Arriving in Marmaris bay on the 1st of May 2019, Baz and I had one question on our mind: Would we be able get our autopilot fixed or would we have to fork out lots of moolah for a new one?
When our original autopilot failed, we got a second hand Raymarine ST6002 autopilot control head fitted by the Raymarine guy who visits Kaş marina every couple of weeks from either Istanbul or Marmaris (we’re not sure which). On our shakedown cruise to Kekova on the 19th of April, the ST6002 stopped working after three hours during a tack and we also lost our GPS which shows our boat’s position on our chart plotter. Not good.
After simple troubleshooting came up with no easy fix, we asked our friends who immediately said Marmaris was the go-to place for any boat work or instruments. There are hundreds of technicians in Marmaris so competition is high and prices tend to be low. One friend gave us the contact details of a guy who specialises in second hand autopilots. This fellow is called Nail (pronounced Nile), and we were going to find him the next day. If he couldn’t fix it then we’d have to spend a considerable amount of money on a new autopilot. Because we’d probably have to upgrade the whole system and that would set us back a couple of thousand dollars. So we hoped this guy Nail would be as good as our friend said he was.
Getting our Autopilot fixed
We found his shop - Na-To Marine - which is a veritable treasure trove of second hand boat bits in a street that houses lots of chandlers. Nail himself is a very personable man and we left the autopilot with him. We had a little list of things we needed to get, so we spent a good couple of hours popping in and out of chandlery Aladdin’s caves until we decided it was time to put a padlock the wallet that contained the credit card.
We did get some very useful items and the one at the top of my list, which you’ll understand if you read last week’s blog, was 50m of floating shore line on a stainless steel drum which we’ve now got affixed to the stern rail of A B Sea. All ready with a stainless steel snap hook, for me to jump into the water and loop around a rock when we next take a line ashore when stern-to mooring. Beauty.
We also bought a soft horseshoe shaped throwable life ring as the other one we had was a solid plastic ring and we figured it’d knock someone out if we actually had to throw it at them! We also bought a bosun’s chair because you never know when you’re going to need it. I spotted an inline fuel filter for the outboard engine which Baz has now attached. You don’t always know the quality of the fuel you’re getting – it’s been absolutely fine up till now – but one bit of dirt in the carburettor and the outboard will fail. And someone will have to take the carbie apart. So the fuel filter is a great buy.
We also got me a splicing tool and some more whipping line for when I do my next lot of line splicing. The tool will make the job so much easier as it helps feed the single threads through each other. It’ll also stop me from swearing like a sailor every five minutes.
One very important purchase which has been on our shopping list for nearly a year, was an Australian courtesy flag, which we have now hoisted up on the port side of the mast. We did it honours of shouting: “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!” as we unboxed it!
And last but not least - our friend Jim had a spare all round LED white light which we ‘bought’ from him to use when we’re in the dinghy at night (be seen, be safe). The payment being two of my sterling silver wire wrapped pendants. We weren’t sure how we’d attach the light high enough and upright in the dinghy at night time though. It does have a round plate with a powerful magnet attached to the bottom of the light so we had it rigged to a beanie hat that the tallest person (Baz) could wear. Noice. We did get a stainless steel rod mounted in Samos, Greece, which I’ll show you when we get there. For now though, we’re counting up the receipts for our latest purchases!
I dragged Baz screaming away from the chandlers on the promise of a cold beer with a new friend (and YouTube followers) Cath and her husband Rick, who were in Marmaris looking to buy their own yacht. We spent a very pleasant time with them and we’re looking forward to following their adventures on their blog.
The following day Nail WhatsApp’d Baz to say he’d fixed the autopilot. We nervously and eagerly went to collect it. Apparently it wasn’t the quickest job; two diodes and a chip needed replacing. Nail began by asking for US$100 / AU$143. After a bit of haggling which is expected in many places in Turkey, we came away with a functioning autopilot and were only 450TL / AU$108 lighter in the wallet. We were all happy with that. Nail was also happy that he’d be featuring in Saturday’s YouTube video!
So what’s Marmaris like?
The long waterfront is lined with attractive restaurants and bars catering to tourists who can sit and eat overlooking the luxury yachts and gulets that are moored on the quay. There is an historic castle to be found if you wend your way around the back streets to the older part of town, near the Setur Marina. Directly behind and parallel to the waterfront cafes is a street that houses the throbbing nightlife: nightclubs and bars that are open to party goers in the summer. If you wander further inland you’ll discover a fairly large bazaar that sells pretty much everything and has a couple of cafes selling traditional Turkish kebabs. Beyond that are high street and tourist shops, a town square and the usual supermarkets and restaurants. Marmaris does seem to cater to everyone, including running a gazillion ferries and gulets, and chartering yachts, from the harbour. So perhaps I should say almost everyone; if you’re looking for a peaceful beachside retreat, maybe Marmaris won’t be your first choice.
Join our gang!
Before we went back to A B Sea, we mailed a postcard to our $10 patrons, Diane and Jeremie in the USA. We weren’t sure if it would arrive, but we recently received a big “thank you” from them saying they’d got it! If you’d like a handwritten postcard from us every month, check out our Patreon page. We have lots of rewards for our wonderful sponsors and for as little as $2, you could join our gang too!
Where to next?
Relieved at having a functioning autopilot plus a couple of blogs and YouTube episode created and uploaded to the internet, we were ready to move on to Bozukkale. As we upped anchor, Baz and I had a little ‘domestic’ over which lines to use to tie to the fuel dock. The trouble (or great thing) with being on a boat is you can’t just walk away when things get heated. And besides, when A B Sea needs her crew, you can’t abandon her. So we had to push through it. But these things happen and the whole thing blew over pretty quickly. Ironically, there was someone already at the fuel dock when we arrived, so we just kept on going – not needing the lines anyway!
Leaving the bay we had some wind and managed to sail for a while with both sails but Barry got his exercise that day, bringing the sails in and out a few times on our way to Bozukkale. The autopilot held up which was a relief – well it went into standby on its own at one point, so we’ll have to keep an eye on that and hope it doesn’t happen again.
I couldn’t wait to get to Bozukkale, it is such a pretty bay with three restaurant jetties nestled in hills that boast their share of ruins – the ancient settlement of Loryma. We’d visited the first restaurant, Ali Baba, on the left as you turn into the bay, on our way to Turkey in October 2018 and just loved it. This time around Jim sold us on Loryma, at the furthest end of the bay. He’d visited there last season and was impressed with the complementary Turkish tea and biscuits they brought to you after tying up on their jetty.
Staying there this time was different! Different weather. No internet until Jim hoisted his laptop up the mast. And an unexpected ‘rescue’ when Jim decided to assist another sailor by towing him to Datça when the engine of his 15 foot yacht failed. All good stuff. And I’ll tell you about that next week!