Remembering Our Voyage to Guyana

I was looking through some of our archived material and found a whole subject that really didn’t get as much attention as it deserved, namely our Voyage to Guyana. The 1000 Days Non-stop at Sea voyage was epic and can still be explored in much greater detail than it has been, but there are plenty of articles and video clips that summarize those three years at sea. The Guyana voyage however has been totally overlooked.

There Reid and I were in 2011, living aboard the schooner Anne in New York City with three year old Darshen. We had survived one winter in our fleece hoodies warmed by a small wood stove and soon we were going to face yet another. The boat was peeling, rusting, and crackled everywhere after a record-breaking 1,152 days at sea. She needed way more work than one person could ever do in a year. Luckily, a friend told us about this cool place where they built wooden boats and there was also cheap tropical hardwood available along with people who worked for a reasonable price. Reid thought that it all sounded great. He said, “Hey Soanya, isn’t that where your family is from? Let’s sail to Guyana.”

No one had to tell me twice. I still remember gorging myself on ripe mangoes when I was much younger and my parents took me and my brother on vacation. Reid put out a call for crew and ended up with 5 people all in their twenties, Andy, Rachel, Carly, Alex, and Dusty. They were all eager to go to sea for the first time and worked really hard for a month or two before the boat was ready to sail. Thanks to our friend Sequoia who donated a bunch of rigging cables, shackles, and sails, we were able to get the Anne seaworthy again, though she needed a ton of cosmetic work in every way.

We got ready to sail out one morning in early December 2011. Just as we headed under the Brooklyn Bridge a fog descended. It was so thick we had to find a dock to tie off on until the next morning when it cleared up. Then we made our way into the Atlantic Ocean. Three days out, our rudder shaft broke and we lost steerage. One of our crew, a professional diver, swam under the water to affix two ropes to the rudder so that we could steer the boat. At first, we thought we would have to pull in to the nearest shore, but we were able to keep going. Two weeks into the voyage, both bathrooms were out of order and no one could fix them. We had a sail with a tear in it, the manual bilge pump worked intermittently but had to be used regularly and the batteries were low with never enough solar power to charge them up.

Luckily the weather had gone from stormy, cool, and grey to sunny, warm, and sparkling blue.  Three out of five of our crew got over their seasickness. We celebrated two birthdays one Christmas and a New Year’s Eve. We pooped over the edge, took showers on deck under the warm sun, repaired tears in the sail, got mad at each other, laughed at Darshen’s antics, and shared many meals, some good and some not so good. Then we spotted land in the far distance. The anticipation was palpable. Our course was set. The shore was nearing and so was the end of the first part of our adventure to the jungles of Guyana.

 

See the video Voyage to the Jungles of Guyana: Part One

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