Blue Cruise Voyage

There is
no better way in which to appreciate Turkey’s infinitely fascinating history than by water. As devotees of the popular Blue Voyage know, Anatolia, bridging Asia and Europe, has housed many civilizations, some of which were in close contact with the sea and thus built their cities on the Aegean or Mediterranean coasts. Most of those cities have, of course, fallen. But due to the lack of highways, many of those ancient sites remain ‘undiscovered jewels’ and are thankfully still untouched. Even today, some of these coastal areas are only attainable from the sea.
The novelist and short story writer Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli (1886-1973) was sent in exile to Bodrum for a period of three years, in 1925. He enjoyed the simple life he led there and spent most of his time with fisherman, with whom he felt a common love of nature. He also had a deep interest in history and archaeology. Having only the fishing boats as a means of transportation, he started exploring the nearby coasts. When his exile period was over, he chose to stay in Bodrum. Cevat Bey went on to books and articles about his excursions and experiences. Because of his love for Bodrum and the lifestyle he led, he was later called “The fisherman of Halicarnassus” the latter being the ancient name of Bodrum.

In the following years he started sharing his experiences with friends he invited either from Izmir or Istanbul. In all of these voyages, one of his closest confidants, the writer and an art historian Sabahattin Eyuboglu (1908-1973), was always present. It was Sabahattin Bey who made these floating pilgrimages a tradition and named them “Blue Voyages”.

But the rustic fishing boats of the earlier Mavi Yolculuk have been replaced by a new type of boat, a wooden sailing vessel made only either in Bodrum or Marmaris, called a gulet. Unfortunately, although Blue Voyages are becoming more and more popular everyday, they risk losing their original cultural character. A new definition of Blue Voyage seems to be chartering a yacht and cruising from cove to cove for relaxation and water sports. But diehards still take the cruise not only to have fun but also to discover and support the coast’s tremendous historical heritage.


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