'I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree
/ And a small cabin build there, of clay and
wattles made / Nine bean-rows will I have there,
a hive for the honey-bee / And live alone in
the bee-loud glade.' So writes the poet Y. B.
Yeats in his poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree.
But it is not always feasible to play Robinson
Crusoe in our modern times. A more accessible
retreat from the concrete jungle is all we need;
closer at hand, in familiar seas, and offering
peace, liberty and happiness without isolation.
Just such an island retreat exists a short distance
from Istanbul, in the Marmara Sea. This is Burgaz,
part of a tiny archipelago known as the Princes
Islands. In ancient times the island was called
Panormos, a name meaning 'safe harbour,' because
between Burgaz and Heybeli Island (the ancient
Halki) to the east is a shallow channel 600-700
metres wide offering shelter from gales. After
nightfall the twinkling nights on the neighbouring
islands are like a reflection of the twinkling
stars in the sky. The Princes Islands consist
of Kinali, Burgaz, Kasik, Heybeli, Büyük, Sedef
and three uninhabited islets.