Member Spotlight: Alexa and Jens Wallevik
Member Spotlight: Alexa and Jens Wallevik
When Alexa and Jens Wallevik asked themselves what more they could get out of their monohull sailboat, they were not thinking about themselves, rather, about creating unique experiences for others.
The inception of the Epicurean sail experience yacht charter came a few years after the couple became Members at ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove. And in 2019, when COVID-19 hit, it took on a whole new form—it became a means of raising funds for the social causes the couple supported.
One among them is Mustard Tree, a social enterprise that has been close to Alexa’s heart for many years. The social organisation trains teenagers with special needs and empowers them to use their skills to either get gainful employment or retail their creations through its own storefront. Just before COVID-19 hit, they had introduced two more training rooms to keep up with the high demand, but struggled with rental costs during the Circuit Breaker. “That’s what got us thinking: ‘why don’t we do more with what we have got?’” says Alexa.
“We thought it would be a good long-term idea to use the boat to get a lot of people together for the purpose of fundraising—100 per cent of the proceeds from such trips go towards the charities and causes we support,” says Jens. Although there were lockdown restrictions to the number of people on board, word spread, and they had many bookings. “People felt that there was a double reward—they had a chance to be outdoors and experience the slow life, along with some cultural immersion, as well as do good,” explains Jens “We started end of July 2020, going out to sea almost every day for five weeks, and helped raise $13,200 for Mustard Tree.”
For Dane Jens, being in Singapore waters is not new as he grew up here in the ’70s and ’80s—“my dad had a boat and we used to travel a lot around Singapore and Malaysian waters”. Austrian Alexa, however, grew up among the mountains. But the spirit of adventure and the desire to give back to society is a common vein between the couple.
It is interesting how they were serendipitously led to where they are now through their unique activities. One among them was bringing in live Christmas trees from their plantation in Denmark. “It is our way of introducing Asians to Nordic Christmas trees. They are not as full as American trees, they have gaps in between,” smiles Alexa.
It was during one such “Nordic Christmas market”—they would have a container parked at Fun’s Florist and Nursery on Thomson Road—that Alexa met Soek Ying Koh, the Co-founder of Mustard Tree, who was there to explore a job opportunity for one of the boys under her care. Alexa and Koh got talking and there began an unwritten partnership and the events leading to the redefinition of Epicurean sail experience.
And it was through a charter under its new mission that they were introduced to Callum Eade. The Kiwi plans to swim the English Channel for the second time in October 2021—situation permitting—to raise funds for the Singapore Cancer Society. A cancer survivor himself, Eade aims is to raise over $300,000 for cancer research.
The Wallevik’s 37-ft monohull now acts as an escort pilot boat while Eade trains in open waters here.
“We were on a normal charter with a group and there was this woman who was talking about her son who runs the Marsden Swim School, and he also happened to be the personal trainer of Eade,” says Jens, recalling how the process started completely unplanned. Their interests piqued, the Walleviks asked the question they always did in such situations: “how can we help?”
Discussions followed and they were made aware of the challenges Eade faced when practising in crowded pools or even on the beach. Before long, the Walleviks equipped their boat with the necessary accoutrements for an escort boat and were taking it along the East Coast of Singapore for Eade’s practise sessions.
“It’s total control of mind over matter,” says Alexa, recounting the experience during the sessions. “He swims about 10km each time, stopping only for a sip of water—from a floating bottle fastened by a rope to the boat. He does not step on the boat even once during these sessions. It was a mindful exercise for us, too. I can just close my eyes and hear the splashing sound—it’s like yoga,” she laughs.
SWEAT AND TIME
The time spent with Eade is besides the normal charters the couple embark on as well as any other fundraising trips that they may grasp. While it is obvious that they enjoy every minute of what they do, one can imagine the amount of time put in and energy spent.
Thanks to her years of experience in the hospitality industry, Alexa stays on top of the scheduling and organisation of the charters. She is also responsible for the branding and the uniform that the couple proudly sported for our shoot. As the working captain of Epicurean’s charters, Jens also has to juggle his time around his work schedule—an engineer by profession, he has his own company, Singvik Pte Ltd.
The couple also make sure they spend time with Jens’ teenage son. “We have been trying to get him back on the water and away from social media,” they laugh. But it’s these little moments spent with his family that get him up in the morning, says Jens whose older son lives in Holland.
The chance to create happiness for others is the main reason the couple says they do what they do. “COVID-19 has taught us all the importance of life and good health. Our future goal is to stay healthy and continue doing what we do.”