Go with the flow

Issue 6 - 2017
By Oliver Bennett · Images Getty Images, 4 Corners, Shutterstock, Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Getty Images, Richard Taylor/4Corners

From island-hopping in a dhow to a canal cruise in France, nothing revives the senses like a holiday on water

Issue 6 - 2017
By Oliver Bennett · Images Getty Images, 4 Corners, Shutterstock, Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Getty Images, Richard Taylor/4Corners

From island-hopping in a dhow to a canal cruise in France, nothing revives the senses like a holiday on water

They’re calling it the “blue mind” – the transformational benefits of being close to water. There’s such a restorative factor gained from proximity to rivers, seas and oceans that it’s now recognised as a leading source of wellness and joy. But of course, any yacht aficionado could tell you that. The minerals in the sea air, the sound of the waves, the clink of halyards, the wash lapping against the riverbank – not to mention the elegant progression from place to place in luxury – and you can see why Scott Dunn’s boat and yacht holidays are increasingly popular. You can charter your own journey around the Greek Islands, savour the long summer nights of Norway, or, after a near-mythical adventure around tropical Myanmar, end up on a gorgeous beach.


Tropical Coast Line


The dhow – a low-slung sailing boat with a sail like a furled triangle – is one of the loveliest sights of the southeast African coastline. It’s also the best way of hopping around the islands of Mozambique. You’ll find a fantasy tropical coastline: swaying palms, white sands and iridescent coral, where you commune with turtles, colourful fish and birdlife. You’ll stay in serviced camps on picturesque Robinson Crusoe islands, eat freshly caught dinner under the stars, and dive and snorkel by day. Stops include the Ulumbwa River, where mangroves give way to rural villages, and Ibo Island in the 32-island Quirimbas archipelago, where local silversmiths sell their wares. Unforgettable.


La Vie En Rose


The waterways here are magical – the arteries of rural France. What better way to explore them than in one of the luxury guest barges (known by the French term péniches-hôtels) that traverse France, from Brittany to Bordeaux and through to Avignon, working from April to October on routes that take in iconic vinous regions: Languedoc-Roussillon, Burgundy, Provence, Franche-Comté and the Rhône. On board, all meals and drinks are included, with 15 wines and 20 cheeses served, representing each region visited. Groups can grab a whole barge, which sleep 4-12; or, if you’re travelling solo or in a pair, book per cabin. On land, you’ll visit local markets with a chef, sip coffee in quaint villages, cycle the cassoulet off on the towpath and play pétanque. Got a bigger party? Book more than one boat.


formidable fjords


One of the world’s great sailing countries, Norway has a coastline that is riven with those wonderful, sheer-sided inlets called “fjords”. Glacial in origin, these extraordinary chasms saw the development of sailing holidays back in the 19th century, and it’s easy to see why. On Scott Dunn’s trip on the cosy Fjord Explorer from Storfjord to Hotel Union Øye, you’ll take in glorious, vertiginous Hjørundfjord, see the Sunnmøre Alps, pass atolls, small islands and villages, and wave to fishing boats and the inhabitants of Norway’s characteristic red wooden houses. And when you alight, you’ll find Norwegians as charming as their landscape is sublime, as you eat flatbread and salmon amid the quiet mountain hospitality. Depending on your date of departure, you’ll enjoy long summer nights and (possibly) the Northern Lights. Wonderfully refreshing.


Exotic Voyage


Aside from the honeypot that is Bali, Indonesia is one of the world’s travel secrets – a diverse tropical nation with a great seafaring culture. The finest vessel for an Indonesian voyage is Lamima, a 65m phinisi – a two-masted traditional boat – that was built to a peerless specification on Sulawesi island by Marcelo Penna, a yacht designer from Barcelona. Staff outnumber guests by 19 to 14, with a crew that includes dive instructors, spa therapists and a chef who creates a mix of Indonesian and European dishes. With seven luxurious cabins, the boat is itself a destination, but it’s the journey that will astound. There’s remote Sumba, tranquil Lombok, the temples of Java and Komodo, where the eponymous “dragon” – the giant lizard – can be seen. En route, experience active volcanoes, secluded beaches, coral reefs, diving with manta rays and incredible on-land trails.

staff outnumber guests by 19 to 14, which includes dive instructors and spa therapists


Island Odyssey


Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey could be cited as the first travelogue, a heroic sea journey around ancient Greece. His actual route is hotly debated, but a deep classical presence remains in a sailing charter of Greece. The sea is the eternal Mediterranean, the coastlines reveal fishing villages, beaches and limestone hills – even the names, including Andros, Mykonos, Kos, conjure up the greats of antiquity. You can devise your own journey in consultation with the skipper. The yachts – catamarans with lounge, kitchen, and comfortable cabins – sleep 6-10, and depart from the west of Athens. A much-loved itinerary is to track the Peloponnese peninsula round to Poros, car-free Hydra, sleepy Kythnos and north to Kea. With lashings of tzatziki, golden sunsets and chilled retsina, it’s anything but Spartan.


The Boat To Mandalay


It’s partly due to Rudyard Kipling’s magnum opus, Mandalay (the old royal capital of Burma/Myanmar) that the name is fixed in everyone’s mind, as if it were mythical. But it does exist, and the 115-mile trip along the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to the other ancient city of Bagan is crammed with flavour. The Irrawaddy is awe-inspiring, and you’ll see village life with stilted homes, bullock carts, ploughs and pagodas. On land, you’ll find a country stuck in a more graceful era, where saffron-robed monks and sarong-clad locals somehow remain elegant through the hottest summers. On deck, keep an eye out for rare river dolphins riding your bow waves and cool off in the boat’s lovely swimming pool. Want to end your trip on a beach? At Ngapali on Burma’s west coast there are white sand beaches for that final chill, where Kipling’s words come to mind: “Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!”

Liked that? Try This ...

Off Season Gems

Feature · Issue 5 - 2016

This website uses cookies that will help and improve your experience. By using this website you are agreeing to the use of cookies on this website.
More info