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Cruise the Turkish coast in a ‘gulet’

Cruise Turkey’s Turquoise Coast

As the Indian Ocean has its dhows, and the Far East its junks, so Turkey has the gulet. These wooden sailing ships, thought to descend from the Mediterranean schooner of old, serve as the quintessential means of exploring the hundred miles or more of the Turquoise Coast, where the crinkled shoreline of southwest Turkey leaves the waters of the Aegean behind and curves towards the eastern Mediterranean. Most gulets have a half-dozen small cabins aboard, and though it’s usually more practical for the crew to use the ship’s motor rather than unfurl the sails, the rhythm of a gulet cruise remains appealingly slow. As summer draws to a close, so does the main gulet season, but there is still time to ft in a last jaunt. Starting and finishing in the town of Fethiye, the Blue Cruise takes in the fishing ports of Kaş and Kalkan, swimming spots such as Tarzan Bay (there’s an appropriate rope swing), a chance to kayak out to see an ancient submerged town at Kekova and an optional excursion inland to explore the white rocks of Saklıkent Gorge. One historic figure looms large here: St Nicholas, also known as Father Christmas. The splendid ruins of Patara, his birthplace, are bordered by the longest sandy beach in the region.

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