Yuri & Vera Sanada are experienced sailors. Hailing from Brazil, they contacted Philip Beale to join his journey aboard a 600 BC Phoenician ship to both circumnavigate Africa and sail to America! Yuri is a documentarian, and chronicled the journey via film. Rick Bennett spoke with them about their journey through pirate infested waters of Somalia, big storms near Cape Town, South Africa, and their experience building a better rat trap while on the ocean, so that the rat quit eating their food! Check out our conversation…
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GT 00:39 Welcome to Gospel Tangents. I’m excited to have a real filmmaker on, unlike me. (Chuckling) Could you go ahead and tell us who you are, and where you come from?
Yuri 00:52 My name is Yuri Sanada. I’m from Brazil. I was aboard Phoenician [ship,] the two expeditions, documenting everything. I mean, everything.
GT 01:01 Yes. So, you’re a sailor and a filmmaker?
Yuri 01:03 Yes, I’m a sailor as well. Here is my wife, Vera. And before the expedition we lived for 12 years, aboard sailboats.
GT 01:09 Oh, really? Oh, so you are a seasoned sailor.
Yuri 01:12 Yeah, well, yes.
GT 01:15 And how about you Vera? Can you tell us a little bit about your seamanship?
Vera 01:19 Okay, I’m Vera Sanada from Brazil, as well. And we are sailors. We live how he said, twelve years in a sailboat. We have a wonderful time because we travel a lot and have many friends, all the ports we stop, and we love it. And we’ve been in Phoenicia sailboat too.
GT 01:44 All right. And so, what part of Brazil?
Vera 01:47 Well, I’m from South Brazil, from Rio Grande do Sul and Yuri is from Parana is the middle between Sao Paulo, but now we live in Sao Paulo. After many years in the sailboat, we changed for a house. Yes, for a sustainable house.
GT 02:09 All right. So, you’ve got your land legs back, then.
Yuri 02:13 Yes, yes. We still sail. We still go out.
GT 02:15 So, you’ve been married for how long?
Vera 02:18 Almost 34 years.
GT 02:20 And 12 of those years you were married, living on a boat?
Vera 02:23 Yes.
GT 02:25 Does that include the Phoenicia, or is that [extra]?
Yuri 02:27 No, that’s before Phoenicia.
GT 02:28 Before Phoenicia.
Yuri 02:29 Oh yes. We finished another two and a half or three years. But before Phoenicia, we sailed for 12 years, yeah.
GT 02:34 Wow. What was your biggest, longest sailboat ride or whatever, before the Phoenicia?
Yuri 02:43 We did a very nice project similar to Phoenicia, which was when Brazil [celebrated] 500 years of discovery. Brazil was discovered in 1500, by Pedro Álvares Cabral. So, in the year 2000, there was this big boat, ceremony of the seas. So, 39 boats sailed from Lisbon, Portugal all the way to Brazil. And we coordinated that project, made a documentary and I got to sail a replica of Caravel which is from 1500, down the Tejo River in Portugal, so it was nice.
GT 03:15 How long was that? How long did that take?
Yuri 03:17 It took us 3-4 months, the whole project sailing.
GT 03:19 Three to four months, I can’t imagine. I’ve done a cruise for a week and that’s my longest “sailboat” ride.
Yuri 03:30 Well, on the expeditions, sometimes we had those crew members kind of homesick and stuff. “I want to go home.” This is home now. Forget about that. This is home. (Chuckling)
GT 03:43 Well, very good. Now are you guys, are you LDS?
Yuri 03:47 No, we are not.
GT 03:48 That’s what I thought. And so, what do you think of this, what I would like to call a crazy story about going from the Middle East to America?
Yuri 03:58 Yeah, that’s strange. We didn’t know about this. We never read the Book of Mormon before. We read it now. But it’s interesting that after we sailed that the whole trip around Africa, almost got to America, but that wasn’t the plan, so we returned to Europe. Then [we sailed] across the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic Ocean, then we learned about Mulek and Lehi’s voyage, and it kind of makes sense.
GT 03:58 So did you go on both voyages or just the first one?
Yuri 04:24 Both voyages.
GT 04:26 Okay.
Yuri 04:26 We had one member of the Church there with us. He told us a little bit, but not very much. He didn’t want to reveal a lot, maybe. I don’t know why. Anyway, but then we learned after. We came here 2019, before the second expedition, we met Rod Meldrum, his conference. We came here with Philip Beale and watched the conference. We saw our videos that have been playing, like videos we made 10 years ago. It was playing now, so it’s very, very interesting.
GT 04:39 (Chuckling)
Yuri 04:57 Yeah, but the nice part is this. For us, non-LDS [people,] there’s a group who believe the same things we believe, that ancient people could have sailed all the way from the Old World to the Americas. And we have this research going for 20 years or more, for the historical and archaeological point of view. And then we have this group here, the LDS, who believe the same things, for religious reasons, and we are going the same direction. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we joined forces, because it’s the same theories, the same history we are defending, but for different reasons, but it’s the same. Yeah.
Joining Philip Beale’s Crew
GT 05:34 So how did you get hooked up with Philip Beale in the first place?
Vera 05:39 How we…
Yuri 05:40 How we met him? Well, actually it’s funny. In the year 1999, just after that expedition, from Portugal to Brazil, we wrote two books, historical books. One was even awarded in Brazil and published in Brazil and Portugal. It was called The Histories and Legends of the Discovery of Brazil. So, we listed out the legends, all the history, everything that was to know how the Portuguese or how the Europeans came to the New World. That’s what we did from the historical and scientific point of view, how the Portuguese managed to build the Caravels. Where did that knowledge come from? How did they have the maps? How they know about the currents and winds? So, we put all these in the book and then we got a national award for that. And, then we thought, “Okay, the Phoenicians probably were the guys who inspired most of these Europeans, even those days.” Columbus knew about the Phoenician voyages, the legends.
GT 06:38 Oh, really?
Yuri 06:39 Yeah, he knew. He wrote about that in his first letter. He writes about the Phoenician voyages, even though he never mentioned Phoenicians. He mentions King Solomon’s voyages, [which] were made by Phoenicians in the Bible. You can read it in the Bible. It is there. King Solomon bought all the gold to build the temple from the Phoenicians, King Hiram, his neighbor. So, Columbus mentions that. We know that even the ancient sailors in 1500 something, 1400, they knew about the Phoenicians coming to the New World. And they came, like I said, it’s even the Bible. So, it’s a legend going on for a long, long time, with the history. So, we knew there’s something there. So, we decided to make a project like that, to build this Phoenician ship and bring it to Brazil. But we never managed to do that. There was the Twin Towers, the terrorist attacks stopped us when we tried to do the thing in the year 2000, 2001. But then we knew somebody would do that, somebody would be crazy enough, like us, to build the project there. It was such a nice story. And that’s how we learned about Philip doing this thing and demonstrating for us.
GT 07:41 So, do you have to be a little bit crazy to do this?
Yuri 07:45 Yeah, actually. We are sailors. So, we know to sail around Africa, even in modern days, even in a modern sailboat is very difficult, very tough. So, we read about that, when we wrote that book called “King Solomon’s Gold.” We knew about that and said, “That’s too difficult. That’s too dangerous. We don’t want to do that.” And a few years later, we joined forces with Philip to do that.
GT 08:10 (Chuckling)
Vera 08:10 Yuri is so crazy. One day we were at home. We have worked together for more than 30 years. And Yuri said, “Somebody’s going to do our trip. Somebody is crazy, like us. Let’s get tough with them.”
Yuri 08:26 So, yeah, of course, Philip had his own ideas. Our project was to cross the Atlantic Ocean and come to Brazil. His was going around Africa. But the fact that he was building a Phoenician ship, it was very exciting. So, we called him in May, whatever, and said, “Okay, here we are. That’s us.”
GT 08:46 So, you called him?
Yuri 08:47 Yeah, so we tried to join. And they invited us to be part of the expedition.
GT 08:51 Oh, wow!
Yuri 08:51 He needed a documentary maker. So, that was good.
GT 08:56 I just remembered one of those things I forgot to ask Philip. So, you guys had about 14 people aboard your ship. Is that right?
Yuri 09:03 It depends. On both expeditions? Yeah, the minimum was six, I think, and then the most was 16. But it depends on the leg and on the passage.
GT 09:13 Well, let me ask you this. Could you have had twice as many people on that ship? Would it have been too crowded? Or would it have been okay?
Yuri 09:21 For modern days, yeah, it would be too crowded, because we like space, right? We are spoiled. But in those days, in the Phoenician times, they would have, like, three times more people, easily, easily. Yeah.
GT 09:32 Okay.
Vera 09:33 They don’t wear too much [as many] clothes than [as] we do.
Yuri 09:36 Yeah, they don’t care. They sleep anywhere.
GT 09:38 And they don’t shower. They don’t bathe. (Chuckling) Philip told us an interesting story, because it’s not like on a cruise ship. You’ve got these nice bathrooms and they’ve get the vacuum sucker thing. And I said, “Well, how did you do that?”
GT 09:59 And he said, “Well, you would hang over the rail.”
GT 10:01 I was like, “I can’t imagine doing that in rough seas.”
Vera 10:04 Yes.
GT 10:06 You’d almost have to have a seatbelt. Wouldn’t you?
We don’t shower. We don’t have a shower. We need to put a bucket of the seawater and get showered.
GT 10:18 Or you jump in the ocean, I guess, when it’s calm.
Yuri 10:22 Very rarely. Most of the time it just is a bucket and in the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, it was very cold. So, I had to go outside in the wind and waves, and sometimes rain and get this freezing water to throw over yourself.
GT 10:35 Oh, really? I didn’t even think of that. Yeah, because that’s pretty close to the, let’s see…
Yuri 10:41 Cape of Good Hope.
GT 10:42 Yeah, well, it’s close to the South Pole, right?
Yuri 10:44 Yeah.
GT 10:44 So, it’s going to be really cold water.
Yuri 10:46 Yeah, yeah, it’s cold water. Yeah. So, it’s just fun.
GT 10:49 Wow. So, you contacted them and said, “I want to film it, and I want to be a sailor and we’ve got all this sailing experience.”
GT 11:00 And Philip was like, “Oh, I’d love to have you.” Is that pretty much what happened?
Yuri 11:04 Yeah, something like that. Yep. At the time, we had another project going on, another production in Japan. We couldn’t join from Syria, from the start. So, we joined a little bit later, and then we did most of the rest of the trip. The thing is, we had, like, 50 volunteers from different countries. I think it was 15 different countries sent 50 volunteers. So, all kinds of people, people with no experience at all in sailing or expeditions, to people like us with good sailing experience to join. Everyone on board was doing his part or her part.
Vera 11:39 We had a good experience in our sailboat. But, before, we didn’t have any experience in square sail.
GT 11:47 Right.
Vera 11:48 It was really different for us.
GT 11:49 Oh, really?
Vera 11:50 Yes.
Yuri 11:51 Even the Caravel, the Portugese Caravel was a Latin sail, which is a little bit more modern. Caravel was 1500 and the Phoenician ship was 600 B.C. So, it’s 2000 years difference. But the whole ship, itself, is very similar, the Portuguese Caravel, to the Phoenician ship. It’s very similar. So, it didn’t evolve a lot in 2000 years.
GT 12:11 Okay, so you really had a lot of experience with sailing before you joined Philip. I’m sure he just loved to have you guys on board.
Vera 12:20 We had experience really, in an amazing experience in a tall ship. It was from the Portuguese Navy, the Sagres. It’s a beautiful tall ship. We stayed with them [for] one week. We had a really, really good experience. In the second voyage in the tall ship, we had– I don’t remember the name of the boat from England. It’s a…
Yuri 12:46 Lord Nelson.
GT 12:50 Who is it again?
Yuri 12:51 Lord Nelson. It was doing…
GT 12:54 It sounded a lot like Rod Meldrum but it wasn’t.
Vera 12:58 No, Lord Nelson. It was a very nice experience in that boat. Everybody can enjoy them. They have people who cannot walk, who cannot see.
Yuri 13:10 So, it’s a different boat. We had our own sailboat, many different sailboats we owned. And then we experienced older style sailboats, as well. So, we brought something to the Phoenicia, I think.
GT 13:24 Yeah, definitely, it sounds like it.
Yuri 13:26 Because it was experimental. The Phoenician ship didn’t come with a manual. So, they didn’t know what they were doing. Nobody knew. We’d had to learn as we went sailing, so that was good.
Avoiding Somali Pirates on Lehi’s Voyage
GT 13:36 It’s interesting. I’m trying to remember. Where did the voyage start when you went around Africa?
Yuri 13:45 Arwad, Syria.
GT 13:46 It started in Syria. So, you flew from Brazil to Syria.
Yuri 13:50 Actually, I joined them in Yemen.
GT 13:52 Oh, you joined in Yemen, okay. So, was that Salalah? Is that where…
Yuri 13:57 No, that’s later.
GT 13:57 That was later.
Yuri 13:58 From Yemen we sailed to Salalah to Oman.
GT 14:00 So, Yemen to Salalah and then you went around the Somali pirates.
Yuri 14:04 Yes, yes, for 87 days. It was crazy. I mean, people were really scared.
GT 14:10 Yeah.
Yuri 14:11 It was a grace passage, but there’s nothing we could do. We had to continue the project, sail, right? We couldn’t put the ship in a truck and have it shipped. So, we had to sail it. So, we did that. So, instead of two weeks, our original plan, because of pirate attacks, we ended up running away from the pirates, so it took us eight weeks. So, it was eight weeks, two months of sailing.
GT 14:33 Just to get around Somalia?
Yuri 14:35 Because we had the, I don’t think I told you, but we had the reports come from the satellites. And every time we heard about the pirate attack, we plotted on the on the nautical chart and had to go a little bit more to the east. So, we kept going, going, going, going, 1000 miles from the Somali coast.
GT 14:52 Oh, my goodness.
Yuri 14:53 Because they had so many pirates. That’s funny. I don’t remember. There’s a movie called, Captain Phillips.
GT 15:01 Yeah with Tom Hanks.
Yuri 15:03 Yeah, when it came out it was pretty funny. “Captain Philip, they make a movie about you?”
Yuri 15:07 “No, it’s another Captain Phillips.” But, the capture of Captain Phillips with Tom Hanks in April, the true story, April 2009. We were there in October or November. So, the same year, they had 1500 pirate ships, big ships, small ships, skiffs on those waters. So, it was really, really bad situation.
GT 15:25 Wow.
Vera 15:26 The couple, the English couple, too.
Yuri 15:27 Yeah, they captured an English couple. Well, we were going to Seychelles, at one point, we were sailing to Seychelles, trying to avoid the pirates. And we heard about this attack and a British couple gets captured. And they think they were like 50 or 60 years old, a couple. They brought them to Somalia. They separated them. They lived in caves for a few months until somebody paid ransom. It was very bad. But because of them, we avoided that spot. We were going there. We were going to the pirates. So, we got the report, we sailed a little bit more to the east and to the south to avoid this. It was very scary situation. Yeah.
GT 16:00 Wow. That’s just crazy. I don’t know. I mean, I like cruise ships, but I don’t think I would have been on board that. I’ve done some river rafting. (Chuckling)
Yuri 16:11 Not quite the same thing. (Chuckling)
GT 16:13 With the self-bailing boats and everything. But did you ever have to do any bailing of water to get it out?
Yuri 16:19 Yeah, well, the Phoenician was always sinking. Right? It’s an old ship, the hull itself, it was natural fibers above the water. So it was always taking on water, always sinking. So, every six hours sailing, you had to empty the bilge. Otherwise, you go, which was a constant thing. You had duties, your shifts working. You had to steer the boat, keep the sails aligned, adjusted, and then remove water from the inside.
GT 16:49 Wow, that’s crazy. That’s crazy.
Yuri 16:51 Yeah, it wasn’t a cruise, not a pleasure trip.
Building a Better Rat Trap
GT 16:55 All right. So once you got past Somalia, was it pretty smooth sailing until you got to Cape Town. Is that right?
Yuri 17:01 No, no, every leg had its own challenges. So, it was fun. You didn’t have any routine aboard, actually. I mean, in a sense that it was always something, a new problem to worry about. Because when we left Somalia waters, when they reach Mayotte’s, of course, we had to go to Mozambique, there is the channel. And then it goes down this white coast of South Africa. It has that name because it’s really strong currents and winds. And just to sail around South Africa, we had to go port by port. And the way you do that is, you have the cold fronts coming up. So, you have to wait for them to pass and then have a short period of time so you can go to the next port. Because if you’re trying to sail from here to there, and there’s a cold front coming, you have to go back. It cannot advance against all that strong wind. So, there’s always a challenge to be overcome, each leg.
GT 17:01 Oh, wow. When did you have a problem with a rat?
Yuri 18:00 The rat, that’s the second expedition.
Vera 18:02 This is the second.
GT 18:03 Oh, it was on the second. It wasn’t on the first one. Okay. All right. Well, we’ll save that for later, then. But that was interesting. So, you didn’t have any rat problems on the first voyage?
Yuri 18:14 No, not that we know of. (Chuckling)
GT 18:19 Well, maybe we should just cover that, even though that was part of the second voyage. We’ll finish the rat story, because I’m sure people are like, “Tell us about that.” So, tell us the story about the rat.
Yuri 18:28 Okay, Vera was aboard. I was and when we were in Tenerife, before I left for the long crossing of the Atlantic. In Tenerife, Canary Islands, we had to redo a part of the boat. Part of the hull was really in bad shape. So, we moved a few planks and had to install new ones, too, because we knew that side would be facing out [into] the wind and the waves. That could be dangerous to break and flood the ship and we [would] all sink. So, we had to replace that. So, for a few days…
GT 18:59 That was in Tunisia. Is that right?
Yuri 19:01 That was in Tenerife.
GT 19:02 Tenerife, okay.
Yuri 19:03 Yeah, already.
Vera 19:04 Spain.
Yuri 19:05 That was the second or third month into the voyage. I was…
GT 19:09 Because there was another problem in Tunisia wasn’t there?
Yuri 19:12 Oh, yeah, yeah. When we left, we had a problem with the top of the sail, the mast.
GT 19:16 Okay.
Yuri 19:17 We had to cut like a meter, three feet off the top of the mast. And we had to stop for that. We stopped in Algiers.
GT 19:26 Yeah.
Yuri 19:27 It was funny, because we had three Americans aboard. And Algeria is a closed country. And there was this tension aboard and we didn’t have visas. So, we have to stop there to fix the boat. And then what were we going to do? But it was fun. I mean, everybody was really good there. They received us. They loved to have us there for three days, even though we couldn’t leave the port. We didn’t have visas. But they were very welcoming for us. And then we sailed again.
GT 19:50 Okay, so you had a few problems. The mast in Tunisia and then in Spain, you had to worry about the side of the boat. [Did you] kind of rebuild the side of the hull? Is that right?
Yuri 20:01 Yeah, two planks, we had to move a few planks in.
GT 20:03 Wow, because Philip was like, “Oh, you know, that’s just what happens. So, it was not a big deal.”
Yuri 20:10 Well, the thing is, the nice thing about this is, we have the ship. It’s very strong, but you have to have strong people to man the ship, to handle the ship. Otherwise, because it’s the sea, and we know, because we lived aboard for 12 years, there’s always this aggression from the sea, the corrosion and the pressure of the water. So, we have to always look at what’s wrong. What can go wrong? And you have to really try to fix it, even before it starts [to become] a problem.
GT 20:37 Right.
Yuri 20:37 Because when it starts, it may be too late. So, we saw that thing, that was soft in some parts, so, we had to separate the whole thing. It took us another week or two to put it in place. But that’s better than to use a life raft in the middle of the Atlantic. We did that.
GT 20:55 (Chuckling) Did you have life rafts on board?
Yuri 20:57 Yeah, of course. They’re not fun.
GT 21:00 They didn’t have to use life rafts back then, though.
Yuri 21:03 No. Well, they had many ships. The thing is, in the ancient times, they would make a voyage like that with 10 ships, at least 10 ships, I’d say, or more. So, a few of them would sink. That’s normal. Like when Magellan went around the world, they had, like, I don’t know, 11, or something, so many ships, and most of them sank. But, if you have 10 ships going on one voyage of discovery, and nine sink and one makes it through, one succeeds, it’s a success, even though we lost 900 men. But you made it, so, you’re the first one to go around the world, to cross the Atlantic Ocean. In our case, we didn’t have 10 ships. We had to count on this one.
GT 21:41 I know you had a satellite phone, I guess, if you needed one, too.
Yuri 21:43 Yeah, you’d be sitting there in the life raft playing cards and waiting for a rescue for a few weeks.
GT 21:48 All right, so let’s get back to the rat. So, tell us about the rat.
Yuri 21:52 Okay, yeah. So, the rat, we think it entered the ship through the hull, because it was being replaced, the side. And then in the middle of the ocean, like the first week aboard…
GT 22:03 This is after Spain.
Yuri 22:04 After Spain, yeah. When we left Tenerife, and once you leave Tenerife, there is only one place, you can stop, the Cape Verde Islands. After that, it’s the Atlantic. And in the Phoenician ship, because of the sail of the ship, you cannot turn back. You really have to go all the way. So there’s no way to stop, nowhere to stop. There’s no way you can turn and that’ll be like, at least three, four weeks before you reach help again. So, when they detected this problem of the rat, and they had this piece of wood being eaten, and, at first, nobody paid attention to the rat. So, why should we be afraid? But then it got really crazy. This guy was after water fresh water in the ship. There was no fresh water. So, he was trying to eat, and taste all kinds of food available there. So, it was getting crazy, because he was destroying our food. I mean, you don’t want to bite an apple after you find a rat’s bite, little bites on your apple, you just throw it away. You don’t get sick for that.
Yuri 23:04 And then people, that’s very funny. People start to–we have a biologist aboard. And he was the guy most afraid of the rat, a biologist. I don’t know why. Yeah, he was dreaming about the rat walking over his chest. He was sleeping on the floor one night, and all his hair, he had long hair. So, people get crazy about the rat. So, it really gets into the psychology. So, we had this hammock, but most people like to sleep on the floor. So, after the rats were discovered, nobody would sleep on the floor. Everybody was in hammocks, so it was crazy. And then we decided to have this little contest and see who can get the rat. So, Huma, the Indonesian, he made a very clever trap, but it didn’t work. The rat was laughing at him. Charlie and the British people, and a Belgian, they made a trap, which was very funny. And the rat was really laughing at the end, because we never [caught it.] Then I looked at those traps. I said, “You’re not going to catch, not even a rubber hat. So, let’s make one.” So, I made a trap and after a few days we captured the rat.
GT 24:08 So, it was a contest and the Brazilians won, right?
Yuri 24:10 Yeah. (Chuckling) Yeah, so, we made a nice trap and everybody was happy after that. There was some discussion what to do with the rat, but you cannot come into America and bring a rat. It’s a hazard. It can bring disease. So, we had to dispose.
Vera 24:10 It cannot speak English. It’s a rat from Spain. (Chuckling)
Yuri 24:29 Yeah, there was a plan to put the rat in a little raft, and see if it can arrive here before us. But we never did. We disposed of him.
GT 24:39 (Chuckling) So, did you just drown him in the ocean, then? Is that it, pretty much happened?
Yuri 24:43 Yeah, that’s what I did. Some people want to make a soup, but no. (Chuckling) We were not that desperate.
GT 24:51 Ratatouille, right?
Yuri 24:52 Yeah. That’s fun. But it was good. I mean, it was just little problems. Sometimes, you think they are little, like a rat or a small leakage. And then they can grow, if you let them. Then, it can really become a dangerous situation. So, it happens all the time, with other–not only on boats, but in your house or an airplane or whatever. So, you have to deal with it when they’re little. And that’s what we did.
Storm after Cape Town
GT 25:18 All right, well, okay. So that was part of the Mediterranean trip. Let’s go back to Africa. That was the first trip and Vera I want to hear from you. Because Philip, I asked him about the storm and he’s like, “Oh, it wasn’t that big of a deal. The sail ripped, but it was no big deal.” When I talked to you the other day, you gave a much better story. So, tell us the story of the storm and what you experienced. And where did that happen, by the way?
Vera 25:52 Where? Well, close to the Cape of Good Hope.
GT 25:56 Okay.
Vera 25:57 We had really bad weather that night. It was rough. The sea was very rough and strong wind and two of us– all the watch is four people, but that night Yuri was sleeping because his other watch, he was for cooking in the morning.
Yuri 26:19 So I had the night off.
GT 26:20 I guess we don’t think about that. This is a 24-hour operation. Right? Somebody’s got to be up all night to do this.
Vera 26:27 Yes.
GT 26:27 And so you take turns sleeping.
Vera 26:29 We take turns, two hours per team.
Yuri 26:34 Four hours.
Vera 26:35 Sorry, four hours, yes, instead of two hours. Yuri is sleeping and the other guy is probably looking at the danger or the building. He’s not outside the bilge. He’s not outside with us. It’s just me and Aziz, the Indonesian journalist. We are in the helm, and we are looking. It’s really, really, really strong wind and we looked at the sails. The sail is so full of wind. We know something’s happening, because we need to put down a little bit the sail and we couldn’t, because you cannot leave the helm. We needed to stay there, because if one of us goes out, we cannot keep the same direction. We have the compass here. We need to check the compass all the time, because you cannot see the stars. [We need to check the compass] to help us to find our direction. And when we looked at each other, we were feeling scared about that. We know something happened. We looked again. He came out. We can see Philip come out and he said, “Well, it’s good.” But it’s not good. It was just at that time the sail ripped in the middle. It was like we had two sails. I was really, really scared. What are we going to do? Because we know we need to turn the boat to put the horse or the nose of the ship to the wind. [We need to] put down the sail. We are very, very scared. I’m scared that night. But I trust in Philip and I trust in my husband. Because of this, I’m there. And I know they can fix it and change the sail. But, during the work, I don’t remember, but Philip said it’s takes around 45 minutes to put down [the sail], to put all the team on the deck to do this job.
Yuri 28:54 To put the storm sail up.
Vera 28:55 Yes, and he put the storm sail [up.] It’s a little, small sail. And [during] that time I’m [wondering.] What’s going to happen? Because the boat moves like that. Sometimes, the head of the horse [is] in the water and come up and come down. And I’m really scared that time. But we are here. We did it. We survived.
GT 29:13 (Chuckling) I know, because you said that the wind was howling so bad and you’re there at the helm trying to steer the ship. And the other person, you were trying to talk to him, and he couldn’t hear.
Vera 29:38 It’s impossible, because it’s a strong wind. We cannot scream with each other. It’s impossible.
GT 29:48 Right. So, it was a good thing Philip came up and then just [the sail ripped.]
Vera 29:52 Yes, exactly [at the right] time. I asked Phillip, “How did you come out at that time?”
Vera 29:59 [He said,] “I don’t know.” But I understand, because I’ve been sailing before. I lived on a sailboat. We know each noise when something happens. I say all the time, the boat has a soul. We can feel the boat’s soul and probably Philip was feeling the spirit of this boat.
GT 30:23 So, he knew something was wrong and he got there just in time.
Vera 30:27 Yeah.
GT 30:27 So were you ever worried that you were going to drown in the ocean or anything? Or, you were like, “In Philip, we trust.”
Vera 30:36 I’m trusting them, but we know if something happened, we are prepared. All the time Yuri said to me, “Well, if something [goes] wrong you’re going to [be] alright. All our film equipment, we put [it] in the back, closed very well. And then water [got in the] back.
Yuri 31:00 I was ready to go…
Vera 31:00 But this was more important for us. You know, you [work with film.]
Yuri 31:05 Get the film. Never mind the crew. Save the story. (Chuckling) Get the film. It was funny.
Vera 31:08 It was, “Save the film.”
GT 31:09 Now, were you using film or was it all digital?
Yuri 31:12 Digital.
GT 31:13 Okay, okay. Because I can imagine– they always talk about, on a plane. And you’re like, “Well, if the plane goes down, I’m saving my camera equipment.”
Vera 31:22 Yeah.
GT 31:24 Because they’re always like, “You can’t use that down the slide.”
GT 31:26 And I’m like, “I’ve got to have this. I’m not burning this thing up in the plane.” So, I feel [for you,] because everything had to be battery operated, right?
Yuri 31:35 Yeah.
GT 31:35 And so how did you recharge your batteries for your camera equipment?
Yuri 31:40 Yeah, we had a generator aboard. I was very careful about the generator, of course. I had to be. The mechanic, as well, because I needed the electricity. And it was funny because we had the first voyage, not the second one. The second was hammocks and sleep on the floor. The first one we had bunks, along with the ship, on the side of the ship and mine was the only bunk with direct connection to the generator. [It was] at the rear of the ship and I’d go to my bunk and, even back then I could do some editing stuff. Because I had all these modern things. So, yeah, I had control, very well, of the batteries to manage. And that was even before the GoPros came out. So, there was no action cameras or anything.
GT 32:21 Okay. I hate to get too techie, because people aren’t going to care. But us filmmakers, we care. Was this just like a DSLR camera? Or was it like a…
Yuri 32:32 It was before that, before it became in popular. Now everybody uses DSLR, but it was, like, normal cameras. I had the big cameras.
GT 32:40 Pretty good sized cameras?
Yuri 32:41 Yeah. I had small ones, and the big ones. But, nowadays, it’s easier, because so many people are doing vlogs and stuff. So, all of the equipment is getting smaller. But in 2008, 2007, if you go back, I had big cameras with all of these microphones and the small cameras were portable, that I had to use. They didn’t have any microphones. There was not an input for external microphone. So, what I did, for instance, I had a small one that had to carry for me all the time. And it’s a ship. There can be waves and stuff and in rain. I had to carry it inside in a plastic bag or whatever. I had to prepare, on top of the microphone in the camera, I got some cable, and I made some windshields for that, because I couldn’t buy that. Like I said, this is before GoPros. So, there were not a lot of small camera if we went to for these action things.
GT 32:49 See, I don’t like the GoPros with that fisheye lens. It drives me crazy.
Yuri 33:36 But they helped in a ship like that. I appreciate it. I put them in a different place, so we have all of these different angles. So, it’s nice and decent. But we didn’t have that. So, I had to do it all by hand.
GT 33:47 Oh, wow. Wow. So, are the other stories you have from the travel around Africa?
Yuri 33:55 Well, the funny part about Africa, it took us two years and two months, the whole thing, the whole team.
GT 34:02 But you did fly out–because there was six months in, was it Salalah, where the winds were going the wrong way. And so, you went home. Is that right?
Yuri 34:09 Yeah, we tried to get from Al Hodeida in the west coast of Yemen. We tried to get out of the Red Sea. We couldn’t, because the Red Sea, at the very end, there’s Bab-el-Mandeb, which is like two islands. They call it a gate, so, it’s a gate there. And when the wind is wrong, you have, I don’t know, maybe 20 knots of wind come, pushing you back, so you cannot leave. So, he really had to wait for the right season. So, yeah, we had to leave the boat there. It was an adventure, itself, because we had to be escorted out of the country. There were some problems, immigration stuff, because we’re not supposed to stay there. But, at the end, we managed to have some deals with Yemen and left the boat for six months. Yeah. So, you have the ship to negotiate. And, of course, just like biblical times, you’d have the local authorities to negotiate with, as well. And sometimes, they don’t understand what you’re doing. “What are you doing here with this ship? It looks like pirates. You’re not a pirate. You are Europeans or Americans.”
GT 35:08 It does look like a pirate ship, doesn’t it?
Yuri 35:08 Yeah, so, “What are you doing?” So, you have to explain yourself and negotiate. So, it’s hard, not only from the sailing standpoint, but the political side as well.
GT 35:17 Wow, you don’t even think about stuff like that.
Almost a Mutiny?
GT 35:25 Okay, so any other interesting stories from that travel around Africa?
Yuri 35:29 There’s so many. But the nice thing is, we were working on everything, the crew. It was very nice. We had people from different religions, people from different political views, different areas, different languages. And we all got together and did the same amazing thing, which is to sail a 2600-year-old designed boat across these dangerous waters and oceans and stuff. So, it was amazing to see how people can get together and work as one team, even though they’re from different backgrounds, when we need to.
Vera 36:03 But, about the mutiny guys.
Yuri 36:07 Yeah, we almost had a mutiny aboard.
GT 36:10 What’s that?
Yuri 36:10 A mutiny aboard.
GT 36:11 A mutiny?
Yuri 36:13 Yeah, people–when we sailed, just a funny story, but it’s not really like that. But the thing is, when we sailed on Somali waters, we had five Omani crewmen, from the Royal Navy of Oman, and we had three Indonesians, and we had Philip, [who’s] English, Nicolas from Sweden, me from Brazil. So, we had those guys, and they were really not into the project. They were given to us, or they were on a training voyage with us, these Omani Navy, guys. So, they didn’t have any really strong desire to be there for us, especially after two weeks became eight weeks, and we almost ran out of water and we had very little food and everything. So, they wanted to stop in Chagos Archipelago, which is American. It’s a British territory. Americans have a naval base there. It’s a place where the space shuttles, if they miss Florida, they would stop in the middle of in the Indian Ocean. That was the American base.
GT 37:14 Oh.
Yuri 37:14 So these guys wanted to go into the American base, which is a closed base. It’s very secure for an American base. And they wanted to go there with the Phoenician ship, 8 Muslim, Omani men. “Let’s go there and stop there.”
Yuri 37:31 “No, you’re never going to leave the place. I mean, by the time that we explain what we’re doing, it’s going to be crazy.” So they really wanted to stop there. And one of them came to me one night and said, “Okay, we’re not going to work anymore. We have to stop there, get some supplies. You’ve got to tell Philip we will not work anymore.”
Yuri 37:46 I said, “Okay, well, the thing is, I’m here as a volunteer. I want to be here. And I want to continue it. I mean, we don’t have water or food, but that’s fine. I mean, we will survive somehow.”
GT 37:53 (Chuckling)
Yuri 37:53 And, as I told them, I don’t even know if Philip knows this, but the guys came to me, this particular came to me when I told you the guys attended, the five guys and said, “We’re going to stop there or we don’t work anymore.”
Yuri 38:02 Okay. So, I told them. “I’m a volunteer here. I can even say something bad for Phillip. I can’t say, ‘Phillip, I don’t want to work anymore.’ Or even hit Philip in the face. ‘I don’t want to be here anymore. I want to fight him.’ He’ll just drop you in the next island or the next port. And that’s it. I’ll go home.”
Yuri 38:18 “But you guys, you are from the Royal Navy. You are here on the assignment. What happens to mutineers in the Omani navy?” They did stop to think, and they never spoke about that again. But they really wanted to stop in those islands. Because everybody gets crazy when there’s no water and no food.
GT 38:34 Right. Yeah. I bet.
Yuri 38:36 We had [food,] but for them, for the Africans, that there was no sugar. That was the main thing. They love their sugar.
GT 38:44 Yes, yes, I bet.
Vera & Yuri’s Thoughts on Book of Mormon
GT 38:46 So what do you think? I mean, you guys are not Mormons. Right? What do you think of this whole story of Lehi and Mulek? I mean, do you think it’s a plausible story?
Yuri 38:56 We make documentaries. Right? We make projects like the Phoenicia ship. So, we are involved with American universities and American institutions, as well, in different projects, like slave ships and other things. And we talked to them about the Phoenicia. They love what we did in the Phoenicia. And the funny thing is, when I talked about the Mormon connection, of course, these guys, they don’t know about the Book of Mormon, Lehi, Mulek, as we learned. They don’t know about that. When I explained to them the thing, they came to say, “Okay.” Yeah, sometimes, you’re looking for a lost city, and you have local legends, or local people who believe, who learned from their grandfathers and great-grandfathers about that place, and it turns out to be true. So, maybe the legend or the story passed on by generations, it’s true. It’s just not officially recognized by science. So, when I spoke to these guys, it’s a few of them and I’m dealing [with] in different [places] from Brazil, from America, from Europe, different places. They say, “Okay, there must be something true there. There could be something true there. Even though we don’t recognize it. We don’t know about Book of Mormon.” I just explained to them. They said, “There must be something true there, because you have this group believing something very strongly. “You don’t have the scientific evidence of Phoenicians across the ocean, and they go the same direction. They tell the same story. So why not? That’s one thing. You cannot force the other. So that’s what you get. And we believe, that’s why we’re here. We believe what the Book of Mormon says. Apart from all religions, and everything that people believe, the description of the trip, the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, that can be done, we just proved it.
GT 40:33 So, you’re open to the idea that the Book of Mormon might be true.
Yuri 40:37 Yes, yes. Yes, of course.
Yuri 40:39 Yeah. So, like I said, if you look at the Book of Mormon, if you go to the Bible, if you’ve got the Book of Kings, this voyage stuff here, it had to be somewhere. They had to have strong ships like Phoenicia, and they are Phoenician sailors going across oceans to bring all the gold to the temple in Jerusalem. Why not? If they knew, that’s a thousand years, that’s 1000 B.C., right? 900 B.C., Solomon’s time, before the Phoenicians, before Mulek and the high voyages, 300-400 years before that. So, imagine if they did these voyages to bring the gold of Jerusalem, if you believe that, why not three centuries later? They could have made Mulek and Lehi’s voyage. So, there’s a lot of evidence. People, sometimes they disdain, but I think, “That must be something true.” I mean, their stories are not there just somebody’s evidence. They learn from other sources, divine or from their fathers or grandfathers. So, what they tell, if you can use science to test and that’s what we did, okay, that could be true, yes. There’s no reason to believe otherwise.
Vera 40:39 Yeah.
GT 41:46 Okay, so does this lead you to think it is true?
Vera 41:50 Yes.
GT 41:51 Really?
Vera 41:52 I believe that.
Yuri 41:53 Yeah. Yeah. Why not? I mean, yeah. We are proving that.
GT 41:58 So, you know, and I’m not trying to play missionary, but are you guys going to get baptized anytime soon here?
Yuri 42:03 (Chuckling)
Vera 42:03 You never know about this. We trust in Christ. We trust in God. You know?
Yuri 42:13 Yes, I think it brings us together. So that’s very nice for now. I mean, it’s really happening. And, of course, we come from Brazil. And we know that we have good friends in Brazil, from the LDS Church. And this story is resonating there, as well.
GT 42:28 Well, I know you need to run. I’d love to pick your brains a little bit more, but I’m going to let you go. But I want to thank you guys so much for coming all the way from Brazil to America and letting me talk to you here on Gospel Tangents. So, thank you very much.
Yuri 42:42 Thank you for the opportunity. It was great. Thank you.
Vera 42:44 I’m reading the Book of Mormon, the part of the Phoenicians, sailing.
GT 42:51 (Chuckling) That’s in First Nephi. So, you can at least read that.
Yuri 42:54 Okay. Thank you.
GT 42:55 Thanks. I hope you enjoyed our conversation with Vera and Yuri Sanada. Thank you so much for sitting down with me and talking with me. I can’t imagine doing an interview in Portuguese. So, I really appreciate that you would sit down with me and do an interview in English. So, Vera and Yuri, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
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