Daily Life at the Boatyard in Marmaris, Turkey

Photo: dolmus minibus in Marmaris, Turkey. Credit: L.Borre.
After a long day of work at the boatyard, David boards the dolmus (minibus) that operates between the town of Marmaris and Yat Marine on the other side of the bay.

Logbook Entry

Date: 3/7/10
Location: Marmaris, Turkey

We’ve rented a small apartment in town and commute by dolmus (minibus) to the marina where we are preparing Gyatso for another sailing season.  It’s a 20-minute ride that we really enjoy — it gives us a chance to watch spring unfold in this part of the world.

The bus makes its way through town picking up passengers between the main shopping center and Netsel Marina before winding its way along the shores of the Bay of Marmaris. We pass along a rocky coastline and through pine forests, several small resort/beach communities, some small farmer’s fields, and a lush, wooded flood plain before climbing up over a steep hill and back down to the isthmus where the Yat Marine boatyard and marina is located. On stormy days, the waves crash into the shore and send salt spray and debris over the road and along the isthmus.

One day, the rear tire blew-out on the dolmus. While the driver and a helpful passenger changed the flat in record time, we had the chance to listen to sounds of the floodplain for the first time. The chorus of frogs from the slow-moving stream and marshy wetland across the street was so loud that we couldn’t believe we hadn’t heard it from the moving bus. The deciduous trees in the floodplain forest are bursting with bright green leaves. Shrubs along the road are exploding with yellow blossoms. Two weeks ago, groups of women were collecting spring greens from the flooded areas near streams, but we don’t know what was in their baskets. The farmer has placed beehives at the edge of the pine forest in preparation for another season of the locally produced pine honey. Occasionally, a half-dozen cows or goats can be found wandering the road outside their fenced-in pasture. When it’s windy and rainy, the bay turns dark gray and churns with whitecaps on the surface. On sunny Sundays, the beachside restaurants at Fa Beach are busy with locals and foreign yachties alike, while others prefer picnicking at a small park along the river.

Another aspect of our daily life at the moment is eating lunch in the worker’s cantina at the boatyard. They serve a set menu everyday, cafeteria-style on stainless steel, partitioned trays. The meals are actually quite balanced, and there’s not a fat person in the dining room. Part of the reason that there are no visible weight problems may have to do with the fact that this boatyard has some of the hardest working employees we’ve ever seen. The food is fairly simple, but very tasty in a Turkish sort of way. On some days, one of the two large partitions is filled with lentil soup, chicken and mushrooms in a sauce, or beans in a tomato-based sauce. The other large partition is almost always filled with pilaf made with rice, bulgur or barley. The medium-sized partition is usually for a salad or yogurt, and the smallest partition is for a piece of fruit (apple or orange) or a small, honey-sweetened dessert. The system is pretty simple. If you want a bigger or smaller portion of anything item that day, you just point to the partition you want filled up. The dining room itself is always busy, especially on days when they serve roasted chicken or fried fish. Our favorite so far was the day they served hamsi (small fried anchovies from the Black Sea).

We are in the final countdown to re-splash, but yesterday we did two things that effectively made the boat unable to sail or motor. The rainy or threatening-to-be-rainy weather has gotten in the way of our schedule to do anything with varnish or paint. So, when we had done all we could do with prepping for another coat of varnish, we turned to the next projects on the list: re-painting the boom and replacing the hot water heater that went on the blink last year. It is not uncommon that as a project unfolds, it quickly balloons into something bigger. Before you know it, the stove was off its brackets and the sink countertop was being torn-up to gain better access to the hot water heater project. On the bright side, the galley will be remodeled as a result!

Staying in an apartment sure beats living aboard a boat when it’s on land, and it makes the annual maintenance tasks much easier on us. After a hard day’s work, we can just walk away from it, catch the bus back to town, and get a good night’s sleep before starting all over again. We don’t have to put all of the tools and projects away just to relax, eat dinner, or sleep for the night, or even worse, to live day-to-day with every tool, cleaning product and varnish brush within plain sight. And most importantly, there is no need to climb up and down a ladder in the middle of the night.

If we don’t get better weather soon, we’ll have to delay our launch yet again.  In the meantime, we’ll just be continuing our enjoyable daily commutes.

See the photo gallery of our time in Marmaris.