|Sunrise on December 16, 2018, when we completed our circumnavigation, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle|
My emotions are much more settled now that some time has passed since we crossed our outgoing track. When Ruthie and I dropped Rutea’s anchor at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, very early on the morning of December 16, 2018, we fell into each other’s arms and sobbed. Almost eight years, over 48,000 miles and 38 countries and we were back to where we had started. The anxiety we felt as we were heading out of Punta de Mita eight years earlier was entirely justified – heading off to distant lands in a small sailboat where we’re completely on our own to find our way, make our repairs and be responsible for our own survival. There would be no 911 to call if something happened and even if we could reach the Coast Guard in an emergency, there’s no way they could ever respond. Not only did we survive, we flourished.
|Hiva Oa, Marquesas|
|Police in Western Samoa|
We did find our way, from the towering peaks of Hiva Oa in the Marquesas (they create their own weather and are almost always obscured by clouds) to the gin-clear water of the Tuamotus; from the drop-dead gorgeous women of the Society Islands (even the men are remarkably handsome) to the skirt-wearing police (the ‘skirts’ are called ‘lava-lavas’ and they’re the official uniform) of the Samoas to the magical Kingdom of Tonga. From the over-the-top friendly people in
Zealand to the kava rituals in Fiji; from the very primitive Vanuatu Archipelago
(also credited as the happiest people in the world) to Australia (where it seems like
everything is trying to kill you).
|Orangutan, Kalimantan, Indonesia|
clarity of the Maldives; from the lemurs of Madagascar (the poorest
|Tanna Island, Vanuatu|
The unbelievable acts of kindness shown to us by complete strangers, many of them facing depressing levels of poverty, was both heartrending and an important lesson. The child in Madagascar, clothed only in rags, who paddled a crude dugout canoe to give us a single lime as a gift of welcome expected nothing in return (we showered him with provisions from our stores). I hope that I am now a more generous person.
|Tom, Sonja and Keanu|
However, the anxiety of our planet’s future could be offset by the vibrancy of a
local outdoor market, which is often the social networking
places for a rural community. Rows of
vendors, selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables (you can buy
eggplant almost anywhere in the world) to the latest CDs, would hawk their
wares in a cacophony of shouting. Even
though we would usually buy far more than we needed, we don’t feel that anyone
ever took advantage of us or our lack of knowledge of their monetary
system. Samples were continuously
offered to us, making it difficult to refuse to buy some of their product. We must have been laughable as we would
waddle through the streets, overloaded with bags, perspiring in the tropical
heat, making our way towards our dinghy.
|Port Antonio, Jamaica|
|Sailing Around Cape Horn with Mark and Rosie|
|Beth and Norm|
|Isla San Benito, Mexico|