Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sea Dragon Journals - Entry #4




Coming on this journey was equal in two parts. The first being the desire to learn and continue to give back to our environment and the second was that of a personal journey, as in having an opportunity of true reflection in understanding of how my life has unfolded.

Never would I have imagined the opportunity to sail from Brazil to South Africa but more importantly learn more about this new phenomenon known as the 5 Gyres, which some refer to as “plastic trash islands the size of Texas.”

Sadly, there is no such thing. Standing on top of the bow this morning, in every direction that I looked, was a cobalt blue ocean, so stunning in beauty that it is difficult to imagine how much plastic debris is out here floating by. Even out here, in the middle of this vast ocean. Some 2,000 miles out to sea between Brazil and South Africa, I have witnessed first hand what an impact we have as humans on our oceans, with our continued everyday usage of plastics and how that plastic is broken down over time, into tiny particles that are being digested by fish and sprinkled across our oceans surface and gathered in the trawls that we set out. It is yet unknown whether not plastic is ever broken down into nothingness?

What is so scary and mind-boggling is the misconception that these garbage patch islands of trash actually exist. If only they did, because then we might actually have a chance of cleaning them up. Sadly, it is far worse. As each trawl we set out thinly slices through the ocean’s surface, we witness just how profound this problem truly is. With each trawl comes tiny little broken down pieces of plastic trash. Think for a minute just how spread-out these plastic fragments must be.

How does one clean up such a needle in a haystack that is naked to the human eye? Perhaps looking for better alternatives to using plastic and cutting down our everyday use would be a good start. Replacing water bottles with eco-usable bottles is something we can all accommodate in our everyday lives without so much as missing a beat.

In observing, learning and gaining more insight into how exactly our everyday life impacts our future generations here on earth. It is time we take a closer look at our footprint in seeking better solutions that continue to plague our everyday lives and our environment before it’s too late.

Just as I have had an opportunity to take a closer look at my life everyday on this sailboat while looking out at the sea like a life canvas. It has enabled me take a closer look at how I can make small everyday changes in my life by finding better alternatives than using plastic water bottles. A small change in my life that will have a much greater impact on our oceans and our environment, sometimes in life is the small everyday changes that we make matter the most and have the greatest impact.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

First Thursdays Art Walk - Laguna Beach Village

WHEN: Febuary 3, 2011 - March 3, 2011 - April 7, 2011
WHERE: Laguna Art Museum
WEBSITE: http://www.firstthursdaysartwalk.com/
MORE INFO: info@firstthursdaysartwalk.com or (949) 683-6871



Join Member Galleries throughout Laguna Beach on the First Thursday of EVERY month from 6:00 - 9:00 pm, for a festive cultural evening. Please use the free shuttle service provided by the City of Laguna Beach. The shuttle travels to participating gallery locations starting at 6:15 p.m. from the Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Dr. (corner PCH and Cliff Dr.) and Bluebird Center (1590 S. Coast Highway). Our dedicated shuttles run until 8:45 p.m.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sea Dragon Journals - Entry #3

As our days are long and our nights, more often than not are even longer.
In a way, I feel sort of imprisoned.
Wondering what is happening amongst the world outside?
Longing to reach out.
With a long list of questions.
How’s my family?
Is the weather nice?
The surf good?
Andy Irons?
Any games of VB being played?
Are my Lakes still undefeated?
Miami, Boston?
World happenings?
Getting an e-mail out here in the middle of the sea is a bigger than you can imagine.
So please if you find a moment please feel free to reply back.
I hope my e-mail to you finds you well and happy.
All the best,
James




Part 1.
Rumblings from the big ugly sea.

From more than a thousand plus miles out to sea somewhere between Brazil and South Africa.
It’s been raining for a week straight with 30+ MPH winds and 8-10 foot seas.
Last night while on watch, we were taking in a trawl (a trawl is a big metal device with a big net attached to the end of it and used to collect the plastic trash).
In the stormiest night of our trip, I almost went over the railing while pulling a trawl in.
As I slid across the deck under the dark sky, the relentless rain and amongst a sea of waves splashing over us.
With my two hands glued to the line and pulling with all my weight, which is down considerably, do to a lack of food.
I quickly dropped my left hand from the line and grabbed the wire railing as I crashed into it.
Almost flipping over and coming face to face with the twisting and churning battered Ocean.
My left foot yet again being smashed which is already minus one toenail.
Luckily I was clipped in had I not been able to hold myself up.
Just the thought of it leaves one feeling pretty darn small in comparison.
Because falling over board out here is like falling of the face of the earth.
Strange because my heart never skipped a beat.

Part 2.
Sailing isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

I’ve been on a lot of trips and this one, by far is the most challenging of all.
Cramped quarters with a crew of 13 aboard a 72-foot sailboat.
With sleeping quarters stacked on top of each other literally an arm’s reach away.
Capturing a good night’s sleep can be challenging at best.
Not only is it raining outside but inside now as well.
Balmy and hot.
Damp and continued rain for day’s.
Getting comfortable and clean.
Is a distant memory?
My patience is wearing thin.
Nothing like sharing a steam room with 12 others.
Using a toilet in conditions like this is no easy task.
Often clogging and the ever result of pumping your own stuff down,
Is something we never have to think of at home?
The kitchen is a constant mess.
Plates and cups staking up.
Bodies litter the gully down below.
Nothing takes less than 15 minutes at a time.
Whether it’s getting something to eat or just showering.
Is there any end in sight?
With the constant twisting and turning.
As the Sea Dragon makes it’s way through the stormy seas.
Hopefully tonight I won’t fall out of my bed.

Part 3.
The great wide open.

Testing the human spirit is important.
Through it we have a better understanding of just who we are.
How lucky we are to have the lives we have at home.
I can sit on deck of the Sea Dragon for hours on end, which I do daily.
Rain or shine.
My life displayed out there across the sea as if it were a canvas.
My vision becoming more and more clear with each passing minute.
You soon realize how much we take for granted.
Through this journey.
I have once again learned how to appreciate the good, small and everyday moments in life.
The stillness,
Quietness.
Clarity and focus.
The movement of the water.
The crashing of waves.
Crumbling forward like avalanches of white water.
Watching the flying fish take flight.
The taste of a fresh mango.
The wonder of a sunrise and the beauty of the sunset.
Counting shooting stars.
There’s a greater reason to why I am here, on this journey.
I’m not sure exactly what it is yet but I know soon, that I will.
Something in the way of an experience that I can bring home and share with all of you.
One day soon all of this will make sense.
In the meantime I will continue to grow and reflect.
Work on my patience.
My being, and what it is that I want to accomplish.
I can feel the person within evolving.
Life is short.
So you better live it.
And living it I am.
The simple life that is…

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sea Dragon Journals - Entry #2

At 3:30 AM on a cold, wet, windy and dark morning, it is easy to ask yourself what you are doing on a 72-foot sailboat. I’m sailing from Brazil to South Africa, while standing watch on deck. While everyone is asleep below inside the warmth of the sailboat. I find myself wide-awake, pondering not only, why I am here? I soon realize that I can see my entire life out there washing around amongst the sea’s choppy waves, only fueling my desire to be here.

To my surprise I am not bothered by the cold or the constant splashing of the waves that continue to hit me in the face. Despite wearing several layers of clothing, the wind blowing right through me is nothing more than a breath of fresh air. My watch, which started a 2:00 AM and will finish with a sunset at 6:00 AM.

Strangely enough the most obvious reasons that would make one ask such a question, in hours of such adverse conditions, do in no way bother me. To the contrary, what baffles my mind is that in a period of 5 minutes, 1,000 miles out to sea between Brazil and South Africa, we watched sadly as three huge pieces of plastic trash floated past us. Amongst the last frontier of pristine water, that is a striking color of cobalt blue, with one lone bird following our boat.

Sadly plastic is now more evident with each mile that we sail. The reach of man’s plastic pollution stretches farther than one can imagine and we are still some 500 miles or more, from reaching the beginning stages of the 5th Gyre, known as the South Atlantic Gyre.

This gyre has never been seen before with the naked eye. It’s a strange feeling of anticipation to see what waits when we do hit our mark entering into the territory of the 5th Gyre. I would use the word excitement, but how can I when writing about the pollution that plagues our beloved oceans.

My mind reels just thinking about it, wondering out loud. What will I see? How bad will it be? Is the 5th Gyre, really a floating island of plastic trash?

I have a number of questions that will remain unanswered. Luckily the most important one will not- I am here, because I care. Enduring the hardships of a 28-day sail as are the other 12-crew members aboard and hopefully; if you’re reading this right now you care as well.

-Peace-
James

Thursday, January 6, 2011

MAESTRO (The Art of Leonard Bernstein) - Laguna Play House

WHEN: January 4, 2011 - Febraury 6, 2011
WHERE: The Laguna Playhouse - Laguna Beach
MORE INFO: http://www.lagunaplayhouse.com/onstage/2011/maestro/

Hershey Felder in MAESTRO: The Art of Leonard Bernstein, is a new work from the creators of George Gershwin Alone, Monsieur Chopin and Beethoven, As I Knew Him. With a story spanning the entire twentieth century, Leonard Bernstein, America’s greatest musician, broke through every artistic ceiling possible to become the world’s musical ambassador. Conductor, composer, pianist, author, teacher, librettist, television star... for Leonard Bernstein boundaries simply did not exist. Join us on this fascinating journey as Hershey Felder brings the composer of West Side Story, Candide, Mass and more to life.

Music & Lyrics by Leonard Bernstein
Book by Hershey Felder
Directed by Joel Zwick