Peter & Jenny Cooke live in the hills of County Antrim in Northern Ireland. They holidayed with their three children on a gulet for the first time in 2002. Enraptured by the extraordinary unspoilt Turkish coast, the superb cuisine and the welcoming people they met, they felt the whole gulet cruise concept was a strange mixture of amazing and disappointing, failing too often in its execution.
In 2003 they decided to buy their own gulet and start a private charter business. Salamander has since made quite a name for herself. Peter & eldest daughter Tessa do the marketing and sales directly, rather than use agents, as they felt Salamander was more than just another boat thrown in with all the ordinary.
Particularly disappointed by the size of the ‘extras’ bill on that first holiday they were determined to offer a highly inclusive, ‘no surprises’ package, so that their customers would come back raving about the holiday, not dreading that final bill! They have a partner Erdem Agan, a very good friend and well known boat builder in Bodrum. The blend of their cultural differences has led to a unique and highly successful approach to gulet cruising.
Salamander was chosen after a long search, as an example of the original classically styled sailing gulet, beautiful in every way. Every year since her purchase in 2003, the owners have reinvested in re-equipping and improving her until they have perhaps the most successful single boat charter business in Bodrum. Those who holidayed on Salamander in the early years would hardly recognise her now, and yet her original character still oozes out of her every pore!
Salamander is chartered for 24 to 26 weeks each year, with more and more guests choosing the peace and quiet of the early and late seasons. With over 40% repeat business, Erdem, Peter, Tessa and their hand picked crew are clearly getting something right!
And so to Montenegro… After successful trials in 2018, the Cooke Family were delighted to announce their new partnership with Dejan & Alexandra of DM Yachting from 2019 and onwards.
Using one larger gulet, Sadri Usta 1, and one modern take on Salamander, Baba Veli 8, they are now offering that familiar ‘Salamander Experience’ but with subtle changes to reflect the differences in the local environment, culture, history & cuisine.
At time of launch they had already sold 8 weeks for 2019 due to word of mouth alone.
They have recently extended their destination offering to include Croatia and from Gulets to Superyachts. The most recent partnership is with Andy and his stunning yacht, Songbird, of 90ft (27 Metres). Salamander Voyages are excited to be able to offer ‘The Salamander Experience’ on such a beautiful and classic sailing yacht. Starting in Dubrovnik (or Split on request), Songbird can sleep up to 6 guests (or accommodate 8 if children are included) and offer a package very similar to all 3 of the gulets but with a superb luxurious experience, a further step up the market in terms of the levels of luxury on offer.