*This is an excerpt from a piece I first published here.
Since a few years now, there is a distinctive fourth group of seafaring people. These are young kids in their twenties and thirties with left-wing progressive views, disenchanted with the capitalist system, and the middle class standards in the United States of America, seeking alternative ways of off-grid living, self sufficiency, and ultimate freedom.
Recently, owning and maintain a boat has become more affordable than ever thanks to the development of new cheaper technologies, the access to on-line information about how to build and repair a boat, and to the global economic collapse. Boat prices have dropped dramatically.
Thus, young rebellious kids can now get an older used boat for as little as a few hundred dollars and fix it up on a very low budget using all sorts of recycled materials, even junk, and go exploring the world.
What sets them apart from the rest of the boaters is their willingness to come and stick together in a tight community, almost a kinship, sharing knowledge and skills, helping each other, having fun, working together, facing common problems, and doing all sorts of unusual things.
In Key West we met and befriended an interesting crowd of artists, anarchists, environmentalists, animal rights activists, feminists, socialists, musicians, vegetarians, misfits, jacks-of-all-trades, and other non-mainstream enthusiasts, all suffering from incurable wanderlust: Tony and Chopper aboardPisces, Ryan and Stacie aboard Liquid Courage, Becca aboard Dolphin, Miranda aboard Snoopy, and Cherrie and Tyler aboard Rocksteady who have baptised themselves Boat Punks, deriving from the streets and the Punk scene.
Punk is a lifestyle, a movement, and a political statement. Since its origins in the 1960s and 70s as an underground music genre, Punk has evolved into a complex ideology opposing the state system and established social structure, challenging the social orthodoxy, political and mainstream cultural establishment, and promoting individual freedom, an anarchic resistance, non-conformity and social revolt, DIY ethics and anti-consumerism.
Although our shiny 38 feet relatively new catamaran Fata Morgana doesn’t really belong, conceptually or visually (unless we spray some graffiti on her, which I have considered) in this fourth group, our family’s ideology, values, and way of life do. And so naturally we have joined their extravagant community here in Key West. Our experiences with the Boat Punks include:
- a foot operation without anaesthesia aboard Fata Morgana;
- sailing to a reef and snorkelling, fishing and jumping off the boat all day;
- scavenging an abandoned recently wrecked vessel;
- volunteering at the food bank;
- hosting a visit by a German journalist and a photographer who came to write a magazine article about Boat Punks;
- and more. (I will write about all these with more details as soon as I have more time and some internet, so stick around.)
Moreover, we have decided to write a collage article on Boat Punk in collaboration, each person contributing his/her own individual story and reasons for doing what we are doing. I will publish it here soon.