Posted by: rosyroadsadventures | January 21, 2012

Laura Dekker Arrival

N 18° 03.77′   W 63° 05.31′

Simpson Bay Lagoon, Marigot, St. Martin

We took a dinghy ride across the Lagoon today to attend the welcoming celebration for Laura Dekker.  It was a beautiful, breezy day, and one we will long remember.  What a thrill it was to be part of the crowd cheering for this 16-year-old young woman as she completed a solo circumnavigation in her 38-foot sailboat, Guppy. 

A special opening of the Simpson Bay Bridge was arranged and Laura’s bright red boat came through right on schedule, accompanied by the Dutch Coast Guard and numerous small boats that had gathered for the arrival.  Mega Yachts joined in the celebration too, tooting their impressive horns.

 

A crowd gathered at the Simpson Bay Yacht Club Bar and Restaurant including Laura’s family, members of the cruising community, locals, tourists and the press.

 

Once inside the bridge, Laura circled through the crowded Lagoon and approached the Yacht Club.  

With a strong breeze, docking a single engine sailboat can be harder than it looks and Laura showed her skill by executing the maneuver effortlessly.

After 41 days at sea since leaving Cape Town, Africa, both Laura and Guppy looked wonderful.  She was smiling and hopped on and off the boat easily.   (I can only imagine after that length of time at sea in a small vessel I might need a stretcher or a body bag . . . at a minimum, some time to adapt to the lack of constant motion.)

The reunion with her family was touching and there were tears on the dock and in the crowd.   The media, of course, had to capture every moment.  Okay, I admit I was taking pictures too, but from far in the background. 

A quick customs check-in was performed at the dock.  As a multi-national citizen, Laura was flying the New Zealand flag, and we understand she uses her New Zealand passport for traveling.  Despite rumors that there would be a less-than-warm greeting from the Dutch authorities, due to the controversy surrounding her trip, all seemed to go smoothly. 

The welcoming ceremony included the required speeches, some short, some long, and mostly inaudible to the crowd.  

Each member of the local youth sailing group presented Laura with a flower, a beautiful gesture.  It was so nice that she took the time to greet and encourage the children. 

 

 

More media time followed.   We could not hear the interview, so will have to read the news to see what she said!    For those interested in more details, you might enjoy reading Laura’s weblog to learn about her experiences. 

The accomplishments of this exceptional young woman has challenged me. I will never be a circumnavigator,  but perhaps I can figure out how to manage longer passages (days, not weeks!!) so that we can expand our future cruising options.  

We wish Laura the best in whatever she chooses for her future and thank her for sharing her inspiring journey. 

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Responses

  1. Jean and I are ready to make our long distant trip…….on a airplane……too see you guys….mid to late Feb??

  2. many thanks,very interesting


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