“The best situation for us would be to hire a boat with an experienced skipper…”
When we decided to charter a sailboat in Greece for our daughter’s high school graduation celebration we wanted an amazing sailing family vacations! We considered a bareboat charter. We’d sailed catamarans over most of the Caribbean, but realized that the Cyclades presented unique opportunities such as Meltemis (seasonal high winds), language barriers, and the decision about which islands were the best to visit. We decided the best situation for us would be to hire a boat with an experienced skipper. After researching several skippered catamarans, we chose Captain Nikos Biblis and Catamaran Emelia through Yannis Theodoris at www.IslandSailing.gr. We could not have made a better choice.
“You won’t find most of these locations in any charter cruising guides…”
Emelia is a very comfortable and beautiful sailing boat that Nikos maintains impeccably, but it was Nikos himself that made our trip unbelievably fun and memorable. With just 7 days, 6 people with diverse interests, and dozens of possible options, Nikos created an itinerary that made everyone happy. He would always give us the ultimate decision but provided logical recommendations as he knows the Cyclades like the back of his hand. Our itinerary became Paros – Ios – Folegandros – Milos – Sifnos – Antiparos-Paros, with at least one stop each day for swimming or snorkeling at one of Niko’s many secret locations. You won’t find most of these locations in any charter cruising guides or regular travel guide books. Not only do you see places you can’t get to via land but Nikos takes you to the most picturesque villages.
“My husband learnt some great sailing tips that only a seasoned captain would know…”
As a bareboat sailor, my husband was anxious to learn and practice certain maneuvers that he had read about, but had never used – in particular Med mooring. Nikos took time to explain his techniques and showed my husband some great sailing tips that only a seasoned captain would know. When we arrived in Folegandros, Nikos gave an amazing expert demonstration of how to med moor in a tight space. Nikos single-handedly backed the Emelia into a small space on the quay with a 50 knot cross wind, fishing boats motoring between Emelia and the quay, and a myriad of dock hands and onlookers blowing whistles and shouting directions. Nikos remained calm and cool throughout the entire docking situation as he knew he had it handled! What a memorable moment and fantastic learning experience for my husband to witness. Nikos also made sure we all got to sail the boat if we wanted to try our hand at being the skipper. There were a couple of days we even had dolphins swimming alongside the Emelia. Every day was unforgettable!
“We would highly recommend anyone considering sailing in the Cyclades to do the same.”
Nikos is a true professional, but also a very interesting character with a great sense of humor. As we got to know him throughout the week, we shared several memorable meals, many many jokes, and some great conversations. Not only is Nikos a great captain and a real character, he’s very kind, generous and caring. My daughter had purchased some komboloi beads (Greek worry beads) and while she was trying to “click” her worries away a couple of hours after she bought them, they flew off her finger and into the water. There was no way to recover her beads and Nikos could tell she was upset. He was so sweet he ended up giving her a set of his own personal komboloi beads. She will forever cherish those beads because of his kindness and because of our amazing trip. I still trade emails and Facebook posts with Nikos, and we love to share our Nikos stories with our friends. If we ever charter in Greece again, we will certainly look up Nikos, and would highly recommend anyone considering sailing in the Cyclades to do the same.
“The food and conversation are simply spectacular!”
The islands we visited provided a great mix of history, nightlife, scenery, shopping, water activities and time for relaxation and lively conversation with the locals. The Cyclades are filled with endless dining choices and charming tavernas where the locals make you feel like you’ve known them for twenty years. The food and conversation are simply spectacular! The scenery can’t be compared to any other place you have seen. Translucent azure seas glistening under cloudless skies. You will experience sunsets so spectacular they’re impossible to describe. (Don’t miss a sunset at the castle of Plaka, Kastro, which is at the highest point of the village on the charming island of Milos.) The Cyclades are so picturesque I took over 3000 photos on our trip! It was the most awesome sailing family vacations ever!
Most importantly…don’t miss a chance to sail with Nikos Biblis on the Emelia. It truly is a chance of a lifetime sailing experience!