From the Mediterranean hotspots in the summer to the tropical Caribbean in the winter, most chartered superyachts will travel the same popular paths, chasing the sun. So, when experienced charter captain, Oscar Wollheim, was tasked with putting together an itinerary with a difference, he relished the opportunity.
The brief? Explore what is known as “The Cradle of Civilization”, and to travel the lesser navigated seas throughout the Mediterranean.
Captain Oscar has been a yacht captain for over 25 years, spending the last two-and-a-half years on board M/Y Te Manu. The captain and his ever-attentive crew welcomed the Te Manu owners and their family for a 6-week trip of a lifetime.
The family were vacationing together for the first time in a long while. As the owners of the vessel, they had done many trips before, usually frequenting the standard hotspots of the Bahamas, Caribbean and the Mediterranean.
But after 2 years of little travel due to the pandemic, they wanted to go on a trip with a difference. Somewhere superyachts aren’t often seen.
The family said they had no specific requirements for the journey. It was an opportunity to visit and explore historical sites in port during the day and use the night, in most cases, to travel to the next destination.
Exploring the Cradle of Civilization
The journey totalled 38 days, starting in Bonifacio, a town in the south of the French Island, Corsica. Bonifacio is known for its medieval citadel that sits atop the limestone cliffs that overlook the marina. This was the perfect start to their unusual adventure.
Moving on, the guests enjoyed some Sicilian island-hopping in the Tyrrhenian Sea to experience erupting volcanos and mountain chains at Ischia, Capri, Lipari and more. They then travelled onwards, taking in the breath-taking 16th century architecture of Malta’s capital, Valletta. Then onto Sarandë in Albania, to absorb the beautiful coastal scenery the city had to offer.
A change from the itinerary, due to inclement weather, saw the chartered yacht divert to Pylos, a Greek island steeped in history, with beautiful buildings, castles and churches.
The final leg of their voyage included a range of stops in and around various other of Greece’s many islands, concluding in Athens, where they had two days to take in the sights of the Greek capital before finally jetting home from an adventure they’ll likely never forget.
The original itinerary was planned to be a total of 2054Nm of travel, but changed slightly, as is often the case when journeying the seas. They had also intended to pass through the Corinth Canal; however, it was closed for maintenance.
The guests would often return to Captain Oscar Wollheim with excitement about several of the places they visited.
Oscar said, “I think Malta ranked quite high on their list, together with Sicily. We had a spectacular view of the Stromboli Volcano erupting at night on our way to one of the islands”.
“There were so many things to see on the 6-week long trip, it’s hard to pinpoint the most impressive. What stood out was the visit to Pylos Island, which wasn’t on the original itinerary, but we had to stop there due to the weather. It turned out to be a really beautiful stop.”
“Some places we weren’t expecting to be great, turned out to be really interesting”.
“The workload was tough, giving 200% every day, even after working a back-to-back season. The crew were very tired by the end but satisfied with a job well done” says Oscar.
The Crew’s experience
The crew were all involved in the full 6-weeks of the journey, with the guests requesting 1 or sometimes 2 of the crew to accompany them on shore visits. This meant they would have to split the workload a bit differently and Oscar says that an extra crew member would have been ideal.
On board Te Manu
Te Manu is a 49.4-metre (162ft) Codecasa displacement motor yacht, built in Italy in 1998. The yacht has had many upgrades through the years [in 2018 it underwent a full 18-month refit] to ensure she continues to be one of the most chartered yachts in the Mediterranean and Caribbean seasons.
The yacht can accommodate 12 guests in 4 double and 2 twin cabins, along with a crew of 11 including the captain. A very special feature of Te Manu is the elevator that connects all the four available decks, giving the older guests peace of mind and access to all the amenities the yacht has to offer.
We would like to say a big thank you to Captain Oscar Wollheim for the information provided in this blog.
Follow him on LinkedIn – Captain Oscar Wollheim
All shore-based activities, bookings of transport and tour guides was handled by the always accommodating agents.
Luise Group, Italy
BWA Yachting Malta
BWA Yachting Albania
BWA Yachting Greece