While I was a bit doubtful of my skills as a sailor, having spent a grand total of one afternoon on a sailboat, the Greek island-hopping itinerary was hard to resist, and I accepted the trip. I'd noticed and mentioned Poseidon's trips before, and I was curious to see for myself if this suspiciously low-priced adventure trip would deliver.
Poseidon offers both "cabin cruises" where guests take a cabin on a yacht, or "flotilla cruises", where independent rented yachts and their crews travel along with a group of similar yachts, enjoying assistance with provisioning, docking, and other forms of support. I was on the lead ship as part of the "cabin cruise".
Prior to my trip, I received a detailed email packet of maps, instructions, waivers, and general information.
Poseidon recommends arriving a day or so early and will help with hotel recommendations for your first night in Athens, but due to other travels I flew into Athens the day the trip was to begin and took the X94 bus from the Athens International Airport to the Edem stop at Alimnos Harbor. Since the bus drivers are used to taking most airport passengers straight to the busy ferry and cruise ship port of Piraeus, I was careful to inform the driver where I need to get off and show him the map of the harbor and its entrance where I would join my Poseidon cruise. He seemed to understand, but I took a seat near him just in case. Lucky I did - I had to alert him again just before he zoomed by my stop. The problem? He assumed that I really meant that I would be staying at a hotel called the Poseidon which is near the entrance to Alimnos Harbor, not that my actual destination was the harbor entrance itself. There's no shortage of Poseidons in Greece!
I traveled light this trip because I knew I would be in a cabin for much of it and that I would be dragging my bag on and off other forms of transportation later in my journey. But a last-minute, late-night zipper failure made me change my packing plans, and instead of the small softsided wheeled duffle I usually use for tight quarters and for easy grab-and-go sprints on and off of ferries, I had a more typical squared-off carry-on size wheelie bag. Since storage space is limited in yacht cabins, I'd recommend going with soft-sided bags small enough to ride as carry-on on the plane.
The first evening was taken up with the arrival of the other guests. Since Poseidon is based in Canada, many of the other cabin guests and flotilla captains and crews were from Canada. On the Margarita itself, there were three married couples, Alistair and Bev, Ron and Angie, myself, Slavica, another single woman, the Captain Steven Parry, and Florence, the program director. As experienced boaters, the small cabins were no problem for the couples, but if you've never traveled for long periods on a sailboat, it may feel a bit cramped ...and from an outside perspective, I think it would help if you truly like and enjoy your mate. Fortunately the couples on the Margarita seemed well-inclined to each other. Each double cabin had its own bathroom, which was very small but functional, with a hand-held shower, sink, and toilet, which was flushed using a pump handle which took some getting used to.
We dined that first night at the Edem Taverna located on the beach a few minutes walk from the Marina. As with all dinners on the trip, we paid our own way; my meal, with wine, cost about 14 Euro. After dinner, Captain Steven took the five flotilla captains together and went over the charts for the next day. While this was not mandatory for the guests on the Margarita, virtually everyone paid close attention to the description of our route for the next day.
Day 1 -
Day 2 - Aegina and Poros
Day 3 & 4 - Hydra
Day 4 - Pirate Night on Hydra
Day 5 - Milos
Day 6-9 Ios/Santorini
Day 10- Paros
Day 11 Delos and Mykonos
Day 12 - Kea Crossing
Day 13 - Cape Sounion and Return to Athens