Sailing La Vagabonde.

I met my boyfriend Riley, 32 from Adelaide SA, when he was single handedly sailing in the Mediterranean without a clue of how to sail (turns out he literally just purchased a yacht in Italy having no clue of how to actually sail..) and he was talking to the bilge pump. Oh, and planning to make a circumnavigation. We got on famously.

Myself, I’m from Geraldton, Western Australia, born and bred. Lived there my whole life and as soon as I finished school I left for travel and haven’t returned since.

Riley and I have been together for 17 months now, sailed thousands of miles together, all through the Mediterranean, got shot out of the Gibraltar straight into the Atlantic, down the west coast of Africa to the Canary Islands and as far down as the Cape Verdedian islands, across the Atlantic Ocean and since been hanging out, island hopping in the Caribbean where we have been taking things a little slower than usual. Having a break from the big sails for a while as we felt we had earned it after the Atlantic Crossing. 17 days at sea was quite an amazing experience looking back, the best sail we’ve had to date. But that’s a story itself I won’t get into in this little blog. But here is a blog of Rileys on the event if you’re interested!

I first picked up a spear gun 3 or so years ago after completing a freediving course and I absolutely fell in love with the sport and the nature of it all. A friend showed me how to add the speargun into it. What a combo. I had been scuba diving since I was 15 and earned my Dive Masters by the time I was 18. But once I truly discovered freediving, not just a ‘snorkel’, I was hooked. I loved the challenge, especially the satisfaction of bringing home dinner that ‘I’ speared (this was rare in the beginning, but when it DID happen, I made special point of letting everyone know I had speared what was on their plate!). Bye bye scuba gear. Hello gigantic fins and a weapon just about the same size as me.

A ship wreck we found in the Caribbean with the same name as our yacht. ‘Vagabonde’. We felt it would be criminal to not go and check it out.

Riley is a scuba instructor. He also had done a freediving course, fell in love with it and quickly pushed scuba aside for a while. We still both love scuba diving, don’t get me wrong but only if there is a shipwreck or something really worth gearing up on a hot day for so you can stay down for halfa.

Riley bought a few spearguns when he got La Vagabonde. He taught himself how to use one as he’s only ever done it a handful of times with his mates back in Aus.

I could go into a lot of detail of what fish we caught and where but there are far to many places and lot of fish species in this world. Some highlights and things I felt worthy of pointing out:

The Med. There was not much for us to spear in the med as most of it’s been over fished. There is no coral reefs, and we were anchored in the shallows most the time. When we were out deep, we were sailing on a 45 degree lean going 6 knots (not exactly a good time to jump overboard with your gun). So there wasn’t much more than wrasse, damsel fish and a few seabream swimming around the boat most the time. Sometimes grouper. But they were fast. We did however continuously catch many large tuna trawling with our lucky lure. We now know how to make a thousand different dishes with tuna as we began to get a little sick of it after a while. There was a lot of tuna in the Med.

The Cape Verdian islands off Africa… fish. galore. The locals swim off the beach with huge nets and use a boat to drag them back on the beach. In one go, they have dinghies full of fish to cart back to the other islands to sell and feed the locals, but first they have to sort through the lot and throw back all the turtles that get caught in the heap. They sell the fish by the bucket, in markets, on their heads, they even drive out to your yacht and try sell you the fish. And not just the small ones. Some of the fisherman venture out daily in their tiny 10hp dinghies, regardless of the weather (which can sometimes be hectic because of the trade winds) with little home made sails attached and bring back huge sharks, mahi mahi, swordfish, Tuna, Wahoo, the lot. This is no joke. Checkout a few of my Cape Verde videos! Very cool place.

The Caribbean is good for big, juicy orange crabs, huge crayfish that you find hiding under every second rock, and the delicious morton bay style bugs. They’re everywhere. But each island has it’s own different set of fishing/spearfishing laws, sometimes different languages on top of this, which is very annoying and almost impossible to keep up with. But it’s the price you gotta pay..

We are only very new to spearfishing. Neither of us have speared anything bigger than ourselves so far. But as long as we can spear dinner most nights, we are both happy as Larry. Riley is very keen on spearing the big stuff and I know he won’t hesitate to when he gets the chance.

I started documenting our sailing adventures by video and posting them on YouTube. They have since, surprisingly become a huge hit in the US and this is now my full time job. Filming and making movies to share with the world, and most recently a few other exciting projects I have been working on. I can now call myself a ‘vlogger’ (like travel blogger, but video form… I’d never heard of it before either). Riley does most the sailing now and catching dinner. Thanks Riles.

Riley and I plan to sail the San Blas islands come December this year, island hop the ‘A.B.C’ islands and along the coast of Columbia. We pass through the Panama Canal next Feb and head into the Pacific, where we visit the Galapagos islands and island hop slowly back to Australia. Thats as far ahead as we have planned. But we really don’t know where exactly we will be a week in advance as it all depends on the wind. And sometimes, also how much local rum has been consumed the night before we leave port. But only sometimes. That stuff is lethal.

Elayna Carausu