The sailing Merewether couple return to Newcastle after three life-changing years at sea

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

But as COVID restrictions kicked in and borders closed around them, a couple’s planned six-month trip 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 Harbor this week on their yacht Merewether.

After a nine-day journey from New Caledonia, they were welcomed by family and friends.

Kieran’s mother and nieces wave as the Merewether arrives 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 lives at sea.

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

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Quit a decent job

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

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

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A local couple flee Newcastle to take on pirates and paradise
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He met Ms Nee, a photojournalist who edits the couple’s YouTube clips, three years ago in the Greek islands.

Her videos, which feature crystal clear lagoons, sandy islands and exotic locations as part of her cruising life, have garnered a huge following.

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

Surprisingly, viewers from the Midwestern United States – far from the coast – make up their largest audience.

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Vlogging about life at sea

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

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

“We take our home to some of the most pristine places on earth and are pretty much self-sufficient.”

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

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

Ms. Nee admits that living conditions “sometimes get a lot,” but despite being close neighbors, “he still charms me.”

“When we live on top of each other 24/7, sometimes an hour or two apart can greatly improve our relationship,” she said.

“We are everything to each other: business partners, colleagues, best friends.”

Cruising yacht in Newcastle Harbour
The Merewether entered the port of Newcastle after a nine-day voyage from New Caledonia.(ABC News: Andrew Lobb)

Mr Wyse said the experience had been wonderful.

The couple are considering circumnavigating Australia for their next adventure.

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