Sailing & conservation holiday in Greece
Description of Sailing & conservation holiday in Greece
This week long sailing holiday shows Greece in all of its marine biodiverse magnificence. To be able to combine a conservation holiday with a love of sailing really is the win win way to enjoy the Aegean, and Greece’s famous Cyclades Islands. Our on board naturalist guide, a Greece conservation expert, will accompany you on this sailing holiday, He will take you on a wonderful journey not only at sea where marine greats such as dolphins, seals and sea turtles thrive, but also onto some of the Cycladic island idylls to seek out lizards, vipers, falcons and eagles, to name but a few. Every day a new island with new habitats and unexpected wonderful wildlife.
Please find below an example of what you will experience while sailing with us around the islands of the Cyclades:
|Day 1:||This sailing holiday starts in the historical port of Ermoupoli on Syros island. With some time getting to know your fellow sailors for the week, as well as learning a little about conservation and marine ecology in Greece’s waters, there is still time to take a stroll around the hillside, traditional and beyond pretty town of Ano Syros.|
|Day 2:||Today we start sailing, heading off to the island of Paros and looking out for dolphins en route. Our guide will also help us spot various sea birds that follow in our slipstream, from shags to yellow legged gulls. After a day of sailing, we anchor at Paros in the secluded fishing village, Piso Livadi, where Halaris’ famous tavern serves up a fine catch of the day.|
|Day 3:||Today we sail into the heart of the Small Cyclades islands which, although they are small, are stupendous. A string of about a dozen gemstones shimmering in the Aegean and, with only a few inhabited by humans, this is an extraordinary archipelago to sail around and seek out wildlife in their natural habitats. Such as on Iraklia with a human population touching a hundred, hiking through its rocky terrain reveals a world of reptiles, raptors, wild flowers and wild herbs. From Eleonora's falcon to Griffon vultures, wild orchids to ancient olive groves, Iraklia is a micro world of Greece’s biodiverse beauty.|
|Day 4:||Sailing east all day along a route frequented by dolphins, we drop anchor in time for sun set off the island of Despotiko, where we will take time to gather our research results, analyse photos and discuss wildlife behaviour that we have witnessed on our sailing odyssey. Leaving time for a swim in the crystalline waters around the island. You can always delay your swim until night time for one of the best wildlife treats of this trip – when the phenomenon of bioluminescence lights up the waters with every stroke.|
|Day 5-6:||On this fifth day we sail to the Cycladic island of Kimolos with a small population but which, for wildlife lovers, also has a fascinating uninhabited island as neighbour. This is Polyegos, a very important habitat for a highly protected and endangered species : the Mediterranean Monk Seal. Our naturalist guide will fill you in on local efforts to protect this beautiful mammal, especially as both these islands are home to the one of the highest populations of them in European waters.|
|Day 7:||From Kimolos to Milos island, this ancient volcanic island is an explosion of flora and fauna. From the famous and rare Milos viper and endemic lizards to migratory birds en route to Africa. The island’s wetland at Achivadolimni is temporary home to glossy ibis, herons and flamingos.|
PlanetOur primary objective is the study and protection of the marine world and the raising of awareness on environmental issues. In order to support our goal, we have formed a series of ecotourism projects involving sailing, diving and/or exploring unique species. When our sailing boat, is not chartered, we sail around cleaning beaches, recycling or helping researchers and organisations to collect data in order to study and protect the environment and wildlife.
Our base has become the island of Syros where most of the maintenance work is carried out by local people using materials purchased locally.
We encourage guests to visit and try the local cuisine and purchase local goods wherever we go in order to get a taste of the local culture and also support the local community. Under the guidance of our experienced biologist, people are introduced to tens of endemic species, both from the animal and plant kingdoms which exist only in this small corner of the globe. Guests will leave with a different approach towards wildlife and aware of the dangers they face and how to minimise them. We organise visits at the two national marine parks in Greece, in Zakynthos and Alonisos, where the two most important organisations for the protection of the loggerhead turtle Caretta caretta and the Mediterranean monk seal Monachus monachus are based. Our guests are briefed on their work and how they can support them.
During our whale and dolphin spotting, the voices of mammals will be recorded with the aid of our hydrophone and notes will be made on their characteristics in order to help scientists with their collection of data. Our guests are welcome to participate.
We organise marine ecology seminars for divers and present a brief version of this to every diver that joins us. This involves a briefing on how to monitor the level of anthropogenic impact on a marine site and warn our scientist of any deterioration they observe.
We try to minimise the impact of our boat on the marine environment by using the motor as little as possible, mainly just to enter and leave the port. When mooring we avoid throwing the anchor on meadows of sea grass. We always use permanent moorings when provided. We’ve allowed space in the sailing boat to store waste plastics especially bottles. As there is no drinking water available in the Greek islands, there is a huge consumption of bottled water. We store all the plastic in the capital of Syros, Ermoupolis and we take it back to Athens at the end of the season for recycling.
PeopleOur Responsible Travel Policy
In a country whose main source of income is derived from tourism, thanks to its islands and its natural beauties, mass tourism and overexploitation of its natural resources have caused many environmental and social problems. Through our activities, we are trying to encourage travellers to approach places they visit with greater understanding and respect towards the local people, culture, wildlife and the environment. Simultaneously we try continuously to minimise the negative impact of our organisation on the above environments.
By caring for the environment
A. Our crew
By having everyone involved in our organisation promoting and adhering to sustainable travel principles and encouraging our guests to embrace our sustainable travel principles.
By allowing space in our sailing boats for people to recycle and upcycle any plastic, metal, glass, paper garbage produced during our trips.
By using biodegradable cleaning products and avoiding at all times the dumping of chemicals or non-natural products into the sea.
By ensuring that all guests are informed upon arrival that waste should never be thrown into the sea and recycling of plastic & other items should be done in the designated place.
By briefing our guests not to collect any corals or shells from the sea or beach. They are encouraged though to help us clean any garbage that they see inside the water or on the beach.
By briefing our guests upon arrival on the necessity of cutting down on their use of water and electricity. There is a serious shortage of water in the Greek islands and we recommend our guests to use water and electricity only when and to the level that is necessary.
By avoiding wasting paper in the office and using the internet as the main form of communication.
B. The boat
By trying to minimise the impact of our boat on the marine environment. Sailing ecologically is a very wide concept starting from the manufacturing of the materials to the use of the boat. We are constantly working on minimising the impact of our boats on the marine environment.
By having purchased a second-hand boat and kept it in an excellent condition. We aim to break with the conventional approach of the charter industry which is often buying brand new boats and dumping them after 2 to 3 years.
By having purchased an electrical outboard to substitute our conventional one when possible in order to minimise the use of fuel.
By using the motor as little as possible, mainly just to enter and leave the port and charge our batteries.
By having placed a wind generator 350Watt in order to achieve electrical self sufficiency without the use of motor or diesel generator.
By avoiding, when mooring the boat, to throw the anchor on meadows of Poseidonia Oceanica, an endemic Mediterranean specie that needs protection. We always use permanent moorings when provided.
By having natural ventilation on our boats provided by wind scoops instead of an air-conditioning system.
By using a long lasting antifouling which is less harmful to the environment than conventional antifouling paints.
By using biodegradable and other products with no phosphates to clean the boat. We also use alternative boat cleaners such as vinegar and baking soda which are environmentally friendly.
By recycling the batteries of the boat and not just dumping them after expiry.
By keeping up-to-date with developments and new products that appear in the industry that minimise negative impact on the environment.
By using a pink propylene glycol antifreeze product to cool the engine that is less toxic than the conventional ethylene glycol one (typically green).
By June 2017 we plan to replace the traditional incandescent bulbs, which use a lot of energy with LED (light-emitting diodes) bulbs, whose energy consumption can be 15 times lower.
C. Diving Tales
We support the local economy and community:
- By including in our itineraries and taking our guests to remote or underdeveloped islands, such as Kinaros (population: 2 people), Levitha, Iraklia and Anafi (population: under 100 people), we aim to distribute economic benefits to those places that are hard to get to due to lack of frequent ferries or that are unreachable without a sailing boat or similar means.
- By recommending the purchase of products from the local agricultural co-operatives which function in many islands.
- By advising our guests to avoid global restaurant chains and taste the local cuisine in family-run taverns so that they experience the local culture.
- By recommending rooms & apartments that we have carefully selected and are run by local people.
- By encouraging our guests to participate in the local way of life and not just be a distant observer. During our Wild Tales, our guests are invited if they wish to give a helping hand to locals in their daily activities (for example, olive picking, grape gathering e.t.c.)
- By introducing our guests to the multi-cultural reality of the Greek islands. We explain the local body language and customs, we discuss historical and local stories.