Blogging and More on Sea Life

Well, after more than a year of not posting, I've suddenly gotten the urge to write. Maybe it's because I've had some spectacular adventures in the past year! A new job as a grant writer and communications manager at a women's shelter - it's a feminist organization, and working here has been so good for the heart. A new home with an old room-mate after going head to head with a corrupt landlord. Getting my scuba diving certification and becoming a racing crew with the Canadian Forces Sailing Association. Exploring Botanical Beach at low tide! Then this November, the spectacular 1,000-mile sail from San Diego to the Sea of Cortez.

This sailing adventure was a dream come true. In the months before I even knew the trip was happening, I had the urge to put up a poster on the wall that said, "You Shall See Wonders." And we really did! More in subsequent posts....Sailing with the wonderful skipper Matt, who taught me so much about sailing and was kind, good-nat…
"Spend every ounce of your life in the passionate pursuit of that which moves your soul." - Shaz Khan

Dover Beach

by Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight.  The tide is full, the moon lies fair  Upon the straits; on the French coast the light  Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,  Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.  Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!  Only, from the long line of spray  Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,  Listen! you hear the grating roar  Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,  At their return, up the high strand,  Begin, and cease, and then again begin,  With tremulous cadence slow, and bring  The eternal note of sadness in. 
Sophocles long ago  Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought  Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow  Of human misery; we  Find also in the sound a thought,  Hearing it by this distant northern sea. 
The Sea of Faith  Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore  Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.  But now I only hear  Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,  Retreating, to the breath  Of the night-wind, down the vast …

Thoughts on Waves

The waves keep on coming, one after another, hour after hour. Sometimes we glided smoothly over gleaming sea hills while at other times, giant crashing waves fought around us for hours. Ups and downs! Lifting the boat high and then sending it flying back down a watery slope. Somewhat like life :) Troubles and thrills. Ups and downs. Problems and solutions. Forks in the road, and decisions to be made. Mysteries and sorting-outs. Questions and answers. It seems never-ending! When one thing passes, the next looms up.

Thinking about the waves out at sea helped me realize that the trick isn't trying for there to be no problems, mysteries and questions. There's no point in being angry and frightened by the next wave. Or trying to figure out just how we're going to get over a wave that hasn't even arrived yet.  How will we make it over this monster? What is past the horizon? That's just part of it - not knowing and not being able to see, yet believing, having faith that…


Kavais a drink that comes from a root and is commonly enjoyed in the South Pacific islands. As kava has a paralytic effect, you will often see people staggering home or collapsed in the street after a kava party. It's also known to cause vivid dreams! I was able to rustle up some kava in Tonga and bring it home. While completely legal, it unfortunately came as a powder packaged in suspicious little baggies. As I was being searching by New Zealand customs officers, they pulled out the baggies, looked at me like I was a hideous criminal, and demanded to know, "What is this?" When I told them it was kava, they nodded and smiled and moved on. The Canadian border officials didn't know what the heck it was, but they were happy with the description of, "A ground-up root."

This kava was not very strong--probably brewed for unexperienced visitors--but it numbed the lips and tongue and gave a feeling of slight light-headedness. It also tasted like the most disgustin…

Musical Goodness

The Torkington clan lives on a hill overlooking a tiny ocean bay, tucked away in the midst of little rolling hills that are sprinkled with (surprise!)....sheep :) I was very lucky to find these kind people to work with for a month. The grandfather, son and his wife form a bluegrass band together, and as a family of bluegrass musicians, they have musical instruments everywhere! The fiddles and guitars strewn about made me very happy) There is always great music playing or being played (see The Pipi Pickers and Hot Diggity). From their ginormous library to their love of PG Wodehouse, and their ability to substitute popcorn for dinner, these people are great!!

Also, their backyard features the best outhouse ever, the "Turdis":


My cousin Theresa says that one of the first questions she gets when people find out that she was raised on a boat is, "Did you experience any big storms?" followed by "How did you shower?" A small sailing ship has no shower, and this is fine! We'd shampoo down our hair and then dive into the sea in our bathing suits to rinse off. I didn't miss the normal showers at all. However, when I was back in an Auckland hostel, my first shower in two months was a beautiful, beautiful thing :)