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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

 

Since May 2014, Rebecca has been wearing out her jandals. She loves anything that involves the ocean whether it be scuba diving, wakeboarding, jet skiing or more recently - sailing! Consider following her via RSS Feed, Twitter and Facebook.

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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

Most Underrated Travel Destinations

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Everyone knows about Paris and Rome and London but there are so many other beautiful travel destinations that are amazingly underrated and they are cities on our list to visit again once the Coronavirus allows. The fact that so many beautiful countries go unexplored by travelers is a tragedy and we want to change that after Coronavirus. Not only because so many people are missing out on rich cultures and picturesque views, but also because a lot of these destinations tend to be a lot cheaper to travel to than popular cities. 

But what a lot of people don’t know is that there are gorgeous, underrated foreign cities one can visit for a fraction of the price of touristy European cities. Forbes recently published a collection of the ten most underrated destinations you should consider visiting. 

Here are a few of them to learn about while stuck at home due to Coronavirus:

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is known for its magnificent sights of Mount Ararat, historical monasteries, and its many striking temple ruins. Armenian cuisine is other worldly with classic dishes like rabbit stew, sautéed eggplant rolls, and lamb tartare. 

Telč, Czechia

Telč is a colorful town with Italian influences in Czechia. It boasts of Baroque-Renaissance architecture and has a castle of its own with exciting tunnels and passageways that you can explore underneath the town.

Santiago, Chile

Santiago is the capital of Chile and features gorgeous architecture from the neoclassical era. There are towering cathedrals and, of course, plenty of quality Chilean wine. Plus, the city of Santiago is a great place to kick off your exploration of Chile’s wine country. 

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Rotterdam is often ignored due to the popular neighboring city of Amsterdam, but it is a bastion of underground music and street art. The architecture is strikingly modern since the city was heavily bombed during World War II and thus had to be rebuilt from the ground up. The city is filled to the brim with amazing cuisine and museums.

Lagos, Nigeria

If you are looking for a big city destination, Lagos is a metropolis that has plenty to see and do so that you’ll never be bored. And whenever you need a break from the urban marketplaces, private beaches are just a short drive away.

Con Dao, Vietnam

Con Dao is a Southeast Asian island that makes an excellent beach destination with two resorts and tons of fascinating history. Once host to a brutal French prison, the island is also home to the tomb of the Vietnamese martyr Vo Thi Sau. 

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

This is one of the oldest cities in Uruguay dating back to the 17th century. The city has a vibrantly decorated historic quarter and a three-century-old convent. It’s also only a short trip away from the bigger city of Montevideo.

A majority of Americans, when asked about traveling abroad, will likely shake their head and say they can’t afford such trips. Many people deal with multiple monthly bills, such as mortgage or rent, student loans, and title loans, which are all stress inducing. 

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Adventure Travel

3 Tips For A Luxury Camping Experience

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If you are used to travelling in style and staying in high end hotels, camping is probably your idea of hell. Why would you spend a week sitting in a freezing cold tent, hiding from the rain when you could be relaxing around the pool in a nice hotel? But camping gives you a completely different travel experience and if you do it right, it can be very rewarding. If you invest in the right equipment, you can enjoy all of the good things about camping without any of the downsides. If you follow these simple tips, you will have a comfortable experience and fall in love with camping.

Image From Pixabay CCO License

Buy The Right Tent

The tent is the most important thing if you want a comfortable camping experience. All of those horror stories you hear about leaking tents only happen because people buy cheap tents. If you invest in a good quality tent, it should hold up to the weather and keep you dry and warm.

When you are buying a tent, you need to check the hydrostatic head rating. This gives you an indication of how much rain the tent can stand up to before leaking. The higher the rating, the less likely your tent is to leak. It is also important to consider the size of the tent and how easy it is to put up, especially if you are planning a road trip. You need to make sure that it fits into the car easily, and you also want to avoid anything that is too complicated to put up. However, be careful with pop-up tents because most of them will not stand up to the rain.

If you want the ultimate comfortable camping experience, you should consider a camper trailer instead. There are some great camper trailers that come with all of the same facilities that you would find in a basic hotel, so you can camp in comfort. If you really hate the idea of camping, this is the best option.

Get A Good Quality Sleeping Bag

If you are worried about being freezing cold at night while you are camping, you need to get a good quality sleeping bag. A cheap one will not be comfortable and it won’t keep you warm, so you need to make sure that you buy a good thermal one. Sleeping directly on the floor will be uncomfortable as well, so you should invest in a sleeping mat as well. If you are willing to spend a little more on good sleeping equipment, you will be nice and comfortable while camping.

Pack Good Food

The food is another big issue for people when they go camping, but there is no need to live on beans all week. You can get some great dehydrated camping food packs so, as long as you take a small camping stove, you can still eat proper meals. If you pack a coolbox and freeze some food before you go, it should last a while so you can have barbecues as well. As long as you plan ahead, there’s no reason why you can’t eat well while you are camping.

Camping doesn’t have to be the nightmare experience that you think it does. If you follow these simple tips, you can have a luxury camping experience and enjoy all of the benefits of the great outdoors.

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Adventure Travel

Tips for Planning Your Uluru Tour

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Located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the magnificent sandstone of Ayers Rock or Uluru stands tall at 1,142 feet above ground. The natural formation is widely known for being one of the most sacred places to the indigineous peoples in Australia. At the same time, it is also popular for attracting tourists from all over the world to the land down under.

If you want to visit Uluru in order to pay tribute to this wonder of nature, then doing so through the right tour is in your best interest. It’s not only because Uluru is located at least a few hours from civilization, but it also because such a tour allows you to enjoy the picturesque sights that come along the way within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

So what sights are there to see along the way and what other general tours suggestions you should keep in mind while visiting Uluru? To help you answer these and some other important questions, here are 5 top tips to keep in mind while visiting Uluru.

Don’t Climb the Monolith

First things first, while it is legal to climb atop Uluru, it is recommended that you do not attempt such an action in order to show your respect to the indigenous peoples.

It is a pretty easy rule to follow when you pay attention to the emotions of the indigenous tribes who have recommended time and again for people to not climb Uluru.

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy the natural beauty that Uluru has to offer. In fact, you are encouraged to visit the sandstone and take in its natural glory by standing right beside the formation. That’s why 4WD tour is highly recommended. The tour guides would be able to tell you what you can and can not do.

Visit During Sunset

Ask anyone who has visited Uluru about the best time to see the formation, and you will instantly get the answer as “sunset.”

It’s because Uluru is not an ordinary monolith, but one that is formed through arkosic sandstone. This allows the rock to actually change its color according to the position of the sun. As a result, you can expect the formation to sport a different color depending upon what time of day you reach it.

At sunset, Uluru projects an amber glow that is surreal to take in, especially when you are seeing the formation in person for the very first time. That’s why, it is recommended that you time your trip in a way that allows you to experience this magnificent sight.

3. Take Your Time to Plan the Trip

Perhaps the best way to visit Uluru is through the nearby town of Alice Springs, which has various amenities and accommodation options for tourists who are making their way to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru can take around 5 hours, which is why it is recommended that you arrive at least a day before you are planning to tour Uluru.

This way, you can reach the national park while feeling fresh and rested. This also gives you time to plan longer trips to the park in order to enjoy all that it has to offer.

4. Take in the Sight of the Rock Art

Uluru is not just a wonder to look at by itself, but it also holds several little pieces of wonderful art within it.

The caves at the bottom of the formation hold several pieces of rock art that can only be found at Uluru. If you love learning about other cultures through their art, then this will be a must visit.

Just make sure that you take the time to learn about this art through a local tour guide or via the information provided within these exhibits. This ensures that you have an immersive and informative experience which you can remember for a long time.

5. Don’t Forget the Natural Attractions Around the Rock

Enjoying the breathtaking sight of Uluru sounds rewarding enough for a trip to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. But it’s not all that you can do during a tour of Uluru.

From seeing the red kangaroos and other marsupials to spending some time with the camels, and from seeing the one of a kind formations of Kata Tjuta to taking a walk by the Valley of the Winds, there’s so much to see and do around Uluru.

That is why, it is recommended that you take your time at the park and put aside at least two days to enjoy all of the unique activities that the area has to offer. It would give you a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life while also allowing you to make the most out of your long journey to the sandstone.

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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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