From dust to tribe . . .

Dust and Tribe (D&T) is the experience of growth through adventure.

Our fall and spring signature excursions are annual opportunities for Muslim men and women to push through the boundaries of supposed mental and physical limits into a new awareness of what we can be when we support one another.

It is where we discover what we are (dust) and what we become together (tribe).

Spring 2016: D&T Grrrl!

On April 22nd, fifteen women left for three days and two nights camped out on an island two-hours off the California coast. This blog is their story!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Floating Your Boat

To get to your island, you'll be crossing the Santa Barbara Channel, a tricky little stretch of water, for sure. We'll talk more about that in a minute.

You might remember me mentioning a new film that just came out about the Channel Islands, West of West. A couple of weeks ago, my girls and I took a drive out to Ventura to catch the premier.

It was a blustery day. The wind was really blowing as we walked from our car to the theater. Showtime was noon. We walked into the theater at 12:01 pm, picked up our popcorn and slushies, and walked into the darkened cinema.

The place was packed. An older crowd, for sure. It was a sea of grey and balding heads, all the validation I needed that I have indeed crested some metaphysical hill. As if driving two hours to see a film that was destined for public television wasn't proof enough.

Anyhow, the point of mentioning the packed house is to help you understand why the five of us ended up in the very front row. I can only remember ever doing that once before and it was on purpose and I was probably 10 years old. But there we were, staring with arched and aching necks up at faces that were bigger than my living room.

The film was informational, if not entirely enjoyable. I learned a lot. Who knew, for example, that more than 150 ships and aircraft have gone down in the Santa Barbara Channel?

I didn't know that.

But you all got your boat confirmations and you probably read that first paragraph really closely, right?


In case of unfavorable weather or sea conditions, Island Packers will cancel at 5:30 AM on the day of your trip.  On the morning of your departure, after 5:30 AM, please call 805-642-1393, select option 4 and listen to the recorded message for the status of your trip. Island Packers will not call you if trips are cancelled due to weather or sea conditions. During late Fall through Spring (<-- that's you girls!) bring extra food in case bad weather and/or sea conditions causes delays in scheduled island departure times.

Of course you read that. Probably got it all highlighted and everything.

One way to understand why these boats keep sinking is to visualize what's really happening under the water. The islands are really just the peaks of an undersea mountain range. And you know how mountains are, all lumpy and bumpy. Makes it hard for boatmen to figure out what exactly is underneath them.

And all of those peaks and valleys make the water act funny, too. Things get to churning when the wind blows. And then there's the fog. It kind of sneaks up on you. The whales do, too. Folks estimate about six whale-ship collisions every year in the Channel.

Apparently, enough ships disappear in the Channel that whole books are written about it. Like this one here:

Anyhow, you'll all have life jackets and I'm sure you're all awesome swimmers and you've already sewn Clif Bars into the lining of your pants. So I'm not going to trip.

But, for goodness sake, if you do get dumped try not to splash around too much. And please don't bleed. The Santa Barbara Channel is also known as Shark Park.

You're not trying to have a play-date with that guy.

But if you're in the water, huddle up keeping your backs together and your feet out. If anything comes after you, kick at the eyes, tip of the nose, and gills. That'll teach 'em.



  1. I'm sure all the girls going on this trip have no qualms after reading this . . . you get enough dropouts anyhow, just saying.
    That shark looks friendly!

  2. Lol seriously sajidah!!! .... Is your dad trying to scare us?!?!.....NOT working:))

    1. Hey man, I just provide the facts. You all can make out of them what you will.

      Happy sails!

    2. Stay strong, Sister! You can do this.

    3. I can do this huh?! Thanks sis:)

  3. Sajidah you are so right!(Ahmed, heed the words of your wise daughter)
    I have an extreme love of the ocean and an insane fear of sharks---and those two don’t sit well together :/ Thank you for making so clear the likelihood of my worst nightmare!!!

    1. It's OK nothing to be embarrassed about... I can't even swim:(( you guys better hold on tight to me and keep me in the middle!

    2. Sometimes the best way to overcome such fears is to get closer to what it is that scares you. I wish you the best. (:

    3. :) that is very true. I don't mind getting close to the water, but no drowning please:/ may Allah protect us all. Thanks for the vote of confidence! It means a lot:)

  4. Oh my after reading this latest post all I can think of are the refugees fleeing Syria and other war torn countries. I spent a few weeks in December on the island of Lesvos in Greece helping these refugees. I'm hit hard with the flashbacks of their stories and experiences of their rafts capsizing in the sea, waves almost drowning them and the Turkish coastguard trying to beat and drown them as they escape. Stories from family members of the ones that didn't make it. What kind of life they were fleeing from, their hopes, dreams and aspirations for a better life for their children... Reading this blog makes me feel utterly grateful everyday for the life I've been blessed with and to think I'll be risking my life for the experience of a lifetime..Well, Bring it! I hope in strong enough to wether the storm and support my fellow women!

    1. Subhanallah. I can't imagine how hard that must have been to enter waters and not know what was waiting for you on the other side. May Allah swt bless you for your efforts and grant happiness, fulfillment, and safety to all those afflicted by hardship.

  5. SubhanAllah! It's extremely tragic what the refugees are going through: ( thinking of them will definitely make my water struggles seem so trivial... Would love to talk to you more about this rayesa when we meet inshallah:)