Tahiti and French Polynesia
Halfway between Australia and California, French Polynesia’s 118 islands
are scattered over an expanse of the Pacific Ocean stretching more than
2000 sq km – an area about the size of Western Europe.
It’s impossible to talk about the exotic landscape of Tahiti and French
Polynesia without clichés. From the lush slopes of the high islands to the
white-sand, palmruffled atolls with lagoons bluer than Billie Holiday, this is
the place that stereotypical ideals of paradise come from.
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Discover yourself and Experience fin person Darwin’s theory of evolution
while you sail around this volcanic archipelago. The very name conjures
images of other-worldly wildlife. The once-in-a-lifetime visit is to fly in and
take a week-long cruise, living aboard a boat (sailing yachts are available
and totally look the part, but motors are often used). By day you can snorkel
or dive, or come ashore to play Attenborough among astounding wildlife,
with people-pleasers including vast numbers of sea lions, iguanas, giant
tortoises and bountiful birdlife. We implore you to tread carefully in this
endangered ecological wonderland.
Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Off the Queensland coast, the Whitsundays are the stuff of postcard
designers’ dreams – cloudless skies, azure seas and 74 flawless islands.
Much of this half-drowned mountain range belongs to the Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park, one of the seven wonders of the natural world, so you’ll fi nd
kaleidoscopic coral gardens, sea turtles and a mind-boggling array of
fabulous fish. Diving or snorkelling straight off your yacht is incomparable
and sailing is huge business, with boats and tours catering to everyone from
first-timers to professionals.
Nile River, Egypt
The Nile was Egypt’s main transport corridor, and today’s travellers get the
perfect chance to get off -road and sail into history. For multiday river jaunts,
budget-friendly feluccas (small, traditional canvas-sailed boats) and
dahabiyyas (more-luxurious houseboats, which have become the Rolls
Royce of the Nile) have it all over the big cruisers. They use sail power
instead of engines so more time is spent on the river, and they can stop at
small islands or antiquities sites that are skipped by the cruise boats. By
night, recharge your batteries after hot, history-heavy days by star-gazing
and listening to the sounds of the river.
Nice, Cannes, Saint-Tropez, Monaco – this celebrated coastline is loaded
with legend, myth and celebrity scandal. From billion-dollar real estate to
hedonism aboard monumental yachts, there’s no disputing the sheer glitz
and glamour of the French Riviera. If you want to live the lifestyle, befriend a
rock star/Hollywood bigwig/Euro royal and pose artfully on the deck of their
boat. Failing that, head to Antibes or Cannes (or Marseille) to hire a set of
sails. Even if it’s just a small oceangoing craft, stock the fridge with
champagne and caviar and live out a little of the fantasy.
Start Sharing Your Life on soSAILize - Click & Join
There’s something undeniably sirenlike about Greece’s islands. Could it be
the call of magnificent history, 1400-plus islands dotting the waters of the
Aegean and Ionian Seas, and more than 300 days of sunshine a year?
Sailing is the best way to set your own island-hopping itinerary, stopping for
octopus and ouzo or finding a secluded swimming spot. Select an island
group to explore – favourites include the Cyclades (including Santorini and
Mykonos) or the Ionians, west of the mainland and including Corfu, Lefkada
and Skorpios, the private island of the late shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis.
Sailors beware the winds of change: the meltemi is a northeasterly wind that blows through much of Greece during the summer.
Travelling to Zanzibar, in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania, is like
being transported through the centuries – to the ancient kingdoms of Persia,
to the Oman of yesteryear with its caliphs and sultans, to the west coast of
India with its sensual rhythms and heavily laden scents. The old Stone
Town, where everyone arrives, is easily one of Africa’s most evocative
locations. Turquoise waters and picture-perfect beaches are trademarks of
the Spice Island, and cruising aboard a traditional dhow (an ancient Arabic
sailing vessel) is a tip-top way to explore the surrounding archipelago and
first-class diving and snorkelling sites.
, New Zealand
This small island nation has a habit of throwing up some of the world’s best
sailors (see its America’s Cup successes) and has one of the highest per-
capita rates of boat ownership in the world. And with water like this, why
wouldn’t it? Famed for its stunning coastal scenery, the Bay of Islands in
NZ’s 'winterless north' is one of the country’s most worthwhile attractions,
punctuated by dozens of coves and filled with clear waters ranging in hue
from turquoise to deep blue. Though a hugely popular tourist and sailing
destination, the 150 or so islands have thankfully escaped development (the
townships are all on the mainland).
What happens when steady trade winds meet an island-flecked channel
with tame currents and hundreds of protected bays? Every mariner worth
their sea salt sails there – hence the British Virgin Islands (BVIs) being a
sailing fantasy land. There are more than 40 islands and hundreds of
anchorages, all within sight of each other. The BVIs are one of the planet’s
easiest places to sail – more than a third of all visitors, from beginners to old
hands, come to do just that.
Trivia buffs note: the British Virgin Islands are a self-governing British overseas territory but the US dollar is their legal currency.
Check out More Sailing Stories & Member shares ... Here
Check out amazing SAILING videos from members Here