As he hitchhiked across the Atlantic

As he hitchhiked across the Atlantic

Hitchhiking Across the Atlantic film showing at Sid

Thorsten Böehnke hitchhiked his way along the Atlantic, eventually buying his own sailboat and inviting Laura Winter to be his deckhand

In 2010 a friend invited Thorsten Böehnke to sail the seven seas. But when they reached the Canary Islands, Böehnke’s buddy abandoned the plan.

So Böehnke hitchhiked his way along the Atlantic, eventually buying his own sailboat and inviting Laura Winter to be his deckhand.

As part of their Blue Circle Series, the Sid Williams Theatre is presenting two films Jan. 16 and 17 depicting the couple’s adventures. Böehnke and Winter will answer questions from the audience after each screening.

Hitchhiking Across the Atlantic and The Wild Windwards combine incredible footage of exotic locations and wildlife. The films also document the impact of humans on the environment and the people who dedicate their lives to protect endangered places and creatures.

As a freelance naval architect and filmmaker, Böehnke was prepared to spend some serious time exploring by sailboat. So when his friend lost interest, he wasn’t ready to head back to Germany.

“I’d just got going on my adventure and liked it,” he says. “I decided to carry on by hitchhiking my way on other sailboats. It was tricky in the beginning, as no one’s keen to take a complete stranger onboard. But after I got to know a few people it was easier as they’d provide a recommendation.”

Shortly before his expedition began, friends asked Böehnke if a B.C. student studying for a European master’s degree could stay at his place for a while. Winter and Böehnke got along well and kept in touch. During Winter’s summer break, Böehnke, who hitched his way from the Canary Islands to Cape Verde and on to the Caribbean, invited her to join him for part of the trip.

But hitchhiking can make it difficult to go where you want. So eventually Böehnke bought a sailboat and he asked Winter to be crew. The 40-foot Corinthian has been their home since November 2011.”We spent some time in the Caribbean getting used to the new boat before heading to the Pacific,” says Böehnke. “Being in charge is much different than being in the passenger seat so we both had a lot to learn.”

As well as working on her thesis, Winter, a marine biologist, was polishing her sailing skills and adapting to life on a boat.

“Forty feet is a small space for two people,” she notes. “There’s nowhere to go to be by yourself or to have a break if you have a disagreement. And you can’t take a lot of your stuff with you. You have to go through everything and ask yourself, ‘do I really need this or that?'”

“We have solar panels and a wind generator that stores electricity on batteries,” says Böehnke. “But there are times when we have no electricity. So you have to think about how you’ll charge your computer, phone and camera batteries. Living on a boat is much different than living in a house. You quickly learn that water doesn’t just come out of the tap and electricity doesn’t automatically come out of the socket.”

“It was tough in the beginning as we were living together in a small space as a new couple and working and sailing together,” Böehnke continues. “But we survived.”

Now the couple visits conservation projects, nature reserves and endangered species to raise awareness of the beauty of nature and the challenges facing the environment. In an effort to share what they see and learn, they document their travels in films.

“Our goal is to show the point of view of people involved in wildlife protection programs,’ explains Böehnke. “It’s like a road movie but we’re on water observing pilot whales, turtles and other creatures of the sea. And we show human-wildlife problems and what some people are doing to solve them. And, of course, there’s the sailing adventure aspect, too. “

Hitchhiking Across the Atlantic is the story of Böehnke’s early trips before he had his own boat. A short version of the film won first prize in the Travel Documentary category in the Montevideo Film Festival in Kiel, Germany.

The Wild Windward continues the tale from when the couple moved onto the Corinthian and began working together full time.

Both films start at 7:30 p.m. each evening. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.sidwilliamstheatre.com or phone or visit the theatre in person.

Paula Wild is a published author and regular contributor to the Comox Valley Record’s arts and entertainment section. www.paulawild.ca.

Just Posted

Temperatures are expected to soar by the weekend, with potentially record-breaking heat in the low 30Cs. Those looking to beat the heat in the ocean are advised to pack plenty of sunscreen and water. Black Press file photo
Potential record-breaking heatwave heading to the Comox Valley

“It’s the start of the season and we’re not quite acclimatized to warm temperatures”

Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie assumed leadership of the Canadian Joint Operations Command on June 18. File photo
Vice-Admiral Auchterlonie assumes leadership of Canadian Joint Operations Command

On June 18, Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie returned to the Canadian Joint Operations… Continue reading

Bill Anglin (Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation president & 50/50 Sponsor), Robert Mulrooney (Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation board director & 50/50 sponsor), Jessica Aldred (Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation executive director), and Chris Morrison (Church St. Taphouse co-Owner and manager) in front of Church St. Taphouse in Comox. Photo submitted
Church St. tapping beer for Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation all week

With a heatwave hitting the Comox Valley this week, a beer on… Continue reading

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

CSWM is working on engineering and design for the next landfill cell. Record file photo
CSWM makes budget change for new landfill cell

“It bears to note for the public, you’re paying for it one way or the other here.”

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

Most Read