'She was smart': Auckland mother reveals skills her daughter used to be saved after 40 hours adrift in Greek waters

A Warkworth mother says her daughter survived nearly 40 hours adrift in the Aegean Sea by using survival skills and rationing gummy bears.

Kushila Stein, 47, had spent the day shopping on the Greek island of Folegandros. However it was dark by the time she attempted to return to her yacht, only 50 metres away.

After losing an oar over the side of the dinghy - she drifted out to sea. And due to the breeze, no one could hear her scream.

Back home in Warkworth, her mother Wendy was worried sick. She had been in contact with Greek authorities, and feared the worst.

"[We] didn't know if she had any water, didn't know if she had any food, didn't know what clothing she was wearing," she says.

Wendy says Kushila was determined to live, and used survival skills she had learned in her youth.

Wrapped in plastic bags, she slept in the foetal position to keep warm. Her only sustenance was a few gummy bears.

Fortunately, by using a mirror to reflect light, Kushila was spotted by the Greek Coastguard and was saved after two nights adrift.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Coastguard is praising Kushila.

"I think she did an amazing job. She worked with what she had, she employed everything she had. She was smart," says Coastguard head of operations, Rob McCaw.

Kushila will spend the next few weeks continuing her travels around Europe and will be back in New Zealand to see mum for Christmas with at least one amazing story to tell.