Around the Isle of Corsica

Unknown by most sea kayakers, the French island of Corsica is a stunning gem of caves, sea stacks, beaches and cliffs set in the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Last year, filmmaker Erin Bastian recruited her friends, Georgian Maxwell and Beck Hancock, to circumnavigate the island’s 400-mile perimeter. Bastian’s film, Girls Go Round, captures the essence of the three-week self-supported trip. We caught up with Bastian to first break down six key moments from the film above, with a little more background on the expedition to follow.

Behind the Scenes
3:14: “Leaping into the journey we decided to run Cape Corse at the start of our trip. It’s a committing stretch with very few possible landings and reasonable swell.”

6:10: “The west coast is the gem of Corsica, huge cliffs, massive mountains and crystal clear waters. Exploring this world of remote coves was a highlight I will never forget.”

12:06: “Exploring the coast by kayak is the number one reason for my expeditions but it wouldn’t be an adventure without fighting your way through thorn bushes to get the best sunset of the trip, and a view of all the miles you have paddled that day.”

Exploring the caves of Corsica's coast. Image from "Girls Go Round."
Exploring the caves of Corsica’s coast. Image from “Girls Go Round.”

14:08: “Paddling deep into the sea caves at Bonifacio, bright skylights made these cathedral sized caves magical.”

18:20: “The east coast was our most mentally challenging part of the trip. The Monotony of sandy beaches had us determined to push forward. You always have to find the funny side when things get tough.”

20:00: “I never want an expedition to end. The months of planning and weeks of paddling seem to disappear all to quickly once you see the finish line. It makes me want to savor the moments you get to live.”

Corsica. Image from Erin Bastian's short film, "Girls Go Round."
Corsica. Image from Erin Bastian’s short film, “Girls Go Round.”

C&K: So why Corsica?
Erin Bastian: Corsica was an adventure on a budget. I wanted to explore somewhere in Europe and having paddled around Sardinia a few years back, Corsica had planted the temptation seed—it was always the illusive island in the distance. Corsica has big mountains dropping steeply into the sea, my favorite kind of coastline.

Georgian Maxwell and Beck Hancock scoping out marine life. Image from "Girls Go Round."
Georgian Maxwell and Beck Hancock scoping out marine life. Image from “Girls Go Round.”

C&K: How did you wrangle Georgina and Beck to join you on this trip? What was it like traveling with a women’s crew as opposed to the guys who joined you in Patagonia?
George and Becks are two of my old adventure friends. I wanted a bit of girl power on this trip, and after speaking to them they really didn’t require much persuasion. Girls were great fun, hair washing and nail polish were activities higher up on the necessities scale than previous expeditions. But in all honestly it gives me confidence, motivation and inspiration, to know that that my two teammates are girls just like me.

Abandoned veranda camp. Image from "Girls Go Round."
Abandoned veranda camp. Image from “Girls Go Round.”

C&K: Any specific tips for paddlers looking to plan a Corsica trip of their own?
Corsica’s main tourist season is June through August. These months are best to be avoided if you would like to get away from the crowds. Besides, the weather’s too hot then to paddle long days. In my opinion, the best times of the year are September-October and April-May. The weather is warm and settled, perfect for paddling. If you only have a few weeks head to the west coast: The cliffs, caves and steep mountains keep the landscape a little more exciting than the long flat beaches of the east side.

Image from "Girls Go Round."
Image from “Girls Go Round.”
Image from "Girls Go Round."
Image from “Girls Go Round.”
Exploring Corsica. Image from "Girls Go Round."
Exploring Corsica. Image from “Girls Go Round.”
Filmmaker Erin Bastian testing the waters of Corsica. Image from "Girls Go Round."
Filmmaker Erin Bastian testing the waters of Corsica. Image from “Girls Go Round.”

The article was originally published on Canoe & Kayak

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!