This past week I had an interview with the Door County Adventure Center and decided to do a little camping on the peninsula while I was their. With summer being the peak season the spring peninsula was pretty quiet and I had most of it to myself. I decided to hike into a camp site on Europe Lake in Newport State Park which is located northeast of Ellison Bay. Newport is a 2,400-acre “wilderness park” with 11 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 3 miles of sand beaches. Newport has more than 40 miles of hiking and mountain bike trails. The park features 16 backpack, walk-in campsites, including several along Europe Lake. The shore’s of lake Michigan can get pretty cold at night especially this early in the season so I brought two sleeping bags placing one inside the other and brought a light winter coat as well. Usually when I am expecting it to get cold I prefer using the ground set up for the Tent Hammock but it was a still evening and without much wind I figured I would be fine to hang it next to the lake and still stay warm. A tip for anyone who uses tent hammock (use a sleeping mat inside your hammock it does wonders for your insulation. I actually had two and was warm all night despite the under flow of air which usually keeps people away from the hammock set up in colder weather.) I went about the usual business of setting camp up before it got dark. Strung the hammock, rolled out the sleeping bags, filtered some water, and gathered fire wood. It was some quality alone time and as the sun set over Europe Lake it defiantly reminded me of why I think of the peninsula as on of the top 5 place in the U.S. I fell in love with this place back in 2009 when I had my Pearson 26 sailboat. Spending the summer exploring the islands, small walking towns, sea caves, high bluffs, state parks, and cookie cutter harbors was defiantly the best summer of my life. Door County is also known for their cherries and while sitting in a small café the previous day I over heard locals talking about how they might have lost 75% of this years cherries do to the unseasonably nice weather and a recent frost. Nevertheless there is more than enough to do in this Northern Paradise besides stuff your face with cherries. Check out the Adventure Center for some guided sea kayaking or zip line fun. Rumor has it that sailing lessons are new this year. Not only can you stop in with your family but they also have a lot of group team building programs so check it out for your group as well. Depending on how well I was able to communicate in the interview my love for adventure, people, and door county I might just see you there. For now here are a few photo’s I snapped to get you excited to visit that peninsula that I would consider Wisconsin’s heaven.
This is some of the coast line on the east side of the peninsula. I believe this was taken at Cave Point near Whitefish Dunes State park. One of the area's the Adventure Center explores by kayak
I spent a lot of time with my little brother this week and when that happens a good throw down of Cripple Creek is usually not to far behind. Enjoy!
A new sailing documentary is due out this summer 2012 about a young couple and their quest to find an iceberg. You can always count on the North Atlantic for some crazy adventures and stories of man against Gods wild eliminates. I first came across these two via a YouTube video that Teresa made documenting her live aboard experience as a solo sailor and young women on board a small sailboat cruising the oceans. I have since read up on a few of Ben’s adventures and was very impressed by the number of large sailing yachts he as worked on since college and his drive to cut the ties from land. They both have impressive sailing resumes and are advocates for the small boat live aboard cruising life style. I am excited to give you an inside Q&A peak at the adventurous life of these two and their up coming film “One Simple Question”.
How did you two first meet?
TERESA: We met when Benji was selling his Nor’sea 27 to buy a Bristol Channel Cutter. I was curious about the Nor’sea and inquired. After a few emails, I thanked him for answering my questions and wished him luck in selling his boat. I told him not to consider me as a potential buyer, however, he wouldn’t stop emailing me. Eventually we became Facebook friends (I actually created a FB account because of him) then talked on the phone and finally met in person. I never bought his boat, but a few months later, with his encouragement, I did buy a Nor’sea. He and I traveled on our two boats (both Lyle Hess designs) for two years, sailing solo, but in convoy.
BEN: I was selling my Nor’sea 27 and Teresa inquired. Although she decided she couldn’t buy it, I thought it very intriguing that a young woman was interested in such a boat. I figured that this woman warranted more investigation, and I kept emailing her. I did some mild stalking, and found nothing. So I eventually broke down and unabashedly asked “Do you have an internet presence?” She shared her Facebook profile with me and I became even more interested so I proposed a get-to-gether.
Big Idea’s seem to morph and take shape as they go along. What were some of the early versions or inspirations of this idea?
TERESA: Originally we didn’t intend to create a full length film. We wanted to spend a summer sailing, but with a purpose. We came up with the idea of doing a series of short web videos about the environment in the areas in which we traveled. Ben speaks French and so we made our destination St. Pierre and Miquelon, the French islands near Newfoundland. Then I learned that we might see icebergs. I was teaching Marine Science at the time, so I created some lessons on icebergs and found that they are incredibly interesting. I wanted to learn more, and I wanted to see one. Our new destination became “to see an iceberg” no matter how far north we had to go. We teamed up with Doctrine Creative, a production company, and decided to do a full length film. The focus changed from local environmental issues to more of a lifestyle piece, and one that shares the true ups and downs of life aboard a boat. The idea organically grew from there.
BEN:Teresa loves to make movies. We had made several short ones of our trip to the Bahamas. We were eager to ramp it up a bit, push the video boundaries. At the same time, I was also interested in France and all things French and knew of St. Pierre, a French colony that is not too far away. It seemed like a good idea to head up there. We wondered if we might see an iceberg. That idea developed and became more interesting than St. Pierre. I learned of icebergs and global warming and all the other interesting science associated with ice caps and glaciers, etc. As we talked about the movie, I was inspired by “Jean De Sud” and wanted to make a movie like he did that really captures the essence of what sailing really is. Not just all the sunsets and rum punches, I wanted to capture the real life aboard and all the ups and downs.
Teresa you are known for your simple life advocacy and Ben more for marine biology and both obviously for your live aboard life style and love for sailing and the sea. Would you consider the film to be a hybrid of these two interest?
TERESA: I hope that the film will offer some science facts about icebergs. They are incredible. As for the simple living, well, I write about it from a personal exploration perspective, which is exactly what this film is about…personal exploration. Benji, and my blog readers, are always teaching me about simple living by presenting me with challenging questions and new perspectives. That’s the beauty of a personal exploration. It lends itself to constant growth. However, I don’t intended to advocate for one lifestyle or another. Instead, it simply shows another way of life, its pros and cons, and how it inspires us.
BEN: Well, I don’t think I’m known for Marine Biology. I did study it a lot, but never really pursued it after school, except as an interest. But I think that it will always be a part of me, from an ecological standpoint. I think the movie is more a story about the love of sailing, the lifestyle, and getting out in nature for adventure.
On long journeys like this a question people always seem to ask is “What do you do all day?” While any adventurer knows there is usually very little down time. Time is spent by simply trying to continue to exist. While cruising the boat is in need of attention almost 24/7. Can you address how adding the filming process to all of this has been?
TERESA: At first it was very strange to have Chris, the cameraman, aboard and filming us all the time. I was way to concerned about the cameras and saying the right thing. I was also concerned about making Chris comfortable. He had never been offshore sailing before and our boat is pretty small for three people and a cat. Hindsight is always 20/20 and of course some of the best moments and grandest storms happened when the camera was packed away. However, we did get a lot of great footage. Chris, Larissa, and Derek (the three camera crew) were excellent and constantly filming even when they were tired, physically uncomfortable from holding awkward positions for long periods of time, and even seasick. Ben and I also did some filming and I was very interested in learning all about it. Ben and I are both solo sailors, so most of the time at least one of us was free to do other stuff. There were only a few wicked storms where we both needed to be tending to the boat.
BEN: I think you are absolutely right with the fact that there is always something to do. Without running water, a gas station on every corner, a convenient store on the other corners, you spend time thinking about, planing, fixing, and thinking about the systems and supplies. So adding filming into that mix was interesting because I wanted to capture all that day to day living. It was fun to try to film everything..every little nuance of life aboard. When there was downtime, it was fun to set things up, re-do somethings, and review footage to learn more for the next time. Our camera crew was an asset. It wouldn’t have been possible if we had tried to do it ourselves.
In my opinion one of the big reasons people do big adventures is to come face to face with the very core of who they are when every thing is stripped away. In the film synopsis mention of an unexpected twist that helped you realize how your quest to see an iceberg, like the iceberg itself, has so much more below the surface. Can you give us any clues to or hint at what that was?
TERESA: I read books and watch movies to be taken on adventures of thought. I hope that people watching the film will see more than just a journey to an iceberg. I hope it will stir something in them, just like adventure does for me. I walk away from the theater having seen movies that inspire me to make a change in my life. Sometimes its in lifestyle, career, pastime, friendships, etc. And sometimes that feeling doesn’t last long other times it does. But films allow me to step away from myself and what is familiar and think about something new.
BEN:I think that you’ve hit on an important facet of the film with your question of a “big adventure.” One of the things that we are trying to drive home is that in order to have those revelations or those personal journeys is that you don’t have to have a “big” adventure. It doesn’t have to be an extreme adventure. You can have those revelations with lesser journeys if you just push yourself a little bit. What I’m also trying to say is that its real important to be an active participant in the natural world. We’re all very good participants in the artificial world that we have created and just stepping outside of that and into the natural world is what brings about these inner revelations. And it really is a simple concept, but so hard to do sometimes.
Both of you sailed extensively over the past few years solo. What are the pro’s and con’s of having a sailing parter and does any of this come out in the film?
TERESA: It was great having Benji aboard. He is wonderful company. However, the biggest benefit was that I could sleep more soundly. Sailing solo I felt like I never got a good sleep because I always slept with one eye open. With Ben aboard and awake, I slept better during my off-watch. It was also nice to have an extra hand aboard during rough weather. And, of course, Benji is an excellent cook, so we ate well. But I did miss the solitude and how I was forced to do things all on my own when I was sailing solo. I must admit, I did become a bit lazy at times. Especially when I was seasick. But we took care of each other, so that was nice. I’ll always miss solo sailing, though. There is nothing like the feeling of a long passage alone. It gets better with time.
BEN: I love sailing solo, but geez its a hell of a lot easier when you have two people aboard who know what they are doing. But I think there is also the potential for becoming a little more lackadaisical. So I had to constantly be on guard for that. I think I like to push a little harder than Teresa, sometimes foolishly, so it was good to work together to strike a balance of pushing hard and staying safe. And Teresa was very good about making me wear my tether. She was a stickler about it.
When is the film going to released? and how can people buy a copy when it comes out?
We expect the film to be finished this summer. That is our target release date. People will be able to buy a DVD from our website and we are hoping to show it at film festivals. If someone is interested in the film, the best thing to do is visit our website and sign up for the e-newsletter. We send a newsletter out about once a month, sometimes less. They can unsubscribe at any time and we never share our email lists.simplequestionmovie.com
Here are a few photographs that will get you craving the open ocean and only add to the highly romanticized life at sea. Enjoy my picks of the top 20 most beautiful ships, sailboats, and photography.
Thats not a rock thats a whale!
Here's the one you can probably afford, just needs a little work. The open ocean is as freeing and liberating to a rich man at it is to a poor man. No amount of money will ever be able to buy the open sea.
I was reading through Reid Stowe pages and pages of blog post and found this amazing story that I just had to share because of its flat out movie like characteristics. Hard to believe unless you knew that he would years later set the record for the longest time at sea. Over 1,000 days. I will write more on him sometime, but for now here is the story.
In his own nonchalant words “This very atmospheric old photo was sent to me by a French couple who took it from their sailboat. In 1974, I was with them on their sailboat on the Amazon River when we were captured by pirates. We were tied up for three nights and two days while the pirates stripped the boat and argued amongst themselves. They let us live and left us tied up on the floor. We untied ourselves and sailed out of the Amazon to Martinique. My little catamaran TANTRA was left anchored alone in the pirate’s den.
Everyone is aware of the danger of pirates today. Around ten years ago, the world’s most famous sailor, Sir Peter Blake, took over leadership of the Cousteau Society and was murdered by pirates on the Amazon River close to where I was captured many years before. It is dangerous to sail to the wild places of the world, even today.
Four months after my pirate experience at the age of 22, I went back to the Amazon and stole my catamaran out of the pirate’s den. I sailed up to Martinique where I rejoined my French sailing friends. That was when they took this photo of me on my catamaran. Imagine sailing to four continents on this 1,400 pound, 27 ft boat navigating with an old brass sextant and having no motor, no electricity, no radio, or life raft. Those were the days! Those years of sailing set the stage for me to conceive of accomplishing the longest sea voyage in history.” Reid