Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009 – The Bosphorus Strait

     Finally a “sea day” and a chance to relax a little bit.  We had our Cruise Critic meeting today and I tried to meet everyone on my bus tour in Yalta.  The crew was there for just a short time as we were just starting our cruise through the Bosphorus Strait.  Also, many wanted to go outside for pictures so it wasn’t the best of meetings.  I went to the cabin number I had for the couple on our tour that I didn’t meet and Susie answered the door!  I asked for them at reception and they could not find them either.  I guess they did not make the ship.  A quick lunch and Texas hold’em and it was time for the Latitudes Party.  Some reading and some magic and it was time for Dress Up (of Not) Night at dinner.  We sat in for a few songs of Laurence Robinson, but it was the same show we saw last cruise.

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     The Bosphorus or Bosporus is a natural strait that separates the European part of Turkey from its Asian part, connecting the Se of Marmara with the Black Sea thus being an important oil transit chokepoint and strategic waterway.  It is 20 miles long with a maximum width of 3600 yards at the northern entrance and a minimum width of 800 yards between Anadoluhisari and Rumelihisari.

     The depth varies from 100 to 395 feet in midstream.  It is a former river valley that was drowned by the sea at the end of the Tertiary period.  The surface current flows always from north to south; however, a strong countercurrent under the surface creates swirls and eddies.  The city of Istanbul straddles the Strait with a population of more than 11 million people.

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     Bosphorus comes from a Thracian word which means “passage of the cow”, deriving from the legend of Io who was one of many lovers of Zeus.  When Hera, Zeus’ wife, suspected her husband being involved in a love affair with Io, Zeus transformed Io into a small cow and tried to send her away from Hera’s rage.  She (the cow) swam across the strait but Hera discovered the truth and she sent swarms of flies after the cow to bite and disturb her constantly, ending Io in the Aegean Sea (thus named the Ionian Sea).

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