Blue Cruise – Chapter 1: The Oesophagus and the Wood

Blue Cruise - Baba Veli 7I’d like to start by saying that, helpful though the auto-correct on my computer is, it can at times cause confusion.  So when you come across the inevitable substitution made by my electronic munchkin, that I will surely miss, I have not abandoned ship and gone for a tour of someone’s gullet (oesophagus).  I will be on a rather fine and luxurious traditional Turkish wooden sailing boat called a Gulet.  So with that matter clarified, let’s get on with the story.

After perusing their colourful brochure packed with choices of ships and hotels, Blue Cruise had efficiently packaged up our cruise and stay, followed by comprehensive booking confirmation and useful hints and tips.  We were met by the Blue Cruise reps at Dalaman airport to be told that a storm had left the ship out of position and that we would be transported to a different port.  These things happen and I think it reveals a lot about a company how they recover from setbacks.  No last minute ramshackle bus for us, Blue Cruise found us a leather-seated, air-conditioned Mercedes mini bus to take us to the port, so we settled in for a bonus mini tour of the Turkish countryside.

Blue Cruise - al fresco diningOur home for the next week was the Baba Veli 7 and while our bags were being whisked to our cabin we got a chance to take in the ship whilst being welcomed aboard.  The first thing that strikes you is the wood.  Matt decking contrasted by shining varnished wood, when you arrive at your cabin it's like being invited into The Lord of the Manor's wood panelled library.  The whole effect has a rich colonial feel but at the same time it radiates a cosy warmth.  The Baba Veli 7 is at the luxury end of Blue Cruise's varied portfolio of ships, so our cabin has air con, en suite facilities, including quite an impressive flow to the shower, all we needed for our cruise along the Lycian Coast.

Blue Cruise, as well as being the name of the company, is also the generic term for trips along the Lycian Coast.  Cevat Sakir Kabaagaçli aka The Fisherman of Halicarnassus is attributed as the founder of the Blue Cruise or Voyage.  There is a rather fine pocket sized book by Roger Williams called The Fisherman of Halicarnassus which explores the history and culture of the so called Blue Cruise.

As blue turns to orangeThe port we started our journey from was Kalkan, with a multitude of mainly tourist focused buildings stepped up the steep hillside.  Nestled in amongst the hotels and restaurants, however, was an attractive mosque, seemingly placed as the centre piece of the view from the harbour.  Not wishing to tackle the steepness of the road to get further into Kalkan, we contented ourselves with a stroll round the harbour and a peek in the local shops, before the Captain hauled anchor and got us on our way.

Kas was our next stop, a bustling harbour and a multitude of shops to wander around, plus a harbour wall that seemed to be in the process of being painted with some interesting murals.  Setting off again, there was much to admire of an arid and rugged coastline, backed by mountains that rise up to just short of 3,000m in places.

Kalkan at nightAs we moor in a bay, that will be our overnight stop, turtles come to play around the ship and take curious peeks at the new arrival.  We are also treated that night, as with many others, to a fabulous orangey sunset to replace the clear blue skies of the day.  One of my new shipmates pointed out that breaking bread with your fellow man is a great way to get to know them and bond.  So at anchor we enjoy a splendid al fresco meal, sat around the long table on deck that accommodates us all (thirteen) and get to know our travelling companions.  With such a small number it's amazing that very soon we were chatting away like old pals.  As we take to our cabins it's been a very satisfying start to the cruise and we are all gently rocked to sleep by the tiny swell in the bay.

•  Read Blue Cruise – Chapter 2: Santa and The Massage
•  Read Blue Cruise – Chapter 3: The Marina and the Queen

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Steve Aldridge

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