The Pirate Hippie Commune Circumnavigating the World
Alternative Sailing is an initiative to travel the world in restored ships and live a hippie and simple democracy.
“The pirates’ utopia is still alive,” says one of the new hippie buccaneers that spend their time navigating around the world in old ships that they have rescued from ruin. It’s a peripatetic, simple existence overflowing with that substance that is now so rare in our species: adventure.
As good old stubborn navigators, the community of Alternative Sailing has that “eternal lust for remote things,” and as good old traditional hippies they use art, music, recycling and performance to finance their trip around the world. They are a floating community that, instead of trying to break down conventional paradigms, seek to create their own on the margin of those, out at sea, and invite anybody to join their band of travelers via their website. Their aim is to create a network of ship-communes that are the property of all, that share the same ideals and values and travel together like a caravan and actively participate in environmental projects in different parts of the world.
Sailing is truly one of the cleanest ways of traveling and of constantly understanding the wind and climatic phenomena. Their modus operandi has a lot to do with the old style of the West Indies: The captain, who they need to make quick decisions at sea, is elected by the crew based on his or her skills and experience. A different captain can be designated at any time if the current one does not follow the wishes of the majority. None of the crew is considered more important than anybody else (unlike today’s maritime hierarchies). What Alternative Sailing proposes, in some senses, is a return to real democracy.
Until now, with only one year since the group was founded, there has only been one captain and he is Tony, who has been navigating the Caribbean Sea for seven years, where he received the necessary instruction to obtain the license of master seaman. But you don’t need to know about navigation to join the group.
Sailing classes are held daily for those novices who are new to the initiative. There they learn, from Tony, the nautical language, to read the skies from the clouds and stars and how to react to the wind and tides and interact with the elements. In the documentary on their website you can see the preparations for their trip through the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean.
Onboard the Starseeker all kinds of neo-hippie activities take place: ‘nautical yoga,’ music, circus acts, macramé, free drawing, etc. The crew earns money from giving shows on land; they recycle food and old ships’ parts, and receive donations from their page at Indiegogo.
The Starseeker sailed through the Panama Canal and arrived safely at the Galapagos Islands. From there it let the ocean currents carry it for seven months. In late 2014 it arrived in New Zealand, where it is currently under repair, while the captain plans his next route.
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