About Us

Liveaboards, Yachtsmen, Cruisers, and Boat Punks

*This is an excerpt from a piece I first published here. 

Boat Punk

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.

Ryan

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.

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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.

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Categories: About Us, Collection of Stories about Cultures, Our Journey, sailing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Shrimp Who Became a Shark

I wake up one morning to find a small transparent shrimp on the steps of our boat. Looks like a suicide.

Next day Ivo finds another one. And another one the day after. A dead shrimp becomes a part of our morning routine. We wake up, we make coffee, and we collect the inevitable shrimp.

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There must be a shrimp kingdom beneath our boat, Fata Morgana. The shrimp king, a fat orange fellow with long antennas, probably had concluded, after a restless night full of hallucinations, that Fata Morgana is a powerful shrimp goddess. One who’s anger and might could annihilate in a minute the entire shrimp population for no particular reason. “Therefore, he had announced to all, sacrifice is needed to appease the powerful goddess hovering above our shrimp kingdom”.

* You can find the rest of this story here

Categories: About Us, adventure, conservation, cruising, family, fishing, Florida, food, fun, Key West, Key West Florida, marine conservation, marine life, morning, Nature, off grid, Our Journey, places, sailing, sharks, travel, wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Few Blog Up-Dates

Since I last posted here there have been a couple of changes in our blog.

The first and most important thing is that we now own the website www.thelifenomadik.com thanks to my brother Ivaylo Nenchev, who set up the whole thing. I wouldn’t be able to do it ever, and so we are very grateful for his initiative and the amazing job he did. Thank you, bro! So if you are following our journey, please make sure to bookmark or subscribe to thelifenomadik.com, as I will be posting lots of exciting stories and pictures there from now on.

The second important change to the blog is the launching of our Shanty Boat Shop Page where we will be advertising and selling stuff we make, find, get, or buy as we go around the world in order to help finance our journey. From new and used clothes and accessories, to shells and palm leaf hats, we are hoping to learn local crafts, make some cash, and promote small local business around the world. You can visit the page here regularly, as I will be updating it every now and then with new merchandise.

Enjoy!

Categories: About Us, blogging | 1 Comment

Ninety Percent Chance of Showers

We are now anchored north of Fleming Key Florida, a 5 minute dinghy ride away from Key West downtown. There are hundreds of boats anchored out here. It’s free and you can stay indefinitely. We are still doing repairs on the boat, still waiting for parts we have ordered, so we will be here for a few weeks. We have to fix the starboard engine, we need a longer chain for the anchor, and we have to deal with the headsail: either buy a new jib or have the old one re-stitched.

Every day here in Key West is beautiful: either a beautiful sunny day or a beautiful rainy day. There are tons of things to do when it is sunny: sailing, fishing, snorkeling, hanging out with friends, bicycling or walking around town. When it is rainy, there are things to do as well, things you can’t do when it is sunny.

Here is what you can do when it rains (and if you can think of other things-to-do-in-the-rain, please let us know in the comment box bellow):

  1. Give the boat a nice scrub, especially if she has spent the past two months in a filthy boatyard;
  2. Collect rainwater to fill your freshwater tanks;
  3. Ride a bike and get soaked, but feel happy;
  4. Take a shower.

Freshwater shower is a luxury for people of our lifestyle and so an opportunity like this (a free and abundant downpour) needs to be grabbed and enjoyed.

Ivo and Vick taking a rain shower.

Ivo and Vick taking a rain shower.

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Maya collecting rain water.

Maya collecting rain water.

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Categories: About Us, adventure, cruising, family, fun, Key West Florida, kids, off grid, Our Journey, sailing, travel | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

The Booze Cruise Turned Survival At Sea.

“Waiting is not a waste of time. The patient man succeeds.”

-An ancient Inuit saying

Wednesday May 29th.

The boat is finally ready to sail and we decide to move her to the anchorage near Key West, north of Fleming Island, about two hours of sailing from where we are in Stock Island. It is getting late, the sun is almost ready to dip in the ocean, and this means we will either have to wait for tomorrow or navigate at night. We have no charts, we have no sailing experience, and we have a problem with the starboard engine, it won’t start. We decide to get going anyway. We have been waiting way too long.

The crew members are: our family of four plus Tony and Tyler who are coming to help with the sailing and guide us. We have no experience except the one month sailing school in Saint Petersburg, where we learned the basics of sailing on 18 feet keel boats.

Tony

Tony

Tony has been crewing and working on boats for some time, but he is also pretty new to the sailing world. He is currently working on his Cape Dory 28 on the hard at Robby’s Boatyard getting her ready for the sea.

Tyler

Tyler

Tyler has a lot more time spent on boats. He is the one who knows what he is doing. He has two boats anchored at the same place where we are heading.

Sailing into the sunset

Sailing into the sunset

As we get out in the channel we hoist the mainsail for a first time. We are finally sailing! We have captured just a bit of the wind, a tiny air stream, which is filling the sail and is making the boat move swiftly in the direction we want.

Hoisting the main

Hoisting the main

I once saw a baby struggling with a toy, trying to fit the right shapes in the correct holes. I remember the triumph in his eyes when after much effort he finally succeeded. He laughed and he screamed with excitement jumping in his place, and he was thus proud with himself as if he had performed some sort of a miracle.

First time sailing on your own boat feels the same way.

Ivo at the helm

Ivo at the helm

It gets dark. We are sailing with a speed of six knots. At some point we have to jibe. Jibing is much more radical than tacking and as the boom swings from one side to the other, the stopper for one of the lines breaks and the same traveler that Richard just saved a few hours ago breaks loose and flies off the track! We hear bearings rolling down the deck and into the sea. But the traveler is attached to the lines and so it doesn’t fall in the ocean. It hangs in the air swinging around. Tyler and Tony rush to attach the loose mainsail which is flapping in the wind with much noise. They succeed to secure it in place and the traveler is saved again.

During these 10-15 minutes of panic, nobody pays attention where the boat is going. At some point we see boats anchored where there shouldn’t be boats anchored. Or maybe we are not where we think we are? In the dark, we are navigating by looking at the channel’s green and red lights and the lights on shore. Without a GPS and charts, the only electronic device we are monitoring is the dept sounder. And the numbers it shows us begin to get smaller and smaller so fast, we have no time to think and react. Twenty feet, eighteen feet, fifteen, twelve, ten, eight, six, five, four, alarm!, alarm! , three feet!, two feet!

We run aground. The boat gently stops, there is no crushing sounds.

Remember that excited baby with the toy? He just pooped himself.

The shore is far away, there is just water around us. We are stuck in a sandbank. Great. First time sailing and this is what happens.

There are some weird metal structures sticking out of the water. One is pretty close to the boat. In the dark it looks white.

We take the mainsail down and we try to start the port engine and go in reverse in order to unstuck the boat. But it doesn’t start. Both engines are dead.

With the dinghy Ivo takes the spare anchor away from the boat, in deeper waters. The anchor line is not very long. Tyler says it would be much better if we had a longer line.

The plan is to deploy the anchor and pull ourselves away from the shallow waters by pulling on the anchor line. We work like crazy, pulling at the rope, and it is a heavy job. Tony does an incredible job pulling. I’m sure he won’t feel his arms tomorrow. I just hope no one gets hurt.

We get unstuck but the wind picks up and pushes the boat towards the metal structure. It is now just a few feet away. If we hit it we will damage the boat for sure. At least the port engine starts and we now have a hard time pulling the anchor up by hand. We finally succeed and we start motoring away from these forsaken shallow waters full of strange metal structures. We motor back to the place where we got lost and sometime after midnight we finally get to the anchorage in Key West.

As we go to sleep for a first time anchored out at sea I reflect back at what has just happened. On the positive side of it, I think that we have acquired a valuable experience; we have learned what to do in a situation like that without any damage on the boat. We have also learned that charts are important, engines are important, and most of all: patience. We should have waited and sailed in daylight.

Lesson learned.

Categories: About Us, adventure, cruising, disaster, family, Florida, Key West, Our Journey, places | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Used 1988 Fleetwood Pace Arrow For Sale

Time to sell Baba Ghanoush. We cannot possibly take her with us on the boat around the world, can we?

(You wish )

Best fishing spot on our way to St Petersburg

Best fishing spot on our way to St Petersburg

We started this journey in the beginning of November 2012 leaving home in search of the perfect boat, driving this suspicious-looking motor home from marina to marina all around Florida, living in city parks, marinas, and parking lots, never going near expensive over-regulated  campgraounds.

Laundry time ...in the beach showers...

Laundry time …in the beach showers…

The motor home we named Baba Ghanoush. Her spirit was free and adventurous. She was our home and vehicle, our indestructible spaceship and comfortable refuge, our whale in whose belly we felt safe. We ended up loving her as a person. We took care of her.

The Historical Washing of Baba Ghanoush

The Historical Washing of Baba Ghanoush

But now “home” is Fata Morgana, our boat, and Baba Ganoush is ready for new owners. Only, I worry a lot about her future and I wish the new owners will treat her with love and respect, as we did. We don’t want to just sell her to anyone. There is a criteria to be met by the candidates. They better be good or else.

Early morning exercises, Cape Coral, Florida

Early morning exercises, Cape Coral, Florida

We moved all our stuff from Baba Ganoush on the boat and are mentally ready to sail. Only, the boat is not ready yet and we feel kind of stuck here in the boatyard still working on the keels, still waiting for parts we ordered to arrive . Two weeks ago, we were sure we would be in the water in a few days. Now, we are not so sure any more… Everyone keeps asking us When are you going to splash? And frankly, we don’t know. Maybe in a week, maybe in a month. Whenever Fata Morgana is ready.

In the meantime, Baba Ganoush has been emptied and is ready for new adventures.

Categories: About Us, adventure, cruising, family, Key West Florida, motor home, off grid, RV, sailing, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Embracing Disorders

Rob, thanks for your comment!

I understand you dislike the word “disorder” in its sense of upset of health; ailment. You probably thought I am using the term incorrectly, trying to describe in a dramatic way our desire to travel. Or maybe you accept such a condition as normal, as you yourself are a traveller! But I assure you, we truly were diagnosed by a psychiatrist with Dromomania and it is a mental disorder.

Dromomania-also travelling fugue, is an uncontrollable psychological urge to wander.[1] People with this condition spontaneously depart from their routine, travel long distances and take up different identities and occupations. Months may pass before they return to their former identities. The term comes from the Greek: dromos (running) and mania (insanity)

More generally, the term is sometimes used to describe people who have a strong emotional or even physical need to be constantly traveling and experiencing new places, often at the expense of their normal family, work, and social lives.”

-quote from Wikipedia

Let me explain some more.

In my previous post About Us I used the term “disorder” sarcastically in order to describe our constant desire to travel which has altered our lives many times already.

“The one thing the four of us have in common is a disorder. Many years ago, when Ivo and I were both eighteen, we would hitch-hike, bike, hike, take a bus or a train or even a plane (depending on our budget) in order to go to a place we have never been yet, or to escape from a place we didn’t want to be in any more. While hitch-hiking, we’ve been picked up by many strange transportations besides cars, among which: a donkey wagon, motorcycles, a garbage truck, and a convoy of mules led by gipsies in the Bulgarian mountains. In 1995, in a hostel somewhere in Slovakia, an ex-psychiatrist finally diagnosed us with Dromomania: a maniacal impulse for travelling, and we’ve been chronically and proudly sick ever since. The kids got this condition too or were probably born with it, and I think it might be contagious, as many of our friends, after spending time with us, got it as well.”

I didn’t want to offend nobody using the word “disorder”, not even ourselves. I think I used it accurately.

I have to admit, I am fascinated by the term and all its definitions, now that I think of it, especially the fourth one: a deviation from the normal system or order.

disorder [dɪsˈɔːdə]

n

1. a lack of order; disarray; a state of confusion

2. (Law) a disturbance of public order or peace

3. (Medicine) an upset of health; ailment

4. a deviation from the normal system or order

 

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/disorder

I embrace disorder!

The normal scare me.

 nor·mal  (nôrml)

adj.

1. Conforming with, adhering to, or constituting a norm, standard, pattern, level, or type; typical: 

2. The usual or expected state, form, amount, or degree.

a. Correspondence to a norm.

b. An average.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/normal

Anyway, I believe that there is no such thing as “normal”. We all at one time or another feel different, act different, are different; with some sort of a disorder.

Today: a hyperactive kid is immediately diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.

Today: we are being sold modified foods, fast foods, horrible foods, and immediately diagnosed with Eating Disorders.

Today: we are being subjects of immense stress: the gas prices rise uncontrollably; we lose our jobs for no reason; a crazy guy kills twenty kids in a school, and soon enough we are taking pills for Acute Stress Disorder or Anxiety Disorder.

Today: our kids live in a virtual world of videogames: they have Adolescent Antisocial Disorder.

(I think, normality is urban legend.It is also a fluid term that may change its definition according to historical, geographical, or social context. What is normal in Africa may not be normal in Asia. What was normal in medieval times may not be normal today. People once accepted slavery as normal. People today accept as normal such things like inflation and taxation in a corrupt system (isn’t that slavery again?), hanging in traffics for hours each day, or working jobs they hate in order to pay for things they don’t need.)

So, we have a disorder. We have many disorders. So be it!

Embrace your disorders and live with them, it’s normal!

Ivo, totally crazy at Siesta Key Beach, Florida

Ivo, totally crazy at Siesta Key Beach, Florida

Categories: About Us, Reflections | 12 Comments

About Us (long version update)

I have just updated the About Us page with a long version.

Here you will find out what kind of people we are, Ivo, Maya, Viktor, and me, and why we are doing what we are doing (according to me).

About Us

Categories: About Us | 2 Comments

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