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I don't know how many people in this hemisphere have been following the story, but I've been tracking Jessica Watson's attempt to become the youngest person (at age 16) to circumnavigate the globe by sailboat since I stumbled across an article on her a couple of months ago.  She actually only set sail on the weekend after months of prep.  There's been some controversy about someone as young as her being allowed to make such an attempt but for my part she seems prepared, skilled, and experienced, and I applaud her attempt. 

Though the sort of boating I do is very different, and the scale can't even be compared, I think there are some parallels.  For one I find that every time I hit the water for a paddle I'm confronted with an unexpected, absolutely breathtakingly beautiful moment in nature.  Sometimes it's a fish that suddenly jumps over the bow of my boat or a huge blue heron that glides through the air just feet away from me, other times it's the morning fog lifting from a glassy lake or a hidden white sand beach that appears around a coastline corner.  In yesterday's entry on Jessica's blog she described an unbelievable scene, which I've pasted below.  To go directly to her website you can click here (from her site you can find a link to her blog).  The entry inspired me to plan a final paddling day trip to Lake of the Woods this weekend.  Can't wait...

"Blues and Pinks"

Today's been a quiet one out here. For a while again this afternoon we were completely becalmed again. I expected that it would frustrate me making so little progress but I really enjoyed the chance just to take it easy and start on a book between tweaking the sails. It's been so long since I've had anytime just to take it easy for a while and the freedom was amazing. No deadlines, nothing to rush off to, I can eat whatever I like whenever I like, no one to send me off to bed! It was pretty special this afternoon when the sea glassed right out, it was as if you could see right to the distant blue bottom apart from huge schools of jelly fish floating past. We even had a couple of dolphins drop in to say hi. The other unexpected visitor was a small plane who circled around overhead, just when I thought I was finally by myself!
I've already discovered that a tidy cabin means a happy Jessica. I can only relax when everything on deck, in the cockpit and down below is in its place and ready for the unexpected. Right now the sun's setting and the sky's turned a shade of pink, exactly the same as Ella's Pink Lady [Scott's note: that's the name of her boat], very pretty! So I might get the camera out before finding something to eat (I'm thinking sweet and sour lamb and then pancakes), getting Ella's Pink Lady ready for the night, then calling in for evening skeds.

Impressive young adventurer there!  She seems to be well prepared and has learned from her recent incidents.  Helps that she has all the state-of-the-art equipment.

I say good for her and safe sailing ... however the Search and Rescue guy in me says there's probably a reasonable chance that some SAR crew will have to help her out before she is done her journey!?!

* Just a little anecdote:
Back in 89 when one of the aircraft on my Squadron was flying a coast patrol flight well south of Halifax, it picked up a 'May Day' call from a guy in distress who was sailing solo across the Atlantic, but had lots of damage from a bad storm encounter.  Nearby was the Queen Elizabeth II cruiseship ... they we contacted and changed course to assist (apparently the Captain made a sharp turn and it was impressive to watch) and was there in a short while.  However, when they tried to help him, he insisted that they tow his boat or he would not get off ... danger of death or not!  Result:  lots of arguing, some assistance and he pressed on!  Crazy determined eh!

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