Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Jessica Watson, the intrepid 16-year-old (I think she's still 16) who's sailing solo around the world, has just passed the Cape of Good Hope! Since leaving her home in Australia last November, she's crossed the Pacific Ocean and now the Atlantic, leaving only the Indian Ocean and a jaunt around the island continent of Australia before she returns home, a little trip of only, oh, 4,200 miles.

When she sails into Sydney Harbor, she will have set a new world record for the youngest, unassisted voyage around the world.

To some of us up here in the Northern Hemisphere, it might seem like a "short cut" to just clip the southern tips of the continents and sail along those short southern latitudes. Even though the charms of the Southern Ocean are few and the sailing is far more challenging down there, the perceived "short cut" is just an illusion of the Mercator map projector. Looking at her trip on the globe and turning things around a little looks like this:

Not only has she sailed the full length of the hemisphere, she's maintained an incredibly straight and intelligent route. Even though I'm over three times her age, I doubt that I have the wisdom, the courage, and the stamina to do a fraction of what she's accomplished so far.

If you haven't noticed yet, a link to her blog is over to the right.

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