group mail play plus user camera comment close arrow-down facebook twitter instagram

The Voyage

Since 1994 Bark EUROPA has sailed with an international crew; all part of the worldwide EUROPA family and every member has their own story to tell. This is the story of Ricky, who sails on Bark Europa since 2019 as a photographer and guide.
The first time I sailed on Europa was in February 2018. I joined as a voyage crew on the photography trip to Antarctica. After returning home, my mind was occupied with the idea of going back and doing it again. How does one do it without going broke? The best idea I had was to apply for a job on the ship. I didn't put too much hope into it. After nine months passed and I almost forgot about the whole thing, I got a shot at it, and the rest is history. Moral lesson? Never lose hope.

My name is Ricky, and I work aboard Bark Europa as a guide during her Antarctic trips. I was born and raised in Czechoslovakia, now Slovakia, not exactly known as a naval superpower. My first tour as a guide felt like being thrown into the water and learning to swim. Working on the ship is hard but very enjoyable and with such an awesome crew that Europa has, it doesn't feel like working at all. Full and nonstop action days are normal during the trip to Antarctica.

As a guide, I am responsible for helping our expedition leaders with landings and making sure the voyage crew has the best experience possible. My duties also involve writing blogs, taking photographs, and creating visuals from the trip for social media or giving presentations. Guides also help the crew with sailing the ship and it is not uncommon to see us climbing aloft, working with sails, or pulling ropes. We do help in the galley as well. Usually, after meals we do dishes. The galley sinks and Hobby (dishwasher) are sorts of an unofficial guiding corner in the galley 🙂

To say the ship changed my life is an understatement. I enjoyed every single minute on board and I cannot wait to step onboard again. Under normal circumstances, she would be in Antarctica now and myself on board as well. Unfortunately, these times don't seem to favor such adventures. I hope the situation improves soon and she can set the sail again and return to the sea where she belongs.

When I am not on board I work as a visual effect artist. You can find my name in the credits of some known or lesser-known movies. Because of work, I don't live in Slovakia anymore. This job has its perks. I shook hands with George Lucas and once Jackie Chan visited our studio. Pretty cool. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, I am stuck in Europe, currently working in Prague, Czech Republic. However, for the last 16 years, I have lived and worked mostly in Singapore and Australia. If possible, at least once a year I visit my hometown and parents in Slovakia.

I do have many interests, but traveling is what I enjoy the most. I've been fortunate to see and experience a lot during my travels, and I hope many new adventures are still waiting for me. I visited Antarctica, climbed peaks in the Himalayas, crossed jungles of Borneo, lived in the middle of nowhere with nomads in Mongolia, enjoyed a cup of tea with Bedouins in the Middle-Eastern desert, and much more. Some of the best memories I have when I stayed and mingled with locals. I usually travel alone, so it is much easier that way. In my opinion, that is the best way to experience a new place and culture. Those are the moments and experiences I value the most. I am also a child sponsor with the Cambodian Children's Fund for a couple of years. Over the years, I traveled to many countries and often met people less fortunate, and that is my way to give back. It is heartwarming to see that with little help, every child can flourish and have a prospect for a better life. You can find more travel stories and photos on my website (

Before I go, I've been working on something lately. It is almost done and will be eventually finished (fingers crossed). For now, here is a little sneak peek for you. Be safe and take care. I hope to see you on board Bark Europa one fine day.

Written by:
Richard Simko | Guide

Comment on this article