Most of my sailing life has been in education. I’ve spent many years teaching teens, adults, men, and women how to sail coastal, offshore, in big ships, in tiny lifeboats. One day I thought – there must be something more. So, I decided to purchase Daphne and move aboard. My goal was to experience life at sea alone—forging a close relationship with nature.
After cruising a few months I quickly realized that a “close relationship” must be a give and take, but I was only taking. I was sailing, swimming, enjoying the sights, the smells, and experiencing the thrills. Of course I was grateful and respectful, always trying to leave the smallest footprint possible. Still, it didn’t feel quite right. How can I call it a close relationship with nature if the voyage was all about me, and only me? I needed a cause – a way to give back to the world.
My perspective was changed and now I’m heading in a new direction. Many of you have been following along ever since the beginning. You’ve seen me frustrated with a new boat, confused about finding work and money. You’ve watched me fall in love and get married, move ashore and then move back aboard. You’ve read about my family’s house-fire and the loss of my Gammy—all big moments. You even helped me make a feature length documentary—which will be out on DVD this fall! I feel like I’m on the brink of another big moment—nervous that I could invest so much time and make many sacrifices, while still the future is all unknown.
All my friends and most people my age are working toward climbing the career ladder. Instead, I was admired for focusing on simplicity. But there is nothing wrong with climbing a career ladder. Especially if it is very meaningful to the individual and if it is done for the right reasons. Ocean conservation is my great reason and I’m excited to see how this new moment unfolds.
For the past year Ben and I have been working hard to create Hello Ocean. Our goal is to connect people to the ocean in the same way we feel connected. A connection that is greater than sailing, but is for sailors, greater than science, but will result in scientific research. We are creating citizen science projects that address several of the most timely and critical topics in ocean science today. Our hope is to engage people all over the world in giving back to the ocean they love by becoming an important part of research that will be used to inform legislation and empower change.
The ideas are bold. But so was taking out a big loan to buy a boat on the same day I quit the only paying job I had ever had. I must be crazy. But you all supported and encouraged me all along the way while I shared my ups and downs.
Now on to another adventure! I hope you’ll continue to follow along.
You can learn about Hello Ocean here.