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One World's Adventures
Dead in the Water
04/02/2012, 19 50.73'N:69 57.92'W, En Route to Samana

We are at sea for another night, sailing from Puerta Plata to Samana, along the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. As the sun sets, Kim and I observe quite a few logs and other items floating in the water. Kim asks the obvious question, "How are we going to dodge this stuff at night?" I answer with my typical response, "You are more likely to be stuck by lightning than for us to hit something int he middle of the night. And, even if we did hit something, it will just bounce off." What I did not share with her was my quick thoughts about waterproof bulkheads, bilge pumps (I really need to fix that one) and emergency hole patching supplies.

We are making this passage with one other boat. The seas are calm. Around10 pm we recieve a call from them over the VHF radio, they have caught something in their propeller and are dead in the water. I stop One World and wait. I can see their lights and hear bangs from across the water. After a half hour, they are back up and running. One of them had to suit up and take a swim to untangle the prop. How would you like to to dive into 3000 feet of water at night to discover whats wrapped around your prop?

04/02/2012 | kir
So...what was wrapped around the prop?
Hey, is there anyway we can send you care packages? Might give the kids an extra way to connect to some of the people back "home" and send you guys some favorites you might be missing along the way...?
04/02/2012 | Tom T
Praying and cheering for you all! I can hear the lapping of the water against the hull(s) while looking at the same sky you are right now -
04/03/2012 | Tom T
Ok, so if I could I would re-word that comment as is sounds quite sappy if not downright romantic! Ha! sorry Garner family! But I know from experience, much of it with the Garner clan, you hear that sound in your mind forever after considerable time living on the water and the night sky never looks as bright! To Lely, Ela, Max and Solomon; even the not-so-fun times in this journey are going to become treasured memories and together with the fun times will make your family stronger than ever before!
Santiago Christian School
04/01/2012, Santiago, DR

Through Facebook, I connected with an former teacher at my high school that operates a K-12 grade school in Santiago, an hour drive from Puerto Plata. Not knowing what to expect, we arrived to find one of the premier schools in the country. The Lely, Max, and Ela were paired with students in their respective classes and joined them for a few hours. Toward the end of the day, I caught up with them giving a presentation with a Q&A session to the class. Many thanks to Seth, his team, and the students at Santiago Christian School for sharing with us.

04/01/2012 | Paul
Impressive, kids happy going to school on a weekend. Need to institute that at WIS!
04/01/2012 | flora
I just read your past blog notes and feel caught up! You all have had more adventure in the past month then I have had in my lifetime! I loved Raul's comment about leaving home for his own life adventure - how difficult it can be, and what amazing opportunities it presents. At the same time I can certainly relate to Max and Lely's desires for the predictability of routine. That is the map that their life has followed so far. Your new map contains excitement and adventure and new experiences that would never happen in your daily life in GB. The memories you all are making are going to carry them through all the ups and downs in life. The kids are blessed to have two loving and strong parents. We love all of you!
04/01/2012 | kir
You HAVE to try Chilean hotdogs! And hot vanilla milk ;) With Avocado on the side, of course.
04/02/2012 | Coops
Glad you were able to connect with the Brook. :) Even more glad the kids could share their experiences!
Overcoming Fears
04/01/2012, Ocean World, Puerto Plata

What do you do with someone who is scared of swimming in salt water? You teach them to Scuba dive! Kim and Lely, both incredibly uncomfortable swimming and snorkeling in the ocean, decided to overcome their fear by learning to dive. They joined Max, Eddie (the instructor) and Chico (a dolphin) for a fun filled couple of hours of hugs, kisses, and even a piggyback ride!

04/01/2012 | chuck
Wow! I'm impressed. Next you'll be exploring a Spanish Galleon. Dad
04/02/2012 | kir
Kim, you finally swam with your dolphin. Cross it off your bucket list, girl! Love it!
04/02/2012 | Barb
That is beautiful - diving opens you open to a whole new world! And with dolphins - now that's something you can't do in Green Bay!
04/03/2012 | Abbey Herman
I'm so jealous, this looks like so much fun!
The Surge
03/30/2012, 19 5073'N:70 4492'W, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

It is early in the morning. The winds are calm and the air is humid. All appears still. Yet, beneath the boat, the water stirs. Pressure builds as a surge passes under us, thrusting the boat forward, casuing the lines and the rigging to moan. For a second, the force reaches its maximum, then releases, allowing us to settle back into our comfort zone.

The surge reminds me of powerful ups and downs I experience with Max and Lely. Their natural calm, postive states, suddenly disrupted by tears, rage, and physical sickeness. I often forget about the huge change I have placed on them as we embark on this journey. I have turned their lives upsidedown in pursuit of this dream and it has begun to show.

On the final day of our passage from the Bahamas to the Dominican, with calm seas and sun overhead, Lely sat in the back cockpit vommiting. The stress of the passage and fear of taking her first malaria pill overwhelmed her. She sat holding her bucket for 30 minutes, unable to move or gain composure. I finally convinced her to join me at the helm, where she could have wind in her face and clear sight of the horizon. We sat there in embrace, her head resting on my chest, as she talk about the difficulty of letting go of her friends, leaving her classmates in the middle of the year, and fearing her friendships would slowly dissolve. She wants to return home, to stabilty, consistency, and comfort.

Yesterday was Max's turn. Excited about the upcoming adventure of the day, he jumped out of bed and into his studies, hoping to be done before noon. An hour later, Kim check on him. He had done nothing. In fact, he had lied about completing his math for the past few days. Caught between the lie and the fading hopes of the day's adventure, he broke into a rage. Thrashing about, he pulled us all into a state of chaos. Nothing could be done to calm him down. His rage grew to the point of caughing and sputtering. He was on the verge of vommiting. His breaths quickened. He was hyperventilating. Fear entered his eyes as lost control of his body. I held him closely, trying to calm him. 10 minutes passed before he could gain control of his breathing. He laid limp in my arms. Looking up at me, he said, "Daddy, I want to go home."

As I think about these situations, I have yet to reconcile the desires of Max and Lely with our present situation. "One World" is our home. The ocean is our platform, unstable, inconsistent, and uncomfotable. Everyday we are challenged with new obstacles, new people, and often a new langauge. Somehow, within all of this, we must find our own world of comfort, consistency, and stabilty.

03/30/2012 | Nancy
Wes sometimes at "home" we face the same challenges of new obstacles, new people, new situations. The more we have to face and reconcile them the easier it is to handle as life goes on. Hang in, tomorrow is a new day. And yes, home is where you are.
03/31/2012 | cindy renard
This makes me cry...I hope Max and lely are ok now. Please tell them we love and miss them no matter where they are.
03/31/2012 | Raul
I can feel their aching heart and their pain. When i was 23 i left my family and what I considered home to pursue my dream. The road has been with plenty of storms, surge, high and low tide. But whenever there is a sunny day -20 years later- I smile, I reflect and i say to myself: I would do it again! I have my own family and we know that no matter what, we are together on this adventure...until it is time for them to fly solo.
03/31/2012 | Abbey Herman
Please tell the kids how much I miss them & I'm always thinking of them. I know how hard this is, but you & Kim are the strongest people I know. Wish I was there to help during these trying times. Love you guys!
03/31/2012 | Cappy
Wow, Wes , that's hard. Thanks for being open and honest about the transitions you are going through. I can picture you holding your kids and hoping they can adjust to such a rapidly changing life horizon.
04/01/2012 | Wesley Garner
Thank you for all your comments. As my mother always says, "You can't live everyday on top of the mountain, life is filled with peaks and valleys." I hope I captured one of those valleys in this post. I'll continue to be open and honest about the full range of our experiences.
04/01/2012 | Greg
As I read "The Surge" it struck me how metaphorically it represents life. So often when life throws us seas and surges we can either hyperventilate and throw up or we can choose to focus on the horizon, the picture of where we're going and where there's the promise of calmer seas.
04/01/2012 | Kir
Oh, Wes, thank you for your raw openness. I ache reading this and love that you held them both through these emotional breaks because that's what my heart/gut wanted me to do for them as I read it. To me, parenting is the most wonderful part of life and the most challenging too. Your kids are so lucky to have you and Kim, your love and support and I know you both with be their pillars during this "shock". Be prepared that it might repeat itself after the trip too, as they leave "One World" and embrace a new way of life yet again. I understand reverse culture shock intimately, but as an adult, not a child so I can't relate. I relate to you though, trying with all your soul to comfort your children through a very tough time and I am in awe of your humility and vulnerability you share with us here on your blog. Love to you all.
04/03/2012 | Anne
Westy! Were you this good a writer when I taught you?? I am caught up with the story, spellbound by your words. But oh, wait, this is REALLY happening to your son. What a great dad you are. Just incredible.
Clearing into the Dominican
03/29/2012, 19 5073'N:70 4492'W, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

A beautiful sunrise and calm seas greeted us the final day of our passage to the Dominican Republic. We arrived at noon and tied up at the fuel dock, flying our yellow quarintine flag. Shortly after, we were boarded by the Navy, drug enforcement, and the police. Fearing the worst, I timidly presented our papers. The man in military fatigues began his thorough review our documents. The packet includes passports, boat registration, proof of insurance, radio license,and clearence out of the prevous port. The tensions eased as one of the officers took to Solomon, placing his large police badge over his head. Within 20 minutes we were done with the inspection and escorted the immigration office, more paperwork, more stamps. Next, we proceeded to customs, more paperwork, more stamps. Finally, after two hours and meeting five different agencies, we were done. Although lengthy, it was a rather benign process. We were now free to explore!

03/29/2012 | Dean Haen
My family and I really enjoy your blog. The adventure, uncertainity and amazing experiences are enjoyed from a far. Please keep up the blog, good luck and fair sailings, Dean
03/29/2012 | Chuck
Glad it went well. Cheeseheads are pretty suspicious people. chuck
03/29/2012 | Coops
You guys are pros at clearing customs! Think of all your travels! Sorry, Mimi, I just realized you're Wes's sister, not his mother. Kids are great at easing tension, right? Love you all! Coops
03/29/2012 | Bob Shackleton
You will enjoy Puerta Plata. Been there and also to Sosua a few times for medical missions usually in the area south of the city where the old sugar cane plantations are now empty and neglected. There are a couple of old churches there. If you get to Santo Domingo, nake sure you go to see the old church where the buriel vault of Christopher Columbus is rumored to be. Very interesting. Also go to Los Ocho Ojos to see the clear deep cave pools.
03/30/2012 | Nancy
Sort of sounds like adopting in a foreign country.
Somewhere over the Horizon
03/27/2012, 20 4363'N:71 4492'W, Enroute the Domincan

Somewhere over the horizon is the Dominican. The seas have calmed and we are motoring along on one engine (saves gas) at 7 knots. We are traveling with one other boat, Braveheart. It is comforting to speak with them via VHF radio in the middle of the night and reassure yourself you are not alone. At sea, the darkness envelops you. Our "One World" becomes a very small world.

03/27/2012 | Gigi
I find myself praying for you all often - just keeping you close to the One who created all you see. Do you have a star and constellation chart? Must be absolutely beautiful!
03/27/2012 | Coops
I echo your mother. I pray for you all often. Love you and love reading about your experiences! Coops
03/27/2012 | Raul
You guys made it! Enjoy your time and explore beautiful Hianiola. The Taino indians were quickly extincted but there are lots of traditions and footprints all over that part of the world.
03/28/2012 | Kir
So glad you're travelling with another vessel for support and safety. Keep up the beautiful work! Would love to have Kim blog a few comments from her point of view. :) This blog is wonderful, we eagerly read it and rest peacefully knowing you all are safe and enjoying all the thrills that life has to offer while taking on lifes' adventures such as this.
03/28/2012 | Nancy
Wes, it sounds like you are doing an amazing job. So happy the seas have calmed down for you. Can't wait to hear about your arrival. Like your mom, I say a little prayer for you all every night.
I actually hold my breath until I see your next blog. Just so you know, you are stressing everyone out, It's a good thing we love you.
03/28/2012 | Mary Garner
This blog is very cool! I am going to have to raise it from the bottom of my bookmark list so I can check in more regularly ...or maybe it's good to be so deep that when I do read there are many posts before I'm done. We finally have summer in the last days of Fall before the winter really sets in. I think we had summer but it felt more like winter. The weather is change? I will look and see where the dominican republiic is. Oh I m so ignorant! Sounds like you never looked up The Deep Blue Diver ON Long Island. So close but oh so far away.

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