It had been nearly a month since I received the call.

As I rushed down to the beach with the final supplies, I could hear the speeches had already begun.

“Dammit! I’m late” I thought furiously.

It had been a frantic 30 days.

Schedule went something like this.

Sunday morn – Phone call requesting assistance

Monday – Confirmation of request

Tuesday/Wednesday – Tell all the people, who have been working so hard to see the Ocean Ambassadors move forward and see Leisure Activist Group clothing a reality, that I’ll be un-reachable for the next… who knows how long.

Thursday – Arrive at YVR airport at 5:28 A.M. to board a plane bound for Malaga.

Friday – Step off a plane in the south of Spain and find a buss to a Marina I have never been, find a boat I have never seen and to guide a group of athletes I have never met (and whom none have any idea of who I am, or why I’m there)

Saturday – Set sail through the Gibraltar straights between Spain and Morocco bound for the Las Palmas, Grand Canaria.

And so on for the following 3 weeks.

 

The Task:

1. Train a group of athletes to cross the Atlantic Ocean by Kitesurfing. A journey that would make our 2012 voyage from Tonga to Australia seems like a Sunday stroll in the park.

2. Possibly skipper the passage, if the one I only knew as the “drill sergeant” (then graduated to Wunder Capt) could not make the trip.

3. Possibly step in and be an athlete as well for the crossing, if someone got injured or backed out.

 

Camera teams were rolling, speeches were being given and I was still having waves of regret.

I try not to live with regrets, but this had been a hard decision to make.

departureThe team assembled in front of the sponsor board, and posed for pictures that would go world wide in the following seconds. Immortalizing these six fearless adventurers and their support team of Yacht Owner (Arne), Wunder Capt (Erik van Vuuren), First Mate (Brom), Medic (Sophie) and Documentary filmer (Ester).

But I stood to the side, somewhere in the pack. Alongside the Enable Passion (www.enablepassion.com) land based team head Sander Meijers. A man I had many e-mails and quite a few phone calls, though had only met less than 24 hrs earlier.

Sander was emotional to say the least. He had organized the logistics and all sponsorship required to make this a reality for far too long. And now it was happening.

Each member of the team took the microphone and delivered what would be their last words to the masses before departure.

Somewhere in the middle, one (Max Blom of Mystic kiteboarding) extended a thank you to the people who had made it a reality. Sander and I looked at each other and took the invitation to join the stage.

Max put his arms around us both and went on to give thanks for our contribution. When it came time to explain why I wasn’t joining the voyage, he simply stated, “…he wont be with us because he has other things to do.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle a little. “Has other things to do” eh? That’s one way to put it.

It all happened so quick after that, Sander and I were whisked out of the frame and with dying available seconds, rigged borrowed kites from Rene Egli watersports Fuerteventura to see our friends (Fillippo, Eric, Camilla, Max, Ike and Dennis) off.

I quickly pumped the massive 14m beast (because there was literally, no wind) and ran towards the beach. However was stopped by event organizer/athlete and Enable Passion’s founder Fillippo Van Hellenberg Hubar.

“Where are you going? We can’t leave yet, the drum band isn’t ready! We can’t leave without drums.”

“My bad” I thought, we never had any drums see, so I didn’t know the rules.

fuerteBy the time Fillippo launched my kite on the foreshore I was at peace. I had made the right call. After kiting circles around the yacht with Sander to see them off, my mind was already on Moana. Then, as Sander and I sat 5km down wind from the take off waiting for our taxi, back to the 5 star resort that hosted our departure (Melia Gorriones), I understood why I was not supposed to be on that boat, or kiting beside it across the Atlantic Ocean.

The thing is, the whole organization was called “Enable Passion.” What message would I send to the good peoples if I didn’t follow my own dream?

Here I was beating myself up over pulling out, and having to say to these new friends “This is on you.” But the choice was actually simple. The passion I believe in, and am completely dedicated to is happening. In a different ocean aboard a different boat.

 

Now, before I went back to Canada to catch up on work with Upgyres and visit the factory that makes our clothing from waste material, I had been successful in engaging a very inspirational person in Australia. One who has done nothing but impress me with his perseverance and ability to actually get something done in this mest up world.

timThat man is Tim Silverwood of Take 3 and ReChusable.

He has single-handed put together a tour to welcome Moana in many different cities along the eastern seaboard of Australia to “Talk Trash”

Now none of this happens purely alone.

Tim has been able to organize a variety of different local organizations, which share the vision of cleaning our oceans. Each and every one of them has gone beyond the call of duty to open their doors and welcome this tour.

The list begins with, but is not limited to:

Tangaroa Blue, Responsible Runners, Positive Change for Marine
Life, Australian Seabird Rescue, Healthy Waterways and Surfrider Foundation Australia.

Along with local councils and Marina’s

Starting Jan 7th in Brisbane at Rivergate Marina we will tour the east coast of Australia and educate on the issues surrounding waste plastics in the Ocean as well as provide viable solutions to mending this absolutely heinous problem.

We will finish in early Feb in Darling Harbor, Sydney but in between will visit every major community en-route.

tim2So if you are in the area and would like to pay us a visit, come on down and see what you can do to help us achieve our passion.

Give us the support and strength to clean the oceans and make sure we ALL get to continuously enjoy this irreplaceable resource.

So maybe next time I get invited to cross an ocean with Kites, I can go : )

Brisbane 7/01/14
Tweed Heads/Gold Coast 9/01/14
Byron/Ballina 11-12/01/14
Yamba 14/01/14
Coffs Harbour 19/01/14
Port Macquarie 21/01/14
Forster 23-24/01/14
Port Stephens 25/01/14
Newcastle 26-28/01/14
Central Coast 29-30/01/14
Sydney 31/01/14 – 3/01/14