There are many things that go through your head when deciding whether to holiday on a yacht charter. Will it get cramped? Will everyone get on? Will it be a success?
When my mother, my brother and I attempted to organize a week long boat rental on a yacht charter from Marmaris, Turkey with our friends, we crafted our journey to make sure none of these thoughts would cross our mind. Of course there are always worries, but we knew it was going to be success.
My family had done sailing trips across the Turkish coast when I was a child. My mother and brother reminisced of the peaceful yet exciting times they had sailing the Turkish seas, dipping in and out of Turkish towns. It was decided. Together, we picked 13 of our closest friends, and settled on a week in July in which our adventure would take place.
4 months later, the date had arrived. Our trip started in Marmaris, Turkey after a 2 hour drive from Dalaman airport. There was my mother and her best friend, my brother and 9 of his friends, and me and 3 of my friends. We were an extremely varied bunch, from drama school students to London lawyers. However this trip went, we knew there would be stories.
As we stepped on board, our eyes glistened with excitement. The sailboat was a magnificent yacht charter fit for a king, and equipped with a captain & crew of six, including the most excellent cook. The party was taken aback by the wonder surrounding us, raring to get going on our journey of a lifetime. We spent the first night exploring the magical cobblestoned streets and various bars of Marmaris, truly immersing ourselves in the life of the Turkish riviera.
As morning time came, the groggy members of the boat rose one by one to find we had already set off on our sail. We only had one night in Marmaris but we wished we could have put a destination guide like this one to good use.
As you walked on to the deck, the sea sparkled turquoise in the gorgeous reflection of the sun as far as the eye could see. We looked towards Marmaris with a wonderful collection of memories, and turned our backs, ready for our adventure to begin.
Our days consisted of a various assortment of water activities and relaxation. We soaked in the sun’s rays as the boat sped from location to location, docking in some absolutely gorgeous coves and bays. The boat was fit with kayaks, snorkeling gear, water skiing, and, smartly, we purchased some inflatables before climbing on board, which became incredibly useful as the days went on.
At night we would stay docked in small coves, sometimes alone, sometimes surrounded by fellow festive travelling groups. We would spend the evenings huddled around the dinner table, swapping stories and playing games. We would take late night swims and sing campfire songs in a circle on the bow of the boat, underneath the stars. It was pure paradise.
We were spoiled by the lavish meals prepared for us daily, giving us a delightful taste of Turkish cuisine, from the plethora of seafood, to the cheeses, the kofte, the unbelievable Börek (spinach and cheese puff pastry)… We were spoiled. It was almost incredible this was all coming from the little kitchen on board.
On our third evening, we docked in the quaint town of Datca, a beautiful port along the Turkish coast, halfway between Marmaris and Bodrum, our final destination. Our group took the town by storm as we almost tripled the amount of people of the first local bar we approached. The night ended with several members of our group dancing on bar tops at the singular “club” in town, whilst a reggae band performed.
In the morning, the men set out to find a Turkish barber and experience a traditional Turkish shave. The women strolled through the streets and admired the bazaars, and one of the men purchased a fishing spear which he attempted to fish with at every opportunity he had.
We continued on our incredible Turkish sailboat, again diving in and out of small corners of the coast, exploring small beaches, fishing, doing yoga, playing cards and other things to do on a boat.
We spent our last night on board docked just outside of Bodrum, Turkey admiring the colourful lights of the city dance across the water in the distance. We then spent our last day wandering the city of Bodrum, lavishing ourselves at local Turkish baths, and finishing the day with a wonderful seafood meal on the beach.
There are many things that go through your head when deciding whether you can holiday on a boat, but as soon as our group stepped on board, we knew we were in for a treat. From start to finish, the journey was filled with nothing but activity, relaxation, and most importantly memories. As a collective, we have decided we could never repeat the holiday, for fear of not living up to previous expectations.
So, if you are debating whether or not to try a week on board, in my opinion there is no better alternative. It has been a year and we are still trying to find something better… Perhaps Croatia? I am already checking Sailo’s top selection of boats in Split!
By Natalie Bigbie – Sailo