In Marmaris – anchoring versus marina and shattered peace!

The early morning peace at our anchorage outside the Turkish Riviera resort town of Marmaris was shattered by the blaring of horns, tooting, sirens and loud music very close by.

Early morning peace at anchor in Marmaris

A fire boat was spraying water and several vessels were moving in procession with a large Coast Guard ship leading the way.

There was hooting and sirens and the fire barge spraying water

We weren’t sure what the celebration was and wondered whether there was an important dignitary aboard the Coast Guard vessel.

We think someone important was on board this Coast Guard vessel

In the midst of all the hubbub, a group of around eight JetSkis appeared with riders holding outsized Turkish flags. They put on a display of what can only be described as motorised version of synchronised swimming! That woke us up!

The JetSki riders preparing for their performance
Round and round they go!
The end of the display!

Since dropping off our boat buddies Sue and John from S/V Catabella at Dalaman airport and the lovely day out we had in the car, life on board had been pretty uneventful.

Sculpture in Marmaris water front
Another sculpture – this one near the bazaar

We had planned a stop in Marmaris to do various boat jobs and get a few things organised. Marmaris is heavenly for yachties as it has every conceivable boat orientated business you can imagine.

I love watching the ice cream sellers play tricks on their customers
Is it raining in the bazaar?
A genuine Turkish hamam

We ticked off quite a few items from our list and decided to shelve a few others (like buying a new bar fridge) for later. A plan of buying a fridge in Germany and bringing it back in the campervan in the winter was beginning to form in our minds.

One evening, after a busy boat job day we decided to go for a meal and wandered into the very charming area round the base of the castle.

Making water on board
So peaceful when all the tourist boats have gone and before the racket from the night clubs starts

This part of Marmaris has retained the character of a traditional village with narrow, cobbled laneways and whitewashed stone houses covered in bougainvillea.

The area around Marmaris castle still retains its traditional character

We sat down for a cold drink at a lovely shady restaurant called Gorya and ended up chatting to the owner and then staying for dinner. We asked her to choose some meze dishes and then she recommended a couple of main courses. We ended up with an absolute feast! There was a very good singer performing that evening so we were serenaded as we ate!

A lovely shady spot for a cold drink
Reminds me of the Greek islands
The puss cats have learnt winning ways to beg for scraps
This was a lovely meze
The fresh fish were also fabulous

This little area around the castle was so nice that we returned to explore it a bit more thoroughly and to go into the castle and small museum.

Exploring the lanes around the castle
Loved the glorious bougainvillea
Those steps are a challenge in the heat, especially if you’re carrying something heavy like this man was.
The entrance to the castle

First built by the Ionians (1044 BC) and later on repaired during the era of the Alexander the Great in the 4th Century BC and again in the 15th Century by Suleiman the Magnificent, the castle was almost completely destroyed by French cannon fire in World War 1.

The cool breeze and lush gardens were welcome in the sweltering heat
Amazing to think there had been a castle on this site for more than 3,000 years
This version was restored in the 1980s

Fully restored in the 1980s the castle grounds have a few exhibits scattered round and lovely cool gardens to enjoy.

Artefacts displayed in the Castle garden (above and below)

There were fabulous views over the bay and the small museum was interesting.

The views from the castle turrets were fantastic
We could even see our catamaran Sunday (magnified)
A beautiful study of a head in the castle museum
Loved seeing these two pigeons perched above the ticket office
This is definitely one of the oldest parts of the castle. The steps have worn down to almost nothing! How many millions of feet have smoothed this stonework over the millennia?

We also met up with Natalia and Bill from Island Bound at our favourite restaurant – Memet’s. We first met these two on the Indonesian Rally in 2015 and last saw them almost exactly a year ago when we had just arrived in Turkey and they introduced us to Memet’s. It was great to catch up again.

Egg and cheese pide for brunch!

Our anchorage outside Marmaris was extremely comfortable and much cooler than being cooped up in a marina. Even though we could have used the “free” four weeks in the Netsel Marina we get as part of our 12-month contract with Setur Marinas, we much prefer to swing at anchor.

A tranquil moment at anchor
Sunsets are always more beautiful at anchor

We did pop into the marina most days to check on S/V Catabella as we weren’t at all impressed by the way the marina workers had tied her up. Instead of attaching her bow line to an anchored line, they just tied it up onto the yacht next door! There was loads of space next to Catabella so there was no excuse really.

Despite being told the marina was full there appeared to be lots of space next to Catabella all week (to be fair it was probably rented to a charter yacht company)

As anticipated, the wind changed and all that was stopping Catabella from banging against the dock was her small strategically placed ball fender.

We found Catabella sitting at a precarious angle
Not a lot between Catabella and potential damage

After “a quiet word” with the office, Catabella was properly tied up.

Catabella properly tied up – finally

There’s such a difference between Finike where the staff constantly patrol up and down the wharfs to check on boats and Marmaris where it appears that this is not the case at all.

Anchoring out was a better choice for us although there were a few days when it was very rough and riding in the dinghy to and from land felt precarious – and climbing on and off the boat even more so!

Everything happening here! Parasailing, pirate boat and tour boat all nearby!

It could also be quite noisy – three or four mosques doing the call to prayer at the same (but with a few seconds delay so the high volume chorus just sounded like a jangled, out of time cacophony of sound). Worse were the high volume “beats” emanating from the tourist boats – many of them with towering “Pirates of the Caribbean” themed fibreglass infrastructures with massive sound systems to match.

Towering fibreglass infrastructures with massive sound systems to match.

At night the noise from the Clubs and Karaoke Bars drifted across the water but fortunately they didn’t keep us awake after a busy day.

The clubs and bars in full swing but fortunately never kept us awake!

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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