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Sailing Far - Blog

My First Sailing Vacation or: How I Fell In Love With Sailing

People often ask me what got me into sailing. The answer is: "a guy I met in college" is always amusing. The guy is Ido - who since then became a lifelong friend of mine. Ido and I met on the first day of college, back in the fall of 2000 on the lawn of The Interdisciplinary Center in Hertzliya, Israel. Handsome Ido asked a group of us if we wanted to join him for a sail on Friday after school. Have I mentioned he was charming too? ;-) Of course I had to go!

Man, Woman, motorcycle, market, greece, greek island
Ido and Nitzan in Simi, Greece Dodecanese Islands

Ido's sailboat, Bettina - 1986 32' Jeanneau Attalia - was delightful to be on and the whole experience was great. I enjoyed the company of Ido and other friends I just met that first week of college. It felt like being on a Happy Hour - just on the water. The fact I didn't get sea-sick helped, as I felt so bad for those who did...

Over the next couple of years I would join Ido on his weekly sail every Friday. During our first summer break Ido and a few friends sailed his boat - Bettina - from Hertzliya to Cyprus, Turkey and Greece. Upon their return they were telling us crazy funny stories about their experiences, and I recall promising myself not to miss out on such an adventure next summer.

Rhodes, port entry, Greece, Greek Islands
Port Entry to Rhodes, Greece, Dodecanese Islands

In the summer of 2002 my friend Adi and I joined the Bettina crew in Rhodes, Greece for 2 weeks. We sailed around the Dodecanese Islands: Rhodes, Simi, Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Nisiros and Tilos, and even made a quick visit to Bodrum in Turkey, where we had a traditional Turkish Hammam experience. Although at 25yo I already had a fair share of travel experience (I visited half a dozen European countries, the USA and backpacked in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt and through Central America), I felt like I discovered travel for the first time. Arriving at a new country/land from the sea added another dimension to the experience. Stepping off the boat and starting to check the surrounding life by foot at first, and by bicycle or scooters later - made me feel like an explorer. For the most part - we were warmly welcomed by the locals - starting with the marina/port staff, and continuing with people who live and work in town. As soon as they heard we arrived on a boat - their facial expression changed and the conversation started to get more interesting, as in addition to answering questions of their curiosity, they would in return tell us about similar experiences they, their family members or friends have had and lessons they learned from them.

Sailboat, friends, painting, sailing, greek islands, greece, dodecanese islands
On board Bettina - our home of 2 weeks back in the summer of 2002

For two weeks Bettina was our home, our vehicle to transport from one port to another, our kitchen and dining area, our bathroom and shower (though personally I always preferred the land showers when possible), our art studio and our place of refuge and from the world. Living aboard for two weeks had me deal with such a wide range of feelings and emotions like never before. But all to all, it was the serenity that I was able to achieve.

Upon our return home, both Adi and I decided that we must find a way to make sailing a much bigger part of our lives. Ido convinced us to start racing Bettina with him, his dad and a couple of other crew. So now in addition to the Friday afternoon sail we had races on Saturdays, which were instrumental in teaching and improving our sailing skills and techniques. A year later - Adi started working for a yacht brokerage company in Israel, and her employer sponsored her Israeli Captain License course (a year long course in Israel). A few years later, and after sailing a few more times in the Mediterranean recreationally and as a delivery crew, I decided it was time for me to become a captain in my own right. Over the years I sailed in many other destinations around the world, but my first ever sailing vacation in Greece and Turkey will forever be remembered as the one that captured my heart...

Port, Rodos, Wind vanes
Rhodes, Greece, Dodecanese Islands


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