Location: Marmaris, Turkey
While wintering-over in Marmaris, Turkey, we installed a new countertop for the galley sink. The old one was cracked when we bought Gyatso five years ago, and we’ve lived with it that way until a corner piece actually broke off last season.
The galley sink project, like so many others, became much bigger than we expected. We both like the deep, stainless steel double sink we already have, and even though the faucet is not fancy, its low profile allows access into the big cupboards behind. It’s also custom fitted with a hose adapter, so we can run a garden house out onto the deck for washing it down or to use as a deck shower.
Our six gallon water heater sits on a shelf under the sink, and it developed a leak this past year. We made a temporary fix in Greece, but even the mechanic who helped us warned that it would get us to Turkey, but it wouldn’t last much longer than that. We decided to replace it with a better model since we were removing the sink anyway. The previous one was one of the “gear failure” surprises we found immediately after we purchased Gyatso in 2005. We replaced it at the time, but unfortunately, the replacement didn’t even make it five years.
Both leaky water heaters caused the shelf to rot underneath, so it, too, needed replacement. Marmaris is one of those rare places where this kind of job is easy. We just removed the old shelf and took it to the sanayi (light industrial park) in town. We showed the old shelf to people, and they pointed us to the shop that could make us a new one. We found Moyap with Muhsin Tosun, a busy carpenter inside who dropped everything to make us a new shelf. He looked through the lumber stacked on the side of his shop, found a big piece of marine-grade plywood and went to work, using the old shelf as a pattern for the new. Ten minutes later, we had a new shelf. But before we could settle the modest bill and be on our way, the shopkeeper invited us to Turkish tea which we gladly accepted. In addition to woodworking shops, you can find metal workers, plumbers, electricians, etc. The sanayishould have the motto, “If we can’t make it, no one can!”
It was a good thing we weren’t living onboard at the time because the project completely disrupted the cabin. The stove was removed to allow access to the countertop. We did the demolition, literally cutting the sink out of the old countertop in order to remove the thick layer of black “goo” (sealant) originally used. Lisa spent two days with a putty knife carefully removing it and wondered aloud, “Did my graduate school education prepare me for this?” For several weeks, we had no running water, no stove, no sink drain and a very messy cabin. One of the technicians who came aboard during that time politely remarked, “It looks like a war zone in here!”
We hired a carpenter from Demir Marine to make a new laminate countertop. Without our cousin Will, who helped replace the other countertop in the galley, and his workshop nearby, we just didn’t think we could do a proper job. The carpenter completed the demolition by carefully removing the rest of the counter with a very sharp chisel. After making a template, he fitted up the new white laminate over marine plywood in his shop and then finished customizing it onboard. We briefly contemplated going with a stainless steel countertop because we know of two other people who really like theirs, but the Formica laminate was simpler, so we decided to keep it simple. The sink and counter were sealed with white “goo” (sikaflex) this time. We’re really glad we brought in the experts — they did a superb job.
When we went to reattach the plumbing hoses to the sink faucets, we discovered that one of the fittings on the pressurized hot water supply line was broken and needed to be replaced. The new one was slightly different, and so it was a few days before the plumber could come back and help us fit it on properly. In the end, he just wrapped a bunch of white Teflon plumber’s tape on the threads, and it worked. Lisa exclaimed, “I could have done that!” And she was right, but neither of us could have fitted the stiff sink drain hoses onto the seacock as easily as he did. It was a relief to have a functioning water system again.
We completed the final step of reinstalling the old fiddles and teak trim pieces today. Now we have a new laminate countertop and a new hot water heater — the galley refit is finally complete.