Couple stand-up paddleboard 120 miles around the Mediterranean

This was an epic camping holiday in Greece

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Credits: Globalshot.co.uk

A British couple ditched the regular crowded methods of transport to stand-up paddleboard 120 miles around the Greek Islands on an extraordinary camping holiday .

Jay Haysey, 32, and Bethany Mercer, 26, had little more than a backpack each carrying meagre food supplies, a tent and water during their two-week journey.

The couple fished for food and wild camped with only a yoga mat for a bed.

Credits: globalshots.co.uk

Traversing three of the main Ionian Islands south of Corfu in the northern Mediterranean Sea, they travelled the coastline of Lefkada, Ithaca and Meganisi, discovering untouched wilderness and beaches only accessible by sea.

While most of us may struggle to stand on a paddleboard, the pair used the boards as a cheap means of travel - and on one day even managed 15 miles in a five-hour leg.

Credits: Globalshot.co.uk

The unique form of transport meant the pair could discover deserted beaches and enjoy their own island paradise.

Their trip came about after the pair, from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, fell in love with the Ionian Islands in Greece years earlier.

"We thought it would be really cool to be on paddleboard because there are beaches you can only access by sea," Bethany told the Mirror.

"It was just stunning.

"So we came up with the idea to have two weeks off and take our paddleboards."

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

Their journey took them from Lefkada, down the island's east coast bays and villages.

This also included crossing a 7-mile passage of open water and ferry channel to the island of Ithaca.

After exploring the island's natural attractions, they headed back north to Meganisi where they also explored the bays and villages.

Credits: GlobalShots

Credits: GlobalShots

They recorded their experience in a journal with random phrases which included "salt hair. salty everything", "waving at fisherman", "yoga" and "sun cream hands on paddle".

Spending only 10 to 15 euro a day on food and drink supplies from villages they stopped at, the couple packed their lives into a backpack each, including some clothes, a two-person tent, camera equipment and added a big 30-litre water container.

They bought a fishing line which provided dinner on some nights.

"We obviously aimed to go super light as we had to carry all our stuff," Jay said.

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

Credits: Globalshot.co.uk

"We took a two-man tent, few clothes, summer clothes, t shirts and board shorts.

"We had a big water container holding 30 litres of water.

"It was quite heavy when it was full. We would fill it up every other day.

"We'd cruise down the coast and stop in little Greek villages, stock up on food, find a beach to camp at, cook our food and stay."

Credits: globalshots.co.uk

globalshots.co.uk

Credits: Globalshot.co.uk

Globalshot.co.uk

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

Credits: globalshots.co.uk

globalshots.co.uk

Bethany said: "We got woken up by a lot of goats with bells around their necks.

"We saw sea life like starfish. We bought a fishing line. We caught some fish. We were learning along the way.

"We ate a lot of avocado and water melon.

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

Credits: globalshots.co.uk

globalshots.co.uk

Credits: globalshots.co.uk

globalshots.co.uk

Bethany also brought her yoga mat for some sessions when she wasn't too worn out.

The couple decided to do the paddleboard trek after filming around the region with their business, GlobalShots .

However Bethany's diary entries reveal the sleeping was perhaps one of the harder experiences.

"Our first night in the tent," Bethany wrote.

"No blow up beds - just one word - hard."

The light luggage meant hygiene wasn't always perfect.

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

Credits: Globalshot.co.uk

Globalshot.co.uk

They washed in the sea for 14 days - but soon found salt water becomes tiresome after a fortnight.

"We weren't showering," Jay recalls, laughing.

"You are in the sea every day jumping in so we washed with saltwater.

"I could have gone for a bit longer!

Bethany interjects: "I was ready for a bed!"

"My hair was another level of saltiness.

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

But Bethany admits she packed too much and didn't wear the dresses she took.

"You are pretty much every day in a bikini and board shorts. We could have packed five times lighter than we did."

"The thing that was most worrying we had all our camera stuff, mobile phone, all within waterproof bags," she said.

This proved precarious when offshore winds rocked their journeys and water began to lap on to their boards and on to their belongings.

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

Bethany said the exhaustion of paddling so far on open water took its toll on her by day three before they adjusted their schedule to focus on cooler times.

"For the first couple of days we set off at quite a pace," she explained.

"We generally went for about five or six hours a day throughout.

"When we stopped at about day three, I suddenly felt pretty physically exhausted and stiff.

"From that point onwards we decided to set off really early in the day before it got really hot."

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

The couple then planned to rise early, paddle in the early morning before it was too hot and there was no wind.

Jay said: "It was quite a slow journey as we had all our bags with us.

"But we wanted to do it slow.

"Given we had worked in Greece before, we knew the weather pattern and we knew wind was lighter in the morning so we made sure we did all the travel in the morning.

"We stayed fairly close to the land."

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

Take a tall ship on the Med for a relaxing tour of the Italian island

But the trip was not without its scary moments.

They travelled about 7 miles between Lefkada and Ithaca, putting them in open water away from the shore and on a shipping channel.

"That was the one bit I was bit nervous about," Bethany recalls.

"But we set off really early when the water was mirror flat.

"It didn't take as long as i imagined.

"We also checked the ferry timetables to make sure we were clear but you do still see them in the distance."

Credits: globalshots.co.uk

globalshots.co.uk

Asked for his greatest memory of the trip, Jay said: "For me the most memorable experience was seeing the sunrise every day for two weeks.

"Because we're camping you just wake up naturally and we wanted to get paddling early everyday.

Bethany said her highlight was an "amazing beach" on Ithaca.

"We found this beach which we called the 'bay of dreams'," she said.

"It was this incredible beach with olive groves.

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

Credits: GlobalShots

GlobalShots

"There was a tiny island off the beach with a small church on it.

"Each year they have the festival of the sea and all the locals come in their fishing sea."

This summer's adventure they are still planning and insist this location is currently top secret.

But, they say, if you can paddleboard and have a reasonable level of fitness, then anyone can do it.


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