Kieran Wyse and Isabelle Nee are doing what most Newcastle people are doing at the moment - bumming around the house, waiting out lockdown.
Except their house is in Tahiti. Last week it was in the island of Makemo. Last month, the Panama Canal.
Wyse, 30, and Nee, 29, have spent the last two years yachting across the world together, visiting 18 countries so far and documenting their travels on YouTube.
If it sounds like a glamorous life of travel, sun, surf, snorkelling, endless tans and young love, that's because it is. But the pair reveal the good, the bad and the ugly of their adventures aboard their boat, the Merewether, and it hasn't always been smooth sailing.
The pair have battled drained coffers, ripped sails, an MIA dinghy ("which is like our car", Nee says), hurricane seasons and the ups and downs of living in the closest of quarters with each other for more than 700 days straight.
Back in 2018, Newcastle-born Wyse was looking at buying a van to travel across Australia when he decided to expand his horizons.
"I thought: why go around Australia in a vehicle when I can go around the world in a sailboat," he recalls.
He'd completed a five-day sailing course in Sydney - how hard could it be?
"But did that prepare me for the huge, huge task of sailing around the world, or the Mediterranean at the time? No, no it didn't," he laughs.
Wyse tracked down a Beneteau Cyclades in Croatia and flew to Europe to begin his thalassic adventure.
"I had the bare basics, but I really had to learn as I went," he says of that time.
During the second summer on the sea in 2019, he was in a humid bar on a Greek Island named Ios when he met Nee, originally from Stockholm.
Nee had been working as a journalist for newspapers and TV in Sweden when she decided to trade in all the stress for a backpack.
It was a pretty good pickup line, they both agree, laughing: "I'm sailing through the Mediterranean on my own yacht".
"And it clearly worked!" Nee says.
They spent two weeks together cruising around the Greek Islands and falling for each other before Nee promptly headed back to Sweden to pack up her life.
"Isabelle was meant to only come for a two-week stay, but we hit it off so well that we started to plan an around the world voyage," Wyse says.
"We have not looked back since," Nee adds with a smile.
First stop: Malta. Then Italy, Tunisia, Sardinia, Mallorca, Ibiza, Gibraltar, Portugal, Cape Verde off Africa, across the Atlantic Ocean to Barbados, Montenegro, St Lucia, Grenada, Colombia, the Panama Canal, and now French Polynesia.
The pair are up with the sun most days, and breakfast made in their compact kitchen is often served on the sun-drenched deck.
Nee, who also trained as a photographer, expertly edits their videos. They could be anything from swimming with dolphins, repairing their yacht's blown-out hydrovane ("a God-send for any sailing adventure", Wyse says), biking in Bocas del Toro, cooking a homemade pizza in their tiny oven, hiking 1,230 metres above sea level in the Marquesas Islands or trekking to the highest waterfall in the South Pacific.
And they've met a lot of people along the way. The young couple has eaten specially-cooked meals with the locals, high-fived lots of cheery kids and watched the sunset go down at a beach bonfire with friends they made earlier in their trip.
Wyse says the pair want the videos to show pure adventure. "The lifestyle of sailing around the world, showing the highs like exploring new places and reaching new goals, and the lows, the problems we face and the issues that go along with taking a sailing vessel around the world," he says.
"We don't censor anything," Nee continues. "If shit hits the fan, we film that too!"
If they're en route to their next destination, they'll spend the day sailing (the pair take it in three-hour shifts), and if they're moored, they'll head into the community to track down enough local produce and petrol to keep them going.
Then they begin their search for internet so they can upload their videos, which can take hours depending on how remote they are.
"It sounds quite nice, the idea of jumping on a boat and planning this trip, but it's been very, very stressful, it hasn't just been smooth sailing the whole time," Wyse says.
"We've been through a lot of challenges along the way."
In early 2020, the pair thought the dream was all over.
"Our funds were running low, our videos weren't making us any money, and we were actually planning to come back to Australia and work so Isabelle can experience Australia," Wyse says.
"But COVID happened, and Isabelle wasn't allowed in."
International border closures in March 2020 shuttered Australia to nearly everyone except Australian citizens and permanent residents.
Utilising the COVID-led government scheme which permitted people to dip into their superannuation balance, Wyse had enough money to fund only six more months at sea.
"Luckily our videos then started to pick up," he says.
These days the pair's hard work has paid dividends - their travel video blog, Sailing Merewether, is growing in popularity, with videos viewed as many as 2.5 million times.
The model is simple. Their weekly videos of their adventures begin with an ad. YouTube keeps a cut from the money from the ad, and the video platform gives a small cut to Nee and Wyse.
But the pair say the model is really sustainable because of their subscribers, who make up about 70% of their revenue.
Their content is free to watch, but about 35,000 paid subscribers - called Patrons - get access to special content.
"It's like a donation, but they get something in return - they get access to parts of our content that no one else gets access to," Wyse explains.
Plus, Wyse says, "if you're a fan of the videos and you want to support us more, you can jump onto the crowdfunding page and pledge a certain amount of money".
"It's allowed us to sail the world and maintain the boat, it's made us very self-sufficient," he says.
Aside from the dream-like tropical content they produce, seemingly made even more enviable by the current international travel ban, the pair is just plain likeable.
"Isabelle changed my whole perspective on life and gave me the motivation and teamwork I needed to start a journey that continues to this day," Wyse says.
And although they have been together for two years in July, Nee says it can sometimes feel like ten, "because we know each other so well".
Wyse agrees, saying "we have to work with each other's emotions," but continues that the proximity has helped them grow both as a couple and as people.
"With Isabelle and I, we are together 24/7... when we need our alone time, we take it, but most of the time we're happy to live on top of each other," Wyse says, and the pair laugh.
This stop is the first time Wyse and Nee have experienced a lockdown - for the most part, "we've been going surfing, and hiking, while everybody's been kind of locked up in their houses".
But Wyse, a keen surfer, is happy to wait out Tahiti's stay-home orders - world-famous break Teahupo'o awaits him just down the road.
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