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YACHT CHARTER
IN GREECE

The most easily reachable destinations by sea are those in the vicinity of Athens and the jonian islands

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Boat rental in Greece Eastern Mediterranean, under Ulysses' shadow Greece, sailing the Ulysses' sea Rhodes, the touristic colossus Climate averages METEOMED™
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Nautica Magazine 397, May 1995


SAILING THE ULYSSES' SEA

Greece

There is no sea and holiday lover that has not dreamed to sail along the Greek coasts, and to be sure, this dream would materialize by hopping, from island to island, in your own boat and at your leisure. Time being often short, it is perhaps better to otherwise employ the time required to sail from your original departure point and use this lapse of time to visit some other attractive spot. That is why Greek coasts enjoy one of the most booming chartering activity, which along the other tourist facilities, is a lot less expensive here compared to other Mediterranean places. In addition, the particular orographic layout for short navigation before finding a paradise corner where to anchor for the night followed by another short navigation spell and another attractive night spot where to shelter... and so on until it is time to redeliver the boat. The most appropriate time certainly the summer, but late spring and early autumn are also suggested when Meltemi wind is lighter and places are less tourist crowded.

A plunge into the classicism true essence, reborn in the lost beauties of a lost fishing village or running into the splendid beauty of submerged ruins.

With a mild climate even in winter, Greece laterally plunges into the sea: were it not for the short daylight hours and the cold sea temperature barring swimming, this latter season should be preferred to the milder seasons. This time of the year is ideal foe a closer look to those places, perhaps noted during the summer holiday and which instinctively has awaken the curiosity, almost the need for a deeper and longer visit. Only forty years ago the Greek government realized that the future of this proud land, so closely tied up to its traditions, lied in the tourist industry. Since then, construction of big hotel and marinas has continuously grown binding up their traditional past to a tourist management efficiency that only few Mediterranean places can display. The extrovert character of Ulysses' flock and their natural inclination to prepare tasty and genuine food sparkled with thick old flavored wines, makes the stay even more pleasant.

The identification with such a place will require, however, some adjustment and some typically western habit will have to be dropped: the term rush for instance, will have to be forgotten, the time/space relationship will have to be totally reversed, the need to learn and sit at any of the many "kafenion" and sip "ouzo" or the black, thick coffee will become a must. Playing backgammon and enjoy a sunset like you would enjoy a show, is very much part of this philosophy. In this unique environment the classic culture naturally springs out and it is common place to sea a classical theater play set up in this exceptional stage. The most famous, the Theater by definition, in the Epidaurus theater, one of the best preserved antique playground, capable of seating up to sixteen thousand and whose acoustic is the pride of the local tour guides. To prove it they will light a match whose scratching noise will be heard even in the remotest seat of the enormous floor.

The attention reserved to the nautical tourism is even greater that the one paid to the land holiday makers. There are no Custom dues: arriving from abroad all that is needed is to obtain a transit clearance at the first port of call. The clearance is valid for six months and is renewable. No limitations are posed to scuba diving either provided fishing is performed while skin diving. Air bottles are subject to limitations in certain areas and are forbidden when fishing. No problem also for boats on charter; if large and well established charter agencies are chosen, a one way only deal is possible. The important things is therefore to properly choose the area to be navigated and follow the suggested itineraries which, incidentally, will take you to the best and more suggestive places. The starting point in the Ionic sea is Corfu. The island, chosen by the Phoenician seafarers more than a thousand years ago B. C. for their Mediterranean forays, can be reached by air from Athens from Athens or by ferry from Italy. From there the most common plotted course will be South so that the first night anchoring takes place at Praga from where the fortress of Ali Pasha can be visited the following day. The next stop should be at Lefkas, Saph's Island where the cliff from which the poetess sought death can be circumnavigated. Further South lies Cephaeline with its beautiful gulf, its incredible legends and magic springs. In more recent day, this splendid place has hosted some of the most enthusiastic regattas. Rani Bay will offer an excellent night shelter and the opportunity to visit the renowned micaenean tombs. Ithaca, Ulysses' island, is next, calling at Polis Bay once arrived there, will give the chance to visit the local museum with an archeological display of findings that the keeper will swear to have belonged to the Greek wanderer.

On the way back to the starting point, a visit to Paxos cannot be bypassed: docking at Gaios will give you the opportunity to purchase wine and olive oil that abounds here.

Those seeking a classic cruise, will head for the Peloponnese Archipelago or the Cyclades Islands starting directly from Athens. The Peloponnese archipelago offer a variety of charming ports and, in addition, is a very comfortable sailing ground. The close by islands of Hydra and Poros constitute a short cut and an alternative to the coastal course and the archipelago can be reached in few sailing hours.

As for the Cyclades and having fifteen days available, it is suggested to coast and round Cape Sounion reaching Kea island by nightfall. The next leg will take you to Tinos where docking is aplenty inside the harbor. From here you can continue and visit Mykonos anchoring in the Ornos harbor and than sail to Ios, the nudist enclave or towards Skinoussa or Heraclion.

Upon reaching the volcanic Santorini island, visiting the Thera village or touring the hundreds of churches at Sifnos are an unavoidable must. Greece's blinding whitest houses are at Serifos, while calling at Kythnos a night stop at anchor in the Fikiada Bay is highly recommended Poros island with its thirty thousand lemon trees and Angina village are other attractions that cannot be bypassed.

Whichever your choice may be, and in the word of those that have had the luck to taste it, "sailing trough the Greek islands is one of the most outstandingly beautiful sailing experience one may run into."

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