Capt. Clive Kelly and Jacyara onboard the "Survival" in Bonaire

A special "thank you" to the Bonaire Reporter for this photo and story below

By Josie Olgers

Published June 21, 2002 by a tiny newspaper on the Carribean island of Bonaire

Nothing on Bonaire surprises me anymore. People sail or fly in from
everywhere. Our island attracts an incredible mixture of people. It’s
truly a meeting place for seeking souls to touch each other, to meet and
melt and then move on again. That is one of the realities of this
island. It sounds sad, but it’s not. These transitions form the
strength and the character of Bonaire. They expand Bonaire’s essence,
making this Caribbean treasure unique. Anyway, why am I writing all
this? Because I would like to tell you about still another remarkable
person who has sailed in and captured our attention: Captain Clive
Kelly. Perhaps I better call him the ‘Robin Hood for the Ocean’ or, as
he calls himself, ‘the Indian Englishman’ or ‘the Pilgrim of Mother
Earth.’ But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Captain Kelly would stand out even on the eccentric streets of Amsterdam
or New York. The longhaired full body-tattooed man, with a pencil
through one of his ears (“very practical, I can always take notes”) has
perhaps found the perfect place for him to be right now. This
Indian-looking Englishman, “Captain” Kelly,” as he was named by pop star
Sting, is definitely someone you want to meet—not only for his special
appearance but for what his appearance stands for: the message he gives
to anyone who is willing to listen.

When I enter his boat, I’m impressed. It has an open atmosphere, filled
with the spirits of the many people who have visited it and been
inspired. Two cute small white dogs welcome me, followed by a beautiful
Indian looking young woman by the name of Jacyara who leads me to one of
the cabins of the yellow 55-foot-long trimaran Survival. Captain Kelly
introduces himself, starts talking and it seems no question is to be
asked from that moment on. The one-man show has started. I do not hear
half of what he says, being fascinated by his face and looks. He’s
totally focused and determined. I am seeing someone with a passion, a
real passion in the way he talks and the way he looks.

Who is this man, I wondered, with such a spirit and what is he doing on Bonaire?

Born in Liverpool, England, in 1940, Clive grew up during WW II in a
strongly religious and hardworking small family. He has one younger
sister. His father was in the entertainment business. After the war,
times were hard. He couldn’t find his place. He was always fighting the
school system. He considered himself the family’s black sheep and was
sent from one school to the other. Eventually he fled. He chose a
vagabond life from the age of 13, sailing with fisherman, learning how
to survive. ‘I was always the new boy, everywhere, in schools or on
boats. Being so young, I felt tested and challenged all the time, which
hardened me at an early age. I got beaten up all the time, that was my
lesson I guess. But it brought me to be who I am now.”

He came back to England at 17, to work as a bouncer of a nightclub where
the Beatles regularly performed. He got completely into the scene of pop
music, ended up owning several nightclubs and acting as an agent for
various artists. Big entertainment names like the Rolling Stones and
Tina Turner were his bread and butter. Eventually, he says, he saw the
futility of that lifestyle. A lot of his friends in that scene were
destroyed by sex, drugs and alcohol. The big money kills the spirit;
excesses of life are fatal. He decided to leave all that to seek
something else. A voice inside him told him - a voice he had learned to
listen to at an early age.

London gave him something new. Inspired by the street life of ordinary
people and seeing the simplicity of life in a documentary on Indian
people, he decided to travel to where one of the most remote tribes of
Indians lived deep in the Brazilian Amazon where he felt he could find
some answers to life’s questions. He lived with the tribe for months,
essentially becoming a jungle Indian in his heart.

Chief Roani, the leader of the Amazon tribe, was his spiritual father,
he says, and changed his life. “He taught me to survive, to be a person,
to listen to the spirits of nature. You know he taught me everything
there is to know about life: to be a person of the forest and not of the
capitalistic system.” Clive felt the need to preserve and protect the
Indians’ way of life and has made it his life’s goal to make sure it happens.

Of course, Clive wanted to tell the whole world about his discovery,
about his truth ... but how? Through his contacts with entertainers he
was able to make an exceptional movie, ‘Raoni,’ in which he shows the
life of the people of the rainforest, the people of his mentor, Chief
Raoni, the Viayapo. The film shows the value of the simple life, the
Indians as the guardians of the forest believing in the spirits of
nature, asking the rest of the world to leave them alone. They do not
want civilization; their spirits will help to preserve the rainforest
and the rest of mankind.

For this film he won an Oscar nomination, the World Eco Prize, and four
Grammy awards in Brazil. It marked the start of his missionary journey.
It’s a lone journey. He does it by himself, believing in his personal
power of being the voice of the Indians. That explains his appearance
which always attracts an audience. With the money he had, he built his
trimaran to get him everywhere. The boat gives him freedom and
possibilities for traveling. He built it himself ,making it to last by
building with fiberglass and honeycomb composite. Captain Kelly’s been
sailing on his Survival for over 25 years, voyaging to the Caribbean,
Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Surinam, even as far as south Uruguay,
filming and documenting the wildlife, the Indians and the living
creatures in the ocean. Although his voyage began as a mission for the
Indians, it has become a voyage to protect the rainforest.

He now speaks of Mother Earth: our planet, our ocean. “You see, we are
living in a silly world with silly people; the more we own, the more we
want, the more we have to lose; it is so destructive,” he says. He is
dedicated to convincing and teaching people about ‘seacide,’ the killing
of the sea with modern polluting ways. He has observed the ocean and the
people who make a living from it. “I’ve seen fish with condoms stuck in
their throats, blocking their mouths, dead turtles with kilos of plastic
inside. Only education can end such killing of the ocean.” He created
his personal foundation, “The Seacide World Protection Organization.”
“You see,” he says, “as long we are polluting we are suffocating our
mother, we are killing ourselves.”

Captain Kelly has had successes for Brazil’s Indians as well as for the
protection of the sea. With his entertainment industry experience he
opened three music halls in Brazil, where by promoting charity shows he
raises money to help the Indians. He achieved the official recognition
and demarcation of the land of the tribe of Chief Raoni’s people, a big
turning point in their legacy. He fought against the construction of
roads that would disturb the Indian culture and he prevented the
construction of the biggest dam in the Amazon. He inspired pop star
Sting to start the Rainforest Foundation. While visiting Uruguay in
1995, he helped ban jet skis in Lagoa Mirin Pawtawa on the border with
Brazil which is a unique breeding place for the black neck swan. And he
stopped dynamite fishing on the Brazilian coast. He got bombed himself
for that, but that never put him off his mission. In Surinam he
organized an exhibition and managed to get the attention of the United
Nations which donated over $30,000. These are only a few of his

When I asked Captain Kelly if he is ever tired of the fight and being
always on the defensive, he admits he is. Getting sponsors and financial
help for his cause has not always been easy. But he doesn’t let the
troubles or worries interfere with the message he has to tell.
He invites everyone who is interested in his message to visit his boat,
which is lying near the Town Pier. The yellow-hulled trimaran is a
floating Amerindian museum, full of Indian objects, headdresses,
paintings and other things. You can learn and listen to all he has to
say. And if you are interested in jewelry, well Captain Kelly can create
something for you from his goods on board.

He will need some help from the Bonairean community and its visitors to
continue his journey. He would love to be of any help to Bonaire,
exchange his knowledge, organize an exhibition, speak to organizations,
clubs, school kids and more. Hopefully, Captain Clive will get all the
support to continue his message and to encourage others to participate
and support this cause. Hopefully, Bonaire will get the chance to enjoy
to the fullest the experiences of this remarkable man.

How long he will stay and what his next destination will be, I ask.
“Well, that is never something you know. The Survival has brought me to
places and people I had never thought of, so let us just now focus on
Bonaire.” ©2002 Bonaire Reporter


LOTS of pics are here at the old website.

An article was written about Sting and his efforts with Raoni and posted to Sting's official website

The web publisher of this info for Clive Kelly and Raoni can be emailed here

Email Capt. Kelly here:

Back to the story of Survival

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