Before Anzac Day: When we arrived in Kabatepe we sailed along the coast passed North Cove and then into Anzac Cove, the same beach the brave Australian soldiers landed on the 25th April, 95 years ago. Then we headed back to the Kabatepe fishing harbour where we tied to the quay and spent a few days relaxing before Anzac Day on April 25th. Prior to Anzac Day we had enjoyed some lovely walks through the Gallipoli Peninsular visiting some of the war cemeteries, including Lone Pine, Shell Green & Anzac Cove.
We had the privilege of walking through these areas without thousands of other tourists which was lovely, we really got to take out time viewing the graves and think about the amazing courage of our ANZAC soldiers and all that they sacrificed for us. We also enjoyed visiting the Kabatepe War Museum; they had some interesting displays of historical objects from Gallipoli in 1915 and some amazing photographs from the ANZAC campaign. Anzac Day –April 25th 2010: We left Sea Life in her berth in Kabatepe fishing harbour on Saturday afternoon 24th April at about 3pm to head to North Cove - the Anzac Day Commemorative Site. We slowly walked from Kabatepe harbour taking the secret and more scenic routes along the way that only we knew about.
We walked through peaceful pine forests with birds singing in the afternoon sunshine, away from the many hundreds of tours buses and thousands of tourists all trying to get there too. On the way we saw our favourite fields of yellow and white wildflowers, beautiful white cherry blossom trees, and precious burst of colourful red poppies scattered through the wildflowers. We walked along the beach for some of the journey and saw random red poppy gardens which looked so beautiful against the backdrop of the sea. We passed many Turkish police and soldiers along the way as the military and police presence suddenly increased everywhere around the quiet little fishing harbour of Kabatepe and the Gallipoli Peninsular since early Saturday morning.
They were all very friendly as we walked by their stations. We visited Shrapnel Valley cemetery, Puggies Plateau, Beach Cemetery and Ari Burnu Cemetery. We also stopped at Anzac Cove and stood on the beach that the first soldiers landed on in Gallipoli. Shrapnel Valley was one of the larger cemeteries we saw and had about 6 or more beautiful purple blossom trees all in the full bloom around the site. It really was a beautiful cemetery. We then walked about half a kilometre up a steep track to visit Puggies Plateau which was a small cemetery where many of the soldiers killed on the 25th April are buried as they were killed from when they landed and on the way to Lone Pine.
The late afternoon views over the coast, including Anzac & North Beach where absolutely stunning. It was well worth the more challenging walk up to the Plateau and not many tourists get the time to visit this site on their bus tours. The Beach (where John Simpson the solider with the donkey who rescued wounded soldiers is buried) & Ari Burnu Cemeteries were also very beautiful and close to the Agean Sea. Each of the cemeteries was very peaceful and well maintained with green lawns and beautiful colourful flowers next to the headstones. It was very special to be able to stand and read each headstone and think about the brave men who died so young to protect future generations of Australians. We found most of the men buried in the cemeteries were aged 20 -27 year old. We ourselves only saw one headstone of a young soldier who was aged 16 who would have lied about his age to enlist. It really had a powerful impact on me, as these men were all about the same age as me (I am 27) when they saw the horrible loss of war, their young friends dying all around them, knowing very well that they would have to be extremely lucky to survive the war themselves.
We then made our way to the massive security checkpoint area to gain admission to the commemorative area on North Beach. We saw all the set up areas from the view of Puggies Plateau. There were many hundreds of people making their way from their tour buses to the site and we realised then the awesomeness of the whole pilgrimage to this part of the world for Anzac Day. We had to go in separate lines men in one and women in the other to get through security and have our bags checked and walk through metal detector machines. There were lots of women compared to the number of men so I had to wait for some time to get through and Mark got through very quickly. But it was ok because I met some nice girls to chat to and we got lots of free little cakes while we were standing in line. When we entered we were given a fluoro green wrist band and a lovely little pack with some information booklets, a special 95th anniversary badge, postcard, and small poster of a famous painting of the landing at Gallipoli all in a very cute little Gallipoli enviro bag. A very nice, free souvenir to keep from our experience.
We found a nice place to sit and lay out our picnic goodies which we brought from home to see us through the evening. We caught up with two friends from Sydney in Australia who were also there. In our little picnic we had some yummy homemade Anzac biscuits which I had baked especially for Anzac Day, sandwiches, crackers, chocolate and chocolate bars, some juice and water. We had budgeted enough to get a hot snack for dinner and a cup of Apple tea later in the evening from the expensive (of course!) food stands. We had a lovely time chatting to our friends and watching a glorious sunset over North Beach and watching the beautiful light wash over the famous natural sphinx feature in the rugged mountains and terrain of the Gallipoli Peninsular behind us. The atmosphere was exciting and friendly with everyone smiling at each other and talking to strangers, helping each other find things or swapping information in a friendly chat. We shared this experience with thousands of other Australians and New Zealanders, and also Turkish people. As the night moved on and the air became more cool we rugged up with extra layers of clothes and thermals. Some people brought sleeping bags, pillows and blankets to keep warm and comfortable, however we preferred to rough it a little and do it like the Anzacs would have. We just had our clothes and sat on a garbage bag to keep dry and used our backpacks as a little rest pillow.
We enjoyed a kebab for dinner (after getting a good deal and bargaining of course!) and a cup of delicious Apple (Elma) tea later on. Of course the prices were about 3 or more times what we would normally pay in the local areas, but we didn’t mind considering the situation. We enjoyed an evening of very interesting documentaries and interviews, along with music by the New Zealand Defence Force & Royal Australian Navy bands and performances by a New Zealand Maori cultural group. The documentaries were wonderful to see, we learnt so many new things about the Anzacs and their Gallipoli campaign and the AE2 Australian submarine which successfully got into the Dardanelles (the first to ever do so) but was attacked and sunk with the crew captured by the Turks. The overnight experience of sleeping (well not really sleeping as we didn’t sleep but rather just patiently waiting for the Dawn service) was fun and something I am glad we did. It was cold (but not too bad as we are fairly well acclimatised and were dressed for the weather) and a little uncomfortable on the ground but also a great thing to do, an adventure to share with thousands of others. We felt like we were really living and doing something important for ourselves and our history was Australians just be simply being there. I had three layers of thermals on top and bottom and top layers of clothing over that, with thick socks, a warm padded snow jacket, a beanie and two layers of gloves on, I was pretty much snug as a little bug in a rug.
The dawn service (the international service) was very lovely and it was amazing to be standing with so many other Australian & New Zealanders (and Turkish people and others) to remember our fallen soldiers and the terrible war they fought there 95 years ago. The commemorative site is on North Beach where at dawn on 25th April 1915 Australian soldiers began landing on Gallipoli and also at Anzac Cove to the South of the headland nearby called Ari Burnu. We then packed up our things and made the trip by foot up to Lone Pine for the Australian Commemorative service. All the other tourists went on the main road in a mass, but we took the much more peaceful and special route via Ari Burnu Cemetery and along Anzac Cove beach, then up the track to the Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial site. We had to stop and strip off our many layers of thermal clothing along the way. It was a lovely walk up to Lone Pine with many beautiful and poignant views. We had to go through another security checkpoint before getting into Lone Pine at which we were both frisked by the security guards. They were a little rougher and touchy feely then other friskers we have encountered on our travels, but I suppose it was Anzac Day with thousands of tourists and important official guests present so we took it all in our stride. We had a nice elevated seat in a position where we could see the MC and all of the official guests and the Navy band, overlooking the beautiful memorial and cemetery with the Lone Pine tree in front of us.
We found the Lone Pine service to be particularly moving. We both got teary eyed during the beautiful service. A moment that I found very sad was when they spoke of a wonderful solider (similar to John Simpson with the donkey) called Private Edward Joseph Smalley who was a stretcher bearer for the wounded soldiers who did so much for the wounded and carried so many men to safety and medical help. When he was shot he refused help from the other men and simply said “Leave me, leave me I am done”. He knew there were many more men to be helped and saved and he obviously knew he was dying. How sad and tragic an end for such a young, brave solider. Another special moment was when we sang the national anthem, followed later by our famous “Walt Sing Matilda” and “We are Australian” much loved and well known national songs. At that moment after coming to Gallipoli, exploring the wild terrain the soldiers fought in, sleeping on the land in the cove they landed in and attending the services I felt very proud to be Australian. After the Lone Pine service, we had a look at the beautiful wreathes that had been placed on the memorial. Then we walked past the Turkish service which was underway and onto the famous Nek Cemetery. The Nek is famous as the area is a narrow ridge where on the morning of the 7th August four waves of 3rd Light Horsemen soldiers were shot down before they could even reach the enemy line. The Nek Cemetery was one of the sites I felt the most powerful reaction. When you see how small an area it was that the soldiers had to run across to get to the Turkish line, it is so incredibly short a distance and yet none of them made it. They had only their bayonets on their guns as weapons as their guns were unloaded. The soldiers knew they were going to die and yet they still had to climb the trenches and run towards the enemy.
It is hard to describe what it was like to stand at the Nek and think about the battle and the soldiers who were so brave and who died. There was definitely a very different type of feeling and energy in the Nek. We then found the Nek trenches the soldiers built back in 1915. To actually see the trenches, some still had old pieces of barbed wire around the edges. I actually found a very small piece of bone in one of the trenches which was very sad. We buried it and put a little yellow flower next to it and said “We will remember them, lest we forget”. That’s was a very surreal and sad moment. We also explored some of the trenches further back which were very overgrown with bush after all these years. The views around the Nek were beautiful. We also got to see the beach view of the landscape that that was behind the beach that the soldiers were meant to land on from the Nek. The terrain was much more flat compared with that of the areas closer to Anzac & North Coves. We also got a great view of this from the sea when we sailed past the whole coast and got to see close in the beaches and the landscape behind them. You can clearly see how different the whole history of Gallipoli would have been if they had landed in the area with the flatter terrain. We finished our Anzac day experience by walking back home to Sea Life in Kabatepe, past the Quinn’s Post and other Cemeteries. On our walk home it was much more quiet and peaceful (after all the tour buses passed us on their way to Lone Pine anyway!) We walked along past the farmland and our favourite fields of masses of yellow wildflowers and saw many little patches of special Anzac Day red poppies. I picked some to take home and press to keep as a memory, it was Anzac Day after all and I wanted to remember this very special and important Anzac Day in Gallipoli on the 95th anniversary.
24 hours after we left for Anzac Day we arrived home on Sunday afternoon having experienced a very special Anzac Day in Turkey. I am so glad we made the effort to sail to Kabatepe for Anzac Day in 2010. I am also very glad that we arrived early and spent some time in the area before the 25th of April. We had such an amazing time staying in the local fishing harbour and exploring the vast and beautiful national park areas of the Gallipoli (or Gelibolu as it is called in Turkish) Peninsular. I could spend months walking around the beautiful natural areas and would be honoured to go back to the War Cemeteries I saw this time and visit those I didn’t get to pay my respects too. I feel like I understand the history of the Anzacs better now and the important things they did here in Gallipoli. I have walked where they once did and have stood in the trenches where they once fought 95 years ago. There is nothing more powerful than seeing Gallipoli for yourself. It is easy to read the history books about the sacrifice our brave soldiers made so many years ago, to read about the enormous loss of young men’s lives, the bravery and the strength they showed but I think you cannot truly understand it until you come here and see it for yourself. It is hard to fully appreciate what they did for us until you have seen and walked through this beautiful and special yet tragic place.
Cruising details about our stay in Kabatepe and our Gallipoli experience in April 2010 Berthing: Kabatepe fishing harbour We berthed Sea Life amongst the local fishing boats along the quay in front of the harbour masters office. Approx latitude and longitude: We berthed Med style, going in stern to with two lines tied to the quay and our anchor down off the bow. Our depth underneath the keel was approx 3 meters. There is some concrete ballasting that comes out of the quay in places so you do have to be careful of depths. We went in stern to and checked our depths with the plum bob before we went in again then tied up. The water is clear enough to see the bottom.
The harbour master is a very friendly man, but he does not speak any English. We were able to organise everything despite the language barrier. Cost: We paid a 100 Lira deposit to the harbour master on arrival to Kabatepe, which we got back about 15 lira at the end of our stay. So our whole bill for about 13 days, water etc was about 80 Turkish lira which we worked out was about $2.50 AUD per day including water. How awesome was that, the cheapest berth ever! Water: We obtained water on the quay. The cleaner brought down a big hose on wheels to the quay and we filled our two water tanks. The cost was 10 Lira (we used approx 450 litres of water). Fuel: We think you may be able to get this from the fuel truck that comes to fill the local fishing boats with diesel. We saw the truck come when we first arrived on a Friday about lunch time. It was Shell fuel truck. We were told by the harbour master later that you have to go into Ecebeat town and pay for the fuel first and arrange it to be delivered to the quay.
Facilities in 2010: Toilets: There is a toilet block just past the harbour masters office to the right, which has a big WC on it. No showers that we were aware of. Rubbish: There are lots of rubbish bins around to leave your rubbish in. Restaurant/Shop: There are two places to dine at. One is a small café which to the left of the harbour masters office. There is a small shop attached to the café which sells basic snack foods, soft drinks, chocolates, fresh bread, some limited basic provisions (eggs, some vegetables, tea, sugar, cheese etc), sometimes you can buy a case of Efes local beer but they doesn’t seem to serve it in the café. Most items are priced but you have to be careful of the prices of the items not marked! A loaf of yummy local fresh bread was about 70 Turkish Kurus (about 50 cents). The café has a lovely little outdoor sitting area where you can order Turkish tea and coffee, soft drinks (no beer) and a limited menu of about three items, Kofta sausage, toasted sandwich or some sort of soup dish. The owner does not speak English but is friendly. The other place to eat at is the larger restaurant further up. They have a big banner hanging up outside saying Pizza 5 tl. The pizza is great! We liked this restaurant, they have a nice open wood fire in the colder weather, an outdoor area with lovely views of the little harbour and ocean. They are very friendly and serve ice cold beer!
Always check the prices before you order as the fish was sometimes quiet expensive compared to a 5 Lira pizza. The bread was great and the mint yoghurt dip too! Transport: Dolmus (mini buses) to Ecabeat (the nearest town for provisions) & Canakkale seem to leave when the ferry arrives from Gockceada Island and come back to Kabatepe before the next ferry leaves. You can take a ferry to Gockceada Island which leaves a couple of time each day. It cost 3 Lira per person for us to go one-way. We enjoyed Gockceada which we did in a day trip. There is a small ticket office near where the ferry comes in which displayed a tariff (a timetable) for the daily ferry service. Things we enjoyed: The Kabatepe museum. It cost us 3 Lira each and the walk there from Kabatepe was lovely and only took about 20 minutes. Walking around the area was one of the most enjoyable things we did and it didn’t cost us anything which was a great way for us to save some money. There is such beautiful national park areas all around, pine tree forests, fields of wild flowers (in April), rugged terrain, small beaches with clear water (which looked lovely to swim in when the water would be warm) and of course the many war Cemeteries and Memorial sites.
We found our handheld GPS was really useful in planning our walks (and to take with us) to track a course in so we didn’t get lost (all of the signs around the area are pretty much all in Turkish). Google Earth was also great way to look at the land and find tracks etc to figure out our way around and get waypoints to be able to use in our routes. We spent over 10 days in Kabatepe and loved it. The harbour is well sheltered and the local fishermen are very friendly, honest and nice. We felt very safe in the harbour and with the locals (not really anyone speaks any English but we smiled and made friends anyway) and very safe walking around in the more remote areas. There are lots of cats and dogs in the harbour, some which like a little pat or cuddle and lots of birds which make the area very unique, special, quaint and peaceful. We love Kabatepe and hope you have a wonderful time there too!