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Tania Aebe was an eighteen-year-old dropout and barfly. She was going nowhere until her father offered her a challenge. He would offer her either a college education or a twenty-six-foot sloop in which she had to sail around the world alone. She chose the boat and for two years it was her home, as she negotiated weather, illness, fear, and ultimately, a spiritual quest that brought her home to herself....
self-steering,” so I headed more to the north. I wore a permanent groove on my feet from standing on the mast steps to get a better range of the horizon, and then finally, realizing the futility of it all, I gave up. We were most definitely alone again and I reckoned that we might as well get to Djibouti as fast as possible. Forced to readjust my life to a new daily pattern, although I sorely missed Olivier and our hollered conversations, songs and jokes, I began to sleep better and was more
of the narrow bottlenecked Gulf of Suez. The first day whipped us back with its relentless winds, and before nightfall we had only covered 10 miles to a minimal anchorage behind a reef. The next day we inched another 10 miles up the wind tunnel and crept into the horseshoe shaped sandbanks of Tawila Island, still in the Strait, and took shelter there for a day until the wind died down. It was at Tawila that we walked along the virgin beaches for the last time, following shell tracks on the
me, answers never seem to come as great revelations, and everytime one is revealed, a new question pops up. Today’s is: ‘Why the hell have I been given such lousy weather?’ “ The wind eventually returned, still from the north, and we began to skip along, feeling a bit happier with the knowledge that miles were once again being laid behind. I started writing letters to friends I had made along the way and had neglected since Djibouti—Margot and Claude, Fred, Dean and Faye, and Luc. One by one,
horizon to the west. I was returning to a home that could never be the same as the one to which I said goodbye a lifetime ago. 2 There have always been people who called my father crazy. We never thought so. Why walk when you can run? he’d say. Why be inside when you could be out? Why stay home balancing your checkbook when you could be off riding a camel to Timbuktu, or climbing Mont Blanc, or driving a Land Rover across Africa? His dreams for himself and for us were all we wanted to hear
lines as she talked in confused riddles, but still the solution to the puzzle remained incomplete and, it seemed now, was about to die with her. Christmas day was a bittersweet affair that came and went, signaling that the time to go back to Tahiti had arrived. I thought of my father with his Land-Rover, off somewhere in Africa, trying in his own way to avoid the painful realities of home, and felt bad for Tony and Jade. Nina and I would be leaving them alone with my mother, and Jeri and