The Dream

If there is one thing we can all relate to, it is the notion of a dream. An aspiration that consumes us and leaves us with no choice but to follow through, making that dream a reality. Those of us that share a great love for the outdoors and the wild spaces still left on this planet understand the need to be out there. We understand that sometimes a dream is more than just a desire; sometimes it is a necessity of life.

On a quest to fulfill our need to be out there we have pursued successful careers in the outdoor industry, pouring in the same passion we have for those wild spaces in search of a purpose that will connect us. But we know that lifestyle isn’t enough, something still calls to us and when we can, we answer. This is an answer that has been 15 years in the waiting. This is an expedition that reminds us of how we got here, keeps us going through the dry times and fulfills that empty space within us all labeled ‘purpose’. This is what we live for.

On May 4th 2009 we will depart from Galiano Is (BC, Canada) in two single sea kayaks headed north for Glacier Bay (Alaska, US). We are two able, confident and experienced women, seeking to challenge our experience as guides through our own expedition of the entire coast we love and work on.

We aren’t heroes and we aren’t breaking new ground. We are simply two women following our dreams and in turn hoping to inspire a few other people to do the same.

This is how we live our lives the way we have always dreamed...

It's about more than an expedition, it's about more than a sport, it's even about more than a lifestyle. This is about dreams, this is about passion, this is about listening to that need to be out there. It's about learning how to 'fly'. 

We're calling it 'Crossing Borders' 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Joe and Steve - Christine

I think I might move to Alaska...

The sun is always shining, the ocean is warm, the scenery is spectacular and the people are kind... So perhaps the first two may be unusual and not long lasting, but the later two are enough to make you want to stay...

Joe and Steve,

We were hanging over the dock, awkwardly balancing on our stomachs, digging through our hatches looking for lunch. A loud and abrupt 'thudd' makes me look up, an older gentlemen jumps out of a silver skiff, looks up at me, big grin, and says 'Oh! sorry for the racket, I am kinda known for that around here'. Grey haired with worn hands and tanned skin, chew in his mouth and working mans clothes... he has fished these seas. I smile and say 'no worries'. By this time his friend has also climbed out of the skiff and the two of them are staring down at us and our kayaks. 'Did you come here in those?' we smile and nod... by now we know the general routine but it is always a treasured experience. They fire off the questions about from where and how long and express awe and admiration in response to our answers.

'Hey you' he yells out to a boat coming into the small public dock at Meyers Chuck, a tiny community that has tried to make a go of isolated life in South East Alaska several times. The start up and fail of industry and ventures have left only the most persistent and stubborn still there. 'Park your boat on the other side of the dock!' He turns and smiles to me... 'I like to pretend I am the Harbor Master... self appointed of course!' I laugh. 'People don't stay in Meyers Chuck long, I'm too loud, a summer is all most of them can handle and that's because I am gone fishing for most of it!' His friend chuckles, but doesn't disagree. He is a bigger man, a little rounder in the middle, shaved head but also grey haired, worn hands and tanned skin. He is from these parts, has lived in the area 67 of his 68 years.

We learnt that the taller, louder gentleman was Steve and his partner was Joe. They go about their business for a while, transferring gear from the skiff to a larger old wooden fishing boat. They are getting ready to head out fishing again. They didn't have much luck out on the west coast so had come back to Meyers Chuck to pick up new gear and were heading out the next day to a new area that had just been opened up for Dog Salmon.

The pair are long time friends, have worked the seas together for years and watching their interactions gives you the sense that there is a bond and a friendship between them that runs deep. They are thoroughly amused with one another, humor is a constant thread throughout their conversations and actions.

'Hey girls, I don't mean to be forward, but if you want to use a stove or anything you are welcome to the one on my boat' Steve yells, he yells everything. We don't need a stove, lunch is cold... 'How about tea?' he hells. We happily accept the offer of tea.

We climb on board his fishing boat, take a tour of the working boat and then spend the next 5 hours absorbing the company of two true Alaskans. Steve is 71 with enough character for the whole town of Meyers Chuck and he knows it. Joe is 68, was born and raised in Wrangell (a short distance by power boat) and the two of them have been fishermen their whole lives. Joe sold his boat a few years back and joined Steve... Steve has had his boat for almost 40 years. Joe was quiet, but witty... stood a little bit more removed from us, but was keenly listening to the conversation, interjecting at timely moments to make us laugh. Steve was fully on and was living in the lime light of our attention, making jokes about himself, the fishing life and the struggles of Alaska... through the facade of dislike for it all it was clear he loved it and it coursed through his blood.

We learned about fishing and trapping, about life in Alaska, the winters, the summers... And I thought for a moment that maybe I could stay there forever. In the little town of Meyers Chuck, isolated and remote, sitting in the sun, drinking tea with two of the most intriguing, content and happy men I have ever met. The secret of life was instilled deep in their souls and for those 5 hours they let us live in the glow of that knowledge.

Finally, realizing the time, we began the process of departing... Like children, Joe and Steve hovered over us and our kayaks, totally in awe and asking questions about our equipment, how it all worked, what we were carrying and what it was like. 'glad to see you wearing those' Steve said when we put on our PFD's (we laughed to ourselves... he could probably count the number of times he has worn one on one hand). Loaded up we pushed off, waving goodbye and feeling full of life. As we paddled out of the bay we could hear Steve yelling again... more self appointed Harbor Master work.

We will never see them again, nor will we hear of or from them but I will never forget Joe and Steve.

This is Alaska

1 comment:

  1. Here's to the Joes and Steves who touch our lives in ways they'll never fathom! Am loving your blog - very inspirational - You rock!