Bodacious Dream Expeditions … A True Story

Before I was a competitor in the Transpac, before I was part of the winning team in this year’s Atlantic Cup, before I sailed single-handed across the Atlantic, even before winning solo Mackinac races on Lake Michigan where I grew up and first learned to sail, I somehow stumbled upon this basic truth … which was that we learn best what we learn from each other. That lesson has stuck with me for a long time … that it is our responsibility as individuals to share with others (and especially with younger people) the myriad pieces of knowledge and particles of wisdom we have gained in our lives.

If we fail to seize such opportunities, if we don’t each of us seek out ways to share what we know with others, then we leave that critical task of instruction to far more indifferent and random forces – who while they are mostly well-intentioned, cannot possibly recreate the sort of intimate experience or make the same kind of impression on quick and still-forming minds that learning directly from others can provide.

Matt Scharl and Dave Rearick field some tough questions in NYC Harbor.

In a recent blog post I was asked to write for our friends at 11th Hour Racing, I posed this question What if we knew then what we know now? If that were in fact the case, then how exactly might that change what we each do today? After all, we were all once inexperienced and in search of those FUNdamental lessons that would turn us one day into who we are now!

The earth does not belong to us. We belong to the earth.” – Chief Seattle

BD_232My own course has taken me from sailing Sunfish on Lake Michigan to sailing our Class 40 Bodacious Dream on Earth’s great oceans. Much of who I am today is largely owing not only to what others earlier in my life took the time to teach me … but also to what the ocean itself has taught … and continues to teach me. As sailors, we spend a lot of time on the water and so create an intimate relationship with this immense natural force. Water covers over 70% of the earth’s surface, and the water inside of us is very nearly that same percentage. 50% of the air we breathe comes from the ocean. How can it be that the future of life on earth is not somehow intrinsically tied to the health of the oceans? Why is it that in spite of the great wealth of new tools and technologies now at our disposal, we still tend to “flounder” rather than “swim” toward intelligent and sustainable solutions. For myself, I think this is partly due to just how removed most of us have become from any actual “experience” of the ocean. For too many of us, once we leave the shoreline, the ocean becomes invisible.

So it is, that one of the primary goals of our expeditions is to head straight out into “deep water” and to put some of that whizzy new Internet technology to work, to help bring a more direct and visceral experience of the ocean (and of sailing) back into people’s lives.

“Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.” – Albert Camus

Bodacious Dream ExpeditionsThe challenge then that “Bodacious Dream Expeditions” (BDX) was created to address is to introduce young and curious minds (of all ages) to the wonders and challenges of the ocean and to the skillful practices of sailing and sailcraft. BDX seeks to create public circles of sea-based learning and to share the experience of being and sailing on the ocean with whomever hears the Captain’s Bell, and so chooses to join our “bodacious” online crew.

Even more than sailing, what makes “bodacious dreaming” so essential for me at least, are those unexpected life-changing moments when one experiences being in an unbroken harmony with the vastness of the sea and sky. In 1670, an English poet, teacher and sometime sailor named Thomas Traherne wrote the following words … “You never know the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars.”

Now THAT is an experience he is pointing to … and while it may be difficult to share that level of insight over an Internet connection, it is not entirely impossible either … not if care is taken to keep the virtual in service to the virtuous “experience” that attends to shared learning.

One great challenge for those of us who would “teach” in new and non-traditional ways, comes in accepting that all progress is incremental, and in keeping things in proper perspective – which requires that we first of all, face our own limitations, and see ourselves not as “authorities” or “experts” but as learners too … who are simply doing our best to learn how to do this thing that we want to do, as we go along.

Bodacious Dream Expeditions

“Things won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing. – William Shakespeare 

So, let us get on to some of what we have done so far in the service of teaching ourselves (and each other) to conduct Bodacious Dream Expeditions.

:: Our FIRST EXPEDITION at the end of March of this year, was along the coast of the BAJA PENINSULA. Our vessel for that undertaking was our Transpac entry, the beautiful Bodacious IV

Our Bodacious Dream Expeditions Trailer!

Our five-person crew was comprised of many old and trusted friends, several of whom go back with me to our early sailing days on Lake Michigan, and those exciting Mackinac Races. It is this same group of colleagues who buoyed along by the vision and support of our other dear friends, Jeff Urbina and Gaye Hill, have helped keep all things Bodacious in the water and moving forward to the next destination – even when fate finds us flying by the seat of our pants!

For the Baja Expedition, with the help of our onshore team, we created study materials; an Overview of the Baja Peninsula as well as six Explorer Study Guides specific to the subjects of Math, History, Wild Life, Environment, Geography as well as a Glossary of Terms.

Explorer Guide
An example of what one of our Explorer Guides look like … 

After we published these materials, we shared with our various friends and followers, how to use them. We encouraged people (and teachers) to print out the materials and to follow our progress alongside and mentoring  the younger people in their lives. We also did some pre-expedition videos, such as this one.

Dave visits Captain Ann at the SeaBreeze Limited nautical chart store in San Diego.

The expedition departed from Cabo San Lucas and along the way to San Diego, we saw and we learned what there was to see and learn. Over the course of 10 days, we made many interesting discoveries and generated many Expedition updates, each accompanied by cool photos and videos. We also received and responded to questions from the public … and our crew of five kept coming up with new things to explore and share.

 If you care to, you may track back the sequence of some of our major BLOG POSTS here ….

 My “One-page” RECAP of the Baja voyage is here …

A selection of Baja PHOTOS can be found here …

 And a selection of our Baja VIDEOS are here …

:: Our SECOND EXPEDITION aboard Bodacious Dream, took place concurrently to the ATLANTIC CUP RACE … and while here again we prepared study materials, an Overview and Explorer Guides, the time and effort it took to actually sail (and win) the race left less time than we would have liked to do the deeper learning updates. Still, we did what we could, – and we SURE were happy to have won the race!

Bodacious Dream NYCBodacious Dream during the Atlantic Cup’s Pro-Am event in NYC

2013 Transpac:: Our THIRD EXPEDITION back aboard Bodacious IV, was similarly scheduled to coincide with the TRANSPAC … and this time, while I was optimistically hoping that more crew meant more downtime and thus more time to post videos and longer learning-directed updates, once again the realities of racing, and the needs of navigation purposes, have somewhat slowed our ability to generate more media or to interact more with people on Facebook. Still, the updates have been steady, and thanks to our onshore team, we are getting the message out there as best we can – and once again we are having a helluva grand time out here!

So, while we have learned much over the course of the three expeditions, what we see now, is that in moving forward, we must strengthen our focus, expand our reach, make clearer our goals and give ourselves the time that we need to do this big job right … which is to get Bodacious Dream Expeditions up there and out there, where people can see it, and so be inspired to help us (help them) make it the great and new “mobile-learning platform” we know it can be.

So, what does the FUTURE hold for Bodacious Dream Expeditions? 

The first thing before us is my lifetime-in-the-making SOLO CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF THE GLOBE, beginning this fall. As you can imagine, plans for that, as well as our itinerary and to-do list … are underway!

Earthwatch InstituteWe will also shortly be announcing the details of our partnership with EARTHWATCH – a highly respected “international non-profit organization that brings science to life for people concerned about the Earth’s future.” They have at present over 50 expeditions underway around the world. When I take off in Bodacious Dream this fall, we will be conducting some incredible conservation research in waters around the world.

Beyond that, we are here, balanced somewhere between heaven and the deep blue sea … open to hearing from any person or organization that might have ideas, talent or resources to help us make our AROUND THE WORLD EXPEDITION generate not just heaps of  fun and adventure (though it WILL do that) … but also some good measure of unique broad-based learning opportunities and meaningful life-altering experiences!

With our state-of-the-art satellite communications gear, we are ready to build on existing software our own custom views and tours of Google Earth and Ocean.

 We are ready to open our schedules to do videoconferencing using Skype or Google “Hangouts” … with other sailors as well as with educators and students.

 We are open to and grateful for any and all input … as the next two months, we will be busy planning and preparing exactly what we will be doing (and sharing with the public) during those roughly 120 days we are traversing ALL the world’s oceans!

But bringing us back to the present, we are also grateful to Dobbs Davis and the good folks at the Transpac for not only giving us a chance to be a part of such a great race, but also for inquiring about Bodacious Dream Expeditions, and for allowing us a chance to share our vision with a new audience of sailing fans.

Thank you, one and all!

– Dave Rearick & the Bodacious Dream Expeditionary Force

= Bodacious Dream (BD) = [Racing]
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= Bodacious Dream Expeditions (BDX) = [Learning & Discovery]
– BDX Website:
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