Wednesday, August 26, 2020

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” -Laozi - Shannon's thought's before the big adventure

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” -Laozi
We depart Sunday before dawn, Carl and I. Headed for the Dry Tortugas and a month off the grid, on the uninhabited island of Loggerhead Key. I wanted to leave you all with thoughts on first steps.
It is time to cast off our lines and sail for new unexplored territory. For me personally, taking chances is one of the most rewarding parts of life. This is not the first time I have been at this exhilarating place. In 2006-2007, I left Lake Worth Beach in a travel trailer having sold all of my personal possessions, save a few essential and sentimental things. I traveled widely across our beautiful country. In New Mexico I painted my first serious landscape while snowed into my trailer and accompanied by two evaporating bottles of Cabernet. It was the first step on this unexpected journey. I have realized what was then an inconceivable state of being….living as an artist in an everyday sense. Thousands of miles have indeed passed and I will be honest, I was scared at the onset of that road trip that would change my life. I slept the first night in a Publix parking lot, somewhere in the Florida pan handle. I was scared I’d break down. I was scared of crashing. I was scared about not having a friend, should I need one, to call upon. I was in reality, scared of myself. I had never driven with a trailer before, so when I drove away from my three closest friends they only saw confidence.
I don’t have any of those fears or misgivings heading out to an uninhabited Island, 72 miles west of Key West, to live off the grid for the entire month of September. I feel more alive than ever! I couldn’t put my finger on it until now, but something in my life has been lacking. I can see now that I have been separated from what makes me my most authentic self, nature and being immersed in it, whilst letting my wanderlust take me. Like that year long road trip, I expect this journey to hold enlightenment and profound surprise.
Stepping away from this manicured modernity of misplaced priorities is already giving me a great sense of ease. My soul has been malnourished for too long. Maybe its just me, but possibly we are all lacking some vitamin or mineral that only nature can provide for us. I want to be fresh, I want my work to be fresh. I want my love to be fresh, I want to be, the best me. Imagine what a healthier soul can do.. in all facets of life.

Here is that painting from Santa Fe, as well as, the truck and that trailer. A.K.A. The Escape Pod. I look forward to sharing my experience with you. Many of you have made this dream possible and I cannot thank you enough for your gift of support. 

Peace and Love!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

6 Days and counting Carl's last pre trip post

 Hi Friends!

Well here we are six days away from Shannon and I heading to Key west for the start of our residency at Dry Tortugas National Park.  We will arrive in Key West on 8/30.  We will stay in Key West two nights while we shop for provisions and go through orientation from the NPS.  On 9/1 we board the ferry to Fort Jefferson and then take a National Park boat for the last 3 miles to Loggerhead Key and our home for the next month.  The time since finding out about our selection for the residency has dragged and flown by at the same time.  We are eager to get to Loggerhead key to start creating the art and the movie we have been dreaming of and taking about ad nauseam.  This week we have had to sit and watch as two tropical storms took paths near but thankfully not at the Tortugas.  Fingers crossed that is the closet we come to hurricanes.  We look forward to days and days of exploring and creating.  I have had a bit of a hiccup that almost jeopardized the trip.  I broke my big toe taking the garbage out.  After a trip to urgent care and a podiatrist and two sets of X-rays I am cleared to go albeit wearing a boot style walking cast.  It has given me new appreciation for how lucky we are and how rare this opportunity is.  I will need to adjust my goals and expectations for myself as to how much work I get done in the first part of the trip.  I'm thankful this trip is a month so I can work at whatever pace my foot allows.  I'm currently downloading a few more books to my Kindle for times when I decide I need a break.  I want to thank again the folks who donated to our go fund me!  That was very kind of you and helped make the trip possible and Of Course I'd like to thank My wife Wendy ( and Shannon's wife Deana).  Without their love, support and patience with the starry eyed dreamers they married none of this would be possible.

We will be off the grid officially on 9/1 and back on 10/1 during that time you will bot get any new posts from us.  We will of course be making new art and content but have no way to share it.  We will start sharing our experience with a live cast from Gallery on Green in Key West on 10/2 at 3 pm.  I will send out an invite to the event for this right before we leave for Key West.

Peace and We'll be back to regular podcasts and posting in October with lots of stories to tell about our adventure.

Loggerhead 2020

Flying Tortuga Brother Carl,

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Left Brain Artist Podcast

 We are guests on Suzanne Redmond's Left Brain Artist Podcast today.  The link to the episode is below.  Suzanne interviewed us last week and will interview us again after we get back from The Tortugas.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

In the Blink of an Eye

 And in the blink of an eye we have gone from 33 down to 12 days until we leave for Key West and the jumping off point of our residency in Dry Tortugas National Park at Loggerhead Key.  What have we been up to?  Lots!  We have done some interviews some for now and some as party of two part before and after interviews to come out after we get back.  There has been a lot of list making and double checking that all items will be packed and will fit in my Suby for the Drive Down to Key West where will board a National Park boat and head off for our home for 30 days on Loggerhead Key.  

Currently on my nightstand.  Ia dreading up about things for the residency and dreaming about the art both Shannon and I will get to create over the course of a month.

It is getting so very really.  We are down to making menus and buying the dry goods we willed for the month.  Wee will purchase perishables down in Key West the day before we head out.  I know there will be hot uncomfortable days and a lot schlepping of gear around the island and I will miss creature comforts and chatting with my friends over social media, but I am equally sure this once in a lifetime opportunity will be amazing.  I plan to journal everyday and hope the thoughts and ideas I get down on paper will do justice to the experience and prove as inspiration to other artists who are considering applying for this very special residency or one of the many others out there.

To our friends who have been following since we stated this journey with our application for the 2019 residency thanks for sticking around and encouraging us through the year plus of time and hard work we put it that had no guarantee would end with getting the residency.  It was a gamble that paid off.

Also to everyone who contributed to our GoFundMe.  Thank you!!!! because of your generosity we have a few items to make sure we are comfortable on the island,  GoPro cameras to film the adventure and a Satellite phone we rented for emergencies and to check in with our wonderful supportive wives!

Loggerhead 2020!

Tortuga Brother Carl

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

33 days and counting

The last time we were counting days it was until this year's Dry Tortugas artists in residence were announced.  Now we are counting down to 8/30 (33days) when Shannon and I arrive in Key West for orientation.  we load up our stuff on the National Park Boat Fort Jefferson and head out to Loggerhead Key on 9/1.  There is lot's going on.  We ordered a satellite phone to rent for the trip for emergencies and a weekly check in call with Wendy and Deana.  I'm evaluating trip insurance plans.  Shannon and I talk multiple times a day by text and phone at this point and divide up the to do list.  Our latest podcast episode with Tanya Ortega from the NPAF went live last week.  You can find it anywhere you get your podcasts under Flying Tortuga Brothers.  The time to leave for the trip will be here before we know it.  Our gofundme campaign is still active and we are still looking for any help you can give to help us cover the costs of the trip and making the documentary film.  If you can chip in a few bucks we really appreciate it.  It's been a strange year with everything going on to plan a trip like this, but it is a once in a lifetime opportunity so if at all possible we'll be on Loggerhead Key for the whole month of September.

Loggerhead 2020
Carl Stoveland
for the Flying Tortuga Brothers

Monday, July 20, 2020

a brush with the Dry Tortugas in my Family Tree

Hi folks.  Tortuga Brother Carl here today.

I am lucky enough to have in my possession My great grandfather, Peder Mikal Pedersen's, autobiography.  I have a copy.  The original is at my Mom's in Daytona.  I from time to time read it and have enjoyed the stories in it over the years.  I came across it today and read it from cover to cover.  It turns out I will not be the first in my family to visit the Tortugas.

Old Pete went to sea from Stavanger, Norway in 1889 at the age of fourteen as a deck boy on a bark (three masted sailing ship) called Ferda.  he spent about five years on various sailing ships working all over the world.  in 1894 he joined the crew of the steamer Senaca working between NY, The Bahamas, Havana and Mexico. Dropping off goods in one port  and picking a load and moving on along that route ending up back in NY.  With that route he would have passed the Tortugas many times.  During WW1 he piloted many vessels for the government being deployed for the war effort and would have taken on coal at Fort Jefferson most likely.

 My Great Gandfather Peder and my Great Grandmother Jenny on A.H. Morris' Yacht in Miami sometime in the 1930's  Jenny did not often sail with Pete.  She was busy running the Norwegian Sailor's Home in Brooklyn, NY

Old Pete's autobiography and a few family trinkets from around his time.

Between WW1 and WWII Pete became captain of some of the most famous racing yachts of the day.  Winning races in Larchmont, Newport and Miami mostly working for Mr. A.H. Morris, but spent time captaining for the Woolworth's and for the head of GM.  He held a license allowing him to pilot ships of any size anywhere in the world.  His claim to fame is he was the first man to pilot a hundred foot yacht via the overland route from the east coast of Florida thru rivers to Lake Okeechobee then via canals to get to Fort Myers.  He did this on a dare from the owner of the boat he captained who said it could never be done.

Is this little piece of a family connection what fuels the siren song that calls me to live off the grid for a month on Loggerhead Key.  I don't know for sure, but something has called me to that spot 70 miles West of Key West and 80 Miles North of Havana.  The Spirit of My Great Grandfather who lived his life at sea learned his trade in the Norwegian fjords on the last of the commercial three masted sailing ships and sailed the waters near the Tortugas is as good a reason as I can think of.  One night in september I will sip some Rum and drink a toast to Old Pete and imagine him navigating those treacherous waters where the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico meet by aid of the lighthouse on Loggerhead Key.

Loggerhead 2020

Wednesday, July 15, 2020


Hi Gang!

Tortuga Brother Carl here.  We got a great email last night from Sarah, our artist liaison at the NPAF.  The dates which have been a bit up in the air are finalized!  It's getting very real.  We will be on Loggerhead Key from 9/1 to 10/1.  It was a moving target for a little while.  Everything is coming into focus.  We will also be volunteering some of our time on a turtle nesting project for the NPS.  All great stuff!  

We have been busy working on figuring out what to bring and getting the items we need to survive and thrive for a month on Loggerhead key.  

This mess is my sorting pile of what to gear to bring.

It feels a bit like Tom Hank's shopping for his journey to the island in Joe Vs. the Volcano.  Think "Luggage is the central preoccupation of my life."

If you have not seen this oft ignored Hanks film watch see it.  It's a treat for a rainy lazy due to watch.

What else is going on?  I'm practicing shooting with my GoPro Hero 8 doing time-lapses and snorkeling videos.  The GoPro is a great filmmaking tool and we will use them a lot on the residency, more than I thought at first.  It does have a lot of settings and getting the settings right is important for getting the different shots to turn out their best.

My Canon 5D will get lots of work in our interview shooting and will shine at the nighttime milky way photos and still shots.  but the Hero 8  backed up by my IPhone 11 will get used a lot.

On a final Note:  Thank you to everyone who has donated to our GoFundMe campaign.  We will be able to bring some great filmmaking tools and and rent a sat phone to call our wives once a week to check in.  We are blown away by everyone's generosity.  The link is here

Next week I'll share some of the tests from the GoPro.

Loggerhead 2020