When a friend messages and asks ‘Hey are you free to go sailing in the Greek Islands in a couple of weeks?’ you first think, really? Like seriously? Then you check your diary, spend a moment to consider that perhaps you should be a responsible adult, save your pennies, and all that. And then you go online and book your flight.
Well that’s what I did anyway. I was sat on the sofa here in London one evening, watching something gripping and highly intellectual *coughKeepingUpWithTheKardashianscough, when my Facebook made a pinging sound. My friend Mel asked ‘Hey do you want to go sailing in the Greek Islands in two weeks time?’. There was an available cabin on the very luxurious 56ft yacht Velos, owned by Anko Yachting.
Back in 2008, myself, Mel and a group of friends exclusively hired Anko Yachting’s 50ft yacht Alexandros. We sailed around the Ionian islands, whilst owners and life partners Thanos and Alicja, took care of the sailing and cooking for us. I have taken many trips in my 38 years, and that week spent on the yacht in the Greek Islands still remains one of the most memorable and special vacations I’ve had.
It therefore comes as no surprise that when Mel asked me if I might be interested in going with her, I most definitely was. It was a chance to indulge in a week of luxury, and experience the pure relaxation that staying aboard one of Anko Yachting’s boats provides.
After flying into Athens, I met Mel at the marina, and we located the yachts. Velos and Alexandros were setting sail together that afternoon, both with their own agenda each day, based on the guests requests and preferences, but always pulling into the same harbour in the evening so we could all enjoy dinner (And cocktails. And gelato) together.
On this trip we were sailing around the Saronic Islands, which includes the well known vehicle-free island of Hydra. A typical day onboard the yacht would go as follows. Wake up in our private room at whatever time we pleased. Saunter out in our pj’s to the galley where we’d be greeted with fresh pots of coffee to get the day started, alongside fruit platters, home made jams, bread and pastries, Greek yoghurt (of course!) and other delicious options. After lazing around aboard the yacht or taking a morning stroll around the harbour, we’d all pull on swimwear and wait to sail towards a secluded bay, so we could take a dip in the crystal clear ocean, or pop on a mask and snorkel to discover all the fish below.
Lunch would be served around 1 pm. This part of the day becomes a highlight of every single guests trip. Alicja just happens to be one of the most talented cooks I’ve ever met. She whips up a meal so delicious and so mind blowing, that it’s tempting to book repeat holidays onboard JUST for her food. She caters to all requirements. On our boat there was myself with gluten intolerance, Mel with dairy intolerance and a vegetarian. But nothing was a problem, and no one missed out. We’d sit at the back of the yacht each day, sharing the platters of food, whilst wine was free flowing, dessert always followed, and often digestif’s and cocktails became part of the daily ritual too. Once lunch was finished, some of us would take an afternoon nap (guilty), others would sunbathe at the front of the yacht, or read their book.
By late afternoon/early evening we’d arrive at a new destination for the evening, where we’d all spruce ourselves up, perhaps have another cocktail or two, or take a stroll around the town, before all meeting up to enjoy an evening together at a local restaurant, with good food and lots of laughter.
There are four double sized guest rooms aboard the yacht, each with luggage space and private bathrooms. The yachts are big, which means there’s plenty of space for ‘me’ time as well as socialising with the other guests onboard.
Speaking of guests, unless you’ve hired out the yacht exclusively, everyone aboard will start out as strangers. By the end of the first day, you’ll likely know more or less the life story of each and every person onboard. There’s something about spending time in such close proximity to others that gives you the tendency to share and discover more about each other than perhaps someone you’ve known for years. Mel and I were the youngest onboard, and we had an absolute blast with our fellow guests.
By no means do you need to be a keen sailor to spend a week aboard one of the yachts. If you’re curious about sailing and want to give it a go, Thanos will guide and help you. If like me, you want to sit there and chat to guests, followed by sunbathing on the deck, that’s perfectly okay too. If you’ve not sailed on a yacht before and you’re not sure what to expect, the Anko Yachting fleet are the best place to start. The waters are calm, so no stormy seas, and you’ll always be in sight of land.
The good news is there’s still availability for this season too. So if you fancy the idea of amazing food, great company, sailing, swimming and sightseeing, do yourself a favour and book yourself on one of the boats. You’re guaranteed a trip of a life time.
Bon Voyage! x