By the time you read this, I will be docked in Jamestown Harbor and my single-handed circumnavigation will be complete. (To the right and below are a few cellphone photos of this morning’s approach.)
It is hard to believe that this voyage is at a close. It truly does seems like only last month that I slipped the docks in Jamestown, and now – I am working my way back into the very same docks, and bringing to a close this around the world chapter of my life. What a time, what an adventure… what a journey it has been!
Last night as I was going along, I suddenly realized I was being escorted by a dozen or so dolphins. They stayed with me for over two hours and just swam alongside… occasionally breaking the surface as they danced around. Perhaps they thought of me as a mother ship of some kind… or maybe they were just there under the light of the full moon to make sure I got home safely. Either way, the experience was amazing and quite moving for me.
I’ve been kept busy the past few days with numerous sail changes, in response to a series of active weather fronts through which I had make my way.
In quieter moments, I’ve had a chance to reflect on the completion of this voyage. Quite the range of feelings for me to navigate there… from elation and excitement at nearing the end to restlessness and uncertainty when gazing into the future.
Several of my sailing friends have emailed to ask if I understand any better what was going through the mind of the great Bernard Moitessier as he approached the end of his circumnavigation. The story if you don’t know it is a good one, and goes like this. There was a British-sponsored solo around the world race in 1968 that was ultimately won by the great Robin Knox-Johnston. In the final return to the Atlantic leg of the race, the Frenchman Moitessier, who after 7 months at sea was running very close to Knox-Johnston, and had a good chance of winning the race and the prize money – suddenly changed course and set sail for Tahiti! It’s a crazy story, with many even more unpredictable twists involving the other participants. (If you’re interested, there is a good documentary film about it all called Deep Water… and this very well-written magazine piece from Lapham’s Quarterly.)
Anyway, my long-story-short answer to the question posed by my sailor friends is yes, I most certainly have sometimes felt that way… I think this much time alone at sea changes you in ways that are not immediately apparent … and yes, I can now better understand why one might want to do such a thing… but as for me, it is time to go home!
It’s been nearly 9 months (256 days) since I left Newport on October 2nd of last year, outward bound around the world. Now, it’s time to allow family and friends help me celebrate this accomplishment that has taken me the better part of a lifetime to reach. I guess it just goes to show, if you really want to do something bad enough, you will find a way to get it done! Don’t let your dreams fade away.
So, for now, with that last quarter mile sailed and the journey around the world completed, a new journey begins – a more reflective inward journey to translate some of my thoughts and feelings about this miraculous world and its unfathomable oceans… as seen from the deck of a sailing ship. I will finally have time too to review all the many updates and stories that we told, all the science notes that we published and all the guides and tools to learning and discovery that were also such a big part of the expedition.
Thank you again one and all for your great kindness and unflagging support all along the course of this journey.
In gratefulness, I step back onto the shore of a new dream.
– Dave, Bodacious Dream and Franklin (who is off looking for a TV to watch the World Cup)