Cormorant Lessons

Their seabird numbers may rival the prolific pelicans or seagulls. But it is their personality that gains my respect. Quietly confident, not showoffs or attention getters; they don’t have to make noise or play loud Latino music to announce their arrival. They fish with silent bravado. Their catch is a daily deed - not one that commands a photo opp. They hunt isn’t for some ego show; they don’t need to validate their talents. They need to come to the surface and blow up their chests for s camera. To them the sea is their source. Their  livelihood and sustenance. They may fly, but they swim for their food. No traps, nets, snares or hooks, their beaks snag their meals.

4 Anchors and an Ant Hill

I could have all been avoided. We had seen each other from a distance over a month earlier when he moved his boat and anchored a couple days before Hurricane Matthew arrived in Miami. He and I could have exchanged courtesies and express ourselves at that time. He did not know I had about 100 feet of anchor out. Our boats were both facing north west before the storm hit. And both of us did not know how setting out four anchors would affect his boat. 

Laughing at Myself

A few days before friends arrived in Nassau to board Mystique, I shared a burger and fries with fellow boaters and Canadians Leslie and her son Houston while we listened to an American folk trio perform at the Green Parrot Resturant. Afterwards we shared a short taxi return to Rubis' fuel dock where I started my dinghy's Yamaha 4-stroke 15 hp. It started right up like a charm...yet it doesn't always! 

Shooting the Breeze

A December dusk surrounded us. We were clearly in its sights.  We were floating nowhere slow. We sat our ground.  Though not yet aground, I stood my Mystique's foredeck and shot the breeze with my new crew.  While the sun dipped into Biscayne Bay, I realized the day was actually still shooting us, anchored by hook, but also by awe. Our sights not yet setting on the day's and night's delights.

How Far Will I Go?

My name is Paola and I was born and raised in Miami, Florida.

Growing up, my parents instilled in me a deep appreciation for water. Whether it was my mom's Olympic swimmer genes that got passed down, or my dad's love for diving and sailing, being in the water is my drug.

Combined with a love for capturing moments through photos and film, it is my passion to show the world the beauty of the ocean, and inspire people to preserve and protect it.

Being Caught in a Void

As I sail, I am reminded about space.  That place above and beyond comprehension. That place where imagination is limitless.  A place of possibility. An abyss and endless hole of both nothingness and everything. The sky and sea has all our greatest reminders for being. Then the Universe, mind and heart show us otherwise.

Dirty Washing

After some salty sea trials,  I occasionally find myself marina-washing my laundry loads in heavy-duty coined or token-driven washers/dryers. Often this challenge is not schools of boaters crowding the facilities or hogging these machines. The real obstacle is coaxing these boxes to clean and dry.  These mechanical operators tend towards the temperamental, often misbehaving and uncooperative. Yachters, be forewarned, when you venture into their humidity, they don't always turn you on. But know they will always take your token and your time.  Some will even spin a good yarn, but most will dry your load like they say.  But, they might surprise you by requesting more each turn....like some bum begging to be fed, careful, don't get fed up and tired of their spin. If you do, it's back-to-the-boat-hanging-them-on-some-life-line-time. Maybe better than feeding their dry sense of humor. 

A couple years ago I was sitting by myself at an outdoor cafe near the George Town market when a fellow sailor offered to help me. He asked me what I was doing; I told him and the next thing I knew he said he would fix my windlass for nothing. After chugging his last swig of beer, he proudly offered: "If am unable to fix it, you don’t have to pay me anything", he boasted. 

I replied “What happens if you make it worse?”

Sea-ing Back Tattoos

The sea dominates our globe. So it is fitting that the human back offers the tattoo artist the body's greatest canvass for their and their client's seascapes. And nautical and/or naughty body art is no longer only a seafarer's form of expression.

Piece of Work

A reluctant communicator
Too cheap to buy a new phone
Emails me his phone has died
Uses others' to call his wife, though not me
Lori contacts me to let her know
When her husband arrives.
He sleeps on airport floor
While I sleep in my car, I wait for him
12:30 am he calls me, but not her.

My Blow with Gale

She floated by my darkened craft in the serene early A.M.  Round and about some nearby coral cays her windy peering discovered me soundly asleep in my comfortable bunk.  Instead of just blowing through an open portal whispering in my ear "Wake-up, you, sleepy head" or simply leaving me all alone,  she slipped in under the cover of night and into my bunked covers.

Bridges, Currents, Shallows, Oh My!

The day after crossing 74 miles the Florida Straits and the Gulf Stream between North Bimini and West Palm Beach, visiting US Customs and Immigration and then depositing two Toronto crew members at the Palm Beach airport, I was all alone. And until I reached a destination northward upcoast and east of Orlando, I would be sailing solo.