Holy moly it's hot! Time for a swim with Johanna!

So far it's been a sultry summer. I'm 100% on board with that.

But yesterday I took a 3 minute and 47 second break from the heat with Finnish freediver Johanna Nordblad. She freedives under the ice. And not just a little bit. She's a world record holder who came to the sport after she nearly lost her leg in a downhill mountain biking crash. Ice therapy to save her leg led to this.  

I love freediving, the otherworldliness of it. But I've never seen anything quite like this video of Johanna trekking across the Arctic ice, cutting a hole, and slipping through.  It's so beautifully shot and really captures the tranquility of freediving, something that's only amplified under the ice. 

What to do on an island

 Coleman. St. John, USVI.

Coleman. St. John, USVI.

There's lots of things to do on an island. There's also lots of things to not do. Typically, I'm there for the not doing. I'm a man of leisure after all. But dang! Doing nothing is getting hard!

For the last week or two, I was on St. John. It's a U.S. territory which means that, among other things, normal AT&T data rates apply (unlike the much better named LIME network which covers most of the Caribbean but involves international roaming rates).

So your phone on St. John works exactly like it does at home. This makes it easy to check in on things. Stay on top of a few issues. Touch base to keep things moving while you're gone. It allows for travel in a way that wasn't remotely possible just a decade ago.

And that's a friggin' bummer bro!

Regular travelers know there are a number of ways to fine-tune the features on your phone: Only receive calls from certain people, eliminate all incoming data, etc. Feel free to Google the options (if you're a total nerd). For the rest of us, I recommend this:  

Bring Limes Tech Tip!

  1. Go for a long morning hike to a beautiful area (e.g. Ram Head, Saint John, USVI). 
  2. Take lots of unnecessarily selfies, in square, panorama, and video formats.
  3. Make your way back down to the water (e.g. Salt Pond Bay) where you've left a cache of snorkeling equipment.
  4. Wade into the water. Savor the coolness. Slip on your fins and mask. 
  5. Decide where to snorkel: Reef or grass? Fish or turtles?
  6. Notice the clarity of the water. It's unbelievable. You'll never ever get used to it.
  7. Realize that your phone is in your pocket.

Phone problem solved!

Now here's a few pro tips if you're really looking to maximize your enjoyment of the above plan: 

First, see if there's a primary provider of cell service on the island (in St. John it's AT&T). Then make sure the phone you're dunking is the only one in your group which uses that service (the rest of my family is with Verizon which won't help you at all on SJ.)

Second, go to an island where electricity, wifi, and cellular service are prone to random outages (which is to say, any island). This will limit your opportunities for alternative solutions.

And then... ENJOY!

Honestly, not having a phone was fantastic. Instead of calling ahead to see if a place was open, it required physically going there (like some kind of a caveman!) and talking to someone.

Weaving around one of the most beautiful places in the world, Jeep windows down, local radio at wild volume, shoes in the back (probably, who knows), old-school paper map flapping around. These are not bad things. 

I'll admit that I did miss having a handy camera. And an infinite jukebox. And a flashlight. But that's all I missed. That was it. That was completely and entirely it.

Morgan Maassen made a fine to-do list for you

Don't have your summer plans ironed out yet? Nothing nailed down for this weekend?

Fear not my indecisive one, photographer and filmmaker Morgan Maassen has about 4,000 ideas for you and he's compiled them all into one absolutely gorgeous video called "Motion."

I suppose "Things You Can Do If You're Bored" wasn't his intention when he put this together. But if watching it doesn't make you want to get out and do something (like right now!) I don't even know what to say to you.

Anyway, check it. The footage and the edit are fire and the music track by Kelpe drives it all perfectly. This kid is really really good. At 25, he's already shot for some of the biggest companies in the world. His work doesn't feel that way though which is about the highest compliment I can give.  

He's a good follow on Instagram too: here.

Cold water on bare skin

It's that time of year.

It's that thinkin' about St. Somewhere time. That wanting-some-white-beaches-and-blue-water-and-yellow-birds-all-around-me-time. (I'm referring to the yellow bird cocktail here. But actual yellow birds are encouraged to join me.) 

Well, the short video below isn't about any of that. While the water is blue, it's more of a gun metal blue. This is a cold place. There's shivering. And yet. I'm left longing for this water as if it was the sea-foamiest of seas. 

Filmmaker (and swimmer) Natasha Brooks has me seriously jonesing for a dip of the skinny variety. A cold naked swim, sleek and slippery. Of course, where I'm from, most of our swims are on the chilly side. Get to the shoulder seasons here and it's cold enough to pretty much guarantee you'll have the water to yourself. I like that.

As Natasha says in the video: "The sensation of that cold, on every part of your body, eclipses all thoughts. You leave everything behind, and it offers you the space to truly appreciate the moment."

That's absolutely true. And this is absolutely beautiful. Watch.