Chasing a Dream: One Wave at a Time

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Clarification: My goal is to race from VA to NJ on a Waverunner (jetski) to raise awareness and money for a anti-bullying campaign.

Chasing a Dream: One Wave at a Time

I am fortunate to have enjoyed observing the advancements in personal water crafts over the past three decades; my fascination with jet skis began at the age of fifteen, leading to a role as a jet ski instructor in New Jersey in my late teens and early twenties. Growing up in a water-loving family created a lifelong love of the water, and jet skis served a dual purpose: fueling my teenage interest in speed, to be perfectly frank, and providing an opportunity to travel from Points A to B with the benefit of observing nature along the way. In recent years, I have searched for ways to share this enthusiasm with others, and more importantly, combine that love of jet skis and the water with a philanthropic component. My career has predominantly involved the security sector, which has afforded me the opportunity to assist others on multiple occasions, and made me increasingly aware of the necessity of support for those in need. Philanthropic campaigns to assist at-risk youth and “stomp out” bullying have always drawn my support, and social responsibility themes, particularly in terms of respecting human rights, are appealing to me.

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It has been stated, “No one person can change the world, but we can each do our part.”

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I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I began the process of planning this endeavor two decades ago, but when life became very busy at the turn of the century, I put this goal on hold, hoping to reach a point in life where I could resume a dream of combining my passion for jet skis and philanthropic causes. I do not want to regret anything in life, as that is not how I want to leave this planet, nor do I want to be false when telling others to go for their dreams when I have not finished fulfilling mine.

I want my son to look at his dad and say, feel, and/or think I am proud or tell his friends, “That’s my dad!”. I never want him to feel ashamed or bullied for fighting for a positive cause in which he believes. I would like for my son to know that he can overcome and reach his star in the sky regardless of obstacles in his path.

I genuinely believe in people’s ability to change the world into something better. I believe each one of us has the ability to create a canvas unique to each of us to share with the world and guide someone who has yet to find their unique way of letting their canvas to be expressed.

Too many young adults leave our planet before they even start living; many never have the opportunity to attain their goals and dreams. Bullying needs to stop across the board and our youth’s self-esteem needs to grow. If just one thing can spark a child’s dream, then why not give them something for which to strive other than the correctional facility or worse, a life ended before even starting?

So, what is this dream that I intend to fulfill? My goal is to navigate a personal water craft (jet ski) from Virginia Beach to Brick, New Jersey to show to our youth that no matter how much someone or something holds one back, or how degraded one feels, that it is possible to leave the darkness behind. It is possible to stand up for themselves, and there are people on this planet who do understand, and want them to pursue their goals, reach for the stars, and persevere no matter how many times they are knocked down.

So, what is the purpose of this funding campaign? Funds received will go towards the jet ski trip from Virginia Beach to Brick, NJ. During this campaign, I will also be actively seeking support from anti-bullying organizations as I attempt to fulfill my dream, and raise funds for anti-bullying efforts in the process. Thank you for the support and donations towards not only fulfilling my dream, but supporting a vital cause.

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The breakdown of costs will be going towards the following:

·         A large percentage is going to the anti-bullying campaign and stomp out bullying initiative $5000.00+

·         Technical Advisors:  i.e. mechanics, ”Paid Licensed Captains” stationed vessels  along the route for refuel, safety checkpoints, support, and EMT’s, possible medical doctor  $3000.00+

·         Partial amount will go towards the Personal Water Craft for this undertaking for safety reasons.

·         Go-Pro cameras for documenting the trip $500+

·         Music and video support- media consultant for website, maintaining, creating, editing, and producing multiple short clip videos, picture collages, a documentary video, YouTube Channel, and publications related to this campaign.  3000.00+

·         Personal safety equipment that is not already available: i.e.- Emergency locator, helmet, more flares, smoke,  extra VHF long range two way radio $1500.00+

·         Everyone who contributes towards this endeavor will receive something regardless of how small or large of a donation. $2000.00+ in give a ways.

·         Your names, organizations, or businesses will be added to the overall documentary: If permission is granted.

·         All donors will be mentioned if permission is granted

·         Paper supplies

·         Ink

·         Card Stock

·         Envelopes

·         Thank You Cards for everyone who is involved

https://www.gofundme.com/chasing-a-dream-one-wave-at-time

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Clarification: My goal is to race from VA to NJ on a Waverunner (jetski) to raise awareness and money for a anti-bullying campaign.

The Cleaning

The Hudson Canyon is a fisherman’s dream when the fish are jumping, whether one is at the shelf running the walls 80 to 90+miles offshore, one is trolling the Texas Towers, or in the thick of the canyon 100+miles out.  It’s also a place to see some of the most amazing sunsets and sunrises, and some of nature’s best qualities. The stars, the moon, and the glow off the ocean’s surface are something which can only be described as a breath of fresh air.  I have been to some amazing locations, seen some of our nation’s most beautiful architectural marvels, but nothing beats the ocean. I keep telling my son the following single motto and my wife chuckles every time. Well, in fact, my son does as well. “The next best thing to space is the water.”  I come from a salty family. Regardless of everything I have been through the fact still remains my father and his father are true Deep Sea Captains. More than 100+ years of salt is in my blood and I am not ashamed of that fact. I have so many stories to share regarding the ocean; the latter is a classroom of some of the harshest lessons that an individual can learn.  No lies; you can be laughing one second and drowning the next.  The ocean has one rule, one that must be ingrained into anyone who ventures out into the water; that rule is respect.

On one of those trips into the canyon, I was sitting on top of the chair looking down into the cockpit at the lines spread out.  I could see nothing for miles. No land.  No other vessels.  Just the ocean.  The laughter comes and goes like the waves rolling over each other. It’s a decent day with four foot rollers, the wind blowing at a steady 12 knots, and I’m not throwing up.  I watch the endless whitecaps dance about as the crew eat and drink waiting for that “SNAP!”

The VHF is popping off with other captains and boaters engaging in their humorous banter and discussions of where the hot spots currently are.  Damn fish.  Always a waiting game and you have nothing but time while you’re on the ocean – just waiting, watching, and listening to everything around you. The music is echoing from the cockpit to the wheelhouse. The gentle mist sprays all around and your only thoughts are of estimating how long it will take to clean the boat from bow to stern and not to forget the transom.

SNAP!  Fish on… SNAP!  Fish on…  SNAP!  Fish on… Game on! Everyone is scrambling about trying to real in the other six lines.  The Captain yells to get those lines in. Three fish on and the waves of laughter are soon turned to hilarious torts of encouragement for the three on the reels. The Captain throws the throttle in reverse in five second intervals backing down to close the distance between the boat and the fish. The transom is bulldozing through the waves and the water is just plowing over the edge. What was a seemingly water-less cockpit becomes a TV show of America Ninja Water Warrior of who can stand their ground and stay on their feet while being plowed over with waves of water.

Success!  In the cockpit are three yellow fin tuna and a bunch of people whooping, hollering, and congratulating each other for the catch. Then everything goes back to the humorous banter and questions of “Where’s the beer? Where’s the beer?”  And, so it goes for the rest of the trip. So, after three hours of cleaning from the bow to the stern, including the transom, the trip plays over and over in my mind. What a great way to end the trip.

See you in the next post!

The Pheasant

BAM!  The can in the tree falls to the ground. BAM!  The can on the ground pops into the air and skips across the ground. “Good job, Robert,” says my Uncle. “First time shooting and you hit your targets.  Always remember to never point the barrel at anyone or in any direction where people are or could potentially be….  Let’s go shoot some more targets before we get that pheasant.”  So, the morning continues with me shooting cans and learning how to handle a weapon the correct way.  A couple of hours pass and then it was time for live targets.  The morning dew was still on the ground, in the trees, bushes, and I could see the little droplets of water falling from the branches, and the tips of the leaves. The mist is starting to settle down towards the ground and the sun is starting to peak its eye out to shed some light over the fields.  The anticipation of what will happen or what we will find is overwhelming my senses, but steady is the shotgun in my hand.

Through the field we walk as we trail behind the dogs leading the hunt; the sense of camaraderie from our fellow hunters welcoming me into the circle was a great feeling, and only intensified as I received encouragement from my peers. After all, I was a rookie learning from veterans who did not normally allow outsiders into their circle.  However, I was accepted and given advice about numerous topics, although I was too young to completely understand what it was I was learning at the time.

Then I hear my name.  “Make ready Robert; the dogs have something, get ready.”  The dogs stop, and are focused hard on something, their focus as sharp as the tip of a needle about to be threaded. The dogs are still and anticipation fills the air.  The hunters are looking towards the dogs, and are ready for whatever is coming.  Everyone is lined up and then the dogs rush in fast and hard towards some brush 30 feet in front of us; the birds scatter every which way and are flying fast. Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop and then silence.  The silence was as still at the ground beneath our feet. One could almost hear the droplets of water falling off of the branches and the as the smoke settles I hear it from my fellow hunters and Uncle. “Great shot Robert. First trip out and you got one on your first shot.” My Uncle, God bless his soul, taught me a valuable lesson that day, one which has and still guides me to this day.  Furthermore, the pheasant tasted pretty good, even with the few pellets from the buckshot.

With every situation that involves weapons of any sort, one must always remember the safety and responsibility that comes with the privilege of being able to handle weaponry, including taking part in an age-old tradition such as hunting.    Even if that tradition is not hunting, the usage of any weapon is the sole responsibility of the user behind the trigger.  I have stated it before and I will reiterate this once again.  Once that bullet leaves the chamber, there are no pause buttons and handling any weapon comes with responsibility regardless if it is one’s first time or one’s thousandth time.  Weapons, especially hand guns, rifles, shotguns, arrows, and even slingshots, will kill and you are the one who will have to live with the repercussions of your actions even if those actions may be within your right – out of self-defense or something as old as hunting.  I was fortunate enough to learn properly and under the proper guidance from my uncle to understand what it was I was holding in my hands and just what the repercussions would be.

The majority of my stories have been touching many levels of tones, but this is one of those memories that resonates with me – even after more than 30 years, and reminds me of a positive experience with my uncle each and every time I remember it.

See you in the next post.

Secret recipes

Secret recipes

The Sword

The Pen

Secret recipes:

As I stated on one of my Instagram photographs, growing up in a household following two faiths allows for me to see details from a different perspective. So, I tend to put a lot of my beliefs into what I try to capture, portray and share with everyone. So, from as far back as I can remember, let’s say, age 5, my two grandmothers had an advantageous effect in shaping my views, and how I tend to view the world around me. Both are in their heaven/kingdom and again we will meet, but not now. Yes, that was from Gladiator. So, I am a Catholic and experienced all the rituals that it entailed growing up. After more than 20+ years, I recently went back to church, attending mass a few times over the last 2 years. Why 20+ years is another blog. Still with me so far?

So, every Sunday we went to church! Every Sunday! No questions, no arguing, and no games. If you were half asleep, walking like a zombie, you still went. One eye sleeping, so the other eye can keep tabs on what was going on. Afterwards we ate a cannoli at this quaint bakery which is still there today. It’s hard to find a good cannoli. Some humor. My wife would agree with me on this one. It was a ritual. Sunday church, cannoli, swim, surf, fly kites, and play with the pet ducks my grandmother fed regularly. This was an everyday routine as well, but minus the church and the cannoli. Prayer was still said. Dinner was pasta and meatballs. Hands down to this day my grandmother’s is still the best pasta and meatballs I will ever have in my life. I have the recipe! Believe it! You don’t cook, prep, wash dishes, and run a kitchen for years without knowing some secret recipes. I know a few.

Anyway, my grandmother was a devout Catholic and she was stern. Tomorrow is going to be a better day. Tomorrow will be a good day. Treat your days like these plants and watch them every day and make sure they survive. Get that! Still with me?

Grandmother’s gift to me more than 10 years ago.

My other grandmother was a devout Jehovah’s Witness. I think Kingdom Hall days were on weekdays. Regardless when those services were, every night before bed, the same mantra – thank you Jehovah for tomorrow will be our last day and we will be brought to your kingdom to assist the other angels. Every morning, the same thing. Today will be our last day. Are you still with me? This is a lot of information to absorb when you are 5 years old (and older).

Samurai

My ritual was a little different with my second grandmother. She was my sensei. Stay with me. My parents were oblivious to this. My grandmother was a ninja and here was the first lesson. Hobo coffee. You take a pan or pot, add coffee grounds, boil water, and then pour into a cup and drink. Yup. That first cup of coffee to start the day. 2nd part of lesson 1. Put coffee cup down to cool off. These are the only things you need to know: Head, throat, chest, elbows, wrists, torso, groin, knees, and ankles. The makeup of the basic human body. Defense: Avoid. Offense 1: fingers to the eye sockets, push in and up. Serious stuff here folks starting at age 5. Still with me? Second lesson. Drink cooled down coffee. More humor. My wife would not agree. My grandmother was a either a 3rd or 4th degree back belt in jujitsu. She also held a 2nd degree black belt in Kung Fu, a 1st degree black belt in kickboxing and dabbled in boxing for fun. I would listen to her stories ad nauseam about her sensei and her training. The lesson taught was patience! Walk away! Defend! Then we would have lunch and start more training. Lesson 1. Hobo coffee. Mantra: Thank you Jehovah for today for we will die tomorrow. Every day I heard my grandmother recite this, and still hear it.   Make sense? So, yes, I may use flowers, trees, water, boats, jets, helicopters, the sky, clouds, beaches, nature, and some creative picture contrast, but what better way to express oneself, other than using a negative or destructive median?

Enough for now. See you in the next post!

Some favorite quotes to end today’s entry:

In my deepest, darkest moments, what really got me through was a prayer. Sometimes my prayer was ‘Help me.’ Sometimes a prayer was ‘Thank you.’ What I’ve discovered is that intimate connection and communication with my creator will always get me through because I know my support, my help, is just a prayer away. (Iyanla Vanzant)

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible. (Thomas Aquinas)

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. (Buddha)

Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away. (Elvis Presley)

And because this was a dedication post; I wanted to conclude today’s entry with a simple prayer both my grandmother’s used!

Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Amen.