I have transited the Dardanelles many times but always at night.  Today I had the opportunity to make the passage in daylight and bright sunshine. Wonderful.

Turkish war memorial. Photo Ray Penson
Turkish war memorial. Photo Ray Penson

We entered the northern end of the Dardanelles from the Sea of Marmara at daybreak and the blinking lights on shore gradually turned into recognisable structures and landmarks.  The straits have traffic separation lanes, just like a motorway, with southbound ships keeping to the lane on the western side.  Pilotage is not compulsory so we headed
south without delay.

The highlight of the Dardanelles is passing Canakkale where the strait narrows and turns.  On shore either side are impressive castles, the sense of history about the place is very powerful.  On the eastern shore at the town of Canakkale can be seen the Trojan Horse.  Canakkale looks like an interesting place and I would like the opportunity to visit sometime.

Castle at Canakkale. Photo Ray Penson
Castle at Canakkale. Photo Ray Penson

After passing Canakkale the Dardanelles open out into a wide strait heading westwards towards the Aegean Sea.  On the north shore is the impressive Turkish War memorial and the biggest flag you will ever see. The Turks seem to be fond of large National Flags, they can be seen painted on hillsides, flying from bridges and just about any tall structure.

Slightly inland can be seen the French war memorial and further along the coast the British war memorial.  It makes you wonder about the logic of expending so much effort and losing so many lives fighting over a featureless, barren piece of dirt.

Once out of the Dardanelles we turned south, helped along by a strong northerly wind in sparkling seas.  Our next stop is Gibraltar where we will load some more fuel to get us across the Atlantic.  We should be in Gibraltar in about eight days.

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