Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Exploring--Mediterranean Turkey--Our Cruise in a Gulet

In contrast to the strange, other-worldly landscape of the region of Cappadocia, Turkey, which I showed you a few posts ago, today I am reminiscing about a sail on Turkey's south-eastern Mediterranean coast. When we visited Turkey several years ago, we were able to skip out on our guided bus tour for four glorious days and nights sailing the gorgeous turquoise waters--and then hop onto the next bus tour with our chosen itinerary that came by. The wonderful Pacha Tour Company arranged it all in advance, delivering us directly to the dock and picking us up in Anatalya harbor after our sail to continue our journey.
Given that I have just reread all my journal entries from this segment of our journey, this could be a very long post :>). Instead, I will try to give you a flavor of the mini-cruise and let the photos tell the rest. We sailed in a gulet, a lovingly kept wooden boat about 70 feet long and maybe 20 feet wide. Our captain, his father, and his 15 year old son comprised our congenial crew. Eleven passengers stayed in the six cabins, all beautifully panelled, as you can see in the photo. Our bed was at least as wide as a queen and somewhat longer, filling the area under two generous windows, which let in the October breezes, comfortably warm in the daytime and pleasantly cool at night. With ample storage in drawers under the bed and a closet on one end wall, we were cozy as could be. The door to our spotless bathroom on the left side of the picture is standing open (actually closes at right angles to the cabin door). The bathroom had a porcelain toilet and pedestal sink, wide handy shelves with a rim to keep things in order even if the boat rocked, and a hand-held shower. There was hot water whenever the engine was running and for at least an hour after we anchored each night.
Days were lazy, with four lovely meals (including an afternoon tea) prepared by the 15 year old (along with all his other chores, I don't know how he made such great food in the little galley, but we loved it). We explored the coast at a leisurely pace, with frequent extra stops at anchor so that we could swim in the crystal clear, silky water in peaceful coves. There were optional dinghy rides to coastal towns like Kas and Kalekoy, which you see in two photos above (Kalekoy, that is)--one shows the town crowned by an old Byzantine fortress, and one looks down from a street on the hill to the harbor and boats anchored with ours just beyond the docks.
The whole journey was magical, with quiet opportunities to stare deep into the water--the rocks, sea floor vegetation, and an occasional critter clearly visible, even in 50 - 60 feet of water. We could read, sketch, sun, lie back and watch the sky, or socialize with other passengers, two German couples, several Dutch people, and a Canadian man. With encouragement, our captain gradually opened up and told us about his life, speaking gently in limited English (his son's English was better), and "grandpa" just fished and grinned as he communicated his love of life on the water in a good-humored sort of sign language. The cruise was delightful and interesting in its own right and also provided a laid-back interlude in our time in Turkey.
Question of the day: Do you also enjoy time out on the water, at home or when traveling? I can't seem to do without it.


  1. Sigh... Mary, this sounds like a dream trip to me! That wood work in the boat itself is beyond the pale gorgeous. I could so easily live on a boat and have wanted to do just that for many years now. Your words stir those old embers for me. I did a weekend retreat in Alanya while I lived in Turkey and so got to see a wee bit of these gorgeous Mediterranean waters. I can only imagine the food...

    Gosh, I can't imagine a better vacation!

  2. How wonderful Mary!! I love sailing too but have not been on a boat for quite a few years now. That water looks SO tempting!!

  3. It definitely was a dream trip, Sherry--we recall it with pleasure more, I think, than any other journey we have taken. There is something warm, magical and ancient about Turkey that is quite unique.

    Hi Joan, the water was amazing, indeed! The cruise was like a vacation from our vacation :>).

  4. Hello,

    You have created a very good site! It is a romantic adventure exploring the spectacular and historic coast of south west Turkey. Gulet is a wooden motor sailing vessel, the modern version of the ancient cargo bearing craft which used to trade along the coast of Turkey. Thanks a lot...

    Turkish Gulet

  5. It is wonderful to hear from you, Mitja. Glad you like the blog. Thank you for your interesting explanation of the gulet, which certainly provided us with a once-in-a-lifetime romantic adventure on Turkey's gorgeous Mediterranean coast.