Responsible Travel in the Corona Era

To travel, or not to travel in Summer 2020? That is a good question.

With restrictions slowly being lifted across the world, our thoughts turn to the summer and the many places we would like to visit. While anyone in the vulnerable categories should probably avoid travelling this summer, there is hope for the rest of us as long as we follow the guidelines put forward by experts. One thing is for sure – travelling will be different.

Where to go on holiday this summer

Travel to “affected areas” – areas where Corona is still experiencing transmissions of the virus are best avoided and you might not want to go too far off the beaten path to remote areas where there are limited response capacities. Staying fairly close to home is also a good option.

Public transportation, including air travel, is also something to be considered carefully. Being in an enclosed space with other passengers where air circulation is limited may pose a risk of getting infected. Airlines and airports around the world may put in place testing to ensure that all passengers test negatively for corona before being allowed to board planes. Some governments may restrict air travel altogether. This would greatly reduce the risk, but it remains to be seen what will be implemented. Domestic travel is likely to open up before international travel to reduce the risk of re-infection.

It is likely that there will be common health protocol in place across the EU for citizens travelling in Europe.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has the latest information here and will update accordingly.

The Situation in Greece

Diving and Sailing activities here in Greece are banned until the 20th of May when we will find out whether we can cautiously start our activities again. Year-round hotels are scheduled to re-open on the 1st of June 2020 and seasonal hotels will remain closed until the 30th of June, as long as the curve remains flat. The government may require testing of all tourists arriving in Greece, whether by plane or car. Greece’s proposal to the EU on safe travel is expected to be announced by 15 May 2020 and more public announcements for the tourist sector are expected on the 18th of May 2020.

At the moment Greece is being promoted as a “safe country” and as a “safe destination” and Greece’s tourist season 2020 is expected to begin on the 1st of July. Greece has had few cases of COVID-19 and, at the time of writing – a week into more relaxed measures – there appears to be no further spread of the virus. It remains to be seen what will happen and each traveler will ultimately decide for themselves, according to the guidelines set out by the authorities.

Those who are ready to venture out will have to navigate the new normal – here are some tips about traveling in the time of COVID-19.

Get tested

Get tested before you leave home and carry a medical certificate with you. This ensures that you are healthy to travel and won’t transmit or re-introduce the virus where you visit. Another lockdown would devastate many small and medium businesses in tourist areas, so getting tested benefits everyone. Protocol may dictate that you are tested as you arrive at your destination.

Travel by Car

The car may be the safest way to travel. Take a holiday this year somewhere that you can drive to. You and your family can avoid contact with crowds in closed spaces on public transport. Plus roadtrips are fun!

Insurance

Make sure your travel insurance includes repatriation if you get ill, including private helicopter transport from remote areas.  Make sure you know how to get in touch with your embassy while abroad and what services they offer.

Accommodation

Rent an apartment, camp, or charter a skippered sailboat. Make sure that updated corona hygiene standards are being kept. You will have the chance to prepare your own food and drinks too.

When eating out, make sure that the social distancing guidelines are being kept at the restaurant, bar or cafeteria. These local businesses will really need your support, so if you are not comfortable with sitting, at least order a take away or see what other options are available.

Support small, locally owned businesses

Mom and Pop stores are often family run and anyone who is still open for business is in need of your tourist bucks. Please don’t expect low prices as any small business who is open for the season will have spent their reserves setting up shop for the summer. The same goes for small hotels, rental rooms and tourist boats.

Conform to the Guidelines

Keep social distancing regulations, wash your hands regularly and have a supply of masks and anti-septic with you. Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing. Refrain from touching your face as much as possible. The debate about masks rages on with some stating that a medical mask is not required if you are not sick. However, in some cultures, masks may be commonly worn so have a look at what the locals are doing and follow suit. Follow best practice guidelines on how to wear, remove and dispose of them and on hand hygiene after removal.

The Great Outdoors

Being outdoors in the fresh air is a great way to stay away from crowded places and reduce corona-anxiety. If you have always wanted to try camping, sailing, biking, hiking, or a kayaking trip – now is a great chance. If you choose an organized trip, make sure your tour operator complies with the new hygiene standards. Let your kids run on the beach, go canoeing, help reef in the sails, or cycle between villages.

Ultimately, everyone needs to decide for themselves whether to travel and to where. Here in Greece, we have managed to flatten the curve and new infection rates and deaths from COVID-19 are very low. Prudence is always advised, however and we must all do our due diligence during and after this pandemic. Remember that transmission of COVID-19 depends on the time you are exposed and the distance you are from an infected person.

Get in touch with us for an update on the situation in Greece.

By Merryn Wainwright

Sailing and Diving in the Time of Corona

With life currently seeming stranger than fiction and full lockdown in place globally, there is not much chance to set sail on the high seas or go diving, unless you are self-isolating on a boat (lucky you!)

With only the memories of balmy summer sailing and diving trips to sustain us and facing the foreseeable future at home, we have to rely on the virtual world to get our kicks and live vicariously through our screens.  With this in mind, we have put together a list of our top sailing and diving movies to keep you entertained and inspired for your next SailnDive holiday in Greece.

Top Sailing Movies

Top Sailing Movies to watch in Quarantine

Dead Calm (1989) Thriller

An Australian couple takes a sailing holiday on a beautiful 60ft ketch to help them heal after a terrible accident.  They come across a man who appears to be the sole survivor of a shipwreck.  Starring Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, and Billy Zane, this thriller will get your blood pounding! Shot in the Whitsundays, Australia almost entirely at sea, its themes of control, resurrection and unbalance make for a terrific thriller.

Between Home (2012) Adventure Documentary

Between Home is a poetic and touching film about amateur first-time sailor Nick Jaffe who attempts a solo oceanic journey from Europe to Australia. Starting out with basic equipment and very little money, the film chronicles his three-year transformation and rite of passage from novice sailor to expert. To follow his dreams he must battle the sea, the weather, total isolation and himself. Directed by Jack Rath this film won several European awards.

Kon-Tiki   (2012) Historical Drama

No list of the best sailing films would be complete without Kon-Tiki. This gripping film is based on the story of Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl and his 1947 Kon-Tiki exploration expedition. It was filmed in Malta and follows the story of Thor Heyerdahl, who set out on his epic crossing of the Pacific Ocean to prove that; for South Americans to have settled in Polynesia in pre-Columbian times was a possibility. Heyerdahl builds a balsawood raft using the same techniques utilized 1,500 years ago by the indigenous peoples of the region. With his intrepid crew of five, he sails from the coast of Peru to the Polynesian islands. The dramatic events that follow include storms, sharks, and other perils of the open sea. It was nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award. Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg and starring Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) Adventure-Comedy

Directed by Wes Anderson, the Life Aquatic follows the adventures of Steve Zissou, a character adaptation of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the French oceanographer. He sets out on an oceanic expedition to track down the ‘jaguar shark’ that ate his partner, Esteban. It is a witty and animated film with plenty of fun and adventure on the sea. Starring Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe and Cate Blanchet.

Maidentrip (2014) Documentary

Back to solo adventures on the high seas. This time it is 14-year-old Laura Dekker’s immersive first person story. Having won a 10-month court battle to be allowed to do it, she sets out on a two-year voyage to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. A testimonial to the potential of youth and the courage of this young girl, this is an inspiring and heart-warming documentary film directed by Jillian Schlesinger.

Morning Light (2008) Documentary/Biography

The film chronicles a real-life crew training and competing in the 44th Transpacific Yacht Race aboard a TP52 class sailing yacht, Morning Light. It follows the fifteen strong, inexperienced but intrepid crew of men and women, that were given a one-in-a-million chance to sail in one of the world’s elite sailing competitions. It is an exhilarating, emotional adventure, showing a dramatic 2300 mile showdown against the world’s top sailing professionals. Directed by Mark Monroe.

White squall (1996) Coming-of-Age Disaster Drama

White Squall was directed by Ridley Scott and stars Jeff Bridges. A true story, set in the 1960’s, about a group of American teenagers that embark on the voyage of a lifetime with their Captain, whom they call ‘Skipper’. He teaches them about teamwork and discipline on an 8-month voyage aboard the Albatross.  When a white squall threatens their ship, the boys try to use what Skipper has taught them to survive the traumatic event. A gripping, but touching movie well worth seeing.

All is Lost (2013) Survival Drama

After a collision with a shipping container at sea, a resourceful sailor finds himself facing death. As well as there being only one actor in the film, it also has no dialogue, although there are a few spoken lines. This landmark film with its stunning scenes about a man’s will to survive is an epic sailing movie. Directed and written by J.C Chandor and starring Robert Redford as the only cast.

Top Diving movies to Watch during Lockdown

The Abyss (1989) science-fiction adventure

With Jim Cameron working his magic throughout this ocean epic, The Abyss is firm favourite amongst scuba divers.  When an American nuclear submarine is attacked during the cold war and crashes, the navy is convinced that it was the work of the Russians. With a storm brewing, they want to salvage as quickly as possible, so recruit the services of oil rig divers nearby. Aliens, Navy Seals, breathtaking underwaterscapes and advanced liquid technology that allows breathing underwater  -there is more down there in the deep than they had ever expected. Starring Ed Harris.

The Big Blue (1988) adventure-drama

No list would be complete without this cult classic movie beloved of divers everywhere. Set in beautiful Greece, Director Luc Besson’s Big Blue with its artistic shots and the stunning backdrop is pure pleasure. Narrating the story of friendship and rivalry between two champion free divers, it’s a mesmerizing and dangerous journey into the unknown. Starring  Jean-Marc Barr, Jean Reno, Rosanna Arquette 

Sanctum (2011) thriller

This 3-D cave diving movie is full of suspense and not for the claustrophobic. Produced by James Cameron, it’s based, albeit loosely, on a real life experience. The incredible cave diving footage and the play for survival amongst the characters in the film, make this one of our faves. Starring Rhys Wakefield, Allison Cratchley, Christopher James Baker

Men of Honour (2000) social-drama

The true life story of Carl Brashear’s battle against racism to become the first African American diver in the U.S. Navy.  Cuba Gooding Jr.  Gives a spellbinding performance in this ultimately feel-good film. Starring Robert de Niro too!

Open Water (2004) thriller

Every diver’s worst nightmare unfolds in this small, independent movie that made a splash and terrified many the world over. A couple on a dream holiday in the Caribbean get left behind after a boat dive. (That will never happen on a SailnDive trip – promise!) Sharks cruise about, tension builds, the relationship is tested to the extreme. Worth checking out – but not with new divers!

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) epic-adventure

An oldie but a goodie.  Jules Verne classic novel comes to life starring Kirk Douglas and James Mason (as a terrifying and unforgettable Captain Nemo)  in the ultimate action-adventure under the ocean.

Fool’s Gold (2008) adventure-romance

An adventure-romance starring the gorgeous  Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson, both in top form. Diving for treasure, discovering sunken Spanish galleons, gangsters, scuba diving and estranged lovers rekindling the flame.  It’s fun, feisty and frivolous if you are in the mood for something light.

Finding Nemo (2003) animated-adventure

Stuck at home with the kids? Homeschooling during the lockdown doesn’t have to be a drag. Get them involved and let this movie homeschool them about the underwater world! The Pixar animation is apparently responsible for the Clownfish becoming the most recognised sea creature in the sea. Starring hammerheads, a great white, jellyfish, turtles and anglerfish – it’s really great family entertainment.  

By no means the full list, these are just a few of the must-see nautical and scuba films to keep you entertained as we all make the effort to stay at home and limit the spread of COVID-19. This too shall pass and we look forward to welcoming you on our next trip when it does. Until then – stay safe and watch on!

SailnDive Summer 2019