Chapter 37   November 1 – December 5, 2007

 With our extensive fall travel schedule behind us it was time to settle down and get to work. The “annual maintenance list” grows throughout the year and this year’s list seemed to be fairly “normal” in comparison to every other year. Until we decided the cabin sole (“floor” for you landlubbers) finally needed refinishing. And while we’re at it, why not “freshen” the overhead (“ceiling”)? So we have. But we’re not finished. The sole was removed from the boat three weeks ago, November 11th to be exact. We’re promised that all will be gorgeous by Christmas. But this is Turkey. And they don’t celebrate Christmas here. So we’re relying on hope and faith.  

However, to clarify, we have found a wonderful cabinet maker to repair and varnish our sole. Ismail is Turkish and he is known around the yard as “Apache”. Although he could be mistaken for an American Indian the real reason he is so known is because he drives a 1959 American Chevrolet Apache pickup truck. He is very proud of it, too. He is a skilled and meticulous craftsman and thus far we are pleased. Our boat builder back in Rhode Island told us to be sure we refinished our sole with a minimum of seven coats of varnish. When Ismail told us the sole required ten, he got the job. The center section of the sole has actually been sliced in half to make it possible to get it through the companionway so the proper repairs could be made in Ismail’s workshop. It’s an extensive project.


While Ismail is repairing, we have been painting. Seven years ago we had the overhead painted; we were thrilled with a job we thought we’d never do again. Oh, were we wrong! Nothing is forever on a boat. This time was our turn. It is a grueling, neck breaking, time consuming job. But once we got into the groove of things, we worked steadily together. With a lunch break to divide the day, we were able to persevere. Two coats of glossy white paint in between sanding and tacking took exactly three weeks, working full days, every day. Mission accomplished. We’re thrilled and it looks gorgeous.

All this renovation means Seraphim is uninhabitable.  Fortunately, we have friends.  So while the work continues, we have been camping out on our friends' boat, Kuhela.  Phil and Mary have returned to the USA for the winter, and have generously allowed us to use their boat as a refuge from the sawdust, varnish and general disarray.  Thanks, folks!

While we haven’t had a lot of time to be social, we have certainly made efforts to get acquainted with Turkey.  Here’s how we’re doing it. 

We are amongst twenty couples living aboard their boats in the marina. Of the twenty, only six are here for the winter months. That leaves a pretty small group. We celebrated Thanksgiving together, us being the only Americans. Thanksgiving was hosted by the marina at a local restaurant right on the waterfront. It was called the “Even-If-You’re-Not-American Thanksgiving Dinner and Dance”. The turkey and gravy even came with rice, cranberry jelly and apple pie and ice cream for dessert. We had a lovely evening with friends and the gathering helped reduce our longings for home.


Unlike any other marina we’ve been in, we seem to have a “boys club” and a “girls club.” The girls walk every morning, religiously. They also do the weekly Thursday market, various shopping trips on a regular basis and random biking jaunts have just begun. The men do coffee. And coffee. And what appears to be formulating is the semblance of a “skipper’s meeting”, around coffee. Things are perking along on everyone’s boat, as each of us goes down his/her To Do List. We like it.

There is also the Sunday market in the nearby town of Beldibi. This is a weekly year-round food and flea market. You can purchase anything from fake Louis Vuitton handbags, Calvin Klein jeans and Nike sneakers to home-dried hot peppers, peasant bread and home-grown garlic scallions (no kidding). It’s a real sport. We ride our bikes the twelve or so kilometers and stop at the fragrant family bakery on the return trip for a large double macaroon and Turkish coffee.

Several weeks ago we went on a search for bicycles. The town of Marmaris is large enough that we need some form of transportation to get the most out of it.  After a long day of searching for reasonably priced bicycles, we were returning home discouraged.  Until, that is, we stopped in to see a particular shopkeeper who spoke brilliant English. He sent us to his friend and with some superb negotiating skills we purchased two, “previously-owned” bicycles. Some say Sharon’s bike has developed some real character (she painted it). It’s been dubbed the “red Cadillac”.


Then there’s our Turkish lessons. Weekly, at the marina office for one hour. We’ve got the daily greetings down, our numbers and the bare basics. It’s fun. We’re making progress. If nothing else, the Turks appreciate our efforts and we can at least count our change!

Ned Pamphilon, a British artist living and working in Istanbul, came to Marmaris to open an exhibition of his works at the marina gallery. He has been working for ten years to promote Turkey as “East meets West.”  His artwork has great color, life and vibrancy.  As part of promoting his art, he occasionally paints murals on buildings.  Of course, he did so here.  We enjoyed talking with him as he painted.  When it looked as though he wasn’t going to meet his deadline we volunteered to help out. So here we are! That’s John on the ladder and, as always, Sharon supervising! We think it came out well, don’t you?


On Sunday we took a day off work and went on a hike with about 50-60 others.  The distance point-to-point was only a few miles, but most of the trek was up-down the sides of the hills, and it was much more strenuous than we had anticipated.  The few miles we traveled took almost four hours!  The day was spectacular: clear, brilliantly blue skies, crystal-clear blue waters, green tree-covered hills.  We only got lost once, but that resulted in having to rappel down a rather steep cliff-face for about 20 feet.  A Great Day in the Great Outdoors!  Any excuse is used to rest our weary necks, but unbeknownst to us, this was to be just another form of physical abuse! Getting out of bed the next day or two was tough. But we enjoyed it anyway!


One of the greatest aspects of being in Marmaris is waking up to the extraordinary mountains that surround us. The morning mist is remarkable. The clouds are the best we’ve ever seen.


Enjoy the season. Stay tuned for photos of the finished saloon.