waters, not the one that is most convenient unless an emergency dictates otherwise; arriving from Sicily your port of entry is likely Zakinthos (Zante).

Te Kyklades and Dodokanes are among the nicest sailing-areas; enjoy it.
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Old 24-10-2005, 02:59   #6
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Thanks

Hi Morski,

Agree with all the tips you've given.

But practical experience has shown me some officials in some locations are easier to deal with than in others - which was the purpose of my original inquiry.

Thanks also on the advice over 'Maritime Law' and port of entry - as I was actually not aware one was obliged to enter the first 'entry' port one passes on entering territorial waters.

I've always historically used the the one most convenient to my route - and never had an issue - understanding in each case it was the first place we stopped at in the country.

So would appreciate any reference point you can give me on this point of maritime law. My thanks in anticipation.

JOHN
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Old 24-10-2005, 04:47   #7
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@ swagman

Here it is from the (Greek) horse's mouth:

http://www.gnto.gr/pages.php?pageID=171&langID=2

Good time,
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Old 24-10-2005, 05:00   #8
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Thanks for the excellent link, Morski.

“.... Persons visiting the country on board of pleasure craft (passengers and crew) are checked at the port of arrival, and only then they may disembark on Greek soil. Spending the night outside the craft and remaining on land is officially considered an "entry" to Greek soil, and in that case regular passport control is required ... The following categories of visitors are subjected to passport control: ...(3) those who desire to spend the night on land. ”

Which suggests, to me, that like most places “innocent passage” is permitted in Greek waters. You clear customs, at the first port where you overnite off the boat. This seems like it might be more liberal that many places, that consider an "entry" to occur when you disembark (touch land) for any purpose.

Unless I’m mis-reading it ...

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Old 24-10-2005, 10:02   #9
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Yes Gord,

I read it as you do - which is the same understanding I've always had - and kept to when entering other EU countries.

My understanding was one clears in at the first port of call one chooses - provided one does not land / anchor elsewhere first in that country.

Morski - please correct us if we are wrong - but this text certainly does not back up your belief.

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Old 27-10-2005, 07:31   #10
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entering greece & turkey

I am well experienced in entering & leaving greece and turkey, actually just back from 4 months of sailing those waters.
In practice, you can cruise greek or turkish waters undisturbed even before you have entered formally and bought your Transit Log. Only in marinas and some major harbours will anyone ask for your papers, so that if situation calls for a night or two at anchor or in a remote village there will probably be no problem. Still, it is best to plan your first port in each of those countries to be an official port of entry and be through with the formalities. You will not be pressed to complete thr procedures on the first day, actually since Turkish officials have Sunday and Saturday off you might not be able to do it on those days, or be charged with Overtime dues.
Last may I arrived in Turkey on a Saturday and (following the advice of the harbourmaster!) took off the Q flag, remained with the courtesy flag and entered officially only in my next port of call. Again, I wouldn't do so if I had an alternative but one can always get off in those countries with a good explanation (and a pack of cigarettes, just in case).
Entering turkey will cost you 30 USD for the 6-months Transit Log, Greece about 45 Euro for the Log and other dues.
Marinas in Turkey will usually do the paperwork for you. In greece you'll have to do it yourself. allow for 3-6 hours for each procedure. Ask in the harbour/marina about the order in which you have to see the various officials - it varies from place to place. If you intend to leave early in the morning and therefor wish to do the clearance the evening before you may face problems - better say that you intend to leave at night. Nobody minds, but everyone needs to have their ar__ covered.
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Old 27-10-2005, 08:41   #11
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Thanks Idoled,

Exactly the sort of advice needed.

Regards
JOHN
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