Folland Adventures: "Sailing with Two Monkeys Travel"
"Sailing with Two Monkeys Travel"
Welcome to our first Folland Adventures Blogpost! Kaite and I have decided to offer a peak at what it's like to be a part of the adventure photography lifestyle!
It all started with Hurricane Irma effectively taking out our home, jobs, my car... it even managed to take out my camera for a short time. Here's a short video of what Kaite and I came home to.
Now, I'll rewind a bit and fill you in. In May of 2017, Kaite and I formed a strategic partnership and launched Folland Photography LLC. The name comes from combining our last names together (Follos & Landry) to produce 'Folland.' Upon start-up, we signed a contract with Hawks Cay Resort out of Duck Key to begin offering family, engagement, event, and commercial sessions for the resort and its guests. After shooting our first major weekend of events, successfully launching our marketing campaign, and doing all the necessary things to get the ball rolling, a really nice little cyclone out of the Atlantic called in and booked our first and last session under the name of "Irma." If you didn't get it, Hawks Cay Resort is down for maintenance until Summer of 2018, which scraps the usefulness of our services and renders us temporarily unemployed by Hurricane Irma.
Irma has changed a lot for us but that is the greatest part of any adventure - the unexpected. By holding no expectations and clinging to no certain paths, Irma has allowed us to sort of 'roll with the tides' - pun intended - and make the parallel changes that best reflect our passions and talents as adventure photographers. Although we will still be shooting portraits and offering our services to the community in every way we can, we are looking to invest more toward our goals of getting on the road and shooting landscapes and partnering with businesses to provide them with creative commercial marketing content. So, if you're a brand or business owner and happen to be reading this, keep us on your radar or feel free to give us a shout ;) !
Now, let's tell you about our first official Folland Adventure with Two Monkeys Travel!
On October 30th, we were contacted by Kach Howe of Two Monkeys Travel to shoot some marketing material for them. To start, we had no idea who these people were. So, we went to Google and upon searching them we found that they were this awesome couple who met each other while on the road (like Kaite and I, albeit ours was on a much smaller scale of traveling). Kach and Jon met while backpacking in Asia and have now conquered 85+ countries together and are embarking on a new journey of sailing around the world. Sounds awesome right? They are. What we did not realize is that they had developed a 300,000 member Facebook following and a 40,000 member Instagram following. Once we discovered this, we thought it was a scam and some person was trying to catfish us onto their sailboat to steal our camera equipment to recoup some of the costs of the hurricane. Very fortunately for us however, they turned out to be real! And very real at that as we met them to be a very genuine couple with a deep passion for travel and culture and lots of fun stories and adventures of their own!
So, the first adventure started with learning how to drive a dingy...pretty simple right? Kaite has grew up on the water. She is a native Conch to the Florida Keys so naturally her boating skills would translate well to dingy management - in her mind at least. Well, to my amusement within the first 5 minutes of meeting Jon and climbing aboard his miniature dingy with 25lbs of camera gear, Kaite's avid boat skills ran us straight into one dock then across the canal directly into another boat. This all happened within just a couple feet from our departure! Needless to say, I took over the dingy driving that day.
After we met and got some snap shots of their previously purchased and freshly damaged (thanks again, Irma) sailboat we climbed back aboard to share a meal and get to know each other. Kach Howe is as vibrant and welcoming as her energetic smile. She's Filipina and although she claims to be new to cooking, it is absolutely in her genes. Upon meeting her, she served us with hearty bowls of beef stew, rich with plantains, corn, green beans, and carrots. It was not long before we realized that as a graduate of economics, Kach's great strengths are founded in her knowledge of marketing, networking, and branding. She has educated us with tips to pitching to companies, reaching out to sponsors, and has inspired us with many incredible travel stories and insights. In summation, Kach is a great catch.
Jon Howe is captain of The Empress and a handy diesel mechanic hobbyist that knows how to use a little bit of humor and a whole lot of elbow grease to get out of a sticky situation - which we'll get to later. Jon is a jack-of-all-trades from the United Kingdom. He's an architecture grad turned world traveler, blog writer, and sailboat fixer-upper. After spending some time getting to know them better it was apparent that these two monkeys balance each other very well.
So, on November 3rd we invited them to our place and handed them each a bowl (in Jon's case like 5 bowls lol) of pulled chicken tacos and some of Kaite's fresh corn salsa with lime. We then spent the evening sharing more stories and developing a plan to take The Empress out for the first time since Hurricane Irma to test her strength on the open seas. This way Jon could also gain a more experience with this particular vessel before trekking to their next adventure in the Dry Tortugas.
S/V Empress at Sea
After picking up a few more scalawags - Kevin and his K-9 mate, Theo - we blasted out of the harbor into high seas! Kidding, we got off to a slow start, literally, a 1.5 knot start on a beautifully calm, windless afternoon. At one point, about a half hour into our voyage, Jon let out a thunderous viking roar, thrusting his fist in and air, "we have reached 2 knots!" Everyone aboard then assumed to act as if we were feeling the force of 5Gs and wind gusts of Hurricane Irma (too soon?) beating down the sails from both sides. We were pretty much going no where anytime soon. But Kach had our backs. She cooked us Lumpia and Pansit which are essentially Filipino egg rolls and Thai noodles with chicken. That shizz was the bomb. She conjured up some mojitos with fresh mint and fattened us with carrot cake. So, needless to say, we love hanging out with these guys and we enjoyed the smooth sailing.
Our initial goal - and failed attempt - was to sail out to Sombrero Lighthouse on Sombrero Reef to swim and snorkel. This has been on Kaite and I's bucket list for a long time now. At only 2 knots though, we made it about 2/3 of the way before deciding to turn around. Since the sun was soon to set with the Fall time change and Jon hadn't yet installed the required lights for night sailing, it was time to get back to port.
The adventure wasn't over yet however. Jon and myself hopped in the dingy and took the opportunity to catch some pictures of S/V Empress strutting her sails in the open ocean. All I could think of while I was out there was what an awesome experience it is to be out in the middle of the Atlantic on a calm day in a little 2.5hp inflatable dingy with nothing but a camera in my hand. We circled the The Empress time and time again, Jon calculating smooth passes across the bow of the boat while I did my best to steady through the bumpy wake and line up a good shot. Luckily for us it only takes a fully cranked 2.5hp motor to keep up with a large sailboat in a dying wind.
After getting a few, we continued our sunset sail back to port and were given some lessons as new sailors. Kevin and Jon taught us about tacking: essentially zigzagging into the wind, attacking a tangent via starboard and port maneuvers. Yes, we were also informed which side is starboard and which is portside too. We now know what a jib is and even the most comfortable way to take a nap on an uneven deck. Although Theo seemed to be the master of the last one.
We continued to capture more images and eventually stoked up some deep conversations while gazing out at the sunset. Kevin, a retired science teacher and full-time liveaboard sailor offered great insights into the beauty of the world and the identity of nature. With the orange reflective shimmers beaming off the choppy, deep blue waters and the dark silhouettes of Herring Gulls flying into the radiant, sinking circle that lay on the horizon, it really was impossible to speak or think of anything else. Naturally we stood and allowed the sun to slip past our conscious thoughts and resonate its warm grasp within us. And as it tucked itself away, it left a faint magenta rim reminding us of the nostalgia of having lived another awesome day.
Unfortunately, The night sky wasn't quite as warm to us, metaphorically speaking. Upon entering the harbor blind - wielding one measly torch during a new moon - we nearly ran aground 200 meters from the mooring ball. Literally, at one point the meter read 0.1 ft below the keel. Thus meaning we were less than an inch away from another, this time unwelcome, adventure of being beached in the middle of Boot Key Harbor. However, we made it back safely with a little throttle and Jon's nifty skills. After pleading with the pup Theo to hold his pee a little longer, we ate a little more pansit before dingying our way back to shore.
We had such a great time with Jon, Kach, Kevin, and Theo. And although our adventure may come off as a series of unfortunate attempts - and you will soon see that this is just in our nature - we had a great day on the water with even better company. If anything we left room for more attempts and adventures to come so stay tuned!
Thank you for reading! We hope you enjoyed the article and the images! We would love to print an image for you or go on an adventure with you so please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com! In an email, mention the blog and get 20% off one of our prints (email us for pricing options)! Also, check out our gallery and share our work! Thanks!
Kach and Jon have some amazing content and stories which can be found at Two Monkeys Travel and Mr. & Mrs. Howe - Sailing and Lifestyle Blog! You'll even catch a few of our pictures bannered on their homepage!
All images are copyright by Folland Photography LLC