A family decides to sell everything in order to live on a boat and sail around the globe. Meet Ivo and Mira, 39, and their 12-year-old daughter, Maya.
The Ocean is your home. What is the difference between living on land and living on water?
Living on water is less predictable and constantly changing. We arrive in a new country and we must get acquainted with it and oriented ourselves very fast – where the nearest shop is, where the bus stops are, what currency to use, where it is not advisable to go. And the moment we have almost learnt our way around a place and know which is what and what is where, we move to another place. And everything starts from square ‘one’.
For two years we have visited 30 countries and islands, we have learnt an awful lot of things, we have met a number of legendary persons whom one can only meet on boats and ships; we have made friends all over the world.
The advantage of living on a yacht is that we feel at home everywhere we go. We are like snails carrying our houses with us all the way while sailing around the globe. And most of the time we are not actually sailing, we are by a coastline in some bay and we do not really miss living on land. We sail only 10% of the time.
Garbage in the ocean is an issue that many people are concerned about. Have you encountered any badly polluted areas and what do you do with your garbage?
Unfortunately, the situation is really worrying. The ocean has been turned into an enormous trash bin. The coastlines of uninhabited islands look like landfill sites, covered with piles of plastic waste. When we were on our route from Panama to the Pearl Islands we crossed an area of several square kilometers where the whole surface was covered with plastic bottles, plastic bags and cups. It was disgusting! It is absolutely forbidden to throw plastic waste into the ocean. When we have longer journeys and at a defined distance from the shore we have the legal right to throw glass, metal and paper in the water and they are recycled by nature itself, but never plastic waste. If we have sailed for a long time, we wash our plastic bags and other trash and we keep all that in a trash bag until we reach a shore. Then we just throw the garbage in a trash bin. Very often when we visit a beautiful coast and we see that it’s been polluted we clean it up. We have called this initiative The Green Tent Project because once we saw an old green tent that had been thrown away on a very dirty beach and we filled it with garbage and plastic waste.
Daily routines of most people are very similar. What does a 24-hour period of your life look like when you are in the ocean?
So far we have been doing only small journeys of several days. We have automatic navigation; we set the route and let the boat sail on autopilot. In the morning we have breakfast – fruits, scrambled eggs, crepes. I bake bread every other day. I knead the dough myself and then I bake it in the small oven onboard. Maya has a lot to study for her math exam and some other subjects as well. It takes her about a couple of hours. Then she is free to play, to listen to music and so on.
If we catch some fish, we have fish for lunch. We collect rain water, when it rains, and use it for washing. We do the washing by hand, in some buckets. We also have a water distiller for drinking water and for washing ourselves. When we are sailing, it is usually the time to cook, read books, take some rest, watch the sea and count the remaining miles until our next destination is reached. In the evening we watch movies. But when we have laid the yacht alongside, our daily routine is entirely different. In the morning we get up early and we go to the shore, we jog for half an hour, then we have breakfast, we go shopping or we wash our clothes, do the dishes, and clean up. Maya studies with me on the boat. I make bread. Then we go for a walk or just sightseeing in the area, or we go diving. In the afternoon we take some rest and cook dinner. Then we watch a movie and we go to bed early, about 9 p.m.
People are different, but still, do you find anything in common among all the people that you have met?
Well, people everywhere are very busy with things they do not like doing but they have to do them. This is a common trait that I have noticed. And they don’t seem to be very happy although everyone wants to be happy. They are too dependent on money and their financial obligations. And they are always in a hurry, they never have time. Those who have time are the ones living in the rural areas who in general are poor, but they are the most warm-hearted, the friendliest, the most generous and joyful people.
Which is the most delicious fish and where are the most beautiful deep waters?
We have become real experts in seafood. Fishing is something we do love. When we are sailing Ivo usually catches fish with a line and a hook, but when we stop, he doesn’t go angling, he harpoons down the reefs. We have learnt how to cook all these fish, we also make sushi.
The most beautiful reefs are around the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, and the San Blas Islands of Panama. On the island of Dominica there is this Champagne Beach where there are hot bubbles coming out from an underwater volcanic reef and this is the most amazing place to go diving. We have also seen the deepest known saltwater blue hole, it’s on the Bahamas.
What do you think you lose and what do you gain from your life as tourists?
Being tourists we are always perceived as foreigners, people who don’t belong to where we happen to be for a short while. We miss the daily routine and the feeling of security – to know what you have to do tomorrow and what will happen in a month or two, to plan your day ahead of time, your next week, or even a year. But, on the other hand, we are experiencing something quite unusual, true adventure in our everyday life; and it is an interesting life we are leading, with some unexpected event on a daily basis. If one is truly adventuresome this is the kind of sap we feed on.
Here, on the land, people need a steady income in order to live a normal life. To what extent is your life dependent on the material world?
In the beginning we funded our journeys with our own savings and the money left after we sold the house, the car, all the furniture we had in Canada. Then we bought a boat and equipped it. After a while we started earning an income. We publish articles and pictures in the biggest yachting and boating magazine on the Caribbean, www.caribbeancompass.com. Furthermore, people from all over the world support us with small donations. They send us from five to a hundred dollars. For us even the smallest donation matters. We really live a very frugal and modest life. Five to ten dollars a day is what we spend on food. These donations, however, are not only financial support for us; they mean that people approve of our endeavour, of our way of life, or our ideas. Many readers get inspiration from our stories and pictures we upload in our Facebook profile. They write us thank you notes and ask us for advice. This is the best acknowledgement we could dream of.
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