1 $ boat is a feature length documentary about a journey, both personal and actual, experienced by a young man in search of freedom and meaning.
Sparked by an attempt to document personal change, we witness how Karaka, a 16m sailboat in Mexico, gets ready to leave for Costa Rica. But this is going to be only one voyage along a much bigger, much deeper journey.
Karaka was an abandoned boat, bought for 1$, and she has circumnavigated since with a crew of sea vagabonds. With no set destination or return date, she is a true nomad ship. For this voyage, Tom and his cat welcome on board Cesar, Tara, Eric, Zack and Steve, who join as crew to share at the same time the costs and the labor, but also what makes this experience unique : a peek at a simpler, purer mode of existence, far from everything and modern society, as part of a vagabond nomadic sea tribe.
The documentary follows one of the crew, Steve, as he experiences sails changes during night storms, leaks, chronic lack of wind, mechanical failures, low supplies, boredom, excitement and much more, but we also see through his eyes how such a journey affects people in a deep and meaningful way, how this practically unlimited freedom and this rich simple life change how people see themselves and their place in the world.
The film’s narrative unfolds through actual footage of the voyage, through the steps of preparation, departure, journey and arrival, inter meshed with interviews of the crew commenting on their experience and their feelings. We hear crew members share their personal stories and their dreams, speaking about the everyday life on the ship as well as how it affects them. Central to the film is Steve’s assessment of his subsequent growth, filmed four years after the completion of the voyage.
1 $ boat concludes with Steve’s recollection of an allegorical dream from his childhood, a striking metaphor to his personal journey, both spiritual and actual.