Image by Bob Hansen
I would like to sum up what my Pacific Coast voyage really meant to me…
This adventure started with my dream of always wanting to sail the open sea. I was invited to sail down the Pacific Coast in a regatta called the Baja Ha-Ha.
So, on a gorgeous fall morning in 2007, I sailed through the majestic Golden Gate with a few friends and headed south to discover new territory and acquire some more wisdom from Mother Nature and the sea. My journey turned into an 8 month discovery that I will never forget. I was lucky enough to be soul to soul with some of the most incredible people in this world. I saw some of the most pristine natural wonders along the way. And I had my camera with me wherever I went. I took hundreds of shots along the way that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Someday I would like to have an exhibition of these images. And when I do, I would like it to have a narrative feel that uses my images, notes, and stories that all represent this incredible journey. This exhibition would convey the beauty and insight that I experienced. I think it would be so cool to share and let people see what I saw. But for the time being, I will share this story with my words.
What an incredible adventure it was. I saw so much and I met so many wonderful people along the way. But there are a few people and places that really stand out. And there is one memory that is so clear to me and absolutely changed the direction of this journey. It was when I met a man named Carlos. Here's how I met him. After a long day of sailing on the coast of central Mexico. We ended up in a place called Barra de Navidad. We set anchor in a beautiful lagoon nearby. After setting the anchor, I went to shore in the dingy to grab a few supplies while being accompanied by a friendly pelican who directed me to shore. When I got to shore, that’s when I met Carlos. I noticed he needed a hand with his boat, so I helped him out and we got things settled. After that, he invited me to join him for a coca-cola and we shared stories. I guess I should add that I didn't know spanish very well and he didn't know english very well. But our body language seemed to cut through everything. There was definitely a connection of the souls. Communicating with him was easy. From the moment I first met Carlos, I knew he was a special person. He's the kind of person that you can feel his positive energy flowing from his heart. He had a pureness inside him. A joy for life. Just a great guy. It turned out that he was a local fisherman. He ended up inviting me into the village he lived in and showed me around. This was a cool little village called Colimilla. So, now I end up discovering a wonderful man and a cool village too. To make a long story short…we became the best of friends. He shared his kindness, his community, and his family with me.
As I said Colimilla is a cool place, and it's so peaceful there. It's claim to fame is being the location where the 60’s sitcom “McHale’s Navy” had been filmed. It’s a very pretty place with palm trees abound and the lagoon shirting the village. I ended up living there for about 3 months. I saw and learned a different way of life. In this village the local people live in huts or concrete structures. They live a simple lifestyle with very few amenities. All the things we take for granted, they don’t have. These people are some of the kindest and happiest people you could ever imagine. They have what they have, and that’s all they need.
This journey gave me so many fond memories. I learned how to juggle on this trip from a friend named Louis. I met him at a yachtista party at the Grand Bay Hotel and we became the best of friends. He's a retired school teacher from the Bay Area. What an amazing guy! His stories never end and he's so humble about all the things he's done. He also introduced me to his wife Laura and she's pretty special too! So, after Louis taught me how to juggle, I went back to Colimillo and I would teach the local kids. I had so much fun playing and juggling with them. I think back and it gives me goose bumps just thinking about all the good times I had. I remember those glorious tropical evenings when everyone would gather together as a community and just talk, listen, and enjoy each other’s company, and there I was out juggling with the kids. As the saying goes, it doesn't get any better than that!
Over time, my friends in Colimilla invited me to their social get togethers, they invited me to a few weddings, and of course I went fishing. They were so kind. They kept asking me to stay and live there. I guess, I earned their respect and that's such an honor for me. I have so much respect for them. They taught me to appreciate the abundance of life without having anything. Isn't it a blessing to appreciate the simple things in life?
My camera turned out to be my way of giving back. I would take pictures of the kids, the families, nature, and anything else that suited my fancy, then I would often share or give them away. So what I would do is take some pictures and then I would go by bus to a pharmacy a few miles away and get my digital images printed out. Returning to the village with a armful of prints and I would hand them out. They loved my pictures and they were so thankful. They weren't used to seeing photos of themselves or having anyone take an interest in them. It was a cool exchange for all. I have to admit that I loved walking around the village and handing them out. It was my way of honoring them and saying thanks for the lessons they taught me. It was so rewarding. Those were special moments.
This journey also brought me to many ornate places and I was a guest at some of the finest marinas and the fanciest hotels. But the people in Colimilla were tops. Next came my experiences with Mother Nature. She offered me a front row seat to see her amazing beauty. I witnessed some of the most amazing sunsets and sunrises. I look back now at some of the pictures I took and I'm blown away with their beauty. And all the people I met along the way were so wonderful. Everyone unique in their own way. I can't say enough about them. They all made a lasting impression on me. I guess, I could go on and on. Put it this way… I have a long email list now. It’s all about being soul to soul with everything and everyone.
And sailing... what a fantastic feeling it is to be able to have faith in the unknown. To head somewhere and not know what's next. To be free with the wind, as if I were a bird with wings. Sailing the open ocean can remind us all that life is one big discovery. It has a way of making a person look in the mirror and do a personal review of his or her values in life. Sailing teaches us that you can’t bend Mother Nature. She always has the upper hand.
Sailing gave me a greater respect for God too. Let me tell you, when you get caught in a thunder and lightning storm in the middle of the night and you are 200 miles from land, you get pretty close to God. You realize what's in your heart. Your awareness changes. You just see it all differently! So I plan to keep dreaming and having faith in the unknown just like God intended!
Here’s a link to more pictures from this journey…
Seas the day,