We woke excitedly at 6am, with cameras charged, lunch packed and our jandals on! Unfortunately we did not have the luxury of a car, so an ARST bus at 6.50am from Orosei town centre to the Sardinia Divers Headquarters 7kms north was our only option. Upon arrival at Sardinia Divers we were welcomed by Chris and his friendly dog (even though we surprised him by turning up 30 minutes early!).
After being kitted out with top quality wetsuits, BC’s (buoyancy compensator) and all the rest of the scuba gear that we hadn’t managed to lug with us from New Zealand, we then piled into their van and headed to Orosei Harbour. We then began to help load the boat and prepare the gear.
Rebecca was eager to prove that she, a girl from New Zealand knew what she was doing and did not need help setting up her gear. But after fumbling with putting the BC over the tank bottle (in what must have looked very awkward) she crumbled to the pressure and just stared blankly at the unfamiliar European style valve of the regulator in her hands. Luckily, one of the crew was quick to see Rebecca’s reaction and show her how regulators work in Europe!
We had only contacted Chris the day before, asking if Sardinia Divers could take us diving. The stars must have aligned and we along with six other divers, four staff, and the boat skipper were on our way out on the short 5min ride in the 10m rib to dive the KT12 Wreck! The KT12 is considered one of the Mediterranean’s best wreck dives, and it did not disappoint! However it is a reasonably deep dive at 30-35m, so divers must have their advanced dive qualification. Sardinia Divers does offer full training to all levels in both PADI and SSI so if you do want to dive the wreck or only have your Open Water cert they can sort you out, and it is definitely worth it.
The visibility was a good 20-25m which meant we could soon spot the wreck as we dropped down from the surface. Cristina was guiding us for the day and had run us through the dive plan on the marina before we started out. We first dropped down onto two large vehicles which are believed to have been cranes used for cargo loading, and then made our way across to the main hull at about the back third and where the bridge is. Cristina pointed out the large anchor that was dropped by a trawler onto the bridge and got caught on it, from here we made our way forward and circumnavigated the wreck.
Chris and Cristina had told us of the sea life we may encounter and straight away we were pointed out large moray eels, Spanish (slipper) lobster, grouper, nudibranch, and various other fish in the wreck’s nooks and crannies. It is hard to describe to someone how spectacular marine environments can be and why you should try and discover this underwater world yourself. Watching the video (click here) is a good start but we encourage you to give it a go yourself.
The KT12 is a reasonably large wreck at 225ft/60m and at a depth of 35m your bottom time is limited, so to cover the full wreck we kept moving pretty quickly. The wreck is famous for it’s main gun, which proudly stands on the aft deck. I of course swam straight over to it and started pretending to fire it, Rebecca could tell this by the stream of bubbles that were coming out as I was obviously making my best underwater gun shooting noises.
The wreck was sunk by an English submarine’s torpedo, when it hit just behind the bow. The bow broke off and sunk immediately whereas the rest of the wreck sunk slower, slipping backwards away from the bow by about 300m. This meant we dived the two separate parts in two dives. With beaming smiles we surfaced from the main hull and headed back into the marina for lunch and refreshments. Cold water and biscuits are provided by Sardinia Divers but there was also a good little beach bar to get coffee and snacks. It’s also great sitting down with like minded divers and talking excitedly about what you just saw or missed and other must do dive locations.
Around midday we were back in the boat, the tanks had been changed for us and we were soon back out ready to dive the bow section. The bow is at 33m and lies on its side, though much smaller it’s still a great dive because its smaller size means the sea life is more concentrated in the one area. Bottom time was less as this was our second dive of the day and as nitrogen builds up in your system you must stay in the no decompression limits time zone.
Swimming out from the front of the bow you get a great view back at the bow wreck and then it was time to ascend. The safety stop went quickly as we spent the time trying to touch the inquisitive fish before surfacing and climbing back into the boat.
We had a great day diving and the team at Sardinia Divers was excellent, they are friendly, knowledgeable and have a real passion for the wreck, while making sure you have a great, safe dive. The only regret I have is that we couldn’t spend more time on the wreck, so if you are in Orosei for a few days or more I would definitely recommend you dive the wreck more than once. Sardinia divers also offers other exciting dives including another WW2 wreck, cave dives, and if you happen to be in Costa Rica visit Chris’s dive shop there to immerse yourself.
Facts and additional information about Sardinia Divers:
- Certified for both PADI and SSI
- Offers all the best dive sights in the Gulf of Orosei, including three WW2 wreck dives, deep dives, walls, shoals and rocks between 40 and 10 meters
- Caters to all level of divers, from beginner to experienced, including mixed gases
- Chris, the owner has spent 12 years in the area as a dive and fishing guide/instructor
- Very high rating and great feedback on Trip advisor
- Have great top quality gear to hire
Disclaimer: We were provided complimentary dives with Sardinia Divers, however, our honest thoughts and awesome experiences are always our own.
Medieval Towns with German Castles Near Munich & Frankfurt
Our favorite castles in Germany near Frankfurt and Munich:
We were crazy enough to visit Neuschwanstein Castle on a public holiday. This meant that along with all the Asian tourists, there were an awful lot of Germans. Plus, even though we arrived by 11 am, the soonest tickets we could buy were for the German tour at 2.30 pm, as the terms in English were sold out until 4 pm. So, if you don’t have German friends at hand to translate the tour for you, we recommend booking in advance online. The castle was impressive, and the time was undoubtedly fascinating! Don’t worry, I won’t spill the beans, but the manmade Grotto room made my jaw drop!
Mespelbrunn Castle is located on a pond between Frankfurt and Wurzburg. Unfortunately, we arrived 30 minutes after its closing time of 5 pm, but it looked cool from behind the fence!
Lichtenstein Castle is located on a clifftop near Stuttgart and costs 6 euros per person for a tour in German; however, they did give us a very informative written guide in English. This castle is small compared to Hohenzollern castle, but its story is fascinating. Tanks shelled it in World War II, and today you can still see the cracked mirror from where a small fragment of a tank grenade ricocheted!
Hohenzollern Castle is not too far from Lichtenstein Castle. It is located on a hilltop near Hechingen, and we enjoyed the guided tour. Along with getting to wear GIANT slippers, make sure you explore the casemates and secret passages. One sign made me want to learn more. It read, “Exactly where these steps lead to is unknown. More casemates and secret passageways are likely waiting to be discovered in the heart of the mountain”!
Heidelberg Castle was a lot larger than we expected! Unfortunately, we had spent far too much time at the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, so we did not have time to explore this castle. But if we get the chance, we will explore the town and its castle next time in Germany.
On our drive from Munich to Frankfurt, we also loved:
The beer garden at Andechs Monastery was just like Oktoberfest but amongst trees and more family-friendly. The beer was cheaper, and the food was great, including the giant pork knuckle, which Moss could not finish. It was also fun walking up multiple flights of stairs to the tower’s very top.
Three hours in Rothenburg was not enough to explore this wonderful medieval town! We recommend getting your hands on a city map from the tourist information office. We enjoyed Roder Gate, walking along the wall and exploring the 17th-century spital bastion, plus Moss lost me in the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop for over half an hour, and I didn’t even buy anything!
The average person would Google Munich to Frankfurt and see that it only takes about 3 ½ hours depending on how fast you wish to drive on the autobahn! However, we are NOT typical. We took one look at train prices and decided that hiring a car wouldn’t cost too much more.
We aren’t going to tell you our exact route. Still, after surviving Oktoberfest in Munich, we did a giant zigzag to see as many castles and medieval towns as possible. So to save you doing so much driving, we have picked our favorite cities and castles. First of all, ‘Ausfahrt’ is not a destination accessible from every off-ramp! It means ‘Exit’! Another word of wisdom to keep in mind is that the autobahns with speed limits do have speed cameras… and the flash is blinding!
Running with the Bulls Video
Our shaky Running with the Bulls Video footage from the Festival de San Fermin in 2012. Experience it first hand in Pamplona. Enjoy.
We recently wrote about our life or death experience of Running with the Bulls this year at the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona. On that run, I carried along with our GoPro video camera and tried to shoot some footage for our running with the video of the bull.
All our travel video shooting techniques went out the window when the bulls’ hooves started to shake the ground beneath our feet.
Once we had lined up for the running with the bulls, there was no escape from it as we were walled in by apartment blocks, shopfront windows, and 3-meter high wooden barriers packed with photographers along the entire length. At one end lay the relative safety of the bull ring pulsating with the cheers of the crowd who were still partying from the night before. Behind me, a dozen wild bulls pawed the stony ground looking for freedom.
Unfortunately, I was standing in their path.
What we ended up with is below. However, I think what we filmed for our running with the bull video captures the chaos, craziness, and complete madness a lot better than if I had stood my ground.
Enjoy it and watch for the guy that nearly gets trampled to death near the beginning!
Running with the Bulls Video
Would you ever consider running with the bulls?
While we are very aware that not all people agree that the San Fermin Festival should be allowed to go ahead mainly due to animal cruelty, we think there are two sides to every story. We wrote a post about the controversy surrounding Bullfighting in Spain and the Festival de San Fermin.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the Festival de San Fermin and whether you would ever consider running with the bulls.
Outdoor Activities in Bangkok – Adventure City Guide
Find out how you can explore the streets, canals and local markets within minutes of Bangkok with our Outdoor Activities in Bangkok Adventure City Guide.
Are you looking for an insider’s adventure travel guide for the best outdoor activities in Bangkok?
Why visit Bangkok for adventure?
Bangkok is one of the world’s largest metropolises and a gateway for most of the world to access the rest of South East Asia. With numbers surpassing 14 million people in the Greater Bangkok Region, this is no small player in the world’s super-cities. Of course, having such a long history with foreign visitors, the city has become incredibly established in the world’s tourist sector.
This has allowed it to grow many facets of adventurous activities – making access to something for everyone!
Outdoor Activities in Bangkok
Exploring the Klongs
Klongs are canals that used to feed the entire city with life-giving water, branched off from the city’s main artery – the Chao Phraya River. Today, the locals wouldn’t drink the water if you paid them, but there is still a fascinating life along the Klongs’ banks. There is so much to explore, from floating markets to old houses on stilts, and it gives insight into this ancient way of life!
What’s it cost, and how to get to the Klongs?
You can usually arrange the Klongs from the pier “Saphan Taksin” along the Chao Phraya River. This is conveniently a stop on the Skytrain, making it very easy to access. Usually, you will be renting the entire boat for the day (about 1000 THB, or USD 35) and not paying a per-person rate. So if you can find a few people to go with, the price will drop significantly per person.
Rickshaw City Tours
If you’ve never been to Asia before, Rickshaws are one of the most fun ways to get around. Although they can often be a little more expensive than metered taxis, you get an experience (and a view) that is unparalleled, especially in the busy streets of Bangkok.
What’s it cost?
Occasionally, you can even haggle a deal for a city tour for next to nothing (50-100 THB or $1.50-3 USD), as long as you visit a couple of affiliated ‘custom suit tailors’ throughout the day, as they’ll get a kickback from the shops just for bringing you there… No purchase is necessary.
You can often find Tuk Tuk drivers willing to do this standing along the perimeter of the Kings’ Palace. It may take a few attempts of asking for a ‘special city tour,’ but you will be bound to find someone ready for a cut of this business.
Local Secret Spot
Though most people wouldn’t consider going to a market an adventure, they probably have never experienced the likes of Chatuchak (also known as JJs). This is one of SE Asia’s LARGEST outdoor markets. It’s so prominent that you can find maps of the market to help navigate. It’s roughly the size of 4 city blocks and is divided into various sections.
You’ll find everything under the sun here, from clothing to handicrafts, food, mobile phones, and even puppies and other cute critters for sale!! It’s bonkers. If it gets too much for you, you can take a break in one of Bangkok’s most famous parks (Chatuchak park), located next to the market.
How to get there?
You can get here via Skytrain (BTS), subway (MRT), taxi, bus, you name it – it’s very accessible! But it’s only open on weekends, from about dawn until 5 or 6 pm at its peak. Some shops stay open longer, but most will be closed by dusk. It’s free entry and a perfect place to buy ANY souvenirs at the end of your time in Thailand.
Suppose you can coordinate to be here on the weekend. I generally hate shopping for ‘stuff,’ but I love this market and its energy!
Best time of the year to visit Bangkok for adventure?
Bangkok is in the tropics and quite close to the Equator. Of course, this means it’s hot on a year-round basis.
It’s considered the rainy season from May to October, though showers can happen at any time of the year. This is generally a less busy time for tourists, though the rains are not quite as bad as expected and often only last 30 mins-1 hour, cooling the city’s heart. Peak season is in December-January when temperatures are at their most astounding ad driest… though it’s still pretty hot!
And if Bangkok isn’t to your taste, the luxury Koh Samui will be. Endless sandy beach, beautiful clear waters, and nightlife that could be lived in forever. The luxury rental properties are stunning, and we recommend Tempston Luxury villa rentals.
Finally, the reason I love Bangkok for adventure is that…
It’s never-ending. This city is SO BIG that you could get lost in a new neighborhood almost every day. Single. Day. And still find new, exciting things to explore. On my list for the upcoming weeks, I’ve got the Scala Cinema, the Thai Air Force Museum, Papaya Vintage Shop, and the Erawan Museum – to name a few. Every time I explore one place, I learn of 3 more!!
From a young age, Ian was always a wanderer. He’s since travelled to all 7 continents, and has spent the majority of his life pursuing this passion. You can follow him in his off-the-beaten-path adventures and discoveries on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and his travel blog Where Sidewalks End.
Have you been to Bangkok? What were your favorite outdoor activities in Bangkok?
Meet Cole and Adela
We 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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