The Kingdom Of Tonga Offers A Glimpse Of A Bygone Era.
Although any trip to the South Pacific is going to satisfy the wanderlust of the intrepid traveler, the Kingdom of Tonga will go beyond most expectations. Part of the charm of Tonga results from the group being the only island nation that has avoided formal colonization. There are 171 islands, 48 of which are inhabited. The Vava’u group is the most popular with tourists, although if your charter allows, the Ha’apai group is a visual experience that will embed itself as a lifetime memory. The diving and snorkeling in Tonga are some of the best in the South Pacific, if not the world, in my opinion. There are several strong dive operators scattered throughout the group. Besides the scenic wonder, Tonga’s people make this a must on anyone’s world charter destination list. Although the islands are full of modern conveniences, the citizens have been able to maintain their culture. In fact, Captain Cook named Tonga the Friendly Islands because of the reception he received on his first visit. And it’s not acceptable to show anger there, so make sure you get all that stress out of your system before arriving. Although this is not a mainstream destination, charter yachts making a circumnavigation or Pacific cruise may want to add it to their itinerary. -George Sass, Jr.
| | |
Nantucket Reeks With A Combination Of Casual Elegance And Rugged Beauty.
To say Nantucket has a rich maritime heritage is a serious understatement. Once, the island’s thriving whaling industry sent ships around the world. Today, Nantucket is a popular destination for ships of all sizes, and a charter yacht is the perfect base for adventure. Downtown’s cobblestone streets lead to fine shops, galleries, and especially restaurants, which rival any metropolis for quality and variety. If weather permits, I try to get to Topper’s at the Wauwinet: The view from the lawn tables and the food are always a highlight. The restaurant offers the Wauwinet Lady boat service and a harbor cruise before dinner, with cocktails served on board, and you feel like Gatsby when arriving on this restored launch. Other dining favorites include Brotherhood and the Rope Walk. Besides good food, Nantucket boasts stunning beaches. I’m a fan of Madaket, despite winter-storm erosion. Bike paths wind all the way from town to Madaket, making for serene exercise and a great way to get around. Arrange your charter after Labor Day-you’ll find it less crowded, yet no less delightful.-George Sass, Jr.
| | |
The Turkish Coast Offers A History Lesson Around Every Corner.
Cruising the Turquoise Coast of Turkey, from Bodrum to the Bay of Fethiye, feels like sailing back to antiquity. Tying up in historic ports gives you the sense that you’re retracing ancient voyages-here, the dusty old myths come to vivid life to guide you. From Bodrum’s Tomb of Maussollos to Marmaris Castle, which dates from the time of Sultan Suleiman; from the ancient city of Caunos, with ruins circa 3,000 B.C., to Gocek’s Temple of Leto; from Fethiye’s crusader fortress built by the Knights of Rhodes, to the natural beauty of the Blue Lagoon of Oludeniz-all this and more make your visit unforgettable. Many charter companies manage vessels that call on Turkey in their summer schedule. For a more authentic adventure, some choose to see this coastline as it’s been seen for thousands of years: aboard a Turkish gulet- a two-masted, broad-beamed wooden boat with a raised bow and wide, flat stern. Whether you go by modern yacht or ancient ship, a local archaeologist can be arranged to guide your party through the ancient world. An international airport on either end of the Turquoise Coast means getting there is easy-it’s leaving that’s hard. -Ken Kreisler
| | |
Antigua Translates As “Ancient,” But This Charter Destination Is As Fresh As Ever.
Should Antigua be your charter destination this year? That question may be best answered with a few more questions. Why does this West Indian paradise play host to a long-standing charter show, where the mavens of the industry flock? They come each December to look at the latest yachts, and are wined and dined by charter-yacht owners looking to put their best foot forward. Antigua witnessed the birth of the Caribbean charter industry more than 40 years ago. Long a stop for vessels making the trans-Atlantic passage, it was a natural place for yachts to end up. Far away enough to feel like you’re really going someplace, Antigua has hopping nightlife and swanky resorts. Have you looked at the gifts of geography? English Harbour is a haven that will hide you from the harshest storms. The island is ringed by 365 beaches-one for each day of the year, if you haven’t already done the math-many tucked into idyllic coves that are ideal anchorages. Why has the Superyacht Cup visited each December since 2006? These majestic sailing yachts are a stunning sight as they parade out to the race course, yet the spectacle feels right at home. And with such a history, why wouldn’t it? Antigua may be the answer to all your charter questions. -Jason Y. Wood