Last month I was lucky enough to spend an incredible week sailing around the Greek Islands of the Southern Ionian. I did this as part of a guided flotilla, which is the perfect way to be introduced to the art of sailing. Our flotilla consists of 8 sailing yachts and 1 lead crew which guided the fleet of yachts from port to port around the islands.
Having dabbled in some sailing as a teen, the concept wasn’t completely alien to me. I knew that despite the glamorous aesthetics, living on a sailing yacht was very much a ‘back to basics’ experience. The living quarters are snug to say the least and with no electricity or air con, it’s bye bye blow dries and personal space! But once you’re out on the open sea with the wind in your sails, sun on your skin and blue seas all around you, you couldn’t give a toss what you look like!
During my week I kept a diary, but as there was no Wi-Fi, I wrote it all by hand. I’m so used to blogging on my laptop, I found it so refreshing to put pen to paper and physically write down my thoughts. There’s something very poetic about writing a diary in such beautiful surroundings! Following my digital detox, I have typed it up for you to all enjoy on my blog. Here’s what I got up to in Part 1 of my week…
Day 1: Arrive at Nidri
I’ve just spent a blissful week at Sivota Bay The Retreat and am feeling incredibly refreshed and revived. I really enjoyed the water sports activities at The Retreat so I was itching to get on the yacht and acquire my sea legs. We’ve all unpacked our stuff into the boat (leaving about ½ the contents of my suitcase back on land!). After a week of being spoilt with air con in the hotel, the heat of the cabins hit me hard! Definitely going to have to get used to this again. Tomorrow we have a morning briefing at 9.30am to meet our lead crew where they will brief us about the sailing route for the following week.
Day 1: Nidri to Little Sivota
Our lead crew are great! We’ve got Andy as our Skipper, Kelly as our Mate and JB as our Engineer. This are the typical roles of a lead crew and they all play their parts in the smooth running of the flotilla. The crossing from Nidri to Little Sivota was a gentle 3 hour sail down the Meganissi channel. Once we hit the channel we got some great wind, so we stopped motoring and pulled up the sails. We got to about 6 knots, not bad going for day 1.
The lead crew had organised a group meal at a restaurant on Little Sivota marina called Delphinos. Having already been in Greece for a week and not eaten Moussaka, I decided tonight was my night! Following dinner the lead crew took us to the infamous Pirates Bar. Famed around the islands for its unique tequila shots, it would have been rude not to try them! Orange wedges instead of lime and cinnamon instead of salt. Definitely worth a visit if you’re every in Little Sivota!
Day 2: Little Sivota to Paleros
Woke up feeling fresh despite last night’s rather exotic tequila experience. Following morning briefing in a café on the marina, we were off to Paleros, our next stop of the week. Paleros is the smallest port of the week, so I’m told, but it’s incredibly picturesque and a slice of authentic Greece. The sail over to Paleros today was quite uneventful with minimal wind, but we did find a lovely deserted cove to stop for lunch in. Once we arrived we had a wander around the quaint back streets and stopped for an ice cream. Dinner was served in Dionysos, a restaurant by the shingle beach serving (I’m not kidding here) the best steak I’ve ever had! They put their own spin on it using a Metaxa sauce. Following lead crew recommendations and frequent eating noises of appreciation, it was safe to say half the restaurant ordered the steak tonight!
Find out what I got up to in the second part of my week in The Sailing Diaries Part 2!