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… the final distances are closing as I make my way back into the very same docks, and so bring to a close that chapter of my life titled single handed circumnavigation! What a time, what an adventure what a journey it has been!
It is midnight as I write this, sailing under a full moon the final miles into Narragansett Bay. There has been little time for relaxation the past few days, as I was kept busy with numerous sail changes, in response to a series of active weather fronts through which I had make my way.
But I suppose even more interesting than that have been the various emotional changes I’ve felt when quieter moments have allowed me to reflect on the completion of this voyage. Quite the range of feelings to navigate there… from elation and excitement at nearing the end to restlessness and caution 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, all of which is well told in a documentary film called Deep Water, or in this very well-written piece from Lapham’s Quarterly.
Anyway, my long-story-short answer to the question posed by my sailor friends is yes, I most certainly do sometimes feel that way… I think this much time 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 no… I promise, I won’t do it! It’s way too late to turn back now!
Last night as I was going along, I suddenly realized I was being escorted by a dozen or so dolphins. They have been with me for a few hours now and don’t seem to be tiring of the fun. They must think of me as a mothership of some kind … or maybe they’re just there under the full moon to make sure I get home safely. Either way, it feels quite special to be accepted and looked after by them.
As proof… here are some photos hot off the 4G of me sailing past the headlands of Beavertail Point and arriving at the docks in Jamestown! It’s too late to turn back now! Ha!
It’s been nearly 9 months (257 days) since I left Jamestown 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 unpack some of my perspectives and feelings about this miraculous world and its mystifying 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 we published and all the guides and tools to learning and discovery that were also such a big part of this bodacious 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 just went off looking for some grass or a TV to watch the World Cup?)