Sail Away, Captain Paul

August 13th, 2004 — Island of St Maarten

It all started at the Tidal Pool in Saint Andrews in 2001. To make a legendary story very short, I met a wonderful woman dancing beside me at a Hot Toddy show named Charlene. After having some conversations with her as Tom and Joel laid down their sweet danceable blues rhythms, she told me about a good friend who was a Dutch sailing captain that lives in the Caribbean. Captain Paul Whalen was his name, and he was one of the very last independent sailing cargo ships in the world, his ship was called “Avontuur”, such a fitting name considering the global adventures she would have experienced in her lifetime being sailed to all corners of the world. She was a steel hulled 120 foot gaffed rigged schooner.

Charlene told me that Captain Paul was looking for crew. The rest of the story is a major part of what has made me who I am today. A few days later I was on a plane to begin an adventure through the Caribbean and South America that would inspire me to become not only the documentary filmmaker I am today, but an adventurous lover of living. Captain Paul recently passed away and has sailed upwind to his next Avontuur. I can not think of any other single period of my life that was more self-realizing for me, and more shaping than my time on the Avontuur. I took this picture 3 years after my time sailing with Captain Paul. I was visiting the island of St Maarten, where I had lived for many months as my home port back in 2001. With no surprise the grand ole ship was moored in the Marigot Bay. I saw Paul on the docks. It was like seeing a great uncle who I hadn’t seen in a while. He took me back out for a brief visit on my old home on the water, this was to be the last time I would see Paul and his ship together again.

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