Sailing Uma is a YouTube channel which follows the high sea adventures of Kika and Dan. Since they started their channel in 2015, the couple has been guiding their audience through their long and exciting journey of exploring the world.
Boarding their boat Uma, and with the phrase ‘don’t buy a couch if you want to travel’ as their life philosophy, Kika and Dan have conquered the hearts of people on the internet with their relentless attitude towards accomplishing their dream of living a self-reliable life on the ocean, even when the path has been complex and expensive.
So who are the people behind Sailing Uma? What did they do before starting their channel? What are their goals as sailors, and how much do they earn from their online content? Keep watching to find out!
What Is Sailing Uma?
Although several sailing-centered YouTube channels are around, Sailing Uma differs from many others. Kika and Dan have filmed many memorable moments on the sea and by the beach on their channel, but their goal to travel the world on their boat Uma goes beyond partying and traveling, to living sustainably and affordably while still keeping their adventurous side alive.
Sailing Uma’s content also focuses on the technical aspects of their high seas escapades, especially when it comes to the fuel of their boat, which doesn’t use diesel but an electric motor. To this day, Kika and Dan proudly claim to have visited 28 countries and sailed over 28,000 nautical miles – well over 40,000kms – while using zero gallons or liters of diesel.
Their goal of navigating the world while keeping their environmental fingerprint to a minimum isn’t anything new, as Kika and Dan have been committed to it from the beginning of their adventure in 2014. That mindset also led Kika and Dan to dedicate countless hours and effort to fixing the malfunctions and structural issues in Uma, as they care about the boat and working with what they have for their adventure.
The message spread by Sailing Uma has slowly but surely reached the heart of their audience, surpassing the 400,000 subscribers mark on YouTube to date, on top of having over 100,000 followers on Instagram.
— Dan + Kika – Sailing Uma (@SailingUma) June 9, 2020
Who Is Kika?
Erica ‘Kika’ Mevs is a native of Port au Prince, Haiti. As she wrote on Sailing Uma’s website, she grew up in a financially stable family, which gave her access to ‘opportunities not available to many’ in her country.
Throughout her childhood, Kika explored many places in her country, and became deeply enamored by the ocean, often observing its wonders from her mom’s workplace at a commercial port. Those days were the origin of Kika’s yearning to explore the vast sea, as she often daydreamed of traveling the world, noticed by her loved ones, who often joked about her ‘up in the clouds’ attitude. However, that didn’t deter Kika’s goal of one day exploring a wide variety of international locations, having her first long-term experience of living abroad when she moved to the US at 18 years old to pursue a degree in architecture at the Georgia-based Southern Polytechnic State University.
Despite starting such an important new chapter in her life, the earthquake which devastated Haiti in 2010 was an awakening point for Kika, who was not only worried about the well-being of her loved ones, but also realized back then the importance of living life at its fullest.
Who Is Dan?
Dan Deckert is a native of British Columbia, Canada, but his childhood was different from many others. As he wrote on Sailing Uma’s website, his family lived in a cabin near the Rocky Mountains, letting him experience firsthand what it was to live off hunting and harvesting food.
Although Dan’s hometown didn’t have more than 30 inhabitants, he describes his early life as ‘experientially diverse’, as he could freely learn and experience life without the limits of regular, institutionalized education. Despite the simplicity of the lifestyle of Dan’s family, he often traveled and read investigative and nature-themed magazines, awakening his fascination with the world he had yet to experience to its fullest.
While Dan lived too far away from the ocean to experience sailing, his father taught him the necessary skills to move around on the land. At 16 years old, Dan moved from Canada to Philadelphia, USA where he attended a boarding school before becoming increasingly interested in studying architecture.
After becoming an intern at an architectural firm, gaining experience as a machine operator, starting a small company named Deckert Home Repair, and attending college-level courses, in 2009 Dan enrolled at University to study architecture.
Why Did They Start Sailing?
Kika and Dan met each other while studying architecture at Southern Polytechnic State University, in Georgia. They started dating in 2013, just oa year before graduating and starting their architecture consulting firm named DADEM Studios.
Back then, Dan and Kika had all the means necessary for a ‘pretty good life’, and set themselves a five-year limit to accomplish their professional goals, but things didn’t go as planned, as they wrote on their website. While helping a friend to move into a new apartment, Dan and Kika became acquainted with their new roommate, a man who traveled a lot and never stayed long in any place.
Their friend’s roommate told them ‘If you want to travel the world, don’t buy a couch!’, which was a phrase which struck a chord with Dan and Kika. Later in 2021, Kika affirmed in a TEDx Talk, that the couch was an allegory about how people believed that owning material things could secure their happiness.
It was that phrase and the couple’s realization that they wanted to live differently which led them to purchase Uma, a 1972 Pearson sailboat which they fixed-up and took to the high seas, despite their lack of experience sailing and maintaining boats. The project was always thought to be long-term, and Dan and Kika did a good job at making Uma not only their office but also their home.
How Rich Are They?
According to online reports, Kika and Dan from Sailing Uma have a net worth of about $700,000. This includes their boat Uma and earnings they’ve obtained through the YouTube channel, which is calculated to be around $7.500 monthly. It’s also worth noting that the couple’s architectural company DADEM is still active these days.
Kika and Dan have other sources of income, including their Patreon platform on which they offer three content plans for their followers to choose from, from as little as $2. On top of that, Sailing Uma also offers their fans original merchandise, and often collaborates with brands related to the maritime and video-making businesses.