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BLOG Traditional Turkish Gulet Boats and Blue Voyages Cruises

21 June 2016 / Culture

Just Cruising

With roughly 7,200 kilometers of coastline, it is natural that sailing and boats are big business in Turkey. The coastline stretches from the northeast, near the border with Georgia, around the west and along a vast distance of the south also known as the Mediterranean district. In winter, the focus is on fishing especially as the hamsi (anchovy) season comes around. However, summer is when the sailing scene comes alive when traditional Turkish gulet boats come out to play on the Blue Voyage Cruise routes of Turkey.  

About Traditional Turkish Gulet Boats

Used for sailing and overnight accommodation, the traditional Turkish gulet boat is a handcrafted wooden sailing vessel with one or two masts. They were initially only used by fishermen and sponge divers, but when Turkey embraced mainstream tourism, craftsmen slightly changed their structure so passengers eager to enjoy a yachting holiday, could stay overnight on board.

Varying in size from 14 to 35 metres, a typical gulet boat has around four to eight cabins with en-suite bathrooms along with a kitchen, relaxation area, sunbathing deck, and storage spaces to store water and fuel tanks.

Passengers can ascend and descend easily into the water using a ladder installed on the side of the boat, while when docked into dry land, a gangplank is lowered for direct access to the harbour front. Installed electricity allows guests to still enjoy small pleasures such as computers or telephones while as well as using the kitchen, BBQs are a favoured concept especially when fresh fish has only been caught minutes before.

Certain areas in Turkey are domestically famous for their expertise when building the traditional gulet boats, but Bodrum is most probably the king of them all.

The Fisherman of Halicarnassus and the Turkish Riviera

While Turks have always been expert boat craftsman, part of the credit for the popularity of Turkish gulet boats can probably go to Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı, also nicknamed the Fisherman of Halicarnassus.

Exiled to the Bodrum area in 1925, he was a writer of short stories and essays. Initially distraught about his new home, he set out to explore it and used the local fishermen to get around the coastline. Writing about his travels, his eccentric bohemian friends joined him, and the Turkish Riviera was born.

Stretching from the North Aegean to the Mediterranean coastal district of Antalya, the Turkish Riviera is vastly different from its French counterpart in that it also focuses on historical ruins and also caters for budget sailing groups as well as luxury passengers.

Blue Voyage Cruises

Within the Turkish Riviera coastline, designated sailing routes have been compiled by experienced captains, and they are now marketed internationally as sailing holidays. Lasting from as little as 2 nights and going up to 11 days, budget passengers can book cabin charter or if money allows, hire their own boat.

From Bodrum, routes typically head south to sail the Gulf of Gokava or the Gulf of Hisaronu, but the exciting aspects are that passengers can also combine a visit to two countries by following the routes to either the South Dodecanese or North Dodecanese islands. Combining the Greek islands such as Symi, Kos or Rhodes, there has never been an easier way to get there, then on a traditional Turkish gulet boat.

Waking up in the morning, either on deck or in a cosy cabin, is served on board before the vessel hauls up anchor and sets sail to its next destination. Passengers spend sailing time, reading, sunbathing, playing games, relaxing or chatting, and when anchor drops, there is a multitude of choices.

If the boat is near land, a small dinghy takes customers to shore so they can explore historical ruins or quaint coastal villages. Alternatively, swimming, diving and snorkeling the Aegean is relaxing and refreshing. Depending on the itinerary for the day, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner are also cooked and served on board. A typical day spent on a Blue Voyage cruise is relaxing but at the same time, exciting since it evokes all the five senses.

Tolga Ertukel, Owner, and Director of Turkey Homes says…

“ If you wish find out more about luxury yachts and traditional Turkish gulet boats, that will wow you and become a floating luxury hotel for your Blue Voyage cruise of Turkey, contact our team of consultants in Turkey Homes offices. We would only be happy to guide you towards the established and recommended companies for this. ''

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