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.

Meet Ocean Nomads skipper: OceanMinded Momo Markus Muttur

“I am a citizen of the most beautiful nation on earth, a nation whose laws are harsh yet simple, a nation that never cheats, which is immense and without borders, where life is lived in the present. In this limitless nation, this nation of wind, light, and peace, there is no other ruler besides the sea.” – (Bernard Moitessier)

Markus Muttur

Live-fanatic – Connector & Facilitator – Freediver – Sailor – Animal lover

& endlessly curious about how and where life is surprising me next.

Markus! What’s your story? 

Hola, I am Momo. Began checking this world out 35 years ago in Paris/France, then moved to Germany where I lived until my 20ies. I guess a healthy „unrest“ was always part of me, so I went to travel and work in Chile for 1 year, then moved to Madrid and studied, then to Hamburg where I started sailing and racing Laser’s and 470ies EVERY SINGLE DAY on the Alster in the middle of the city. During that time I also heavily trained Martial Arts and Yoga, which connected me deeply to my body and senses (and the feeling of flow). What more did I discover? That I can never seem to stay in one place longer than 3 years 😉 After quitting my job in Hamburg I moved to the island of the old cero-meridian (El Hierro), where I organized Yoga retreats and really really slowed life down big time in every conceivable way. Then one day got called up if I want to join a delivery from Barcelona to Lanzarote – JJJEP, why not? Through that delivery, I gained a new job as Sales Manager for a Charter Company on Lanzarote, did more deliveries, but also spend an unhealthy amount of time in the office. So, easy solution: QUIT JOB, start up your heart project!!

In my passions (Freediving / Sailing / Photography) and places (Ocean & rural land off the beaten path) I discovered new ways of understanding myself, my way of seeing the world and the ways in which I connect to my surroundings. OceanMinded (the mentioned heart project) was born out of a passion for the sea, lives through the activities I intend to create (Adventure Sailing Expeditions / Freediving Retreats) and grows via connecting and sharing beautiful ideas like waves.

Why are you excited about joining the Ocean Nomads flotilla?

The term “nomad” is usually equated with wanderer, drifter – a person who doesn’t stay long in one place, for whom change is the only constant. I would call myself a nomad in so far as I firmly believe that in yourself, right here, right now is all the place you’ve got… An attachment to places, in the end, is no different from an attachment to our material world – it sequesters you into a state, where you cease to live with the natural flow. I love to join the Ocean Nomads flotilla to connect with likeminded „Nomads“, to feel that our tribe of eco-positive people is huge (and growing), to dive, to sail, to laugh, to enjoy all the little marvelous moments which in the end is the purpose of life for me.

Why are you passionate about sailing?

Sailing is for me the most beautiful and magic way to travel – let the wind show you around. Furthermore, it is an activity that takes us outside our comfort zone, disrupting our pre-conceptions and the value we place on things around us.  We are obliged to be aware of our surroundings; constantly assessing our location, our heading and the risks associated with being out at sea, in this immense endless blue. Sailing reduces life to its bare essentials: Our collective well–being and capacity to achieve goals depend on the strength and cohesiveness of the team.

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

Freediving: Get to 100m deep in Freediving and dive with whales one day!

Sailing: Own a sailboat on which I live and sail from place to place
Other: To read „Breaking News – Global Fishing fleet stops plundering the oceans, Oil Drilling & seismic testing prohibited, majority of plastics in the Oceans seem to have disappeared, all oceans declared as a holy heritage of mankind, Marine Protected Areas spread like crazy!“ 🙂
Come an meet Markus and his abundance of energy, ocean dedication and ocean love at the next Ocean Nomads Flotilla in Croatia
And learn more about him on Facebook, Instagram and Flickr.