Meet Maarten, born and raised in cosy Brabant, but now a seasoned Ibiza local and founder of La Bella Verde. A sailing experience where fun is not at the expense of nature. Unique, 100% sustainable and also a lot of fun. Full of passion, the cheerful Maarten takes us along in his special story, in which we gladly sail along.
Kicked out of school
In the shed full of beautiful green boats, readied for the season, we meet Maarten. You cannot miss how much passion he exudes for his business: "I have agreed with myself that I will only do things in my own life that make the world a better place. After all, I think everyone should do that. We all have a responsibility to nature and future generations. By only being concerned with ourselves, we are never going to change anything". A clear story from which he has certainly not wavered.
Let's start at the beginning. "I was 18 and done with the Netherlands. I didn't want to study and the last two years in the Netherlands were problematic. I was kicked out of school after the fourth year of grammar school. Because of my behaviour; big mouth, coming late, not coming at all, blowing a lot and partying. I had a bit of a problem with authority". Even at the next school, Maarten was kindly asked to leave within six months.
But then came the holiday that completely changed the course of Maarten's life. A week in Ibiza. "But then I met a girl. 1 week became 2, 2 weeks became 3 and so on.... Eventually I thought: why would I want to go back?" People did think a lot of that, says Maarten. Especially his parents were worried: "Ibiza, drugs. The first two years my parents were not at all supportive. From the moment La Bella Verde started, my parents got the feeling - maybe it will work out". Incidentally, the relationship with the girl has remained a summer romance, but the love for Ibiza has remained. Still, we have to disappoint the ladies, Martin will be moving in together in May.
Everyone experiences the magic of Ibiza in their own way on the island. For Maarten, it seemed like everything happened almost automatically. "In Ibiza, things just work out. If you are in tune, have a good intention and manifest, shit really does work. Ibiza is a powerful place to create things. This made me feel immediately that things were right here. In addition, the ultimate sense of freedom I experience here was the biggest driving force behind my decision".
From the urge to create to a boat charter business
"I have always been a sailor, so my first go to in Ibiza, completely surrounded by beautiful water, was sailing. I started as a captain on a catamaran. Every day we had to refuel the boat on the water. No matter how well we tried, it was almost impossible not to have some of this end up in the sea. Even in the boat's operations, oil and petrol were actually continuously leaking into the water. That's when that conflicting dilemma emerged in me. Here we are engaged in an activity to enjoy nature and let people experience nature, while at the same time we are also polluting it....
Two friends shared this relay and from there the idea arose: we can do it another way! Boating shouldn't and shouldn't be taxing the water. And so the basis of La Bella Verde was born." Fun fact: The inspiration of the name comes from the French film La Belle Verte. But having an idea doesn't get you there.... "Everyone said it couldn't be that "hippy stuff". From my rebellious background, that was precisely a reason for me to do it. To prove them wrong".
We mostly see the success, but was it always smooth sailing?
"The first season we had no budget for solar panels so we worked with batteries. We then had to row batteries weighing 70kg (more than Maarten himself weighs) to land every 2-3 days. We didn't want to use a motor, of course. Then we took the batteries to Terra Vita. There was a windmill there where we could use green electricity to charge the batteries." Wow, we call that: dedication!
In Ibiza, La Bella Verde is currently the only charter company that uses no petrol and operates completely sustainably. Of course, at Covered, we are only too happy to inspire our guests to make sustainable choices. Only in this way can we continue to enjoy the beautiful island together. But what makes a trip with La Bella Verde so unique besides a sustainable choice? "The comfort, the space on board and the pleasure you will experience is really optimal on our boats. From incredibly nice captains who really share an experience to a good sound system. We have thought of everything". But there is more...
This is something you didn't know about La Bella Verde
Did you know that in Spain there is a law stating that only 12 people are allowed on board? La Bella Verde has a unique solution for that! Large groups of up to 40 people can sail side by side with 4 identical catamarans. When you then anchor, the boats are joined together and you have one big boat. If that's not the ultimate Ibiza experience! And all this without polluting the island, wow it can be done that way....
Then we have some fun news, after 3 years of hard work it is finally finished. The world's only boat made of non-toxic and fully recyclable materials! It remains to be seen where this beauty will be launched. Franchise's potential buyers come from Mauritius, Portugal, Mallorca and Florida, but it could also be the Seychelles. In any case, somewhere where the sun shines and the water is blue.
Oh, and also new this year: the boat no longer departs from Salinas, but from San Antonio. The sunset is magical on this side of the island. Hence, starting this year, sunset trips can be booked for the first time! Nice as a surprise for your sweetheart during your last day of holiday, thank us later.
Ibiza in 1,2,3…
Maarten does not have to think about that for long: "Freedom, Nature and Sailing".
Did this story make you long for a wonderful sailing experience? The wind in your hair, dreaming away at the sunset? We would love to book a trip for you and your loved ones at La Bella Verde! Do book in time, especially with a large group, because La Bella Verde is very popular - and we can see why.