What's A Gulet?

July 11, 2007


No, I am not talking esophagus, nor am I missing a double letter. They may sound identical but the English word “gullet” is much different than the Turkish word “gulet”. It is a strange word (to our ears) for a special kind of boat.

Our gulet was a thing of beauty and taken care of with love, care and attention to detail. There were eight cabins with private baths and it slept sixteen. I think the captain said the boat was 44 meters long and would cost one hundred and fifty thousand dollars if bought today. Usually he does private rentals but we ended up with a full group of sixteen.

Making gulets is a tradition unique to Turkey and specifically this area. It takes about a year and half to complete the process. They are made out of different types of wood, but it must be cut when the moon is new so that the timber will not be susceptible to worms. It is a wooden broad beamed boat that evolved originally from a fishing vessel and today has every modern convenience.

The term “Blue Voyage” was coined in the 1920’s when a dissident political writer who was exiled in Bodrum, began taking friends on the idyllic experience of cruising around the Turkish Mediterranean. The term stuck and today doing a “Blue Voyage” or “Blue Cruise” is often one of the highlights of a trip to Turkey that is not to be missed. In many cases it is the only way to visit some small fishing villages, coves, archeological sights and islands in this area.

Words really can  not do justice to the experience. This paradisal area is pristine yet rugged and aboard the gulet one drifts past majestic, pine clad mountains, undiscovered ruins, Lyceum tombs, underwater cities, and impossibly azure waters from one glorious sun filled day to another.

Our cabin was pretty, quite large and with a bathroom that had a cute circular window, but we did not spend much time there. The custom on a “Blue Voyage” is to sleep out under the stars and they have mattresses set out all over the boat for this purpose and lounging during the day. One of the reasons is it can get quite hot in the cabins some nights as they seem to collect the heat of the day and air conditioning is rare. We were there in over 100 degree Fahrenheit temperatures, which was perfectly cool for the daytime but less so at night inside the cabin.

We tried both ways, sleeping inside and outside, as each has its advantages and disadvantages. It is a boat after all, so I can not say that either way was the ultimate in comfort for a fifty-something person, but certainly worth it for four days of cruising here. There were showers in the bathroom but there was also one outside near the swimming ladder which could be used to wash off the very salty sea water.

There was an inside table where I did a little writing for the blog and two large outside tables as well as areas for sunbathing, but mostly we spent our time outside enjoying the scenery on cushiony areas in the shade. We read, gabbed, snoozed and just enjoyed life.

Backgammon, which I haven’t seen since the seventies, seems to be very big in Turkey, so there was an on going “tournament” going on and we played a little scrabble. Snorkeling gear, fishing gear, inner tubes and the ever popular floating “noodles” were available and used frequently. Mozart loved hanging out with Natalie and Duane who were kind and interesting adult ship mates. The gulet and Blue Voyage is a perfect way to explore this vibrant coast!













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