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Best of the Mediterranean Charters

Some top stops for yacht charter in the Mediterranean.

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f not for love, Capt. Andrew Graham may have spent his whole life on the other side of the planet. He was born in Australia, where he fast became a water baby, freediving and spearfishing by age 4, and scuba diving by age 6. When he turned 18, he was already a scuba instructor working on his first captain’s license. Then a gal from the Mediterranean showed up. “My wife is French,” he says. “I met her in Australia, and she decided she didn’t want to live in Australia. She had a lot of family and didn’t want to live on the other side of the world.” As it turned out, they had boats where she was from too. Big ones.

Capt. Andrew Graham, an Australia native, is joining the 164-foot Codecasa Mariu for the first time this summer. He brings years’ worth of Mediterranean knowledge to the charter program, plus a lifelong love of watersports; by age 6, he had already done his first scuba dive.

“My first job in the Med was as the captain of a 30-meter,” he says. “My break was quite lucky: The owner of that yacht was Australian.”

Graham fit right in and spent season after season becoming an expert on beaches, hot spots and watersports holes ­everywhere from Spain’s Balearic Islands to the southwest coast of Turkey. Today, as with any captain who has pulled into his fair share of ports, Graham has suggestions for charter clients looking to make the most of Mediterranean destinations.

This summer will be his first aboard the 164-foot Codecasa Mariu, which plans to start the charter season in Turkey.

“For me, the Marmaris-Bodrum region is the charter center,” he says. “You have beautiful scenery, picturesque bays where you can still have the place to yourself even at busy times — to me, that’s the real essence of it.”

Capt. Andrew Graham
Capt. Andrew Graham, shown off the coast of Greece, leads the crew aboard the 164-foot Codecasa Mariu. The yacht charters through Edmiston.Joanna de Friez

Moving west, as Mariu plans to do, the next option is Greece, where he says the various island groups all have high points — as long as charterers avoid summer’s high winds.

“I find that the beginning and end of the season are the best: May, June and then September, October, ” he says. “I’ve always found that toward the end of the season is better. You still have the warm weather. You still have the warm water. The majority of the yachts are starting to disappear. It really becomes a pleasure then.”

Codecasa Mariu
Mariu takes 12 guests in six staterooms — five of which have king-size berths. Other parts of the yacht are similarly tailored for a full complement of adult guests, including this lounging space on deck.Jeff Brown

In Croatia, he loves the food and culture, but particularly the scenery, which can differ dramatically from what charterers see in Greece.

“When you look at the islands in Greece, for example, they’re quite bare,” he says. “When you look at the islands in Croatia, they’re wooded. You have a lot of trees. It’s natural scenery, and it’s beautiful with the mountain range in the background.”

Mediterranean yachts
(Clockwise from top left) 1. Sedir Island, aka “Cleopatra Island,” in Turkey; 2. Mariu’s captain with a welcoming smile; 3. Pizza in Venice, Italy; 4. Milos Island, Greece; 5. The natural side of Ibiza, in Spain’s Balearic Islands; 6. Navagio Beach in Greece’s Ionian Islands.(Clockwise from top left) iStock/Ernhkm; Joanna de Friez; iStock/NicolaMargaret; iStock/poike; istock/LunaMarina; iStock/extravagantni

Italy has something for everyone, he says, be it tying up off the iconic canals in Venice or cruising south of Naples to Positano and beyond.

“I remember the very first time I saw the Amalfi Coast,” he says. “It would have to be one of the most picturesque pieces of coastline. It’s small, but it’s the nicest coastline I’ve ever seen in the world.”

Codecasa Mariu
Mariu originally was built for Giorgio Armani. Much of his décor remains today.Jeff Brown

In France, he is all about St. Tropez. “You’ve got everything you want: There’s the beach, the turquoise water, the sun on those beautiful summer days,” he says. “St. Tropez itself, it’s a party atmosphere, but it also has great history. You can walk through the small alleys and do some shopping before you go back later and dance the night away.”

Codecasa Mariu
Mariu is an RYA Training School, so her crew can issue personal-watercraft licenses — so you too can draw an “M” on the sea.Jeff Brown

Then there are the Balearic Islands in Spain, where excitement awaits at the restaurants and clubs ashore — and where there’s also quite a lot to love about the quieter bays and harbors.

“For me, all of these places, it’s just about being out on the water,” he says. “You have great anchorages with swimming, diving and snorkeling. We want to get the toys out so you can have fun. We have dive instructors on board, and we do rendezvous diving for charters. We have the jet pack, the hoverboard, the kitesurfing boards, the kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, Sea-Doos, Jet Skis — I’m trying to get the owner to get a couple of JetSurfs [mechanized surfboards] too. We have everything for fun.”