How we crossed the Atlantic by hitchhiking a boat part 1: why’s and how’s.

Where did this “boat hitchhiking” idea come from?

 

I -Ania- grew up on the coast of the Baltic Sea and so the water has been the main element in my life. Listening to the seagulls and waves breaking along the shore is a big part of what I recall from my early years and even though I like to explore, I love hiking mountains, being in the forest and in different environments, the sea in me has been always calling. When I was 13 I got my sailing license on the dingy and sailed a little bit with my family. After that, the next 13 years of my life were mostly dedicated to volleyball, physiotherapy and travels. When hitchhiking, Anto and I were often bringing up the idea of hitching sailing boats from island to island but never really put our words into action. Before we even met I managed to go on a private motorboat from Tallin to Helsinki just by asking in the marina for a ride.

We have friends that inspired us with their sea and ocean stories. Thank you: Kiko, Bastien, Seb and Mete, Stefan.

In July we gave ourselves a try, thanks to Bastien and his boat, Penne Louet, we embarked on the cruising adventure on the French coast and sailed from Marseille to Sete. We had a great time and lots of stories to share. As strange as it sounds hitchhiking is not anymore as challenging as it used to be, you eventually get to your destination while on the boat, there is a limited space you share with people, a completely new environment and just an idea of being able to go halfway through the world only thanks to the wind, isn’t that stunning?

 

The dream of trying to hitch a boat across the Atlantic was more and more present and in October this year we found ourselves in Gibraltar asking sailors if they need two pairs of extra hands in exchange for a ride… together with a bunch of 10-15 other boat hitchhikers!

 

 

Why Gibraltar, why October, why Atlantic? We found all the answers online, by deepening the topic and exploring travel blogs, reading hitchwiki.org and talking to people that know.

A common route westward at this season is Gibraltar (as a last international marina in the Mediterranean)- Canary Islands – Caribbean. We wanted to give it a shot.

We do not have expertise in that. We have been very lucky, being in the right place at the right moment and approaching right people that invited us to share they way to the Carribean.

It took us little over a week to find a ride, struggling with tiredness after hitching through whole Spain, bad weather and a general mood and motivation swing.

 

 

Gibraltar has treated us well (apart from this one monkey on the famous rock that chased Antonio or more specifically, a baguette sticking out of his backpack..I know… we’re dummy tourists). We couchsurfed with the professional surfer John, who become the best video games partner of Antonio, and Mark, a host that made as feel like home thousands of kilometres from home, living in a place that reminded us of the dear nomad base we used to live in some years ago ( www.nomadbase.info ).

 

(Thank you Stefan for some of these pics above and for your great blog! https://www.facebook.com/cyclingkraut/ )

 

Feeling the flow of a new adventure coming I decided to donate my hair to a foundation that supports cancer women and prepares wigs for them. In solidarity with all of those who need to find an incredible strength to fight with nasty cancer. If you wanna do the same, this is the website:
http://www.raknroll.pl/

We found good people with whom for the next month or so, we are going to share a 14 m boat called “Nereid” (after the mythological sea nymphs) crossing the Atlantic ocean, face new challenges, fears, check our flexibility, resistance to sea sickness and limited space but also enjoy the freedom of here and now, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, starry nights, dolphins and everything else I can not imagine right now!

Ahoj!

 

 

 

P.S. As you noticed WE ARE BACK…with our -new- old blog, a slight change in the formula, more pics (hopefully videos) and fewer words. Few future changes and maybe less delay….

 

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12 comments

  1. We so envy you! We also dream about hitchhiking a boat one day. Now we have university and stuff so we’re not able to but when we finish it we will definietly try it. And we will remember to try in Gibraltar!

  2. With photos this good, it’s nice to have plenty of them! 🙂

    I’ve known that island hopping is a thing, but I’ve never even thought its possible to hitch a ride across something as vast as Atlantic. I love the idea, looking forward to read further posts about the journey!

  3. Great choice of pictures, gets across the feeling of the places really well.
    Keep it up, looking forward to the second part!
    I want to know what it’s like to actually cross the big pond… 🙂

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