Friday, July 28

MedSailors: Second Time Round, Solo! | Croatia Sailing 2017

How has a year passed so quickly?! HOW? It felt like yesterday I went to Greece with MedSailors, and the minute I landed back in the UK, I knew it wouldn't be my last trip. This post is very kindly sponsored by MedSailors, and I'm proud to be working with them again. I went as far as naming Greece 'a trip of a lifetime' and was so eager to go again, that MedSailors invited me back to try their Croatia Discovery route. Only this time, by myself!

This post is very photo heavy, I had over 500 photos and I shared over 70 on Instagram, I think that in itself speaks for how good it was but I've narrowed down my favourites, along with my honest thoughts and feelings about the trip. Read on to see what I got up to in a week!

Photos above: Stephen Parry

MedSailors
If you're new (helloooo, go and watch my trailer right NOW!), then MedSailors is a skippered sailing holiday for people age 20-35. It's the ideal way to sail, see the sights, enjoy a bit of nightlife and meet new (like-minded) people. Growing up, I've tried several tour-operated style holidays, but MedSailors is by far my favourite. Maybe because I'm a water baby and I love boats, but mainly because they're an awesome company. Proof is in the fact I wanted to go back and do it all over again. They have routes in Greece, Croatia, Turkey and Italy, offering three different options in Croatia. I went for the Discovery route, although I'd like to try Voyager one day and see Dubrovnik! 

Boats
There are three style of yachts to choose from - Premier, Premier Plus or a Catamaran. Last year, I sailed a Premier Plus yacht and loved it, but was keen to compare a Catamaran! With a huge net for sunbathing and a bigger rooms, it goes without saying that a Cat is really fun if you'd like to upgrade. Personally, I believe there's pros and cons to both, but I really enjoyed the Catamaran for extra space.


Routes
For the Discovery route, you can check out the Itinerary here however, our week was moved around due to a storm, and a huge festival called Ulta. MedSailors made it really smooth, you wouldn't have known they did some last minute changes and I really liked the order we did it in. In order, we visited:
  • Split
  • Bay Vela Gar┼íka
  • Vis
  • StariGrad
  • Bol
  • Hvar Town
  • Back to Split & Trogir
What's Included?
  • Seven days’ accommodation on board your own yacht
  • Breakfast and lunch prepared fresh every day
  • No extra charges: bring your own drinks on board
  • Drinking water supplied by MedSailors
  • Learn how to sail with your qualified skipper
  • Hire your own yacht with friends or book as a solo traveller or couple
  • Paddleboards free of charge
  • Discounted day trips, scooter and car hire

Going Solo
Last year in Greece, I had my chum Jess with me and the experience was unforgettable. We had a girl called Kiki on our boat who travelled alone, and I really admired her confidence and attitude towards doing things by yourself. I've always been a strong believer that travelling along will teach you so many new things, and despite being in a solid relationship, I think it's healthy to do things apart. Therefore, I didn't even hesitate when I booked as I know how sociable MedSailors is and how easy I would find it to 'fit in'. I actually found myself gravitating towards hanging out with other people on other boats, the real beauty of MedSailors is the 'mingling'. They host a punch party at the beginning of the week, to give you a chance to meet others, which is where I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone to introduce myself to some amazing people. They were mainly all Australian, American or New Zealanders too, so many interesting stories exchanged. Next time, I'd love to take my boyfriend as I know he'd enjoy the socail side as much as me.


Activities
My favourite part of MedSailors is the sailing. There is something so relaxing about bobbing on a boat, going from one island to the next. Plus, if you want to get stuck in, your skipper will happily show you how to sail too. I took the wheel one day and we sat and chatted for hours, whilst learning about wind speeds, how to tie knots, and the way the sail worked.

Another favourite activity of mine is the watersports. We had the same options in Greece but I was particularly excited to try something new, so paid 250 Kuna (£30) to go parasailing! It was absolutely beautiful flying over Bol, seeing the strip of beach and all the boats below us. I also went on an inflatable chair behind a boat, I hadn't laughed so hard all week!

If you like swimming, MedSailors is also for you. We stop at a different bay for swimming every day. Pack your inflatables (doughnut ring for me every time), a GoPro and use the snorkel on board, you'll see the fish and appreciate how beautifully clear the water is.

In Vis, we did a Military Tour of the island. If you like History, you're sure to learn a lot in 3 hours. For 150 kuna, we took jeeps with a tour guide around the town, discovered the underground tunnels used during war, and got some amazing photos of the view.


Finally, one of my personal highlights was Hora Farm in StariGrad. A quick 10 minute bus drive away from the marina, we enjoyed the sunset, wine tasting and a full meal on a farm filled with lavender, animals and vineyards, where they make all their own food and wine for people to enjoy. It was really sociable and the food was delicious. For 250 kuna, this was certainly worth it.

 

Weather
In comparison to Greece last year, I absolutely loved the weather in Croatia. I went middle of July which is always guaranteed to be good anyway. As you're out at sea and sailing for a majority of the time, you don't feel the heat with the light sea breeze, it's perfect. Varying around 30 degrees, it was definitely hot enough to get a nice suntan, and we enjoyed many sunsets in the evenings. Speaking of which, it gets a little chillier by night, so pack a light cardigan or hoodie because you'll appreciate it.

The sea was so clear and perfect for swimming, but be warned, it's VERY salty! Something I wasn't expecting when I first jumped in. I didn't experience any bug bites or mosquitoes in the evenings, but we did have some friendly wasps join us at every meal on the boat. Remember to drink plenty of water during the heat - the water on board is actually really nice, so you'll only need to buy a bottle and you can keep filling it up.


Food
I can't say I was particularly wowed by the food in Croatia. Last year, I fell in love with the Greek salads and traditional dishes, but nothing in Croatia blew me away. I had fish, meat, salads and lots of pizza, so I ate well and enjoyed everything I had. Especially the steak, chips and mushroom sauce dinner I enjoyed at the one and only restaurant we stopped at in Bay Vela Garška. The did amazing Gelato, so ice cream was always on the agenda (almost daily), along with lots of fresh fruit.

Bruno served breakfast and lunch on board every day, breakfast was quite plain with bread, muesli and yoghurt options, but we did cook up some boiled eggs too. I would have liked to have seen some other cereal options, but that's only because I'm quite fussy! For lunch, we never went hungry as Bruno also served some delicious dishes! From tuna salad to stuffed peppers, I was very impressed with everything he put together. Not once did I feel I needed more food or snacks.


Budgeting
With any MedSailors trip, it is important to consider all the costs. I often meet other guests who don't realise that to have the best experience, you need to budget for dinners, ice creams, alcohol, water taxis, tipping, excursions and watersports. You may even want to buy souvenirs for yourself or people you love back home plus, MedSailors sell awesome CREW tshirts too.  To give you a good idea, I spend just around 1750 kuna, just over £200. I budgeted a lot more but ended up converting it when I got home. I didn't spend as much on cocktails or water bottles as I imagined I would, and ate quite simple meals at dinner. Meals varied from 80 - 250 Kuna, plus I always gave a tip too. I bought extras like a smoothie, a fresh orange juice, went up a Cathedral in Trogir, and taxi's between the marina, airport and my hotel. Things to consider budgeting for:

Water Bottle, Alcohol & Snacks: 300 Kuna
Meals: 800-1000 Kuna (StariGrad Farm = 250 Kuna)
Water Taxi in Hvar: 100 Kuna
Watersports: 50 - 100 Kuna
Ice Creams: 8 Kuna
Taxis: 100-150 Kuna (Airport > Marina)
Tipping: 10-15% per meal, completely up to you but I'd suggest 200-300 Kuna per person for your Skipper at the end of the week.


Nightlife
I really don't like finding faults on a trip which I genuinely loved so much, but it's worth noting that this trip is very different from the nightlife experience I had in Greece. If you'd like a quiet week which includes a few drinks in the evening, then Croatia is for you. If you want to dance/party in clubs and bars, then Greece is much better for it. I found the bars MedSailors took us too very small and therefore, very crowded as we were a fairly large group. I'd heard Croatia was good for a night out, so was expecting more clubs and partying. However, I actually really enjoyed keeping it more chilled this time round, but it's something I didn't realise before I left.

Ultimately, MedSailors is what YOU make it. It's about the people you meet and the stories you share. That's why my favourite nights were actually the punch party, and sitting around on the boat until midnight playing UNO and chatting utter rubbish. These are solid memories which I'll always define MedSailors by, you really can't explain it unless you're there.


Skippers & Crew
I can't end this post without giving credit to the people who work for MedSailors. Our Skipper Bruno was absolutely amazing, he was so patient and attentive to everyone's needs, knew the sea and sailed us so well, and got stuck in socialising and enjoying evening meals with us. He really felt like part of the group, and I take my hat off to him for how hard he works to make the ship run smoothly! All the MedSailors Skippers are all RYA certified Yacht Masters. This means as well as being fully qualified sailors, they are happy to teach you how to sail too.

MedSailors also have a Lead Skipper, Guest Manager, Photographer and Crew on board the boats over the week, including a 'Lead Boat' where there was always someone to help if you needed anything. They knew were all the supermarkets were, ATM's, good bars, recommended us restaurants to try, showed us where the showers and toilet facilities were and all round, made the experience what it is. They're all young and fun, and even the other Skippers were great to socialise with. Massive thank you to both Laura's, Jess, Colm, Bruno and Callum for being great companions!


I get a lot of questions on the ins and outs of MedSailors, so I'm going to be doing a Q&A over on my YouTube channel next week for anything I didn't cover in this post. If you haven't seen it, check out my trailer below and don't miss the hour long vlog too! HUGE thank you to MedSailors for another amazing trip, I genuinely had the most amazing experience, made friends for life and loved visiting so many pretty parts of Croatia. I can't wait to do it all over again in the future, a little birdie told me there might be some new routes coming ;) Until then, thanks to YOU guys for reading and watching and making things like this possible for me, I am beyond grateful to be able to do this. Although this has been kindly sponsored by MedSailors, many of you know that I have been working with them for two years now, and I genuinely love the trip. I can't recommend it enough and if you're considering it, message me and I'll be happy to help answer your questions!


*This post is sponsored by MedSailors.
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