Laura's Blog

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15-06-2012

Last night we saw dolphins. But with no moon and almost no phosphorescence in the water it was hard to see them jumping in front of Guppy's bow. Even so, I could hear them the whole time. They don't seem to like light as they disappeared every time I turned on the decklight hoping to see them better. Wind has now dropped totally and we're just floating here doing 2 knots. That's a big difference from last year when I had a steady 25 knots all the way and Guppy's speed never came under 7 knots! At least there are no waves. It's actually a beautiful cloudless day. Bruno doesn't see the beauty of it, but I really enjoy the endless blue Pacific.

Laura

 


13-06-2012

The wind has come back a little and Guppy is doing 5 knots again. We're just over halfway, with 1490 miles still to go. I love the mornings out here since the temperature is still really nice then, and you can see the day coming. I saw a huge fin which turned out to be two orcas--or at least I think it was two orcas because I just saw black and a little white under water and it was just really really huge. They were so big I was stunned for about half an hour. Definitely really cool. Bruno is still sleeping which he does for most of the day. Bruno comes alive more at night when I want to sleep, so that works :P Kiwi is also mostly active and really hyper at night which doesn't work out quite so well since she loves jumping on my tummy. Bruno is getting a little bored and wants to see land again but I still love it out here. I'm also looking forward to the Marquesas and French Polynesia again but time out here is good too. Life is simple and the sailing is easy. I'm actually really happy with it.

Laura

 


11-06-2012

Blegh...the wind has dropped down the past few days, leaving us rolling at 3 knots over the calm blue empty sea. With the remaining swell, it makes things a little more uncomfortable. The sun is shining bright and it's pretty hot on the boat. The wind also shifted back a little more to the south again, so at least we're sailing with all sails on one side again. Bruno is still sick. Meanwhile, I have been writing my book again and have almost finished with Darwin - Cape Town. So doing well. The weather has been beautiful with little squalls from time to time. Every day, there's a nice clear sky and a beautiful starry night.

Laura

 


09-06-2012

Yeah! We're making great progress, doing an awesome 7 knots. The wind shifted a little more to the southeast so I poled out the Genoa last night. So everything is going well and still the same, except that we got some squalls last night and this morning. We only got the wind, the rain all passed us by. Hmmm, I really would have liked to take a fresh water shower. Bruno's not feeling so bad, at least not as bad as I was, and I am feeling better every day and really enjoying it out here.

Laura

 


07-06-2012

I'm finally recovered from my cold. Mweh, I felt so bad. But at least the weather is good. The winds have been awesome. We've made pretty good progress and there has been a nice sun ever since we left. I'm really enjoying being on sea again. But now Bruno is sick so it's probably going to take a few days before we both enjoy the sea again. Guppy is doing a nice 6.5 kn and we have 2260 nm to go til the Marquesas.

Laura

 


04-06-2012

I totally forgot to mention that we saw a whale the first day out! It was not as close as the one in South Africa, so that was really cool. And now I´m sick, just a really bad cold I think. But I'm sure I will get better in time and the weather is really nice so that helps a lot. Guppy doesn´t ask too much attention. The cat is still being crazy and running around in her little harness. We're enjoying the awesome weather and making pretty good progress, even though at night the wind always dies down a bit. We've also seen a few freighters pass by which is quite a lot for this area.

Laura

 


02-06-2012

Our last evening in San Cristobal, we had a nice dinner aboard our neighbor boat Donna with Kris and then pulled up the anchor and set sail towards the Marquesas. There was a beautiful almost-full moon and a nice breeze the whole night. Right now, we're passing the last island, Isabella, and we're probably going to see it a little while longer because the last couple of hours the wind has mostly been dropping down. The speed is now down to 2 knots, but it's a beautiful day and I'm not expecting to do the trip as fast as last year anyway.

Laura 

 


29-05-2012

The dinghy got stolen last night by one of the locals who asked $300 to give it back again the next morning! We of course didn't pay, we bought a lock and now always lock the dinghy. We're still thinking about leaving in a couple days towards Hiva Oa. That is the same island where I went last year. I really liked it but only stayed a few days. We bought a lot of food in Panama so we're good for a few months more. Also we have fuel, water, finished checking the rigging and propellor, and fixed a few other things. Guppy looks great. Today we went on a snorkel trip with Kris and crew from Donna, the neighbor boat from Belgium. That was fun. We had sea lions swimming and playing around us, saw swimming iguanas and of course turtles and stingrays. I've seen that all before so it's less exciting this time but still a lot of fun. Today was the only really rainy day, right during our snorkel trip so we were really freezing, especially because the water here comes straight from the South Pole and is pretty cold.

Laura

 


27-05-2012

We enjoy sitting on the beach with the sea lions, but trying to keep them off Guppy and out of the dinghy--well, that's not really so easy. It's night now and the temperature here is fine but around noon it gets really, really hot. I have been skating a lot because there are awesome roads here. Well, I did fall one time but that was after I had jumped off the stairs for the 10th time and landed..uh,..upside down. But I'm fine and it is really fun. Bruno skates too. We also met some local teenagers and have been hanging out with them. Last night Bruno played a jam session in a local bar on the waterfront and I sang two songs, so that was fun. I really like it here so far. But today we topped up the water and fuel tanks and we're slowly starting to get ready to leave in a few days. Shaoul is looking for another means of travel, which we decided will be the best thing for him. For now we're having a fun time here and for the next 3000 nm passage it will be just the two of us--and Kiwi, of course.

Laura

 


25-05-2012

pictures

 


25-05-2012

So far I really like the Island of San Cristobal. It's quieter than Santa Cruz last year. There are fewer boats and the town looks really nice. We already made a few good friends and enjoyed the sea lions on the beach. Even though it's really really hot outside, the water is just a perfect cool temperature. We did laundry and will top up on fuel and water tomorrow. With some locals and some people from yachts, we enjoy cold drinks and ice-cream while trying to keep the huge sea lion out of Guppy's cockpit and the dinghy. Internet here is really really slow. I am still trying to upload some more pictures which hasn't worked so far, but I'm gonna try again. Everything here is really awesome, so we'll probably stay a few more days.

Laura

pictures 


24-05-2012

picture

 


23-05-2012

Crossing the equator was fun. We had awesome weather and good winds. It's already the fourth time I've crossed the line. Of course I made pancakes again and wore my crown that I saved from last year. Bruno offered a guitar pick and Shaul had already offered the inside of his stomach. We just sat and enjoyed the moment. Now we are at anchor in San Cristobal. It was a hard trip except the last two days which were pretty good sailing. Last night the wind turned right on the noseagain so we went a bit offtrack for most of the night. Then the wind dropped down and I started the engine to do the last few miles to San Cristobal as it slowly got light outside. Five minutes after we anchored, the immigration stuff started, since they come with dinghies towards your boat. Well at least that's done now. San Cristobal looks really nice and the anchorage is definitely way better since it's just calm here, without the one-meter swell like in Santa Cruz last year. So now we are enjoying a cold cola, looking at the many sea lions, and cleaning up the boat..

Laura

 


22-05-2012

It just got light out and we have about 110 miles to go. We made such good progress the last few days it's unbelievable, and we're still doing 4.5 knots with almost no wind! Really it's just because the waves calmed down. I keep checking Guppy's rigging and all the vital parts every day but she still looks great. Of course you can see that she has about 29,000 miles under her keel, but without any big problems :-) Everyone onboard is super excited knowing that we're going to see the Galapagos tomorrow. We are 40 miles from the equator so that's also awesome. Yesterday we saw a huge hammerhead shark pass by about 2 meters from the boat. That was really cool to see :P Kiwi just woke up and is jumping on my head and meowing because she's hungry and now she is walking over my computer and getting really funny. So I'm gonna give her some food now.

Laura


21-05-2012

Things are a whole lot better over here now. The annoying crosswaves calmed down and so did the wind. So we're sailing full main, mizzen, genoa, and jib again and have been doing a really awesome 6.5 knots the whole night! We're now 240 miles from the Galapagos =D So yeah, things are better. I made pancakes for breakfast, which the guys really liked :P It's still really cloudy but I feel like that's a good thing since otherwise it would be really hot so close to the equator. Shaul isn't seasick anymore as long as he stays outside. I even heard him singing this morning. Maybe he is even going to like sailing, although the boat is still at an angle and sometimes catches a wave in the cockpit :P

Laura

 


20-05-2012

Still really rough out here. The course is a little bit better. We can go the right direction now, sailing closehauled into 20 to 25 knots of wind doing about 4.5 knots. Everyone and everything is salty and the boat is a mess inside, like usual in rough weather. Shaul is still really seasick but he seem to be doing a little bit better today, so that's good. And well, everything else is still the same. I did get some good sleep last night having the radar turned on and waking up every hour, like I did when sailing solo.. So I feel fine again =D Also there are fewer squalls today which is really awesome but I am still looking forward to a better wind direction..

Laura

 


19-05-2012

The cat enjoys the sailing so far: sleeps, plays, eats, and gets fatter by the day. I made a little harness for her so she lives outside in the cockpit and under the sprayhood. Shaul is seasick most of the time, especially now that we have wind about 15 to 20 knots on the nose and 6 foot waves rolling over Guppy. Together with a swell against us, we're only doing 3 knots! And I can't get any more out of her unless we're going back to Panama. Again we came 50 miles closer to the Galapagos. I saw on my gribfiles that these winds stay around 2 to 4 degrees N for a few days more. The boys were thinking sailing is relaxing. Well now they now it's more like a roller coaster, you're getting wet, and with three people inside it becomes a big mess. Maybe I should head south for a day to at least get a little bit out of these winds, but then again the wind shifted a little so I can go 250 degrees or tack doing 150. And both ways we're not making a lot of progress. Well yeah, someday we will get there.

Laura

 


18-05-2012

Meeh, progress is so slow...There is just enough wind to sail but right against us, so we can either go south...or west. We've come about 50 miles closer to the Galapagos since yesterday. Even on the engine we're going slow because of the southwest swell and short waves that keep bumping Guppy around. But there's nothing we can do so we keep tacking--sailing a day south, sailing a day west and slowly, slowly coming closer. Well, I'm happy that there's wind now of course. But still. With this speed it will take a while for the the remaining 500 nm. Everything else is okay. We still had some thunder and lightning going on at night, and a few squalls during the day but the last two days have been pretty okay. Yesterday I made pancakes and the mood on the boat is still pretty good. Everyone has their moments of course and Bruno's iPod fell in the water with all his beloved music on it, so he wasn't really happy yesterday. But yeah...shit happens.

Laura

 


17-05-2012

There is still a lot of rain and squalls and sometimes a lot of wind because of the squalls like right now.. argh! Okay, the squall is gone. I'm back. We made pretty good progress last night, a little off course because of the southwest wind, but everyone got a decent amount of sleep and feels better which is worth a lot. The wind is really close to dropping down totally, and now we are going to enjoy some heavy rain. Kiwi the cat is getting more used to her moving house every day and seems to like it a lot. Most of the time she is the most exciting thing on the whole boat :P

Laura

 


15-05-2012

Saturday afternoon we left Panama City heading towards the Galapagos. So far progress has been really, really slow. And the trip has been pretty interesting too. A backpacker, Shaul, who we met back in Shelter Bay decided at the last minute to come with us to the Galapagos. He has been seasick, a few times really bad. Especially the first night he spent puking his guts out, while thunder, lightning and rain came down as if it was the last day on earth. I let Bruno and Shaul keep watch too, but they are so scared for something to happen that they wake me up every time something changes, which is almost the whole time of course. But they are good listeners. And I still enjoy sailing with crew. After a windless rainy day, just after it got dark, the engine stopped all of a sudden and Guppy lay calmly still. As I looked under the boat, my fear came true: a huge blue heavy sail was stuck around the propellor and rudder. I tried to get it out but there was no way that was going to work without jumping into the water. And for that we had to wait until it got light again. When it finally got light, Shaul jumped in the water but he was way too scared to do anything, so I jumped in the water with a knife and started cutting off the sail while he kept watch and Bruno kept watching us from the deck. After almost one hour I got most of the huge sail out of the propellor and rudder and Guppy started moving again. Now I'm just really tired and in a bit of pain because after that I fell down in the back cabin. Just a few bruises, scrapes, and cuts so I'm doing okay..

Laura

Deutsche Übersetzung


11-05-2012

We've been on the Pacific side now for two days. The transit was wonderful. We didn't have a drop of rain and had to wait less than 10 minutes to get in the locks every time. Everything went so fast, we were through before I even realized it. I had the same advisor as last year which is really rare because there are a lot of advisors, so that was fun. Just like last year, he didn't do a lot--drank water and ate the food Bruno made. Advisors are really just on the boat to advise.You practically do everything yourself and as skipper you still have the full responsibility for your boat and the crew. If he ever thinks you're not doing the right thing, then he says something. After having transited the canal four times, I pretty much knew how everything worked so he had an easy transit just as we did. Yesterday morning I went to the dentist. They filled a few small cavities and everything looks fine again so that's over with for the next while. Today we're going to see if we can find water and diesel to top everything up and then get ready to set sail again. I've been here long enough now with the hot humid climate and heavy thunderstorms. Even though the skyline is beautiful, I really look forward to going to French Polynesia again.

Laura

 


10-05-2012

Panama canal transit photo's

 


01-05-2012


The photo,s

 


27-04-2012

We left the San Blas pretty fast, as there was really no wind and the bugs and mosquitoes were just eating us alive, while at night the thunder and lighting kept partying right next to Guppy. One time it was so close I could feel a vibration going through the whole boat. So we left after two days, setting sail to Colon where we arrived Sunday afternoon. As soon as we stepped on the dock we were asked to line-handle on another boat going through the canal the next day, and since it would be a good experience for Bruno, we said yes. So I didn't even have enough time to say hello to all the people I met last year here in Colon and I was already sitting on another boat going through the canal for the third time in my life. It was pouring the whole way but it was still a lot of fun and we met a lot of new people these last few days. Now we're back on Guppy staying in the realy nice Shelter Bay Marina just like last year and we're probably gonna be here a whole lot longer. The waiting list for the Panama Canal is pretty long and there are not enough advisors so our transit date it set for the 7th for now. Still 10 days to hang around here. But there are a lot of cool people here, a swimming pool, and warm showers, and there's always work to do on Guppy so we're just going to hang out and wait until we can go through the canal.

Laura

 

 


26-04-2012

The photo,s


20-04-2012

Yesterday morning we arrived in the San Blas Islands. The last two days to the San Blas we had little wind and the speed was going down to 3 knots but that was okay. Otherwise we would have arrived at night anyway, so we just waited till some wind came again, and it came! Well, together with thunderstorms and very hard rain. We had been having some lighting the last two nights but always pretty far away and without thunder. Then the sky turned black and the wind picked up as the lighting and the thunder came closer and closer. Bruno decided to stay safely inside and look after the little bird that flew into the cockpit before it got dark.I was reefing my main in the pouring rain when a huge flash landed in the water about 300 feet away from Guppy. The thunderstorms were all around us so there wasn't anything we could do other than just wait til it would be over again. As it finally got light, I could see the little palm tree islands again, same ones as I saw last year, and it felt really nice to see something I already knew. Last time I came in with rain and a lot of wind. This time I came in with thunderstorms and even more rain but less wind, as it had calmed down a little. We were really tired so we went to sleep as soon as we dropped anchor. At night the lightning and thunderstorms came back again so I couldn't sleep as well as I had hoped for, but in the morning everything was gone and the nice sun that I remembered from last year came back. I went snorkeling and cleaned up the mess in Guppy. I think I will stay here a few days before I head over to Panama to get through the canal for a second time in my life.

Laura

 


17-04-2012

Everything is going very well since I left Bonaire last Saturday. The first day we didn't have much wind so that was a good start for Bruno. In the night cross waves came which in combination with the little wind made life pretty uncomfortable and I was waiting for Bruno to get seasick, but he is actually doing really well and only gets a little seasick inside. Now the wind has picked up and the waves are building up. So Guppy is moving along really well again but now every once in a while a wave rolls over Guppy. The wind, waves, and squalls were a bit of a surprise for Bruno, as he had already started saying the waves were very high at five feet. But after flying around the cabin a few times and a big wave hitting him right in the face, I think he's getting pretty used to the better sailing weather. As for me it's pretty weird to sail with someone else, especially someone who doesn't know anything about sailing. But handling Guppy alone is no problem and it's actually pretty nice to have someone around to talk to and to do the dishes ;-). So yeah, so far so good and a few days left to the San Blas Islands.

Laura

 


13-04-2012

The last few days I've been busy getting Guppy ready for the next trip, going to the San Blas again. I have been checking the rigging and all the electronics after not using it for more than a month and fixing some little problems. Now she is ready again. My new dinghy just arrived and I've been testing it out for the last hour. I definitely needed a new dinghy, because my other dinghy doesn't really float anymore. And it's pretty nice to get ashore without having to swim. Today I said goodbye to all my friends I made on Bonaire, except for one who I became really good friends with and is also keen on the adventure of sailing to New Zealand. So tomorrow I leave Bonaire again, but with crew this time. He's not a sailor so I can teach him a lot. On the other hand, he's a good guitar player so I can probably learn a lot too. I'm really curious about how it will be to sail with crew. Not being alone on the boat and not having the silence around me anymore, but it's a nice new challenge!

Laura 

 

Deutsche Übersetzung 

 


09-04-2012

 After doing my last interview in the Canary Islands for a German tv-show, I finally returned to Guppy. My return didn't go as smoothly as planned. I enjoyed my time in the Canary Islands, being able to meet up with friends from last year. Friday the 30th of March I boarded a plane to Madrid. The flight was delayed by an hour, consequently I missed my connecting flight to Amsterdam. The next flight available appeared to be the morning after, and so I missed my connecting flight from Amsterdam to Bonaire as well! To top it off, there were no more flights to Bonaire for the entire upcoming week. I decided to inform about what flights were further available and luckily managed to catch a flight to... Curacao. At least it was a lot closer to home than where I was at the time. I booked the ticket and ran to the other end of the airport to catch my flight.


Ten hours later I arrive in Curacao, relieved to be closer te Guppy. All that was left was to catch a flight to Bonaire, and I figured it would be easy. Of course the last flight had just left, so I had to wait another 10 hours. Time passed and within 15 minutes of boarding the plane I was in Bonaire. First there was land, and then as we neared the island I saw Guppy's masts.

3 days of traveling and only 6 hours of sleep took it's toll on me, but I was excited to be back home. My relief wouldn't last long though, as my luggage would only arrive on the next flight. No chance to sleep as yet, and 4 hours later I finally managed to pick up my suitcases.

After all that I slept for 20 hours straight, and treated myself to a decent meal, a welcome change for all the airline food I'd been living on. Besides being busy with writing my book and doing schoolwork, I am now working on Guppy to get her ready to set sail once again.

Laura

 


19-03-2012

I've already been fourteen days in what is for me still really cold Holland. But in these fourteen days, I haven't exactly been sitting still. The Hiswa (a big boat show in Holland), De Laatste show in Belgium, and Gotschalk in Germany are already behind me, and last Saturday I gave a presentation in Drimmelen--for now the last one. Everything went very well and I got a lot of positive reactions. The Hiswa was especially busy. It was nice to tell my story to people who were really listening and interested in my story. But after six days of telling the same story and answering a lot of questions, I was happy to do nothing for one day. The talk shows in Germany, Belgium and Holland were also really nice. What I liked most were all the positive reactions,and not having to convince people anymore that I could do it because I have already done it. It's something I still can't really realize. Even though the past fourteen days were really nice, it tired me out a whole lot more than sailing does. I'm really happy to have a week off now so I can go visit some family before I head back home to Guppy, which is still bravely waiting for me in Bonaire. When I'm there, I will continue writing my book and hopefully soon be able to set sail to New Zealand.

Laura

 


01-03-2012

Thanks a lot for all the title suggestions for my book. In the meantime I've made my decision and will let everyone know when I'm at the Hiswa boat show in Holland. I am still enjoying Bonaire for a few more days before heading out into the cold--with the plane this time. I took a two day break from writing my book and went sailing with my minicat. There's been a lot of wind the past few days so that was great fun. Writing the book is a lot of fun too, reading all the pieces I wrote along the way and thinking about it all really makes me wanna leave again, or at least most of the time…

Laura 

      


15-02-2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm already in Bonaire for a while now. But time is flying, I'm really busy trying to make something out of my diary's that I can hopefully soon call a book. I also really have to start thinking about a name for it now. So Any suggestions? Everything else is going fine over here, the first days in Bonaire I was slowly dying because of all the bugs in my boat, so I finally did make mosquito nets in front of the hatches after one and a half year.. And that's working really good. It made me realize how lucky I was that I never had so many mosquito's.

Laura

 

 

 


07-02-2012

 

see the dutch weblog

The Dutch weblog


06-02-2012

A quick update after sailing into Sint Maarten, 366 days after I saw it disappearing behind the horizon. It was really nice to spend some time with my family in Sint Maarten. They really enjoyed the warm weather and listening to all my stories and so did I listening to their stories. After 10 great days everyone started to head home again, except for my dad who sailed with me to Bonaire. There was a good breeze and we did the 470 miles in 2 days and 21 hours. It was nice to sail with someone else for a change but I also had to get used to it. Also my dad enjoyed it pushing Guppy a whole lot more than I would have done. I've sailed quite enough the past year and especially the past months, 2 oceans within 4 months. Probably I will start missing the sea soon enough and I want to head out again.

Laura 


25-01-2012

See the dutch weblog    http://www.lauradekker.nl/Basis.aspx?Tid=2&Lid=12&Lit=VIEW


23-01-2012

The dark and starry night sky slowly vanishes its floating lights sprinkling to dust as small islands appear on the horizon. I can see Sint Maarten very far in the distance. St. Eustatius is behind me, Saba is abeam and St. Bath is on starboard. The Simpson Bay bridge opening is for 3 pm this afternoon so I have to keep at a maximum speed of 4 knots but even with the mainsail reefed, the Genoa furled and the mizzen Guppy is still going at 5,5 knots... 366 days ago I was sailing by on the opposite side of those islands heading southward as I watched Sint Maarten fall over the horizon. Now I recognize the shape of the islands and it sinks into my mind that Sint Maarten is just ahead, that I have circumnavigated the whole world in one year... solo. I decide to bring about Guppy as a strong squall is coming on us and anyway she is already going too fast. A heavy curtain of rain hides the islands from me and I am annoyed that even though Sint Maarten is right there close, I still have to wait. But two more hours are nothing to 41 days of sailing. So I am an hour away from St. Barth, and I have stopped our progression to wait for the signal from Sint Maarten to come in. I sailed around the world and I am still surprised that it just feels so incredibly normal... And then here goes Guppy all sails up rushing to Simpson Bay with more and more boats coming on side. On one of the boats I can see my father and my mother, and I have to look twice to recognize my sister who turned up with bright red hair. With the boat flotilla in tow I slowly manoeuvre Guppy under the bridge (this makes it the second time) heading for a huge crowd of people waiting just for me! It is overwhelming, too fantastic and most of the time I don't believe it is really happening. Then it is family hugs, some interviews and much action and it is over before I can take it all in. But after a good night sleep it all slowly sank in. All but for my feeling that what I did is totally normal. By the way I am not disappointed at all that the Guinness Book of World Records won't recognize my attempt. Back in 2009 Mike Perham was recognized as the last ever of the now abolished youngest circumnavigator category. In any case I did not start on my trip to achieve any record but I did it just for myself. It is sweet to me that I won't be sailing for a while, that I don't have to keep everything in order all the time, and that I get to see my parents if I feel like it , even though that may take getting used to. I still don't know how long I will stay here or where I will go next. For now I am having a great time and enjoying my family. Then in early March I will be back in the Netherlands to attend the HISWA [ Amsterdam Boat Show, March 6 to 11, Amsterdam, http://www.hiswarai.nl ]. And then I want to sail some more with 'Gup' over to the Panama Canal again and the Pacific to New Zealand as my final destination. I have been asked many times if I will keep blogging. Of course I will keep on writing my blog but certainly I won't be writing as much as I did in the past year. I don't have internet access aboard Guppy, Sailmail only and I don't want to keep bothering my father with putting my texts on my page. So when I am ashore I will update my blog but not in Dutch since most people understand English but not Dutch. Because I barely spoke Dutch during my trip, going from English to Dutch and back is a bit difficult, in fact writing the blog in a single language was only half the work... Back in 2009 and 2010 with the boards putting on the pressure the sponsor who had agreed to lend me the Hurley 800 withdrew his offer and I was left without a suitable boat at the beginning of 2010. I would like to thank my family who put up all their money together so I could buy the boat I was dreaming of, a battered 33 year old Jeanneau Gín Fizz that underwent a complete refit before I could go sailing on her. I want to thank my father for helping me get the boat in super good condition again. I also would like to thank each and everyone of the people who supported and helped me, and again I want to mention my sponsors, my family, my friends and especially my father. Without you all I would never have been able to do this, to learn much about myself, to learn about the world and to fulfill my lifelong dream. And finally many, many thanks for all the comments in my guestbook and in so many languages, it's really just amazing!

Laura & Guppy


20-01-2012

Only 160 nautical miles left to go and today I saw the first of many small islands I'll be sailing by. Guadeloupe is still hidind over the horizon but I expect that it will soon be in sight. Exactly 364 days ago I was sailing on the opposite side of Guadeloupe heading west, with a whole bunch of old fishing buoys and nets in tow... Since then a lifetime of experiences has gone by. It feels like it was just yesterday but at the same time it seems like it was an eternity ago. Back then I had no idea I would be back now with a life load of new experiences and 27 000 nautical miles under Guppy' keel. But here I am having almost circumnavigated the whole world. Yes, that idea is slowly sinking in… But I don't really believe it...

Laura


19-01-2012

Today is a beautiful sunny day with less wind than yesterday which makes sailing quiet and easy. Still Guppy is going fast enough for us to arrive in Sint Maarten on the 21st. With only 280 nautical miles to go I expect to see the first islands sometime tomorrow. This means that today is the last time that my days start in an endless valley of waves and end in an endless valley of waves. I haven't really catched up yet to the idea that in just two days I will be the youngest person to have sailed around the world. But I am looking forward to my arrival. I will have fresh food, I will take a walk or even a little sprint and I will be with my family again. Also my 33 year old 'Gup' deserves the rest after two non-stop crossings of 6000 miles each. She is doing unbelievably great for her age and will barely need maintenance.

Laura


18-01-2012

Reaching the end of my circumnavigation, I look back with joy at the adventures of the past year. I am also thinking hard, and trying to come to terms with the year prior to my voyage. The Dutch government was not kind to me. As a 13 year old girl, it was never my intention to be the center of world news. From the moment my plans became public, Youth Care and other government organizations tried to stop me. During the first court case, in August 2009, (even before Youth Care had ever seen me, or had spoken to me…), they asked the Judge to take me away from my father and to lock me up in a secure clinic! By doing this they tried to stop me from sailing. Another five court cases followed and another five times Youth Care asked the judge to lock me up. I only wanted to go sailing! Fortunately the judge never honored this terrible request. Over a period of 11 months, I was constantly afraid that Youth Care would lock me up. Also during this period, there were intimidating interviews with Youth Care workers. It was all a frightening and traumatic experience. So often these terrible memories come to me. I can’t ignore them. It is painful. Now, after sailing around the world, with difficult port approaches, storms, dangerous reefs, and the full responsibility of keeping myself and Guppy safe, I feel that the nightmares the Dutch government organizations put me through, were totally unfair. I think that the nightmares will follow me for the rest of my life... At sea, I feel comfortable and I come to rest. I especially enjoy the long passages over the Indian and Atlantic Ocean. I hear now that the Dutch government organizations have started causing problems again. I am seriously thinking about not returning to the Netherlands. Of course I will discuss this with my parents. We will make decisions carefully, such as finishing my high school education and making plans for my future. Last but not least, I would like to say that I realize my voyage would not have been possible without the support of all my fans from around the globe and my sponsors. I am very grateful to them and I would like to thank them all! I can’t be negative about the Netherlands, a country with so many good people. Because of my past experience with the Dutch government organizations, I have the feeling that it will be very difficult for me to return to the Netherlands. I will complete my solo circumnavigation on the island of Sint Maarten. I am sorry if I disappoint my Dutch fans. What a party it would have been if Hoek van Holland or IJmuiden had been my port of arrival…!!!.. Who knows, it might still happen one day…

Laura


17-01-2012

Squalls have kept me awake all night and Guppy had a good shower of fresh sky water. It washed away most of the salt from 'Gup' which made me quite happy … but of course as soon as she was desalted a nice and salty wave washed over Guppy again ... Early this morning the squalls went away leaving just a few scattered clouds with a good wind and some friendly waves so today was one of the nicest days of sailing we had since we left the South Atlantic Ocean. "Winddancer" the boat from New Zealand, is sailing 1130 nautical miles behind and has just crossed the equator. I had no contact with them for some days because their SSB-radio microphone wasn't working. But as if by magic it started to work again and we are chatting every day which is a nice distraction from the endless 'land'scape of waves around Guppy. Still 610 nautical miles to go and with the good wind we should arrive in four days … As we are coming closer all the time I am getting apprehensive and I can't take my mind off our arrival so easily ...

Laura


16-01-2012

Waves are smaller today and especially longer so my life aboard is much more easier. Small squalls have kept annoying me all day with their strong winds, crosswinds and headwinds but without shedding a single drop of rain … so I have kept busy adjusting the sails and correcting Guppy's course. We have 780 nautical miles still to go if we keep at our current speed and we should be in Sint Maarten on January 21st. But I don't really realize that I have circumnavigated the whole globe and a little more... I am thinking that I lived this sailing, I am thinking that this dream is real but soon to be just memory, I am thinking that what I dreamed of doing and cherished when I was eight years old is almost over, I am thinking ...

Laura


15-01-2012

The wind has calmed down a little and the hatch to the cabin can stay open. Also I can sit on the deck and easily check on everything without getting showered by waves which is great. But as far as the flying fishes business is about they keep jumping aboard Guppy. I have no idea what I did to them but they just keep on bullying me! I was enjoying the sun today and a whopper one of those hit me right on the head. I wouldn't have been sitting where I was, the flying fish would have landed right inside the cabin again! The waves are still high but Guppy has mega-fun sailing them so it looks like we will come in Sint Maarten earlier than expected.

Laura


14-01-2012

The wind keeps pulling us ahead. Happily the waves are longer now so less of them end up in the cockpit which makes my life aboard much more comfortable. Guppy is going like a spear with the small jib, mainsail reefed and the mizzen up so by tomorrow the distance to Sint Maarten will be down to three-digit... The birds have left for quieter parts, but instead I have plenty of flying fishes again… Some of them come into the cockpit for me to study and some others just pass by like this one group that was chased by a very big fish, possibly a dorado. I guess some of them won't have survived since it was swimming very close on their tails. But with all the waves washing over Gup and with the others foamy whitecaps it is very difficult to make a good observation of the marine life...

Laura


13-01-2012

Within no time the waves have built up, becoming high and steep. The sea has been changed into a cooking pot and aboard of Guppy it's like being in a washingmachine. All day a group of birds have been around playing with the waves. It seems they have more fun as I have, this isn't comfortable anymore. The waves reduce our speed, but Guppy behaves well and despite this situation we still manage to make good progress. Some moments no waves are ending up in the cockpit, so I do not need waves all the time to cooldown...

Laura


12-01-2012

The waves are rolling nonstop over deck now that Gup and the Trade Wind have found each other… And so between the closed hatches and the wind blowing outside I am left with two choices: either I stay inside in the stuffy heat or I go have a salt water bath outside and freeze in the wind ...I am doing both. Guppy is enjoying herself in the wind as she is charging through the waves at a good 6,5 knots eating down the miles to Sintt Maarten with 1450 nautical miles left to go. All is fine aboard, the waves keep rocking us back and forth and we are making some good progress.

Laura


11-01-2012

All night and today we had good wind and the shining sun made for a very hot day today. But the worst of the doldrums is now behind us. It is not so for 'Winddancer' a boat from New Zealand that left Cape Town one week after me and is sailing 950 nautical miles behind in the Trade Winds of the South Atlantic Ocean. It is the only yacht that I keep in touch with via SSB radio which is plenty for me. I want to keep enjoying the quiet and peace at sea as much I can before everything changes in about 12 days. This time upon arrival I won't have two days to adjust to life ashore like I could in Durban. Still I am looking forward to my arrival and officially end my journey even though I feel like I already accomplished what I had set out to do a long time ago. I have learned very much about myself along the way and I also have learned very much from all the different places and the many different people that I came in contact with in so many different countries. I have learned from The Pacific Ocean and its islands I had only seen in my dreams. I have learned from the Indian Ocean which snapped me out of my world of dreams showing me bad weather, storms, calm winds and what a long crossing is. And so too I am learning from the South Atlantic Ocean with its soft Trade Winds and smooth sailing that lets me look back in time and assimilate all the wonderful experiences I had going around the world. But the time just went by too fast. It caught up to Guppy and everything will abruptly change soon as we will come under the media limelight... I am so glad that I still have 12 more days on the Atlantic Ocean before that time comes because that part never appeared in any of my dreams...

Laura


10-01-2012

The gusty and heavy squall that brought 40 knots winds and pouring rain finally dissolved with the night. Today the wind has settled to a nice crosswind of 10 to 15 knots and at times I even catched glimpses of sunrays. Still, the sky is cloudy and the wind is unsteady although not shifting direction that much. So since morning Guppy is happily cutting through the waves once again and with the help of the currents we are making good progress.. Number of nautical miles to Sint Maarten is down to 1750 nm.

Laura


09-01-2012

To a windless night with squalls followed another cloudy day with even more squalls. And the rain has not stopped all afternoon. Even after I had filled all of my buckets, my bottles and my water tanks with fresh water it kept raining ... It rained so hard that I had to keep the hatch to the cabin closed so I wouldn't have to put on a water ballet performance inside Guppy. Now with the closed hatch the air is getting to be very hot inside. The wind keeps shifting in all kinds of possible directions with speeds from 0 to 30 knots and at times up to 40 knots... Bouncing ball me is really missing the South Atlantic Ocean and longs to be out of the doldrums soon... But I also have to say that today a large school of dolphins suddenly appeared in front of the bow during one of the heavier squalls. That cheered me up . Guppy was cutting through the sea at 7 knots as the rain kept nailing the white foamy tips of the waves when the dolphins came jumping out and kept at jumping and diving back in the water. Of all the many times I have seen dolphins, this time was really the best and I enjoyed it more than ever.

Laura


08-01-2012

Today was overcast with squalls bringing rain and wonderfully refreshing showers to me, at first... But the squalls intensified and the showers turned to strong, heavy and continuous rain with or without wind that then shifted to all directions making Guppy roll in the waves. The wind turned so quickly that I wondered if it made sense to keep changing the sails sides each time or if I should wait for the wind to shift back to the good direction. Looks like I am not finished filling up on doldrums memories ... but still we are making good progress overall.

Laura


07-01-2012

Guppy and I have crossed the equator again so we have now left the southern hemisphere and jumped from summer to winter in the northern hemisphere - not that the temperature really feels like winter here in the tropics ... Sadly I ran out of eggs so I couldn't bake Neptune his pancake but I did a short speech thanking him for the great sailing weather we enjoyed in the South Atlantic Ocean. And so we are still pulled by a 10 to 15 knots wind blowing from the South-South-East. It was cloudy this morning with only a few scattered raindrops falling. As a result the air got even hotter so that I spent all day showering with buckets of water ... Of course the birds were still there last night but I guess they felt the camera flash was something annoying so they didn't whistle a single 'cheep', not one came out of their tiny beaks for the whole night. Well, I can't say I felt like I missed their performance ;-)

Laura


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