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  • Writer's pictureShana Antonissen

What I learned on my first bareboat charter

If you read my last blog, it was all about how I prepped for my bareboat charter to the Dodecanese Islands in Greece. In this blog, I will share with you all the things I learned from that experience. Maybe it will help you plan your first bareboat trip, which I highly recommend!! Or request a free quote and let me help you!

Logistics: A Learning Curve

When I initially searched for a catamaran in Greece, I wasn't sure what group of islands we wanted to be in. I cast a broad net and searched for "chartering a catamaran in Greece". What I was presented with was overwhelming options in all of the areas. I narrowed it down to the Dodecanese Islands for a couple of reasons: 1. direct flight available from AMS Schiphol airport and 2. cost of the charter. I ended up booking through a boat/yacht congregating website. Sailology, Sun Sail, and other sites that help you coordinate logistics are great, but they come at a cost.

Mistake #1 - I could have booked directly with Archon Yacht. This would have

put me In closer touch with the actual provider. I could have asked questions and gotten a much quicker response.

Sailology also secures a skipper and any other crew you need or want to add to the trip. Since we have the experience of 8 days being part of the crew on a catamaran, we needed a skipper. Had I booked directly with the Archon they would have also been able to arrange a skipper for us. Not to mention that there are a couple of "Hire a Skipper" sites that you could utilize instead.

Provisioning: The Pitfalls of Convenience

I was so excited that the Archon Yachts would be able to provision the boat for us. It was one less thing to think about. Even though I did think about it a lot anyway, putting together a comprehensive list of groceries for a week in a different country can be challenging.

Mistake # 2 - Having the boat provisioned for us.

Mistake # 3 - Not ordering enough 'snacks' and since we had Mike (the hubby) onboard, not enough beer 🤣.

For those of you that may not know, marinas are expensive. Our provisions came from the tiny grocery store part of the services building at the marina in Kos. Let me tell you, there was some sticker shock when we got the bill. Being who I am, I had gone to the Kritikos chain grocery store website. I put together our list using Google Translate and noted the prices for our purchase in my fancy spreadsheet. Knowing there was a larger Kritikos market 1.6km away from the marina, I thought the provisions couldn't be that much more, 🤣 boy was I WRONG. So my advice to you is to take some reusable bags with you. Go to the market and provision yourself. You might have to get a taxi, uber, etc, but the savings will be worth it. Plus, you can see and decide what you are getting. Sometimes, in a foreign country, you must see the thing to determine if it is what you want.

Mistake #4 - I should have included a stop at the grocery store for provisions with our airport transfer.

Packing: The Art of Simplicity

Now, let's talk packing. Normally, I'm a minimalist traveler, sticking to a carry-on and a trusty backpack. However, this adventure called for a different approach. With a third-party middleman handling our charter communication, I found it challenging to get quick answers to my questions. So, I packed everything I thought I might need. Here's what I was grateful for during the trip:

Things I am glad I had:

  • Gonex Packing Cubes - These made packing easy and staying organized on the trip super easy.

  • Clevermade Collapsible Travel Cooler - We could store extra ice in this since freezer space was extremely limited.

  • Lumesner Carry-on Backpack 40L - This was great luggage for the boat. Space in the cabin is limited. This soft-sided, full-size carry-on was easy to store and fit all my clothing for our 16-day trip.

  • DLGJPA Women's Lightweight Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes - Every beach we swam to was rocky except one. These shoes were lightweight, provided support, stayed on might feet, and dried quickly in the sun.

  • Booe Bag - This waist bag did not disappoint. It fits my phone, lighter, money, and other random stuff. It was fully waterproof and could be worn in multiple ways. End everything in the bag stayed dry and protected.

  • Boaters & Campers - Shampoo and body wash - Even though we had a water maker on board, fresh water is still limited. We used this ocean-friendly to wash hair and body in the sea, then rinsed off in fresh water. Worked perfect!

  • Stream 2 Sea - Leave in Conditioner - Saltwater is not always a friend to hair. Using this leave in conditoner at the end of swimming daily kept my hair manageable.

  • Simple Makeup wipes - At the end of each day, it is nice to give your skin a nice cleaning to get rid of any residual salt spray on your face. I wear these daily at home, which are super easy to travel with.

  • Medication cases - When you are on a trip with multiple destinations, keeping track of your medication can get tricky. I love these for everyday use, but they make traveling super easy.

  • Kindle Paperwhite/Case - How else can you bring a selection of over 200 books on vacation with you?

  • JBL Flip 6 Waterproof Speaker - We had a stereo system on the boat but couldn't always hook up to it. This little JBL puts out some quality sound and is waterproof. Perfect for a boat, the beach, or by the pool.

  • Wireless Portable Charger 30,800mAh - Unless you run the generator all night, you might be unable to charge your devices at will. This portable charger totally rocks!!!

  • GoPro 11 - I'm trying to get some vlogs & videos going for my YouTube channel. What better device to use than the weatherproof Gopro?

  • Clothes Drying Line - With all the wet towels and swimsuits this was great to have along.

  • HEETA 10L Drybag - Absolutely essential. We swam to shore in every lagoon that we stayed in. Having the drybag made that swim easy peasy. Towels, friends, cigarettes, lighters, phones, this bag kept all of the important things dry.

  • BAGAIL Quick Dry Beach Towels - These thin, light, quick dry, and easy-to-pack towels were perfect for a week on the boat. I washed them once during the week with the laundry sheets listed below. Rinsed with fresh water, they were dry in about 20 minutes from soaking wet.

  • Laundry sheets - These laundry sheets were super easy to pack. They quickly dissolve and work well for hand washing laundry on the boat.

  • Zeeport Snorkel gear - They did have snorkel gear on the boat, but I was glad that we brought our own set along. No worrying about using a community snorkel and I could make everything comfortable for me.

  • Insulated Drink Cups

  • Hat

  • Sun Screen

  • Card Games

  • Band-aids

But, ah, the clothes! Here's where I went overboard (pun intended). We opted for private lagoons most nights, so all those shorts, capris, and extra shirts were utterly unnecessary. In the end, I mostly lived in swimsuits, rotating between three. The warm evenings even led to one of them doubling as pajamas as we left our cabin door open for better airflow.

Things I didn't need:

My Personal Takeaways

This bareboat charter to the Dodecanese was more than just a vacation; it was a journey of self-discovery. From booking blunders to provisioning pitfalls and packing wisdom, I hope my personal insights help you prepare for your bareboat adventure. Remember, sometimes less is more when it comes to packing, and exploring local markets can add depth and authenticity to your experience. Bon voyage, my fellow travelers!


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