Where Did The Blue Cruise & Blue Voyage Begin ?

Where Did The Blue Cruise & Blue Voyage Begin ?

Once upon a time, there was an Istanbul author, journalis and inellectual. His name was Cevat Sakir and he was exiled to Bodrum during the early years of the Turkish Republic when a magazine article he wrote enraged the authorities. Yes – exiled! To Bodrum! At that time, the journey from Izmir to Bodrum, which now takes about three hours, still took more than a day, and the castle at Bodrum was still being used as a dungeon!

But Cevat Şakir didn’t have to sit out his sentence in a dark dungeon. He was allowed tol ive in a small house in Bodrum, where he got to know the local fishermen and sponge-divers- simple people, earning their living from the sea and far removed from the political happenings of the day. Cevat Şakir soon began to love the place, its immense sky and dazzling whitewashed houses. In his prose, he describes his vision of parts these buildings breaking away, tumbling down the hillsides like boulders and turning into boats as they fall into the sea…

His book ‘The Blue Exile’ is a declaration of love to his land of exile. When the Istanbul authorities realised he was actually enjoying his sentence, they brought him back about a year later. Cevat Şakir returned to Bodrum as soon as his punishment was over. Calling himself the ‘Fishermen of Halicarnassus’ he wrote a book in which he never tired of singing the praises of Bodrum and its people, myths and legends. His Istanbul friends, all intellectuals like himself, came to the coast to see the beauty described in vivid colours by ‘Fisherman’ and his enthusiasm about Bodrum became infectious, captivating them as well. In 1957, he went with some of his closest friends on a voyage into the Gulf of Gokova. The boat had no motor or cabins, but that wasn’t important! There was a place to sleep on deck; there was rakı, and a sky full of stars overhead. But the friends weren’t just on a pleasure trip – their mission was to search each individual bay for new types of plants, ruins and remnants of a history stretching back many thousands of years. They called this trip the “BLUE VOYAGE”.

They were all so enthused by the experience that they decided to repeat it each year, and bring their friends, and their friends, and so on… It wasn’t long before those first fishing boats were redesigned to provide a bit more comfort. In comparison with today’s comfortable Gulets, they were like a simple B&B room compared to the honeymoon suite at a five-star hotel. But they were a start, and a brand was created: The Blue Cruise. What’s more, the enthusiasm for his type of trip is still alive even more than fifty years after its creation.

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