My buddy Stephen Mick has made something very very cool. Here’s the backstory from him.
Last spring, as part of a documentary project I was working on, I went to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. to film “wounded warriors” using kayaking, fly-fishing and other sports as a way to help their rehab. One of the soldiers I met, Army Captain Ferris Butler, was working with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, a group that uses fly-tying and fishing outings as a way to get injured servicemen and women outdoors. At that time, Ferris was a single-amputee, having lost one leg to an IED in Iraq. Through “limb salvage,” he was trying to save what was left of his other leg.
Fast-forward one year. Alan Earl, a friend of mine and head of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Fishing and Boating program, invited me to join the group in Islamorada for a sailfish tournament involving soldiers from Walter Reed. A few of the “warriors” there were guys I had met the year before, including Ferris. But now, instead of being a single-amputee, he was a double-amp, below the knee. The limb salvage hadn’t worked, and he had made the decision to have the leg removed.
We had a great weekend of fishing, and on Sunday I said goodbye again to Ferris and the other soldiers.
A month or two later, Ferris called me. He had an idea, to create an adventure-travel show that encourages those with disabilities to pursue their dreams, wherever that may be. We talked about the idea, and quickly came up with three simple words that captured the spirit of the project…
No Your Limits
The ultimate expression of No Your Limits will be in February of 2010, when Ferris (and I) climb to the roof of Africa and the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Between now and then, we’ll be fly-fishing for tarpon and marlin in Costa Rica, snowboarding the Rockies, surfing, kiteboarding and whatever other adventures we can track down. And we’re documenting the entire experience for potential broadcast next year.
For more information, check out the NYL blog (http://www.noyourlimits.com/blog), follow us on Twitter (@noyourlimits) or join us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/No-Your-Limits/110495532540).
Nothing on the water looks normal at 2 am. Land masses that provide depth perception in daylight warp into ominous light-flecked shapes. Reflective channel markers pop up unexpectedly in front of the boat moving too fast through black water.
But tarpon feed at night and people sleep.
The dates are picked, the strategies are being worked out; it’s happening again.
Night Ops 1: Drifting live crabs,big water, big-fish.
Night Ops 2: Casting flies, light pools, little fish. (Never thought about the light babies until a note from Flies and Fins regular Marshall Demott. Now we know.)
Then the tide dies and it’s back to the ramp. The guides are all there mainlining coffee in the dark while they wait for their clients to show.
5am Automatic: We can’t sleep yet. We’ve got to get out again and run the inlet to the beach by sunrise, when everything resumes its rightful shape and a big tarpon might just appear in front of our bloodshot eyes.
The world at the moment is at the frayed ends of sanity, but those tarpon will be there in due time. Hope lives.