WE finished our Turkish adventure today with a cruise on The Bosphorus to take in the view of this metropolis from the famous stretch of water that divides Asia and Europe.
For a peaceful hour we followed the curves of the coast, looking at the elegant old houses that line the shore, and keeping clear of the ships making for the Black Sea which was only a few kilometres from where we were sailing.
We noticed that all the ships were sailing in one direction, towards the Black Sea, and our guide for the cruise told us that was because each 24-hour day was divided into two blocks to ensure the safety of the maritime traffic.
It seems The Bosphorus – which links with the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles to form the Turkish Strait – is the “world’s narrowest strait for international navigation’’ and desperate times call for desperate measures.
When the ships are allowed to sail in every direction at the same time there are too many accidents, with some prangs so severe that the damaged ships sailed into the shore crashing into the expensive houses that line the coast.
So, for 12 hours a day, the ships sail in one direction, and for the next 12 hours they go in the other.
After much consideration the Turkish government decided it was cheaper to pay the ship’s owners to have their vessels anchored in the shadows of Istanbul or the protected water of the Black Sea, waiting for the necessary block to open they need than it is to clean up the damage after a bingle.