Last week, 15-year old Laura Dekker achieved two major milestones in her attempt to sail solo around the world. First, it has now been a full year since she set out on her epic journey to become the youngest to sail around the globe, and perhaps more importantly, she safely arrived in Darwin, Australia, having successfully crossed the Pacific Ocean.
You may recall that Laura garnered a lot of attention when she first announced her intentions to circumnavigate the globe on her own at the age of 13. But before she could get underway, the Dutch government stepped in, with child protective services investigating her plans and whether or not she was ready for such a big adventure. That process took some time to complete, but eventually she was allowed to sail, and at the age of 14 she was able to hit the open water at last.
Since that time, she’s been making slow, but steady progress around the globe, first crossing the Atlantic Ocean, then navigating through the Panama Canal. The Pacific was her next major obstacle, and with that now behind her, she’ll be setting her sights on the Indian Ocean and eventually the Suez Canal. But for now, she plans to enjoy some good old fashion Aussie hospitality for awhile.
According to her blog, Laura arrived in Darwin last Friday, August 25, and while she is in good spirits, and her ship, the Guppy, is fine, the final approach to land wasn’t great on her sails. The course took her across the Van Dieman Gulf, where the winds tore her main sail to shreds, which will keep her on land for awhile. She plans on staying at least through the weekend, when she hopes to use a borrowed boat to compete in a local regatta.
For now, it is time to rest, resupply, and repair the Guppy. The trials and tribulations of the Indian Ocean await, and after that, home at last. But Laura has earned some down time before she takes on those challenges. I can’t think of a better place to recuperate than Australia.
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