When surfing Enjoy Bodrum, you might come across my complaints about the inadequate use of sea transport in Bodrum and in Turkey alike. It appears that such a clean way of carrying cargo and passenger has been ignored for a long time in this beautiful country which has more than 8,000 kilometres of coastline.
Instead, a few ferryboat routes to Datca and Greek Islands are all we have for long distances.
Short distance local transportation alternatives around Bodrum via sea routes are also limited practices. However, it is clear that setting up sea routes within the Bodrum Peninsula is a challenge. It would take hours to get to Yalikavak from Bodrum by boat, while you can get there in 30 minutes by using public minibus services. On top of that, costs would be higher.
At the old harbour, hundreds of boats wait for their next passengers. Most of them are private gullets for rent and ready to take you wherever you desire. However, I will only talk about Bardakci Bay boats because they are the only local sea transportation service working on a specific route in Bodrum.
A Short Travel with Bardakci Boats
The bay next to the Bodrum harbour to the west is Bardakci Bay, which was known as Salmacis Bay in older times. In Greek Mythology, there was a fountain at Salmacis Bay which effeminates men. However, this is a story for another article about Bardakci Bay.
Today, Bardakci Bay hosts a couple of nice, mostly 5-star hotels offering a cosy atmosphere and great Bodrum view to their guests.
Bardakci is located at the half-way between Gumbet and Bodrum. It is only 3 kilometres away from the town centre which makes it a perfect location for visitors who want to be close to the action and liveliness of Bodrum and Gumbet without compromising a comfortable stay.
Although a 15-minute walk or a short minibus trip can get you there, you can also jump into a Bardakci Bay boat from the old harbour if you want to chill a little in a small wooden fishing boat on your way. I like it. I wish we had more routes for sea transport in Bodrum.
Some of the hotels in Bardakci Bay are open all year. However, the boats are only available in the touristic season, roughly from May to October. For the rest of the year, weather in Bodrum can be unpredictable and the number of hotel quests decreases drastically making boat trips risky and unprofitable.
One-way trip takes about 15 to 20 minutes. You can find a boat from early in the morning till 9pm or 10pm depending on the passenger demand.
I enjoy having a ride with these boats. Most of the owners are former fishermen who used to sail in these small boats to make their living. If you find the opportunity to have a conversation with one of the owners, do not miss it.
Public sea transport in Bodrum may be limited with these small boats at the moment. However, I have been told that there were fast catamarans operating between Bodrum and Turgutreis years ago. After a couple of seasons, they had given up due to low demand. What a pity!
A Fisherman from Bitez
During one of my rides, I met Aydin, the owner of a Bardakci boat. He is a retired fisherman and he had spent 25 years in chasing fish in Gokova Bay.
I asked him why he had stopped fishing and gotten in tourism business. Honestly, I was expecting a classic “money” answer. For a moment, I had forgotten that I was talking to a Mediterranean. The motivation and the attitude of locals toward life can be different than we are familiar with in big cities.
He told me how happy he was with his slow-paced life. He said that the company of his guests in his boat and making connections with them were the best things ever in his all life. According to him, making some money was just a bonus. He was so natural, friendly, and talkative that I had to keep going back and forth for two round trips.
Aydin is a Bodrumian like almost all other boat owners. He is from Bitez, another beautiful town on the west. “My friends are still earning their living by fishing in Bitez”, he said, “and I am helping them when winter comes”.
He works all year, but he claims that he is retired and done with working.
What he says is typical among local seamen. They work hard and try to keep the Aegean Sea in their life as much as possible, as long as possible.
If you are not familiar with the measurement units in the metric system, find out how to convert them into the imperial system.
Spring in Bodrum
When summer days are ahead, spring in Bodrum is the time for finishing up preparations for the coming tourism season.