Tag Archives: sea

Stowaways on a Greek Sailing Adventure

When our friends Audrey and Ryan told us that they had plans to take four months off work, buy a catamaran and sail around the Greek Islands we were amazed. When they invited us to share part of their journey we knew we would have to get ourselves to Greece no matter what.

Getting to Greece from Albania was harder than we imagined. I won’t go into all the details as it would probably take up three blog posts. Let’s just say, our border crossing involved:

1) a post-it with the words “please take us to the border” written in Albanian by our hostel owner,
2) nervously hitching a ride with a harmless but scary looking man in an old beat-up car,
3) almost being deported when the Greek border police miscalculated our time already spent in the Schengen area
4) and a 110 euro cab ride.

But somehow we made it to the island of Lefkada (Lefkas), only a couple of hours late and a bit shaky, where Audrey and Ryan were waiting for us with chilled beers and big smiles.

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The catamaran, Sibia AKA Salty Sea Dog, was fantastic. Audrey and Ryan bought it fully furnished from a Slovenian family who lived on it for years.

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It was surprisingly spacious. Adam and I had one of the four small but very cosy cabins to ourselves which made us feel at home -even if it was only temporary.

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That first night we explored the old town which was beautiful at night and caught up on each other’s adventures. We were so stoked to be with friends finally after 6 months of it just being the two of us. Audrey and Ryan were wonderful hosts making everything so easy for us and explaining the sailing plan for the week ahead. The idea was to head to Paxos for a few days before moving on to Corfu for another few days and then doubling back to Lefkada where we would have to say goodbye. I liked the sound of not packing too many places into our short time -it meant that we could relax into the Greek sailing way of life.

The only thing that made us a little nervous is the fact that Adam gets terrible motion sickness. We had stocked up on sea-sickness tablets in Albania but we weren’t sure how he would go for 10 days spending most of his time on the water.

The first day we were up early and sailed to the small bay, Monganissi. The weather started out quite overcast in the morning and the wind was quite low meaning that we had to motor most of the way. But once it picked up Audrey and Ryan got out the spinnaker and we had fun putting it up and using it to catch the light wind.

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Adam was doing okay with his sea-sickness and when we got to Monganissi we celebrated with an afternoon swim and some cold beers.

Lakka was our destination the next day. My god what a beautiful part of the world – the colour of the water blew us away.

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The place was swarming with mono-hulls parked up in the bay but because we were in a catamaran we glided past and tied ourselves to a small jetty in a shallower and less busy area.

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Adam and I were starting to learn the ropes a little and were able to help out in small ways which was both satisfying and fun.

The weather was absolutely crazy the next day on our way to Corfu.

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The wind had picked up and we were watching storms form on the mainland. The others were busy putting up the sails to make the most of wind and we were flying along when I saw something weird happening to the clouds in the storm. It looked like it was forming a tornado or something. I ran to the back of the boats and pointed it out to the others and by that time it had connected with the water and was a full blown water spout. We couldn’t believe our eyes, I think Adam and I would have felt more nervous if Ryan hadn’t started laughing (nervously -he told us later) and if Audrey’s first reaction wasn’t to run and grab the camera. I joined in and we felt like storm chasers.

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We were scared for the boats that were really close to it but after about 15 minutes it disappeared into thin air. Lucky I have the photos to prove it existed. After that, the weather gave us a miraculous break for a couple of hours. So we stopped up at a beautiful anchorage in the middle of the ocean called Ak Levkimmis for a couple of hours and swam and ate fresh salad for lunch before heading on. The photos do not do the water clarity justice.

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We anchored at Petriti that night and a couple of giant storms hit pushing some of the other boats around the bay. None of us got much sleep that night except for Adam who woke up puzzled at the wet deck asking if it had rained – he’d slept through the whole thing.

Our first three days on the boat were magic with virtually no sea-sickness on Adam’s behalf. It was easy to see how this lifestyle could become addictive. It was fascinating to watch Audrey and Ryan sailing the boat, working together like a well-oiled machine.

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We were also struck by how self-sufficient they were. Apart from needing to fuel up and refill water storage they had everything they needed right there on the catamaran. Needless to say, we were about 2 days in when Adam floated the idea that we might one day buy a boat and do the same thing. Tempting, very tempting.

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The Lycian Way – Part Three

Whilst we were walking the Lycian Way we couldn’t help but compare it to our experience on the Camino de Santiago. The two walks couldn’t be more different despite the fact that they are both cross country expeditions through small (and larger) towns.

The Lycian way seemed to be easier on your feet because the terrain is much more varied, with lots of walking done on softer ground than the Camino. However our joints seemed to be suffering more under the weight of our packs and ibuprofen has been vital for reducing my ever-swelling knees and ankles.

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Also, the distances covered aren’t really something that anyone takes any notice of. On the Camino it was all about how many kilometres you would walk in a day. On this walk it seems to be in hours and minutes. Sometimes the smallest distance can take you the longest because of the terrain you are walking on.

Then there is the accommodation. Whilst you can camp on the Camino, not many people do as the albergue accommodation is so well set-up for the walk. On the Lycian Way, we have been camping the majority of the time so we don’t have to worry about making it to the next town. In fact, the better campsites are usually 1 or 2 kms outside of the town.

Day 5

Xanthos to Delikkemer

We woke up feeling rejuvenated and ready to begin hiking again. We planned to camp just outside of the town Akbel so we needed an early start. We left by 8:15AM and made good pace in the morning. This stretch of the walk was particularly interesting as we spent most of it following the aqueduct that used to supply the Lycian civilisation with water. Amazing to think that we were walking along a structure that is almost 2000 years old.

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We arrived at a place called Impinar spring where part of the aqueduct is still in use. It was there that we met a new friend, Jegor from Estonia, and it was also there that we lost the way markers.

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The three of us wandered around a bit lost for a while until we finally found the white and red stripes that show us the way forward.

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We walked almost 10 hours again that day but it didn’t feel as long with Jegor there to chat with. We made it to the Delikkemer aqueduct ruins at 7PM and made camp.

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Adam and I were impressed with Jegor’s one-man set up and the boys discussed cooking equipment while I made the fire. It was so good to have found another amazing campsite with a beautiful view of the green rocky hills that lead down to the Mediterranean Sea.

Day 6

Delikkemer to Patara and a taxi to Kalkan

Adam and I spent four hours the next morning walking with Jegor to Patara ruins and beach.

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The ruins were impressive and a nice place to rest after our brisk morning hike.

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After we’d finished exploring the 2000 year old Lycian capital city and beach, we parted ways with Jegor and caught a taxi up to to the small coastal town of Kalkan, where we were planning to start the next leg of our walk.

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Kalkan was a great stop. The pension was a welcomed change from the tent and the breakfast and views from the terrace were amazing.

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We washed our clothes finally and bought supplies for two more solid days of hiking.

Day 7

Kalkan to (2km before) Gokceoren

This was a long, tough day. We walked another 9 hours and most of it was mountainous.

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We knew we wanted to make it to Kas the next day so it was imperative that we make it as far as we could. The walk was beautiful but isolated.

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We thought we would be able to buy food for the next day on the way but we passed through two towns that seemed to be empty with no shops.

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We walked until we couldn’t walk any further and made camp next to an old ruined farm house.

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The place was beautiful and there was a lot of old dry wood for a fire.

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At first we had found it a little bit daunting camping in the wild, on someone’s property for all we knew but it was beginning to feel more comfortable. The noises we would hear in the dark didn’t bother us as much and we began to appreciate the ‘silence’ of nature.

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Day 8

(2km before) Gokceoren to Kas

Our 8th day broke me, I am sorry to say. It was another crazy-long walk with relentlessly steep climbs up slippery mountains and a hot sun bearing down upon us.

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It had rained on us during the night, but miraculously we both slept well regardless and the tent didn’t fail us. We broke camp very early and realised that we didn’t have anything substantial for breakfast. We hadn’t been able to buy bread the day before – a major issue if we were to last the 9 hours it would take us to walk to Kas. Luckily we had some dried cranberries and hazelnuts to snack on but our stomachs were growling after 20mins of walking.

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When we reached the small town of Gokceoren our relief was massive when a little old Turkish lady ran out of her house and offered us breakfast (for a price, of course). We gratefully accepted and sat down to the most amazing feast of omelet, bread, homemade cheese & strawberry jam, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and honey from the family beehives.

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We ate as much as we could, filled up our water bottles and began our long walk to Kas.

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A highlight of the day was the unexpected ruins of Phellos that sits perched up on a high mountain ridge above the small town of Cukurbag.

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We couldn’t believe that an ancient city once sat on this long forgotten mountain.

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We took a much needed break there and worked ourselves up to begin the last three hours of our journey for the day.

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The last three hours to Kas were hard but the views over the small seaside town were incredible.

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Getting down to Kas involved slowly descending a very steep cliff along narrow hairpins. Rocks covered the precarious path and Adam and I slipped over a couple of times each. My right ankle wasn’t dealing with the jolts and slides well and I was in tears by the time we reached the bottom.

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We decided to stay in Kas for a couple of days to rest my ankle (which seemed to be swelling a lot) and do a bit of touristy sightseeing before we began the next stage of the hike.

We found a gorgeous campground about ten mins outside of town where we pitched our tent and enjoyed the sun and the clear blue sea every day.

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But unfortunately my ankle continued to swell and was quite painful to walk on despite four days of rest.

After much debate, we made the decision finally to leave the next section of the walk for another time in the future.

On the bright side, we got to spend eight days on this amazing hike and we would absolutely recommend hiking the Lycian Way. It was a fantastic way to get to know Turkey and its wonderful people.