Our first trip to Marmaris was a week prior via bus from Selimye to purchase a sim card for internet and it was a good reminder that experiences of a place change largely depending on the circumstances of your visit.
We were harried and we had specific tasks on what would be a short visit on our first Marmaris trip, since we came by 40-minute dolmus (bus) ride. Now is a good time to share with you that the bus in Tükiye is called dolmus which translated means “stuffed”. All the dolmus in Türkiye involve being stuffed at least part of the way. But they are efficient and ridiculously inexpensive. I believe we spent 5 euro for 3 people to travel 60 miles. People are courteous and there is a sense of “we are all in this together” rather than “every man for himself”.
So, with little time to waste, we first went to the Turcell shop to get the sim card but as luck would have it, the shop system was “down” for the next few hours. Long story short, we managed to get it just in the nick of time before leaving on the dolmus back to Selimye. But other goals for the trip included visiting a mechanic to see if we could get Jacks AC fixed and visiting another shop to inquire about obtaining a part we need for further changes to the Victron Battery installation.
Bringing the blog up to date on Jacks AC/Heat, it broke early in the summer. To make matters worse, his ports don’t open since his stateroom is near the water line. Essentially, we needed to move him into a guest room for most of the summer. And even though the AC is now fixed, he is still in the guest stateroom because the breezes are so cool, and we prefer not to use electricity that we don’t absolutely require. That said, winter is on the way, and we would like for him to return to his stateroom, with the heat working.
We tried everything to find a repair solution in Greece and again in Istanbul. For the most part, the only solutions offered us were an unacceptably long wait (9 months or more) or changing the entire unit and replacing with different vender. If this was the ONLY solution, we would have had no choice, but it isn’t optimal. We have 6 AC units on board and Alec carries spares for them which can be interchanged one for another. Having a different AC unit would involve us having to carry spares for just that 1 unit – among other problems.
Alec discussed the issue with Buz Ali Abi (WhatsApp +90 5322722704) in Marmaris and we made an appointment for them to see us in Marmaris when we arrived a few days later.
Arriving in Marmaris by boat, everything felt completely different than our earlier trip via dolmus. We were able to get Gratitude’s black water tank pumped out simply and efficiently, and marineros offered to come aboard and handle lines for us. I’ll be honest, I did think about it for a few seconds… no dirty slime lines, no stress, no throwing heavy lines to shore and (if you will recall Gibraltar) no chance of swimming unexpectedly. I’m pleased to say that I still have my pride and declined the invitation of extra hands aboard, but it was a nice offer.
We made appointments for a boat cleaning inside and out, the carpets cleaned, and the 2 outboard motors for our dinghy’s were both serviced. The people who did the work were a sailboat charter company called Miknatis Yachting – Whatsapp number +90 532 673 3171 – email@example.com . The work they performed was fantastic, and very reasonably priced. We would give them our highest recommendation.
The people who fixed our air conditioner were also fantastic offering to rebuild and repair the old one. For us, this is always preferable as it obviously costs less, but equally important, it isn’t going into a junk yard when there is still life left in it. How much better is it to re-use or repair what we already have on board? They cleaned, sandblasted, repaired, painted, and delivered it to us working perfectly (and looking brand new) and at about ¼ the cost of purchasing a new one. Alec decided to secure parts for the additional Victron work we are doing later, and we enjoyed our time exploring Marmaris.
The Marmaris Fort which dates from the Ottoman Period sits atop a hill which feels to me like California. Inside is a museum with relics dating back to before the Hellenistic (330-30 BC) era but included the incredibly rich history leading up to the Ottoman Period (15th century). Walking up to the fort one meanders on the loveliest stone paths winding and curving and impossible to traverse in anything with wheels. Tiny shops and inviting restaurants beckon one to appreciate the stunning views offered from the top and Alec and I stopped to enjoy a new favorite treat, fresh squeezed orange juice.
The city planners have done a wonderful job of limiting the “big box” hotels and instead there are smaller boutique hotels or pensions in the city. As one might expect in a city so popular with tourists in the summer, there are tons of wonderful restaurants and shops to support them, but all the locals treated us kindly and restaurants, even at the end of the summer certainly worn out from the season, were gracious and hospitable.
Accomplishing all of this in only 1 week was nothing short of miraculous. We also visited a few chandleries for items for our list and for friends in Kas who had discovered that the inventory there is somewhat lacking.
Leaving Marmaris, we traveled a short 2 hours to an anchorage called Dalyan. Dalyan means fisheries and the river is full of life as mullet swim upstream to spawn in the fresh water. Every stop we make involves a new discovery or history lesson and this next stop involved a family fun day that we all loved.
Türikish archaeologists are continuing the work of excavations nearly throughout the country and the Western coastline is FULL of sites revealing their histories and treasures. History books are being re-written and new discoveries of ancient wrecks and sites are being added daily to the treasure trove of knowledge of the past.
Our early research indicated that while we were not permitted to take our tender up the river, there are guides who will solicit the trip on their small boats for either ½ or a full day tour. The guide we had was very nice and spoke passable English but I’m not going to include his information here because I don’t think he offered us anything that you couldn’t easily find on your own or with even the most basic guide.
We took a full day trip, so we were collected on our boat at 0800. We enjoyed a lovely day of meandering past and up to the truly unique formations of the caves, then we entered the river. Along the way we passed Iztuzu Plaji which is a beach where a very large population of the endangered Loggerhead turtle; known locally throughout Greece and Turkiye as the Caretta Caretta, nest every year. It is already well past the time of turtles nesting but we did see a few in the water on the way up the river.
Continuing our trip we stopped at a blue crab farm, and ordered some for dinner which we collected on our way back home. The only place in the world we have seen stone crab is in Florida and the only place we have seen blue crab is in the Chesapeake, so it was fun to enjoy crab that we only associate with one place, in Türkiye. This should come as no surprise as the conditions in the Dalyan river are very similar to the Chesapeake, both being brackish (salt and fresh water mixed) and very similar lines of latitude.
The first archaeological site we visited in this area was the ancient city of Caunos, which dates to the Hellenic period although relics have been found here from the 9th century BC. The fortifications present in the excavations are from Mausolus’ time (377 – 353 BC). Caunos thrived until the 3rd century AD when due to invasions by the Goths as well as disease, the city fell into ruin.
Lycian rock tombs were the other main attraction for me on this amazing day with my family. I cannot imagine how these tombs might be carved today with all the modern equipment at our disposal, but how could these tombs possibly have been carved in the 4th century BC?! They are truly a tribute to the craftsmen of the area. The largest and most prominent would have been for wealthy noblemen but there were others in a place of honor which was for soldiers. Stay tuned for more tombs from the Lycian era. We are now safely tucked into our winter home in Kas and there are tombs all over the town!
The final stop on our trip up the Dalyan river was to the mud bath and sulphur springs. Promised to improve aging skin and work miracles on one’s health, I first went to mud baths in Calistoga in California. This was decidedly not a spa experience and with our guide waiting patiently in the boat, we didn’t feel as though we should linger too long, but it was a great fun experience, and we were all good sports and covered ourselves in the mud, then trekked over rocks to the showers for our second freezing cold shower and returned with the promise of a nice hot Sulphur spring bath. The attendant sprayed us once more with the force of a firefighting hose in COLD water, then we plunged into the warm Sulphur natural spring. I don’t have to tell you what Sulphur smells like, but I will anyway, it felt divine but it smelled like we were wading in rotten eggs. We all laughed and enjoyed ourselves nonetheless and hurriedly dressed for our final stop, an amazing lunch and delightful walk around the sweet village of Dalyan.
Having eaten one of the most amazing meals we have ever had, there was no chance we could eat crab for dinner, so we instead saved them for our lunch the following day.
With the number of “summer cruise” days dwindling, we are squeezing enjoyment out of each and every moment knowing that the winter is on the horizon. Next and final stop before Kas for the winter – Gocek!