Where have the weddings gone? Where are the travel photos? Where is Gregory?
I’m on a boat!
That’s right, Lucie and I threw caution to the wind and learned to harness it’s power in our sails. Earlier this year we flew over from France to Florida to do some shopping. I’ve been dreaming of living aboard for a long time now, and I managed to convince my fiancée that it would be exciting, comfortable, and safe. Gladly I was 33% right. Exciting it has been, but it’s also been full of challenges, pushing the boundaries of both comfort and safety.
We bought a beautiful 2002 Beneteau 331. A lightly used light cruiser which was far from ready for living aboard and cruising long-term. So we worked hard for almost two months getting her ready, and in the beginning of May we lifted our anchor for the last time in US waters, and hauled-ass across the Gulf Stream, Bahamas-bound. We have spent the last two months making our way through the Abaco chain of islands, learning to live on and from the sea. We have learned many lessons about the boat, the weather, the ocean, and especially about each other and ourselves. We have also met some really wonderful people along the way who have helped us to feel like we’re part of a community who supports each other. When you’re cruising you’re seldom alone. You can be if you want to, but there is always a new friend in the next anchorage or an old one passing the other way.
So many thanks to my parents who put us up for weeks on end in their motorhome in various places around Florida. We couldn’t have conducted our boat search without their hospitality and support.
Sometimes though, they kicked us out of the motorhome and we roughed it under the stars.
Also a shout-out to our boat buddies Catherine and Colin who counselled us on many aspects of our endeavour. Here we explore naval charts and boxed wine aboard their boat in Port Charlotte, Florida
So eventually we got going. The boat had it’s batteries upgraded, solar pannels installed, and a host of other improvements. Loaded with fuel, food, and two nervous souls we set off early one morning from the Fort Worth inlet to cross the treacherous Gulf Stream in the Straits of Florida. We made the crossing in about 10 hours tackling a strong headwind and huge following swells. Lucie put out a fishing rod to calm her nerves and immediately caught a beautiful Mahi Mahi which we pulled in by hand after the cheap reel broke from the strain. This fish fed us for four days while we made our way to Grand Cay in the Bahamas.
After a successful crossing, we took our time making our way eastwards over the next two months. Here are some scenes from our travels through the Abacos:
Lucie trying to catch some dinner before sunset
At Grand Cay with our favourite pooch, Crew
Me at the wheel, making our way from Crab Cay to Green Turtle Cay. I don’t know what happened but the electric blue of that water really messed with the camera’s brain.
Anchored in Carter’s Cay, we were surrounded by Bahamian fishing boats and majestic clouds
Exploring Double-Breasted Cay with our friends Dale and Carolyn from s/v Reality
Me, pole-spear in hand, looking for a meal
Storm over Great Abaco, as seen from Manjack Cay
That perfect moment when the suffocating heat of the day abates, and the swarms of mosquitoes have yet to arrive
Sunset from the anchorage outside Hope Town, Elbow Cay.
Pushkar anchored in White Sound, Green Turtle Cay on a rare evening of perfect calm
Our friend Keath from the catamaran GlobalHopper, in his dinghy
Moments taken to just sit and watch in awe how the systems of nature play themselves out on a daily basis
As I write this, Lucie and I are in France. In just a few months we’ll be back aboard Pushkar for the winter, venturing further and experiencing life so close to nature.
In the year 1066, William the Conqueror invaded England from these shores of Normandy, France. My ancestors, the Cheney Clan were a part of that invasion, so I am told. I thought that after almost a thousand years it was time to pay my true homeland a visit. Perhaps they thought the grass greener or the cliffs whiter on the English side, but I’m not sure why they left this amazing place.
So that brings me to this: While I was not actively looking for my relatives, I happened upon this interesting fellow named Hervé dancing on the beach with kelp on his head. Knowing my family as I do, I would not be surprised if there was a strong genetic link.
And so, after finding my noble lineage, I took my rightful place
Côte d’Amour, France
Côte d’Amour, France
Vallée des Saints, Bretagne, France
Ghost of an Indian Chief. Bretagne, France
Clammer, Trégastel, Bretagne
In January of 2014 I returned to South Asia for a second time. My partner Lucie and I would spend six weeks in Sri Lanka before returning to India for 6 weeks. I didn’t know what to expect from Sri Lanka, but thought it might be like a “little India”. It totally isn’t. Sri Lanka and India are so completely different in culture and environment, and Lucie and I were treated to a fascinating adjustment to our presumptions.
Travelling by bus, train and motorbike through Sri Lanka was like living a dream. The beauty of the land, the abundance of wildlife, and the wonderful hospitality of everyone we met made us want to stay forever.
Returning to India we revisited some favourite places – Gokarna, Mumbai, Pushkar and Bundi. At the end of March the searing heat encouraged us to leave the Rajasthani desert and return to cold and wet eastern France.
Here is a selection of photos from our three month trip.
Nikkie & Aaron’s wedding was held at the beautiful Rocky Crest Resort on Lake Joseph in Muskoka, Ontario. If you’ve never been to Muskoka in October, perhaps some of these photos will give you a taste of what you’re missing.
On a glorious fall afternoon Nikkie and Aaron put together a day to be remembered, surrounded by so much love and laughter. They brought loads of fun and enthusiasm to their engagement session this summer, and a boat-load for the big day.
Here are Sarah and Andrew, they can’t stop laughing and its infectious.
I’ve known Andrew for ten years and would see him almost every day. He always has a story, a joke, an insight. How happy it makes me to see him with such a beautiful, intelligent, and equally funny lady such as Sarah. I’m sorry to be missing your wedding, but I wish you all the best and a wonderful life together. xoxoxo
What is it that makes a great couple? The answer for many is elusive. Some of us spend our lives looking for the perfect connection, our perfect match. When I met Nikkie and Aaron it was clear immediately – their love is intimate and tender, it’s cheeky and playful, and it’s open for us all to see. Throughout this shoot they were like teenagers in love, giddy to be in each others presence and unafraid to express it, even though beforehand they told me how shy they are. Sorry guys, I just don’t see it. Your October Muskoka wedding can’t come soon enough.
On January 2nd, 2013 I boarded a plane for India, something I’ve wanted to do for over a decade. The last time I booked a flight to India, 9/11 happened two days before my departure and I ended up in Vietnam instead. But this time nothing stopped my attempt. I landed in Dehli, and skipped directly over to Udaipur, Rajasthan to begin my journey. As a photographer I spent a lot of time thinking about what gear to take, and eventually left my usual “wedding kit” at home. Instead of taking the Canon 5D’s, I took my iPhone 5 and my trusty Leica M6, a 35mm f1.4 lens and a bunch of film. These photos are the Leica/film view of my trip, which lasted about 3 and a half months. However the iPhone quickly became the primary vehicle for documenting my travels, uploading around 10 photos a day to Instagram.
This trip felt long, but in retrospect was not nearly long enough. India is such a massive place, both geographically and culturally. That’s why this fall I again plan to travel through India, but also Sri Lanka and hopefully Nepal.
These photos are moments captured throught my trip, not exactly telling a cohesive story, but representing India as I experienced it. They are glimpses into and incredible and beautiful place and the people who live there.