And then there was one…

On Thursday, February 21st, Bonnie from the great frogma blog left a comment on 300 behind, 700 ahead – The 1000 Days at Sea Project with breaking news about Reid Stowe’s 1000 Days At Sea: The Mars Ocean Odyssey. Reid’s sole shipmate Soanya Ahmad longed terra firma after an extended debilitating period of seasickness in the Southern Ocean.

This adventure never ceases to amaze me. The schooner Anne was able to rendezvous with a vessel from the Royal Perth Yacht Club with Jon Sanders, the Australian sailor who became famous in 1988 for his nonstop triple circumnavigation being the person to welcome her aboard. Sanders also currently holds the longest solo at sea record of 657 days. In an ironic twist of fate, now that Soanya’s off the schooner Anne, if Reid is successful in his quest of 1000 days at sea, he will have have spent 693 days alone and will unseat Sanders as the record holder. This story has more twists than a counterclockwise coiled mainsail halyard.

An Australian sailing website has been closely following the events over the past few days and placed on YouTube a video interview with Soanya and a short one with Jon Sanders too.

To me it’s interesting that after more than 300 continuous days at sea, Soanya still seems remarkably naive and unweathered by the experience (with the exception of the seasickness that caused her to disembark.) Here is a video interview of Reid and Soanya from before launching the Mars Ocean Odyssey (warning, I found this YouTube video to load very slowly)

One chapter of this story ends and another one begins.

Using Web2.0 tools could be interesting but from my perspective the first 300+ days have been pretty humdrum. While the daily chores and routines have been regularly reported, we got few glimpses of the social interactions of their life together at sea. I’m not talking about any of a purient nature but rather the normal ups and downs that build and cause stress in all relationships. Maybe Soanya is saving all of that for the book that she plans to write according to her Freodoctor interview.

Now our window into schooner Anne’s adventures will be from a single perspective, Reid’s. A year ago yesterday I wrote a post about the stresses that are felt by solo ocean racers. (NY Times – Study of Solo Sailor Stress and How Humans Cope). Granted Reid is master of his own route and schedule and therefore isn’t under the same pressures as solo ocean racers; however, if he keeps up the daily schedule of posts on, he could give us a real valuable look at solo life at sea over an extended period of time. It could be fascinating. Stay tuned…

Photo credit: 1000 Days blog

Related posts:

Final Countdown to 1,000 Days at Sea

Drama on the High Seas

Another Sailing Adventure Departs New York Harbor

208 days at sea, only 792 more to go!

300 behind, 700 ahead – The 1000 Days at Sea Project

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Messing About In Ships Podcast Episode #11

Lou Vest calendar photo Jan 2008 Heather Knutsen - header

Messing About In Ships podcast #11 has launched.

( 42 minutes)

Download the MP3 file – Messing About In Ships #11

Show Notes Can Be Found HERE

Subscribe Via iTunes HERE

The Magic and Mystery of the Sea

Hinding in plain sight - Roger T. Hanlon for NY Times

In today’s NY Times (Feb. 19, 2008), Carl Zimmer wrote a fascinating article about the “spectacular deceptions of cephalopods” (aka octopus, squid and cuttlefish). “Revealed: Secrets of the Camouflage Masters” tries to explain the magic of these mysterious sea creatures which have been researched over three decades by Dr. Roger T. Hanlon of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. There’s a great video profile of the D. Hanlon’s work on the NY Times website, check it out.

Despite thousands of dives, Dr. Hanlon still considers himself a novice in spotting cephalopods. Once, after following an octopus for an hour and a half, he looked away a moment to switch cameras. When he looked back, the animal was gone.

Check out my previous post Underwater Astonishments with David Gallo from TED Talks which ends with some spectacular footage that was shot by Dr. Hanlon.

On CNN today there was some amazing video of another mysterious sea creature: giant sea spiders. Check it out for yourself.

The mysteries of the oceans are magical. If I was a young person today, I would give serious consideration to embarking on a career in marine biology or oceanography. But I guess I just have to settle on being maritime blogger for now.

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Sunday Sea-Fever Style – Jason Taylor’s Underwater Art

Jason de Caires Taylor is a scuba diver / artist who that has created a beautiful underwater sculpture park off the coast of the island of Grenada. The best way to appreciate art is to experience it and through the power of YouTube here’s your tour:

Jason de Caires Taylor’s website is also worth a visit.

Creator of the world’s first underwater sculpture park, Jason de Caires Taylor has gained international recognition for his unique work. His sculptures highlight ecological processes whilst exploring the intricate relationships between modern art and the environment. By using sculptures to create artificial reefs, the artist’s interventions promote hope and recovery, and underline our need to understand and protect the natural world.

Here’s an interview with the artist:

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300 behind, 700 ahead – The 1000 Days at Sea Project

1000 days at sea logo

Another significant waypoint in one of the craziest maritime adventures of all time!

As of yesterday 300 days have passed since Schooner Anne left New York City for her 1000 days at sea without making landfall. 100 day increments make for a nice round number so I’ll try to remember to catch them here along with a brief update.

1000 -300-shredded-main-sm

Yesterday Reid and Soanya woke up to a shredded main sail and they report that their spare is buried deep in the cargo hold under several tons of provisions. I’ve been reluctant to be too critical of this expedition; however, how could they stow the most critical sail, and one that is probably destined for the earliest demise, like this? It’ll be interesting to read how they deal with this challenge. They have proven to be pretty adaptive up to this point.

In any case, I continue to wish them well and will continue to follow their adventures via their blog.

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It’s tougher for kids to learn the hard stuff if they aren’t taught the soft stuff

Emotional Intelligence While the concept of emotional intelligence has been around for quite a while, it wasn’t until Daniel Goleman wrote the best seller Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ that the term became widely popularized.

Goleman writes a great blog appropriately called which yesterday had an interesting post entitled Some Big News About Learning

Goleman wrote:

Here’s a sneak preview of some headlines that you’ll see in the next few months: teaching kids to be more emotionally and socially competent boosts their academic achievement. More precisely, when schools offer students programs in social and emotional learning, their achievement scores gain around 11 percentile points.

In the era of No Child Left Behind, where schools are rated on how well their students score on these tests, that’s a huge advantage for individual students and schools alike. And the gains are biggest in “at risk” kids, the bottom ten percent who are most likely to fail in their education.

That meta-analysis revealed that students improved on every measure of positive behavior, like classroom discipline, liking school, and attendance – and went down on rates for every anti-social index, from bullying and fights to suspensions and substance abuse. What’s more, there was a drop in numbers of students who were depressed, anxious, and alienated. And all these gains were in as impressive a range as those for academic achievement.

In recent years, people involved in the study and practice of leadership development have recognized the importance of fostering emotional intelligence skills. Managers who are not in tune with themselves and their reports will often have a more difficult time exercising effective leadership.  

It’s not really a huge leap to assume that the same concepts may apply to children learning. Now the Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning has provided us with the research to substantiate this through a significant study involving over 233,000 students across the country.

Goleman also writes:

Teaching students skills like self-awareness, managing distressing emotions and empathy makes them better learners, as Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, explained at the forum. He pointed to data showing that when the brain’s centers for distress are activated, they impair the functioning of the prefrontal areas for memory, attention and learning (a point I made in Chapter 19 of Social Intelligence). Social and emotional learning makes great sense, Davidson argues, because of neuroplasticity – the fact that repeated experiences shape the brain. The more a child practices self-discipline, empathy and cooperation, the stronger the underlying circuits become for these essential life skills.

Fritha I am currently involved in an exciting project at Northeast Maritime Institute where we are launching alternative high school maritime programs for at-risk youth in the US and internationally. A significant component of these programs will involve a sail training experience aboard our brigantine Fritha (right) or other sail training vessels. We believe that time aboard a tall ship, which can be an alien and challenging environment for young people, most often leads to increased self awareness and respect for self, others, ship and environment.

Anyone interested in the value and benefits derived from the sail training experience should read the research report, “The Characteristics and Value of the Sail Training Experience” conducted by The University of Edinburgh (June 2007) and sponsored by Sail Training International. (summary | download full report).

Being a product of a sail training program (visit The Tabor Boy Project), I am a firm believer in what these experiences can do to help adolescents make an effective transition to young adulthood.

Goleman ends his post with: “The more a child practices self-discipline, empathy and cooperation, the stronger the underlying circuits become for these essential life skills.” This captures the essential spirit of life aboard a tall ship and the sail training experience.

Related posts:

Tall Ship Semester for Girls – Changing Lives at Sea Under Sail

The end of the cadet program on Sloop Providence

Sail training diary – Week 2 – Sailing with Kids (Guest Post)

The Privilege of Sailing

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What we have done to our oceans. Not a pretty picture

Ocean model_high_res

Today the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis released a report with the above map of the above Global Map of Human Impacts to Marine Ecosystems and it’s clearly not a pretty picture.

The goal of the research presented here is to estimate and visualize, for the first time, the global impact humans are having on the ocean’s ecosystems.Our analysis, published in Science, February 15, 2008, shows that over 40% of the world’s oceans are heavily affected by human activities and few if any areas remain untouched.

Not surprisingly, the report finds that “the least impacted areas are largely near the poles, but also appear along the north coast of Australia, and small, scattered locations along the coasts of South America, Africa, Indonesia and in the tropical Pacific.” All areas sparsely populated and lightly impacted by man.

At some point, we need to recognize that the earths resources are limited and that we just can’t continue to avoid responsibility for what we are leaving behind. While there may be valid arguments on both sides of global warming; there can really be no debate on the negative impacts we are causing to our planet.

If you use Google Earth there is a stunning overlay of the above map here.

Related posts:

Litter@sea: A tragedy in the making (Blog Action Day!)

If there was ever a question about why we need to protect Planet Earth…

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Messing About In Ships #10

Lou Vest calendar photo Jan 2008 Heather Knutsen - header

Messing About In Ships podcast #10 has launched.

(50 minutes)

Download the MP3 file – Messing About In Ships 10

Show Notes Can Be Found HERE

Subscribe Via iTunes HERE

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