10 years as an amputee and half way around the world .


I recently celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the accident that claimed my arm and leg. This is a day I’ve celebrated every year since I was hit by that drunk driver. It is simply a celebration of life and I was lucky enough to share this day with my adopted family of yachties and some very welcoming local people in Bazaruto. This was the 1st time I’ve really shared this day with more than just a few close friends and it couldn’t have been more special.

 


It is an amazing time in my travels. The Indian ocean has been by far the most challenging leg of my journey so far. Everything from doldrums for weeks on end making a 900 mile trip take 24 days to rounding Cape de Ambre at 9 knots with 40 knots of wind and 4 meter seas. There has been lots of gold to go with this challenge though. Every stop across this ocean has been amazing. Its hard to even pick a favorite. Going from Thailand to the Andaman islands, Sri Lanka, Chagos, Madagascar, Mozambique and not at my ½ way point in South Africa. Each place and each new connection has been incredible as well as getting time with a lifelong friend in Madagascar.

 


After this day ten years ago I started to notice a change in myself. Friends became closer while others more distant. This was also true with family and romantic partners. I had a conversation with some close friends about this and how extreme hardship had opened me up to experience love and friendship more deeply and truthfully. There is also a great appreciation of how good things can be and we discussed if it is possible to open up In this way without the extreme lows. This conversations focus shifted from me to his son and if he would be better off in the long run if he had to go through a major crisis. We both hoped not because neither of us could bring ourselves to throw any obstacles in this young mans way.

If someone would have told me ten years ago while intubated and lying in a hospital bed that I shouldn’t worry about the future and that in 10 years I would have already sailed half way around the world by myself on my own yacht, visited 17 countries in the process, and would be going on a trip to Antarctica. I probably would have believed them. After all I’m a fairly positive person. What I would not have guessed is the struggle between that day and this one. I still struggle with phantom pain and do not sleep well. This oddly helps on crossings when it is best that I don’t sleep for very long. I’m still walking a tight rope financially. There is always a long list of things that need to be fixed on the boat and prosthetic issues that I have to prioritize because I simply can’t afford to fix everything. I have had so many people that have contributed recently. Two people bought my airfare to Chile so I could join a yacht sailing to Antarctica in December. Zululand yacht club here in Richards bay set me up with a safe spot for Tiama so I can rest easy while away, and Ulman Sails in Durban gave me a really nice price on a new mainsail and repairing my genoa. A friend gave me some diesel in Bazaruto and another covered my recent trip to a nature park. With my financial tightrope every little or big bit helps because a boat is a list of problems one has to prioritize. The cheaper I can get by the better shape my partner on this journey is.

 

I really feel this last year has been the best of my life. Not since I was a kid have I felt so excited about what the next day will bring. With all of this gold comes a price. This community I’ve shared the last 5 months with (the Chagos Fleet) will be going different ways soon including Moyo whom I’ve sailed on a similar path for over 2 years. I’ve made friends whom will last a lifetime though will need to say goodbye for now to. Found love and heart break…..possibly more than once. I have learned to just keep going and it will work out because of all the amazing people in this world. I have also learned to trust myself crossing oceans by myself and think I finally convinced my friends, parents, gramps, auntie, and myself that this journey was a good idea.

 

Aloha from South Africa

 

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