The Arksen Middle Sea Rally will start in mid June, in Athens. From here, the Rally will cruise Turkey and the Greek Islands, soaking up culture while exploring. They will then cruise the coast of Croatia and the Dalmatian Coast, reaching Venice.
Malta and Sicily will be an unusual take on the Western Med, giving ample opportunity for a slightly more unique experience as these Islands are not often given the spotlight they deserve from regular Med charters.
We spend the last month of the Middle Sea Rally cruising Sardinia and Corsica. Enjoying the wonderful restaurants and experiences, as well as some more adrenaline packed days to earn them.
The Middle Sea Rally will climax by sailing into Monaco, timed to coincide with the Yacht Show, gaining charter vessels, Arksen, PELORUS and The Explorer Rally some excellent publicity and event opportunities.
For vessels coming from, or heading to the Indian Ocean, we also have the option to take part in world first challenges in Eritrea and the Sudanese Atolls, either ahead of or after the main rally.
Middle Sea Conservation Opportunities
On this, the shortest rally in the Arksen Explorer Rally Series, there will be conservation opportunities in some of the areas and some ongoing research each vessel can take part in whilst the Rally goes on.
- Work with local fisheries to encourage sustainable fishing
- Habitat mapping in Greece to help protect the endangered monk seal
- Turtle conservation in Turkey
- Ocean current mapping
- Ghost nets – smaller vessels will search and geotag ghost nets and the larger vessels will assist in collection. Research will then be undertaken to understand where the nets were released and how they can be prevented in the future
- Seabird rescue and rehabilitation in Corsica
- Tagging loggerhead turtles
- Bluefin tuna larval surveys
- Documenting undersea life
The cradle of civilization, Athens, is the start of the Middle Sea Rally. From this bustling metropolis, you will sail the impossibly blue waters and explore the many varied islands that make up this historic nation.
- Enjoy a private guided tour of the Acropolis, lit up in the night before dining at stunning Michelin level restaurants
- Climb Mount Olympus, home of the gods
- Heli far inland to Lake Plastiras and spend an afternoon paddle boarding and rafting before a picnic on the dam, followed by horseback riding
- Trek in gorges and abseil and climb along the cliffs
- Watch your captain concentrate as your vessel navigates through the feat of engineering that is the Corinth Canal. Rough edges making eddies and swirls in the water
- Explore the monasteries in towering rock formations in Meteora
- Dive ancient ruins and wrecks
- Go Spelunking in 4km of caves, finishing at Melissani Lake. An underground body of water that was discovered in 1951. In ancient times the cave was dedicated to the Nymph Melissani who gave the cave its name
Turkey has more coastline than any other Mediterranean country – some 8400 km. There are so many bays and coves, one can almost always pick a pretty anchorage within minutes of deciding to drop the anchor. The underrated Turquoise Coast will be the Rally’s main point of interest for the duration of cruising in this area.
- Paraglide from the top of Mount Babadag, one of the best places for take off in the Med followed by sunset drinks
- Explore the Kuanos Rock Tombs complex with an archaeologist guide, gaining insight into the ruins that are over 3,000 years old
- Visit sea turtle nesting beaches, some of the last in the Med and learn about their habitats and habits whilst volunteering at the rescue centre
- Only accessible by tender, enjoy the unspoiled isolated Butterfly Valley where you can enjoy the beach, or hike a challenging trail to a rocky lookout point with experienced guides
- Climb and walk through abandoned villages, left exactly as they were when the inhabitants left, it is a marvellous experience
- Enjoy privatised access to the ruins of the ancient city of Tlos, built into the cliffs and believed to be the home of the son of Poseidon
Croatia’s extraordinary island-speckled coastline is indisputably its main attraction; unspoiled, secluded beaches, ancient walled towns, crystal clear waters. Look slightly inland to the Dinaric Mountain Range, which hugs much of the coast with its craggy peaks, caverns, river canyons, waterfalls and ridiculously picturesque lakes.
- Head ashore at Veliki to see the hundreds of dinosaur footprints and hike to a Bronze Age settlement before swimming back to the boat through the azure waters in Saluga Bay
- Visit a truffle hunters house and adventure into the forest with an experienced hunter and his dogs before wine tasting and a meal up in the hills
- Wreck divers will rejoice in the surplus of vessels that are available for exploration. Several ships date back to the early 1900’s, like the Baron Gautsch and the Flamingo
- Head toward Risnjak National Park to go with an experienced guide on a bear (spotting) hunt
- Recover in the evening at Bibich Wine Cellars for the grand winemakers dinner. Located in the secluded village of Plastovo, above beautiful Skradin, Bibich Winery is a must for connoisseurs from around the world
- Cruise through the 140 island Kornati Archipelago, go reef diving and snorkelling in this nautical paradise where you will enter a strange, other-worldly environment of treeless hills
Having cruised in Croatia, the hustle and bustle of Venice is a fantastic contrast. There are a large number of berthing options in the Venitian lagoon. The main entrance into the lagoon is at S. Nicolo. The canal here is wide and deep and leads to the heart of the city. From here the vessels will cruise the Eastern side of Italy, collecting guests once more when at the next stop.
- Tender through the myriad of canals in Venice to see famous artworks and buildings
- Enjoy private visits to the further islands of the glass blowers and lace makers
- Sip cocktails at Harrys Bar, home of the Bellini, before sampling the fare at one of the many Michelin Restaurants in the city
- Sample the delights of the build up to the Venice Film Festival, the oldest film festival in the world
- Private tours of the Basilica and the Doge’s Palace can be arranged
- Climb across the rooftops for a parcour style unusual view of the famous city
- Explore the flooded crypts below the numerous churches, wonderful under crofts and Gothic carved columns are reflected in the still pools of standing water
Malta has an almost mythical quality to it that comes from its eerie underwater caves, stunning temples and medieval architecture. The streets here wind around towns and villages taking you past churches, markets, and museums, and some of the oldest buildings in the world can be found on this pretty isle.
- Swim and dive in the Inland Sea, a small, almost entirely landlocked lagoon. Your tender will just fit through the narrow gap in the limestone cliffs unveiling curious rock formations to explore
- Explore the catacombs of Rabat with personal guides
- Snorkel and dive ancient wrecks, many of which date from the Second World War. One of the most famous is called the HMS Maori which is a destroyer that was sunk by the Germans and now rests on the sea floor at a depth of 14 meters
- Go cave diving in the uninhabited island of Comino in a series of caves that glimmer with bioluminescence
- Horseback riding is the best way to see the stunning vistas available on the North Side of Malta. Tender ashore and meet your steed before trekking inland to a beautiful remote picnic
- On the island of Gozo, explore the Ggantja Temples, predating the Pyramids of Egypt, they would have been used for sacrifice and offerings
Evocative lunar landscapes on Mount Etna, the wonderful national parks and the winding streets of the towns and villages all make up a picture perfect opportunity to relax and soak up the brilliant Mediterranean way of life.
- Exert yourself in a late afternoon climb of Mount Etna to be at the summit at sunset to view the lava with a volcanologist
- Discover the tradition of Sicilian Puppetry with a private visit on the aft deck of your vessel. Learn the techniques of making and performing with the puppets before settling in for a show
- Hike in the Vendicari National Park, with only the sounds of the birds, wind and water for company. Finish the hike at a local winery where you will enjoy lunch amongst the vines
- Enjoy a full ’Godfather‘ experience, including driving classic cars through the countryside before arriving in the secluded manor and village featured in the movie. Spend the night ashore at an exclusive banquet for the Rally members
- In Noto, an unspoiled city of high culture and mouth-watering food, explore the so-called “Stone Garden” and feel as though you have stepped onto the set of a period film, with its sand coloured Sicilian limestone and its 18th-century Baroque architectural style
- Explore the ancient hamlets of Taormina and Castelmola that stand upon their natural terrace on Mount Tauro. Its breathtaking panoramic position will offer staggering views
Sardinia is one of Europe’s last great island adventures. Hike through the lush interior or walk the vertiginous coastal paths. The sea’s allure is irresistible to windsurfers on the north coast, while divers wax lyrical about shipwrecks, the underwater caves and submerged Roman ruins.
- Climb the pinnacle at Cala Luna as the fleet anchors in the isolated bay
- Heli inland to hike in the mountains before ziplining across gorges and canyoning
- Sail the La Maddalena Archipelago and discover some of the best kept secret restaurants in Sardinia
- Get lost in the alleyways of Alghero before diving in the sheltered bay
- Learn to freedive with a world class instructor, who grew up swimming in the waters of Sardinia
- Explore the many cave systems of Sardina, from the famous Grotte de Neptuna to the lesser known Grotte Is Zuddas
- Revel in the luxury of Porto Cervo and dine in the fantastic pop up restaurants fronted by top chefs that appear every summer
- Mountain bike on islands only accessible by tender
Corsica is a place of dramatic geographical diversity, with turquoise waters, forest-covered mountains and villages perched on hilltops. Situated just above Sardinia, the guests will cruise straight from one locale to another, going to sleep in Italy and waking in France.
- The iconic sail into Bonifacio will begin your time in Corsica. After docking in the protected harbour, enjoy a guided tour of the clifftop town
- Try hang-gliding from mountains on the west coast, landing above forests and hiking back to the fleet
- Hike part of the famous G20 route, complete with guides and naturalists
- Hike and Quad bike through the Maquis
- Venture inland to go canyoning and climbing in the trees of the forest
- Go foraging with experts before happening upon a remote lunch set up, where you will cook your plunder on open fires
An overnight sail will bring the fleet triumphant, to the bay of Monaco. This sovereign city-state is often referred to as the spiritual home of yachting and the fleet will be joining the many vessels here for the yacht show.
- Jump into a private supercar to tour the coastline in style
- Spend an evening at Monaco Casino, where clients have won over a million euro in one turn of the roulette wheel
- Catch a show at the Opera de Monte Carlo in a private box
- Enjoy the variety of fine dining options in the city
- Hike from Cap d’Ail to the Roman ruins in the hills
- Dance on the tables at Sass Cafe
Eritrea & Sudanese Atolls
Eritrea is something of an enigma within the vastness of Africa, hiding in the shadow of its far more familiar neighbours to the north and south. However, for those who enjoy something a little different, far off the beaten track, Eritrea is utterly compelling. The same can be said for Sudan, especially when it comes to the quality of diving
- Enjoy a private steam train experience on a train constructed between 1887 and 1932, stopping at a stunning viewpoint for lunch
- The diving opportunities around the Dahlak Islands, are incredible. Local dive masters will ensure you are privy to the most exclusive and exciting spots, such as the islands of Dissie, Madote, Durgham and Durgella
- Head out night diving with sea turtles and manta rays
- In the remote atolls of south Sudan you will be guided by a marine conservationist as you explore these still pristine areas
- Visit the port city of Massawa, known as the City of islands and the “Pearl of the Red Sea”. With its exquisite Turkish-style architecture, shopping arcades, beautiful mosques and delicious sea food, Massawa caters to all tastes
- Spend time with the colorful Rashaida tribes, the last Semetic people to arrive in Eritrea. The Rashaida women are known for their black and red geometrically patterned dresses and their long, heavy veil or ‘burga’, elaborately embroiled with silver threads, beads and sometimes seed peals
- Ocean floor mapping of the reefs and wrecks in the area.
- Tagging and identifying manta rays
- Delivering aid and supplies to local hospitals and tribes
- Search and identify tentacled butterfly rays and Red Sea torpedo rays. Some of the most elusive species in the oceans, they have eluded marine biologists for decades
- Protection of the Arabian Red Sea sharks, one of the most threatened species in the world
- Identification of corals and collection of data to establish the current state of the untouched reef