On Monday 14 August, when the tide is right, an antique sailing ship will manoeuvre through the lock of Plymouth’s historic Sutton harbour and point herself south-west towards the Canary Islands. It will be the start of a two-year voyage around the world taking in 32 ports and involving thousands of people in a groundbreaking geographical project, Darwin200, which aims, among other things, to inspire the environmental leaders and scientists of the future.
Not only that, adventurous souls can apply to be part of the crew on epic voyages between, for example, Tahiti and the Cook Islands, or Cape Town and the Falklands.
The Oosterschelde, a traditional three-masted Dutch schooner, plans to retrace the route taken by another historic ship almost two centuries ago. In Plymouth on Boxing Day 1831, a young man boarded HMS Beagle and the following day set out on a voyage that would change our world. Not that the 22-year-old Charles Darwin suspected the vast significance the voyage would later have. He was suffering a little of what would later be known as impostor syndrome, wondering if he deserved the opportunity given. Fortunately for us, however, he had the necessary determination and enthusiasm. And that is what Darwin200 founder Stewart McPherson hopes will be the legacy of this project. “We are identifying 200 young naturalists from 200 countries who will become the leaders of the future – young people who can drive change.” En route, the Oosterschelde will touch places as far apart as Cape Verde, Rio, Auckland and Tasmania – all spots Darwin reached.
Practical Boat Owner » Cruising legend Jimmy Cornell reflects on his many years of boat ownership and his quest to create the best liveaboard boat for bluewater adventures.
Sixty years ago, in 1962, Kenichi Horie was the first person to sail the Pacific Ocean solo and nonstop.
The Japanese adventurer has achieved a number of other long distance solo voyages, including sailing around the world in 1974.
Well-known Japanese yachtsman Kenichi Horie, 83, arrived on June 4 off the Kii Peninsula in western Japan after crossing the Pacific, becoming the oldest person to sail solo and nonstop across the world’s largest body of water.
Horie set sail from San Francisco on March 26 on a voyage lasting 69 days. The trip, which covered about 8,700 km, went relatively smoothly. But he had to battle through bad weather at times, sailing into a storm and high seas immediately after leaving San Francisco. In his online diary, he wrote, “Can’t do anything but wait for it to pass.” In a later entry, he simply wrote: “I’m fed up.”
It was the latest achievement for the octogenarian adventurer, who in 1962 became the first person in the world to successfully complete a solo nonstop voyage across the Pacific from Japan to San Francisco.
Sixty years later, he traveled the opposite route.
63-year old Bert ter Hart is trekking and paddling his canoe across Canada, from west to east, using only a sextant and compass. He’s following routes that Canada’s Indigenous people travelled for thousands of years; they later helped guide the fur traders and explorers like David Thompson. He’s also carrying a petition that seeks to recognize these Indigenous guides.
Mr. Moore began in the Columbia River in Oregon, crossed several northern states and traveled down to the Gulf Coast by last winter. By early 2021, he was headed back up to the Great Lakes and to New York State, where he followed the Erie Canal to the Hudson River and ultimately to the Statue of Liberty.
“I wanted to see the country up close and personal at this interesting time, with the pandemic and all the political strife, to find out what it actually means to be American today,” Mr. Moore said.
“I felt like I followed that light shining all the way across the country,” he said later. “My journey was one of illumination. So to finally see that beacon up close, that flame of liberty, after seeing it in so many people I met across this land, it was overwhelming.”
Traveling by river became metaphoric: Just as rivers connect towns and cities, Mr. Moore said, he began exploring connections between people often separated by race, class and political stripe.
Mark Delstanche, 47, has become the first person to solo row from New York to London. He set off from Battery Park, New York on June 14, and after 97 days he crossed the finish line at Tower Bridge, London. Since the beginning, Delstanche has faced complications. His boat Square Peg was custom-made with a flywheel-powered propeller, which broke early in his journey. He then rowed through some of the worst weather in years. Over the three months, he endured eight major storms and seven capsizes. The storms damaged most of his electronic equipment. During one capsize, he twisted his knee.
When folding bike manufacturer Brompton developed their Explore Edition, they contacted Alastair Humphreys about working together.
In short order, Humphreys teamed up with his good friend and filmmaker Temujin Doran to go on this folding-bike-rafting expedition to Suilven together.
Video follows »
I reached Memphis halfway, at 3,750 miles, on November 3 [election day]. The vast majority of the map I’m plying on this journey is solid red. Minus a few blue dots between Portland, Oregon, and NYC.
Funny, I just paddled past my very first Republican flag on a boat on the Ohio River the other day. It featured simply an elephant and the word “Republican”. It is the first Republican banner I’ve seen on this expedition that didn’t scream Trump. Or include a Confederate Flag on the same pole. Or shock with catchy expletives.
I think we are coming right as a nation. I took a ride over the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge, the longest continuous bridge over water in the world, as the inauguration played out live. As Amanda Gorman delivered her poem of hope, The Hill We Climb. And what I found on the streets of New Orleans later that day were kids of color in motion, laughing and pulling wheelies on their bikes along lower Bourbon Street. The city, the nation, I myself, could breathe.
Neal Moore »
From YouTube »
Bahia de Huatulco, State de Oaxaca, Mexico. October 2020. Professional surfer Damien Castera joined Caroline, Corentin, and Guénolé on board the now well-known “Nomade des Mers,” a catamaran currently sailing around the world in search of low-tech innovation, and a pioneer in developing sustainable and affordable technologies.