Party

Day 7: Split

Never. Drink. Croatian. Moonshine. If you don’t take any other advice from the TYW Croatia section of my blog, please remember this. I have five years of university parties under my belt and only once have I ever felt as bad as I did that morning, and that happened to be the last night I drank tequila. The only silver lining of the situation was that I wasn’t nauseous, I was just plagued by a skull-splitting headache. Luckily I had also woken up pretty early and was able to down a few bottles of water before really being forced to get up.

By noon all the girls were up and we were cleaning off the deck in preparation for the regatta! We unfortunately still hadn’t learned to put away all of our cups before going to bed so our boat was housing a small army of bees. I actually have a serious bee allergy – the last time I was in Croatia I got stung and my ankle swelled to the size of my thigh and I couldn’t walk for a week – so I spent the greater portion of my morning hiding below deck.

Once the bee infestation was taken care of we changed into our regatta costumes and said goodbye to Hvar! We had been looking forward to the regatta all week – our costumes were pretty great if I do say so myself. In true Canuck fashion we had ordered Canada flag bathing suits and those ridiculous umbrella hats that can be found at Dollaramas around Canada Day. The other boats thought they were hilarious, especially because of our boats “Canadian Girls” nickname that was coined at the beginning of the week.

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The day of the regatta was also my birthday, and there was no better way to completely rid myself of that pesky Croatian Moonshine hangover than to do a birthday funnel as we sailed! The film crews boat was beside us most of the time and later said they were having a hard time getting usable pictures of us because the funnel was in every shot. Ooops.

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James was quite possibly the best skipper on TYW and so naturally we were one of the leading boats in the regatta. We were about halfway to Split when tragedy struck! Ok maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but we realized we were missing the papers we needed to be able to dock at Kastela so we had to turn around and head back to Hvar, forfeiting the race :(. I ended up napping once I heard the bad news and actually slept until we arrived back in Split. Apparently our boat had gone through almost two cases of beer – no regrets during regatta.

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Docking back in Kastela Marina almost seemed surreal – it felt like just yesterday when we had checked-in and packed up the boat to depart on our yacht week adventure. It was really bittersweet. On one hand I was very excited to use the showers at the marina, but on the other I felt as though I would gladly sacrifice the health of my skin, liver, and sanity for another week of fun. I opted out of a fancy birthday dinner in favour of pick-up pizzas and some red wine that could be enjoyed on the boat. We sat and reminisced about the week and all the fun memories we had made before gearing up for our one last hurrah at the Vanilla Club in Split.

We took a bus arranged by TYW into Split and arrived at Vanilla around 11:30pm. The venue was great, it had a massive patio and two large bars. It didn’t actually reach capacity until much later in the night; I imagine a lot of crews were stuck packing up their things in preparation for our early disembarkation the next morning.

If I haven’t mentioned it enough, the music on TYW was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and the DJs really outdid themselves the last night. My favourite of the week by far was Roman Cleiss (Here‘s his Soundcloud), he’s a French DJ who played a lot of Oliver Heldens-esque sets throughout the week. Towards the end of the night TYW set off a huge firework display, whether this was something they did to end every week or just because ours was the last week of the summer, I’m not sure. I of course lost track of time and ended up missing the last bus (it left at 3AM) so I stayed back with one of my friends.

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Saying goodbye to all the friends we had made during the week was really sad – but I’m hopeful that we’ll be seeing each other again next year (I’ve already started tentatively planning my next yacht week)! True to their tagline, it really is nothing like the real world. When you’re on TYW it’s like being in your own little universe full of amazing parties, places, and people. You only really understand how amazing it is after living it – I know it sounds somewhat cult-like, but once you experience it, you’ll understand. Looking back, it still seems surreal and somewhat unexplainable. All I can say is that it was the best week of my life and the perfect way to celebrate my 23rd birthday!

Have any of you been on TYW, something similar, or want to go?? If you have any questions about TYW I’d be happy to answer them :) or what are some of your vacation-of-a-lifetime stories?

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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.

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 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!