With 11,000 miles in our wake, this journey sure is becoming one hell of a story . . . - Catch up, lend a hand, and join the adventure!
Hello World! Just a quick note: While this project is LIVE on the internet, I, Emily Richmond, am LIVE ON THE OCEAN. If you have questions or feedback I would LOVE to hear from you! The best way to get in touch is by emailing the boat directly: WDF3038 @ sailmail(dot)com, rather than using this web-based system. Cool? Cool! Read on
In January 2010, I departed Los Angeles, CA aboard my boat S/Y BOBBIE.
The plan: 24,000 miles, around the world alone.
I'm over 11,000 miles in, the world's largest ocean now in my wake, now it's time to bandage the battle wounds and press on!
Get involved, be a part of the voyage's on-going support!
GET THE VIBE
WHAT THE MONEY'S FOR
While in New Guinea, the boat needs to be hauled for a proper mid-trip repair sesh. Bearings in the rudder need to be renewed, the prop shaft needs to be pulled and straightened, the bottom needs new anti-fouling paint to keep her gliding smoothly through the water for the next 15,000 miles.
Rigging that was jury-rigged from telephone pole wire and bulldog clamps on Easter Island needs to be properly replaced and fitted. There are sails that need professional attention to keep them strong and ready for all the weather that wild blue road can throw.
THE WHOLE STORY
We do not ask for our dreams, those images and ideas that haunt our thoughts, that push us on. They come to us of their own accord and their own tenacity - they are journeymen in their own right, fated to find us somehow.
Just over two years ago (July 2009) I launched one of the earlier projects on Kickstarter; it was an admitted shot in the dark, an effort to rally support around some wild dream I'd been having: that to sail one tiny boat right round the world. And to do it alone.
And then a sort of unbelievable thing happened: it worked. Support poured in, during the campaign, after the campaign and even now two years later; (incredibly, 11,000 miles down this wild blue road, I still regularly get emails from people somehow inspired by this idea of a little boat floating silently through the night.)
In August 2009 when the project closed, the boat was immediately hauled from the water to a nearby shipyard in Los Angeles. Together, with a small group of friends, we raced against the clock to ready S/Y BOBBIE for her big trip. The season for heading south was upon us, we did what we could, packed her with what we could afford; we hugged necks, tried not to think of what our parting would mean (because surely we'll be stronger than the distance, won't we?). And then it was time.
I headed south down the Baja coast of Mexico, in and out of ports I'd learned as a kid. Those Mexican hideaways were my refuge - faraway enough to know I was on my way, close enough to still reach for home. In Cabo San Lucas, I'd rowed ashore to find media-darling Abby Sunderland in port as well. For two young women setting out on solo circumnavigations our worlds couldn't have been further apart: she had a team flown in on private planes, a budget one talks about in quarters of millions of dollars. "Good Morning America" was there, never further than an arms length away. We slept in side by side twin beds, I ate their posh foods.
In total I'd spend over 5 months in Mexico, weening myself off of my American life, the things I was leaving behind, completing prep work and acquiring gear while marine chandleries were still within reach. My boyfriend would make his last visit in Puerto Vallarta (before the distance and shitty cell coverage would all become too much). We sought the highlands to learn about the Huichol Indians (those fantastically outfitted Peyoteros) and to roam the desert on horseback.
By July I was heading up the mouth of the Lempa River in El Salvador. I kid you not, one of the first people I'd run into was one of only a handful of people I'd known in the country: an old acquaintance named Santos Torres. He and his family were living off an island called Cordoncillo there in the middle of the swampy, tropical Mayan ruins. He took me in, we became the best of mates and spent our days racing up and down rivers and inlets, looking for crocodiles, visiting villages, eating sugar cane straight from the stalk, laughing, shouting, drinking up that wild air.
In Costa Rica, I sought the quiet corners. Tranquil bays snugged up to dense forests. I'd swim ashore and follow howler monkeys, sit for hours trying to make sense of their series of calls. With machete in hand I'd press through thick mud and vegetation, searching for pumas and cougars and pretty much just living dangerously ( /stupidly). I'd swim the little rock islands, and scamper about the shore taunting the thousands of tiny hermit crabs moving en masse across the banks. In the evenings I'd tune the shortwave radio to BBC or Radio Havana, scanning for world news or wacky music stations. I felt like I lived in a different time; I wrote alot of letters in those days.
Panama was a refuge from the rain, the constant, at times unbearable, wetness of living. By the time we'd tucked up into the Gulf of Panama, sitting at the mouth of that grand canal, it was November and fall was upon us. Fate, that most enduring companion, would reunite me with some of my dearest ocean-going pals for a season of Thanksgiving and abundance. Christmas- time brought me new friends for the new year in the form of two young Belgian boys wrapping their own circumnavigation (which amazingly included a jaunt to the Antarctic). They'd lend hands to my repairs and we'd share meals and stories, injecting me with more inspiration than they could ever know. I transited the canal with them aboard their yacht and bade them a teary farewell (alas, the bane of this lifestyle - so nice to meet you, so sad to leave you) as they continued east-about and I prepared myself at long last for the The West.
A glassy afternoon in early February, two local boys, Marcos and Juan, helped me weigh anchor, gave me kisses, shouted silly "I think I love you!"s while clenching their chests and offering some final encouragement. Weaving my way through a myriad of anchored container ships and heavy canal traffic, I pointed my bow towards Isla Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands, 890 nautical miles distant. 14 days later I'd make my first truly offshore landfall.
After dropping hook in the bay of Puerto Ayora I made my way ashore to meet a friend of a friend who's family lived on the island and who'd offered to show me around. The dock behind their house was covered in sleeping sea lions which I learned to negotiate a pass through by extending my hands over head and clapping wildly. The rocky soil just outside their house was teeming with iguanas. Down the street was a reserve of giant land tortoises whose size can really only be described as prehistoric. We'd bike the island and he'd help me round up supplies and spare parts I'd need as I would press on 2,000 miles southwest to a tiny dot in the middle of the south pacific - that most mysterious of destinations, Easter Island.
It would take me eight days to find the proper tradewinds, and then we'd be off like lightening. Twice daily I'd chat via the SSB radio with a couple other boats trailing behind on the same course. We'd compare notes on weather, share positions, chat about issues we were having. On Day 19 of my crossing with 600 nautical miles still between me and the island, I experienced my worst gear failure to date, a parting of the forestay that tensions the front of the mast. With it's snapping a series of chain-events would disable the entire top of the mast, rendering it impossible to raise sails to the proper height without risking even further damage to the rig. With canvas reduced to a size not much larger than a couple of handkerchiefs, I'd inch my way through that last stretch of ocean at less than a quarter speed. I'd be lucky to make 25 miles in 24 hours. 16 more days would pass before I'd reach the harbor of Hanga Roa.
They say that good things come to those who wait, and when what had originally been slated as only a week long stop over turned into a 3 month and 4 day long occupation for repair making, never had this old adage been more true. Friends on other yachts that had breezed through only for photographs of statues and new provisions for their next legs had simply missed it all; they missed fishing with broad shouldered boys with names like Poike and Honu, they missed walking barefoot to secret lookouts, they missed a population of dudes who even in the middle of the ocean still love their leather jackets and long hair. They missed stalking the streets late at night while teenagers blaze by on horseback with ghettoblasters at full volume. They missed plowing taro fields and island wide koranto feasting. They missed having boyfriends named after creatures of the sea, they missed the revolution in the streets. They really missed it all.
By the time July came, the mast was ready to be put back in the boat and I knew it was time to go. Or I simply never would. I borrowed an old motorcycle, kept my head down, finished the work. On July 12, the boat had been packed to the brim with two months of vegetables, some wood carvings for good luck, and a new puppy to keep me company. At sunset my friend Ese towed me out of the harbor while a crowd of friends looked on. I shouted "Iorana!" for the last time and like I wasn't scared at all. There would be 3500 miles between me and my next safe anchorage.
They call them the Horse Latitudes, that band of variable winds punctuated with mind-dullingly long calms. And July and August are famously the worst months for them. The 1000 mile run between Easter and Pitcairn Islands would take me a full 30 days to complete. August 12th, right as I was just sighting the island the onset of a gale set in and would blow for over 4 days. With no safe harbor on the island, there was no choice but to just heave-to off the lee shore and let it rage. August 16th, I raised the islanders on VHF radio and at long last organized my arrival.
It seemed like half the island loaded up in the longboat that came out to meet me and direct us to a secure anchorage in the famed Bounty Bay. The next morning the immigration official and island police officer came to fetch me in a small home built skiff. Both were shoeless - my kinda people. Amazingly efficient, they kindly shuttled me up the hill on the back of a couple four-wheelers, directly to the island's old radio station where we dug through their old store of galvanized wires and turnbuckles until we found the perfect rigging fix that I'd come looking for. I stayed on for four days to spend as much time with these famed inhabitants as possible before the next front was due to blow. Four giant boxes filled with the most lovely spread of fruits and vegetables you could possibly imagine were loaded up for the voyage. The old workhorse MOSS gave me another tow back out, as a couple islanders rode along for a bit to have a nice view of a mother and calf humpback playing in the water just ahead. Then the all too familiar scene: hugs and well wishes, alone again.
2500 miles of ocean later, I'm writing you from Pago Pago on Tutuila Island in American Samoa. I'm getting my mail for the fist time in eight months, restocking my boat with a bounty of goods only an American supermarket can offer, and then I'll be off again. By the time most of you are reading this I'll likely be pushing towards the coast of Papua New Guinea, a cyclone season on my heels. Always, further, further, further - onwards and westward, wherever this dream may lead.
JOIN THE ADVENTURE!
For more info visit the voyage's website/ blog here.
View my original "Let's Sail Around The World!!" project here!
If anyone out there is thinking to themselves, "Gosh, I really wish there was a place where I could watch about 95 videos of this wacko babe talking endlessly into the camera about oddball things like setting fireworks off over the equator or what it's like to sleep on a bed of squid"- I've got news for you- it exists !
If you like this project and want to see it succeed please, please do a huge favor and spread the link! I'll be on the ocean for the bulk of the campaign and it likely will be pretty difficult for me to be as annoying as I'd like to be in regards to this project's success. Any extra effort you can offer will make such a huge difference! You guys know how to work it . . .
There's simply no getting around the fact that none of this would be possible it weren't for the insanely good vibes that came from a cluster of pals close to me at the time when this adventure was first getting its legs. Matthew, Blair, Leigh, Alisa, Natty, AlejandroRoseGarcia, Barker, LJ - all of you you know how I love you so. And huge, huge thanks to that group of folks over there at Kickstarter with the most honest to goodness hearts of gold. Thank you heaps for the support and love of this little dream. Let us all keep building at a world where any and every thing really, truly is possible . . . .
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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THANK YOU, THANK YOU! YOU ARE A PRINCE AND A GENTLEMAN. - Your name will be added to the list of supporters on the voyage's website.Estimated delivery:
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GET TATTED UP, MAN. A nice spit-and-stick version of some classic "old salt" sailor tattoos. Super legit.Estimated delivery:
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STAY COOL FOREVER with your very own pair of "Let's Sail Around The World!" neon shades. Choose pink, yellow, or blue.Estimated delivery:
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AN EXCITING TALE OF ADVENTURE! A hand-written letter from sea. Meetings with village chiefs or monsters of the deep - the possibilities are endless!Estimated delivery:
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"YOU INTREPID TRAVELER" TOTEBAG. Perfect little satchel for all your gear - hammers, fixed wrenches, flight caps, etc. Complete with hand-sketched busts of some of the most formidable figures in the ol' annals of adventurin'.Estimated delivery:
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EXPEDITIONARY MUSCLE SHIRT. Traditional line drawing of the boat on a nice cozy over-sized tank. Choose classic navy or the slightly more conspicuous blood red.Estimated delivery:
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MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE, AKA YOUR SHOT AT TRUE LOVE! - A fresh collabo between me and Father Fate: I'll bottle and heave the message of your choice out into the great vast ocean.Estimated delivery:
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EXPLORERZ CLUB. Your own flag flown from aboard the ship.Estimated delivery:
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I'll send you a full-sized, beautifully colored chart of the Indian Ocean, mapping the route I take from Papua New Guinea to South Africa. Perfect for framing, perfect for daydreaming....(+ you get all of the above!).Estimated delivery:
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PANAMA CANAL! - That's right, you get a spot aboard the boat as we transit the famed canal, making the last 30 mile stretch of the circumnavigation together! Airfare not included but THIS WILL BE A TRULY ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE!!!!! (+ you get all of the above!)Estimated delivery:
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I'll wear an American flag printed tank with the text "HUG YR 1%" in every single video I ever make for the rest of the voyage....oh my, that is alot of tank action! (+ you get ALL of the above!)Estimated delivery:
- (55 days)