It started out as a plan to visit Europe, buy a boat and sail it back to Australia.

But as COVID restrictions set in and borders closed around them, a couple’s planned six-month voyage in their floating tiny home turned into a three-year odyssey, a love story and a new way of life.

Kieran Wyse, 31, from Newcastle and Isabelle Nee, 30, from Sweden, finally sailed into Newcastle harbour on their yacht Merewether this week.

They were greeted by family and friends after a nine-day voyage from New Caledonia.

A woman and two children wave from a dock at a yacht in a harbour
Kieran’s mum and nieces wave as the Merewether arrives home in Newcastle.(ABC Newcastle: Andrew Lobb)

They had visited 20 countries, sailed the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific and recorded dozens of episodes for their YouTube channel Sailing Merewether, chronicling their life at sea. 

“It’s very good to be home,” Mr Wyse called from the helm of the Merewether as they neared the dock.


Giving up a proper job

Rather than following the safe option of sinking his hard earned savings from working as an electrician into a mortgage and a nine-to-five job, Mr Wyse instead bought a boat.

He named it after his home suburb Merewether, so he could take a piece of home with him wherever he went. 

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Local couple escapes Newcastle to take on pirates and paradise
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He met Ms Nee, a photo-journalist who edits the couple’s YouTube clips, in the Greek Islands three years ago.

Their videos depicting crystal-clear lagoons, sandy islands and exotic locations as part of their cruising lifestyle have picked up a huge following.

Man and woman ins swimmers on boat
The pair spent three years at sea sailing the Mediterranean, Caribbean and the Pacific.(Supplied: Sailing Merewether)

Surprisingly, viewers from the mid-west of the United States — far from the coast — make up their largest audience.


Vlogging on life at sea

Payments for the videos along with the couple’s frugal living at sea have helped to fund their cruising lifestyle.

“This is our nine-to-five,” Mr Wyse said.

“We take our house with us to some of the most pristine places in the world and we’re fairly self-sufficient.”

The couple’s videos touch on their relationship. On a 13-metre-long boat you can’t avoid togetherness — lots of it. 

“So everyone knows of COVID lockdowns, try doing lockdowns for three years in 13 metres of space,” Mr Wyse said.

Ms Nee admits the living arrangements “gets a lot sometimes” but despite the close quarters “he still charms me”.

“When living on top of one another 24/7, sometimes as little as an hour or two apart could greatly improve our relationship,” she said.

“We’re each other’s everything: business partners, colleagues, best friends.”

Cruising yacht on Newcastle harbour
The Merewether sailed in to Newcastle Harbour after a nine-day voyage from New Caledonia.(ABC News: Andrew Lobb)

Mr Wyse said the experience had been wonderful.

The couple is considering a circumnavigation of Australia for their next adventure. 

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