We left the western end of
We finally anchored in
We left the western end of
We finally anchored in
We have spent the last few days reading and relaxing. When the weather permits we will set off for
It was at least 2 hours before the marina staff arrived at our boat with a group of officials. They informed us that we would have to leave immediately. The officials were reluctant to provide an explanation. After we pressed the most senior man to give a reason he said that we had not radioed the port when we entered Syrian waters. We told him that this was not correct; Nic had contacted the port 5 times on our approach. This was never mentioned again.
We discussed the situation with Maissa from the marina. She assured us that we had done nothing incorrect or illegal. We also tried to explain to the officials that:
For all of these reasons to depart immediately would put us and Irony at risk. The officials were utterly unsympathetic and insisted we leave immediately unwilling to consider the dangers in such a situation. Nic told them we would require an extra crew and compensation for their sending us on a three day, 200 mile round trip when we were already exhausted and now wanted to send us out again .They laughed and said that we had entered illegally (blatantly untrue) and therefore had no rights. The discussions continued and a vehicle was brought to the quay and we were advised that if we did not leave the situation would “escalate”. The implication was that we would be arrested.
We continued to ask what we had done wrong. The next reason given was that we had not notified them of our arrival 24 hours in advance. This was also untrue; we emailed the Syrian Yacht Club on Saturday evening and have a reply from Maissa welcoming us again to Syria! Apparently Maissa did not manage to get the required form to the officials until Monday morning, their fax was broken which they did not deny. Clearly this was not our fault.
We also continued to ask why we were instructed to make a 200 mile round trip to
We telephoned the British consul in
I asked to speak to the person giving the directive for us to leave, requesting the opportunity to put our case to him face to face or on the telephone as a reasonable man. I was refused, he was too important.
Finally we persuaded them to bring a tanker to refuel. The marina office provided some weather information which showed that the wind was not favourable for us to reach our next port of call. 2 guards were posted by our boat.
Eventually I managed to speak to the Syrian Consul in
We left Latakia on Tuesday morning 12th June,
It is now obvious that we were never going to be allowed entry. It is quite dishonest and disgraceful that we were not advised this on our first arrival. To tell us to make a 200 mile journey under false pretences is dishonourable and dangerous.
We cannot find words to express our outrage at this experience. We have been planning our visit to We have been treated as if we are a commercial ship not a pleasure craft, our crime was anchoring and not obtaining receipts! It would appear that the underlying problem, despite our written assurances to the contrary, was that we might have taken our boat to The irony of the situation is that we could take our boat to
We cannot find words to express our outrage at this experience. We have been planning our visit to
We have been treated as if we are a commercial ship not a pleasure craft, our crime was anchoring and not obtaining receipts! It would appear that the underlying problem, despite our written assurances to the contrary, was that we might have taken our boat to
The irony of the situation is that we could take our boat to
We had a fantastic sail 95miles across to
It goes without saying that we are going to contact everyone we can think of to complain about this debacle. They are completely mad to send us off on a 200 mile round trip for a rubber stamp. There is absolutely no problem with issuing our visas and allowing us to travel in the country, the only problem was with Irony sitting on the concrete pier for around 7 days! So much for encouraging tourism in
Once moored we started the check-in process and that’s where the problems began…
Our last port of call was
The negotiations went on all day long and by the afternoon we had a posse of around 10 people next to our boat. The problem was not with us, they were happy to issue our visas and let us enter the country, the problem was with Irony! The marina staff, immigration & customs officials etc were all touchingly helpful and friendly. They did everything in their power to sort things out. Unfortunately they could not persuade the higher power (we believe it was the harbourmaster) to concede. We presented receipts from Mandraki marina, showed our track on the laptop of our passage, etc etc. All to no avail.
We were told at around 15:30 that we would have to leave by 18:00, sail to Iskenderum in
We refused to leave without fuelling, as we did not have sufficient fuel for the journey, to be told it was too late in the day. This resulted in further hours of negotiations. An engineer came on board to check on the fuel in our tank and to calculate our fuel consumption (basically calling us liars). Finally they brought a tanker in and we got 200 litres (approx $0.175/litre!!!). By this time it was around 22:00 and they still were insisting we leave. In exhaustion and stress I broke into tears as we were about to start the engine and depart! Nic said all the men on shore were devastated and this prompted the next attempts to resolve the situation. They got Nic to radio Latakia port control to request remaining until daylight. By this time the uncompromising official must have gone home because they allowed us to spend the night.
The next morning we threw our lines just before 09:00, feeling somewhat better for some sleep and some food.
This morning we visited a fabulous cave in Gokkaya Limani with the dinghy. We then made our way around to Finike. On the way we passed an enormous turtle (his shell was at least a meter long) swimming on the surface. We set off for