Sailing the world. They believe humanity is facing social and ecological challenges and try to do everything they can to overcome them. That´s why Ivar Smits and Floris van Hees from Holland sail around the world to find successful local solutions to these challenges.
“The transition towards a sustainable society takes all hands on deck”, Ivar says. He has long experience as a sailing instructor, while Floris left a career as a lawyer in Amsterdam.
Follow the dream. In June 2016 Ivar and Floris, aboard “Lucipara 2”, a classic steel ketch of 47 food, could leave Amsterdam after months of preparation. This is what they wrote in the log book after farewell to family and friends: “Their positive thoughts and wishes of good luck warm our hearts and motivate us to follow our dream, even if it means that we will not see most of them for a long time”.
At the moment “Lucipara 2” has reached Puerto Montt, south of Chile after sailing via Sweden, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, some Mediterranean countries before heading west to Cap Verde and the shores of Brazil and South-America.
“We have been to beautiful places and nature, met people and some inspiring solutions. We are three years into our journey and have never been bored – and look forward to years to come at sea”, they declare from Chile.
Project and reality. If any considers something similar in the future, you can learn a lot from these guys, how to plan and bring such a project to reality. Ivar and Floris have always something to do, apart from sailing they make videos and write, they keep contact with followers, collect innovative examples and share them with as many people as possible and run a project called Sailors for Sustainability. Sailing through Patagonia south of Argentina took more time than expected, but the stunning natural beauty of this area made it well worth the extra time.
Click Large photos Sailing the world
Solutions that work. Ivar and Floris have discovered more than 40 inspiring ecological and social solutions that already work.
“We found solutions to grow food without agro-toxins and synthetic fertilizers. At sea, the most visible type of pollution comes from plastics. Floating and washed-up plastic waste everywhere we go, even on uninhabited and remote islands. And we noticed climate change in the form of changing weather patterns and melting glaciers in Patagonia”.
Any dramatic situations while sailing?
At least one – at the island of Stromboli in Italy. Finding an anchorage with suitable depth was quite challenging. They found a spot, paddled to the shore and pulled the kayak onto the beach. It was Ivar´s birthday which they celebrated at a pizzeria. The wind picked up and as Ivar took the first bite of the pizza, Floris shouted: “Lucipara is adrift!” They rushed to the beach, jumped into the kayak and paddled as fast as they could just to discover two local guys already was there to save the boat. They anchored close to the beach and finished second part of the birthday dinner – with canned soup!
Any strange food you are served?
“The most special food is what we catch. In Norway we learned how to catch and prepare mackerel and we feel lucky when we find mussels or discover wild berries or apples. Eating directly from nature brings back a connection that we had lost during our previous lives in the city, and know that healthy food cannot exist without a healthy environment. After hours hiking and picking blackberries, eating a freshly baked blackberry-crumble-desert feels like a reward. Not a crumb is wasted!
Ivar and Floris plans to leave Chile and continue into the Pacific Ocean, stopping at Easter Island, French Polynesia, New Zealand and into Asia in search for sustainable solutions. The route is roughly mapped: via South-Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean, USA and Greenland before a return to Europe.
What do you miss away from home?
“Without any doubt: our family and friends. And Dutch “stroopwafels”, syrup waffles, although every now and then we are delighted when a visitor brings them. How much time it will take to complete our journey depends on a number of factors, but we expect to sail for at least a few more years before a return to Amsterdam”
Finally, a main question: How to finance such a lifestyle?
“Before we left Amsterdam in search of sustainable solutions, we saved as much money as possible and savings still finance a large part of our trip. We follow low-cost living standards, such as fishing for food. We also work with partners who publish our stories or videos in their magazines, on their websites or in newsletters. If businesses are interested in partnering with us, they may contact us.
We welcome donations to support our quest to find and spread examples that make a more sustainable way of living possible. One way to sponsor our project is to become a patron on a platform called Patreon where patrons can decide how much they donate for each video we make. Even small donations are a big encouragement to us, as they show involvement and care about our work and our goals”.
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