| 7:00 PM local time, Wednesday, July 2 (0200 July 3, UTC). 37 58 N 122 31 W.
Temp. 65, Humidity 62%, Cloud Cover 0%. At home in San Rafael.
Final greetings from the crew of Maverick.
Though it has been just over two years, it seems a very long time ago that we departed San Francisco Bay with dreams of sailing all the way around the world. At the time our imaginations were filled with fairy-tale images of exotic lands and palm-lined harbors, and as it turned out we weren't disappointed. But it is more truth than rhetoric to say that even after completing it, the voyage seems scarcely real at all, no less dreamlike in remembrance than it was in anticipation.
We sailed to the fabled South Pacific beloved of Stevenson and Gauguin, where London made his ill-fated voyage to the Solomon Islands, Cook observed the transit of Venus, and Bligh made good his flight from the mutineers of the Bounty. Our first passage of nearly 27 days from San Francisco was rewarded by the elation of a tropical landfall in the verdure of the Marquesas. We found places with names of Polynesian fantasies, like Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Opunohu, Rangiroa, Bora Bora, Savusavu, Malolo Lailai, Vanuatu. In Tahiti, we rescued Maverick from grave danger when a gale blew out the tradewinds and she swung onto a reef in the middle of one of those dark and stormy nights you've heard about. With Captain Paul Moore of Okiva, we launched our own rum-fueled pirate attack in the waters of the Royal Papua Yacht Club in New Guinea, and our intended victims' lives were spared only by a timely outbreak of prudence on the part of his crew, Francis--and the authorities. We had a pleasure cruise through the feared Torres Strait and after crossing the Arafura Sea, reached Australia, the Land Down-Under.
Somberly considering the government warnings and constant rumors about Muslim violence after September 11, we determined we would carry on as planned and would, unlike some who felt it was imprudent, fly the American flag. We found our way to the magic island of Bali, where sacred monkeys run wild in their own temple and the dancers and musicians bring word from a parallel universe, alien to our own. Sailing north into the Java Sea, one of the Seven Seas of Sinbad, we were treated with Biblical severity by a thousand miles of strong headwinds, adverse currents, and nightmarish black thunderstorms that blew so hard you couldn't hear your own voice. In an attempt to take refuge from the punishment of wind and seas, we ran Maverick aground in the channel leading to the Indonesian city of Banjarmasin and spent a tough day kedging her off in strong currents, wind, and chop. Finally reaching the Kumai river of Kalimantan, we took a trip into the primordial jungle led by a Dayak warrior with a blowpipe, and came face to face with the Wild Man of Borneo. After transiting the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca, we blasted Conway Twitty at the mysterious hongs of Phang Nga Bay in Thailand. We sailed on to the tea plantations of Ceylon, where tuk-tuks shared the roadway with elephants and goats, and the Tamil Tigers were kept at bay with depth charges near Maverick's berth. We saw the sea turn white near Oman and foiled the pirates in the Gulf of Aden. We sailed up the Red Sea, watched a sunset on the Nile, and smoked sheesha with a Bedouin prince.
Emerging from the Suez Canal and sailing Homer's wine-dark seas where mighty Xerxes sent his ships against the Athenians, we made landfall in Turkey and walked in the footsteps of Alexander the Great. We sailed past Cape Sounion in Greece and remembered the warriors of Argos returning with their beaked ships full of booty from the sack of Troy, as they spotted this landmark of their homeland. Many years later a lookout here spotted the sacred ship returning from Delos, and sent word to Crito telling him his old friend Socrates must prepare for the end. We imagined Saint Paul among his flock as we visited Perge, and Athens, and Corinth. We sat by the temple of Apollo at Delphi, and looked down the steep hillsides of Parnasos where supplicants once traveled from far-off lands to hear the oracle foretell victory or defeat in love and war, and doom for the House of Oedipus. We found the island kingdom of Ithaca that Odysseus returned to, as his Penelope sat patiently awaiting her lost warrior and weaving and unweaving the shroud for his father, Laertes.
We clambered around the lava flows atop Etna and sailed through the Straight of Messina to Stromboli, whose volcano was a lighthouse to the ancient Mediterranean mariner and was where the characters of Jules Verne's Journey To The Center of the Earth regained the surface. Both volcanoes erupted shortly after Maverick's visit. We left the Mediterranean by sailing between the Pillars of Hercules and, crossing the Atlantic Ocean, followed the route discovered by Christopher Columbus five hundred years ago. The passage culminated with Mr. Shrode and the Captain working desperately to keep Maverick from sinking before she reached the boatyard at the island of Carriacou in Grenada. Sailing again after repairs, we encountered brutal sea conditions north of Columbia on our way to the San Blas Islands, where we visited a people still cheerfully living a stone-age life. We transited the locks of the Panama Canal as we crossed the Great Divide to rejoin the Pacific Ocean. Finally setting sail for America and home, we followed Elizabeth's pirate Sir Francis Drake back towards our beloved San Francisco Bay, still to my eyes the most beautiful in the world. Now from my window I look out on waters that are connected, unbounded, to all of our adventures.
Our faithful warrior Maverick lies in her slip with a battle scar or two of her own, weary but at peace with herself. On countless nights she protected us, safe and dry below, while she took it upon herself to suffer the violent pounding of wind and deadly sea. People will walk by her and pause, and she may hear them say, "She sailed around the world." Her rest is well earned, and her trials, for now, are over.
But perhaps one day soon you'll be aboard as Mr. Shrode casts off the lines and we turn her bows to the open sea. You'll hoist the main and we'll enter a waypoint for the land of come-what-may that, according to legend, is found just outside the Golden Gate. Through our hearts will pass a shadow of trepidation as we leave friends and families, and the protection of our familiar Bay behind. We know we'll face the gales and calms, the pirates and the shoals, and the other perils endured by the mariners of olden days. Yet we'll believe, as Slocum did, that a strong hope will master our fears, and that in the fullness of time we'll reach the safe and peaceful harbor of our desires that lies not far beyond the west horizon, at the edge of the sky. There we'll hoist our glasses in honor of those who came before to chart the reefs and take the soundings, and feel no small measure of pride in the knowledge that in our modest way, we have followed in their wake.
Until that happy day, may all the heavens from the North Star to the Southern Cross, that have beckoned us since time beyond knowing, smile down on my fond ambition to have the honor of remaining,
Your Most Loyal and Humble Servant,