I was 6 years old when my father introduced me to the taste of ocean water in the beautiful Cayman Islands. “Scoop it up and take a big drink.” My brothers coughed and sputtered. I didn’t. I liked the warm saltiness. The little prairie girl had her first formative encounter with the ocean and it was love at first kiss, and so the love affair began.
My attraction to the ocean was immediate, magnetic and magic.
I was mesmerized by the tiny fish swimming between ripples of sand. When the wave crashed over me and ploughed me into the sand I wasn’t scared and just emptied the clump of sand out of my bikini bottoms and went back for more. I was hooked, and cried when we left the shoreline then and every time thereafter.
I grew up in a city in land-locked Alberta with National Geographic-fuelled aspirations. I was always looking to escape into the wild. Our tiny family sailboat was a perfect vessel for adventure and I loved the feeling of wind, water and freedom. I could cross the lake faster and explore more by boat than on my bike–my second choice vehicle of escape.
Though my first pay-cheque went to rent, the second pay-cheque went to scuba certification.Then came university, a job, a successful career and travel around the world. Holidays were more like expeditions that often centred on diving which became more and more depressing as I became aware of the terrible state of ocean pollution.
a dive spot famous for elegant manta rays which has recently become more famous in a viral video showing swirling garbage. I surfaced in trash and tears, questioning if I could ever dive again. My friend and I became very ill from surfing in the waste and toxic runoff, in what should have been a beautiful bay. We left the beach in disgust and woke the next morning with puss-filled eyes and gastric infections. Another girl developed a lung infection.
It was a moment of reckoning: cry and quit or wipe away the tears and do something. Devastating, yes, but I didn’t want to sink into futility and despair. Would I be part of the problem or part of the solution?
Transition and Transformation
Two years later everything in my life collapsed. I knew I had to make something of the wreckage and the decision was mine whether it would be a crisis or an awakening. I chose the latter. I was determined to discover what it was that was eating at me. I knew I couldn’t return to my corporate career because when I thought of it, my heart hurt and my stomach soured. Clearly, my instincts were screaming. I wanted to work on my own and I had about 100 ideas.
Over the years I often said to myself that only the ocean could heal me. With an armful of books and a giant notepad, I hopped on a plane to a tropical island where I designed my own program of salt water therapy. Sunrise and sunset swims and meditations in between more swimming, the occasional mind-immersive, body-beating, sinus-clearing surfing session. Good food as good medicine, and reading and writing as remedy.
The revelations came. I landed my personal mantra: “I am an adventurous and playful woman seeking the peace and preservation of the natural world.”
More reading, more writing, more salt water and slowly, as I unwound my mind, heart, and soul, I forged a new, more powerful clarity of my mission. I had passion and mission but I didn’t have the project, yet.
The Manifestation: Idea to Action
Enter, business coach, Stan Peake. He asked me one question: “If money was no object what would you do?”
“That’s easy,” I said. “I would establish a foundation, matching scientists to ocean research projects and provide funding.”
“So why don’t you?”
“Because money is an object.”
However, the discussion evolved and an idea took flight. I didn’t have millions to start a foundation, but I had access to one critical asset for exploration: a beautiful, ocean cruising 46’ sailboat.
Forty-five minutes into the meeting, Making Waves Sailing was born, offering eco-friendly sailing charters in the Caribbean with a focus on conservation and citizen science. Our mission: “Live to inspire peace and preservation.”
Through sailing and guiding guests on snorkel safaris, my goal is to inspire a deeper appreciation of the ocean. By offering opportunities to fall in love with our oceans, I hope they too will commit to protecting what they love, and join me in the quest to learn about and safeguard these precious waters.
Responsible and Sustainable Voyages
Like the earth and the ocean, my 46 foot sailboat, “My Mistress,” is a life support system; a model of sustainable living; a mini earth with limited resources essential to life.
“Take care of her and she will take care of you” is the intimacy a sailor has for her boat. I talk to her, I listen, I know her every sound and need. Sometimes she is a demanding mistress for sure, but I love the places we can go together. There’s a euphoria to sailing as we harness the wind and zoom across the ocean, drop anchor in a secluded bay and watch as the sun sinks and the galaxy unfolds.
Join me as we island hop the beautiful Windward Islands on your choice of three yachts, a 46ft monohull, 40ft catamaran or 48ft catamaran. We also offer programs like our “Yacht & Yoga Retreat into Paradise” on a luxurious 48’ catamaran, or a more educational experience on our “Sail with a Scientist” program, a mini national geographic with a professional marine biologist. “Women! Take the Helm!” is steeped in the special camaraderie born of sailing, bringing women together in a supportive environment where each can find their own comfort and confidence.
My objective with Making Waves Sailing is to become a millionaire: I want to influence one million people and inspire them to think, act and adventure in favour of conservation.
We are facing complex and systemic issues locally and globally, particularly in sustainable development of resources and waste management. My vision is that by helping people spend time with G.O.D.–The Great OutDoors, a place of surrender and worship, we can move towards a day when the oceans are pure and the wild is cherished for the gifts it gives us: humility, discipline, grace, respect, order in chaos, and awe-inspiring beauty.
At Barnacle Babes, we aim to be interactive, engaging, proactive, purposeful, actionable and supportive to all women, their families, their ocean cause and sport.