Some things about living on a boat aren’t easy. Resources are limited, like fresh water for one. With a mane like mine things can get a bit out of hand after a week without a proper wash and twice daily sea breeze blow dry. And then there’s space, or lack there of. Things are tight on board so you get to know people quickly. Does the idea of boarding a boat for a week with eight strangers excite or scare you? Personally, I think it’s thrilling…some combination of both. At first they’re your skipper, or the one with the tattoos, or the faux hawk, or the mustache, or the tall blonde. But by the next day and a few hours spent together at sea they’re people that come from places, with names, stories, ideas, and jokes. Personalities. And all these people, they just begin to fall into place. Josh at the wheel, both Emilys on the bow, Natalie and Sasha in the hammocks, Swirl and Evan at the stern, Monica and Miguel with their feet dangling starboard. And me, most likely a bit all over the place with one hand holding my camera and the other keeping me from going overboard. Each morning the engine turns on at 9am no matter how late the night before ended. You don’t want to miss a thing, so you always get up with it. Time moves slower than you’d think. What you don’t spend swimming you fill with talking, singing, reading…anything you like, but simple things. The day is punctuated — breakfast at the port, a stop for a swim, and then another Greek island. But it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. So goes life, and your vacation. Seven days of heaven. Because what started as a small boat, after a few days feels like a whole world. You’ve got everything you need right there to be happy. And those people that started out as strangers, they’re your friends. Come Friday, today isn’t like the last seven, and you feel like your heart is breaking as Athens appears on the horizon and you’re forced to go back to the world you came from. You jump into a cab to the airport before you can even say goodbye, because they always make you cry and it’s too sad to leave it all behind. From four knots gliding on the sea to four hundred miles per hour in the sky, headed towards the forty or so square meters in the city you felt quite at home in before. But now it’s hard to imagine who needs so much space all to them self. You stare at your faucet running fresh water into the tub. Finally, you can wash your hair. So you sink under the water, filling it with the salt you wore home and the saline tears you avoided crying before because you miss the sea, you miss the boat, and you miss the people. And at midnight in a tiny tub of salty water you feel the most at home since you stepped off the boat that morning. Which is fine, because as far as you’re concerned you can sit there until next summer when you can go back to Greece and live that week all over again.
My journey to Greece began with a special invitation for me and Emily from Medsailors. Medsailors offers skippered sailing trips for 20-35 years olds in Greece, Croatia, and Turkey. How could we say no? Seven days and six nights sailing the Mediterranean, only a fool would refuse. While you can book a boat for an entire group of friends, our boat was a mix of couples and friends from all over the globe. Each week about 10 – 15 sailing yachts embark on the trip, so you’re always in the good company of other Medsailors, making new friends from different boats at each island or port. Each day brings a new destination, a new swim spot somewhere along the way. Breakfast and lunch are served on board, and afternoons and dinner spent exploring the islands. Below I’ve shared some snapshots and tips from my favourite places along the way…
Not to be confused with Paros, Poros has charms of it’s own. Emily and I loved walking up and down the quaint little streets that climb the hill, all the way to the top where you’ll find a beautiful church and a vantage point over the port and across the way to the mainland Pelopponese. There is also an outdoor cinema in the summer here playing movies many nights, seriously beautiful sunsets, great restaurants along the water, and a decent bar scene including a night out with with the whole Medsailors group that was hilarious and fun!
Spetses was my absolute most favourite island of all those that I have visited in Greece this trip and on other trips. If you are looking for a quaint and beautiful island that really has it all, this is the place. We rented a four wheeler and drove around the island, stopping at pretty beaches and getting lost along the way to find cute things like darling rows of residential neighbourhoods you would dream of living in, boat yards being colonized by talkative geese, and little churches. There are also cute shops here selling leather sandals made locally, pistachio vendors around the port, funny old ladies swimming at the beach worth people watching, horse drawn carriages, amazing gelato and an adorable bakery with cookies galore. There is also a stunning five star hotel here called the Poseidonian Grand Hotel that is ultra class.
Agistri is just a one hour trip from Athens, and so it’s a great option for visiting considering its proximity. In addition, it has three beautiful towns ranging from quiet and mostly locals to happening and touristic. There are plenty of cute little funky hotels lining the beaches that they fill with loungers and palm umbrellas. There are cute cafes and coffee shops, and some pretty streets in the old town areas you can walk up to in the hills.
Steeped in fascinating history, the enchanting village of Ermioni is the second destination on the Medsailors Greece trip. Having been inhabited since 3,000BC, there’s plenty to explore. You can go snorkelling in jaw-droppingly beautiful Bisti, an underwater archaeological site, drink sunset cocktails on board boat yacht or at the Medsailors “punch party”, and then feast on Greek delicacies in the lively town.
Emily — My little Hawaiian Coconut for being the ultimate travel companion on this trip. You can see A MILLION more photos by her of this trip over on her blog, (where you can also see a photo of our really cute skipper who will definitely make you blush) and you can follow her on Instagram too! And for keeping me safe while she drove our bright orange four wheeler on Spetses, for singing with me everyday (and putting up with my awful singing when she was not singing with me) and sharing our tiny cabin amongst all my camera gear and all her cosmetics.
Medsailors — Thank you so much for Medsailors for inviting us on this amazing experience, and making the dream of sailing the Med (and Adriatic) with friends accessible, affordable, and everything we ever imagined and more! We honestly loved, loved, loved this trip and cannot wait to take another one next summer. See you then for a million more photos and videos and another amazing week at see that we will never want to leave. We honestly cried when we had to go home this time! Below you can see the map of the Medsailors route…