She Kicked the World in Balls
I rode back to my international school on the hill in the middle of India, as the sun was setting… on the back of a motorcycle I was witch hiking on… going 100km. And Just when I started to think my life had become interesting I get back to my room and open Outside Magazine, and read the first article, 2012 Adventurers of the year. Well my self-esteem is gone.
Adventurer number 3: Laura Dekker, Sailor.
I quote, “In August 2010, at 14, she finally set off from Gibraltar, after winning a legal battle with Dutch authorities who believed the journey too dangerous. In January—at 16 years, 4 months—Dekker maneuvered her 38-foot ketch, Guppy, into St. Maarten Harbor, in the Caribbean, to become the youngest person to sail alone around the globe.”
Holy shit. Her travel log goes on to give us some insight into her journey:
1. August 21, 2010: In Gibraltar, Dekker’s father unties the Guppy and bids her farewell. First stop: Canary Islands.
August 28: Dekker waits out the Atlantic hurricane season.
2. December 1: Dekker leaves Cape Verde, off western Africa, for a three-week, 2,200-nautical-mile trip across the Atlantic to St. Maarten. A squall breaks a wind vane used by the autopilot system, so she fixes it. “I regularly wake up after only one hour of sleep,” she writes. “I do not need an alarm clock anymore.”
3. December 25: Dekker spends Christmas in the Caribbean. She repairs the halfwinder and mainsail and makes a humble plea for sponsors. “I cannot deny that a little bit more of everything would be nice,” she writes, but adds, “of course I have everything I need.”
4. March 30, 2011: In Shelter Bay, Panama, a horde of journalists await her arrival: “My good mood slowly faded to an inner anger that I always feel when people treat me like a celebrity.”
April 13: Dekker emerges in the Pacific. “The passage through the Panama Canal was great!”
April 25: “Crossing the equator felt just like New Year’s Eve!”
5. April 26–May 7: The Galápagos. “Perhaps the most extraordinary islands I have visited.”
May 13: About 1,100 miles in, Dekker breaks her personal record for most miles sailed in a day: 199. She suffers a deep wound on her foot during a fall.
6. May 26: The mayor of Atuona, on Hiva Oa in French Polynesia, welcomes Dekker, and locals throw her a party with drums and dancing.
7. August 25: Australia at last. “I thought I would pass out from exhaustion. I longed to sleep a long sleep in one stretch, a night without shredding sails, without islands, without reefs or sandbanks, without buoys or ships.”
8. September 26: She crosses roughly 5,500 miles of the Indian Ocean to Durban, South Africa. “One of the things I have learned from my voyage is not to be in a hurry to reach my destination.”
November 7: A cargo vessel radios her to get out of the way. “This was like a car asking a turtle to move,” she writes. “ ‘How about you alter course?’ ” I asked. “The huge ship finally gave way and went around me.”
December 20: “I have now crossed all of the earth’s longitudes. That’s pretty amazing. Now I only have some 4,800 nautical miles to go to the Caribbean.”
December 26: A flying fish lands in her cabin. “A sure sign the water is getting warmer.”
January 17, 2012: “I can’t take my mind off our arrival.”
9. January 23: “It is sweet to me that I get to see my parents when I feel like it, even though that may take getting used to.”
Not only do I feel like I’ve been slacking off the past 19 years of my life (I should’ve started sailing when i was 5 argh!) but I’m also humbled by the pure Bad-Ass-ness this 14 year old has shown. One can almost imagine her landing in the Caribbean and chugging some whiskey with rum yelling, “That was piss easy!” Maybe not, but then again she is a sailor.
Here’s to her! Laura Dekker! Giving mad props to swag excessive swag, and hoping that she doesn’t continue to do better and make us feel so un-interesting.