One way to see Asia Minor coast: on a Turkish gulet


November 22, 1992|By New York Times News Service

Q: We are interested in sailing aboard a Turkish gulet, or wooden yacht, along the coast of Asia Minor departing from either Bodrum or Marmaris in Turkey. How can we get information about chartering a gulet with a captain and crew?

A: At least two companies can help with chartering a gulet, which although it has a mast and sails is not a sailboat. The gulet (it is pronounced goo-LET) is powered by a large diesel engine. Handcrafted in southern Turkey from local pine, the gulets range from about 50 feet long, with three cabins and two baths, to 70 feet or longer with up to 10 cabins, each with private bath. The boats have a wide afterdeck with a sun awning and a large table for dining. And because they are wide and heavy they give a very stable ride.

The sailing season extends from April to November, with May, June and September considered the most pleasant months, with daytime temperatures in the low to mid-80's and cool evenings.

* Club Voyages, P.O. Box 7648, Shrewsbury, N.J. 07702; call (201) 842-4946, fax (201) 530-5461, has been arranging trips to and in Turkey for more than 15 years. Its director, Patricia R. Goksel, says the company inspects all the gulets it recommends, adding that there is "enormous variability" in the quality of boats and crews. For this reason, she adds, she would not recommend that travelers try to "simply wait until they reach Turkey and strike a deal while strolling along the quay." Each gulet booked by Club Voyages has a crew of two or three, depending on its size, and usually the captain and sometimes the crew members speak English. The boats accommodate from two to 14 people. Accommodations are basic, similar to those on a windjammer, says Ms. Goksel.

Charter prices depend on the season, with July, August and September the peak season. Rates for 1993 for a six-cabin gulet range from $475 to $550 a day in May or October, to $625 to a day in June and $700 to $825 a day in July and September. In August a six-cabin gulet costs from $950 to $1,000 a day. Prices include a crew of three. Meals, cooked by a crew member, are available at $15 a person for breakfast and lunch or $25 with dinner. Alternatively, dinner and sometimes lunch can be taken on shore. Special diets and personal tastes can also be accommodated.

It is also possible to book a cabin on a regularly scheduled seven-day gulet trip. Next year's rates are not yet available, but the 1992 price was $650 a person in a double cabin, with three meals a day.

* World of Oz, 211 E. 43rd St., New York, N.Y. 10017; (212) 661-0580, fax (212) 599-1755, arranges similar trips from either Bodrum or Marmaris. Gulet charters range from $650 to $1,000 a day, depending on the size of the boat and the time of year. The boats can accommodate up to 12 people. A cabin can also be booked on a regularly scheduled seven-day trip for $675 a person in double occupancy and $930 single. The trips leave Bodrum every Friday and Sunday from May 1 through Oct. 30 and visit such sites as the ruins of Roman temples and Byzantine churches.

Q: May American citizens, as tourists, currently visit the sites of Roman ruins at Sabratha and Lepcis Magna in western Libya?

A: On Dec. 11, 1981, in response to what the Reagan Administration said was an accelerated effort by Libya to "undermine neighboring states and work against U.S. interests," all United States passports were invalidated for travel to, in or through Libya, and American citizens were called upon to leave the country. That order, which still stands, added that exemptions can only be granted by the secretary of state. Only professional reporters, Red Cross workers on a special mission and those with compelling humanitarian reasons need apply.

Since that order was issued, Libya has allowed Americans who have not been granted an exemption to enter the country. According to the State Department, however, Americans who return to the United States with a Libyan travel stamp in their passport face a fine of up to $2,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

Q: I would like to spend about four to six weeks next summer studying beginners' Japanese in or near Tokyo. Do you know of any such offerings, preferably with housing facilities?

A: According to the Japanese Information Center in New York, there are no language schools in Tokyo that also have accommodations, although many will provide help in finding a place to stay.

The center, at 299 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10171, (212) 371-8222, will send a list of such schools. It is up to the student to contact the particular school for more information -- there are dozens listed, in English, in the Tokyo Yellow Pages.

Another source of information is the National Registration Center for Study Abroad, P.O. Box 1393, Milwaukee, Wis. 53201; (414) 278-0631 or fax, (414) 271-8884.

The center, a consortium of 86 foreign schools and adult education centers in 16 countries, offers two five-week courses four times a year in Tokyo at LIC Kokusai, Kaiwa, Gakuin. The courses, which start Jan. 11, April 7, July 5 and Oct. 6, cost $1,000 for a 15-hour week ($148 for additional weeks) and $1,053 for a 20-hour week ($162 for additional weeks).

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