Sailing and exploring is a passion for both of us. A sailing boat is a very practical home base for a voyager. No heavy back-packs or trunks to carry, no time spent waiting for flights, trains or buses. Like a snail, we carry our little home with us wherever we go.
This does not mean that we exclude travelling on land. On the contrary, we love trekking, biking or hitch-hiking to get to meet the local people and see those places the ‘modern tourists’ just pass by in their high-tempo pursuit for the best beaches or coolest nightclubs.
Isabelle has been about this life-style most of her adult life. Born in Brittany in France, she left at 20 y of age for Canada and the USA. Together with another young French woman she crossed the North American sub-continent with a horse and a ‘pioneer style’ wagon. This took them a year and a half, and they documented the voyage in a book.
She was not done with horses, so she spent 3 months riding in the heart of Minas Gerais, a province in Brazil.
Since then she has made a few Atlantic crossings on sailing boats, lost one boat on a reef in the Bahamas (before GPS) at night in rough weather. Then built a 50-footer with her ex. in 18 months and took off again to Brazil, Caribbean Islands and back to the US where she mostly worked on boats and as a snorkling guide for a living.
she is now pursuing a new career as a writer and has during the last years got 3 books published and the fourth one soon. More here.
Magnus is born in Sweden. Always a keen out-doors guy, he has been trekking and backpacking most parts of the Scandinavian mountain chain and canoeing many a rapid on the adjoining rivers. Also hitch-hiked across Europe during several summer vacations in his youth. Since his early 20ies he’s been hooked on sailing though, and owned 8 different sailboats over the years. Most of them in the ‘small-is-beautiful’ range and always promoting the KISS principle. Since a few years back a Commercial Yachtmaster, Delivery Skipper and Navigation Teacher he’s been bound to take this step of untying the dock lines for good, and adopt a fully seaborne lifestyle. In 2007, before making his mind up to sell all landbased possessions and sail into the sunset, he single-handed ‘Röde Orm‘ (L32 ketch) as far north as possible in the Baltic Sea (Töre, 66 degrees North) and back to Falsterbo in the south of Sweden. In January 2008 he joined forces with Isabelle and started the process of selling his business since 20 years, together with his house and other ‘stuff’ to be able to take off on and open-ended cruise.
Together we did a voyage round the southern and eastern parts of the Baltic Sea during 2,5 months in 2008, together with a skipper/crew charter cruise in Croatia. We also made a extensive exterior refitting of ‘Röde Orm’ in 2009 before we left Falsterbo, Sweden in June 2009. At a slow pace we moved south while spending around a month respectively in the UK, Bretagne(France), Galicia(Spain) and Portugal before arriving to the Algarve, Portugal in mid November to spend the winter there.
Little did we know that this winter was to be the worst in over 60 years. Extremely low temperatures in N Europe made the endless row of lows take a more S course and hit the Algarve. We spent the winter at anchor and experienced two full gales. The second one, late in February, even got named ‘Xynthia’ and caused severe damage in it’s path, from the Canaries and most of all inside the Bay of Biscay, in Vendée, France where people died because of the floodings. Our boat did well, and despite the fact that several others were washed ashore during the storm (57 knots of wind at it’s worst) we came out of it unscathed.
In the spring 2010 we’ve explored the eastern part of the Algarve and spent time in the Rio Guadiana, the river that makes the border between Portugal and Spain.
Here we left ‘Röde Orm’ at anchor, while returning to Sweden and France over the summer to meet family and friends.
In the fall of 2010 our lives turnd a page and another exciting chapter started. We decided to buy our new boat, ‘Nanna‘ in San Carlos, Mexico and thus fly over there to continue our voyage from the Sea of Cortez. ‘Röde Orm‘ is sold to a fellow Swedish sailor and adventurer and will soon be out on the water again.
During 2011 we explored the Sea of Cortéz (Golfo de California) having the time of our lives, snorkeling and spearfishing in the northern part of the Sea, where Hurricanes are very unlikely to ever hit. In mid-October we sailed south again, stopping at our favorite anchorages on the way to La Paz, where we spent about a month, reprovisioning and finishing every cruising sailor´s chores. The ‘to do-list’ AKA boat projects.
Heading over to mainland Mexico just after New Year 2012 we slowly sailed south to tie up i Tapachula, Chiapas just north of the Guatemalan border. With the boat safe in the marina we decided to make land trip to Mexico City over The Easter Holiday.
Leaving Mexico, our next landfall was Golfo de Fonseca, where we visited the picturesque and historically interesting little town of Amapala, Honduras.
A quite brief stay in two ports in Nicaragua – Corinto and San Juan del Sur – before moving on to Costa Rica and it’s many National Parks and Wildlife Reserves.
After a slow, but quite enjoyable (600 miles OG/840 logged) crossing of the Gulf o Panamá against prevailing wind and the Humboldt current, we spent 6 months in Ecuador, where we enjoyed inland travel along the Cordillera ( Central Valley in the Andes)as well as a flight back to Europe to visit family.
In late January 2013 we headed for Gambier Islands in the SE part of French Polynesia. Here we ran into some difficulties as a transmission failure after just a few weeks at anchor in the main village Rikitea. Everything in life happens for a reason – one of my favourite adages – came true once more. A bit gloomy to start with at the prospect of staying a few months here waiting for parts to arrive from Europe, we made friends with Polynesians and hence got a unique experience that we would otherwise have missed. 2014-2016 we made up a “base camp” in Baie de Phaeton, Tahiti where I built a cyclone strength mooring in the fall of 2015, when due to the very strong El Niño event a vey high risk of a cyclone hitting the territory was forecasted. Fortunately, that never heppened and we happily spent our time, exploring the lagoon anchorages, swimming and diving and explored the leeward group of the Societies. Moorea, Huahine and Maupiti in particular, so beautiful places. In 2016 we papeetisised the boat, since the import tax was lowered to 7% of an estimated valuation for the customs. This means the boat can stay in FrPol waters indefinitely. Magnus also suffered for a bit of withdrawals from his beloved Swedish Archipelago and bought a small 45 y o racer (H-boat) in Sweden on which he spent 7 merry weeks this summer. Arguably the best overall sailing ground in the world, the 100000+ island labyrinth between Sweden and Finland is enchanted.
2017 had us haul out Nanna again(2,5 years since last time) and do a major bottom job and topside paint during 3 months and as I type these lines, we are getting ready to cruise the Tuamotus and then either the Marquesas or the Gambiers during the upcoming cyclone season.
Fore more information on ‘Nanna’, click on ‘our boat’
Röde Orm in Falsterbo,Sweden 2009