Essential Greek for a Sailing Holiday

Sailing and scuba diving in Greece is both exhilarating and fun!

Communicating, even just a little, with the locals can make your experience even more memorable; and the Greeks are always appreciative of anyone who makes an effort. The further afield you go, the more it may be necessary to have a few phrases to communicate with the older generation or the people in more remote areas.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.

If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

― Nelson Mandela

The SailnDive crew are fluent in Greek and ready to help you in any situation. Meanwhile, here is a list of the most useful words and phrases for sailing in Greece; the spelling is phonetic:

Greetings and Salutations

1. Yásas/Ya – Hello/Hi and also Goodbye

2. Kaliméra – Good morning

3. Kaliníchta – Good night

4. Kalós Irthaté – Welcome

5. Kaló sas vríkamé – the answer to welcome (we find you well)

6. Ti kaneté?  – How are you ?

7. Eimé kalá, Isís ? I’m good , and you?

8. Kalá – Good

9. Endáksi – OK/Fine/Whatever

10. Milaté Angliká – Do you speak English?

11. Télos – It’s done!

12. Pollí Oréa – very nice

13. Pos se léne? – What’s your name?

14. Apo pu eisté – Where are you from?

15. Eimé apó….. – I am from…..

16. Óla Kalá? – Is everything ok? This also an answer. Yes everything is ok

17. Then katalavéno – I don’t understand

18. Neh – Yes

19. Óchi – No (the ‘ch’ is soft as in ‘character’)

20. Efharistó – Thank you

21. Parakaló – Please/It’s a pleasure/Excuse me

22. Signómi – sorry/excuse me

23. Na se kalá – may you be well

24. Sigá sigá – slowly/take it easy/there’s no rush but just one SIGA! Is Watch Out!

25. Ávrio – tomorrow

26. Kaló taxídi – Have a good journey

Boating Terms

1. Istiofóro – sailing boat

2. Paní– sail

3. Áeras/Ánemos – wind

4. Limáni – harbour

5. Petréleio – diesel

6. Ládi kinitíra – engine oil

7. Brostá – ahead

8. Písso – astern

9. Simadúra – Buoy

10. Voriá-Anatolí-Nótos-Díssi  –  North-East-South-West

11. Pixítha – compass (‘th’ as in ‘Then’)

12. Hártis – map

13. Kerós– weather

14. Kaló – good 

15. Polí– a lot/many/much/very

16. Vrohí– rain

17. Thálassa – sea

18. Kímata – waves

19.  Liminarhío – Port police

20. Asfáleia – insurance

21. Epikiróno – register

22. Éngrafa skáfous – boat papers

Useful greek phrases for sailing

1. Parakaló , boró na théso ethó? – (the ‘th’ as in ‘then’)  Can I moor here, please?

2. Póso makriá iné ya ………..how far is it to?

3. Poso kostízi aftó?/ Póso Káni – how much does this cost?

4. Iné Vathía? – is it deep?

5. Parakaló, piáste toh skiní mu…please take my line

6. Pú boró na páro ….where can I get?

7. Parakaló , na plirósso?  Can I pay, please?

8. Pú einé …… – Where is…?

9. Póté – When

10. Ti óra..? – What time..?

Out and about

1. Pú borúmé na fame? – Where can we eat?

2. Ti sinistaté ? – what do you recommend?

3. Tha ithelé ena trapeze ya……. – I would like a table for….

4. Tha ithela na dthó to catalog – I would like to see the menu

5. Tha ithela na parangiló – I would like to order

6. Birá – Beer

7. Lefkó Krassí – white wine

8. Kokkinó Krassí – red wine

9. Glykó – sweet/dessert

10. Tó logarismó, parakaló – The bill, please.

Now you are ready to book that sailing charter holiday in Greece and get gabbing!

Do you sail in Greece? Feel free to share other phrases you’ve found useful in the comments section. We would love to hear from you!

Adapted from an article originally written by Merryn for yacht-rent.com

Good Books to Read on a Sailing Holiday

Whether it’s been plain sailing or a little rough out there, once the hard work of reefing, tacking, navigating, and anchoring is over, and you are safely in port or anchored in a quiet bay; do you like to lounge around on deck with a good book?

Here’s our list of just a few of the many good sailing reads, for a variety of tastes.

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books to improve your sailing skills

If you are looking to improve your sailing game, or get technical, these books will help you on your way.

1. Nigel Calder’s Cruising Handbook: A Compendium for Coastal and Offshore Sailors by Nigel Calder

Nigel Calder is a respected marine author and authority on sailing. This comprehensive book gives solid information about the key technical and practical features of modern cruising systems and equipment. Boat handling skills such as core navigational know-how; anchoring techniques; understanding the weather; heavy weather skills; and specific skills for long-term and long-distance cruising.

2. The Morrow Guide to Knots by Mario Bigon and Guido Reganozzi

Knowing your knots is useful, even for the novice sailor. Also, it’s fun for the kids if you are on a family sailing holiday. This book offers clear and easy-to-follow diagrams of all the knots you’ll ever need.

3. Boat owner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual

Boat owner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual, also by Nigel Calder, is the maintenance book for those interested in the inner workings of the engine and electrics. Although we’ll have you covered on a SailnDive trip, it’s useful knowledge to have if you want to learn more.

Sailing in the Cyclades

Adventure at Sea

If you prefer to read about intrepid adventurers at sea from the comfort of your fair-weather Greek-island boat charter, then these books will be sure to give you a thrill.

  1. Gypsy Moth Circles the World By Francis Chichester

Francis Chichester was 65 years old and alone when he set sail in his 54-foot ketch to circumnavigate the world. His 28,000-mile voyage, completed in May 1967, comes alive with his skillful writing.

2. Fastnet, Force 10 by John Rousmaniere

A fast-paced true story of the 1979 Fastnet Race, a 600-mile contest off the coast of Ireland in Force 10 conditions. A peek at the unrelenting power of the ocean and the devastation it can wreak.

3. Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft – Thor Heyerdahl

The famous story of some Scandinavians who built a balsa wood raft and sailed it from it 4000 miles from Peru to Tahiti tracing the original expedition. This book will pique the interest of any adventurous soul. A mad adventure of four men on a hand-made raft surviving this epic trip!

4. Circle of Bones by Christine Kling

A modern-day treasure hunt adventure book.  A former marine, Maggie Riley, and her 40-foot yacht lead us on an adventure-seeking for a submarine sunk in World War II. An exciting read for adventure lovers.

Humour at Sea

Seeing the funny side of all the possible things that can happen on a sailing trip, here are the books to make you laugh.

  1. Three Ways to Capsize a Boat: An Optimist Afloat by Chris Stewart

Chris Stewart’s hilarious memoir starts off with him landing his dream job as a skipper in the Greek Islands and continues with a number of madcap adventures making up the journey of a lifetime. This zesty book will have you laughing out loud.

2. Quality Time? by Mike Peyton.

Mike Peyton, ‘the world’s greatest yachting cartoonist’ , offers anecdotes of his sailing adventures along with 80 of his cartoons. With 50 years of sailing behind him, this book is as informative as it is funny.

sailing in Greece

Romance at Sea

For the heady combination of love, romance, and sailing with some grit – try these sailing romances.

1. Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi

Offered a choice between going to college and sailing the world, Tania hopped on a small sailing boat, knowing very little about sailing, and set off to find her destiny. A gripping book about sailing, boats, a young woman’s spiritual quest and finding love.

2. Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche

A woman with a fear of water and zero sailing experienced finds herself aboard a small sailing boat with Ivan, a handsome Argentinean man with a dream to set off exploring the world. She gives up her suave city life, faces her fear of water, and joins her lover on a year-long voyage across the Pacific. A true-story memoir about taking a leap for love.

We hope you enjoy our selection of sailing-inspired books for your reading pleasure, as you go out and live your own sailing story.

Do like to read while sailing? Feel free to share some good sailing reads with us in the comments.

Adapted from an article originally written by Merryn for yacht-rent.com

Sailor’s Slang and other Nautical Terms

Do you know your mainsail form your spinnaker? Port from starboard?

On a sailing and diving holiday, you might be feeling footloose and fancy free, but do you know what that actually means?

Knowing the right sailing terms to use on board a boat is helpful in communicating while you’re on a sailing holiday. Terms used by sailors for hundreds of years are still used today. They are scattered throughout the English language, some dating back to the16th and 17th century.

Here are some basic nautical terms that every sailor should know as well as some fun sayings that have crept into everyday language, but have their origin in the great sailing tradition.

Let’s start with Sailor’s Slang

Many words and expressions originate from our relationship with the sea. Commonly used words and phrases such as ‘overwhelm’ (from the Middle English word meaning “to capsize”) and “Please stand by” (an expression derived from the command for sailors to be ready). By no means a comprehensive list, here are some of the best:

  • Don’t rock the boat – Keep things the way they are.
  • Batten Down the Hatches – Prepare for trouble, take precautionary measures. Coming from the need to close all the hatches when passing through a storm or rough seas – doesn’t happen often when sailing in Greece, but still.
  • Above board – meaning honest. Pirates would often hide much of the crew below the deck. The ships that showed their crew on the deck were thought to be honest merchant ships known as “above board”.
  • Caught Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea – Caught between significant difficulties.
  • All hands on deck – everyone help out. A term used to command all seamen to their stations and prepare for action.
  • High and Dry – Stranded without any hope of recovering with no solution in sight. Highly unlikely under the watch of our Captain and crew.
  • Bale out – getting out of a situation. To bale out originally meant to remove water from a vessel.
  • Three Sheets to the Wind – very, very drunk.
  • Binge – immoderately indulgence. A nautical term for cleaning out something, such as a cask of rum. A sailor who had cleaned out such a rum cask was known to ‘have a binge’.
  • Carry on – to continue onward or go on with a task. In the days of sail, the officer of the deck kept a constant eye on the change in the wind so that the sails could be adjusted to ensure the fastest headway. Whenever a good breeze came along, the order to “carry on” would be given. It meant to hoist every bit of canvas the yards could carry.

Parts of the boat and useful sailing terms

  • Port – Port is always the left-hand side of the boat when you are facing the bow.
  • Aft or Stern – The back part of a ship.
  • Bow – The front of the ship is called the bow.
  • Starboard – Starboard is always the right-hand side of the boat when you are facing the bow.
  • Deck  – the top of the boat which covers the hull.
  • Boom – The boom is the horizontal pole extending from the bottom of the mast. Adjusting the boom towards the direction of the wind is how the sailboat is able to harness wind power in order to move forward or backwards.
  • Rudder – a flat piece of wood, fiberglass or metal located beneath the boat, the rudder is used to steer the ship. Bigger sailboats control the rudder via a wheel, while smaller sailboats have a steering mechanism directly aft.
  • Mainsail – the sail aft of the mast attached to the mast and the boom
  • Headsail/Jib – the sail between the forestay and the mast
  • Spinnaker – a large balloon like sail attached to the mast at the front of the boat . Used for sailing downwind.
  • Halyard – a line used to raise a sail
  • Sheet – a line used to adjust a sail
  • Winch – device used to tighten a line
  • Cleat – a device used to secure a line
  • Leeward – Also known as lee, leeward is the direction opposite to the way the wind is currently blowing (windward).
  • Windward – The direction in which the wind is currently blowing. Windward is the opposite of leeward (the opposite direction of the wind). Sailboats tend to move with the wind, making the windward direction an important sailing term to know.
  • Tacking – this is a basic sailing maneuver and refers to turning the bow of the boat through the wind so that the wind changes from one side of the boat to the other side. The boom of a boat will always move from one side to the other when performing a tack.
  • Jibing – The opposite of, and a less common technique than tacking, this basic sailing maneuver refers to turning the stern of the boat through the wind so that the wind changes from one side of the boat to the other side.
  • Ease – to let out the sails
  • Trim– to pull in the sails for maximum efficiency
  • Bowline – one of the most useful knots that everyone should know – we can teach you on our SailnDive Trips
Now that you can talk the talk, come sail the sail with us!

Beginners welcome.

Do you have any terms to add? Let us know in the comments

Dealing with Seasickness on a Sailing Holiday

Feeling queasy on a boat?

Anyone who suffers from motion sickness will likely feel seasick too. Even the strongest stomachs can turn in rough weather. It’s an unpleasant experience that can detract from the joys of sailing on the open sea, but with a few pre-cautions you can reduce the likelihood and relieve some of the symptoms of seasickness.

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Why do we get seasick?

When the motion you sense on a boat with your inner ear is different from the motion you can see, it causes motion sickness. It is quite a common condition that happens for some people who travel by car, train, airplane, or boat. The symptoms are : a feeling of uneasiness, dizziness, sweating, nausea and vomiting. Not everyone gets seasick, and you won’t know until you get on a boat. Pregnant women and children are more susceptible to motion sickness than others. Once an underlying ear problem has been ruled out, there are a few tips you can try to reduce the likelihood of feeling sick on a sailing cruise.

choose the right Sailboat

Boat style and size can help a lot to combat motion sickness. The bigger the boat, the more stable it will be on the water and the less likely you will be to get sick. Chartering a Catamaran may be the best choice as they are more stable and don’t keel .

Easy sailing location

Book your sailing holiday, especially if it’s your first, in and easy-sailing destination like Greece. The weather is excellent with enough wind to have a good sail, but without frequent storms in the summer or very rough seas. Also, there is always land in sight and if things get really bad, you can be back in port in a short time. Alternatively, try a day trip first before you book that week long sailing holiday.

remedies

Make sure your medical aid kit has anti-seasickness medication. Taking these 15 minutes before you set sail can make all the difference. Over the counter medicine may be sufficient for mild seasickness. See your doctor if you need something for more severe, repeated seasickness or longer trips, though. Patches are also available. Read up on the side effects as some motion sickness medication can cause drowsiness.

Watch what you Eat

Take care about foods, drinks, and alcohol before and during travel. Excessive alcohol  and liquids that make you feel too full should be avoided. Rich, spicy, or fatty foods may make it all worse as your stomach battles with the motion confusion and the food or drink. Black or green tea with fresh ginger is really excellent for combatting nausea and settling your stomach.

freshen up

Open a window or vent, or get outside and feel the wind on your face. This can really help with that bilious vibe. Staying downstairs in the cabin is not the best for seasickness, unless you want to, or can, sleep.

Don’t read

Avoid books and screen altogether as they can make the problem worse. Hanging out on deck and getting  actively involved in the sailing may take your mind off it altogether.

Gaze at the Horizon

Looking out over the sea to the horizon can sometimes relieve that queasy feeling. If you can keep your gaze on a fixed point, even better. It’s not recommended to stay below deck, unless you can sleep it off.

What better than gazing over the Aegean Sea from a sailboat to the island on the horizon?

Seasickness can be unpleasant when it is extreme. Milder versions can be easily managed by following the tips above, and the experiences on your sailing holiday in Greece will more than make up for the hassle.

Corporate Team Building in Greece on a SailnDive Adventure

If you are looking for a way to build a cohesive team and a positive company dynamic, why not try taking part in a sailing and diving trip in Greece as a team building activity?

In today’s work environment keeping your employees engaged is key to the success of businesses globally increasing efficiency, productivity, customer retention , and profitability.

According to Gallup, businesses with highly engaged emplyees have:

  • 41% reduction in absenteeism
  • 17% increase in productivity24% less turnover in high-turnover organizations
  • 10% in customer ratings
  • 20% increase in sales
  • 21% greater profitability

There are a number of big and small ways to boost employee moral and team spirit. One of the key ways to build a good team is through active adventure holidays in nature.

Why not book your super sales team on a sail and dive holiday this year?

SailnDive team building holidays

We offer a one week trip sailing and diving trip around the incredible Sporades Islands. The trip is geared for experienced divers with their own equipment but can easily be tailored to corporate team building trip even with no divers onboard. Learn to sail, improve your skills and try scuba diving for the first time on a one week trip.

Get in touch to tailor your trip

Corporate Team Building on a Boat

There will be hard times, problems to overcome and the crews will be pushed out of their comfort zones regularly providing a great test of team strength, leadership abilities, adaptability and cohesiveness. There is also the sheer exhilaration of sailing, a healthy competitive spirit and what’s sure to be an unforgettable experience. The deep bonds between teams member formed on such an adventure will carry over into the real world and help to build a powerful, flexible corporate team who respect each other and the different skills and they bring to the table (or in this case – the boat).

Trying something new together, like Scuba diving, is another excellent activity for your team. Learning a new skill in a group where nobody is an expert leads to greater connection and helps your team get to know each other better. Who knew that Bob from accounts was basically a merman?

Learning the Ropes

We will work with your group and introduce them to the sport of sailing. Fundamental sailing skills are taught including steering the boat, handling the lines and sails and basic navigation under the watchful eye of the skipper. Once the teams have learned the boating basics and got their sea legs – it’s time for some serious sailing!

If there are experienced divers on board with their own equipment, we can take them to the best dive spots in the Sporades including the Underwater Museum in Alonnisos. For everybody else, there will be the opportunity to try Scuba diving for the first time, safely,  under the watchful eye of experienced instructors.

How to set up your team building SailnDive experience 

With the SailnDive Team by your side, it is easy to organize. We can take up to 8 people on our boat. We can tailor the trip to your needs and provide you a detailed itinerary.

We have made it super easy for you and are here for any questions. Build your dream team in Greece on a SailnDive holiday.

Feel free to contact us with your enquiries. 

How to Pack for a Sailing & Diving Holiday

After a stressful year of lockdown, Corona anxiety, and cabin fever, it’s time to break out in style on a SailnDive Trip in beautiful Greece!

Seven days on a boat. Sailing, diving, and island hopping.

You deserve it.

Enquire about our trips

Now, what to pack?

Having done a number of sailing and diving trips myself, and being somewhat of an expert packer, here are my top tips for how to pack for a sailing and diving holiday. There is even a checklist at the end.

Fortunately, boat life lends itself to simple living and there are just a few extra things needed that you might not take on a regular holiday. A duffel bag or backpack is the best bag to pack as it is soft and can be easily stowed onboard. Swim gear and simple clothes are the best whilst sailing and most people say they wear much less than they bring.

My number one rule for packing for anything is put out what you think you’ll need, then halve it!

Merryn

what NOT to bring

Although these days with volt inverters available on some boats for electric appliances, you may not want to bother with a hairdryer or hair straighteners. They are a drain on the main battery, so best to be conservative if you must bring them. 

Anyhow, the best look for a summer sailing holiday is the windswept-and-groovy sailboat look!

Heeled shoes can also be left behind as they damage the deck and also make entry and exit off the boat tricky and not very elegant! Dark-soled shoes can also be left behind, as these mark the deck.

Three pairs of shoes should be enough -a good pair of closed deck shoes, some flip-flops and a nicer pair of flats for dinner on the dock.

Valuables should be considered carefully. Boats tend to be left open in the evening and it is usually safe enough but ‘just in case’ anything happens, we don’t recommend bringing any irreplaceable family heirlooms!


start with the essentials

Important personal documents such as a Valid Passport, Flight tickets and itinerary, Health and Other Insurance Certificates, Driving Licence, and local currency and debit/credit card should be packed first.  Zip-lock bags are useful for storing these essentials. Don’t forget the negative PCR test for Covid or proof of vaccine!

Don’t forget your diving certifications and diving insurance papers too. (We recommend DAN)

Toiletries and medicine

Again, think small and convenient. A small, hanging toiletry bag with a built in mirror is useful for sailing trips where space is at a premium. It can be hung on the side of your bunk.

All the usual personal hygiene products should be packed, in small packaging. Natural shampoos, conditioners and shower gels that won’t damage marine life are recommended.

We will have a well-stocked medical aid kit on board, but a basic first-aid kit including is advisable to bring along, especially if you are on an medication.

Sea/travel sickness pills if you are worried about your sea-legs, Insect repellent and Anti-histamine (in case of insect bites/stings) and any regular prescription medicine –as many as you can (make sure they are not contraindicated for scuba diving) . Emergencies arise and you can go to a local chemist, but the language barrier may make things more difficult. Eye drops and lip balm may be useful after being in salt water all day and a sleep aid, if needed. Ear drops are great for any diving related ear issues. Rehydration salts are also recommended for the divers onboard.

Protection from the Elements

One of the first things to think about is your skin. A pair of good Sunglasses (with lanyard to avoid sunglasses overboard), a hat (that won’t blow off), a high factor sun-block and lip-balm and a sarong are musts on a sailing and diving holiday. A day of open-sea sailing, with not much shade, can take its toll on the skin, so an aloe cream or good after-sun in case of sunburn also goes on the list.

Waterproof gear in the event of a summer storm or shower is useful, plus a fleece and warm trousers for cooler evenings on deck.

Earplugs and eye mask may be useful if you are sensitive to sound and light.

Don’t forget your face masks!

Gadgets

Charging phones for all the crew can be tricky. Recommended is an extra phone battery, a 12 volt (car charger) for charging devices on board and, best of all, a solar charger. Power banks are handy too.
You wouldn’t want to forget a camera or Waterproof Camera (+ memory card & charger) or iPod or iPhone jack t to play music on board. Also useful is a two pin adaptor to charge batteries in port in the evening.

If you are a bookworm, an e-reader with a waterproof case is a convenient way to read onboard.

Dive gear

Our trips cater for experienced divers with their own equipment, so don’t forget the dive gear. We will have tanks, weights and weight belts onboard. Even if you are a non-diver, fins and masks are a great idea as there is plenty of snorkelling off the sailboat to do.

Keep your scuba diving equipment to a minimum.

The water temperature on our June SailnDive trips are about 21 to 23 Celsius with thermoclines starting at about 10m. A 5mm wetsuit with a hood is recommeneded.

On the September trips, the water will be warmer at 24 to 26 Celsius and the thermoclines starting much deeper at about 25m. A 3mm is recommended.

We dive quite a few wrecks on the trip, so a full body suit and gloves are preferred.

Scuba Equipment Checklist
  • Mask, Snorkel, Fins and Booties (if using)
  • BCD
  • Dive computer and extra battery
  • Surface Marker Bouy
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Dive Knife
  • Camera gear: If you’re planning on taking underwater photos, be sure to bring camera gear that is good down to at least 30 meters. You’ll want to make sure you have a couple of extra SD cards as well!

Ready, set, Sail

Remember that space is key and less is more on a boat charter. Sailing and diving holidays are casual and relaxing affairs, so pack accordingly and you with all these bases covered you will be ready to sail away!

Check List for Him
  • 5 T-shirts/tank tops
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 2 swimsuits / shorts
  • 1 pair trousers
  • 1 long-sleeved shirt
  • 5 sets underwear
  • 2 pairs socks
  • 1 pair deck shoes
  • 1 pair flip flops
  • 1 pair dressier shoes
  • 1 light jacket/ pullover
  • 1 fleece
  • 2 towels – microfiber are best
Check List for Her
  • 5 dresses
  • 2 swimsuits
  • 3 tank tops or t-shirts
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 2 bras
  • 5 pairs of underwear
  • 1 pair of socks
  • 1 scarf
  • 1 light jacket
  • 1 fleece
  • 1 sarong or cover up
  • 2 towels – microfiber are best
  • 1 pair deck shoes
  • 1 pair flip-flops
  • 1 pair dressier sandals

Easter Ionian trip postponed to June 23 – 30

The Greek government announced yesterday that it plans to begin the tourist season on May 14th. We still want to give you the opportunity to sail in the beautiful Ionian Sea and see all the beautiful islands and sights, so we will now sail there from June 23 to 30. Any scuba diving we do will be organised through local dive centres and we will do a maximum of 3 dives. Our main activity is to sail. We hope to confirm soon what wonderful boat we will be sailing on! We already have two bookings and can take another 6. Contact us for pricing, questions and booking! See the Greek tourist minister’s announcement yesterday below!

Life Lessons Learned in Greece

By Merryn

Ancient civilizations, intricate myths starring magical beings, sun-drenched islands, shimmering blue seas, and delectable cuisine are, no doubt, the first things that come to mind when thinking of Greece. Anyone who has travelled here will tell you about its outstanding natural beauty, the hospitality of the locals and the easy-going lifestyle apparent everywhere you look. Living in a country other than your own is like a long journey of discovery that, I guess, never ends. Here are just a few of the things I have learned since living in Hellas.

Express yourself

Expressing yourself loudly, with accompanying hand and body movements, is entirely normal and accepted. No one gets offended. Sick of waiting in line at some government office?  Say it: loudly and clearly! Chances are, others will chime in and you will have a good complaining session – instant bonding! Think someone’s put on a few kilos? Declare it! Don’t like the food? Don’t just sit there, say something!

I spent the first year thinking that Greeks were a little rude and angry most of the time, until I realised – it’s just their way. Even a normal conversation can sound like an argument for the uninitiated. You can have a blinding argument with someone one minute, next minute it’s all over and you will likely be invited for a coffee or a tsipouro, no grudges. Often the beginning of a lasting friendship starts with a heated exchange. It’s that Mediterranean blood, or something.

Although it does make life rather dramatic, ultimately it’s healthier than bottling it up and I have come to enjoy saying how I really feel, loudly and with the appropriate accompanying hand gesture. Definitely not many stiff upper lips around here!

Table Manners are Overrated

Sitting around a table, with your elbows off it, eating from one plate with a knife and fork and asking politely if someone could pass the salt – it seems so ridiculous when compared with the Greek style of dining. In this food centric society, meals are loud and boisterous, with much use of hands, bread and a single fork held in the right hand. It’s perfectly ok to stretch right across someone to grab something that you want, talk with your mouth full, wipe your hands on the table cloth and eat from all the plates, which are spread in the centre of the table. Once I got over myself and my Anglo-Saxon sensibilities, I realized how much more enjoyable mealtimes could be.  Washed down with local wine, beer or tsipouro and plenty of political debate!

Blood is Thicker than Water

Here in Greece, its family first no matter what. Family members may be feuding on day to day bases, but when the chips are down, everyone comes running. You never have to face anything alone in Greece. There is a dependency on the family that is strange to one raised to be so independent; but it’s assuring too. Greek culture tends to concentrate more on the collective than the individual. We live, like so many, in a two storey house with my partner’s parents. Essentially two separate households, our lives are intertwined. Our children are upstairs or downstairs as they please. We have built in babysitters and we will care for them as they age. Financial and practical help, emotional support as well as Yaya’s home cooking, more than makes up for the limited privacy and occasional over involvement.

Slow Down and Live in the Moment

Time in Greece is rather relaxed. Finishing something ‘in-time’ is not something overly worried about and being ‘on-time’, especially for social arrangements, bothers no one. Last minute cancellations are frequent and taken in stride. Masters of the eleventh hour, and incredibly inventive, I am always amazed by how quickly Greeks can pull something together, albeit it in total chaos, when the pressure is on.

The Greeks have been living in the present, long before it was a thing. If you bump into a friend in town, you will simply put off whatever errands you have for the day and immediately go for coffee. If you don’t feel like doing something, don’t; there is always tomorrow. The Greek word for tomorrow αύριο (avrio), was one of the first I learned, having heard it so much.  Like most mañana societies this means that a lot doesn’t get done, which can be frustrating; the upside is a relaxed, less-pressured and flexible way of life.

The Greek capacity for enjoyment of life is immediately evident to anyone who has been here and the achievement of κέφι (kefi), or ‘high spirits and relaxation’ important. Socialising is a way of life and at the centre of everything is food. Even in times of hardship, cafes are overflowing, restaurants are full and people are out and about until late. (Well, not in the era of corona….but hopefully soon!)

Health above All

And once you have expressed yourself, eaten from all the plates, been there for the family and learned to relax and enjoy the now; above all, the Greeks say, loudly and demonstratively, is our health. The word for health in Greek, Υγεία (igeia), is used to greet people Γειά σας (Ya sas) (your health), to toast Στην Υγεία Σας/Μας! (to your/our health) and, one of the favourite sayings of all Greeks, Υγεία Πάνω απ’ όλα! (Igeia pano ap ola) Health above All! Something to keep in mind during the lockdown and, perhaps, one of the reasons for Greece’s quick action and compliance in the face of the COVID-19 threat. Let’s hope we’ll all be raising our glasses soon. On the deck. At sundown. After a hard day’s sailing and diving.

SailnDive Greece

The original article was published on wherecani.live

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