Before I joined forty other yachts on a weeklong sail of sun, fun, and beauty around Croatia, I had only been on a boat a handful of times and never for over a few hours at a time. Naturally, I was nervous for the one of a kind experience. For those of you that don’t know what a flotilla trip is, a group of boats all sail on the same route and make stops at the same destinations usually on a weeklong trip. All the planning of activities and events are done for you. The result? Seven days of beautiful scenery, new friendships, and an updated idea of what a vacation should be.
As soon as I arrived at the marina and eyed the row of yachts, I could immediately feel the energy of the atmosphere. All my nerves were instantly eased by a flash of a smile when the skipper greeted my group of friends and I. Music filled the air as a mosaic of flags from all over the world waved in the air.
The way that a flotilla is inherently set up creates an environment where everyone wants to get to know each other. After all, you’ll end up spending a lot of time on your newly made friends’ boats throughout the week. Yeah, you can spend a week traveling on a boat with just your own friends, but when the group of Brazilians or Australians anchored right next door start playing jams and are jumping into the perfect blue ocean with their bright pink swan floats, you can’t help but start to move your feet and want to join in on their party. Fun creates more fun!
A typical day included waking up to sounds of the ocean and smell of salt air as my skipper was always up before us enjoying his time sailing along the beautifully blue waters. After eating breakfast/brunch with the wind blowing through my hair on the deck of the boat, we usually stopped around lunch at a cove or simply in the middle of the ocean.
As each boat anchored in a perfect circular or line formation, creating a perfect pool or tunnel in the middle for everyone to dive in with their floaties, the parties began.
In the afternoon we would sail again or visited the next nearby island and rent a boat in Hvar, the St. Tropez of Croatia or Komiza, where the streets are lined with colorful ice cream parlors and little boutiques. By the evening, we would make our way onto land, eating delicious local foods and exploring the culture of Croatia. By night, the party would begin again in the popular clubs and bars with themed parties.
Everyone on the trip is there with the sole purpose of relaxing and having a great time, and that mentality means even strangers will look out for you and make sure your joining the party. When the French man two boats over has a few too many drinks and jumps into the water only to realize his pocket full of cash is drifting away, you’ll see his neighbors laughing while following him into the water to save as many bills as they can. When the girls you met while exploring the beautiful city of Split by boat rental over right before a dinner in a traditional Croatian restaurant because they have “nothing to wear,” you immediately open up your suitcase to show them outfit options.
By the end of the trip, you feel a part of a new family. The joyous memories and one of a kind experiences you leave a flotilla trip with, are further cemented by the numbers and emails you’ve collected of people from all over the world that will talk, laugh, and cherish these adventures for the rest of your lives.