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Mersin, Turkey - Informal Information

By Val Ellis last modified May 30, 2010 08:06 AM

Published: 2010-05-30 08:06:28
Countries: Turkey

Posted 24th May 2010

Our thanks to Ian Strathcarron of s/y Vasco da Gama for this report.

There are two berthing options in Mersin, the new marina 5 miles to the west of the city and the fishing harbour near the centre. The marina is still a concrete wasteland, the long pontoons unburdened by water pipes and electric cables. The year before last it was supposed to have been finished last year; last year, this year, and this year, next year. There are no facilities of any kind ashore either, and the surrounding neighbourhood is drab to put it kindly. Shelter is good, there is a security post at the entrance, just next to an enormous gap in the gate: the quays are full of fishermen. The main – the only - point of berthing in the marina would be to use it as a safe haven to visit the sites inland.

The fishing harbour – an inner harbour in the SW corner of the main commercial harbour - is much better placed, but it is resoundingly a fishing boat and day-tripper disco gulet harbour rather than a yacht harbour. In theory there are a few visitors berths on the SW quay, but in practise these tend to be full of local Turkish motorboats, many so full of plants on the deck and below the waterline that one suspects visitors will have a long wait. If you are unlucky with berths on the quay one can raft up to one of the unused fishing boats on the north side and scramble ashore.

The adjoining funfair screams and tannoys in the background and the disco gulets throb sensitively into the next day. Electricity and water supplies are shared around with great enthusiasm, mostly when the rightful owner is away. There are no shore facilities as such; this is very much a working harbour. The harbour is a floating rubbish dump, but it bustles with eastern Mediterranean flavours and gusto, and of course the usual wonderful Turkish hospitality and good humour. The city centre is only ten minutes walk away; there is a small covered souk, many 3G dongle shops and the usual array of good food in markets and restaurants.

The Harbour Office overlooks the fishing harbour entrance and is the signing-in point. It is closed weekends. The Transit Log paperwork has now all been transferred to a new complex in the Mersin International Port (MIP) offices on the north east side of the main harbour, two miles from the fishing harbour. Ask for the Harbourmaster’s (liman başkanligi) office; the health office is next door and the immigration office in the ferry terminal opposite. Customs is through the main gate under the big MIP sign between the Harbourmaster and immigration. They are used to us!

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