Istanbul is a world class city of 17.5 million people spread across 2 continents. There are lots of tourism guides available and so this does not try to be one. Instead we cover two things:
- a yachtie’s guide to the transit of Istanbul
- a yachtie’s guide to the chandleries of Istanbul
If you think they are unrelated then you haven’t try either in Istanbul.
We are going to try and combine the two using KML/KMZ files as Istanbul addresses can be real brain twisters. Well, we just found out WordPress doesn’t allow us to provide KML or KMZ files for download. So this puts us on Plan B, which isn’t yet obvious…
As with anything in Istanbul, the transit system is something unto itself. The city is so big (over 15 million people), split on two sides of a sea (and spread over two continents) and has more types of transport than most other cities. The transit system works very well in Istanbul, although rush hour crowding is a fact of life. The transit system is very safe, clean and courteous. With phone apps for mapping the confusion level for the newcomer has been reduced greatly. It is advisable to put location markers on your mapping app prior to setting out. Istanbul is going through a major catharsis of road works and transit improvements and it is not uncommon for a route to be changed temporarily or even permanently. Also the local government seems to have a penchant for changing both street names and bus stop names. Also bus tops are often relocated to accommodate construction.
The two main transit websites we found are:
- IETT (Istanbul Elektrik, Tünel, Tramvay Isletmesi) which is the greater Istanbul Transit authority
- Buradanoraya which is an alternate tranist planning site
Both facilities have a phone app available, and both offer services at least partly in English.
The main destination from Yalova, if looking for chandlery has to be the Asian side via Pendik. Pendik has a large marina (larger than Yalova) and until December 2013 there was a well stocked chandlery in the marina. It then left the marina and apparently operates as mail order only from a warehouse in greater Istanbul.
This leaves the following options for chandlery, once you have arrived at Pendik:
The best chandlery we found in Istanbul. It is 10 minutes walk from the NE from Göztepe Metro stop. Also the Ü20 bus between Kadiköy and Ümraniye stops at the Göztepe Metro stop. A large bilingual catalogue and medium size display area, the staff speak no language except Turkish but the managers do and are quite happy to help.
A family run chandlery in Tuzla (the suburb east of Pendik). One of a number of chandleries clustered outside the massive shipyards at Tusla. The staff are tri- and quadralingual (Turkish, English, German, Russian). The website is bilingual with Turkish and English. The easiest way to get to is by taxi from Pendik Ido ferry terminal.
West Marine (now East Marine)
A franchise of the American West Marine brought to Turkey in 2008 by the Koç family (who own the Setur marina chain), in 2015 they changed the name to East Marine. Located in Kartal on Çetin Emeç Boulevard which is the expressway running along the water from Pendik to Kadiköy. As the West Marine the staff seem to have little interest in marine activities and spoke no language other than Turkish when we were there. Located beside a large Migros food store, easily visible from the road, the bus stop is called “Trabzon Spor” on the 100 bus route. With the change of name it is no longer clear if they will continue to stock the range of West Marine products. When they offered products from the West Marine catalogue you could point at something and they would find it. But if they no longer are associated with West Marine then it may be problematic to shop at. Their display and stock areas were the largest of any store in Istanbul.
Once in the Pendik marina, their website once was bilingual with Turkish and English. As they gave up their retail premises they also seemed to give up their bilingual nature. Even Turkish boat owners are not sure how to contact them.
One of the interesting things is there is a plethora of small marine dealers scattered around Istanbul. Funnily enough there seems to be no expectation of them that they be anywhere near the water. Hence you might find the Turkish dealer for the product you seek, and they may be in the middle of a city of 17 million people without even a view of the water. The scale of Istanbul is staggering and the local Turk usually has no better idea than you of how to get to somewhere outside his local area. Hence people are always asking directions and extremely willing to answer queries for directions. Seeking out the smaller outlets in Istanbul will certainly show you the city and you will meet an endless procession of friendly and obliging people. See the first section here for details on navigating Istanbul.
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