Monday, December 14, 2009
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
Catherine has sailing and the sea in her blood. She comes from a long line of seafaring family with heritage on Nantucket Island. Now living in New Mexico, Catherine is a writer, photographer, artist and sailor. Each summer in the month of August she makes her way back to Nantucket to visit family and sail her Beetle Cat. Catherine has sailed with me in the British Virgin Islands and Belize and since then sailed with friends in Greece, Corsica and the Caribbean, Martinique to the Grenadines.
Since those sailing experiences, Catherine has held the dream of chartering and skippering her own boat. Moving at her own pace, inviting her friends to share the experience in a calm, fun, and relaxing way.
Catherine actualized her dream and is now sailing from French Martinique to Tobago Cays and possibly beyond. Congratulations Catherine! How did she do it?
Taking that step was not very comfortable so she decided to hire me privately for 8 days for a personalized women sail training intensive. It has been a steep learning, yet worth all of the effort, time money and energy to make it all happen. Getting to know the charter boat inside out, working out the details of passage making, weather forecasting and all that it takes for Catherine to take on the responsibility for the safety of the boat and the crew and ultimately BE the Skipper!
I had just sailed in Belize and timing worked out that I could detour my travel plans to head over to French Martinique. All I knew was that I would find the boat somewhere on the leeward side of the island. I arrived late at night and trusting all would be well...there was a driver with my name. He took me to a small village with a dock. There was no one there and Catherine's cell phone was not working. It was so quiet and still and of course my French is much to be desired. I asked the driver if there was another village and was insistent that he take me there. Sure enough, Catherine came out of the dark. First stop Anse d' Arlet. It was now close to midnight and there was a tiny dinghy at the end of the wharf. The evening was clear, moon was full and Catherine rowed me to her floating home.
The calmness left us for rolling seas and many rain and wind squalls. The first thing I did was let out more rode to ride out some of the swell and high winds. The rainbows and sky were beautiful.
Catherine's friend made the arrangements for the boat, a 361 Sun Odyssey mono hull and even helped her bring it to the anchorage....here she was waiting for me. She was excited and yet scared to say the least. Catherine has taken lots of formal training, many passages and years of sailing experience. She just needed confidence and learning in a way that best suited her communication style. Most importantly, a ,calm, easy, collected and step by step process.
Catherine had grand plans of us sailing up to Dominica....but the next day I realized that there was so much more to accomplish before we could head off on any passage making. We spent the next few days, going through the boat, all of the systems. One of the challenges she had was running the dinghy motor. She loves it to be quiet, calm, fume less so she rows. Well, when the wind is up and you need to get to the beach having a motor and knowing how to start it and use it really does come in handy not to mention a safety feature. I felt that she needed to be able to captain that small boat before heading off in the big one. Thus we spent the morning getting her up to speed on working the motor, running it around. By the end of our time together Catherine was happy to have that little boat and motor and got really good at using it both day and night. It all seems so simple to think about running the dinghy, yet another thing if it is not something you are use to. She is a pro now!
Every part of that boat, every system was covered, chart work, passage planning weather. It was a steep learning curve learning about the chart plotter which is not something Catherine had every used before. Plotting the courses on the charts for the passage making. Interpreting the weather. We found some great weather sites on the Internet. Everything is in French and if one does not speak the language it is not easy to gain the information.
We ventured off to sail the areas around the French Martinique. Each day a new adventure, testing the boat, changing sail combinations, trimming the sails for optimal performance for the wind conditions, reefing, anchoring techniques, hand signals and much more. We enjoyed evenings out in the quaint villages...yet as soon as we got back to the boat we were back at study time again late into the evening. Then the nights were squally with rain and gusts....so the night anchor watch was on.
Catherine got a quick insight to the responsibility of being the skipper on the boat. So many things to consider with the boat, how it works, safety, provision, where to get water, fuel and pick up crew from different airports, clearing customs. So much fun yet challenging too.
We found a beautiful hammock and Catherine learned the rolling hitch and how it can be so useful at times. Now she can enjoy the view from the bow of the boat while at anchor.
The evening sunsets were fantastic and a swim in the warm Caribbean ocean was a blessing to clear our minds and body.
We started our mornings off with Qigong and light Yoga, building core strength, stability and proper breathing techniques. As Catherine says 'when in the territory of the French, take advantage of their wine, breads and culinary delights. And we did!
After an intensive 8 days I left Catherine at Le Marin. The charter boat base. We took it in with a list of requests to fix on the boat, charge up, fuel up, pick up her new crew member Edie, customs clearance and then she was on her way to sail to St Lucia and beyond.
I am now back at my home in Baja and this morning I received an email from Catherine.
"Bonjour de les Pitons, we made it...two fabulous sails. Thank you for your guidance...hope you had a good return. We are on our way! Con Amor,
Catherine, Skipper of SV Melite, and first mate Edie"
Every day in every way I feel blessed to be in service. To know that I have skills and gifts to share with women that have a desire to go beyond their wildest of dreams. Thank you to all that have faith in me to offer them guidance along their journey. Cherish the journey, know that all is possible. Keep the dream and the vibe alive.
With radiating light Valma
Offering peronsalized sail training for women around the world.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
"Peace can be reached through meditation on the knowledge which dreams give. Peace can also be reached through concentration upon that which is dearest to the heart."
After traveling through many countries back packing, hiking and sailing it is now good to BE grounded connecting with mother earth. Over the last 13 days I have been blessed with students arriving from outside Mexico to follow the 8 fold path of Patanjali, study, learn and practice yoga, meditation and other yoga and Ayurvedic principles here at Clarananda. An ocean front property that we own near Todos Santos, Baja in Mexico.
Here at Clarananda, I offer unique Women Yoga Teacher Training / Certification and Self Mastery programs a few times per year internationally recognized by Yoga Alliance. Personalized, unique, intimate and intense these programs run for 12.5 days with a max of 3 to 6 students per program. I am honoured and blessed to witness the dedication, committment and transformation of women that come from around the world to move forward to enhancing their spiritual yoga practice and next level of self Mastery.
Clarananda is a magical zen garden, possessing extraordinary or mystical natural beauty. We have set up a green living environment with solar energy (off the grid) organic garden and back to nature living. To be here in the desert with the magnificant sunsets, abundant cactus plants and many birds and other wildlife is a gift to behold. Life does hold many treasures.
Here are a few words from the women that experienced Clarananda.
"The yoga, pranayama and meditation practices are delightful, intense and life changing. A tremendously valuable experience. For those on a path to self discover or personal growth, you've come to the right place. Clarananda is truly a remarkable setting and the food is amazing." Tracy Ernst - Calgary, Alberta
"Clarananda is beautiful and being in nature is truly a special experience. The program has been challenging and rewarding. The intensity of learning and yoga was nicely balanced with personal growth time. I have been pleased with my own experience and have gained so much more knowledge of yoga and all it's related branches." Beatrice Winny - Ontario, Canada
We are abundant, we are love, we are grace, we are the ones we have been waiting for!
So be it - Om Shanti In deep peace - Valma
Offering unique women yoga teacher training in Baja
Sunday, March 29, 2009
A visionary voyage in one of the most biologically diverse bodies of water in the world
"The Vermillion Sea or Sea of Cortez"
"The Sea of Cortez is the world's acquarium" Jacques Cousteau
We board and start our trip from La Paz - meaning "Peace" the capital of southern Baja and very much a Mexican city. More laid back and right on the Sea of Cortez. I love to walk the promenade along the waterfront.
La Paz markets are colourful and fun too!
We sail 20 nm to Isla Espiritu Santos just north of La Paz. The island is connected by Isla Partida by a narrow isthums. The islands are protected under UNESCO as a unique biosphere
During our sailing adventure we see migratory species sush as the Humpback Whale, California Gray Whale, Dolphins, sealions and mantra rays.
Our sailing takes us across to Isla San Francisco a small very distinctive island with white sandy beaches and steep rocky ridges.
Hiking the ridges of Isla San Francisco in the Sea of Cortez, Baja
The sail is wonderful with dolphins off the bow, fishing is great, swimming and hiking are a joy to behold. Great sunsets while cooking our catch on the back deck
Great sunsets while cooking our catch on the back deck.
Each morning or sunset we move to the rhythmn of nature with a Qigong and light yoga asana.
The Sea of Cortez is unique in so many beautiful ways. The contrast of colours, the huge Baja night sky, expansive ocean vistas, startling white sandy beaches with an array of wildlife are truly amazing.
Now heading to my hacienda on the west coast of the peninsula near Todos Santos.
I smile with the memory of the Vermillion Sea. Adios - Valma
Offering unique women sailing adventures
"I'll meet you there" Rumi
Thursday, March 19, 2009
"The Zen Garden"
Be present in the moment. Seek harmony. Bask in the beauty of nature.
"There is perhaps no better way to live these Zen concepts than to create a garden that reflects them. A Zen garden is a work of art that expreses traditional values: simplicity, stillness, natural beauty, asymmetry, and traquility. As you work on yours, the peace of the external environment spreads inwards to calm the heart and soul. The main requirements are time - and timelessness. A Zen paradox!"
Welcome to my desert Zen Garden
Belize to India to the Caribbean and after a few days in Canada I finally arrive to my beautiful ocean front Zen garden property near Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico.
Outdoor living with solar and well water. Here I am planting my organic veggie garden.
Here is my lovely yoga palapa. Such a peaceful place. This year we have a pair of young pigeons living in the rafters.
We have all that we require. The desert roses are blooming.
Meeting up with friends again and time spent in solitude is rejuvenating for the soul.
In a few days I leave to pick up another boat out of La Paz to sail the Sea of Cortez.
I will take to the hammack, read for a while and of course indulge in a Zen sunset!
In peace always - Om Shanti, Valma
Sunday, March 15, 2009
"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude." Denis Waitley
I arrived to Nanaimo after two days of traveling from St. Lucia via St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Just a quick five days in Nanaimo to finish the work on Kalisha and launch her back into the water after being on the hard for the winter. Kalisha is our 97 year old 34 foot wooden power boat built in 1913 by Wessel in Vancouver, BC, Canada. We have owned her for the last 5 years using her each summer as our floating cottage.
Kalisha has been on the hard since the beginning of October. Normally, we would never do this because it would dry the boat out to much. We hired Fred Amor and his son Duncan a wooden boat expert from Gabriola Island to replace some ribs and re-cork the bottom. We put Kalisha in dry dock so they could work on her over the winter. We also purchased and are installing a new motor. My travels took me away for five months and during the planning phase I arranged to be back in Nanaimo for the five days before launch so I could assist in the final preparation for the boat launch. The weather this winter in Nanaimo was not to much to write home about...snow, snow and more snow. It is amazing that our guys got the job done. We had to have Kalisha back in the water by March 15th as the boat yard required her space for their spring season. Our guys did an amazing job. Bravo!
I brought the sunshine because we had awesome weather to finish the final touches.
Well, sunshine almost every day.
On our last day before launching we had more snow. I guess I needed this just to remind me that I love going to Mexico and other warm places in the winter. Here is my husband Clayton working hard. Needless to say I only got out of the car to take the photo.
Kalisha went back into the water on time and is now waiting for us at the dock for our return in June. Once the weather gets more warm and dry we will repaint the outside and complete the installation of the new motor. I am very excited to see our girl under her own steam. What a beauty she is. I hope you agree!
I am off to my home in Las Playitas, Baja Mexico.
Hasta la pasta!
Friday, March 6, 2009
"The best way to prepare for life is to begin to live."
Have you made your Bucket List yet?
Where is Valma now?
Kite surfing in St. Lucia! Can you believe it?
Flying High on Life
Yes, I am still alive, well and continuing the adventure. The journey from India to Canada, on to sail in the Virgin Islands to finally making my way to St. Lucia has been awe inspiring, fun, exotic, creative and full of laughter and new friendships. The days have been so much fun that I have not created the space to catch up on the blog. I will fill you in on St. Lucia first and then work backwards to catch up on my final stay in India and sailing adventures in the Virgin Islands. Therefore, make sure you tune in again and check out the blog updates for the last part of India, travels to Canada and sailing in the Virgin Islands. Thanks for being patient. Every day in every way I continue to actualize and manifest so much abundance in my life. There is so much to share.
Ever since I saw a beautiful painting of the Piton mountains and lush St. Lucia backdrops during a Caribbean art show last year and now some of my friends are living and sailing in this area it has been in my mind's eye that I would come here. Everything has been leading me in this direction. Friends of ours built a 65-foot Catamaran sailboat and it is now in St. Lucia. Originally my hubby and I would meet here to sail with them. In the end I had the days booked and my hubby did not....so here I am. What I focus on expands. Just before I picked up my sailboat in the British Virgin Islands at the first part of February I met a young couple that were heading to St Lucia to stay on the beach and kite surf. The location sounded right up my alley....St. Lucia, right on the beach, price is good, kite surfing, ability to check out a new sailing destination and meeting friends along the way. It all felt right and everything fell into place.
I left St. Thomas on March 1st and flew to St. Lucia. The Liat flight I took landed in the north of St. Lucia near Rodney Bay just as the sun was setting...apparently, this is the area that is built up on the island and where all the action is. I took a taxi with Theresa, a local gal and drove 1.5 hours south to Anse de Sable Beach. This part of the island is more exposed to the Atlantic ocean, the trade winds and is more tranquil and quiet. Here at "The Reef" is a cool, quaint, very simple Caribbean windsurfing, kitesurfing location located on the National Trust Park Land. I arrived later in the evening to a warm salty sea breeze with the sound of the ocean waves crashing against the beach.
At the moment I am staying at The Reef Kite and Surf - it has a litte cafe with open air dining right on the beach a small kite and surf shop with rentals and lessons. Just four simple rooms in the back area of which I have room number three. A beautiful and simple set up.
My lessons started the next day and I have been kite surfing since. Mostly learning how to handle the kite, body drag and I even got up on the board a few times before the wind has gone down. I have to say the most fun for me was when the instructor told me to take the power of the kite and body drag and really go for it. "I want to see leaps and white water trailing behind you." Frank, my instructor told me with a twinkle in his French eye. This was right up my alley since I naturally wanted to man handle the kite from the beginning....he wanted me to be gentle. A great practice to BE present and very much in the moment. When I was free to use the power I was delighted. I laughed so hard and even felt like cat women, leaping everywhere. I can see why people get hooked on this sport. Of course it is a continual process and the learning goes on. Good thing for a Qigong and yoga practice in the day to stabilize joints, elongate muscles and create flexiblity. The wind has gone down now, so alas.....my time is split between yoga on the beach, walking, writing, visiting with new friends and enjoying the beauty of this small tranquil Carribbean place. Tomorrow I head north along the west coast road to sight see and meet my sailing friends.
Ok, it is time for lunch, a piton beer, swimming and a lounge on the beach.
I leave you with this thought.
"A ship is safe in harbour, but that's not what ships are for."
- Valma Brenton, HERIZEN™ Life Adventures
- I have created this amazing life, attracting incredible women into my space. All of these women are unique and ready to live their real life too. My definition of success is like a river flowing with freedom, magical adventure, creativity, curiosity and recognition. My personal mission is to travel and create an enlightened world by spreading the light of consciousness. Everything that I choose to BE, DO and HAVE meet this mission and every day in every way I remember who I really am. I love my life! www.herizenlifeadventures.com
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