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Sailing the Mediterranean for 5 weeks, on a budget

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Want to explore the Mediterranean coastline and love boating but don’t want to break the bank? We spent 5 weeks helping an owner sail his Lagoon 440 Catamaran and it didn’t break the bank! In fact, it basically put our bank accounts on hold! In return for being keen and willing helping hands on board, Moss and I were provided with food and a bed on board during our 5 week Mediterranean adventure.

Sunset on route to Favignana

How we found a boat in the Mediterranean

A few months prior to departing New Zealand, I convinced my partner Moss, to sign up to a boat crew website I had found called findacrew. We were able to link our profiles (as a team) and just over a month before setting off on our travels, were contacted by a New Zealand boat owner who needed help sailing his Lagoon 440 Catamaran on a journey that would take five weeks in the Mediterranean!

So we flew to Athens, caught a bus to Preveza in Greece and spent the next five weeks learning on the go, while sailing to an island in Italy called Sardinia. Yes, believe it or not – I knew zip, zilch, nothing about sailing before reaching Athens.. I just knew an awful lot about powerboats and jet skis!!

 

Five weeks sailing from Greece to Sardinia

When we first arrived at Cleopatra Marina in Greece, the boat was out of the water and in need of preparation. So, thanks to John’s (the owner/skippers) knowledge and patience, he spent the first few days teaching us the basics of sheet, fenders, bow lines etc. It was incredible to watch the boat being transported into the water and our first destination was Paxos!

 

We woke early and began our journey from Greece to Italy at 6am, seeing the sunrise and then launching straight into 3 hour shifts of watch. The best way to describe the situation is that you switch into a different mode. It is almost like a long haul flight where you are conscious of grabbing sleep where possible, even though it may only be midday and you would normally still have a tonne of energy.

We managed to sail for a couple of hours but the wind was often from slightly the wrong angle or just not quite strong enough. However, by the time Moss and I took over watch at 3am the wind had picked up drastically and those waves were nerve racking! The combination of a pitch dark night, sailing along at 7 knots and seeing weird red lights flashing on the horizon certainly got my adrenaline pumping! There is also difference between actual wind and true wind. At some stages we were reaching an actual wind of 27 knots.. and for the sake of not terrifying mum, I’m not going to say what the true wind was and what the swell was like!

After crossing the time line, and about 28 hours later, we had travelled about 190 Nortial Miles and arrived in Roccella Ionica to find a Russian replica of a Viking boat that was being sailed around the world! From there, our journey continued and we even enjoyed a few days exploring Siracusa, Sicily.

We had already had a long day when we arrived in a harbour where we came across what appeared to be abandoned boats from Tunisia in Sicily. Our yachting book gave specific instructions of where we were allowed to anchor for free overnight so we settled in and put the tender in the water to get a closer look at the boats shown above. Seeing the half sunken boat should have rung the alarm bells of the corruption in this harbour! Within an hour we had survived a long argument with the local coastguard (we now call them the Mafia) in very broken English over them wanting to fine us 2000 euro for anchoring in their marina without paying first. Lets just say, we left as quick as we could, motored throughout the night and never paid the fine!

At 5am the following morning, we arrived in Favignana. By this stage we were all dying to step foot off the boat and relax for a day. So Moss went freediving, we explored the amazing little town and walked to the castle on top of the hill in time to see the sunset.

Favignana castle

The next day it was time to do the final long haul journey, so we began the 23 hour flat calm cruise to Sardinia where the ocean was a surprising 5 degrees warmer! We spent a few days in Sardinia, and since we had reached our destination earlier than anticipated, John treated us with a visit to Bonifacio in Corsica, France.

Bonafacio

Bonifacio in Corsica, France

Island near Sardinia

An island near Sardinia

Sardinia

Cala Ganone, Sardinia

 

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Tina

    May 28, 2015 at 1:41 PM

    That was definitely an adventure. Wish I could experience the same. 🙂

  2. noel

    June 22, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    What an amazing experience and exploring these islands by sailing – I’d love to do this type of experience some day

  3. Selma

    June 30, 2015 at 3:57 AM

    Awesome to hear that this adventure is accessible to budget travelers … the Mediterranean is an amazing to do this as well!

  4. Rahul Roy

    September 5, 2015 at 5:43 PM

    Great idea to Sailing the Mediterranean with in a budget

  5. Geani

    October 16, 2015 at 7:33 AM

    Wow, that was a great adventure. You enjoyed the travel and didn´t spend money. That´s a perfect combination.

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Adventure Travel

Five Steps for Stress-Free Travel

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Many people travel to get away from the stresses of daily life. Vacation is often associated with relaxation and a lack of worries. However, many travelers still find themselves stressing over little things while on the road. Fortunately, some efforts can be taken before a vacation to help reduce these worries. Here are five steps to take before traveling to help reduce stress while abroad.

Research Your Destination

Traveling to a foreign country can be a daunting experience. Foreign languages and other cultural barriers can make it difficult to function during the trip. Even though smartphones make it possible to overcome many of these obstacles within a few minutes, it is still critical to research destinations before visiting. Even the smallest bit of research can help to make the trip much smoother and stress-free. While there are endless topics that can be learned before traveling abroad, there are a few key pieces to keep in mind. All travelers should have a general idea about local transportation, cultural customs, and language before visiting a new location. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to have a sense of the general state of cybersecurity in that part of the world, in order to reduce the chances of a security breach of your laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

Purchase Renters Insurance

When traveling abroad for a trip, there is already enough to worry about on the road. In order to have a stress-free vacation, travelers need to take care of any potential problems at home. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by protecting a house or apartment with insurance. Although a robbery or natural disaster may occur during vacation, travelers can rest assured that insurance will cover the losses. Travelers can research renters insurance online to see what kind of options are available.

Organizing Travel Documents

Seeing vacation pictures on Instagram and watching the Travel Channel can lead many people with an idealistic picture of traveling. While travel is still an amazing experience, it requires a lot more red-tape and formalities than most people think. Many countries require foreign visitors to have visas before visiting. These visas can only be obtained upon request and after showing the appropriate documentation. Even when traveling in countries without visa requirements, it is important to carry some important documents. Some of these include a passport copy, flight details, hotel reservations and more.

Budget Beforehand

There is nothing worse than returning home after a vacation with less money than you had expected. This is often a result of poor, or a complete lack of, budgeting. Some travelers make the mistake of assuming that budgeting can take place on a daily basis. In reality, it is much more effective to budget before traveling to a destination. Tourists should calculate the total cost of a trip by adding up transportation, accommodation, food and activity expenses. This budgeting will help travelers save money in the long-run and can help remove any stress associated with potentially over-spending.

Buy a Local SIM Card

People rely heavily on their smartphones to get through daily life. With accurate information just a few taps away, there is no wonder that these devices have become some of the most popular gadgets in the 21st century. People run into a problem when traveling abroad as their phones don’t have data abroad. Ironically, traveling to a foreign country is one of the most crucial times to have a smartphone for maps and other helpful information. Instead of searching desperately for wifi, tourists should buy local SIM cards to activate their phones. This will make it much easier to find directions, translate foreign languages and calculate conversion rates.

Stress-free travel is something that needs to be prepared beforehand. These five steps can help to ensure that your next vacation is as worry-free and relaxing as can be.

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Adventure Travel

Seven Destinations You Should Visit With Your Spouse

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When you’re traveling as a couple, finding the perfect romantic destination is essential. What could be better than spending quality time together, just the two of you, in one of the most beautiful places in the world?

Here, we bring you 7 destinations that you absolutely must visit with your significant other. Whether you love relaxing on golden sand beaches, enjoy exploring amazing sights or discovering culture and heritage, there’s sure to be a destination here that appeals to you and your spouse.

1.New York City, USA

So good they named it twice, New York New York is one of the ultimate destinations for lovers. What could be more special than standing at the top of the Empire State Building together, admiring the panoramic views? Whether you’re fans of history, culture or theater, you’ll find something in the Big Apple for you. Take in  Broadway show, discover world-class museums and then take a romantic carriage ride around Central Park. If you’ve got time, there’s always the famous Katz Deli where you can recreate the iconic “I’ll Have What She’s Having” scene from When Harry Met Sally!

2.Paris, France

One of the most romantic cities in the entire world, Paris is an absolute must for lovers everywhere. Strolling hand in hand in Montmartre, kissing on top of the Eiffel Tower and looking into each other’s eyes over a meal in an intimate pavement café, what could be better than that? A dinner cruise on the Seine, watching the lights of the city twinkling on the water is the perfect way to end a perfect day in the City of Love.

3.Honolulu, Hawaii

If your idea of indulgent pleasure is lying on an endless golden sand beach and listening to the sound of the waves lapping on the shore, Honolulu is the place to go. Luxurious hotels and outstanding service paired with gorgeous surroundings and amazing weather – it all adds up to a fantastic couples’ break.

4.The Maldives

If you dream of having endless time with your loved one in an exotic destination unlike any other, The Maldives is the ideal vacation spot for you. Gorgeous beaches and clear water make for a wonderful spot, whether you love relaxation or water activities. If you and your spouse are keen divers, this is a destination beyond compare. There are many wonderful dive sites here where you can get up close to colorful marine life and explore the world under the sea. You can even make planning for your trip a romantic couples’ activity! Spend time together browsing online and get details from Scubalist.Pro of all the best diving items on the market.

5.Venice, Italy

After Paris, Venice must be one of the most romantic spots on the planet. With its unique canals and gorgeous buildings, Italy’s city of love presents a world of opportunities to spend quality time with your spouse. Ride in a gondola together as the sun sets, enjoy a romantic meal by the canal side, or explore stunning ancient buildings in an amazing setting. It’s a vacation you’ll never forget.

6.Santorini, Greece

Greece has it all – a wonderful climate, welcoming people, amazing food and gorgeous surroundings. Santorini is one of the most beautiful and unique Greek islands. With its iconic white and blue buildings and black volcanic sand, it is a truly stunning place to explore with your other half. You can dine on traditional cuisine at an authentic taverna, stroll through rustic villages and simply soak in the sunshine together.

7.Blue Lagoon, Iceland

A surprisingly popular destination with couples, Iceland offers something truly unique to partners who prefer to stay out of the sun. With its spectacular landscapes, beautiful natural attractions and welcoming locals, Iceland is a destination for lovers. Also, what could be more romantic than snuggling up together on a cold winter’s night? The Blue Lagoon’s stunning blue geothermal spa waters are the ideal way to spend time together in this one-of-a-kind destination.

These are just seven of the best destinations in the world for lovers to get closer together and enjoy themselves in their own special way. Whether you love sun, relaxation or activity, one of these seven spots is sure to give you the romance you’ve been searching for.

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Adventure Travel

5 Tips to Avoid Conflicts During a Big Vacation

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No matter, if you are with family or friends, traveling with a big vacation party almost always, seems to be nothing short of a grueling experience.

Whether you are going through some well-planned and scenic Uganda tours or a culturally rich expedition through Europe, if there are more than 4 people in your traveling party, then the possibility of arising conflicts would certainly be be present.

Most people, when assembled to spend extensive periods of time together, seem to run on high emotions. While that phenomenon is most apparent in reality TV shows, a vacation is not immune to its effects either.

That is why, whenever you plan a big vacation, keep the following tips in mind in order to get the most of your traveling experience while also making sure that your traveling party is not getting at each other’s nerves.

Discuss Itineraries Before Finalizing Them

Itineraries are a touchy subject. While traveling in groups, one of the biggest pet peeves often noticed by people is how a single person hijacks their whole vacation by presenting their own itineraries. On the other hand, if no one discusses itineraries, then it leaves room for all kinds of scheduling disasters to take place.

Therefore, the best approach here is to not just let a single person print out a set of schedule for everyone, but rather to discuss the itinerary with the whole group. Take suggestions and incorporate them wherever you could, and ensure that everyone is agreed on the final itinerary.

Leave Room for Disaster Management

While fixing those itineraries, you will also need to make sure that while your schedule makes the most out of your vacation, it does have wiggle room for times when your car breaks down or when one of your travel companions has a wardrobe emergency.

By ensuring that you have a great schedule as a guideline but which has flexibility for disaster management, you can make sure to maintain the stress levels of your travel party accordingly.

Ensure That You Have Activities Planned for Downtime

Even during great vacations, there may come a time when you would find yourself stuck in your hotel room due to a last minute cancellation of your plans for any unforeseen reason.

For those times of collective confinement, ensure that you have a few indoor activities planned with your travel party. If possible, pack a deck of cards to play some poker or ensure that you have electronic group entertainment with you.

By making sure that you keep your travel group busy even during times when you are not out exploring, you can keep emotions from running high by someone delving into overthinking someone else’s behavior on the trip, which could lead to some interesting but quite unfortunate arguments.

Make Sure That You Have Some Gastronomic Pleasures Planned

During travels, one of the things that could irk people the most is them missing wholesome meals back home. This is a major stress factor that many travelers often ignore until it affects their mood to the level where it leads to testy behavior for no apparent reason.

Thus, ensure that wherever you are traveling, you are aware of the food customs of your destination. You may ask locals about where you could get a good bite to eat, while also packing some healthy travel snacks so that no one in your party goes hungry.

Ensure to At Least Listen to Other’s Suggestions, No Matter If They Are Last Minute

One of the best things that you could do while traveling in a group is to make sure that everyone feels included. Instead of pushing opinions down other’s throats, ensure that everyone in the group is open for discussion and last minute ideas from everyone else.

While not all ideas are great and some may need to be turned down, this will make sure that none of your group members feel like they are on someone else’s vacation. You can also introduce a casual voting system of your own where all of you could vote on certain suggestions so that the majority wins on a travel option fair and square.

Ensure to Stick Together In Order to Avoid Disasters

Vacation disasters are quite common. While they make for interesting stories a few years after, going through those experiences could be quite daunting.

Remember, looking out for each other goes a long way especially when you are traveling. Keep that in mind the next time you are about to snap at your travel companion (and tell your companions the same thing, but in a nice tone, you know, to avoid conflict).

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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