Meet Ocean Nomads Skipper: Eoin | Kayaker, Surfer & Professional Sea Hippy

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“The ocean is the boss; if it’s calm, it’s time to go freediving; if there’s wind, it’s time to go sailing; if it’s too rough to sail, then there’s probably surf somewhere.”

Eoin Keyes

“The ocean is my means of transport, accommodation, sustenance, employment, entertainment… For a long time now it’s been at the core of everything I do.”

Eoin! What’s your story? 

I grew up in Limerick, Ireland and was involved in outdoor sports from a young age. For as long as I can remember I’ve been surfing, hiking, camping and spending as much time as possible outdoors. I got involved in kayaking in a big way when I was a teenager and started travelling a lot, spending my summers on road trips across Europe to discover new rivers and work as a raft guide and kayaking instructor. Entering kayaking competitions was a good excuse to go traveling and see new places, but working in an office so that I could go on kayaking trips on my holidays got boring pretty fast. I wanted to kayak full-time, but kayaking just doesn’t have the industry behind it to allow that kind of thing. I discovered sailing in 2015 when I started crewing on boats in local regattas. I absolutely loved the buzz of racing, and immediately saw the potential alternative to the 9-5 engineering job that I was doing at the time.
I quit the office job and moved to Greece, where a company taught me to fix boats before putting me out on the water as a flotilla engineer, living on a little 30ft lead boat and doing all the maintenance on a flotilla of twelve charter yachts. I did that job for over a year before leaving to do some delivery work and then bought my own boat (a 1969 Hurley 22) and spent a summer sailing solo on the west coast of Ireland and crewing in as many regattas as I could. After that I started working as a skipper, starting off as a flotilla skipper in Greece and then spending the winter in the Caribbean doing engineering and skippering work for a small charter company. I also did some work in Croatia and Ireland, whenever the funds were running low. Since then I’ve spent three months sailing with friends around Spain/ Portugal/ Morocco and did another three months of solo sailing in Ireland. It’s starting to get pretty cold and wet in Ireland now so here I am, following the sun for another season.

Why are you excited about joining the OceanMinded – Ocean Nomads fleet?

After spending years seeing ocean pollution first-hand, witnessing the total lack of sub-marine life in certain areas and the continuing destruction of what remains in others, I am really looking forward to spending time with people who are passionate about solving these issues. Hopefully people who enjoy the simple life, and value sights and experiences over luxury. I am looking forward to being out of phone signal for days at a time, disconnecting from the online world and life revolving around the absolute basics of ‘when am I on watch again’ and ‘what is my next meal going to be’. These days, offshore sailing is an almost unique opportunity to escape the incessant flow of Facebook updates and Instagram stories for days at a time. …yes, I know I could just turn my phone off more often but I lack the self discipline, and I do enjoy seeing what my friends around the world are up to!

Why are you passionate about sailing?

Sailing offers the chance to travel to amazing places in relative comfort with surfboards and other toys, just like a camper van but causing no pollution and not spending loads of money on fuel, tax and insurance. Yacht racing is a great adrenaline buzz and offers great satisfaction when you get a whole crew of people working seamlessly together. And jobs on boats tend to be in amazing sunny places where you get to meet lots of like-minded people and have a lot of fun together. I can’t think of any other activity which combines so many amazing qualities so closely together.

What has been one of your most epic sailing adventure thus far?

In April this year I was put in touch with a friend of a friend who lives on board an old 33ft steel cruising boat. At the time she was in Portugal and was looking for some people people to go sailing with her. So me and one of my best friends who had never sailed before went and spent the next couple of months sailing with a crew of five amazing young people from Portugal, to Spain, to Morocco. We had our share of ups and downs along the way, including contrary weather around the straits of Gibraltar and getting caught in fishing nets along the west coast of Morocco, but everyone on board had a great attitude when things went wrong and the rough times were more than made up for by the surfing and the hiking, and the Moroccan people that we met along the way. Around the straits we saw more whales, dolphins, turtles, sunfish, bioluminescent jellyfish and tuna than I’ve ever seen before, and in Assilah we saw commercial swordfish and tuna fishing on a horrifying scale that I wouldn’t have believed possible. It was a trip of so many contrasts and intense, unique experiences that it will hold a special place in my memory for a long long time. There are many more stories from that trip which I’ll save for night watches somewhere between Gibraltar and the Canaries; see you there!

What does the ocean mean to you?

The ocean is life! The ocean is my means of transport, accommodation, sustenance, employment, entertainment… For a long time now it’s been at the core of everything I do. The ocean is the boss; if it’s calm, it’s time to go freediving; if there’s wind, it’s time to go sailing; if it’s too rough to sail, then there’s probably surf somewhere. If you want to go west and that’s where the wind is coming from; well, you had better have some good books on board because there’s no point fighting it. There’s no point making plans and then getting stressed because they’re not working out, you do that a few times before realising that there’s no point making solid plans because they’re just going to change anyway. Better to give yourself options; wake up in the morning, stick your head out of the boat and see what the ocean is telling you to do. If you keep doing that there’s no knowing where you’ll end up, or what adventures you’ll have along the way.

What’s your wildest ocean-related dream that you would love to experience in your lifetime?

Solo offshore racing! I love racing, and I love sailing solo. Someday I would love to combine the two and enter the Mini Transat race, or something like that. …it’s not that I don’t love crewed sailing too, but the feeling of independence that you get from sailing solo is pretty special; and entering a singlehanded race is something that I’m not sure I’ll ever have the funds to do.

Come and meet Eoin on departure, arrival or on the OceanMinded – Ocean Nomads fleet soon heading from Mallorca to Tenerife. 

Meet Pim: Boathitchhiking around the world | Ocean Nomads Crew

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Pim van Hooff

Boathitchhiking around the world

Adventure – free – no doesn’t exist – from a dream to a goal to reality – world citizen

Pim! What’s your story? 

I’ve had the dream to travel longterm for many years.  First I had to finish my studies and then work to fill up the adventure funds. At 28 years old I told my boss about my plans, he was jealous and wished me the best of luck. A little later I was standing next to the highway with my thumb out. First destination; Sicily to meet some ocean nomads.
At the time of writing this, a year later, I’ve sailed from Europe to Fiji, logging around 15.000NM. Most of the miles and time was spent on 4 different boats. 1 professional delivery of an Oyster46 from Greece to France. 1 Atlantic crossing on a Beneteau47 from the USA with the owner and his friend. From st Lucia to French Polynesia with a British family on a Hallberg Rassy 42 and from French Polynesia to Fiji with a British couple on a Boreal47. From the Caribbean onwards I was part of the World ARC.
After arriving in Fiji I felt it was time to do something else. The next goal is to travel from Asia to Europe over land. I’m on a holiday, but will tell anyone who wants to listen about taking care of our precious mother earth. Education is key. I’m sure that next year will be super special too!

What is your most memorable ocean adventure experience?

Countless things! Whales, the shadow that Venus casts, the vastness, the shooting stars, reefs, remote paradises with beautiful people and the intense relationship that the ocean creates amongst fellow sailors.

What has nature taught you?

I am small and insignificant. I have the deepest respect for the big blue. I wish every day that more people get respect like that and let our mother nature flourish again. We are destroying her in ways that are difficult to comprehend. And we are doing it very fast. The lack of realization around the world astonishes and hurts me.

You’ve boat-hitchhiked half across the world! What’s your advice to others sharing the same dream?

Make your dream a goal, it IS possible!!! Every day, every moment, be the best version of yourself. A smile and being positive can get you very far.
Stolen from a big corporate but true for me in many ways; Just do it!

What does a typical day in the South Pacific look like?

Ha! Sleep, sail, snorkel, share, repeat!

What’s the next plan?

As said above, travel from around China, Southeast Asia, India, Nepal, somehow to Europe. The route is still to be decided.

Why did you join the Ocean Nomads Trip?

I bought the book Ocean Nomad just after it got out and it was exactly what I needed for what I wanted to do. Before reading the book I wasn’t really sure how to organise a boat-hitchhiking around the world adventure but it turned out to be the perfect guide. There was an Ocean Nomads meet-up organised at the Volvo Ocean Summit in the Netherlands where I met Suzanne. She told me about the Ocean Nomads trip and I realised it was a good investment to increase chances of succeeding in my ocean travel plans.
Here’s a little interview with Pim at the beginning of his boathitchhiking around the world journey.

What did you get out of jumping on board the Ocean Nomads fleet?

Cliche but true; everything and more. I learned about sailing, living on a boat with complete strangers, hitch-sailing and how to do it. But mostly we just had an amazing time. The group consisted of beautiful individuals of which some I hope to remain lifelong friends with and we did really cool stuff. I don’t think I’ll ever forget!

Ocean Nomads Crew in Sicily

When you hopped on board with us one year ago you said you were curious to find out about the current state of the oceans. So now 1 year and 15.000 NM later. What did you find out?

It is honestly really bad. I’ve been to places that not many people visit but there was plastic everywhere. Sometimes beaches were full of it. In many places the coral had died, especially close to villages and towns. And all the locals I have talked to, all of them, say that there is less fish now then some years ago. They have to go further and further to be able to feed their families. But more often they resort to more ‘western’ diets of which it is clear that this doesn’t do them much good.  The worst part for me is that many people just don’t know how, why and what to change. It is hard to start if you don’t have a place to begin.

Arrived in French Polynesia without planes from Europe! | Boathitchhiking around the World

How do people learn more about you and your adventures?

You can follow me on pim_steps on Insta to see some pictures of my trip. And I will probably attend some Ocean Nomads meetups when they are organized!

Meet Ocean Nomads Captain Anna: Founder of SAILMATE – upcycled bags from old sails

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“To cross the ocean you first have to leave the shore” – Unknown

My motivation to go after new ideas and to try out new things

Anna Lena Bruchmann

I am passionate about sailing and sustainability. Sailing connects me to nature and become part of my life and lifestyle during the last 10 years.

Anna! What’s your story? 

I moved and travelled around during the last years and stranded in Amsterdam a few years ago to combine city and sealife. Currently, I am based partly in Hamburg and Amsterdam. 2 Years ago I started my brand SAILMATE where we create products out of used sails in local production. It’s my reaction to a career in traditional and commercial textile business, which made me wonder how we treat people and planet. Together with my partner and a small team we design individual products for business customer. With every product, we spread the message about sustainability and try to create awareness for a conscious consumer.

Why are you passionate about sailing?

When I got into sailing it was fascinated about this special way of travelling. Getting to hidden places, always be moving and the connection to the ocean. It’s a bit like falling in love and the more I got into it the more I started to like the actual sailing with all the techniques and strategy behind it. And that it is such a great team activity where you connect with people in a unique way.

Why are you excited about skippering a sailing & sustainability sail?

I think a sustainable lifestyle is soo much needed to protect our planet for us and for future generations. For me, it especially comes to life on sailing boats. In this microcosmos who get very aware of what nature offers, what you need, what you use and also your waste. That’s perfect to observe and adjust our behaviour.

Anna about the Ocean Nomads trip in Sicily:

 

What’s your wildest ocean-related dream that you would love to experience in your lifetime?

I always wanted to live on a boat, which I just started with a summer on a sailing yacht based in Amsterdam. So I guess I have to find another dream 😉

 

Come and meet Anna and her ocean dedication, ocean love and boat in Amsterdam during one of our eco-sails.

And learn more about her and her venture on her website,  Instagram and Linkedin

Meet Nicole Heidenreich – Yoga Teacher, Globe Trotter, Heart-Connector, Emotion Surfer and Systemic Coach

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“We do not need a handful of people doing “zero waste”, “self-development”, “etc.” (fill in what’s important for you) perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” 

Nicole Heidenreich

Bundle of energy, heart-connector, emotion surfer, globe trotter, yoga teacher and systemic coach.

When the vibe is right I love to talk with inspiring people about what moves our world(s). I am full of energy, am very enthusiastic, love to laugh and enjoy life. Yet, sometimes  (real and imagined) thunderstorms suddenly appear in my life. I feel pain for the world that we live in, pain how we treat ourselves, how we treat mother nature. But then, I remember that it starts with the relationship to myself. So now, I learned to deal with it by getting out in the forest, surf my emotions until the end and return with a smile on my face and hundred new ideas for what to develop next. 

Nicole! What’s your story? 

Once upon a time, a girl was born on a farm in Austria… ok ok, I make it shorter 😉 My roots are indeed on a farm close to Vienna, yet through studying (business administration and then tourism destination management) I found my way to living in Bali, Indonesia. While I lived in quite a few countries, my 5 years working (NGO for sustainable tourism development) and living in Indonesia and South East Asia in general brought me to the realisation that we “western white” people are so (over)privileged to have a choice of HOW we want to live – think about it: how many people on this planet actually do have a choice? So if better make it a good one. “Good” in the sense of reflecting on what is actually important in life and how can I share the resources that I have or have access to with the world. 

My choice was to return to Europe and re-connect to my core values and my roots. I tell you, returning to structured Germany resulted in a super-duper reversed culture shock. It took me 1,5 years to really arrive. Just recently I really felt this sense of home again – with friends, with my lifestyle, with nature. I practice and teach (Hatha and Yin) Yoga, I play improvisation theatre and I am just learning how to live in, from and with nature based on indigenous wisdom (check it out: wilderness education course with the wilderness school “Weltenwandler”). When I’m not in a yoga studio, on stage or in the forest I also work as a tourism consultant, developing authentic concepts for wellness hotels.

What has nature taught you?

Connection! When we connect to nature, we connect to our very own nature – the Self. Mother nature has a beautiful system in place in which we can allow our control-freak brain to step back and really sink into deep trust. Also and more specifically, it thought me how to become friends with darkness. During a blind-drum-stick walk (walking through the forest at night, trying to follow the sound of a drum only with your ears) and a scouting weekend where you learn to practically become invisible I really said bye to fearing the dark forest! Such an amazing gift… 

What is your most memorable ocean experience?

My relationship status with the ocean? It used to be complicated. The deep water and me didn’t have a good start – always fear of depth, darkness and cold. I was not even able to snorkel without freaking out. So when I moved to Bali doing something on, under, or in water was for others, not for me. A couple of years on the island, having diving instructor friends and a boyfriend at a time who was APNEA instructor I slowly reconsidered. First I made my SCUBA dive certification(s), then it was time to become even more connected and conquer the ocean with only one breath – freediving. I remember a very insignificant event when hanging on the bottom of a rope at around 12 m depth, simply chilling, absolute silence. Knowing that when my mind would kick in, I would freak out again, so I stayed with the heart and soul. Nothing much happened in effect, rather than the realisation that we can all conquer our fears by making our mind a tool, but not the leader. Let the intuition and hear be the leader instead. 

What is your drive to host the yoga and sailing event

For me, our existence is based on the connection to ourselves, to our community and to mother nature. I always imagine it as 3 circles that come together to re-establish balance. Hosting retreats, such as the yoga & sailing event, gives an opportunity to all of us to participate in an exceptional experience outside of our usual environment, away from our usual “stress factors” to re-calibrate our body and minds. As a host I love to do this in a very down-to-earth way, allowing people to discover what there is to discover at their own pace. (Learn more about the Yoga & Sailing Retreat here)

What change would you like to see in the world? 

More empathy and “feel” before doing / saying something. A natural connection between the business world and the spiritual world. It is unrealistic that the whole world will suddenly change. It rather needs to develop further into a world that integrates the great advances of science, sustainable business and emotional intelligence as well as spiritual alignment. We have been there people… let’s make it happen again!

What is your ocean / nature / adventure dream that you like to make happen?

Cruising with my electric camper van through Europe, discovering new places, visiting friends and family and hosting more retreats PURELY outdoors – with tents or bivouacs and warming bonfires. 

Come and meet Nicole at the Yoga & Sailing – Connecting to the Inner Self Retreat in Croatia this September. You can learn more about Nicole and her retreats on nicoleheidenreich.com or instagram @Nicoles_lifechoice 

 

 

Meet Ocean Nomads skipper: Thomas van Thiel – By The Ocean We Unite

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“You can’t change the winds but you can adjust your sails.” 

Thomas van Thiel

Ocean Nomads Skipper

My Name is Thomas – ocean lover – who could sail almost earlier then walk. I have a big love and hunger for new adventures, traveling, nature, film, books, and chess or whatever game there is on the boat available.

Thomas! What’s your story? 

I started sailing in and around the lakes of my home town Almere in the Netherlands. When I got older I started working for Amorgos, a sailing school for yachts where I sailed a lot in and around the dutch waters and throughout the Croatian islands. In 2014, I did my first Atlantic crossing and opened my eyes for all the plastic pollution by seeing a plastic bottle 10 days away from the nearest land. Therefore I started By the Ocean we Unite when I came back home. By the Ocean we Unite is an organisation that spreads education and awareness trough organising sailing research expeditions on microplastics in the sea. We do a lot more so check out ByTheOceanWeUnite. Feel free to send me a message or ask me on the boat in Croatia. Last year I bought my beautiful 53ft steel ketch, Windfall, with whom I will leave for a circumnavigation to begin spring next year.

Why are you excited about joining the Ocean Nomads flotilla?

I met Suzanne in 2014 on the internet when we both were on a different ship and island in the Canarian Islands making our way to the Caribbean and we always kept in touch. I’ve been following ocean nomads for some while know and when Suzanne asked me whether I’d like to skipper one of the boats in September I could only say yes.

Connecting with each other on a boat is one of the big powers from sailing. Together with the crew, you make your own small community on the water with the boat and as our home, hopping from island to island. All together with all the small communities on all the other boats, we will be a moving village together. These are the ingredients of an awesome week where you make friends for a lifetime sharing the same experience. We combine this with aiming to keep our footprint as low as it can be and increasing our impact by learning and discussing the challenges and solutions the ocean is facing, I hope to find and share a lot of inspiration and good energy so together we will be the change.

Why are you passionate about sailing?

For me sailing is everything. It’s freedom in the purest of its word. Your compass is 360 degrees and you can go wherever the wind blows, working with the elements to navigate over this wild en tremendous blue dessert. You will get what you get and it comes how it comes. Over there, the here and now the only thing that counts and when you accept that you find freedom. At least I do. For me, that’s the most beautiful thing there is.

What’s your wildest ocean-related dream that you would love to experience in your lifetime?

Drop Anker in Polynesia!

Come and meet Thomas and his excitement about sailing and drive for ocean conservation at the next Ocean Nomads Flotilla in Croatia
And check him out in the trailer of ‘An Ocean Story’ below

An Ocean Story Trailer from Avalanche Film on Vimeo.