Lycia, in southern Turkey, is full of some of the most beautiful wonders in the world, with a cheap coast for sailing. There are now a whole series of nautical charts and coastal pilots for its inhabitants. Only 200 years ago, this eastern coast of the Mediterranean on the atlases of the earth was completely white. The man we need to thank for his transformation because he literally put this part of Turkey on the map is a celebrity in all maritime affairs. His name is an absolute constant for ship forecasts and various instruments, because he has become the reference on which all winds are valued: Beaufort.
Of course, the coast of Lycia was well known and long before British admiral Francis Beaufort began his investigation in 1810. It was exactly on one of the most important shipping lanes of antiquity, the road between Greece and Egypt, and in Christian times the pilgrimage from Constantinople to Jerusalem. Those who were in ancient times seem to have sailed on their shores or changed boats, from Antony and Cleopatra to Paul, from Brutus to Hadrian.
But these boaters are relatively new compared to those who have made one of the greatest archaeological discoveries. The world’s oldest shipwreck, off the Lycian coast, reflects the extraordinary era when people traveled to the coast. Like the wreck of Ülü Burun 1350 BC In the dating, shockwaves have crossed the maritime history.
Here’s a 3,350-year-old ship – a Bronze Age time capsule – and not an ordinary little boat, but an extraordinary cargo ship that gives an idea of the sophisticated trade that took place here in the dark and distant past. On board were tons of copper, glass ingots and lapis lazuli, violet paint balls, swords and tridents, a wax book, and even a lyrical instrument probably used by the crew for a chat in the evening. A gold scarab of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti is an indication of the possible origin of the ship.
Today, Bronze Age and even Beaufort travelers can navigate in unimaginable comfort. The best way to see the Lycian coast is aboard a schooner. The word probably comes from the French goulette or schooner. For generations, these two-masted wooden ships, sometimes called kaiks, have been used for transport and fishing along the southern coast of Turkey. They are usually equipped with an acute knot, wide straps and a round eight. You now have uncompromising comfort. Handmade in Turkey, they have a captain, a cook and extra people. All passengers have to sit, look at the horizon and relax.