We met at a ridiculous Halloween 2013 party in Vancouver. How she saw through my old cranky grandma outfit is beyond me but sparks flew from day one. At that point in time, I had just purchased an older Catalina 27 (Black Knight!) with two friends which is moored a few blocks from where we both live. It took until December before I was brave and bold enough to invite her for a sail on the boat.
I guess we are very lucky in many ways as sailing and cruising is an activity we are both learning and discovering together. It wasn’t either one of us pulling the other into our lifestyle. We both think this has made a big difference in our mutual enjoyment of sailing. In the summer of 2014 we took a magical trip to Desolation Sound, apparently some of the finest cruising grounds in the world. Over the course of 9 days, we sailed the trusty Catalina hard, and slow, anchored in beautiful Frenchman’s cove where we strung a hammock in the forest, fished and caught a huge lingcod and made new sailing friends with whom we sailed and rafted up for three days. At that point, we were hooked on the sailing and cruising lifestyle. Project find a seaworthy and beautiful boat to live-aboard was on!
Growing up on an island shapes you. I grew up being moulded by the different ways you can engage with the outdoors; hiking, swimming in the ocean, lakes and rivers, camping, playing. I never put words to the feeling of growing up on an island (albeit a big one). But there is something to the knowledge that no matter what direction you go, you will end up at the ocean. All paths leading to salty water.
Through high school, I had an all-consuming focus on my sport, volleyball. I played every day, competing at the provincial and national level in indoor and beach volleyball and was awarded a full ride scholarship to play and study in Idaho. I graduated with a degree in Psychology in 2007 and hightailed it to Vancouver, B.C..
Time to go home, the mountains and ocean were calling!
But home didn’t last long, I became quickly bored of the 9-5 mind-numbing office job and through connections, I was offered a contract to play Professional Volleyball in Indonesia. Three days later I had quit my job and the plane was landing in Jakarta to begin the adventure of playing a professional sport in a third world country. It was incredible.
After my contract, I travelled to Indonesia and Thailand with new friends before returning home, ready to get to work developing myself professionally. Annnd that motivation didn’t last long. I left Vancouver again eight months later to backpack through South East Asia for 4 months, exploring Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia. Sometimes the itch to travel is so great there is no denying scratching it.
I returned to Vancouver in 2009 and set roots by the ocean in Kitsilano. I found an incredible organization to volunteer supporting people in crisis. Volunteering lead to full time employment and the opportunity to work with amazing people and to support others in my city and community who are facing crisis moments in their lives. It would be impossible to measure how much I’ve learnt, how my perspective has changed and the ways I’ve grown through my time at the Crisis Centre.
My love affair with the ocean continues – we are getting more intimate with each other (ohyesss)…and now I’m sharing her with my love, Emmanuel. Our adventures on Leela are just starting, for now, I’m the official crab killer, deejay and my intuitive navigation skills are….developing.
I guess I have always had an adventurous soul. At age 20 my good friend and I cycled from Montreal to Vancouver over a summer between semesters at University. We weren’t out to break speed records, just to see our country and meet as many of it’s characters as possible. This ultimately lead to three years working at Michigan Bicycle Touring as a cycling tour guide.
Upon graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, three longtime friends and I purchased an old 1972 Class C Dodge 22′ Motorhome and converted it for a year of full time living and travelling. She was named Chillmobil. We pimped that ride out with solar panel and full-size wood stove for the winter months. We ended up spending 4 months in British Columbia skiing deep powder, 4 months climbing the West Coast of the United States and swapping all for surfboards in Southern California where we spent the next 3 idyllic months surfing the coast of Baja down to Cabo San Lucas. Following these adventures, I eventually settled in Kelowna, British Columbia where I spent 9 years working as an HVAC Engineer, starting and selling a business and generally climbing the corporate ladder. With a bit of cash in my jeans, I was finally able to pursue my lifelong dream of free flight. I started paragliding and this sport and lifestyle consumed me for a solid 5 years. I was able to experience the most magical moments playing with the birds and clouds. I swear these moments forever re-wired the neurons in my brain.
In 2013, needing a change I moved to Vancouver in an intentional COOP community, where I met some lifelong friends and surrounded myself with like-minded people. An off-the-cuff comment to one of my COOP mates “hey, we should buy a sailboat!” turned into sailboat searching and the eventual purchase of the Catalina 27. Meeting Saxony was the icing on the cake and our mutual love of sailing, simple living and adventure led us to purchase Leela and the start of many new incredible adventures which we will share in these pages.