The beauty of disconnect.
Being present in the moment.
Listening. Watching. Observing. Understanding. Internalizing. Accepting. Healing.
The sea has a way of humbling me and calming my soul, more then any other aspect of my life outside of my family. Perhaps it is because when I am out in the middle, putting my trust completely in her, she demands my full attention. When she is rough she pulls all my focus towards her, leaving no room for error. When she is calm, she puts my mind and my heart at ease, allowing my mind to open, wander & reflect…and my heart to heal.
On a recent sail onboard VO 70 Maserati from San Francisco to San Diego I was sitting out on deck looking up at the stars during watch the first night and realized it was the first time I had taken the time to look up at the stars in a really long time. The sky was completely clear, the sea was calm and the air was light, allowing me to clear my head and my mind to wander. My thoughts passed over all the events that have happened over the past few months within our sailing community, as well as events in my personal life, my friends and my family. With strong aspirations to do the 2014 Volvo Ocean Race as an Onboard Reporter I began mulling over my own reasons for wanting to be at sea, with one question staying at the forefront of my mind….The question: why?
Why do we choose to embrace a life with so much risk? Why do we accept the possibility that when we leave the dock we may get injured or, worse, we may not come home? What drives us to make and accept these decisions? Why do our friends, family and loved ones let us go? Is it becuase they know that a part of us would be lost if they don’t let us go? Do they understand that once we allow the sea to touch our hearts and our soul there is no turning back, it becomes a part of who we are? I’ve never been on the dock at the start of a Volvo Ocean race but I can only imagine the range of emotion felt on the dock.
My answer came to me while sipping a cup of coffee on morning watch, looking out at the horizon waiting for wind. I am driven by my passion for story telling, desiring more than anything to be up close and personal to the action. I am driven by the satisfaction of overcoming my fears and the little part of “crazy” that goes with it. My family is strong and supportive, they may not completely understand but they give me their love, strength and support. My ultimate goal is to be true to myself and to the people whose stories I am being allowed to tell because they put a lot of trust in me to accurately, genuinely and respectfully tell their story.
Below are some photos from my first of many miles to be spent with this crew and boat…the beginning of a new chapter
Cerca! Cerca! Come closer! Closer! Says the girl bobbing around in the red helmet and bubble camera, barely visible to the sailors as they swarm around her, jumping waves, excited to have their picture taken and waiting for their race to start.
The breeze has hit 18 kts and the waves are averaging 1.5 meters, I am struggling to be seen and stay within a safe distance from the committee boat, continually pumping my legs as if I were in an advanced spinning class while constantly being aware of where all the boats are and from what direction they are coming at me next. I have the biggest grin on my face, completely overstimulated and feeling like a kid in a candy store.
After a bit of time hamming it up for the camera the sailors switch gears and get focused on positioning themselves for the start while I make my way up to the bow of the committee boat to put myself in a safe spot for the start. The waves are so big, the anchor line is surging too much for me to hold on to so I pump my legs constantly to keep myself in the same spot so as not to get smashed by the surging committee boat or get run over by a starting boat. I am looking through the view finder, mouth just below the water surface, kicking like crazy, being smashed by waves, trying to capture the perfect moment.
One of the reasons I absolutely love being in the water with the sailors, besides the adrenaline rush of being right there in the middle of the action, is that it allows me to interact with the athletes and get to know them. I love it when they get excited about the photos, because it completely changes the energy of the day and the images. They smile, laugh, wave, and some tell me i’m ‘loco.’ I love being able to capture a moment in time, for them, of something that they love to do and are so passionate about.
Below are some images from my past week in Puerto Vallarta and La Cruz, Mexico working with the sailors training at the International Sailing Academy and the WESMEX Regatta. It was an awesome week catching up with friends and meeting new ones. Until next time! Hasta Luego!
To view full galleries from WESMEX Regatta 2013 click here!
It was an exciting day on the water Saturday as we went out on a rib early in the morning to welcome Maserati into the San Francisco Bay after completing their record 13,225-mile journey around Cape Horn at the tip of South America, finishing in 47 days. The guys were all smiles as we greeted them outside of the bay, looking forward to greeting their friends & family, popping the champagne bottle, cold beer, cigarettes, warm food and a nice hot shower! Congratulations Giovanni Soldini, Ryan Breymaier, Sebastien Audigane, Jianghe Teng, Carlos Hernandez, Guido Broggi, Michele Sighel, Corrado Rossignoli and Boris Herrmann!
Laughter. Celebration. Heartache. Exhaustion. Defeat. Love. Affection. Admiration. Connection. Passion. Mystery. Determination. Inspiration.
The feeling you get when you witness a wife greet her husband after 80 days at sea, thankful that he has returned home safely and anxious to feel his warm embrace.
The feeling you get when you witness a mother pick up her child after completing a 20 day leg at sea, tears running down both their cheeks knowing that there is so much they want to tell eachother but only being able to muster up a simple, “I missed you and love you very much.”
The feeling you get when you are out in the middle of the ocean on a transatlantic crossing, not a soul in sight and the rest of the crew fast asleep. Alone with your thoughts and humbled by the fact that you are now in the hands of mother nature.
That feeling you get when you watch months and months of hard work by many get shattered in an instant during a capsize and massive rescue, praying first that everyone is safe and ok.
The feeling that you get while watching a team celebrate, knowing that their hard work, dedication and sacrifice were well
This is what inspires me. What inspires you?
People fall in love with people and stories, not boats and things. I’ve noticed over the past few months that boat names seem to be more familiar to people then most the sailors/crew. Sure you may know the sailor’s names and maybe their track record on the water, but do you really know who they are? Do you want to know? I do.
So, this is my mission: to dig a little deeper, listen a little longer, get a little closer and do my best to tell the story behind the name. There are a lot of stories to be told so it’s time to get a move on it! It’s going to be an interesting ride!
I just wrapped up an incredible week with Team JP Morgan BAR here in San Francisco! We had an amazing final race making a comeback from last to 4th on Super Sunday and ended with a podium finish at the end of fleet racing! It was an exciting week with the Blue Angels flying overhead as the boats prepared for racing and hundreds of spectators out on the water to add to the excitement! San Francisco has certainly made an impression on me and I look forward to my next visit!
“Keep Calm and carry on? No thanks! I’d rather raise hell and change the world.”
This quote pretty much sums up my approach to my work. I love the excitement and adrenaline rush I get in shooting the action, but also love the challenge of trying to tell a meaningful story and make a difference.
Most recently, while covering the ACWS event in Newport, RI, I had a chance to raise some hell. My specialty is shooting from within the water, which has earned me such titles as “Mermaid”, “Watergirl” and my personal favorite, “Shark Bait.” I wanted to try my luck with shooting an AC45 from the water so I set out to find a team & skipper who might be up for the task. After a bit of searching, Loick Peyron & Energy Team France answered the call.
As I left their tent after discussing the details of the shoot, my first thought was, “Oh Sh**! They actually said yes! I guess this is what people mean when they tell you to be careful what you wish for.
It was one my most memorable days of shooting because, not only did I get run over several times by an AC 45, I also got to sail aboard during a practice fleet race. I really didn’t think the week could get any better….but it did.
I was fortunate during the week to be in the right place at the right time during some key moments, including Team New Zealand’s capsize. I was leaning over the edge of the windward mark boat with my water housing in the water, focusing on the water line on the lens and waiting for New Zealand to round the mark. As they started to come around I noticed something was wrong and looked up to see the wing almost on top of us. I managed to hold the camera steady in the water and continued shooting as they capsized right next to us.
The best part of the week was the incredible opportunity to work alongside so many of the guys that have inspired me the past few years. It’s incredible how much talent and camaraderie the ACWS event brings together within the sailing community, I was blessed to be a part of it. It’s a hectic lifestyle, always on the go but I guess that’s what it takes to raise hell and change the world! To view see full gallery click here