Ed - May 2009
A delicious salad with exotic fruits and meats awaits you after your swim in a beautiful secluded cove tucked away in the Turkish Coast. The picture says it all.
When chartering in The Mediterranean, the emphasis is on exploring new countries often very different from home and enjoying those differences. Of course there are the jet-set places that seem the same wherever you travel, but for me, the thrill is to find those less touristy spots that have the true feel of being in a different country, and chartering a boat can be the perfect way to do just that.
Meals are often a big part of the day and though they might contain many different dishes and last much longer, they are generally healthier than the office lunches back home. When was the last time you discussed worldly topics with your friends between courses, while sipping a delicious wine in the shade of an awning?
Every country is different, but all waterside villages and towns have open air cafes and restaurants. A great way to start your day is to sit in a cafe in the early morning, with a cup of strong coffee and the aroma of fresh baked bread everywhere, and just watch the waterfront come alive. Mixed in with the high end jewelry and handbag shops found in most tourist spots are small stores selling all kinds of fascinating pottery, fabrics and local items that are quite impossible to find back home. Just shopping in a new area, with unfamiliar items and a different atmosphere can be a lot of fun.
Then there are the sights! Europe is so full of history, going back centuries before the Mayflower set sail. Sit on a stone seat in an amphitheatre built when Christ was alive, looking down at the stage with a backdrop of the blue Mediterranean, without another soul in sight. It will give you goose bumps!
The fact that people speak a different language certainly gives a feel of being abroad, though this is generally not a barrier as so many people speak English. It is always best to learn a few phrases and at least give the feeling you are trying. Above all, be polite and considerate if someone doesn't understand you. Just repeating it again in English, a little louder, is plain rude and not appreciated, but you unfortunately often see it happening.
Unlike the Caribbean, where the trade winds blow steadily most of the year, the wind in the Med can be unreliable, so while you can experience some great sailing, part of the attraction has to be exploring new places ashore. If you are chartering just to go sailing, stick with the Caribbean.
The Mediterranean covers a huge area, with many different cruising grounds. It is tempting to try to cover too much, but if you tell us a little bit about your plans we can discuss each area so we can find the one that suits you. The popular cruising grounds for crewed yachts are the south of France / west coast of Italy (ie Tuscany, Corsica, Bay of Naples/Amalfi, Sicily), Croatia, Greece and Turkey. It can be expensive to move a crewed yacht between these areas, so we try to find boats based close by. Some countries have different restrictions (particularly Greece and Croatia) so not all boats can charter anywhere. The best values are in Turkey.
Crewed charter yachts tend to be quite a bit more expensive in the Med than in the Caribbean, partly because of the shorter season and higher local operating costs. If you are looking for a new cruising ground and like the idea of experiencing some different cultures, a Mediterranean charter might however be the answer. Talk to us. Ed started cruising there in 1968. We know all the best places!
All photographs taken by Ed Hamilton.
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