Sailing the Mediterranean

A few weeks ago Charles and I joined nine other friends on a sailing trip around the South Ionian Islands in Greece. We rented two 42′ sail boats and hired one captain. A few of our friends are certified as captains so we had six people on each boat including the hired captain named Harry. Harry was a very nice older Greek gentleman who introduced himself to all of us and then excused himself so he could change into his sailing attire. This is what he looked like when he came back. He wore this outfit every single day – no joke. I still can’t figure out what the weight belt was for.

Anyhow, after a somewhat rocky start to the trip, due to our hired captain failing to untie the boat completely from the dock, twice, which resulted in a rope wrapping around the prop causing enough damage to delay our departure until the next morning, where he, yet again, failed to untie us from the dock (umm, yeah), we finally set sail.

The scenery made up for the less than perfect skills of our captain. Warm to hot weather, calm seas for the most part and perfectly clear water (visibility of no less than 50′). The little bays that we stopped to swim in each day or to drop anchor in each night were beautiful. There was usually only about 5 other boats anchored in each cove.

Because there wasn’t a whole lot of wind we did a lot of motoring. On a few occasions we were able to convince out captain (who didn’t seem to want to actually sail) that we had rented a “sail boat” and not a motor boat and it would be really cool if he would tell us what to do so that we might actually be able pull out our sails and move through the water powered by the wind. Below is our team in action. I think we got up to 8 knots which is about 9 mph.

One of the things Harry had to let us do was drop the anchor because he couldn’t do that and steer the boat at the same time. Charles and I became anchor pros.

The little ports that we stayed at every other night were exactly what you think of when you imagine a Greek fishing village. All but the last place we stayed were very small and quiet. The food was always very, very good and relatively cheap. In the mornings we would stock up on supplies for the next day or two, usually cleaning out the little market of it’s supply of ice and beer.

We managed to cook a few really good meals on one of the boats on the nights we weren’t in port. All 12 of us managed to fit around the table of our boat. Quite cozy, but such a good time. A few of the people on the trip were very new friends so there was a lot of getting to know you moments, but over all the group was very easy going. We managed to delegate tasks evenly, vote on plans of action and get things done without any problems. We had a total of seven days at sea and although we had a lot of time to lounge and relax, we still felt like we needed a vacation when we got home. Holidaying with a big group doesn’t allow for much alone time.

A big thanks to all who went on the trip for making our first (and hopefully not our last) sailing trip unforgettable! A special thanks to Kip for planning the whole thing.

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