Have you ever dreamed of taking a year off, do something different, go on an adventure?
Luke, Hampus, Simon and Johan did.
For them it was a sailing adventure that stood on the wish list, and they have spent the last year crossing the Pacific Ocean, sailing from the Caribbean to Australia.
While they were docked in Sydney, I visited them on board to talk about their experience from the Pacific crossing and how this experience has changed them.
One of the SBS Norwegian listeners had a question for the handsome foursome - whether they were single...read to the end to find out!
Given the name of the boat, it seemed a natural question due to ask the the crew on KENOBI what their favourite Star Wars characters were. Apparently, "Luke Skywalker, R2D2 and Chewbacca" were the favourites.
Skipper Lukas, who said Luke Skywalker was his favourite character did point out though that, "it is not a Star Wars themed boat as such, but more of a good name."
KENOBI is the culmination of the dreams of four guys from Sweden, who either wanted to take a year off, a sabbatical, go on an adventure or learn to sail.
The dreams might have been different, but their execution fit very well together.
So five months after they first talked about it, they sat on the plane on the way to Caribbean to buy a boat, which they were going to use to sail across the pacific all the way to Australia.
The boat they bought and named KENOBI is a big catamaran.
Lukas says, "many sailors back in Scandinavia told us we were crazy to buy a catamaran."
What if they capsized? It wouldn’t come back around.
"Many sailors from the Scandinavian region are used to wild weather and stories of the boat being flipped aren’t unheard of," says Lukas. "So they always want a boat that could flip back up again."
Lukas explained that the route they took sailing across the Pacific has much calmer weather, and they mostly follow the trade winds so a catamaran works very well for the purpose.
It also gave them a lot of space, so much that all four of them could have their own cabin.
There are many reasons why you would take a year off, and for the crew of KENOBI the reasons were different, although still very aligned.
Lukas had done a similar trip before and tells about when he crossed the Atlantic with some other friends and longed for another adventure, and when he found friends that wanted to go he didn’t waste his time before planning the next trip.
Simon was inspired about Lukas’ previous adventure and wanted to join him the next time and told him over a beer, "If you ever gonna do this again, give me a call."
Whilst Hampus, he wanted to learn to sail be able to say after a year at sea: "Now I am definitely a sailor. Hard core sailor!"
The Pacific has a lot of wonders to offer, and the crew on KENOBI went places like; Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, Tahiti, Cook Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu.
With so many adventures en route, was there any one place or experience that stood out?
‘"It is different for all of us maybe," says Lukas after giving it some thought. "For me actually it was one of the last stops - Lau Group the south eastern part of Fiji."
"It’s only been open for cruiser for the last couple of years."
Because the Lau Group of Islands don't yet have any resorts or major tourism, the adventurers spent their time hanging out with the locals and fishing with them.
Lukas continues, "You feel it special to be able to get to those places having a sailboat."
There are so many great places says Simon, and that it’s hard to pick one, but he did mention French Polynesia, highlighting some of the experiences by saying, "Snorkeling and diving see the sharks and fishes. I mean the visibility could be up to 50 meters down in 20 meters depth."
Life on board the boat is very scheduled, you have your daily time at the helm steering the boat, when you’re not there you might be rostered to cook lunch or dinner.
There is also a lot of fishing to be done.
They also pick up a lot of fruit and local vegetables on the islands they have been visiting.
It has been a trip where they explored a lot of food, and they actually used very little tinned or processed food.
Their trip is nearing the end and it is time for some reflecting about how they have changed and how life will be when they are back in Sweden.
"I can’t imagine any better year spent on the sea than this," says Lukas. "The only problem is you want to spend more than one year."
He also have some thought about going back to Sweden: "It is good going back where everything is organised, which is good. But this is also good. So it’s good to be able to switch a bit back and forth."
Hampus has one recommendation for those who consider sailing or any other adventure for a year: "Just go for it and try to do it as soon as possible."
And to the question from the listener.. Are you single?.
From the boys, came first a little laughter then ‘Yes, Yes, Yes, everybody. That’s why we could go!’
And now off to plan the next adventure....
Listen to the crew's full interview (in English) with SBS Norwegian Radio, above.
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