Project Catalina Dr Michael Gervais, compete to create, michael gervais, paddle boarding



The day was finally here for me to attempt to cross the Catalina channel (a 26+ mile stretch of open water from Catalina Island to Redondo Beach, California).  Depending on currents and ocean conditions, I was anticipating it to take 6-8 hours of paddling for me to successfully cross the channel.

The original crossing date was set for two weeks prior to today, but we had to move up the date two weeks because of logistics. My physical and mental conditioning were complete, and I felt really good about both.  The only downside about moving up the launch date was that those extra two weeks were designed to focus on rest and recovery. We had planned and adjusted to what we could, and wasn’t it fitting that the one thing that got compromised most was recovery? I bet many of you can relate to that! Over the course of the last 2 weeks of my preparation, I was ripping across the country for work (10 different hotel rooms over the course of those 14 days).  This was NOT the recipe for “peaking,” but rather the classic over-trained and under-recovered syndrome.

It turns out the ocean doesn’t care about my lack of recovery, and at that point, I didn’t have space to care either.  I had a sense this project had the makings of creating a deep change.  I was stepping into miles I have never paddled before.  I was excited for what I was going to discover at the intersection of physical exhaustion, aloneness, and the wild unpredictable ocean.


Managing challenging external factors that are completely out of my control is one thing. There were lots of obstacles I faced including shark alley, a cargo ship, shifting currents and winds, in addition to my own mental fatigue.  This project, though, was creating space for me to explore new internal territories that I hadn’t been able to completely access from traditional practices of insight.

Check out Episode 3: The Final Push.

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