|Laura Dekker sailed around the world for 2 years in her boat Guppy|
You put me on a boat and I will turn into a vomiting walrus in an Adam Sandler film. That’s why I am in awe of 20-year-old Laura Dekker.
When Laura was 14 she embarked on a journey to realise her dream. She wanted to sail around the world – ALONE.
Laura was born in a boat in New Zealand to a sea-loving father and a mother who didn’t share the passion. And when her parents divorced, Laura came to live with her father in Holland.
At the age of 10, she began dreaming of sailing around the world.
Father and daughter bought a dead and “smelly” boat, “because it was cheap”, and transformed it into a cheerful 38-foot, red and white sailboat called Guppy.
However, when Laura decided to embark on her ambitious voyage, the courts of Netherlands refused permission. She’s too young, they said and the Dutch protection agencies took over her guardianship. Laura fought back and won the case. But it did leave emotional scars and later, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, she would decided never to return to Holland.
On 20 January 2011, Laura set sail from Europe. The journey included stops in the Canary Islands, Panama, the Galapagos Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Bora Bora and Australia. She would sail for 519 days and 27,000 nautical miles. Laura recorded her journey and the footage has been used in a documentary film about her journey called Maidentrip.
When you watch the film Maidentrip, you jaw is mostly on the floor. You wonder, is it possible for a human to know no fear at all?
During the journey, the journey gets tossed in heady storms and heavy swells. Then there’s the time when Guppy’s sails went still due to lack of winds and for 19 days Laura bobbed on the Indian ocean before catching a wind and sailing 4500 miles to Durban. “After 30 days in the ocean, time ceases to exist,” she says,”and I don’t care. I am one with nature”. Laura learns the language of nature and talks to the birds, fish, winds, waves and skies. She also confides in her best friend, Guppy her boat.
The last 41 days of her journey was the most trying — near Cape of Good Hope she encountered the worst kind of high seas and heavy winds. Laura would later say: “I was focused on steering my boat. I was on top of being alert. Fear was gone. Oh, but I enjoyed it.” After spending two years on the seas, Laura finished her journey at St.Maarten in Caribbean, late on a Saturday night. She was 16 years and 123 days.
As a teenager, Laura had a dream. And set set out to realise it. “I wanted to feel the ocean, the wind, the sky and the loneliness of being out there. I have felt it. It’s beautiful. It was the end of a dream I had as a child and the beginning of a life as a sailor,” she says in the film.
Catch Maidentrip on #Netflix if you can.