Croatia

Day 6: Hvar

The second day in Hvar marked the start of our boats birthday celebrations! We woke up fairly late Thursday morning and were all well rested and ready for the day ahead.

I’m not ashamed to say the first time we showered properly was in Hvar. We had become pretty accustom to ocean baths and using the hose at the back of the yacht to clean off, but I must admit the prospect of a fresh water shower made me absolutely giddy. Six days of salt-caked skin had really taken a toll on my moisturizer supply.

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After our showers we took a water taxi over to the main part of Hvar for Alex’s birthday lunch at Adriana Hotel. There’s a little restaurant/bar area on one of the top floors that has an amazing view of the port.

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We decided to do a little souvenir shopping before heading back to the boat so we could get ready for the Carpe Diem day party that started at five. I know a 5 o’clock seems ridiculously early for a party, but it was definitely the best one of the week and it only runs for a few hours before dinner! Make sure you get there on time!!

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One of our friends who worked for TYW made a reservation at Spice, an asian fusion restaurant just steps from Carpe Diem, for Alex and my birthdays’. We all had a GREAT time at Carpe Diem and were significantly buzzed by the time we headed over for dinner. I felt awful for our waiter, he ended up having to circle the table twice asking for our orders because we had made so many changes. After enjoying a heavenly crème brûlée in lieu of birthday cake we walked around town taking in the Croatian nightlife.

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Thursday was definitely the most action packed day event-wise, there were two other parties to attend after dinner – the first was at Kiva Bar in town, and the second was an after party back at Carpe Diem Beach Club. After sharing a bottle of wine (and a few vodka redbulls) over dinner I was definitely feeling warm and fuzzy, so when I walked into Kiva bar and saw how packed it was I walked right back out.

Being 5’1″ has some serious disadvantages – a main one being that when I go out without heels on my head is about shoulder level with every average-sized person. Typically I can deal with it, but the bar was so crowded that I literally couldn’t move without banging my head on someone and my alcohol-induced claustrophobia was in full effect. Instead, a few of us decided to enjoy one of the patios back near Spice.

Right before midnight, the official start of my birthday, I was thoroughly enjoying my glass of wine when one of the waiters headed over with a large tray of “surprise birthday shots” that the girls had ordered. I of course assumed they were vodka, but was severely mistaken. After the first one I realized no vodka in the world could taste this strong, especially after my tastebuds were numbed by the numerous vodka redbulls I had during dinner. After fighting back my urge to vomit, I asked the waiter what they were shots of and he said it was their homemade liquor and to be careful because it was very strong. In other words we just had Croatian Moonshine. I’m not going to lie, they were awful and tasted exactly how I imagine rubbing alcohol would, but we each shot back another before grabbing a water taxi to the Carpe Diem Beach after party. It was my birthday after all.

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As we approached the party I could already hear the DJ dropping some absolutely unreal tracks. I’m a big fan of deep house and techno and I felt completely spoiled during TYW, the DJs were great at mixing in songs other than the typical big room bangers you hear at most nightclubs. After my feet were nice and sore from dancing, I headed back to the boat where I was once again convinced to go swimming. I would honestly live in the ocean if possible, so there was really no arm-pulling necessary – night swims really are the best way to wind down before bed.

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Day 5: Hvar

Early Wednesday morning I was unceremoniously awoken by loud banging noises coming from the back of the boat. I quickly arose from my makeshift couch cushion bed on at the front of the boat (the hammock had been removed for the video shoot the day before) and tried to figure out what the hell was happening. It seemed as though the strong winds were causing our yacht to violently thrash into the dock, luckily it had woken up Carolyn as well and she alerted our skipper. Turns out another boat had actually dragged our anchor out of position when they were leaving … James was not a happy camper.

In an attempt to escape the yelling match between our skipper and the owner of the other boat I decided to wake up our friend who actually slept on the riva and grab breakfast. And by breakfast I mean and pastry and a few beers. When I’m on vacation I’m of the mindset that any hangover can be avoided by continuing drinking. After the amount of drinks I consumed at the foam party the night before I was fairly certain that I didn’t want that hangover catching up to me anytime soon.

Once we got back everyone was pretty ready to set sail for our last destination (and my favourite) – Hvar. I’m pretty sure our longest sail day was between Komiza and Hvar, the waters were a little rough, but it was a great tanning day none the less.

Five days of partying was definitely taking its toll on me – I had contracted a mean case of Skippers cough and felt pretty exhausted. For anyone who’s going on TYW, Skipper’s cough basically refers to the nasty respiratory illness that you get from too much drinking, germ sharing and not enough sleeping. Most of the skippers said they caught it after a few days – close quarters and drink sharing was definitely to blame.

Once we arrived in Hvar we docked at Parmesan and I went exploring with a friend. We ended up on the other side of the island and sat on the rocks near the beach for a few hours chatting. We actually lost track of time and had to rush back to change, which for me meant throwing on a bathing suit cover up, my token Croatia captain hat and mascara, so that I could join all the girls for our pre-dinner party.

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A water taxi picked us up from another dock and took us to a TYW exclusive party at Carpe Diem Beach – my favourite venue by far. The open air club itself was built into a mountain and was surrounded by the sea – the sunsets here were epic. They also had these massive beanbag chairs along one of the hills which were perfect for star gazing!

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We headed back to the boat for dinner and by the time we were finished I was beyond ready for bed. Yep, you heard it right, I was out on drinking. Instead of heading out I ended up laying out on the top deck with a friend and catching up on my zs. A few of the girls went out, but most came home early since the next two days were going to be eventful – both Alex and I were celebrating our 23rd birthdays!

I woke up when the girls came back and was somehow convinced to hike to the other side of the island to go swimming. If you’re planning on doing any late night nature walks bring a flashlight because Croatia is DARK at night – the path to the beach didn’t have any lights and I’m not ashamed to say I was mildly terrified. I must admit, the night swim was a pretty perfect way to end my my first day in Hvar.

Day 4: Komiza

I don’t think I could ever grow tired of waking up in the middle of the Adriatic Sea. My hammock bed was absolute heaven – I got to experience the beautiful stars every night, and I awoke to the warm sun every morning.

When I got up early Tuesday morning I assumed that I had turned in pretty early the night of the circle party, though I’m not sure how that would have been possible. We apparently had a party on our boat until the wee hours of the morning.

Despite the throbbing pain behind my eyes, there was really no time to nurse my mini-hangover, today was the day we were meeting with the film crew to shoot some scenes for the aftermovie! This fact alone was enough to get all the girls going fairly early. I imagine it was pretty humorous to watch 11 girls scramble across the deck trying to clean up, “shower” (I use this term extremely loosely), and do our makeup all the while trying not to throw up the vodka shots from the night before. By some grace of God by 11am the deck was clear and we were sailing towards Komiza to meet the film crew!

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It was a beautiful day to shoot – we met the guys and girls of Orillo in the middle of the ocean where they boarded our boat and we got to work! They had a few specific shots they needed to catch first – the opening scene where all of us hung our legs over the side of the yacht and laughed, one of me steering the boat (with a LOT of help from our skipper James), and a one of the girls laying in the hammock giggling.

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At first it was really awkward having a camera thrust in our faces while trying to look natural, but the crew really helped us loosen up. Drinking between shots may have assisted in the overall relaxed feeling too :)

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There was a hilarious scene where we are holding onto a rope and getting pulled (AKA dragged) behind the boat in the middle of the ocean. My friend Carolyn was behind me with a GoPro strapped to her chest in attempt to capture some of the action, but I’m fairly certain the only thing that camera caught was shots of me hiking up my bikini bottoms every few metres. Not only were we all struggling to stay decent, my friend Milly was in front of me screaming things like “NOW I KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO BE DROWNED IN A WASHING MACHINE”. My overactive imagination merely caused me to envision the eleven of us as the perfect shark shishkabob trailing behind the boat. When the aftermovie was released I was genuinely surprised this shot actually made the cut because when we were shooting I was almost certain the scene could have been used as evidence in the case that one of us had drowned.

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The last scenes of the day were shot at the Green Caves which were home to a massive cliff jump site. I opted out of the jumping – with my luck I’d be walking around with a massively bruised backside, to accompany my already destroyed shins and thighs, from hitting the water at an awkward angle. I did enjoy climbing to the top of the caves though! This is when you’ll be VERY happy you brought water shoes, the rocks on the way up were extremely sharp and slippery. Despite my best efforts I left a chunk of my left shin on the Croatian cliffs. Once we had scaled the Green cliffs the crew had their drone pan over top of us – the shot they’d use for the aftermovie’s closing scene.

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After a few more hours of playing in the water we set sail for Komiza where we were promised food and the chance to restock our store of booze – the party from the night before nearly cleared us out.

We had dinner at a pizzeria just off the riva and started to get ready for the night’s festivities – a foam party in an open air club. Coming from Toronto where foam parties are usually associated with slimy all-ages events at our infamous Guvernment nightclub we weren’t quite sure what to expect. If you share my usual sentiment that foam parties should be banned from existence you’ll be surprised to know that TYW Foam Party was a great time. The venue – foam seems less disgusting when you can wash it off in the ocean a few steps away, and the music were absolutely amazing. I haven’t talked about TYW DJs yet, but they are absolute top notch – Toronto has an expansive music scene and I consider myself fairly picky, but every night I remember thinking that the DJ could sell out shows back home.

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Around 4am I once again I found myself wandering around town with friends looking for drunk food, and once again I ended up at a bakery, but this time I chose a decadent nutella filled pastry because there is apparently no such thing as a diet on vacation. Oh well, I figured I deserved it after struggling not to drown behind the boat that morning anyways :)

Day 3: Scedro

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By the third day I had become accustom to being woken up by the blinding morning sun in my eyes and the sound of people scampering across the deck to find their own boat – TYW version of a walk of shame. I would argue that walk of shames on TYW are much less cringe-worthy and actually somewhat enjoyable simply because

1) you involuntarily fit in a workout – you’re going to be jumping between boats to find yours and those wire ropes NOT easy to maneuver
2) it’s kind of a game of luck – you better hope your crew realized you’re missing, otherwise you’re going to have to find another ride to the next island.

And don’t worry you won’t be alone in the mad dash to find your crew. If you do get left behind it isn’t the end of the world! It’s a funny story and a great way to make friends. My crew, along with most others, met lots of lovely people as they tried to cross our boat on their long journey back home :)

We briefly docked in Vis to pick up some groceries early on in the day, and thank goodness because we were running really low on water. As we waited for some of the girls to get back to the boat, we were approached and asked whether we would like to be filmed for TYW aftermovie – an obvious yes, who wouldn’t want to have something like that to look back on!

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Later in the day we joined up with the rest of yachts and tied together for the infamous Yacht Week circle party. I had such an amazing time hopping between boats and laying on floats in the middle of the ocean. The camera crew, who were joining us the following day, had an awesome Nemo float which I took the liberty of commandeering for the event.

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The circle party marked the official christening of our beer funnel – the unofficial mascot of the boat. If you’re looking for a quick way to make friends just bring a funnel, trust me. It’s the one thing that no one remembered to pack! Just know that you’re definitely going to contract skipper cough from all the sharing – more on this later.

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I know I’ve mentioned how great the morning sun was in Croatia, but it pales in comparison to the sunsets and the stars at night. I’ve seen some gorgeous night skies in the Muskokas back home, but the stars above the Adriatic Sea just shined a bit brighter. Make sure you remember to take in the view!

Day 2: Vis

Hey guys, I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated TYW part of my blog, but I have a (sort of) acceptable excuse. To be honest it’s been really difficult to remember the order that we visited places … I remember the actual parties perfectly, I just can’t quite put my finger on when they happened. I blame the prolonged sun exposure! Anyways, I think I’ve finally narrowed down the order – this is going to differ from the other weeks in Croatia because they merged the routes and changed things up a bit for the last week.

Day 1 (Sat): Trogir – Riva Party
Day 2 (Sun): Vis – Fort George
Day 3 (Mon): Scedro – Circle Party
Day 4 (Tues): Komiza – Foam Party
Day 5 (Wed): Hvar – Carpe Diem Beach/ ??
Day 6 (Thurs): Hvar – Carpe Diem Day Party/Kiva Bar/Carpe Diem Beach
Day 7 (Fri): Split – Vanilla Club

I’m going to try to get the rest of the my YW posts finished this weekend! Especially because bookings for Summer 2015 yachts just opened up on October 27th :) The 2014 aftermovie just got released too! My crew and I were filmed throughout the week and made the opening and closing scenes. The camera crew also caught a few shots of me swimming at the circle party and steering the boat!

Here’s a link to the 2014 aftermovie if you want to take a look!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKYnIeCv1CM&feature=youtu.be]

My first official morning of TYW started around 830am and by some gift of God I wasn’t horribly hangover – I was handed these delicious (and strong) sugary shots all night and was prepared for the worst. All the other girls were still sleeping so I headed up to the deck to enjoy some morning rays. Mornings were the only real downtime I had throughout the trip so I tried to take advantage of them.

Within the hour the Somersbys were cracked and we had set sail for Vis. Travelling between islands is prime tanning time, but don’t forget to use sunscreen! I was pretty bronzed from being outside all summer and still got a little pink the first day.

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We were anchored just offshore from Vis and had to take a water taxi in. You’ll get accustom these, they’re basically little dingy boats driven between/around islands by locals. Prepare to spend about half your weekly budget on them. No joke, it was probably one of my only complaints. If we’re already paying extra for port fees and such we should at least get free water taxi rides!

Getting ready on the boat became a ritualistic experience. We’d all sit out on the deck with our mirrors and makeup bags attempting to mask the fact that we were all still fairly drunk from the day’s shenanigans. This is where my Makeup For Ever green primer came in handy. The green tone actually combats redness in your skin, whether it is due to a little too much sun or alcohol, virtually masking all you daily indiscretions :)

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Moving on to my favourite part of every day – meal time! Make sure you ask your skipper which restaurants they recommend for dinner – they have a summers worth of experience eating in Croatia so they’ll know the good spots. Ours suggested hands down the most picturesque restaurant I’ve ever been to called Luma. If you’re ever looking for a romantic dinner setting this is it! We were surrounded by lush green gardens and enjoyed our meal by candlelight. I was unfortunately too enthralled by the view, food, and my wine to remember to take pictures. The menu had a little something for everyone – I ended up ordering the catch of the day which was a white fish and a side of mixed veggies. It was absolutely delicious and light, but I had complete food envy when some of the girls’ steaks arrived (I may have ended up stealing a few bites).

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After were done stuffing our faces with the delicious local cuisine we caught a TYW scheduled bus up to Fort George for the white party. I had heard that Fort George was an incredible venue from some of our skipper/crew friends, but I didn’t expect it to be so massive! Picture a club in an old world castle courtyard – that’s Fort George. Needless to say, it was an amazing night, especially because everyone kept the to the dress code! Make sure you pack a white outfit – preferably one that’s easy to wash as it’s inevitable that you’re going to get something spilled on you throughout the course of the evening. By the end of the night I was safely tucked back to my hammock bed I was just praying for the hangover gods to take pity on me.

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TYW Packing List

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                                        Everything fit – it was a MIRACLE.

In hindsight, I really wish I had gotten around to writing this post as I was actually packing for my trip so I could express, in detail, how frustrating it is to pack in a relatively small backpack for an extended period of time. I can’t even recall how many times I revised my packing list over the summer – I was constantly adding things to bring. To be honest, I don’t think I really appreciated how limited my storage space was until I tried to physically fit everything into my backpack.

I ended up getting Gregory Cairn 48 ($250.00 CAD) that’s pictured below. It got the job done and I really can’t complain about the quality – it held up to being dragged across the floor at most airports, there were plenty of pockets for extra storage, and the top portion expanded quite a bit.

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My one serious piece of advice is to do your research when you’re looking to buy a backpack! I can’t stress this enough, if I could do it over again I would have compared a few models before making my purchase. There are so many backpacks on the market with additional features and add-ons that would have made my life MUCH easier. When I was shopping I just walked into MEC and bought the first one that:
a) I thought was pretty – at this point I had no idea how low on the totem pole aesthetics should be
b) Was appropriately sized for my height – being petite limited my selection to smaller backpacks as I knew I wouldn’t be able to carry XL monstrosities across airports and train stations. Truthfully, I even struggled lugging mine around.

If I were to look for a backpack now I’d want one that:

1) included a zip out cover – I purchased a separate bag to cover my backpack when I was travelling by air (I didn’t want the buckles and straps getting caught on conveyor belts and ripping). The bag was annoying to store and too big for my actual backpack which made carrying my bag an absolute NIGHTMARE. Think little girl dragging an XL hockey bag around Europe – ya, not enjoyable. Many of my friends had covers that could zip out from a bottom pocket… needless to say, I was envious

2) was front loading – my backpack was top loading and had a side zip which didn’t extend all the way to the top or bottom, so you could technically pull clothes out of the side, but it really just messed up everything in the middle when you tried to take stuff out. Basically repacked my bag every time I changed my clothing – NOT FUN. Part of this was probably my fault though – separate packing cubes would have definitely helped the process.

3) had an attached/zip-off backpack – so I had no idea these even existed until I was away, but it is utter genius!! The friend that I travelled Greece with had one and we used it all the time. My carry-on for half the trip was my red nylon Longchamp bag, which despite having a large storage capacity and being able to fold into next to nothing, is still a purse, and was just a hassle when I was riding the back of an ATV. Plus I’m pretty sure that one of my biceps is bigger than the other from awkwardly toting it around on one arm.

4) had wheels – ok so this isn’t crucial because I probably would have only used it in the airport or paved roads (I did not envy the people with rolling luggage when we were boarding/disembarking the ferrries), but hiking up the hill to the Metro station in Athens in 35 degree heat made me really appreciate the invention of the wheel – especially when a pair of them are attached to a 15kg backpack.

Of course I’m sure there are many more features you may want to consider when you look for your backpack – rain protection, compartments with extra security, etc. If you have heard of or own any backpacks with other cool features I’d love to hear about them! I’m seriously considering buying a new bag for next year if my budget allows it :)

My inherent indecisiveness really added to my packing frustrations. I had a serious case of the what-ifs every time I tried to eliminate an item of clothing from my list. What if my jean shorts rip and I don’t have another pair? What if I fall down and get 9 different cuts, but only brought 8 band-aids? What if one of my 7 bathing suits gets ruined and I’m forced to re-wear one? Oh the agonnyyyy. I was ridiuclous. And yes I ended up bringing not one, not two, but SEVEN bathing suits for yacht week. Dumb, dumb, dumb – I really only wore 3 of them throughout the course of my trip. So. much. wasted. space. No matter what you do DO NOT bring seven bathing suits – some people say you need one for each day, but realistically you won’t wear them all. Once the tan lines set in from one bikini top I was reluctant to switch. Next time I’d definitely purchase the same cut of top and bottoms in various patterns.

Now onto my list. Below is what I actually brought with me, and yes I REALLY overpacked. My saving grace was that it was summer and I’m relatively small, meaning that I was able to fit much more than I would have if I had travelled with heavy items such as jackets and sweaters.

Clothing:

– 6 pairs of shorts (3 fancy, 3 casual)
– 1 long sleeve shirt
– 1 zip up sweater
– 1 pair of jeans – medium wash and my go to for travel days
– 4 dresses (2 dressy, 1 casual, 1 maxi) – I REALLY regret not bringing more casual dresses because they could easily be glammed them up for going out at night
– 2 t-shirts
– 5 going out tops – cotton is your new BFF, I brought 2 silk blouses that haven’t recovered from being stuffed in a backpack for a month
– 3 casual tank tops
– 7 bikinis – DO NOT DO THIS. I even ended up buying another one, I can’t control my love for Calzedonia bikinis. ugh
– 1 Canada one piece swimsuit (for the Regatta)
– 2 bathing suit cover ups
– 8 crop tops – this was so excessive, I think I wore 4 of them
– 1 maxi skirt
– 3 miniskirts – I wore one of these. ONE!
– 2 pairs of pyjamas shorts
– 2 sleeping shirts
– 1 regular black bra
– 2 strapless bras ( 1 black, 1 nude)
– 10 pairs of underwear – once again excessive. It’s like I was preparing for the extinction of laundry machines
– 2 pairs of ankle socks

Accessories:

– Gold Marc Jacobs watch – why I thought it was a good idea to bring this I have no idea, I would have been absolutely beside myself if I had lost it
– Black leather bracelet – leather + salt water … enough said
– (Faux) gold locket – I was actually happy I brought this, it matched all my outfits and would have been no concern if it had been lost of broken
– Diamond Earrings – ya this was a big mistake, I actually forgot they were on and wore them on the airplane.
– Baseball cap – useful when trying to disguise how horribly hungover you are every morning
– Black side bag – something with a zipper preferably
– Carry-on bag – large red nylon Longchamp
– Canada flag umbrella hats – for the Regatta

Footwear:

– 2 pairs of sandals (1 dressy, 1 casual)
– 1 pair of sneakers – I bought white Supergas, which I am still in LOVE with, I didn’t even need to break them in before hand (a small miracle in my eyes)

I didn’t bring any heels with me and thank god. Flimsy ankles in 6 inch heels on cobblestone streets is just asking for an injury. Truthfully I had issues in my flip flops some nights haha

Electronics:

– iPhone
– iPod
– Headphones
– AUX cable
– Power converter – I brought two and found Croatian outlets used two-prong plugs that were a bit larger than those in Italy and Greece
– Portable power charger – this was so crucial throughout my travels, especially for yacht week. There were only a few power outlets on the boat and we weren’t guaranteed a spot on the riva every night so there were a few days we went without power. When you’re sailing between ports there is electricity if the motor is running, but keep in mind this uses up gas unnecessarily! I ended up buying the RavPower RP-PB07 for $39.99 CAD on Amazon and it lasted me the entire week, granted my phone usage was minimal.
– Camera – I barely used my camera because I brought my phone out with me at night
– Camera Battery Charger
– iPod/iPhone charger

Toiletries:

– Travel toothbrush
– Tooth paste
– 2 hair ties
– Body moisturizer
– Face moisturizer
– Sunscreen – I LOVE Arbonne’s, it’s spf 30 and isn’t greasy like other formulas
– Maui Babe tanning oil – Yes I’m a sun worshipper, but I love this formula because I don’t need to stay in the sun as long and they actual advise you wear sunscreen underneath it!
– Disposable razor – I think I bought 8 of these on the trip because I kept leaving them behind
– 2 Hair brushes – 1 round and 1 flat
– 1 Hair clip
– Shampoo/Conditioner – I have been hoarding those sample shampoo/conditioner combos that come in the mail for YEARS and finally found an occasion to use them
– Nail file
– Nail clippers
– Homemade beach hair spray (I’ll probably post on how to make this later)
– Tide-to-Go stick
– Q-tips
– Cotton pads

*Go out and purchase travel containers from the dollar store, I believe I got a set of 5 bottles for around $2 from Dollarama. It really doesn’t make sense to be carrying around a full sized moisturizer or suntan lotion when you only need a quarter of it!

Makeup:

– Waterproof mascara
– Liquid Eyeliner
– Naked 3 Palette
– MAC eyeshadow in Bronze – it’s been my summer shadow obsession since high school
– Make Up For Ever travel sized makeup remover
– Make Up For Ever green HD primer – so essential in masking redness when you’ve been in the sun a bit too long!
– Anastasia brow palette in Dark Brown
– Brow brush – I’m a Torontonian, we are OBSESSED with eyebrows. No joke. Having a bad brow day is equal, if not worse than a bad hair day
– Bronzer – My favourite is Hula by Benefit because of its matte finish
– Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer in Bisque
– Travel set of makeup brushes
– Nars blush in Orgasm

I am absolutely obsessed with cosmetics and I even impressed myself with how little makeup I brought. Salt water is basically natures magic, it clears up my skin and makes me hair actually behave when air dried. In my opinion, nothing can top the au naturel look of tousled beach hair and a nice healthy glow. Ok so I know tans aren’t really healthy, but can you blame me for wanting to look a little more like Jessica Alba and a little less like Nicole Kidman?

Medicine/First-Aid:

– Tylenol
– Seabands – these are elastics wristbands with a little plastic bead that goes over a pressure point to combat nausea. I wore them the first 4 days, but soon realized I was getting the dreaded “seaband tan” and took them off … I didn’t feel nauseous at all throughout the trip, even after removing the bands, so it’s difficult to say if they worked or not.
– Gravol
– Benadryl
– Imodium
– Tums
– Amoxicillin – I get strep throat a few times a year and actually felt a bit sick before leaving so I got the antibiotics as a precaution
– Polysporin
– Band-Aids – you will need these, be the hero and don’t forget
– Gauze
– Medical Tape

Other:

– Float – I bought 2 donut floats from the Dollarama. If you don’t have room in your pack don’t bother… the Getro just outside of Kastela Marina has a bunch of floats for sale, but they are around $10-15 CAD vs. the $2 I paid.
– Pack Towel – they’re lightweight, dry super quickly, and fold up into nothing
– Nylon bag – from the Dollar store for the beach/groceries
– Neck Pillow – $2 at the dollar store means I didn’t care when the beads exploded everywhere on the train to Florence haha (though my friend wasn’t pleased when we kept finding them in his hair)

Whew! Are you still reading? If you are, you’re a fantastic human being. I know that was a ridiculous amount of information, but I swear I’m just trying to be thorough. I had the hardest time finding a blog with a specific list of items to bring so if there are any other (mildly?) neurotic people out there planning for TYW I hope I was of some assistance.

My last tip is from my superwoman of a Mom …

Being the genius that she is, she suggested that I before I packed my bag I lay out all the clothes I was bringing and take a picture on my phone. This way I’d have something to refer back to when trying to make outfits instead of having to rip apart my suitcase yet again. It also helped me keep inventory of my clothes and make sure nothing was missing when I was moving from place to place. I literally have no idea what I would do without her.

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The Yacht Week: Introduction, Booking, Getting There, and Check-In

My trip of a lifetime started out in Croatia! Our YW preparations started months ago when two of my girlfriends decided to rally some of us together for a graduation/Eurotrip. Most people thought that we were nuts when we said we had booked a yacht. There’s a stigma attached to YW that makes most people think it’s super expensive and unattainable, when in reality if you plan it out it costs just slightly more than a really nice all-inclusive in the Caribbean.

Booking the yacht itself was very simple – we simply had to log onto TYW website and chose the number of people sailing with us (not including our skipper – more on this later) and the website listed off the yachts that could accommodate our party.As of right now our crew is actually the background movie playing on the bookings site! I even have a quick headshot in there:)

One thing that could throw some people off is that they ask for the exact number of girls & boys that will be on the yacht (no doubt to ensure fairly even gender ratios for that week). When choosing the yacht, there is a percentage directly beside the model year that shows the percentage of females that must be on the yacht for you to be able to book. From experience going over this ratio is encouraged – being the only all girl boat (that I knew of) on our week was a TON of fun. We were immediately coined the ‘Toronto Girls or Canadian Girls’ and were known for hosting a few too many APs on our boat.

Depending on which week you plan on travelling you follow a different payment schedule (all of them include 3 instalments) – the first two are usually around the same amount (30% of the total cost) and the last is the largest (40%). We opted to purchase TYW bracelets which grant you entry to all TYW parties – I STRONGLY encourage this as TYW puts on some of the best parties I’ve ever been to, especially at Fort George in Vis and Carpe Diem and Carpe Diem Beach in Hvar. You also need to budget in money for a skipper, unless you are particularly skilled at driving large yachts, and even then I recommend hiring a skipper – who wants to be worried about steering when you could be funnelling beers? Our skipper was an absolute godsend – I have no idea how he dealt with 11 girls for a week without loosing his mind, but we absolutely adored and appreciated him for it. Skippers also know all the best places to eat on the islands, bays to swim in, and they party the hardest – you don’t survive a summer of yacht week without being able to out-drink the average 20-something. That last reason alone is enough to befriend your skipper – ours brought us a funnel, something that I had originally wanted to bring but had no room to pack – yes, he is actually the best skipper in existence.

Looking for a taxi outside of the Split airport

Three of the four Ninja Turtles looking for a taxi outside of the Split airport

If you choose to sail in Croatia you will be leaving from a marina near Split, a city situated right on the Dalmatian coast. I chose to fly through Rome in order to reach Split airport, but I know that it’s possible to fly through other large European airports such as Frankfurt and Munich, it all really depends on your budget and timeline. I arrived with 3 of my girlfriends the night before (Friday, August 22nd) and would definitely recommend this as the day of is very hectic with grocery shopping and check in.

We easily found a cab that took us from the airport into our hostel in town where we met the rest of the girls. If you’re travelling to Split and need a hostel stay at Grand Hostel LerO. The owners were SO incredibly friendly and helpful – they actually greeted us with their garden grown watermelon and grapes alongside a platter of figs that I still dream of to this day. In addition to feeding us an assortment of mouth-watering fruit, they insisted on us drinking some of their homemade grappa. Coming from an area that is largely Italian back home, I was initially horrified as my first memory of grappa was quickly taking a few too many shots before a friend’s 17th birthday in a moment of sober desperation. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the fruity taste when I tried it with the girls at 11am (yes 11am, I was on vacation and it was considered celebratory – no judgment). The owners also helped to set us up with a shuttle to the marina in the morning (I told you they were the best) for around 10 EUR each.

All of us waiting outside the hostel - yes, that's me fixing my bralette.

All of us waiting outside the hostel for our shuttle – yes, that’s me fixing my bra, clearly not ready to be photographed.

There are a few different marinas in Split so make sure you check your itinerary on TYW booking to see which one you leave from. We were assigned to leave from Kastela Marina, which was around a 20-minute ride from central Split. These 20 minutes flew by thanks to our shuttle driver who was absolutely hilarious – he was an actor and actually sang to us the entire way while playing his Ukulele. If that’s not talent I’m not sure what is.

Waiting what seemed like eternity to board our yacht.

Waiting what seemed like eternity to board our yacht.

Once we arrived at Kastela we met a few of the crew members who handled the whole check-in process. Since our party was arriving at different times from the hostel (the shuttle couldn’t carry all of us at once) we decided to wait to check-in later and went grocery shopping! The closest grocery store to Kastela Marina is a Getro that is literally a 5-minute walk up the road – if you’re coming in from Split you’ll pass it on the way. The only unfortunate thing is that travelling back with groceries isn’t as easy – we had to take a cab that cost us 100 Kuna (I think it was equivalent to around $20CAD), which was obviously a complete rip off, but it was way too difficult to carry 4 jugs of water and all our groceries back. I’d say grocery prices at the Getro were comparable to those in Canada; they also had a small shop outside that had towels, water shoes, and floaties. If you’re going to buy something there buy water shoes! I think they were around 50 Kuna, but were completely worth it. I was very thankful I bought them when I climbed the Green Caves as the rocks heading up are extremely sharp (I also lost a chunk of my shin this day) and when I had to shower in some fairly gross public stalls. Buy floats if you can as well; they’re a lot of fun during the circle party that happens later in the week! Getro had a decent selection of produce, non-perishables, and most importantly – alcohol. If you’re lazy there was a small convenience store at the marina, but they jacked up the price of pretty much everything by 20-50 Kuna.

Now onto groceries – we just bought the essentials because we really didn’t plan on cooking all day. Here is our basic list:

1) Water (Buy double what you think you need – I would buy my own large bottle every time we docked because the thought of being hungover and dehydrated in the middle of the ocean was my absolute nightmare)

2) Pasta

3) Tomato sauce  – Be careful you aren’t buying the red pepper sauce – we, along with a bunch of crews made this mistake… luckily it tasted good as a sandwich condiment

4) Fruit – we bought peaches, apples, bananas and plums … it made an excellent breakfast/mid-day snack

5) Vegetables – avocados (we were craving some guac), onions, garlic, tomatoes, lettuce

6) Bread

7) Chips – Europeans seem to love their Pringles and so did we! We also bought some tortilla chips for our guac day

8) Peanut butter

9) Peanuts

10) Chase – Redbull, OJ, and Coke were necessary

11) Alcohol – buy a variety, I can tell you from experience you aren’t going to be able to drink the same thing for 7 days and nights straight. I ended up alternating between Somersby, Red Wine, Vodka, and Beer

12) Lunch meats – Sandwiches are generally a crowd-pleaser and make the best lunches when you’re sailing between ports

13) Olive oil

14) Balsamic vinegar

15) Plastic cups/paper plates – no one wants to do millions of dishes

16) Garbage bags (big ones) – So incredibly necessary for clean ups after parties

17) Salt and pepper

18) Shampoo/Conditioner/Body Wash – the majority of our showers happened off the back of our boat and in the ocean, so if you’re a princess this may not be the trip for you (think camping on a boat)

19) Toilet paper

20) Paper towels

This was just our first grocery trip, we ended up purchasing more food at each port depending on what we needed. Whenever we stopped on an island we found it easy enough to find a market so there is no need to buy supplies for the entire week – you don’t have enough room to store it all anyways!

We ended up boarding our yacht around 5PM which we initially weren’t very happy about, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. There was a huge thunderstorm (something VERY uncharacteristic of Croatia in the summer) that we would have been sailing though if we had made it on earlier. There were only two yachts that left before the storm and passengers on both boats said they thought they weren’t going to make it!

I hope I gave you guys a little insight into what to expect before getting onto your yacht – if you have any questions I’d be happy to answer them :) My next few posts are going to focus mainly on what we did on each island and little tips on making the most out of the best week of your life!

xx R