Tourism

Stranded Aussie couple resort to sailing leaky boat with dodgy skipper to return home

A young Aussie couple have gone to great measures for the chance to be reunited with loved ones after being trapped overseas during the pandemic, including emptying more than 300 buckets of water out of a “derelict” boat.

Jake Shepard and Tamara Ilic have been documenting their journey across social media after becoming stranded overseas in March 2020, at the beginning of the global pandemic.

The couple originally set out to work and travel in Thailand, departing from Australia on 14 March after Shepard managed to secure a job as a tour guide and Ilic planned to work remotely.

“March 2020 we left Australia, sold everything we owned and hopped on a plane to Thailand with only a backpack each and half a plan,” Ilic said on the couple’s blog, Lockdown Travellers.

“What we set out to do has changed drastically due to the Corona Virus, but has worked out 10 times better.”

After losing their jobs during the initial outbreak, Shepard and Ilic stayed put in Thailand for a few months, settling in Koh Samui.

In August, they decided to try their luck continuing their travels, spending two weeks in Paris before heading to Mexico via Amsterdam.

After travelling around Central and South America for a few months, the couple realised it was time to come home in March this year, but prohibitively expensive airline ticket prices and flight caps forced them to get creative.

The two decided to return home via boat and planned to sail from Panama through the Marquesas Islands onto Tahiti, New Caledonia and Brisbane.

But things didn’t go to plan.

Their skipper, who they refer to as “Trav”, turned out to be inexperienced and the 14-metre yacht they hired was deemed “derelict”.


“After setting sail we found out that this was our skipper’s third attempt to make the Pacific crossing,” Ilic said in another blog.

“In short, he is inexperienced, he demolished nine bottles of rum in nine weeks, he has no business sailing the Pacific Ocean, let alone taking on inexperienced crew.”

Not long after departing, things began to fall apart on the yacht, including power outages that stopped them from using the bilge pumps and disabled navigation.

After having to remove 356 buckets of water, and resorting to using an iPad for navigation, they were forced to make an emergency stop in the Galapagos Islands for repairs.

When they finally made it to French Polynesia, the couple were shocked to discover their skipper had not supplied the correct paperwork to local authorities.

French Polynesian police in Hiva-Oa told Shepard and Ilic that Trav was forbidden from entering French Polynesian waters due to issues with his boat and incorrect paperwork.

“The maritime authorities exact words when describing the boat were ‘his boat is derelict’,” Ilic said.

After a week of worrying if they would be deported to LAX, the couple posted to their Facebook page 13 May confirming they were finally legally allowed on the island and were headed to Tahiti by plane.

According to The Australian, the two found a new skipper and yacht in Tahiti.

Facebook updates posted by Shepard and Ilic today said they were getting ready to set sail for Fiji tomorrow for the last leg of their journey.

According to their YouTube page, they are aiming to arrive back in Australia before Christmas.


SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

News

“Unfortunately, the world changed”: McGowan suspends WA border reopening indefinitely

The western state will be keeping its borders firmly closed, as Premier Mark McGowan buys more time to bolster citizens against a “flood of the disease”.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Thailand to resume ‘Test & Go’ quarantine waiver from February

Pack your suitcase and ready your sinuses for a holiday in Thailand that promises to greet you with a lovely PCR test.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

AUSSIE FIRST: Accor unveils next gen Mercure Hotels with new Melbourne property

While away your Friday afternoon by perusing through some stunning pictures of Accor’s swanky new-look Mercure in Doncaster.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas threatens to slash cabin crew wages by “almost half” in latest union pay row

by Ali Coulton

The national carrier is once again facing condemnation from unions after applying to scrap its long-haul crew contract in an effort to “push through” a new deal.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Operation nest egg: Air New Zealand helps relocate rare kiwi chicks

The airline is doing gods work by flying these three little cuties to their new home where they were treated to an all-you-can-eat worm buffet.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Say ‘Aloha’ to the Hawaiian Islands and take a trip that gives back

by James Harrison

Check out the beauty, wonder, and excitement of the islands of Hawaii and explore a holiday destination where you can malama.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Crystal Cruises suspends operations as parent company files to windup business

The Hong Kong supercruise operator is winding up operations, leaving the future of its subsidiaries unknown.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Celebrity chef duo Gary Mehigan and Manu Feildel star in new tourism campaign for Japan

The staff at Travel Weekly have been rewatching our favourite anime to reminisce about Japan, but Gary and Manu might appeal to a broader audience than Pokemon reruns.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Aussie tourism took off in December, but remians well below 2019 levels

If these stats are anything to go by, we’ll be back to worrying about overtourism and carbon footprints in no time! Wait…

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

US slaps “do not travel” warning on Australia as Europe tightens border restrictions

The prospect of fewer American tourists milling about at Darling Harbour we can deal with, but if we have to go one more year without a European summer we’re going to go over the deep end.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Union survey reveals transport workers asked to return while COVID positive

Workers who answered the survey, which included passenger transport and aviation workers, are also calling for free RATs. That’s rapid antigen tests, not rodents as we first assumed.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

“This isn’t a label we wish to keep”: Intrepid recertified as world’s largest travel B Corp

The tour operator has gone through another extensive company-wide audit to maintain its title, so why is it looking to pass the baton you may ask? Click here.

Share

CommentComments