About us

Mike Turner I have now been working in the engineering, fabrication business for over 40 years, not sure where the time has gone but I have definitely gained a lot of experience. I started with diplomas in engineering, worked as a commercial mechanic, owned an engineering business making everything from widgets to prototype machines with all the design, fabrication, painting, marketing done in house. I then sold the business and moved into the advertising / promotion / rv business, this involved making everything from mobile stages, 2.5 mtr . Parker pens, Nintendo mobile launch trailers and accompanying support stages, mobile kitchens and bars, in fact you name it, I was probably involved in the design and building of it.One day my wife Jo and I were invited to go sailing, while on holiday in Greece. At the end of this trip, which was meant to be a day sail in Corfu, and ended up being an overnight trip due to the weather. The owner said as we approached the marina "I have either put you off sailing for life or I will have cost you a lot of money" (yep cheers Ivor you cost us a lot of money but it's been worth every penny).

We started looking for a boat within our budget and found ORIZABA a Bruce Roberts 34. she needed a complete refit, but with us both working on her after work during the week and every weekend we were ready to set sail.

We left the UK in 2006. Crossed Biscay and spent some time in Spain and Portugal. A sailing friend recommended Port Yasmine Marina in Hammamet Tunisia and 5 years on, we are still here as we love the people and the country.

During our first year in Tunisia I was asked to work on a complete refit of a 20m schooner as the owner had seen the work I had done on our yacht ORIZABA I thought this is a good opportunity to top up the cruising funds and as I always enjoy a challenge I agreed. But more work came along. My wife Jo readily agreed with the venture and now we operate a very successful marine business covering all aspects of boat repairs, guardinage etc. For a full list of marine services that we provide, please see MT Services.

Tunisia can sometimes be a little frustrating with the system, but all is possible. As in all things, its about contacts and local knowledge. This we now have in abundance. From car hire, places to see, parts availability and the always popular trips to the desert.

5 years ago we moved out of the marina into a small house 5 minutes away where we have a workshop,sail storage facility etc,we had lived on the water for around 20 years and decided it was time for a change.

ORIZABA is still in the marina and waiting for us too go sailing again.

Joanne Turner Arriving in Port Yasmine marina for the first time was a bit of a shock after spending our first year away from the UK in the sleepy little fishing marina of Nazare Portugal and feeling very smug that the weather was so much better than the UK. We arrived to be met by 40+ degrees of heat and very high humidity and bright sunshine everyday, if we had thought Portugal was hot we were wrong THIS is hot. On arrival at the marina entrance the wind decided to turn into a real hoolie and we were thinking of going out again and waiting for it to die down but one of the marinaros came out in a rib and directed us to our berth with a lot of nudging from the rib we got Orizaba berthed safely along with the help of 2 other marinaros who were there to take our ropes with lots of smiles and greetings of welcome. They made what could have been a very stressful situation very simple.

Once we were all tied up and secure the marinaro in the rib took Mike over to customs where he checked us in a customs man came to the boat all very serious looking and checked over that we were all correct and we weren't carrying anything we shouldn't be. At that time I was very unsure of the reception Daisy would get as being a Muslim country I had thought they would not be very happy with dogs around but this didn't seem to be the case with Daisy dog The customs man upon seeing her he gave her a big smile and was happy to give her a fuss and said she was obviously very tired so he wouldn't make her get up off her bed so he could check the rest of the boat and all seemed ok to him and please enjoy our stay in Tunisia little did we know our stay would turn out to be indefinite as here we are 5 years later on!! A very different life from the one I lead in the UK of corporate debt recovery and litigation with non stop meetings and targets to reach.

Now Mike is busy with the guardianage and repairs I have taken over the jobs of cleaning and provisioning yachts, as requested by owners to ensure they have everything they need when they arrive. This ranges from just making sure they have the basics so they can make a cuppa when they arrive to fully provisioning the yacht so they can just let go the ropes and go sailing. I am also happy to take visiting owners shopping to show them the good places to stock up etc.

Trips to the airport are now also my job it was a little daunting driving here at first but I soon got used to it and now enjoy the airport trips and excursions.

Do I miss the 9-5 in the UK? not one little bit!!.

Hi I’m Daisy Just thought I would add my paw print on this web page.

I joined Jo and Mike (my humans) on Orizaba just over 5 years ago. No one really knows all my history and I for one am not telling!!

For a long time I lived on the beach in Sines Portugal I had no family and used to catch fish from the sea to survive everyone thinks this is very clever but when you are desperately hungry you will try anything. Sometimes I would catch frogs or beg outside of the restaurants. Even stealing off the wild cats (I hate cats) was not unusual for me.

I used to make friends with many people who arrived on yachts and some of them would feed me and even let me sleep on their deck at night . Many times I would be so happy and think “this is the one they are going to let me stay and I will have a forever home” but sadly when the day came for them to leave they would entice me off the boat and then sail away.

One night I was laying outside the marina bar being bothered by a very spoilt little dog that lived on a very smart yacht nearby when I growled at it and told it to leave me alone it’s humans shouted at me. I then heard a lady telling them off and she bent down and patted my head and said not to worry people should control their dogs, She seemed nice and I thought it was worth a try so I followed them back to their yacht. I was a bit scared at first as I sensed there was another dog smell there but I then realised that it was an old scent and the dog was no longer there. I was allowed to stay on the deck that night and was given some REAL dog food (made a nice change from fish) I could sense the lady did not want this to be a permanent thing she still missed the dog that had been there before (but I had other ideas) I stayed with them everyday going to town with them watching while they worked on their yacht (something to do with changing a gearbox thing I heard them say) I was always dreading the day they would go.

One evening the lady walked me far up into the town and we went into a small building that I later found out was the vet. I had some little things stuck in me ( I later found out they were my jabs and microchip) This is looking good I thought only dogs with homes go to places like this. Finally the day came when they were ready to leave they got out of bed very early in the morning. Then Mike started the engine and Jo put my lead on to take me off the boat “This is it I thought they are going to leave me” No way was I going to leave and started dragging back on the lead to the boat. Suddenly Jo said ”ok but this is the last chance to pee before we set sail so you should make the most of it” I did exactly that and ran straight back to the yacht I rushed down below and curled up on my bed making myself very small and quiet so that they wouldn’t change their minds.

It was very strange being on board the yacht at sea but I soon got used to it I didn’t like peeing on the back deck as I thought this was a bit naughty and I would get into trouble but Jo and Mike said it was ok to do while we were at sea and a girls gotta go when she’s gotta go.

We arrived in Tunisia a long time ago I hear them call it 5 years. I have really settled in here . People back in Sines didn’t think I would adjust to life aboard a yacht but I think I have got these humans trained very well. They catch on pretty fast. Everyone in the marina knows me and the Tunisian people like to meet me once they know I am friendly and don’t bite.

I love the long sunny days and sometimes go on the trips to the vinyard where everyone gets very loud for some reason and laugh a lot.

I am not so keen on the big ships that go out that make too much noise I have heard they are called Pirate ships and they look very scary to me but the tourists seems to like them. There are also some very large things in the sky in the summer that people call parachutes I am not at all impressed with them and hide down below when I know they are out you never know they could swoop down and get you so be careful if you see them!!

Jo has also found me a very nice vet in Hammamet called Dr Hamdi. He is very kind and will even visit me on the boat if it is not possible to get a car into town. He is a very kind man and very gentle with me if I need any treatment .

If you come here I am sure you will see me lying around on pontoon 21 or any of the other pontoons that Jo and Mike may be working on. I will always come up and say "hi". And if you are fishing I will be happy to sit with you and tell you where you are going wrong.

Monday 29/09/14

Well the years have gone very fast since we arrived in Tunisia and I am now (apparantly according to the humans and nice Dr Hamdi) nearly 16 years old I am feeling the years now I have a bit of arthritis which plays up from time to time, last week Dr Hamdi took out a tooth which was giving a lot of trouble and causing me to have what the humans call dragon breath whatever that is. Now I am back on form and much happier I even chased a cat again today :) Jo says that as more and more people are arriving with dogs and now that they have a car (they drive me everywhere they call it driving Miss Daisy) she is thinking of providing a service so that people who need to get their dogs and urrrgh cats to the vet can call her and she will take them (she loves cats too strange human)

sadly Daisy dog has passed away but is still in our memories and many others who met her

Orizaba Orizaba is Spanish meaning Star Mountain it is also the name of a Mexican volcano.(we should have called her Blood Sweat & Tears) as there was plenty of that in the time it took us to get her ready to sail.But we liked the name and didn't think it wise to push our luck and change it. Once we decided to go sailing the process of looking for a suitable boat within our budget started. We found Orizaba in the unlikely setting of a council yard in Staines UK We had looked at various Yachts but until we saw her we could never agree on them Mike would like them and I wouldn't or vice a versa . Finally we saw Orizaba and both agreed she was the one. Why I will never know as she needed a complete refit and lots of work She has done us proud coming across Biscay and on our various trips since. She is also a good work boat and holds all the tools and equipment needed for Mike and myself to provide a good service to the yachts in the marina and despite the fact she is not the biggest yacht in the marina has been the venue for more than one or two excellent barbacues.

MT Marine Services

Port Yasmine Marina Hammamet - Tunisia