Thursday, April 20, 2017

Introducing The Coconuts: A Crazy (Awesome) Family Afloat and Sailing for a Cause


WHEW! Hello from my terribly neglected blog! (I'm very active on Instagram and Facebook though, much easier and less time consuming!) I have all the usual excuses of why I haven't written so I won't bore you with those, but I do have a very cool family (who is doing some very awesome stuff) to introduce you too...



The blog world, particularly the sailing/cruising/liveaboard blog world, is very small so when Natasha reached out to me asking if I would like to share her family's story, I jumped at the chance because I had actually been following them for a while (and totally in awe of their incredible adventures and overall adorableness!) so spreading the word about their new campaign was exciting for me. And, lets be honest, we aren't exactly 'adventuring' these days (but watch this space! Twins are THREE now!) and while I love our island expat live-aboard life and the daily 'adventures' that brings, sometimes we all want to read about the crazy kind of stuff this family is doing (and has done - like give birth to two babies...aboard their boat!)


***

Please read our interview below and get acquainted with The Coconuts and if you like what you read, consider contributing to their campaign (video below) and follow along with their various social media outlets: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

  1. Your family is so unique with almost every member being born somewhere else, give us a little background on each of you: We are The Coconuts, a family of 6 who for a decade have lived a nomadic life aboard our eco-sailboat (engineless). Jay, the Captain, was born in California, and sailing became his life passion at a very young age...when most teenagers buy cars Jay was buying sailboats that he would fix up and later sell, his 3rd boat was finally an offshore vessel on which he left sailing south bound. 4 years later he found himself in Costa Rica where he met his wife (me), Natasha. I was born and raised in Costa Rica, and am a photographer and filmmaker who after getting my bachelors and masters degrees in the US came back to my native country to open a production company. My first daughter Sol was born in NYC...I decided to become a single mother by choice, and I moved back to Costa Rica when Sol was a year old and I was pregnant with Luna who was born there. I met Jay when the girls where very small (around 1 and 2 years old). Jay adopted Sol and Luna and has raised them as his own, together we had Caribe, born onboard in Martinique in the warm Caribbean sea and Ártico born in Iceland in a little house surrounded by snow near the Arctic circle.
  2. Tell us a little bit about your history as cruisers (where have you been, etc) and what drove you to pursue your current project? Shortly after meeting and falling in love, Sol, Luna and I jumped onboard Jay’s boat in the Pacific of Costa Rica and became permanent stow-aways. We sailed the boat back up to California to refit it and then back down to Costa Rica were we sold it when we had the opportunity to rescue a boat that had been abandoned in Florida, this was Messenger, an ex-racer from the 80’s which we fixed up while we lived in it and sailed down south from Florida. From there we went to Bahamas, Cuba, Costa Rica where they had a beach wedding, then Panama where we conceived, Colombia, Curaçao, Bonaire, Guadeloupe, Saint Lucia and Martinique where we had our boat birth for which Jay attended the birth, again by choice. Then when Caribe was a month and a half we continued on north to Dominique, Antigua, Barbuda, Bermuda, New York and Newport, RI where we stopped to refit Messenger completely. During this haul-out we flew to California to visit Jay’s family and ended up buying an old VW.  We refitted that in Jay’s parents garage in a week and set off land sailing across the entire US back to RI where we sold the VW for a huge profit. After the refit of Messenger we set sail again with Natasha pregnant and went to Lunenberg - Nova Scotia, Saint Pierre et Michelon, Saint John’s - Newfoundland, Saint Anthony’s - Labrador and off to Iceland where again we stopped for a birth, though we lived aboard all winter in the harbor of Reykjavik it was too dark, cramped and cold to give birth on the boat, so some friends of ours invited us to stay in their great-grandmothers empty house in the West-fjords of Iceland where we had our baby, Artico, in a 200 year old house. Ártico was the 26th baby to be born in this house, again attended by Jay, again by choice. When Ártico was 4 months old we set sail circumnavigating Iceland through the north to the east and jumping off to the Faroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Norway, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and finally France where we are now.
  3. What do you love most about the cruising/living on a boat lifestyle? EVERYTHING! Not only do we all love the sea, sailing and traveling to new places but we are true minimalist, so a life at sea, on a boat with little belongings fits us very well. We love meeting new people, experiencing different cultures, traditions and foods. Actually we have never really identified or called ourselves cruisers which relates to pleasure and leisure, I think this is the reason why we needed to get out of the Caribbean and explore places where there weren’t any cruisers. We really immerse ourselves in the places where we go and make strong friendships with the locals. Therefore we love that our home is mobile and we can take it with us anywhere, so we are never really tourist either because we have our home with us.
  4. What do you find is the greatest challenge living on a boat/living nomadic with children in tow? There are as many challenges as enjoyments, life at sea with this many children and living on a tight budget as we always have is not for everyone and definitely not for the faint of heart. Finding work, finding money, living in tight quarters, having to carry our food and dirty laundry around, it’s all a challenge. We really are modern nomads, just like going out to hunt and gather we have to go out and hunt a grocery store and then carry on our backs our food into a dinghy and row it to our boat. Actually during our travels we forage a lot: fruits, mushrooms, snails, mussels, coconuts and of course fish a lot… we are gathers and hunters still in many ways.
  5. Tell us a little bit about your current plans and project? Currently we are tackling the world of professional sailboat racing, a world that is dominated by corporate sponsors, and as always, we want to do things differently, this is why we have launched a crowdfunding campaign with a purpose: to race for freedom. Jay has been dreaming about this since a young age and that is why we came to France, the mecca of offshore sailboat racing. We are building a race boat to compete in races throughout Europe, UK, the Caribbean and the USA. Some races are double-handed for which both of us will participate in, even the kids can do some as well, while the trans-Atlantic ones are single-handed. To see more about our plans, please see this video: https://www.gofundme.com/racingforfreedom
  6. Was there ever a time when you wanted to throw in the towel and head back to a more conventional life? NEVER, we dislike convention, we don’t see ourselves ever living in a house, life on a boat is so much more simple, frugal and ecological.
  7. In an ideal world, what does the future look like for the Coconuts crew? In an ideal world, we see The Coconuts living in a big boat where everyone has their own space, spending winters exploring the north and summers in the south racing smaller boats, always in our mobile floating home changing the view.



Thanks Natasha, for reaching out and for this great interview! I hope to meet you and your beautiful family one day!

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