Meet Elayna Caruso, our newest ambassador, and one incredible and adventurous lady.Elayna and her boyfriend Riley are sailing the world aboard La Vagabonde, their sailboat, and documenting their adventures along the way. We spoke to Elayna about what it's like to live on a boat for months on end, and the perks of a pirate life.
What do you love most about sailing?
Sailing for me, is a kind of meditation. Having that ultimate sense of freedom each time I leave sight of land, brings me a feeling of pure joy like nothing else does. When we are sailing in rough weather, I am only ever thinking about adjusting the sails and finding new ways of working with the weather to make our situation run smoother. But better than that... is when the sailing conditions are just perfect and it's just Riley, me and the sea. There is so much space to think out there, with no real distractions and I can just be present!
What is your idea of an adventure?
The idea of an adventure for me, is setting off to a place not many other people would go, or can get to. This could be either by sail or on foot (preferably both). There's no better feeling than making it to your own deserted island, kayaking to shore, hiking around the island or up a mountain and hanging up the hammock to read my book. We could also sail through the Suez Canal and take on the pirates but at this stage that’s way too adventurous for me. Riley would claim otherwise.
Where is your favourite place to anchor?
In 5-10m of clear water, with a nice sandy bottom so you know she's dug with not too many other boats around, just about anywhere. But there is one place in particular that I could spend at least a few years anchored... and that place is Los Roques - Venezuela. A bunch of beautiful little islands only an hour’s sail apart, with locals as nice as pie living in cute colourful buildings, lobster EVERYWHERE, it's cheap as chips and there are very protected anchorages which most of the time you have to yourself. It's a big call, but it's actually neaaaaarly the perfect sailing destination. But shhhhhh.
What does your morning routine look like?
- Wake up with the first rays of sunlight (we have no curtains on the boat... and I can't wear an eye mask because it hurts my eye lashes. I seriously don't know how anyone wears those things)
- Yoga on deck, or a swim depending on the weather
- Make a smoothie for Riley and I, wake up Riley and give him the smoothie.
- Attack the day’s list of never-ending jobs and adventures!
Tell us what it’s like to live on a boat for weeks on end.
The idea of being out at sea for weeks on end scares a lot of people. Especially my mum. Haha. But it really is more of a mental challenge than anything and usually those long sails end up being my favourite trips of the lot! Finding new things to keep you busy out there is key and if you don't, personally I think you'd go a little crazy. With an endless list of books to read, Podcasts to listen to and new recipes to try when you're also heeled over is always good fun and essential. Days become shorter and shorter the longer you are out at sea too, and BAM, before you know it you're in a new exciting country just waiting to be explored!
What are some of the challenges of living on a boat?
- Cooking when the seas are rough. I've been burnt by the gamble stove endless times, had boiling pots of water fly onto me and pasta sauce fling over my head and smash on the adjacent side of the room. The Galley smelt like pasta for weeks after that. But you've gotta eat!
- Having to take care of the boat 24/7. It really is a full time job... we actually call it our 'baby' as it makes noise when something is wrong (and pretty much every other time too), you can never leave it for longer than 15 minutes when sailing, and it requires a lot of our attention, money (unfortunately), love and affection.
- Oh and having to take care of each other and make a relationship work, combined with the above ^
- Being away from friends and family in Australia. You meet new ones all the time on the water, but there is just something about being home in Australia, in a place that I always feel safe, surrounded by those I love. Aus is the best!
How do you stay on top of healthy eating?
We always try to eat fresh from the earth when it's available to us and we catch and eat a LOT of fish. We've pretty much always got a line out the back of La Vagabonde trawling and we usually hook a Yellow-fin Tuna or Wahoo on most trips that lasts us a good few days (a huge thanks to our lucky lure Alfred). Mix that with either fresh veg if we have it, beans or brown rice and we couldn't be happier.
How do you stay fit and active while sailing?
It really depends on the weather and our location at the time on how fit we are. One month we could be island hopping with short sails, nice calm water to swim in and it's stable enough to do exercise on deck (usually weights and yoga) or go running on land, and the next month we could be sailing in a country where it's not very safe to go running/swimming by yourself and the weather doesn't really allow it. We basically do WHATEVER we can, WHENEVER we can. To be honest, I really miss the days of a gym membership, and going for a run around the block in my neighbourhood that I know. It can be quite the adventure exercising in some of these foreign locations we are visiting.
What is your secret to staying healthy?
I basically try not to eat anything that includes ingredients that I don't know and especially don't know how to pronounce. It makes me feel the best inside and out eating natural foods. Nanna taught me that. Cheers Nanna.
Is it possible to eat organically while at sea?
In terms of growing your own organic food onboard, yes! But on the boat you're limited to simple herbs, tomatoes and easy to grow things that can also handle the salt air. We always try and buy organically whenever possible, but we can only do what we can and unfortunately there really isn't enough organic produce out there on the shelves just yet. But I'm feeling a change...
Where is your favourite place to watch the sun set?
Sitting on the bow of the boat, or somewhere on the beach where I can see La Vagabonde AND the sunset.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate. Chocolate chocolate chocolate. If I don't have any onboard (which hardly ever happens, I have a secret cupboard stashed with half a year's worth, along with a few other little goodies that Riley doesn't know about) I'm pretty much on edge until my next fix. I like the 90% Cacao bars with a tablespoon of peanut butter for dessert.
Do mermaids exist?
Yep! I heard her on a glassy night’s sail, swimming with the dolphins. There was no moon so I couldn't see her but I heard the most beautifully eerie sounds bouncing off the water.
Favourite Bare Blends product?
Hands down the Cacao WPI is my all-time fave. Do I need to say why?
Youtube: Sailing La Vagabonde