Tag: sailing vacations

Itinerary Ideas from Athens, Greece

Sailing the Greek islands is on just about everyone’s bucket list, and Athens is a clear first stop, especially if it’s your first time in Greece. If you’re taking off from Athens, be sure to spend some time in the city. We recommend a visit to the Acropolis to see the Parthenon and the Monastiraki neighborhood. Once you’re on board and ready to go, consider this itinerary to tour the Saronic islands and nearby coast.1

As you begin your trip, keep in mind that many Greek places have similar names, so it’s always a good idea to double check your plans and destinations.

Stop 1: Aegina

Logistics: The trip is about 18 nautical miles to the south-southwest, and the main port is on the northwest side of the Island, near Aegina Town.

What to see and do:

  • Eat pistachios. They’re grown on the island and are a local specialty.
  • Visit the temple of Aphaia, a doric temple from the fifth century B.C. with sea views. Admission is less than 5 euros.
  • Make pottery in old Aegina village. You can arrange for private lessons with locals who have passed the craft down through generations.
  • Visit the fruit boats near the Agios Nikolaios church.
  • Stock up on any provisions you forgot to get in Athens; Aegina is a fairly popular island with ATMs and other modern conveniences. 

Tip: Because Aegina is popular and close to Athens, the harbor can be crowded, particularly on weekends. Be sure to get there early. You can also use the secondary harbor or any of the three anchorages.

Stop 2: Poros 

Logistics: Sail 15-20 nautical miles to the south. To reach the harbor, sail through Poros Lagoon, watching for ferries and hydrofoils.

What to see and do:

  • While en route, keep your eyes and nose peeled for Methana. This dormant volcano is on your starboard (right) side and smells distinctly of sulfur.
  • Hike up the hill in Poros Town to enjoy the view. You can also visit the Poros clock tower for another great view of the town and sunset, if you’re there at twilight.
  • Snorkel in Vagionia Bay, where you can see the remains of an ancient city below the water.

Tip: On your way to the harbor, anchor in Poros Lagoon to swim and eat lunch.

Stop 3: Palaia Epidavros (or Archaia Epidavros)

Logistics: Leave Poros Lagoon and sail around the Methana peninsula and follow the coast to the town of Palaia Epidavros on the mainland.

What to see and do:

  • Archaia stands for ancient, and ancient Epidavros is the town of Argolid from the Illiad. You can visit historic sites, including a large historic theatre.
  • A smaller version of the ancient theatre still hosts productions during a summer festival.
  • Consider a paragliding session, leaving from the beach.

Tip: Epadavros is sometimes spelled Epidaurus, which can help as you research the destination.

Stop 4: Korfus (or Korfos)

Logistics: Sail north up the coast toward Korfus. When you arrive, you can either anchor at the small shingle beach for the evening or stop off at a restaurant pontoon for lunch.

What to see and do: 

  • Korfus can be a great place to eat and drink, and is often a good day stop.
  • Locals on AirBnB recommend a fish restaurant at the end of the town’s port, called Selana, and Valera beach bar.

Tip: As you sail up the coast, keep an eye out for dolphins. When researching this destination, make sure you are looking at the coastal town; some internet searches may redirect to the island by the similar name of Corfu.

Stop 5: Agistri

Logistics: After a day-time stop in Korfos, head southeast about 10 nautical miles to the Island of Agistri.

What to see and do:

Tip: The harbor in Agistri is notoriously shallow, though the north end offers more depth.

  • Take photos for social media and people watch: Agistri is a picture-perfect Greek town, filled with cobbled streets and whitewashed houses.
  • While there are plenty of places to jump off rocks and swim, Skala beach is a popular sand beach. It is also the shallowest beach on the island, so it’s the perfect go-to for families.
  • Chalikiada beach is popular with naturists and campers.
  • The southern portion of the island is mostly wild, with thyme and woodland growing up to the water’s edge. To experience this part of the island, consider a horseback ride.

As a final stop, you might consider heading back to Aegina, or returning to Athens from Agistri.

If you’re interested in traveling the itinerary in this article, explore the boats available in Athens.

1 Everything in this article is accurate to our knowledge. If you find something isn’t as stated here, or discover new tips and trips to try, send us an email at info@enaviga.com.

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from Lefkas, Greece

The white beaches and light winds of the Southern Ionian are calling for your next Enaviga charter. If you are collecting your yacht from Lefkas, then our sample itinerary may offer you some ideas of places to moor up.

Lefkas

Lefkas is also known by the locals as Lefkada. A  hilly island steeped in history and beauty. Many say that it remains as one of the most unspoilt Greek Islands, unaffected by tourism. It is definitely a relaxing place to enjoy – take books, people watch and enjoy greek delicacies. 

Sail to Nikiana

Once you are ready to cast off, set sail to Nikiana. A small fishing village with a picturesque harbour. Dock for the night at the town quay or anchor off and dinghy in. There are plenty of  local taverna’s. Enjoy a drink or some local fare. A nice relaxing stop for your first evening onboard.

Your next destination is Sivotas on Lefkas Island

Located on the south east of Lefkas Island. Sivotas is a picturesque harbour with lots to see.  Not easy to spot from the sea, you can choose to moor on one of the quays or anchor in the bay. A popular place to stay, moorings fill up early afternoon.

Sail onto Ayia Eufimia on Kefalonia

Ayia Eufimia is on the East coast of Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian Islands. An excellent stop to take on water, recharge batteries and provision.

This is a great location if you wanted to go ashore and visit the Cave of Melissani. This  underground lake, fed by a stream which flows all the way across the island from Argostoli. You can hop aboard a  small row boat and the boatmen will guide you through the turquoise waters.

Kefalonia

Sail to Kastos

Keep your eyes peeled for Dolphins as you set sail to your Kastos.Anchor off and swim or dingy into the beautiful beaches. Port Kastos is always quick to fill up. You can choose to berth there or anchor.

Sailing onto Meganissi

The old village of Spartachori located on a cliff above Port Spilia on Meganisi Island. It’s well worth the hike up to the village, which offers magnificent views over the harbour. You have the choice of 3 ports to dock in or you can anchor on the NE coast of the island.

For your last day sail over to Palairos

Palairos is a harbour where the old agricultural ways are blending with tourism. You can moor on the harbour breakwater or on the pontoon. If the weather is good you can also anchor north of the harbour.

On the final day of your charter, sail back to Lefkas.

If you have time before you leave the Island. Speak with the team at the yacht base for ideas of local places to visit.

Enaviga have a variety of Monohulls and Catamarans than can be chartered from Lefkas. Click here to see what is available for your next Ionian adventure.

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from Split, Croatia

If you are heading to the Dalmatian coast for your Enaviga charter then you’ll be picking your yacht up in Split.

Split is the second largest city in Croatia after Zagreb. A city steeped in history and if time allows, you should visit the Palace of Diocletian. Below we have given you some ideas for a week’s itinerary after you have boarded your Enaviga yacht.

Sail to Hvar Town.

When you sail close to Hvar, see if you can smell lavender. Grown alongside grapes, figs and olive oil. At certain times of the year you can smell lavender whilst on the water.

Berthing on Hvar Town Quay is popular, so get there early to moor up. There are also around 20 mooring buoys. You are only allowed to drop anchor outside of the bay.

A visit to the walled town is a must. It’s pedestrian only and full of decorated mansions and historic buildings. It’s a walk upwards, but don’t let that put you off seeing the breathtaking views.

Your next destination is Korcula.

Korcula was a source of quarried stone during the long period of Venetian rule. The home to a flourishing shipbuilding industry. It now relies on tourism, wine and olive oil production. Korcula was also the birth place of Marco Polo. You can even visit the Marco Polo museum in Korcula Town if you wish.

Choose from a selection of marina’s or anchor in one of the smaller settlements around the island. Some anchorages have facilities near by, some do not.

Korcula

Your next port of call is Lastovo.

It’s only within the past 20 years that visitors have been granted access to Lastovo. It’s previous life was that of a a military island. In 2006 Lastovo became part of the Croatian National Park.

There is one main sheltered harbour, Luka Velji Lago where you can tie onto the quay or anchor off. There are 2 smaller anchorages on the north and 1 on the south side of the island.

You are now going to sail north to Viz.

Viz is a green island noted for its wineries. A marked change from its history as a base for Tito’s partisans during World War II.

You can moor at either Viz Town on the north east of the Island or Kormiza on the west. You could also drop anchor, with the most popular anchorages being at the north of the island.

From Viz you are going to sail NE to Stari Grad.

The oldest town in Croatia. The  settlement is thought to have been founded by Greeks under the name of Faros in 385 BC. Stari Grad was the capital of the island until Hvar Town assumed that role in 1278.

Walk the cobbled streets stepped in history. Look out for the most popular tourist stop, home of Croatian poet, Petar Hektorovic.

Tie up at town quay, Western or Ferry Jetty. Or pick up one of the mooring buoys on the north side of the harbour.

Sail north to Solta.

An untouched island, Solta is a lovely island to spend one of the last night’s of your trip.

You have the choice to stay in 1 of 3 well equipped marinas. Or you can anchor in some lovely sheltered spots around the island.

On your final day, sail back to Split.

If you have time before leaving the island. Why not ask the staff at the yacht base for suggestions of things to see and do.

All the team at Enaviga hope that you enjoy a fantastic time in Split and her surrounding islands. Why not let us know if you find some hidden gems that we can share with future visitors to the islands. 

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a Catamaran or a Monohull?

You’ve decided on where in the world you’ll next be sailing in. The question now is whether to charter a catamaran or a monohull.

Most trips you take onboard a sailboat will be different. Why? because the party you are sailing with will change with each trip. This may be party size, dynamics or age.

Who are you travelling with?

Thinking about the trip you are making plans for. Are you travelling with your immediate family or with extended family or friends?

What ages are the people you are travelling with? Will there be young children or older adults? Are they all agile? Anyone get motion sickness or doesn’t like confined spaces?

Is everyone onboard a seasoned sailor or do you have some newbies onboard?

By considering your crew, it may be immediately clear that a catamaran charter will be best.

Why Catamarans?

A 40ft Catamaran has a much larger beam than it’s monohull counterpart. Space onboard can seem vast in comparison.

They are more stable, with less heel. This makes it easier and more comfortable to cook, sleep and move around the vessel.

They have two engines. I know we choose a sailing boat because we like to sail but the auxiliary engine has its uses. We have all experienced engine failure or a fouled propeller.  If one fails you still have another to get you to a safe harbour or out of danger.

Manoeuvrability in confined areas is exceptional. With two engines and the two propellers a good distance apart, it is easy to turn on a dime (or sixpence!).

More space equals more comfort. You will find larger water tanks. There may also be a generator, air conditioning etc.

Dinghy storage on the davits is simple and easy.

You can fit more people on a 40-foot catamaran than you can a 40-foot monohull. If travelling with friends, there is a degree of separation in sleeping quarters.

Plenty of storage space. Lots of room for extra beer, dive equipment and water toys.

They sail fast and furious off the wind.

Your galley cook will not be sweating below decks. He/She will be on the same level as the outside seating, so not feeling left out.

Why not Catamarans?

They cost more for berthing. Expect to pay 1.5 x least what you would for an equal mono-hull. This will affect your pocket more in the Mediterranean than in the Caribbean where you’ll probably be on a Mooring Buoy.

They do not sail well upwind.  You will have to come further off the wind to get these beasts moving. But in my experience, a 40-foot cruising cat will go faster than a 40-foot cruising monohull. Even though it will have to put in more tacks and sail further off the wind, it will still get there quicker.

Wind effect. With two powerful engines, they are easy to dock. In a strong gust, they do not have as much grip in the water. With their high freeboard and large coach area, they do react to the wind and can slide sideways.

Chartering a Catamaran for the first time is a great way to introduce non-sailers to sailing. Whichever vessel you charter, the team at Enaviga know that you will have a fantastic time aboard.

Click here to see all of the Catamaran’s available to charter through Enaviga. If you have decided that a Monohull is the boat for you, then click here to see all the Monohull’s available

 

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Boat Rental Basics: From Licenses to Crew

If this is your first time renting a boat, you may have some questions about the logistics. Consider this “boat rental 101.” We’ll start with what you need to know about renting a bare boat to sail yourself and then move on to what you need to know if you’re hiring a crew as well.

But first, a few notes for everyone:

Saturday schedules. If you want to rent a boat in the Mediterranean, you may have to rent it for a week starting on Saturday. This is how it’s done traditionally, and while some companies are shifting to a hotel-style booking model, many companies still prefer rentals to start and end on Saturday.

Itinerary: If you’re planning to sail during peak season to a popular destination, you may need to pre-plan your itinerary and book places to dock your boat, known as berths, ahead of time. Winging it is always an option, but that won’t work in very popular locales. 

Insurance: Boat rentals come with liability insurance, but if damage occurs, you may be responsible for up to a few thousand euro. Most charter operators offer additional insurance, via a daily surcharge. They may also require a deposit to protect themselves in case of damages. If you don’t want to agree to a large deposit, some charters offer deposit insurance instead, which is a smaller amount but non-refundable. These details will vary by individual contract, so be sure to look at the details and ask if you have any questions. 

How bareboat charters work:

If you’re an experienced sailor, you can likely rent a boat and crew it yourself. 

Most operators accept the International Certificate of Competence (ICC). This certification is offered by different agencies, such as the American Sailing Association, or ASA, in the US and the Royal Yachting Association, or RYA, in the UK. Many charter operators also require you to upload your sailing experience to ensure you’re able to operate the particular vessel you plan to rent. 

How crewed charters work:

Some charters are pre-marked as “crewed,” which means the boat has a permanent crew on board. Usually, the baseline crew is a skipper (captain) and a chef. The skipper is in charge of the boat and keeping you happy. He/she can help with itineraries, adventures, and so on. The chef covers food and drinks, and may also cover housekeeping. 

With crewed boats, the crew have their own cabins that are counted separate from the berths (beds) listed as available to you. You won’t need to plan for, or worry about, accommodating them. 

Another, potentially cheaper, option is to book a smaller vessel as a bareboat charter and then ask to hire a crew. These crew members then sail with you on a per diem rate. 

In these cases, the crew will need a cabin. If there are 4 cabins available, one will need to be earmarked for your skipper, meaning only 3 cabins are available to you. Additionally, you’ll need to plan on additional provisions for your skipper. You can also wait and shop for provisions with your crew before you set sail.

Each charter company tends to have clear outlines about what is expected.

Whether you book a crewed charter or hire a crew separately, it’s customary to tip your crew based on service. The general rule is to tip 15-20 percent of their per diem rate. 

If you have any questions about how the boat rental or charter process works, feel free to reach out to us. Or if you’re ready to set sail, explore our available boats.

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from your yacht charter base

Your charter is all booked and paid for. Now you have the enviable task of either doing nothing until you arrive or researching the area you are soon to visit. This is where your charter base will come in handy.

Charter bases are great places to gather current, up to date information. Every charter base that you visit around the world is unique. Each will have its own way of working. Yet all will have knowledgeable staff working with them.

Utilise your time on land to attend chart briefing. Also, spend time talking to local staff on the ‘must do’s’. Many of them will be well versed in talking of the anchorages to visit. The snorkel spots to enjoy. The restaurants and ‘must visit’ bars. They will hear returning charter clients rave or moan every week. A good team member will adjust their suggestions accordingly.

What else can you expect from your charter base?

Whether your yacht charter is booked with a large company or a small may vary the services you find on the dock. If booked with a small charter company. You may find the following offered through an independent service.

You will usually be able to buy ice and other consumables at the charter base. This may either be an on-site market, or a shuttle/taxi to take you to provision.

Looking to take a kayak onboard or borrow some scuba dive tanks? Then look to see if your charter base has someone certified who can help. It’s usually a watersports company who can help you get fishing permits if required. These items are all best to get organised well in advance of your arrival.

Planning on going snorkelling? Check ahead of time to see if snorkels, fins and masks come with your charter. If not you then have the choice to bring out with you or pre-book and rent from a watersports company.

Most charter bases will have an on-site bar and restaurant. This is particularly handy after a day of travelling. Help you relax upon your arrival and get you ready for your holiday.

Some charter bases may have a swimming pool. A good idea to check ahead of time so you can keep swimming suits handy for a refreshing pre or post charter dip.

Looking for a hotel for the night before or after your charter? Check to see if there is one situated at the charter base.

When you have booked your holiday.

Why not ask Enaviga for the details of your charter base. You can then check online to see what facilities are available for you to enjoy.

Don’t forget to download the Enaviga On Board Ap. You can use the ap to familiarise yourself with the vessel you have chartered before you arrive at your destination. This will help you be more time effective when it comes to your boat briefing. 

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on your next yacht charter

You’ve booked your yacht charter and are very excited at the prospect of stepping onboard. Why not take a moment to think about whilst on your trip, how you can make a difference to the environment.

The amount of plastic in the ocean is a hot topic at the moment. It’s up to all users of the sea to try and keep the oceans clean.

At home, it’s quite simple to know which can to sort your rubbish into. Splitting cardboard, plastic, compostable, glass and other waste is no biggie. When you go to a place you aren’t familiar with, will being friendly to the environment be as simple?

Here are a few tips from Enaviga to try and keep on the right side of your environmental conscience.

Before you go

Ask Enaviga for your charter based contact details. Get in touch and ask how they recycle. This may have an impact on your provisioning choices.

If you find that they are able to recycle glass and not plastic. When provisioning request, where possible. To have glass-filled bottles of juice, soda, mixers, wine and beer.

Water is usually only available to buy in plastic containers. Buy the largest bottle you can and decant into glasses to drink rather than buying one drink bottles.

Pack a reusable bottle suitable for drinking water. Whether you top up from drinking fountains, or from one huge water bottle. It will save dozens of smaller plastic water bottles going to landfill.

Take your sturdy bags for life. Use them when you go shopping. Saving countries who aren’t quite so organised double bagging with thin carrier bags.

When choosing soap for washing dishes, shampoo or shower gel. Choose one that is biodegradable. If one is not available, take one from home.

Did you know that biodegradable suntan lotion costs no more than regular lotion? Consider buying family sized bottles rather than many small bottles.

When you are there

Check with the base where you’ll be able to recycle when out on the water. This will help you to divide your rubbish as needed.

Say no to plastic plates, cups and cutlery when eating out. Take Tupperware from the boat for takeaways.

At bars and restaurants, request no straw if the straws on offer are plastic.

Always use your own bags for life. Store well so they don’t go overboard.

If buying Ice, can you buy it and scoop into your own reusable bags rather than by the bag?

You may see other ways in which you can help make your trip better for the environment. Why not share tips learnt with Enaviga on your return. We’d be happy to share them with future travellers.

Whichever country you are travelling to has their own methods of recycling. As a visitor, you may feel happy or dismayed at the way they recycle. Take a moment to stop and consider why their recycling programme is different from home.

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Ideas to keep under 8’s amused on a boat

If you are taking a sailing holiday with young children. It’s always wise to consider ‘what will children enjoy doing’ during your trip away. Luckily on a sailing trip, there are lots of things to keep them amused. Sailing with young children should be fun so here are a few of Enaviga’s favourites ideas to keep your children happy.

Before you set sail

Take a look at the RYA website. Here you can buy a variety of children’s books for activity/sticker/log book. Opt for the paper version rather than the e-book. Children can then diarise their trip with ease. 

Pack some playing cards, matchbox (or similar) for the fun listed below.

Check with your sailing company whether they provide children’s lifejackets. If you have your own that fit well and have room in your luggage. Always pack them. Your child will always feel more comfortable in their own lifejacket.

When you step on board

If your children are keyboard warriors stow the electrical devices when you board. If you can include all adults phones also, this will be a great start to your family fun trip.

Day activities

Are you planning to snorkel when on the water? If so you could pick up a local fish identification card from a local dive shop. These laminated cards will help you ID any fish spotted during your trip. If your children are too young to snorkel. You may be able to rent a body board with clear window. Your child can then lie down whilst you drag the board for them to see shallow fish and coral. Use the card to play fish bingo – who will be the first onboard to spot them all?

Involve all children in every aspect of sailing the boat. Whether you are skippering yourself, or have a captain. Let all children have a chance under supervision to ‘play’ Captain. You may ignite a passion that will be with them forever.

Whilst sailing with a young family, one game which keeps children still but occupied is ‘eye spy’. One person gives the first letter of the name of a part of the boat and everyone else has to try and guess what it is.

If you have a matchbox or similar sized box for each child on board. You can play the matchbox scavenger hunt. Write a list of items that you believe will fit in the box and are available to find. Challenge each child to fill the matchbox with as many items as they can from the list. The winner is those who find all the items to fit in the matchbox first.

When you moored near a beach, dinghy in with your children carrying a clear glass/plastic bottle. Let them scoop sand and water from the shallows into the bottle. Then sit and watch the sand move as minute sea creatures start to stir.

Evening activities

Depending on where in the world you are sailing, you may have long evenings onboard, as the sun sets early. A perfect excuse for a family games evening. Pack a set of playing cards and teach your little ones gin rummy. Have two children enjoy a game of snap. For younger children, you can use the cards to start a game of number recognition. The choices are endless.

After a day of sailing, swimming and playing, your children will be worn out and need a good night’s rest. Make sure you have some of the local tipple on board to enjoy!

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Enjoy these top 3 snorkelling spots on your next yacht charter in the BVI’s

Once you’ve set sail or motored out from your yacht charter base in the British Virgin Islands,  thoughts will soon turn to jumping into the fresh, clear water. The BVI’s top snorkel spots are waiting. So how’s about donning a mask, snorkel and some fins and see what’s under the water in this Caribbean paradise?

There are many noted spots for excellent snorkelling around the BVI. Here are our top three. When you return from your trip, why don’t you tell us about your favourite snorkelling spot? 

 

The Indians

Standing to attention above the water, the Indians are rock pinnacles. An excellent site to both snorkel and scuba dive.

There are 4 pinnacles visible above the water. Which when sailing towards is said to resemble a native American headdress – hence the name. Whilst snorkelling you are likely to see a colourful spectacle. Plentiful coral and abundant marine life.

Beware of the fire coral at the shallowest point towards Pelican Island.

 

Monkey Point (Guana Island)

There is some super snorkelling to be had off one of the private islands of the BVI.  Moor up on one of the National Park buoys on the southern point of Guana Island and snorkel over to Monkey Point.

As well as seeing a large collection of colourful fish, you may have a swim by of a local turtle. Watch their grace and beauty as they glide through the water.

An ideal snorkel spot when heading round to Marina Cay / Trellis Bay or to Jost Van Dyke.

 

The Wreck of the Rhone

The Rhone was a Royal Mail Steamship that got caught in a hurricane in 1867 and sank with the loss of over 100 lives. The wreck sits in two parts  with the bow at a depth of 85ft / 26m and the Stern at around 40ft / 12m.

We would suggest that you snorkel the shallowest part of the Rhone only in calm water. As you will be looking down onto the wreck and the sea life that inhabit her, you’ll want calm conditions. Keep your eyes peeled for the bronze propeller. You may even be fortunate enough to spot a large turtle glide by.

The Wreck is ‘The’ dive site of the BVI and even featured in the film ‘The Deep’ with Jaqueline Bisset. Please note that you are not allowed to anchor at the Wreck of the Rhone. If all National Park Buoy’s are in use, visit another site and return later.

 

Enaviga’s top tips

The Rhone and the Indians are very popular with visitors to the BVI. We recommend that you plan your trip to visit these early morning (before breakfast). If you aren’t an early riser, then a visit when others are going ashore for lunch could lead to a quiet snorkel.

 

Enaviga have a variety of catamarans,  Sailboats and Motorboats available to charter from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Whether you require a bareboat or a yacht with crew , we will have something suitable for your visit to the BVI’s.

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