catalogue team at Alaçati Windsurfers' Paradise
2000 Catalogue Image Gallery
you think, "legendary windsurf hot spots always have
to be thousands of kilometers away, and have waves
rushing into Caribbean bays", right? Then think again,
because there are actually some great windsurfing
spots within close reach, so you don't have to sit
in a plane for days!
A few days ago I called Thorsten
Indra to plan a windsurf-trip together. This time,
we came up with three possible destinations to choose
from - the Canary Islands, Greece, and Turkey. I had
a few days to think about it, and it slowly became
clear where we should go. Greece would be windy, but
the islands are overrun by tourists at this time of
year (July). Canaries did not sound too exciting,
since I had been there often already. I hadn't really
been to Turkey yet, though - that would be something
new. But I had hesitations: would not the Ocalan situation
makes it unsafe? Whatever, I thought, I have windsurfed
amongst sharks and whales - this thing shouldn't stop
me! So I get back in touch with Thorsten and my windsurf
buddy Axel Reese to let them know: Turkey is on. Then I
remembered that Harry Nass, an old racer friend of
mine, runs a Windsurf Center in Alacati, down the
coast from Izmir. A
while ago he had left me his business card and I promised
him to stop by sometime - and now seemed to be the
time. I send him an e-mail, and we were on our way.
We left from Munich. The airplane
was packed with Turkish families returning home for
summer vacation. At least we won't get bored, with
kids, pets, and parents running up and down the aisle.
Finally we landed - and I actually expected throngs
of people and baggage carriers to hassle me in Izmir.
But I was pleasantly surprised to see things running
smoothly, people doing their job, and all of our luggage
arriving on the belt. Oliver, the surfschool manager,
picks us up on time, complete with an old, battered,
but functioning truck for all our gear. The trip takes
about an hour. Oliver fills us in a bit on how things
work in Turkey, and gives us a few tips which proved
very useful during our stay. Right from the beginning,
Oliver took good care of us, put the surf station
at our disposal, and was a great guide to the secret
spots and the restaurants in the area. The landscape
passing by outside the dusty truck window is very
dry with only few plants. That same unique smell I
remember from Sardinia hits my nose again - until
then, I hadn't found it anywhere else in the world.
We finally arrived at the Surf Center. I was surprised
to find an extensive grassy area surrounded by 3 surf-centers
and a cute restaurant complete with an open terrace
overlooking the sea. There was even a beach volleyball
court and many lounge chairs just waiting to be used
for soaking up the sun and relaxing. All the buildings
are made of wood, giving them a look that fits right
into the natural surroundings.
main windsurf-spot is a U-shaped bay with side-shore
wind from the left (the northwest "Meltemi"). The
wind blows through on its way out to sea and gets
reinforced by the venture effect as it passes between
the mountains. But there is no hint of danger - the
inlet is about three kilometers wide. In front of
the Surf Center is a 500 meter wide and 400 meter
long natural "swimming pool", chest-deep, where standing
is easy. Outside this shallow area the water color
turns to a deeper blue as nice as the Aegean sky.
In the morning, Alacati is an ideal spot for beginners,
and advanced sailors who want to improve on their
jibes. As the land warms up toward the afternoon,
the wind kicks in, and everyone looking to try out
or refine freestyle moves is on the water. The absolutely
flat water in the "swimming pool" and the steady wind
make for an ideal playground to practice your maneuvers.
You can fully concentrate on your sailing without
worrying about choppy water throwing you off. People,
try out whatever you like: duck jibes, 360°s,
helicopter tacks, spin loops... Here you'll learn
fast and have a blast while you're at it. If you are
into catching some air, just cruise out to the dark
water, where you'll find choppy water similar to that
of Lake Garda - ideal conditions for all air tricks
- willy skippers, volcans, etc. While I was there
I used sails sized 6.2 - 4.5qm- 20 out of 21 days!!
Not bad, heh!? And don't forget that I left Munich
at 8am and was on the water by 2pm! Alacati is definitely
the most consistently windy and safest spot in the
Mediterranean Sea. From June to September the "Meltemi"
blows steadily. In April, May and October, the "Poiras"
wind blows from the opposite direction and gives Alacati
even a bit of waves that can reach 2 meters in the
stayed in a hotel about 7 kilometers from the Surf
Center- a very nice facility complete with swimming
pool and tennis courts. The grounds lie directly on
the sea in the bay of llica. The Meltemi also blows
here - onshore, but that makes for a bit of beach
break at least. Only disadvantage: the many swimmers
and vacationers. An great shuttle service was provided
3 times a day between the surrounding hotels and the
windsurfing beach. The locals: The people we met were
extremely nice and very ready to be of assistance.
Their helpful attitude comes straight from the heart,
and the locals are immediately offended when someone
refuses their hospitality. Tips are unheard of, and
no one is pushing you to buy some random souvenir
- quite contrary to what we experienced in Egypt.
Concerning the Ocalan situation, we weren't affected
at all. And the earthquakes, We left just in time.
What is there to see? Cesme - the capital of the so-called
Donkey Peninsula, llica, and Alacati are all important
centers for tourists. Cesme is situated in a very
beautiful bay about 10 kilometers from the Surf Center.
Here the ferries from Italy and Greece pull in. Filled
with small shops that pour out onto the streets, the
town caters to tourists. In the evening, the town
is alive with live music in the main square, and locals
and tourists alike crowding into the local pubs inside
the city wail.
translated to English means "thermal bath". Here in
the bay are the sources of over 16 warm water springs
that originate deep underground. In the harbor, you
can relax in the thermal waters that can reach 42°
C. Ilica is also where you will find most of the big
hotels, as it offers a long sandy beach with warm
water for swimming. Alacati is worth a closer look.
Time seems to have stopped here. Evenings, the women
knit on the front steps of old houses that line narrow
alleys, while the men go to the local pubs to play
a game sort of like dominos and drink the native Turkish
coffee and teas. The Saturday market there is a must
- mountains of fruit' vegetables, spices, and fish
tempt the eyes and nose. Of course, you can also get
great deals on clothing and linens.
Turkey offers more than just
It is rich in culture, and some of the places to see
are Istanbul, Troy, Ephesus, Antalya, and Pamukkale.
We chose to visit Ephesus. This ancient Greek and
Roman city is amazingly intact and gives a real taste
of how people in the early AD's lived. Just two hours
away from Alacati, it is well worth the time. All
in all, I can say that I enjoyed Turkey and I think
I'll make it there again sometime. So, windsurfers,
I know that you like white, sandy bays lined with
palm trees, breaking waves, and day-long flights,
but you should check out Alacati - you won't be disappointed.
Words of a Freerider!
Friday from Munich
Turkish, but German and some English is also understood.
value of the Turkish Lira fluctuates drastically,
as inflation ranges from 60 - 70%. During our trip,
220,000 Lira equaled 1 DM. Be prepared to be faced
with many zeroes, otherwise you will be immediately
shocked by the 6-digit bill from the waiter. Best
is to bring small bills in western currency (DM, USD),
and exchange to Liras in the hotels or banks.
The hotels are very clean and well-kept. Recommended:
a room with air conditioning, or a can of mosquito
Renting cars is no bargain. Plan on spending around
70DM per day; best is to arrange rental out of Izmir.
Or opt for a Scooter - just 25 DM per day.
If Turkish food is new to you, you will need to quickly
get used to a spicy, well seasoned variety. For a
change, try the pizzerias or the local fish restaurants.
Dry and warm. The refreshing wind makes the Donkey
Peninsuia one of the most pleasant places in Turkey,
especially in the Summer. Nights are cool, and, when
the wind dies down, bring mosquitoes.
Don't drink the tap water. Water in the hotels is
outrageously marked up.
GSM worked without a problem.
The three windsurf centers are well stocked with the
latest equipment. Fanatic/Art Center (Surf & Action
Company), F2/Neil Pryde Center (Happy Sun&Fun) and
Mistral Naish Center (run by Locals).
Translation: Sarah and Thorsten Indra
Photos: Thorsten Indra
article was written when Harry Nass was stationed at
Alacati Windsurfers' Paradise.
© HIFLY, Images
published under HiFly
's kind permission.
2000 Catalogue Image Gallery