Sailing the Mediterranean by Eileen Scatterty

My first experience sailing in the Mediterranean Sea was about 2 years ago. We rented a Turkish gulet and crew for a week. I had no idea what to expect. We sailed from Marmaris, Turkey which is a well-known port in Turkey. That week turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.

Stepping onboard the wooden Turkish gulet I knew this would be a spectacular experience. The Captain and Crew welcomed us, we got settled in our cabins and then we set sail. The views as we sailed were amazing. The coastline was weaved with pine trees on cliffs of rock that showed hundreds of years of erosion giving them such character. We anchored into a bay for the evening. It was one of the most beautiful landscapes I had seen but it wouldn’t be the last. All week I continued to be surprised of the beauty that surrounded us.

In the evening we gathered on the aft deck to enjoy a cocktail and relax. Then dinner was served. To explain how delicious dinner was is a difficult thing to do, it was more of an experience. The Captain had grilled fresh fish and our personal chef had made some wonderful Turkish dishes for us to enjoy. This was one of the best meals I’ve experienced. Beyond the delicious food, it was the added experience of sitting on the gulet, the calm sea, stars and moonlight enveloping us.

That night instead of retiring to my cabin I chose to sleep on deck, under the stars. I can’t remember seeing stars as bright and the Milky Way as clear. After watching the stars for what seemed like hours, I had the best sleep I’d had in a long time. I slept on deck the entire week I was there.

Waking up in the morning was an experience. The sun was already shining and warm and the sea was calling my name for a swim. Diving off the boat into the crystal clear waters was not only refreshing but extremely exhilarating. Once back on board the crew made sure I had a coffee to enjoy as I sat and watched the sea gently lapping against the boat. The vibrant colors of the sea surrounded us – so many hues of blue and turquoise. Bliss.

A traditional Turkish breakfast was served and we set sail shortly after. We sailed about an hour and again found a spectacular bay to anchor in. As soon as the boat was anchored everyone jumped in the water for a swim and some water sports. The nearby rocks provided an excellent underwater adventure for snorkelling. The crew put the kayak in the water so we could explore the area. Back on deck it was the perfect time to lay in the sun and rehydrate with some lovely beverages.

Chef again prepared a delicious meal with great Turkish dishes made from fresh local ingredients. After lunch we set sail again. We sailed to a village and had the opportunity to explore. The small shops provided all kinds of shopping opportunities from Turkish linens to rugs to clothes and other tourist items. It became quickly apparent that the Turkish have a very social culture. Shop keepers are eager to help and are thrilled to sit and enjoy a Turkish coffee or tea with you. Learning about this country and its centuries of history from the local people is a great experience, they clearly love their country. During the week we visited other villages, hiked to some ancient ruins and went on some other fascinating land and sea adventures. This vacation was the perfect mixture of adventure and relaxation, whichever I chose.

Setting sail one last time for the day we found yet another beautiful bay to anchor for the night. As we were swimming and enjoying the bay we had the opportunity to experience some other watersports from a local vendor. Waterskiing, banana boat rides, parasailing and others were all available to us for an extremely reasonable price. Even an ice cream boat came by! We gathered for another fantastic dinner before sleeping again under the stars. Ready and excited to experience it all again tomorrow!

The crew ensured we were taken care of the entire week, I can’t think of a time I experienced better service. The daily itinerary was ours to decide and the Captain was happy to give us suggestions. The gulet allowed us to experience Turkey and see its splendor from the sea and by land. I’ve since had the opportunity to go back and each adventure is better than the last one.