I recently returned from a wonderful week long sailing holiday in Turkey. Blissful relaxation, delicious food and great company. I am revitalised and ready for action! Below you can find recipe for a Turkish Delight and a few holiday snaps (just couldn’t help myself).
675g caster sugar
50g glucose syrup
5 tbsp rose water
100g corn flour
10 gelatine leaves
few drops of pink food colouring
1oz icing sugar
Put together the caster sugar, water and glucose syrup in a pan on a medium heat. Bring slowly to the boil and simmer for about 5 min. Meanwhile place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water to soften. Put aside a couple of tablespoons of cornflour and add a little bit of water to remaining flour to loosen it. Take the sugar mix of the heat and add the rose water, colouring and the cornflour, stir it well. Place it back on a medium heat for a minute or so until the mix thickens, take it of and add the gelatine. Pour it in the suitable container lined with silicone baking parchment or double layer cling film. Place it in the fridge to set. Mix the remaining cornflour with icing sugar. when set cut the Turkish delight into squares and coat it in the flour and sugar mix.
Sailing The Dalaman Coast aboard a wooden gullet.
If this is what you need: full relaxation, true relaxation, not much to do or just something to do. Try spending a week on board of gullet, a traditional wooden Turkish sailing boat. It is a sailing adventure with a difference, in the tranquil settings of the Dalaman Coast away from the busy and overcrowded holiday resorts.
The first morning on board of boat, the captain greeted us with a big smile and an apology that he had drunk too much the previous night and was in need of a coffee before he went on to explain the full schedule of our first day of sailing to us.
Our first night was spent in Marmaris, a large town on the southern coast of Turkey and we spent that first evening docked in the port on board of our boat ‘Sehan Can’. At over 100ft long, the boat felt very spacious with plenty of room to lounge, sit and sunbathe. Our cabin was large with two open portholes, en-suite and air conditioned. Little did we know that we wouldn’t be spending much time in there anyway.
We set sail after breakfast and it felt good to be leaving the busy town behind.
The sea was the purest blue perfectly match sky. The boat swayed rhythmically from left to right and a gentle sea breeze helped with the heat of the midday sun.
After the first day of sailing, we anchored in one of the peaceful bays for the night I sat and looked around, the Eagles “Desperado” played, we just finished our group attempt of a Turkish dance, some people played cards others chatted and read, I sipped my Rose wine I felt pretty happy and totally relaxed.
As a group of eighteen plus four crew, we have only met last night and already felt quite comfortable in each others company.
For the next six days we sailed from one exquisite cove to another along the Dalaman coast on-route from Marmaris to Fethiye. Our days were filled with snorkeling, kayaking, sunbathing, reading. There was a lady who knitted and a couple of guys with the fishing rod and their desperate attempts to catch something, anything. Swimming sometimes turned unexpectedly into a diving competition, just for sheer fun as women worried about their “swimming costume failures” and men tried to perfect their dive style. You could be as social as you liked or left in peace, nobody minded.
We all slipped into a certain boat rhythm, where the meal times seemed to have been the only time marker of the day. Food was delicious Turkish fare, cooked by the captain’s wife Nimet. Fresh tomatoes, cheese, eggs and olives always featured on the breakfast menu, followed by an array of different salads, bread, and sometimes soup for lunch. The afternoon tea with a cake or biscuits was always awaited by all as swimming sharpened our appetite.
By 8.30pm we were all ready for dinner with barbecued fish, chicken or lamb kofta and fruit for pudding. We all ate together at the massive table and it did not take long to devise a certain system in passing the food around.
As July temperatures soared and the heat of the day made the cabin quite uncomfortable to sleep in (the air conditioning was switched on for a limited time only), we opted to sleep on the top deck. Falling asleep watching shooting stars and being rocked gently by the calm waters is un unforgettable experience. After the first night outside, we never returned to our bed in the cabin.
The Turkish coast is beautiful and despite the heat it is very green; the shore is pine cladded by the edge of the sea. There is an abundance of little coves and tiny islands dotted around making it a perfectly safe place for mooring boats. Being on the move meant that there were always new places to explore, local bars to visit. The Captain warned us to watch out for snakes and scorpions when hiking on the shore, but it did not deter anybody and we bravely faced the danger in pursuit of a new watering hole.
Incredibly we sailed from Binlik Bay to Cleopatra’s Bay at midnight, we gathered at the front of the boat and peacefully watched the big bright moon starring at us. The bay is famous for half submerged monastery ruins. Cleopatra visited the monastery twice on one occasion, apparently honeymooning with Marc Anthony.
After a cultural snorkeling expedition, we kayaked across to Wall Bay restaurant for a well deserved small Edes, the local beer. Note of warning, the little bars did not display a price list so before you order you should ask the price or they might charge you a bit more as prices seemed to fluctuate.
We visited the port of Gocek but only for an hour as it was a busy harbor which makes it difficult to moor for longer without booking well in advance. It was a yachting haven filled with restaurants and chandlery shops which makes an ideal stop for restocking.
I came close to purchasing a fishing net, only to be stopped on this occasion by my sensible partner. The ‘fishing boys‘ purchased a tin of sweetcorn as it was supposed to be the best bait ever, the captain laughed, those crazy Brits!
They did actually catch a fish that afternoon, not with the sweetcorn though, but a piece of bread I think. The Hunter fish was prepared and cooked by Nimet and tasted by many.
Soon we docked in a bay close to the town of Fethiye which was to be our final destination. The Taurus mountains rose above in the distance and the sound of late night music travelled across the water, a gentle reminder that our time on the boat had come to an end.
We spent the last night in the town harbour amongst the other gullets, refueling and restocking in the readiness for the boats next adventure.
E-mails were exchanged and the captain gave us a big hug goodbye. We were sad to leave, without sounding sentimental we were leaving behind what felt like a ‘boating’ family.
One thing is for sure, we are definitely hooked and are already planning our next sailing trip, maybe this time along the Greek coast or in Croatia?