A yacht conjures ideas of billionaires in the south of France sipping on the finest champagne while being waited on hand and foot. But why should this level of luxury be limited? Not having come up trumps on the EuroMillions I wondered whether I would ever have that opportunity – but as luck would have it, last week I stepped aboard our very own private yacht in Alicante for an afternoon of indulgence with family and friends. The Alma – rather like pets, all boats have names too, lives in Alicante harbour and is moored virtually in front of the Casino Mediterraneo.
The Alma - moored in Alicante
We drove down to Alicante all excited, looking forward to experiencing how the other half live, albeit only for an afternoon. My only worry was that my daughter would become a little too comfortable and decide that this was the way of the future! We were met by the skipper on the quayside and walked down to the Alma, passing other boats and yachts of varying sizes. Everyone was so friendly, waving and raising their glasses – the boating fraternity are certainly a very welcoming bunch I decided.
Crystal waters of the Med
We stepped on board and quickly settled into the plush cream leather seating with a glass of champagne, where we listened to a safety drill – rather like on an aeroplane, before setting off. Never having been on one I listened intently, reassured to hear that she was fully registered and insured, that there were 18 lifejackets between 10 of us - no I haven´t got the numbers the wrong way around, extinguishers, flareguns and two first aid kits onboard... not forgetting the 2 lifeboats as well - more equipment than the titanic I think! You would think we were off across the Atlantic rather than a few leisurely hours cruising the smooth crystal waters of the Med! As we slowly made our way out of the harbour, people walking along the promenade waved to us – I felt like the queen as I flashed a smile and waved back. I was already mentally trying to pick the correct 5 lottery numbers in the hope that this would become the norm...
The Alma is like a home from home – she has a fully equipped galley (aka kitchen, but Im trying to use the correct nautical terms), two en-suite bedrooms and a light and airy lounge area. There are 3 separate outside areas to sit and relax in – at the back, up on the fly deck with the skipper or lounging at the front. You get a spectacular view of Alicante from a totally different perspective – and as we sailed out to sea the people on the beach and castle overlooking Alicante got smaller and smaller. We had the choice of how to spend the next few hours. Did we want to be energetic and hop on the jet ski, dive into the sea and snorkel – equipment provided, cast a line and catch dinner – apparently the week before someone had caught a tuna fish, which you can take back with you, sit astride the donut or climb into the motorized zodiac!
Head to Tabarca Island
Obviously we decided to just sunbathe with drink in hand as we couldn´t make a decision.... All drinks were supplied and you could help yourself, which I took full advantage of having allocated my husband as the driver to get us back home after - silly not to as he doesn´t really drink. However, private transfers can be arranged to and from the Alma from anywhere in the area enabling everyone in the party to take full advantage of the "all inclusive" drinks! They often head to Tabarca Island, which takes a little over an hour and anchor down, then take to the motorized zodiac to get to the island itself, as the waters are too shallow for the yacht. You can then explore at leisure, spending as much or as little time as you want there. The island has been declared a nature reserve and it is a great place to go snorkeling by all accounts – maybe next time.
Like being on Howards Way!
We enjoyed a delicious buffet lunch onboard with a selection of ham, cheese, meat and salads – all from china plates and proper knives and forks, not plastic picnic ones I was glad to see. It was a fantastic and memorable afternoon, which is thoroughly recommended – contact www.alicantecharterexperience.com if you would like to share the same experience. It is certainly a wonderful memory to look back on – I would never have imagined when I use to watch Howards Way some 25 years ago, that it would even have been feasible to charter your own motor yacht without taking out a mortgage!