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Origins, and embracing nature

4+ years of living and cruising on our first sailboat Cherry Ripe taught us to respect nature, to harness it, and to strive to protect it. Let us (Tim and Mitch) tell you more...

Tim and Mitch started sailing together in 2019, and documented their journey as Sailing Beyond Borders.

Tim and Mitch first met in 2008 while surfing in Morocco, but it wasn't for another 10+ years until Tim slid into her DM's! He'd bought his first sailboat, Cherry Ripe, which was his way of finding a home for his nomadic spirit. Needing crew to explore the Western Isles of Scotland, Mitch came out for a few weeks of adventure.

Cherry Ripe (lower left) nestled in a magical anchorage on the island of Skye.

Sailing between Scottish lochs, and enjoying a few drams of smokey whisky, it was a recipe for romance. Before long they had fallen not only for each other but also for a life with nature on the doorstep. 360° landscape views, visits from wildlife, and skies of limitless hues.

Mitch after her first night sail, when we had engine problems on approach and spent hours tacking to a safe anchorage. Tim looking happy after they fixed said engine issue! (It was contaminated fuel)

Learning to read Mother Nature and maintaining the boat kept us on our toes. Being able to travel comfortably and safely from one place to the next was dependent on our understanding of the forecast and its interplay with the surrounding geography.

Living with the elements at first felt unpredictable and daunting but it quickly awakened part of us that has always been there inside. We are animals after all and our bodies are still wired for interpreting and reacting to our environment.

Between us we had the combined study and work experience of filmmaking, photography, zoology, sailing, and surfing. Eager to continue the adventure and put our skills to use we set out to document our journey and learn from the places we went and the people we met. We shared some of this on YouTube under the title of Sailing Beyond Borders.

Tony Butt is a big wave surfer, oceanographer and environmentalist. We met him mid-winter on the rugged coast of northern Spain. He said "We [humans] think that we're the dominant force on the planet, and we can do what we like with the natural environment, and we're really we're not. And doing something like [big wave] surfing helps you understand that." Watch the video here.

Sailing to the Rías Baixas in north-west Spain we met Jose and Garci who teach us about local upwelling and the nutrient rich conditions it can create. Despite that, "... nowadays the quantity of fish inside the bay is nearly nothing [compared to 200 years ago]." To our shock the designated National Park still allows poorly regulated fishing inside its borders. The hope is that Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are established within the National Parks. "It's the only way" says Jose. Watch the video here.

By now the boat was well-equipped for sailing offshore -- AIS, radar, windvane steering, satellite communication, and all the safety gear we could think of. We had installed solar panels to complement the wind generator and had self-sufficiency in terms of powering all of our systems and devices. We were ready for bigger passages, and dreamt of turqoise playgrounds for surf, kite and freedive. The Caribbean was calling and all that stood in our way was two thousand miles of deep blue.

The Canary Islands were the first stepping stone on our ocean crossing. Here we anchor off the dramatic landscape of Lanzarote.

The archipelago of Cabo Verde offered waves, close encounters with marine life, and a vibrant coastal culture.

Our 16-day Atlantic crossing. We're fortunate to be have been joined by good friend and wildlife filmmaker Ben Tutton. Travelling slowly over such a big swathe of the map gave a physical feeling of Earth's scale. When we think of a world map we think of countries and border lines, but this experience made that seem so artificial and a confined way of thinking. The planet is one interconnected natural system, and that's surely how we must treat it when it comes to thinking of solutions for the environment and climate.

Land ho! The Caribbean offered us a dream playground for kiteboarding, freediving and surfing.

Our ocean journey so far has given us a profound love for the world we live in. The rhythms of nature offer a beat we want to keep dancing to. And as custodians we take pleasure in trying to protect this place.

Join us for the upcoming Water People Expedition on our new catamaran Aloha Kai. The goal is bringing together like-minded people to enjoy this feeling of flow and to take action together.


Get Involved

Adventure with the rest of the crew, help document key stories, bring your ideas to the table.

And your crew contribution helps cover the running costs of the expedition which is the platform for the Protect campaign.

We need to raise funds to support the important storytelling we're undertaking for the Protect initiative. Researching and organising shoots, travelling to locations, buying hard drives and equipment, video editing — a donation goes a long way to help.

100% of profit from the shop goes to our Protect campaign to help create original multimedia storytelling to advocate for the protection of marine and coastal environments.

Wearing a Water People t-shirt or cap helps spread the word and helps make a success of the initiative.

Become a title sponsor, partner or gear provider.
Or get involved as a Foundation, Charity or grant provider.
Or collab as an individual. Perhaps you're a water athlete? Conservationist? Influencer? Scientist?

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